Friday, June 7, 2013

Meeting Rachel...

Today marks a very important date in our adoption journey.  Exactly one year ago, we were meeting a woman who would forever change our lives...  You may remember a post from last June where I announced we had been selected by a birthmother.  I said in that post that at some point I would share more details.  I'm sure you weren't expecting it to take quite this long, but there are certain things I've chosen to hold close to my heart because I just didn't feel like it was the time to post them.  Today though, I'm going to share some of those things that I have tucked away in a very special place in my heart...

I remember that week this time last year very grandmother had just asked me if we had heard any news on the process, and I was growing weary of telling people we were still just waiting.  I know, in the scheme of the adoption process as a whole, it wasn't like we had been waiting an incredibly long time, but when you've been actively working for months to get paperwork done and requirements fulfilled, the waiting period to be chosen can seem excruciating, because you have no more "busy work."  You just sit...and you wait...and you PRAY...and each time your home telephone rings, your heart stops, because maybe, JUST maybe, it's the call you've been waiting and praying for...and then your heart sinks when you see it's just another telemarketer.  But I remember the morning very vividly that I did receive that important phone call...

I had been struggling through our waiting period, but I also felt like the Lord had told me that our baby would be coming around my birthday, and on June 4th, 2012, I had felt very compelled to pray over our baby's birthmother.  I prayed for her daily, but that morning in particular I felt very strongly I needed to pray for her and for the whole adoption process.  After my quiet time, Lucy was watching a show, and I decided to finish putting some fringe on a scarf I had knit (which ended up selling at an adoption fundraiser a friend hosted for us at her home), and while I was working on it, the phone rang.

My heart stopped.

Could this be the call? I immediately thought.  I grabbed the phone but closed my eyes, and I forced the thought of it being "the" call to leave my mind, because I knew I was just setting myself up for disappointment again.  But then I opened my eyes, revealing that this was in fact a call from Christian Homes.  My heart raced and my hands began to shake, and I began pacing all over the house.  It was our caseworker, and at first she just made some small talk and asked what we had been up to.  I began thinking, OK, this is kind of weird.  I guess she's just calling to check in?  But then, as I was standing between the doorway of the kitchen and the laundry room explaining to her how crazy of a month June was going to be, she said this (and I could HEAR the smile in her voice!)
"Are you read for your applecart to be overturned?"

My eyes opened up very widely as I hesitantly responded, "Yeeeeeees??"

She then told me, "You've been selected by a birthmom!"

I immediately began crying (not the sobbing kind--the kind where your voice shakes and you're super excited and nervous at the same time, so nothing is really coming was the same kind of cry I had when DH proposed to me:) and pacing back and forth through the hallway of our home.  My mind was so flustered with emotions that I didn't even know what to ask!  I got off the phone and immediately called DH.  I was crying (this time a more normal definition of "crying") and he was afraid something was wrong as I blubbered, "We've been chosen by a birthmom!"  He couldn't understand me, "What?"  I tried to calm down and told him again, more clearly.  He couldn't believe it either!  He started asking me all sorts of questions, which I knew none of the answers to because I really hadn't thought to ask our caseworker many details at all.  I then told Lucy that a birthmom had chosen us...I so wish I would have videoed her response.  She immediately jumped to her feet on the couch, jumping up and down and squealing with excitement "EEEEEEEEEEE!!!"  It was so cute to listen to her tell people, "A birthmommy picked us!" over the coming days.  She was so excited and so proud that she was going to be a big sister!

The following morning, Tuesday, this phone call came in:

It was our caseworker and the birthmother's caseworker.  Michael and I both were on the phone and we got our first glimpse into this woman's life...the woman we had been praying daily for, for so very long...the woman who was possibly carrying the baby we so desperately wanted to parent...and ultimately the woman who would forever change our lives.  We learned she was expecting a BOY and that she was due on June 26th.  As in..

wait for it...

Three weeks.  THREE weeks!  Three WEEKS?!  What?!

Here's the crazy thing about adoption: the waiting seems endless, but once things start moving, you feel like everything is happening SO fast.  We had no baby furniture, no baby clothes, not even a single diaper in the house!  (We had purposely not been getting baby stuff or setting the nursery heart just couldn't handle seeing it all sit there not knowing when it would be used.  More importantly, we knew God would provide exactly when we needed Him to.)

But first things first...we found out we were going to get to meet her in TWO days!  Her caseworker was leaving the COUNTRY for a two week mission trip, so we had to meet her before she left.  The problem?  We were in the midst of VBS week at church, which DH was the only staff member at so kind of in charge, and I was leading the music.  To top it all off, Lucy couldn't come with us, and she got SICK.  My mom wasn't able to come in to watch her, DH's parents were not at a drivable distance to be able to come, and we just did not know what we were going to do.  But a sweet friend gladly let her stay with them, even with being sick.  I remember her saying, "You don't worry about Lucy.  You just go meet your baby's birthmom!"  So, on Thursday, June 7th, 2012, DH and I hopped in our green Saturn Vue and headed out to do just that!  But after a few of my little quirks...

