Monday, July 30, 2007
(Here it is...as promised. At 9 p.m.! Sorry it's late...but a good novel can't be rushed and as you can tell from the length of this one - I've just written the great American novel! :) Bear with me and stick around to the end...I think you'll be glad you did.)
Some people call it 'Gotcha Day'.
Some people call it 'Adoption Day'.
We call it 'Family Day.'
It describes us best.
Last Thursday was the day we celebrate becoming a family.
It's kind of a cool story, actually. But you have to promise you won't think I'm a freak. I'm a little nervous about posting this thing...it's very personal, but it's story I have to tell in order to fully appreciate our 'Family Day.'
Nine years ago we were your ordinary, everyday couple. We had been married for nine years. We didn't have any kids...not for a lack of trying. The doctor's couldn't help us without some serious intervention and it just wasn't a road we were ready to travel. We didn't want to go through all of that pain, stress, heartache and expense only end up childless at the end of the journey.
In May of that year, I was going through my yearly Mother's Day depression...but for some reason in 1998 it was hitting me particularly hard. I had moped around all week, crying over all of the Mother's Day ads, complaining (mostly to myself) about the injustice of it all and just generally being a really grump to be around.
One night, a few days before Mother's Day, I had a dream. In the dream I was sitting in a chair in one of the bedrooms when a little boy with dark hair, overalls and a t-shirt walked up to me and climbed into my lap. His hair was soft, he smelled like baby powder and he called me 'Mama'.
It was a very vivid dream...you know, the kind where you wake up and are convinced it was absolutely true.
It was a great dream.
I took a lot of comfort from it.
I wrote it down in my journal, savored it for a bit and then after awhile forgot about it.
Mother's Day came and went.
Later that summer, Meshack and I took a vacation to northern Minnesota. While we were there we had a lot of time to talk about where we were headed, what we wanted from life and what kinds of goals we wanted to set.
It was during these conversations that we realized it wasn't biology that we were after. We just wanted to have a child. We wanted to build a family.
We didn't have any spectacular genes that we needed to pass on.
We had a faith and a home we wanted to share.
So as we were driving home we decided to start looking into adoption.
When we got home from our trip we had a call on our answering machine from our best friends. A woman from an adoption agency had spoke at their church. They talked to her about us, had picked up a packet and given us a call.
I called the agency on Monday.
A few weeks later we sent in our application.
We quickly set our hearts on Russia and started working on our I-600A and homestudy...but something wasn't feeling right. We couldn't place our fingers on it...it was just an uneasiness. I've learned in my almost 37 years, that when I get to feeling uneasy, it's usually God trying to tell me something.
So we backed off a bit. We went ahead with our homestudy and our I-600A...but we didn't start compiling our dossier...not quite yet.
Christmas came and went...and still the uneasiness was there.
I know I've told you before that I used to work in television news. I loved my job. One of the things I loved was that I had access to information and people that the public generally doesn't have.
In January of 1999 we rana story about an infant that was left on a doorstep in our town. It was a little boy...healthy, cute as a button and only two days old.
I immediately called one of my contacts, who told me that I wasn't eligible to adopt him (they had tons of people in the system ahead of us) but had we ever considered adopting from Russia? She had a friend who was a lawyer, who had just started an adoption agency. Maybe you should give her a call.
I called her that night.
We changed agencies that weekend.
Suddenly things just felt right.
Four months later we had a referral of a little boy with brown hair, beautiful blue eyes and the most serious look about him.
We fell in love.
Within seven months of signing with this new agency we had our little boy.
We were a family.
Three years later we were working with a different agency. (Our first agency had to shut down due to some new Russia regulations). We were getting ready to take our second trip. This time we would be going to court and bringing Punky and JacJac home with us. We got our court date on July 4th and the next day I called around and purchased our plane tickets.
On the 6th our agency called back to let us know the judge had pushed the court date back a week. We wouldn't be traveling until the end of the month. Thankfully the travel agent hadn't finished up all she needed to do to get us the tickets, so we were able to make the change without any extra charge.
A few weeks later all three of us were on our way to Russia.
The day after we arrived in the region, we went to the orphanage to visit with the kids and to introduce them to their new big brother. While we were there the orphanage director asked if we would like to take the kids home...before court.
Evidently the kids were going to be moved the next day to a new orphanage. The old one was going to go through some much needed repairs. Instead of having the kids move twice in less than a week, they thought it would be better if we took care of them leading up to court. She had even gone so far as to get special permission to make this happen.
We were thrilled! And of course we said yes!
A few days later we went to court...and became an even bigger family.
It sounds like your run-of-the-mill (if there is such a thing) family day story. But if you look at the details there is a very fine red thread running through our family's history...
- 1. A year after we adopted Q-ball we were getting ready to move to another state. I was going through the books in our room and came upon my journal. I thumbed through the pages and stumbled on my entry about the dream and the little boy. It was May X, 1998. The day Q-ball was born.
- 2. When we heard the message on our answering machine from our friends, it came as a huge shock. We had just made the decision to adopt on our way home from Minnesota (on Sunday morning). The guest speaker had spoken at their church that Sunday morning. We hadn't had a chance to tell our friends about our decision to adopt. We hadn't had the chance to tell anyone.
- 3. I found out when we got received the referral paperwork on Q-ball that the day I called that first agency was the day Q-ball was put on the Russian 'available for adoption list.'
- 4. Obviously, if we hadn't changed agencies we would never have found Q-ball. The old agency didn't even work in the same part of Russia.
- 5. And finally, the change in travel dates. Remember we were originally supposed to travel a week before. The change in travel dates put us in the region at the same time they were moving the orphanage to a different facility. Which means we would have gotten custody of the children on a different day. As it was, it ended up that we got custody of Punky and JacJac on July 26th...three years to the day that we had taken custody of Q-ball.
You may be thinking this is just the ramblings of a woman who reads too much into things.
Or you might consider it a neat red-thread story.
I belive it's a God-thing.
Obviously, Maddie probably won't have the same 'Gotcha Day' as the other kids (unless we really get delayed - Heaven forbid! :)...but I can't wait to look back and see all of the neat little threads God is weaving through her story.