Monday, October 1, 2012

Expectations

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One thing that every adoption story has in common: the WAIT. Waiting is not a particular talent of mine, in spite of the unending lessons that the Lord brings me on the topic. Some kinds of waiting are harder than others, however. Once we had finished our home study and were legally clear to adopt, I felt a sense of anticipation settle over our home, a pregnant pause, a waiting fraught with expectation. It was not a hard wait. In a way, it was enjoyable! We finished remodeling our baby’s room, I sewed a crib bumper, skirt and quilt, we went on dates with an awareness that at anytime we could be three instead of two. I washed and folded tiny little onesies and sleepers, bought a stroller and car seat, stashed diapers and creams and all manner of tiny things and rejoiced that at last the Lord had given me the “okay” to indulge my maternal instincts. At times I wondered as I lay in bed at night if my baby was already being formed and I would pray for the sweet little one the Lord was preparing for us and for the birth parents who were walking an unimaginable road. Sometimes sleep wouldn’t come and I would just keep praying.
One beautiful, sunny April day, my best friend and I were bumming around Pikes Place Market, smelling the market-fresh flowers and eating those greasy little doughnuts that taste so good but leave you with an upset tum, when I got a call from my sweet husband. He had just received a call from our agency saying that a young birth mom wanted to interview us. We had no idea what that meant or what to expect, but just the same, I experienced that strange heart-pounding, body-jittering, cold-hot feeling, and though it sounds cliché, the crowd really did seem to fade away! This could be IT.
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One week later, we were walking up to The Olive Garden, gripping each other’s hand and praying under our breath for God to go before us. We were going to have dinner with a young pregnant girl, her father, and our adoption counselor… this was our ‘interview’! How do you prepare for such a thing? I’ll tell you. PRAY. And pray some more. The little information that we had went like this: C was 15 years old, 8 months pregnant, lived with her father who worked nights and had been motherless since she was a toddler. That’s it. What she knew about us went like this: Everything! She had a copy of our profile, a picture album/scrapbook that I put together to give an accurate presentation of us, an attempt to show our heart. It was a daunting experience to walk into! We stepped into the restaurant, C and her dad spied us and looked nervous, we saw them and nervously walked over, introduced ourselves and shook hands, our counselor stepped in, we were seated, and then we preceded to have a most awkward dinner.
The conversation was mostly carried by me asking lots of questions and getting shy, quiet responses. I learned that C was very reserved, loved to color, worked the Summer on a berry farm, liked music, could eat masses of mashed potatoes and yellow cake and didn’t really have any intention of ‘interviewing’ us! After a while there was a lull in the attempted conversation and everyone’s stilted appetites had completely waned. In that moment, C said, “I have something for you guys…” and she pulled out from behind her back a beautiful, fluffy pink baby book and handed it to me. On the front the book said “It’s a Girl!” My throat swelled, I felt Jon squeezing my shoulder, and through tears I looked up and asked, “What does this mean?” And with tears rolling down her face, C answered, “I choose you guys.” We cried. Everyone at the table cried. There was no other response to such a statement. Even now, I can’t type about it without tears.
The rest of the meeting is a blur in my memory. At some point she said that the minute she’d looked at our profile for the first time she knew we were ‘the ones’ she’d been looking for. In spite of being very quiet, she showed us a very determined spirit. When I think of how easy it would have been for her to have quietly had an abortion and moved on with her life… By choosing adoption, she was choosing self-sacrifice on long term and short term levels. I am so thankful that the Lord put in her an incredible love for the life he’d put inside her, a love that gave her the strength to choose adoption. She gave us big, tear-y hugs as we said goodbye and said she’d see us at the hospital soon.
We sat in the car for I don’t know how long. We were in shock. There were lots of tears as we tried to come to grips with what we’d just heard. How do you internalize something like that? Her due date was less than a month away. As it turns out, we had even less time. C was induced on May 6th and on May 7th our miracle baby was born. Exactly two weeks after our Olive Garden ‘interview’. And exactly nine months from our previous failed adoption.
That time of expectation was a sweet time of resting on the Lord and trusting his hand. We knew he held our future and the future of the baby that he was knitting together and we knew that he would do all things well. Fear was always knocking at our door, but God was gracious to fill our hearts with the knowledge of his gentle cradling.
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“Thou hast done for me all things well. All Thy work for me is perfect.”     Valley of Vision