After hearing J wanted to have a call with us and the social worker would be calling soon, I told Dan right away. It had to be a good sign, right? I nervously waited for a call all afternoon. I conducted a very distracted foster home assessment interview and went home to wait. When the social worker called, she shared more information about J. Sparing private details, they have formed a strong relationship, and the social worker knew J’s heart and emotions from the past days, weeks, and months very well. Again, we felt our love, care, and respect for J swell up. Again, we started praying for her.
We talked with the social worker about when the four of us could do a call, and we realized that night was going to be our best bet. Because of the time difference, they would be calling us around 8:30p. We were already late to our small group, but Dan suggested we go, so off we went. We didn’t feel comfortable sharing anything with the group yet, and I couldn’t manage to pay attention to the discussion on bit.
In the excitement of the afternoon and evening, we hadn’t eaten yet, so we went to pick up food at the fastest place we know: Jimmy John’s. We barely stepped in the door and sat down, when the social worker and J called. “Hi, this is [social worker] and J. Can you hear us?” “Hi! This is Dan and Natalie. Can you hear us?”
We let J lead the conversation. She shared her feelings surrounding adoption with us, told us about her son, and asked a few thoughtful and important questions. We sensed the excitement in her voice start to grow but could still hear a good bit of the sadness she felt. The bittersweet emotions set in for all of us during that call, I think. And I’m not sure they have left or will ever fully leave. And that’s okay.
“I think this could work!” she said at the end of our call. J told us what she had going on the next few days and said we would hear from her “soon.” She said she would text us some pictures, and she did. We felt good about the call. It was wonderful to hear her voice and starting piecing together more information about her story. We were both surprised by how much we had begun to care for her. Dan left for work at 9:30p, and I laid in bed and prayed until I fell asleep.
And then, more waiting. More nesting and hopeful preparing. A few days passed, and we started to feel worried. We tried to get an update from the social worker and heard we would know more on Monday. Monday came and went. She’s just not ready yet, we were told. We decided to present our profile to another couple situations praying they would be totally irrelevant when we heard from J soon. We thought we would be in Utah for Valentine’s Day, so when it became apparent we wouldn’t, we made plans to distract ourselves.
We ate at our favorite non-kid-friendly restaurant for Valentine’s Day. We attempted to take our annual photo booth picture, but our spot was closed, so we improvised at home. We were feeling discouraged about the lack of information, and the doubt was creeping in. Maybe something major changed for her after our phone call? While we sat on the couch and talked after dinner that night, I told Dan I was praying J would be in church the next morning. I was praying God would speak to her. I was praying He would remind her how much she is loved and how much her son is loved. I was praying He would equip her for the next steps — choosing adoption or choosing parenting. And I was praying He would prepare our hearts for the emotions that would come on our end either way she decided.
We went to church distracted again. (And perhaps we impulse-bought a Wii after church. Perhaps we put it on our baby registry and used the registry completion discount to buy it. Seriously. That’s just a weird part of the story I want to remember!) Home again, we ate lunch and set up the Wii. We sat down to play it, and my phone rang. Our primary adoption contact again. “J wants to call you. She called you yesterday, but I think the number was wrong. Can she call you really soon? She wants to tell you herself!” We knew what it meant.
The mental rush to prepare and pack and book flights and go, go, go began. But we had to hear it from her, and we’re so glad we did. J called while I sat at the kitchen table in front of my computer with Dan sitting across.
“I tried to call yesterday, and I’ve been wanting to tell you… If you still want me, I want to place Jayden with you, and I think we are a perfect match.”
We wanted her so much. We started domestic adoption with a willingness to have an open relationship with our child’s birth mom. And as our love for J grew, we found how much we cared about having an open relationship. We knew — and have told her many times — our family tree would grow to include her. She would always be part of her family, just as her son would be.