Part of me is stunned at how suddenly I stopped blogging about our adoption process. But then another part of me remembers how emotionally draining that season of waiting was, so I freely give myself grace there. I had taken to sort of ‘Insta-blogging”, during that time, and shared our story there instead of sitting down and processing all of my emotions here.
Needless to say, the waiting was hard. Any family that has walked through that season of the adoption process understands that, no matter how long their wait turned out to be. Waiting two weeks or two years for a child that you have been dreaming about takes you through the gamut of emotions. It’s a carrousel of feelings from excitement, to fear, to impatience, to frustration, to hopeful, to fury. Staring at an empty crib feeling pregnant with expectation, though no one can see the bump and know because a child growing in your heart isn’t nearly as obvious as one that grows in your belly. I remember just wanting to tell everyone we met, “We’re adopting! We’re going to have a baby soon!”
Soon. The waiting game is a strange kind of soon.
In a domestic adoption, birth mothers that are looking to make an adoption plan get to review profile books, which are basically glorified photo albums where waiting families brag about themselves, toot their own horns, and make a case as to why they are the perfect family for a sweet new baby to come into their homes. Then, based on the profiles made available to them, they choose a family to send their little newborn nugget home with.
Because there is no rhyme or reason to how or why a birth mother chooses a family, this is often an emotionally taxing season. Hearing a no from a birth mother is hard. We would try not to take it personally, but sometimes it was so, so hard. Why didn’t they like us? What’s wrong with us? Did we do a terrible job making our book? Should we have said this? Added that? Left out this? Emphasized that?!
It’s terrible. And after close to twenty no’s and a hair over six months of waiting, I grew to loathe our profile book. Obviously it was a horrible piece of crap. All birth moms must hate it. But in my heart of hearts, I knew that even if the picture layouts were busy and the graphics were cheesy, the words I wrote were honest and it really did showcase our family for who we really were.
And all it takes is just one yes.
March 18th, 2016 was the day that the no’s stopped coming. I was washing dishes and Tim was taking a shower after a run. My phone rang behind me, but because my hands were wet, I didn’t rush to get it. After I finished moving dishes from the sink to the dishwasher, I turned around and saw that I had missed a call from our caseworker. My face immediately heated and my stomach flipped over inside of me.
We never got calls from our caseworker. We got emails. Two kinds. One kind saying, “We have a birth mother here, can she look at your profile?” And another kind that said, “Sorry, but you were not chosen. Your profile has been released.” That was it. We knew that the only reason we would get a phone call was if we were chosen.
I immediately called her back and she proceeded to tell me that a birth mother had reviewed our profile and loved our family and wanted to meet us before she made her final decision to place her son with us. I was calm and collected. Almost emotionless. I remember at one point she said over the phone, “This is it! It’s THE call! It’s okay if you want to scream!” But I couldn’t. That type of emotion just wouldn’t come.
After telling her I would talk to Tim and call her back ASAP to make arrangements to meet with the birth mom the following day, I hung up the phone and walked up the stairs to tell Tim.
On the way up, it hit me. Hard. But instead of a scream of excitement, all of the built-up emotion spilled out in tears, no–SOBS. Tim was in our bedroom when I found him and because of the look on my face, the phone in my hand, he thought I had just gotten a phone call that someone had died! Through my blubbering he made out our caseworker’s name and he knew immediately what was going on.
He called her back and set a time that we could meet with her and the birth mother the following day. That was a Friday. On Saturday, we met a kind and brave girl named Nariko. She told us on the spot that we were the family she wanted to trust to raise her son. On Sunday, we held her son in our arms and fell in love with him. Two days later, on Tuesday morning, we drove home with a tiny two-month-old baby boy in our backseat.
He was my son. He was her son. He was OUR son, and our lives and our hearts have been so very different ever since.
With love, Mal