The Call (and more)

There’s a bit of a lead-up to the story of The Call, but it’s all a part of the story. And I want to record everything. So bear with me, grab a drink or a snack, and settle in for a long read!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 – Leap Day! 

Around 8:00am, I saw that I had a FB message from my college roommate and maid of honor, B. She said, “I had a dream you got the call last night and it’s a girl.” I wrote back, “I love that you’re having dreams like that. No call, though. We are talking with our case manager today and who knows what she’ll have to say. I feel like we have to be close… but who the heck knows what close means, you know?” (I later told her I should start calling her Claire, short for clairvoyant…)

At 9:30am we had a pre-scheduled call with our case manager, L. We talked for about 30 minutes. We talked about how we’re feeling (I said that I’d been doing really well for the first 6 weeks or so of the year, but that I had recently felt a shift and I had started to feel more anxious again), she asked us how we thought a referral call might go (we both said we were expecting a boy), we agreed to set up a call every few weeks from there on out, and I said that I hoped we didn’t have to have many of those calls. L told us that she was surprised by how slow things had gotten, and that when we talked in September and she said it could be any day, she truly believed that. She also said that she was hopeful she’d be calling us with good news soon. We hung up, feeling like it had been a good call. As frustrating as things have been, we have always felt better after checking in with her.

Around 11:30am, I was standing in line to pick up some lunch on the way to my office (I had worked from home in the morning in part to take that call), and I read a FB message on my phone from this dear friend, telling me that she and her husband had accepted a referral of a 9-month-old boy! I was so excited and happy for them, and I had happy tears in my eyes as I waited for my food. She was worried that I might be upset, because all along we had thought that I was ahead of her on the list, and it turns out we had that backwards. But I was not in the least bit upset, I was only happy for her.

Once at my office, I was able to type out a reply to her message. It included, in part, the following, which I think shows how I was feeling:

“Please do not worry about me. This is a surprise but it’s just one more surprise in this endless string of surprises! And I truly and seriously believe that the child meant to be a part of our family will become a part of our family. Truly. So this child was meant to be part of your family, and our child will be coming soon.  …  I have to seriously believe we are next. And this time I’m going to let myself go with that belief and just feel what I feel about it. I have been feeling something inside telling me that now is the time, and maybe it just is already.”

Within 3 minutes of sending that message, the phone rang.

12:28pm. It was our agency.

[I should note that since September I’ve had “Haven’t Met You Yet” set as my ring tone. Yes, I’m a sap.]

My heart skipped a beat. But I was so confused. I mean, we had just talked with our case manager, finishing up that call only about 2.5 hours earlier. Why was she calling again? Could it be?! Turns out there are a lot of things one can think in the five seconds it takes to answer a phone call!

The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hello?

L: Kelly, this is L.

Me: Yes? (in a confused tone)

L: This is your call, Kelly.

Me: Sob, wail, ugly cry – repeat ad nauseum

It may well have been about 2 minutes before I could speak any words. When I was finally able to talk, I got a few bits of information from L. I am a note-taker while on the phone, so out of habit I grabbed a post-it and wrote down these three things:

[Woliso is the town she is from.] I was surprised when she said it was a girl, and I was outright shocked when she said she was only 2 months old. I am fairly certain I gasped. And there were multiple utterances of, “Oh my god!”

L told me that when we had talked earlier in the morning, she had known that this child’s file was coming in for referral, and that she would be for us. But she didn’t know if she would have the information today or next week or when, so she knew she couldn’t say anything. I should tell her she’s got a great poker face (or voice, as it is)!

The call lasted about 6 minutes. And then it was time for me to find Craig! He is not always easy to get a hold of during the work day, and my usual best bet is (to nobody’s surprise, I’m sure) to find him on G-chat. No luck. I have 3 different phone numbers for him and decided to try his cell first, even though he’s not able to take it into his office with him, and sure enough, he was in the car on his way to a class. He was remarkably calm. We decided to both go straight home, where we would wait for an email with all of the information to be sent to us, which we were told would come within the next few hours.

I got home first, and as I waited for Craig I did things like try to figure out how to operate the video function on our camera, take photos of silly things for documentation purposes (see above!), and find the information for the international adoption physician we planned to send our referral information to. I just needed to be busy. He came home, flowers in hand. And we drank champagne at 1:30 on a Wednesday afternoon.

We sat side-by-side at our laptops for a while. I decided that watching my inbox for that email was like waiting for water to boil, so I figured I’d better do something to distract myself. So I watched Days.of.Our.Lives. (Seriously, this was what came to mind!) Craig somehow briefly fell asleep on the couch. This man can sleep through anything!

The email came in around 3:00pm. We went straight for the photos, of course. She is so, so tiny. Adorable. She is swimming in a little outfit clearly made for much bigger babies, wearing a little white knit hat. She has her hands in little balls, sort of holding her thumbs. She has big, expressive eyes. She is lovely.

