the little things: on cabbage ball & adoption tees (katie eller).

Oh friends, it’s a treat of treats kind of day today, because you get to hear from one of my favorites, Katie from Cardigan Way.  You see, she’s one of those people I’ve never actually met in person, although I’m fairly certain that’ll happen in the not-so-distant future.  For she’s a kindred spirit of the writing/spiritually-Jesus-savvy/English teacher type, and I guarantee that today’s reflection will warm your heart in all the right places.  


I cannot remember a moment in my life when I remembering feeling…well…cheered for. And when I say “cheered for,” I’m not referring to the proud embraces of parents or teachers. I mean rallied behind. Like, by more than one person at once. Possibly even a stranger.

I have reflected on this lately – scanning my brain for evidence of that feeling – and I am left to conclude that this is most likely due to my total lack of athletic ability.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m sure that my parents must have cheered for me at some point in my lifetime’s two athletic endeavors.

I mean…I did play tee ball. I remember nothing other than the ballpark’s hot, too-salty french fries. Considering I was four, I think this is a pretty sweet memory. I imagine my parents cheered when my bat made contact of any kind, but I don’t remember it.

And later, when I was 11, I played cabbage ball. To this day, I have yet to meet another human being who has even heard of this {finger quotes} “sport.” Cabbage ball – your trivia for today – is a version of softball, but with a bigger, softer ball. Like a cabbage. The ball is too big for a glove, so there are no gloves. And the ball is too heavy to be hit very far, so the bases are something like ten feet apart. My only memory of that cabbage ball summer is of the choco-tacos from the concession stand. That, and being bored out of my mind, positively relieved when the coach pulled me in from right field and relegated me to the bench.

As far as I can recall, those are the two opportunities of my life to be cheered for and since I think I’d remember if I’d ushered either team to a victory, it’s a feeling I really don’t think I’ve experienced.

Until lately.

My husband and I are adopting and…{insert long story here}…we found ourselves having to {shudder} fundraise.

And I have lately wished I could find an adequate response to the person who supports the adoption and follows it with,

“I wish I could do more.”

But I don’t know what to say. Because I imagine, when the notification pops up on my phone tells me that so-and-so in such-and-such state has purchased a t-shirt or made a donation, the feeling in my chest must be something like rounding home base in the championship game.

Or sinking a 3-point shot at the buzzer to break a tie.

Or pulling ahead, baton in hand, and winning by a literal landslide.

So what can I say about that?

And. That’s just one shirt. A few dollars.

hope regifted album

Let alone the day my entire school staff piled on a bus in their adoption shirts for a photo. That felt more like a standing ovation.

Or at Christmas, when every member of my family, the one year-old nephew up through my 86 year-old grandmother donned their adoption tees, gathered around an empty little chair, and smiled into the camera, full of hope for the day that a little one fills that seat. That must have been something like a pep rally.

Or during the holiday season when my best friend rallied folks to photos in adoption tees from their various holiday spots around the country. They answered loudly, smiling in front of Christmas trees, beaming from the Grand Canyon to the Pacific Northwest to the UK.

We were about halfway funded by Christmas. Talk about a locker room speech.

Last week, we were almost matched with a baby. Almost matched as in, we received a call about a waiting baby. The mother was stuck trying to decide between our family and another to become the parents of that little boy. She chose the other and as we stared at the reality of what almost happened, we found ourselves muttering the conversation that we’ve muttered an untold number of times in the last several years.

It starts with my sighing, “I just want something about this to be easy.”

And he responds with, “It’s not meant to be easy.”

After which I thoughtlessly picked up my phone, resigned to believe that is he is right. I scrolled through pictures and stopped at another #hoperegifted tag…and I was stunned.

That’s our team. Our cheerleaders.

Those are our easies.

Every email, every photo, every notification. Whether we see a t-shirt from across the table or across the country, we get another easy. We round third base, we jump from the line, we break through the tape.

We feel the cheers.

And as significant as it feels to be cheered for, the reality of those cheers overwhelms me…
The reality that every. little. motion of support closes the distance between ourselves and a child making his/her way to their forever family.

And someday, when she browses through the album-in-progress of hope regifted t-shirts + smiles, she will feel the cheers, too.

Nothing is small. Indeed.

View More: blogs over at Cardigan Way. She’s a minister’s wife, a graduate student at Duke, and a Lead Teacher in a local elementary school. She and her husband are also in the midst of an adoption journey, which you can read about on their website, Hope [Re]gifted. When Katie has a few extra moments, she is perfectly content with a great book, strong coffee, and rich conversation. You can also find her Insta-ing, on The Facebook, and twittering away here.  

And now, Cara again: UGH.  I mean, are you not smiling and laughing and teary-eyed all at the same time!  Hurry – fill up the comments box with some love for Katie, and in the meantime, buy your adoption tee today, too.  Also, if you’re here for the first time, consider cheering on Cara’s writing by becoming a fan of be, mama. be on Facebook, or by following the blog directly – thank you!

19 thoughts on “the little things: on cabbage ball & adoption tees (katie eller).

  1. “We feel the cheers.”

    Cheers that are not only heard but felt are the best kind, Katie. I hope you are feeling the cheers coming from out my way too. Prayers and cheers for you!


      1. Posting for you today was like a dance in the end zone. Gah! Ok. I’ll quit it with the sports metaphor. But REALLY. Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of the series!

        1. Dance, baby, dance! And I say, for non-sporty spices like you and me, when a sports metaphor happens to come our way, we must accept it for ALL its worth! A rare necessity!

          Cara Meredith

          be, mama. be.

    1. Thank you SO much, Crystal! I saw your notification just a while ago. 🙂 Incredibly grateful for your cheers! {PS – They are on a little delay from the printer, so it’s coming…but may take a few extra days. I’ll get it to you as soon as it’s in my hands!}

  2. We love you, Katie! I didn’t see you at school, but I was wearing my Hope Regifted shirt, and proudly donned it at The Table! 🙂

  3. Huzzah! Huzzah! Let the cheers be heard from the further corners of the earth, even yonder Ozarks hills! We are cheering for you like crazy, Katie. And since I am a bonafide regifter (yep, I’m not even embarrassed about it), I really think I need one of those t-shirts! =)

  4. Katie – this post is SO. WONDERFUL! Your heart and spirit and mind and love for your as yet unmet little one always melt my heart, and always inspire me. I wish we live closer– I miss you friend! Cara — you are amazing, and I’m so glad you hosted Katie at your blog. I too am a lover of your words. I feel bad that I haven’t got a ‘regifted’ shirt yet, but I will for sure! 🙂

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