January. We let it sink in. The decision we’d just made. The words we’d just spoken had been thrown about in our own heads, wrestled to exhaustion more and more often over the last year. But they’d never been uttered aloud with any finality. That they were finally pulled forth from our heads and tumbled out audibly- with intention-was a sign that it was time for the conversation.
“I’m ready to think about when we should stop.”
“It’s probably time. It shouldn’t be this ridiculously hard. We pick ourselves up, then the rug gets yanked out from under us again. I can’t keep watching this movie-it sucks.”
“I know. Maybe I heard wrong. Maybe I’ve been feeling wrong about this the whole time? Maybe this isn’t his plan for us. I can’t think of WHY IT WOULDN’T BE (accusatory side eye to the heavens for emphasis) but I’m ready. I’m tired of waiting. We need a date in the sand though-or I’ll never go through with it.”
We landed on July 1st. If we weren’t matched with a birthmom or if we didn’t have a baby by then, we would stop. Stopping meant our already perfect family of three would be complete. It wasn’t something I had been ready to do. But this whole thing-as you know with your own stories-is a progressive remodeling of perspective. And for me, our 8 years-to-make-a-family has been a voyage on a faith ship that I want so badly to steer but evidently, I ain’t the Captain. But I’m so good at captain-ing, you say. Dude, I know.
I was in a total dream state at the beginning of our adoption process. I truly thought we’d have a baby in 6 months. We are an adorable family (just ask me, I’ll tell you). Wasn’t it clear that we had tons of love still to give? In the three years of this expansion plan, we’ve been chosen by 3 birthmoms but for different reasons, none of these situations ended with a baby Hucks. The failed match from December was a sucker punch. We lost money. We lost heart. I lost faith. And so, like most people looking for some answers I went to New York and asked Google. Coming back from that trip I was at peace about 2 things: 1. God had heard me. 2. If this didn’t happen, He is still good.
And so. I felt as content as my broken heart would let me about our decision. July 1st. Baby or no baby-we would move on from this piece of the puzzle for our family.
February 3rd. An email crossed my computer about a situation. I opened it quickly as I usually did-agencies send adoption situations to families across the country at the same time. You can’t wait to open them. When agencies have enough families respond to the email-the situation closes. Fast. Good ones can close within the span of literally 45 minutes. A ‘good’ situation might be characterized as one that is fairly free of substance abuse, cigarette use, family health issues, and one that has a close due date.
For 3 years, we’ve been attached to our phones all hours of the day and night-checking every hour to see if any situations had been emailed. Sometimes there was time to connect and discuss with each other-sometimes not. We work full time, travel and are usually not easily reachable super quickly. We’ve missed situations because we couldn’t get in touch with each other. We’ve missed situations by 5 minutes because we talked too long about it before sending the email. It’s one in a line of many stressful parts of adoption.
Once we decide to apply for a situation-we must quickly overnight a profile book, cover letter to the agency, and copy of homestudy to the agency. Vacations, work travel, sickness, weekends or family events be darned. You respond to the email and Fed Ex yo’ stuff. