It is a tradition in our house that we order in Chinese food on Valentine ’s Day. This Valentine ’s Day was no different…or so we thought. After dinner the fortune cookies were handed out and we each read our fortune aloud. Chris’ read, “Your luck has been completely changed today”.
The next day, after Chris and I spent a wonderful day volunteering at Addison’s school, we were all in the car driving home. It was a gorgeous day. The phone rang…it was the adoption agency.
That night we ran around like crazy people. I went to get a last minute haircut (always a bad idea), we picked out what we would wear the next day and arranged child care for Addison. We explained, cautiously, to Addison that we had been chosen again by a mom who wanted us to take care of her baby, and this time we were going to meet this mom. This was not something we had done before. We knew from the beginning that this time was different…we just didn’t know how different yet. We were nervous from the second I answered “hello?”. What if she doesn’t like us in person? What if we dress to fancy…or not fancy enough? What if she changes her mind before we even get there? As soon as you answer that phone call you become vulnerable.
We pulled in the parking lot…early. As we got out of the car I said to Chris, “No matter what, it is always you and me”. We have taken to comforting each other with those words throughout the last few years. We took deep breaths and went inside. We waited in a conference room while the counselor met, in another room, with the woman that would change our lives. I have no idea what our counselor said to us as we waited…my stomach was a mess as I tried to muster up the calm to be as normal as possible...or maybe “normal” is not what she is looking for…wow…this is what endless waiting does to a person.
She and her mom walked into the room. She was already crying. My tears closely followed…more so for her than for me. What must this feel like for her? What a brave, brave girl. We talked for a while. She said she knew as soon as she saw our profile book. She said the baby kicked when she looked at our picture and she said it was like he chose us. He chose us…imagine that.
I felt like I knew her…I connected. My heart immediately attached to her. Ultrasound pictures were shared…more tears. Audrey (her name was changed to protect her privacy…Audrey means “noble strength”) brought her own baby pictures for us to look at…adorable. It was then we learned that her sweet baby was due anytime…holy crap.
“Anytime”, turned into 3 weeks. It was an extremely short amount of time to prepare for a new baby, but as waiting adoptive parents, every second longer that we had to wait was excruciating. What we did not realize in the moment was how very critical those few weeks were. Critical to us bonding with Audrey. Critical to Audrey learning to trust us, and us learning to trust her.
We texted with her daily and shared numerous meals together. We talked, we laughed, we cried. We found out that she was having a boy. A baby boy :) We chose his name…together. We encouraged her to take pictures of her pregnant belly. We learned about her family. We connected, we bonded, we asked questions, she asked questions, we all prepared, as much as you can prepare for such an event, for what was about to come…we held our breath, prayed like we have never prayed before, and surrendered our hearts.
Life was just about to get even more unexpected.