Room in Our Mitten

Six years ago, when our daughter Stephanie turned 4 years old, she received this book as a birthday gift from her Grandma Jan.  We did not realize at the time, but this book is adapted from a Ukrainian folktale.  If you are not familiar with the story, it goes something like this:  a boy drops his white mitten (made by his grandmother) in the snow and he goes on without realizing it is missing.  One by one, woodland animals find it and crawl in; first a curious mole, then a rabbit, a badger and others, each one larger than the last.  Finally, a big brown bear is followed in by a tiny mouse.  As the story of the animals unfolds, the reader can see the boy in the borders of each page, walking through the woods unaware of what is going on.  Eventually, the bear sneezes and the mitten is blown sky-high and the animals are scattered everywhere!  On his way home, the boy finds the mitten and is so delighted.  When he returns home, his grandmother is glad to see that the boy did not lose his mittens.  As he warms his feet by the fire, grandmother notices that one mitten is far bigger than it was when he left home and she has a curious look on her face.  This is where the story ends.

This book has been enjoyed by all of our children over the years.  As one of the children had the book out and was reading it the other day, I noticed these words inside the front cover: “adapted from a Ukrainian Folktale.”  I picked up the book and looked through it with new eyes.  It’s funny how something can suddenly become so obvious.  I shared my new discovery with Bruce and we both agreed how cool it is that we’ve had this book for all this time and had no idea of its eventual significance.  My mom certainly had no idea when she bought the book (because she found the story and illustrations delightful) that six years down the road, we would be in the process of expanding our family by adopting a Ukrainian child.

The even greater significance it seems, is that Bruce and I (almost at the same moment) saw our family as analogous to the story.  When God first started tugging at our hearts to consider adoption, we started contemplating whether or not we had room in our lives, our hearts, our home, our family, etc.  Well, we have unanimously reached the conclusion that we do indeed have room in our mitten for one more!!  Only God has the capacity to stretch a mitten to allow his purposes to unfold in our lives.  We thought this was a beautiful analogy when it came to our minds and we wanted to share it with you.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jen
    Mar 14, 2011 @ 08:40:00

    Thank you for sharing this… how beautiful!


  2. Howard Reitz
    Mar 14, 2011 @ 09:06:28



  3. Molly Vesperman
    Mar 14, 2011 @ 13:49:43

    Very cool, Jill! Enouraging words to hear today!


  4. Irene Moore
    Mar 14, 2011 @ 18:11:59

    Hello. My husband, Dave, has contacted you through the Ritzman’s. I just looked at your blog and the first thing I saw was a picture of “The Mitten.” My immediate thought, before even reading a word of your entry, was “We have room for more in our mitten, what a great analogy to our story.” Then I read your blog. I feel exactly the same way. I have also had this book in my home for many years. I do daycare and it is one of the favorites. I had never noticed the fact that it was adapted from a Ukrainian folktale, but that just gives it more meaning for me. Thanks for sharing your story. God Bless your journey.


    • motorcyclemama5
      Mar 22, 2011 @ 16:24:40

      Hi Nellie!

      Thanks for sharing your kindred heart with me. : ) We look forward to being in Ukraine with you guys and getting to know your family. Blessings on you too as you prepare!

      Stay in touch! – Jill


  5. Sue
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 15:00:37

    Brought tears to my eyes, Jill! 🙂


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