“We have a match!” When you go through the paperwork, the prayers, the tears, nothing can prepare you for the feelings that come with those four words. Excitement, and terror, and hesitation, and protection, and gratitude, and feelings I’m convinced do not have words.
Okay so now what?
A woman in a small town in Western Kansas did a simple Google search in the early morning hours of a day in late February: “adoption in Kansas.” Lucky for us, our agency did all their due diligence to ensure they were the first name on the list, so she clicked. She filled out the inquiry, and our agency called her the next day. During that conversation, she told them her story, she told them her struggles, and she asked for their help.
Our agency sent her 10 adoption profiles to review and potentially make a choice of who would adopt the little boy she was carrying. She and her baby’s father reviewed the profiles separately, and they met back to compare their choices. They both, independently, chose Chad and me. Man, I can’t even type that without crying. Chad and I laugh all the time, because we are frequently told, “Oh Jack looks just like you!” by people who don’t know our story. But if anything ever shows you how much he was made for us, it’s that story about how we were selected.
After telling us that we were matched, and telling us the backstory, our case worker asked, “So are you interested?” Like is that a real question? Is “duh” an acceptable response in this scenario?
Jack’s birth parents were eager to meet us, and we were eager to meet them. We planned to meet that Saturday. It was Thursday.
In order to coordinate, our case worker gave me Jack’s birth mother’s phone number. Y’all. Does a more awkward moment exist? What do you even say? “Oh hey, this is Molly. Glad you like us. Can I have your baby?” I rehearsed it over and over, and I finally just dialed. I got a voicemail, and was instantly relieved and disappointed all at once. But she texted me back within about 5 minutes, explaining that she had been right in the middle of something when I called.
We texted back and forth, and it was easier than I thought. She was kind, and open, and honest, and responsive. Everything I could hope for in this situation. She was eager to meet us, and although we offered to drive the 5ish hours to them, they wanted to meet halfway.
Unfortunately, they had a change in their schedule, so we had to postpone our meeting to the following Saturday, March 18th. I was a little disappointed for the delay, but I remained positive.
Although we had not met in person, we still texted every day. She told me how she was feeling, she told me about how active this little guy was in her tummy, she told me she was certain he had a lot of hair due to her constant heartburn (nailed that one), she talked to me like we were old friends.
We agreed to meet at an Olive Garden in Hutchinson, Kansas for dinner on March 18th. It’s about a 3-hour drive from our house, so naturally we left like 5 hours early. I mean, what else are you going to do when you’re nervous and anxious and can’t wait for what could be the biggest moment in your life? I don’t think I’ve analyzed an outfit choice so much in my life. I remember saying, “Chad, does this make me look like a good mom?” Side note, I also asked many people what would be an acceptable number of breadsticks to eat without causing major concerns. (I’m a mess.)
We rolled into Hutch (as the locals call it) way too early, so we drove around town. Welp, that didn’t take long, so we found the local Walmart and walked around for a while. After we had wasted all the extra time we could, we decided to just get there early. And I guess they were just as excited/anxious/nervous, because when we walked in the doors almost 30 minutes early, Jack’s birth mother and father were sitting on a bench in the lobby.
As soon as we sat down in our booth, Jack’s birth mother handed me a small, colorful, polka dot photo album. I opened it up, and it was all of her ultrasound pictures. Full disclosure, I have never in life been able to see anything on these. When people show me, I usually just nod and smile and add an occasional, “oh yea!” but I really have no clue. I flipped through it, lingering a little, mainly just appreciating what I was holding. I have never had my own ultrasound pictures. And although I undoubtedly wouldn’t have been able to see anything on my own either, it’s one of those things that you long to have when you want to be a mom. I set the album on the table between us, and it stayed there throughout our meal.
We spent the next two hours telling our stories, getting to know each other, laughing, and sharing our thoughts. And every time they spoke, they spoke in the present and assumptive tense. I was trying not to get my hopes up, but they spoke like the decision had been made. We agreed that the next steps were for each of us to check in with our case worker the following day and let her know how we would like to proceed. And as we got up to leave, I picked up the photo album and handed it to her, and she said, “Oh no, that’s yours.” What an incredibly generous human.
Chad and I got in the car, and I immediately started to cry in surrender of all of my built up emotions. We got on the road home, and I looked at those ultrasound pictures (still no clue what I was actually seeing), returned the 800 text messages on our phones, and ate my weight in breadsticks that I’d been too nervous to eat at dinner.
I did check in with our case worker that evening to let her know how it went, but we were still required to wait until the following day to make a decision. That statement usually takes people by surprise, the fact that it was also OUR decision, not just the birth parents. No matter your adoption story, it will be your story and your child’s story for the rest of your and their life. Every party has to agree that this is a relationship that you want in your life and a story you are ready to live and tell.
But as early as we could that Sunday morning, we confirmed that we wanted to move forward. Our case worker contacted Jack’s birth parents, and they confirmed that they were on board too. So it was official, we had a mutually agreed upon match for a little baby boy that was due on April 15th. Yea, you got that right, LESS.THAN.ONE.MONTH. But what you probably don’t know…we had nothing. No crib, no clothes, no childcare, no nothin.
You know what I learned in that next couple of weeks? There are some really incredible people in this world, and apparently we know all of them. (Ah man, I’m crying again…)
You can find out you’re having a baby on a Sunday, and your best friend will be at your house on Monday night helping you make a registry with all the things you ACTUALLY need for your baby. That same best friend will work with the rest of your local girlfriends to plan and execute a beautiful and perfect baby shower where you get more than you could ever need. Your mom and mother-in-law will throw you a baby shower in your hometown with all your friends and family that puts your wedding shower to shame. And beyond that, we were loved daily through text messages, emails, phone calls, prayers, and anything and everything people could throw on us. It helped make the long wait feel shorter and so much sweeter.
The things that a lot of people take for granted are the things I prayed for years. Watching my husband put together a crib is forever etched in my mind as one of my favorite visions of him. Folding baby clothes and rolling up those tiny little socks was a labor of love. (I remind myself now…) A friend bought me a t-shirt that said “mama” on it, and I don’t think she knew just how much and how long I had longed for that.
And I talked with Jack’s birth mother every day, all day long. We texted, usually about the pregnancy, but not always. We truly became friends, and I cared about her and her day. She was giving me the biggest gift I could ever receive, and because of that, I instantly loved her and cared for her as if I’d known her my whole life. And staying in contact with her helped make the wait feel shorter too. Since I was able to talk to her and hear how she was feeling and what he was doing late at night while she was trying to sleep was so helpful and made me feel as connected as I could to this baby that would hopefully be keeping us up at night soon enough. I am forever grateful that she wanted to share these things with me and that she stayed in contact with me.
Jack will celebrate his 2nd Birthday on April 17th, so now you know that he didn’t show his face on the 15th as planned. There’s more story to tell about that, but tonight, for the second year in a row, we celebrate March 18th with dinner at Olive Garden (in Olathe, not Hutch, y’all). The day that two people met us and still decided to give us the gift of our favorite little guy, who will undoubtedly eat me under the table in breadsticks.