It was shockingly simple, really, how we found our girl. We’d known from the get-go that we were open to adopting an older child; it’s just that we thought it was a better idea to start with a baby. And older child was what was to come with our second adoption. “It’s natural,” I said, “to build a family from the ground up.” It made sense to us and to everyone we spoke to. A baby! Yes! Start with one of those! I’d been trolling around the waiting child list daily, knowing full well that there are a great many things termed “special needs” that we would be open to but wouldn’t think to put on our list, at this point knowing for sure that infants do, in fact, show up there. (See previous posts in which we’d expressed interest in an infant that didn’t turn out to be our Magnolia–for which we are now so grateful.) On a Friday afternoon, I was at work, and my young charge was asleep. I logged into the website, clicked the appropriate places on the screen to get to the list, and I saw a face. Click again, and there she was full length, looking stern. (She didn’t, I think, want her picture taken.) And I thought, “I want her to be our daughter.” After which I promptly thought, “Mary, the plan is for a baby first.” I then proceeded to argue with myself for a good ten minutes, sending Jarod a text and an email that just said he should look at this cutie, and wow, our process next time could be really fast.
And then I lost my mind. I proceeded to email and text that I thought this could be our daughter, and please look at her. PLEEEEEASE. LOOOOOOK. at HERRRRRRRRR.
Jarod proceeded to keep working, you know, at his job that he is paid to do and arrived home having had a frustrating afternoon, during which he had not looked at her picture. I did my best to listen to what he had to say about his day, and I feel like I did a fairly good job of being empathetic until the Adoption OCD took over and I blurted out, “Do you want to just look at her now?”
I logged in.
I clicked two times.
He saw her.
He was quiet.
I told him it was up to him, that I was on board with waiting for a baby since that’s what we’d decided, but that I also thought that this baby, who wasn’t a baby, could be our girl. I told him that we could fill out the form, that we weren’t obligated to adopt her if we reviewed her information. I hovered the mouse over the spot to click through for the waiting child request form. He said, “Let’s see what happens.” I nearly fell over with the force of my shock. What? I double checked that he really wanted to do it. He said yes, obviously, and my fingers shook as I typed in our information.
And then we waited.
In the meantime, both of us told people about her. About the possibility. We may have bragged a bit about how beautiful she is.
And then I nearly went crazy with waiting. Because of course it was after business hours on a Friday that we sent the form in, and the whole weekend stretched out ahead of us. By some miracle, I exchanged emails with our consultant at the agency on Saturday, and what she said made it seem as if we’d get to review the file. On Monday, emails exchanged with the director of the Ethiopia program suggested the same thing. But no one said for certain that we were the only family interested. I didn’t want to count on anything until we knew for certain.
On Saturday I felt as if I were supposed to choose an outfit to bring our daughter home in, so I stood there in the middle of the Target baby section, like a loon, trying to find the softest shirt and the perfect leggings to match. It just felt…right.
So on Tuesday, when my phone alerted me that a voicemail had come through without the phone ever ringing, and it turned out to be the consultant in charge of the waiting child program, telling me that she had our girl’s information for me, it was only confirmation for what my heart already knew. My young charge woke up and laid heavy against my chest, anchoring me in the relief of knowing our girl’s name.
We went through the formal step of speaking with a pediatrician and discussing what she said. I tried to wait an appropriate amount of time that would indicate that we’d thought about it as opposed to just being impulsive. And then we said yes. A resounding, heartfelt, YES. Late that night, I thanked Jarod for agreeing to look at her information in the first place. He whispered back, “Thank you for finding her.” Because I guess that’s what I did.
Now we will bring home a three-year-old. All those baby dreams have faded into the background, and it feels like this was always the way it was meant to be. It probably was; we just didn’t know it until we saw her. Now we do. We know it well.