Last night, a very tired and emotional toddler cried her way upstairs to bed after a long day of well…being a toddler. She’s a pretty typical 18 month old with dreams of endless snacks, chasing the dog, and running wild and free across the church gym. She’s our Squish, our Emmi Boo, our Princess Cupcake, our Baby Girl, our Emmaline Jane. Today we celebrate the 1 year anniversary of THE AWESOME PHONE CALL that brought the Squish into our lives. This date marks the beginning of our first Family-Versary celebration, so I thought it was a good time to fulfill my promise to actually sit down and write out the whole crazy story. Some things are left out-things that are for her to tell when or if she wants to. The conversation about how much of our story to tell has been ongoing for the past year. We have finally settled on this one truth: It is God who wrote this story for our family, and ultimately it is for his glory and for our good. We hope it is for your good as well, so here it is!
May 21, 2014
It was the day before the last day of school at the preschool where I taught 2 and 3 year olds. Teachers, you know….you just know. I was ready for school to be over, I loved my kids, and I was ready for summer. I also knew that a really important meeting happened the day before, and I was wondering if maybe we would get word sometime that week about whether we had been chosen or not. We had been waiting 3 years to adopt, and we were tired and discouraged and unsure if we were still on the right path. A couple weeks before, we had been sent a profile of a ridiculously cute baby girl with pages and pages of information about her rare medical condition. We told our case worker that yes, we wanted to be considered as her adoptive family….and also decided that if we were not matched, then we would quit for a while and regroup. (I don’t know how I feel about admitting that we were just DONE…but there it is.) This profile was different though, because unlike the other profiles that came across our screens, this one was really well-written, and ACTUALLY had a date on it telling us when the adoption placement committee was going to meet and choose the family they thought would be the best fit. Often, we would submit our interest, and then never hear word about the kids again. (Let me be clear, this is not the fault of our fantastic, amazing, superhero case worker. It’s just the byproduct of a huge system with lots of work to be done and not enough people to do it.) We were relieved to have a date and a promise that we would get word. It’s hard to explain how much power is in just knowing these kids through their profiles. You wonder if they are your sons and daughters, you read their (often) heartbreaking stories, and you worry about them and whether they are finally in a forever home. And so, this little squishy baby girl with her tongue hanging out and a gigantic goofy grin was on my heart that morning on the day before the last day of school.
I watched my director and friend Amy walk down the hallway with the school phone in her hand and a wide-eyed look. My heart basically jumped out of my chest when she handed it to me and told me that there was a call for me. This was actually kind of weird, because my case worker knew to call my on my cell…but for some reason that day she called the preschool phone instead. I knew it was our case worker before I even spoke to her. I felt the world changing around me already, as I put the phone to my ear and quickly asked Amy to go watch my class. I sat down in a chair, and I heard the voice of my case worker saying “Congratulations! You’ve been chosen!!”
AND THEN I DIED OF HAPPINESS
I have no idea what she said next, I just kept saying “I have to call Brian, I have to call Brian” and I did, and I choked out the words to him as best I could. I told the best guy in the world that we had been matched, FINALLY!
Then, I called my mom and my dad and my sister and brother and my best friend and I choked out the words that finally, FINALLY it was our time. I ran back down to my class and hugged my assistant Rosemary and Amy and told them I would be taking a year off because I had to be a mom. I love that these two special ladies were physically there to share in that moment with me! They are priceless, and they are still here as the best supporters and the biggest fans of the Squish. We told our assistant director Tanya, and then kept it a secret from the rest of the staff.
That. Was. So. Hard.
Sorry guys, I hope you still aren’t mad at me for that. <3
Meanwhile, Brian was at work trying to process it all. (I kind of always dreamed that we would be together when we got the call. Boo.) He put down the phone in shock, turned around and looked at his assistant Leah, and said “That was it, that was the call! We’ve been matched!” He got to share the news with his two awesome coworkers, tried to work a bit, gave up, and then decided to just go home. He got on the phone and called all his family members and shared the news all the way home on his 45 minute commute.
We both got home later that afternoon and finally remembered to call our case worker back at some point! Oops. We got word that we would get to meet Baby Girl just two days later on Friday. TWO. DAYS.
And so we met our daughter two days later. Our daughter. Our Emmaline Jane.
(Stick around for Part 2!)