Hey, um...so I don't know if this is uncomfortable for you or something you want to talk about, but I was wondering if you and Matt were still considering adoption?
I didn't quite know what to say. Our loss was still so raw in our hearts, but five months had passed. We mostly tried to ignore the pain and avoid the topic, but since our desire to be parents hadn't left...we'd briefly discussed our family-building options. I'm pretty sure my incredibly optimistic perspective on the idea of pursuing adoption again was something like "well, sure, but I'll never go through that [a post-placement failure] again." Which is convenient, since adoptive parents typically have tons of control in that department. At any rate, our perspective on adoption at the time was basically sure, if the absolutely right situation just slaps us in the face.
So I said something along those lines to my friend. Sure, we were cautiously open to the idea. But God was going to have to FLING OPEN some doors and forcibly throw us onto the path, because I was not just itching to set myself up for a lot of heartbreak again anytime soon.
My coworker got excited then. Oh good!, she said. I was hoping you were still interested. And she proceeded to tell me about some friends of hers who had a niece who was looking to make an adoption plan for her unborn baby. The family members were all working together to network to find prospective adoptive parents, and my friend felt like we would be the perfect family. Would we like her to mention us to her friend?
Well...sure. What harm could it do? But there was no way we were getting our hopes up.
And I didn't. Unlike the previous 40 times we'd been at this point in the process, being presented to an expectant mother, this time I had no hope. I didn't daydream about what might happen, I didn't calculate the due date, I didn't imagine what if scenarios. I basically didn't think about it, except to occasionally feel sick to my stomach and wonder why on earth I would even consider opening myself up to such pain again.
And then a few days later, my friend came by again. Hey, I talked to my friend about yall. They want to meet you! Can I give them your contact information?
Oh! Oh. Oh. Umm...meet us. Okay, sure.
Because when they meet us, they will know- I am too broken, too fragile, too much of a mess. I want to be a mommy too badly and I'm scared to death and I'm alternately angry with and desperate for God...I'm a mess. But sure, if they want to meet, let's meet.
Although her extended family lived nearby, the expectant mother, J, lived in a different part of the state. She would be coming to Athens that weekend, though- could we meet her?
Well, that weekend happened to be Easter. We had plans to travel out of town, and I didn't want to miss Easter with my family. I don't know if I was naive or stupid, but I just figured that if it was meant to be, then our being out of town that weekend just wasn't going to be a deal breaker. And if it was, then great. It wasn't meant to be. Save me a whole lotta heartbreak.
That's no problem, the family said. Enjoy your Easter. But we really want to meet you- what about next weekend?
Oh, wow. Cool. Not a deal breaker! Butttt...the next weekend I had plans to travel, too. It was my friend's wedding, and I was a bridesmaid. We had hotel reservations, a dress, I was doing makeup for the wedding party...definitely couldn't skip out. So at the risk of sounding like the lamest, least interested potential adoptive parent ever, I again declined. Hey- if it's meant to be, it's meant to be, right? If God's great big plan for my life is that THIS is the situation that will lead to our forever family...then God also probably knew about my friend's wedding, and how it'd be the same weekend, and there must be some sort of contingency plan to work around it.
And there was. Because it just so happened that there was an event taking place in Athens the following weekend that J would be attending. Maybe we would like to meet up on Saturday?
Well, as it turned out, our calendar was just wide open that third weekend. Not a thing to do. And so we said yes. Yes, we would love to meet with you. Thank you for being so understanding- we aren't normally so busy on weekends! But yes, just tell us when and where, and we would love to meet you.
And I still had almost no hope. Although what I knew of the situation sounded promising, although our every interaction with J and her family thus far had been unbelievably encouraging...I just couldn't believe that anything good could come. Because I was a mess still. I didn't have it all together, and my heart still hurt from November, and I didn't think God really planned to do much good in my life. I couldn't imagine redemption from my heartache. Maybe we looked good on paper. Maybe people liked us and would say nice things about us and say oh, they'll be the BEST parents! when talking to their friends...but I just couldn't imagine that anything good could actually happen when we met on Saturday. I guess I just thought there was something fundamentally flawed about me. Why else would I be closing in on six years of fruitlessly pursuing parenthood?
But in the midst of my severe lack of hope and faith, we said yes. Because at that point, after three weeks of being pursued, it kinda felt like the doors-flinging-open-God-kicking-you-onto-a-path that I'd sarcastically imagined, so how could I not take the step?
And at some point before Saturday, we learned that the baby was a girl. And for some reason, a burst of hope shot into my heart, because I really, really wanted a daughter. I wanted a son, too, but for reasons I don't understand...my heart came alive again when I learned that this would be a girl. A girl.
It was about a year ago that I felt hope start creeping back into my heart. As we waited for Saturday, we didn't tell anyone. We barely even discussed it ourselves. Too scary. Too hard. What will be will be...and maybe it'll be over quickly, like ripping a band-aid off, and there won't be much pain. Or maybe not. Maybe this is it, maybe this is our time. Maybe this will be the family we will be in relationship with for the rest of our lives. Maybe we will be meeting our daughter's mother, and maybe she will like us and see our mess and fear and excitement and doubt and love and think that maybe it's just messy enough for her.
As Saturday approached, I tried my hardest to keep hope at bay, to squelch it and stuff it down into the depths of my heart. I tried to remember the pain, the heartache...to not get hasty, to stay detached. But it just didn't work this time. From some dormant place, an expectant peace bubbled up, and my what will be will be mantra started feeling a lot less resigned and a lot more excited. Because for whatever reason, J wanted to meet us. On Saturday. And maybe- just maybe- this would be the beginning of our redemption story.