We learned her name, which is beautiful and meaningful, and which we will be keeping. [More on that another time.] We learned her birth date, and realized that while we thought 2 months was young, she was even younger than that – only 6.5 weeks old. We couldn’t believe it – we were not in any way expecting a referral of a child this young (although of course it was within the 0-18 month range we had requested; it’s just that we have not seen a referral this young in ages, if ever). We read through the information about her history, which we will not be sharing with others. I have long wondered how our child would come to be an orphan, and imagined the various scenarios, none of which are pleasant, of course. But with actual information in front of us, and an actual child, it was really overwhelming. This was the part of the referral packet that made me cry tears of sadness, among all of the tears of joy. I am glad that we have a story for her to know, though. I know that will be so important for her as she grows.

We read through her medical review, which was pretty minimal since there’s not a whole lot to report on an infant this young. Of course she’s not sitting or standing or walking! We converted her measurements from centimeters and kilograms to inches and pounds so that we could better understand them. Did I mention she is tiny?

We sent the information over to this international adoption clinic for review. We didn’t hear back from them until 11:00 Friday morning, so it was a long time of waiting in between! But thankfully there were no red flags. Thank goodness. We called our case worker around noon on Friday to verbally accept the referral, and we sent the acceptance paperwork off on Saturday.

We have spent the time since then telling our family and friends the good news. The last person we were trying to reach was Craig’s dad in Thailand, who we talked with this morning. We have also had a couple of moments of sadness, thinking of how much Craig’s mom would have loved hearing this news. We’ve had a couple of celebratory meals, including one with great friends.

We are feeling very loved and very supported, and that means the world to us. So many people have been on this long and at times difficult journey with us, and we know they (you!) were waiting right along with us. We are so thankful for the love and the support, and we ask that everyone keeps it coming through the next phase of this journey.

And for those who are still waiting: I know firsthand that it is possible to be happy for someone else and sad for yourself. Oh, I know that feeling so well. All I can say is that I know what you are going through, and that I am thinking of all of you and hoping that you get to experience this part of this journey very, very soon.

[In my next post, I’ll talk about what happens next, including estimated timelines.]

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32 Responses to The Call (and more)

  1. Amy says:

    So happy you posted details of “the call” without having to make any of us wait too long :). Funny that the WHFC’s calls come between 11 and 1pm! Again, many congrats and I am looking forward to the next 6 months!!

  2. Kyra says:

    Getting teary-eyed reading this. I think (based on the initial) that we have the same case manager. You’re right, she does have quite the poker voice. Funny that Craig napped and you watched bad TV while waiting for the information to be emailed – Tabb and I did the same things, respectively.
    Congratulations!!!

    • selam-ubuntu.blogspot.com says:

      Funny that Craig napped and you watched bad TV while waiting for the information to be emailed – Tabb and I did the same things, respectively.

      This makes me laugh through my tears.

  3. Sue says:

    I love these details. Truly love them!

  4. Beth says:

    You made me cry. Congratulations again.

  5. Sandra says:

    I just had to check back for details of that magical call. Thank you for sharing them. It is such a wonderful, amazing, and surreal moment to hear that you have become a parent and then later to see that sweet face for the first time.

  6. Molly says:

    ohmygoshomygoshohmygosh!!!!! i am soooooo so incredibly happy for you!!!!! congratulations!!! She’s an itty-bitty!

  7. Barbara says:

    I am just so totally thrilled for you guys. I can only imagine that she is gorgeous! This news is so awesome. I’ll be praying that she’s in your arms soon. So neat to hear all about your serendipitous referral day!

  8. Kim says:

    Congratulations! How exciting. Such adventures await!

  9. Just loved your post! Can’t wait to read more as your journey continues. Yeah!! little girl.

  10. Joanna says:

    This could have been 3 times longer!! I love all the details, the unexpectedness, the afternoon champagne, the note…all of it!!
    Amazing that you have a daughter!! and a 7week old one at that!!!

  11. Evelyn says:

    Crying. Thanks for sharing this intimate story, Kelly. Ahhhhh … enjoy this bliss!

  12. sue says:

    oh kelly! i loved reading through this! i love that you and craig had champagne in the middle of the afternoon and that you were able to reach him on his first phone. i love the 3 things you wrote down about your daughter. and that i can tell your handwriting is a little [!] shaky. i cracked up that you watched DOOLs! [OT, but i check in every once in awhile and it’s the same story that it was 15 years ago! lol!] what a wonderful diary of the day to share with your daughter when she is older. thank you for sharing with us. not much is better than a referral story :).

  13. Meg B says:

    I just love The Call blog posts. =) Thank you for sharing and i hope your process from here on out is a smooth one. So much to do, so much to think about…! Enjoy getting ready for your daughter!

  14. Irene says:

    Kelly I’m soooooo happy the referral finally came – I know it’s been a long journey. The details bring back memories of when we got our referral – I’ts a girl! and yes E was also teeny tiny with really big expressive eyes. S& I are very excited and happy for both of you. Let us know if you need info on travel to Ethiopia. Welcome K!

  15. colleen says:

    once again it has paid off that i’m up in the wee hours and addicted to this computer. 😉 i so enjoyed reading every bit of this post and i’m so happy you shared all of these wonderful details! love the photos that you took to document everything…wish i had thought of that amidst the craziness! i love that craig stopped to get you flowers and that you celebrated with champagne! oh i am so so happy for you!!

