Since I have excitedly blasted this news all over Facebook and Instagram and in real life, I am sure most of you have heard our huge news that we have been matched!! I thought I'd share not only some of the details, but also maybe answer some questions about what that means.
The short version: After having a book of our info shown to a number of expectant mothers over the past five months, and hearing "no" from all of them, one has finally chosen us to parent her baby girl that is due in February! We will be flying out to Utah to meet our daughter. Hooray!!
The (really) long version with the details:
We are adopting domestically (within the U.S.), and except adoptions through the foster care system, almost all domestic adoptions are newborns. Our consultant (Courtney) had us create a profile book that describes and has pictures of us, our home, our community, our family and friends, our hobbies and any other details we wanted to include. We were asked to set criteria (gender or race preference, openness to special needs, openness to pregnancies with drug/alcohol exposure, etc). The only preferences we stated were to not accept a few severe special needs and heavy drug exposure, because we don't feel financially able to provide for a child living with the effects of that. Even that was a difficult choice! So with no other parameters we were just open to whoever was meant to be in our family!
Courtney would sent us certain "situations" (information on expectant mothers with different agencies) and ask us if we wanted to "present" (have our book shown to the mother). Usually the mother will be shown at least a few books of different families, and sometimes many books. The expectant moms may have some preferences they've stated as well so the agencies try to give them profiles that fit what they are looking for in an adoptive family.
We presented to quite a few expectant mothers, and even talked to one on the phone to see if she thought we were a good fit. We repeatedly heard "I'm sorry, she chose another family" after all of these presentations, which was really, really hard! I'm sure those calls are not a fun part of Courtney's job.
On December 24 we had just gotten on the road to head home from Birmingham when I got two emails from Courtney asking us if we wanted to present to two different expectant moms. One was having a boy and one was having a girl and other than that, the situations were very similar. We said we would like to present on both. We liked that we had no idea which would present first. Because we had only heard "no" so far so we figured this was just us getting back into presenting and weren't getting our hopes up at all. Courtney let us know a couple days later that our book was being shown to Roseanna first, who was due with a girl. If she didn't choose us, we would present to the other mother.
On New Year's Eve I was setting up for our annual party and preparing our photo booth area. We set it up in the nursery for the second year, and I was feeling a little sad that we'd be in there another NYE, with the crib and everything set up and empty, just like last year. But I decided to celebrate all the good and big changes that 2013 had brought us, and look forward to a fresh new year.
Around 8:20 pm friends had started to arrive and I was flustered trying to get food set out (I had/have a really intense and annoying cold and was behind on everything). I looked down at my phone and noticed I had a voicemail from Courtney. Brad didn't think I should call her back because a) he was afraid bad news would ruin our evening, b) our house was filling up with people, and c) he thought I would probably be on the phone with her for a while. However, I decided I would spend the evening wondering what she was calling about and needed to talk to her, so I went into my craft room and called her back. She said "Do you have big plans tonight?" and I told her were having a party. She said "Great! Because you have even more reason to celebrate - you're going to be parents in 2014!!!!" I'm pretty sure I squealed in her ear and giggled and I'm not sure I said anything that made sense before I got off the phone with her. She said Roseanna wanted to have a call with us in the next couple days just to chat and get to know each other. I dragged Brad into the room and told him and we just sat there saying "oh my gosh! OH MY GOSH!!" and grinning from ear to ear. I called my family and no one answered their phones, so I just kept blowing up their phones! Eventually my parents called me back (they were in a movie with my brother - oops!) and I got in touch with my sister. Then with almost no time to process anything I went out and told our closest friends who were all waiting there in our dining room. Talk about a whirlwind!
We had the best time celebrating that night and I love that our daughter will have this story of how we came to know she would be ours. I am just so amazed and thankful that God had that sweet surprise for us, even when we thought we had closed another year without that news. We were at peace with that, but He went one step further and we didn't have to be! Hooray! :)
Our call with Roseanna was that Friday night at 8:30, and as the call got closer I got more nervous. We had only talked to one expectant mother before and it was a little bit awkward (she didn't talk much). Roseanna got on the phone and all that nervousness just fell away. She was so enthusiastic and kind and we felt really comfortable talking with her. We hope that we will have the privilege of knowing her well over the years and that she will be a positive part of our daughter's life. I have learned a good bit about the sacrifice all birth moms go through, but I was caught off guard by how sad I felt on her behalf when she talked about all she hopes for this baby. What an awe-inspiring sacrifice she is making, out of selfless love for her daughter. And what a precious, incredible gift she is giving us. I'm tearing up just typing this!
Baby girl is due February 16 and will be born in Utah, so we will be traveling to the COLD! We are thinking of names and making a list of things we need to buy/get/do before we are on call! We are only about 2/3 funded so be on the lookout for some more fundraising from us. We are also applying for grants and loans, so please pray we are approved for as many as we can be!
I know many people are probably wondering if this can fail, or fall through. The answer is that it definitely can. There is a very high risk in adoption, large financial risk and very real, intense emotional risk. At any point before she signs her rights over to us (in Utah that can be as early as 24 hours after baby is born but may be longer) she can change her mind and decide to parent this baby. She has every right, legally - and I believe, morally - to do so. But we are obviously hoping and praying with all our might that she remains steadfast in this plan she has lovingly chosen for her daughter!
We will be in Utah for 5-14 days while both Utah and Georgia clear us to take the baby across state lines. We will then have to wait 6 months for finalization, and during that time we will have some follow up visits from our social worker.
We are so, so excited and are so thankful for all the friends, family, and even strangers that are on this journey with us. I'll keep you posted, and please let me know if you have any questions! I have yet to get tired of talking about this!!
Also, I am so happy to finally show these pics from our photo session earlier in 2013. We saved them until we heard we would be parents. :)