Prepare for anything, but plan nothing.
I woke up early that Friday morning to call the car dealership and see if I could get my car in for service. I had just returned the night before from an adventurous, amazing week in New York City with my mom, who also happens to be my very best friend, and I needed to get a few things done before starting a new job on Monday. When I picked up the phone to call I noticed I had a missed call and a voicemail. Strange. How did I miss the call? Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! It was the adoption agency!
I was nervous and excited to listen to what they had to say, though my heart was telling me this was it. I mean, really, would they call that late at night to update my profile information? Of course not! With shaking hands, butterflies in my tummy, and tears streaming down my cheeks I listened to the message that changed my entire world—my whole perspective on life.
I had been dreaming of the day this call would come, of how I would feel, and how it would all happen. Based on our call with our adoption agency when we first signed on with them (and my apparent vivid imagination), I had conjured up a beautiful, perfect story of how our adoption would play out.
We would get a call saying a wonderful, loving expecting mother had chosen us to parent her sweet baby girl. We would meet her and fall in love, and when it was time for the baby to be born, we would fly out to California where she had been being cared for through the final weeks of her pregnancy. We would be there when the baby was born, and we would all cry over this beautiful child and the promise of the wonderful life she had ahead of her. We would stay in California for a couple weeks, taking walks in the warm sunshine and just relaxing and bonding with our little gift from heaven while we waited for the paperwork to be finalized so we could bring her home.
What a beautiful story, right? Yeah, that’s not the way it happened at all! Well, except for the crying over the beautiful baby part. That really did happen. And here’s how the rest of the story actually went:
That Friday morning, while I was waiting for the adoption agency to open so I could call our counselor back, she called me, and very quickly I was inundated with information. There was a baby girl who would be born in Kentucky, likely in about four weeks. There was minimal information on the expectant mother (she had only just contacted the agency, and was a little less than efficient in returning her paperwork). The expectant mother had not chosen us, but rather the agency matched us for the best legal and geographical scenario, and the expectant mother’s first prenatal care had only been two weeks before.
The situation was less than ideal, but if we chose to go forward with the match we would have our baby girl. Did we want to do it? They needed to know within the hour. (This was where I was like, OK, excuse me while I go throw up from nerves and excitement.)
Anyway, did I want to go forward? Of course! But what will she look like? What if she has special needs? What if she’s born tomorrow? Oh, it was so much to process. But it felt right. My heart was leaping out of my chest! My nerves were raw, and I was giddy with excitement. We’re matched! We’re having a baby girl!
To make a long story short, and in the interest of getting to the advice part, which I’m confident is fairly self-explanatory at this point anyway, I’ll cut out a few details and just hit the highlights. We agreed to the match and found out the expectant mom went to the doctor that afternoon and was told the baby could come at any time. And she didn’t wait long. She chose Monday, just three days later, to make her grand entrance.
Fortunately, I had spent that weekend doing a little baby shopping (ok, I did a lot of it), and was at least partially prepared. But when I was out buying her bedroom furniture Monday evening, and our counselor called to tell me to drop everything and get an immediate flight to Kentucky, I was shocked. When she called just two hours later to tell me my daughter (Yes, my daughter. My daughter!) had been born, and I needed to hurry—well, then I just broke down. Again the wave of nausea, nerves, tears, excitement, disbelief, relief, joy, and any other emotion you can think of hit me. And I wanted, no I needed, to get there fast!
I had laundry going because I’d been a little too busy all weekend “preparing” for the baby to have time to prepare for a two-week trip. Oh, and the new job I mentioned—I had called Monday morning and postponed my start date until at least a month later. I was packing, looking for flights, hotels and rental cars, making arrangements for care for three dogs and a turtle, figuring out a ride to the airport at 4 a.m., and just fighting to maintain some sort of self-control.
After an early morning flight on Tuesday, with a stint on a little prop plane to bring us to a tiny airport, we made our way to the hospital. We were finally able to meet our precious baby girl and her birth family. We loved meeting the birth family! They were all there welcoming us with maybe a slight bit of apprehension, but mostly smiles, excitement, and open arms. I had no idea what to expect from anyone when we arrived, but we had nothing to worry about. Everyone was extremely friendly. In fact, when we called to get directions from the airport, the person on the phone already knew who we were. It is a very small town.
They put us in a room there at the hospital so we could stay with the baby, which meant I needed to cancel our hotel room. In Kentucky the baby must stay in a “bonding home” until the paperwork is cleared for her to leave the state. And we could stay with her or stay in a hotel, whichever we preferred. (Are you kidding? We had just found each other and I was not about to let her out of my sight!) I received this information from a woman over the phone. She was the one who would be housing our new baby with us over the next month—until the paperwork was done.
Excuse me? I have to stay in some stranger’s house in a strange state, for how long did you say There must be some mistake. This is not how my story goes! I can’t just stay in a stranger’s home! We have to figure something out, because I can’t do that! And what? This home is three hours away, and a social worker has to take us? We can’t be alone with our baby without a state representative being present? Talk about knots in my stomach, tears streaming down my face, and overwhelming panic. Wow! My first true mom moment! Because I would never agree to any of these things if it were just me, but I would do anything in the world for my baby. This is just not how this was supposed to happen!
Oh there was so much uncertainty, and so many questions. But what I realized—what was certain—was that it was all out of my hands. Things would work out just the way they were supposed to, even though absolutely nothing went the way I had “planned,” it all was perfect and better! Oh, and the woman who housed us for a month ended up being an amazing woman, with a beautiful family. My daughter now considers them her “Kentucky family.” I still cherish her friendship, love her beautiful heart, and cannot imagine my adoption experience without her. She was my angel sent to love my baby and me through the most beautiful, stressful, emotional, and miraculous event of our entire lives.
Our domestic adoption taught me to prepare for anything and only expect that things will work out the way they’re meant to. I was reminded to keep an open mind and an open heart so that God may carry out His perfect plan.
Did you like this story? Read more like it by downloading our FREE ebook, Adopting a Baby in the US. Get it here.