  16. Leah says:

    It was impossible not to tear up reading about THE CALL. Anyone who has gotten that call can sort of understand the magnitude of it all. (And like you said, how many things can go through our minds in a short 5 seconds when we see our agency calling!) Can’t wait to hear more details, and oh, I hope your baby girl is in your arms sooner than later. 🙂 And rock on with having champagne at 1:30 in the afternoon. Sounds like my kind of celebration. 🙂

  17. leigh says:

    I got the call for my daughter (from China) in 2005 with the same agency and reading your description brought me right back to the very moment. I had tears in my eyes. It’s something you will never forget and you can tell her about it over and over as she grows up.

    PS. I love that you are keeping her name.

  18. heidi says:

    Congratulations! Wonderful news. Praying for a smooth ride from here on out.

  19. Melissa says:

    I have chills reading this. I have been following your story for a long time (I was on the BT Yahoo group at the same time as you) and recently have been checking for updates because I just had a feeling you would be getting good news soon. This all sounds amazing, and like it is truly meant to be. I am so happy for you!

  20. Kelly says:

    I love every single detail! You captured it all so well and it will be fun to read this again and again in the future. That Craig is a good man, bringing flowers home 🙂 Oh, and I have to say — your part at the end about it being possible to be happy for someone else while being sad for yourself? Kelly, you showed us all how that’s done – with grace and sincerity. You’ve gushed countless times for the rest of us and our good news, the whole time waiting for it to be your turn. It’s FINALLY your turn and we’re all sooooo excited to celebrate your good news, my friend!!! I’ll be celebrating your news for a long time, then celebrating when you get a court date, when you take your first steps onto Ethiopian soil, and when you hold your little girl. I’ll probably cry a bit when you have to say good bye (temporarily) to your daughter, and then we’ll all cry happy tears of joy when you get the call to return to pick her up and when you get on that airplane as a family of THREE!!! It’s going to be quite a year!!

  21. selam-ubuntu.blogspot.com says:

    Kelly– I have been quietly following your journey for over a year, probably closer to two years. I know that pales in comparison to the seemingly endless wait that you and Craig have endured.

    That said, it is so inspiring that in this Ethiopia-blogosphere-world we can not ever meet someone yet feel so connected through their words.

    My words cannot express the joy I feel for you and Craig. I cried while smiling the whole time reading your “CALL” post.

  22. Michele says:

    Hi Kelly-I too have been following your wait–we’re with the same agency, and have we’ve been waiting about 21.5 months. I am so very happy for you and have been waiting with anticipation for the day when I would be able to read your “CALL” post!!! Thank you so much for sharing.

  23. Theresa says:

    Can I borrow your friend “Claire” so she can dream my referral also 🙂

    And after 28 months of waiting – it doesn’t matter what time of day it is, champagne is in order.

    Congratulations!

  24. Jaclyn says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. I am so happy for you! You are going to be one amazing momma. You have been so strong and so kind to the rest of us as our journey unfolded while you waited. I could not be happier (ecstatic/jumping for joy/thrilled beyond belief) that it is now your turn. What a beautiful story to tell your daughter and the mementos to show her. I can not wait to see you travel to Ethiopia to meet your daughter.

    I can not say congratulations enough. Congratulations momma!!

  25. Emily B. says:

    This was so fun to read. I am so beyond happy for you!!! And I love the photo of the two of you with your champagne!! CHEERS!!!

  26. Congrats!!!! I read your post with tears in my eyes. You have waited so long for this day, and I am SO SO SO happy for you both! It’s one thing to know that the day will come eventually, but it’s another thing entirely to experience it! I’ll be keeping all of my fingers and toes crossed for a quick and smooth process for you and your daughter! 🙂

  27. Jennyy says:

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! THIS is what happens when I’m away from internet access! I missed it! SO STINKIN’ HAPPY for you guys!!! A TINY baby girl! What a wonderful story she will have/has!!!

  28. klarobinson215 says:

    What a day!!!

  29. Yay!!! I devoured every single detail, and I’m so glad you documented it all. You’ll be glad to have it as your daughter (eek!) grows. What an exciting beginning to your life as a family of three!

  30. tycobeans says:

    Congratulations! Although I don’t know you, I am happy for you! Our “call” came 6+ months SOONER than I expected. We were told apprx 12 months wait, and I figured it would be safe to assume 18 months. Nope. I was totally floored. Again, ours was younger than expected as well. And downright beautiful. I am happy to hear you will be keeping your little one’s name. Our daughter was 19 months at home coming, & there was no question in her mind Who she was. Here’s hoping for a smooth & quick wait for the rest of the process.

  31. christine says:

    I’ve been saving this for a time where I could sit and savor every little detail. I’m so glad I did because I found myself laughing and crying the whole way through. I absolutely adore every little detail you shared with us. There really isn’t anything better than referral day (ok, family day… but you know what I mean!) and this is one of the best referral stories I have heard in a while. I. LOVE. IT. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! EEEEEEKKKKKK!!!!

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