Like staying up late the night before to "shine my sink," (I did this before our homestudy, too.  Something about my kitchen being extra sparkly helps relieve stress.

I also always feel much more confident in a situation if my nails are painted.  I know that sounds absolutely ridiculous, but remember, I prefaced this by introducing them as "my little quirks," so you were warned;-)

Snapshot of my actual journal entry
Going into that meeting, the Lord had given me a specific verse which I posted to my FB that day:
Romans 15:13
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

As much as everyone wants to prepare you for the what-ifs of an adoption falling through, I felt like the Lord was telling me that it was OK to hope, so I ended my quiet time that morning with this:

Dear Lord, I'm overwhelmed by how you work everything together to follow Your perfect path.  Please continue to work in this situation and allow Your glory to be shown.  Bless Rachel and baby boy, and give us safety as we travel and protection and health for Lucy.  Amen.

There was a pretty thick tension on the long car drive to meet Rachel, and you could just sense the weightiness inside that vehicle.  We both knew that this was such an important meeting...what if she didn't like us or we came off the wrong way?  I think one of my biggest frustrations in life is when I'm misunderstood--I want people to be able to see my heart, and that's what we wanted Rachel to be able to see.  You could pretty much sum our feelings into the following: EXCITED, EMOTIONAL (notice the no makeup--way too early on an emotional day for mascara!) and just EXCEPTIONALLY blessed to be on God's path for our family!

Our meeting took place at a church.  We were the first to arrive (yes, I know that's shocking!) and kind of freshened up in the bathroom (I didn't really want her first impression of me to be getting knocked over by my coffee breath wafting through the air.) and then took a seat in one of the conference rooms.  Rachel's caseworker soon joined us and set a very comfortable and easy-going tone for the day.  A few minutes later she got the text from Rachel that she and her sister were in the parking lot.  I remember looking over at DH with my eyes wide open and my breath held in as I gripped the arms of my chair and stood up.

And then she walked into the room...this beautiful, adorable looking pregnant woman in a Texas Rangers hoodie.  She had a huge smile on her face and seemed so at ease.  I immediately went up to her and gave her a hug and we all just sat down and talked.  Was it awkward?  Well, yes, there's quite a bit of information pouring out around that room, and it's very emotional, too.  As she explained her reasoning for placing her baby, there was not a dry eye in the room.  We got to know each other, share our hearts with another, and I think we would all say we just felt a huge connection with one another.  We would have signed the match confirmation right then, but CHFS requires you sleep on it before making a decision, so we agreed to that.  We exchanged phone numbers with Rachel so that could keep in touch, and we asked to take a photo with her before we all headed out.  When we went outside it started to rain, but we huddled together and prayed for Rachel, for her baby boy, for her safety during her pregnancy, and for God's direction and peace.  We had our hands on her belly as we were praying and baby boy was seriously going crazy!  Maybe he was raising his hands in agreement:)  We all hugged and said goodbye, and then we hopped back into our green Vue.  As our car doors shut, Michael and I both blew out a very collective SIGH!  So many emotions had been pinned up leading to that day, and yet there we were having faced them just moments ago.
Signing our match comfirnation
 We had no reservations with our match, so 24 hours after meeting Rachel we signed and submitted the papers to confirm the match.  

Signing our match convfirmation
It's so hard for me to believe that it's already been a year since we met Gabriel's birthmom, but yet, at the same time, it feels as if she has been a part of our family so much longer than that, because I just can't imagine not having her in our lives.  

As I was giving Gabriel his bottle and rocking him before bedtime, I looked into his beautiful brown eyes and told him this:   
Exactly one year ago was the first time I got to feel you kick, and we got to meet your birthmommy.  She is such an amazing woman who loves you so much, and we love her.  I am so thankful she chose me to be your mommy...

And as he fell asleep in my arms I whispered softly to him, Never never ever doubt how much you are loved by so many...

You see, one of the things that is so beautiful about open adoption is the love that surrounds our baby boy and connects us all.  Not only will Gabriel grow up to know the unconditional love that our family has for him, but he will know of the amazing and selfless love that his birthmother has for him, too.  Those were all things that we were told about open adoption, but there's something else that I've come to know along the way, too...You see, I was aware of the positive effects open adoption has for the child and their birthmother, but I never dreamt of the joys it would bring to me personally.  My life is filled with more love because of this amazing woman that gave birth to my son.  She isn't just Gabriel's birthmom-she is also a cherished part of our family.

One year ago I not only met my son's birthmother, but I also met a dear friend...

No comments:

Post a Comment