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:
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.]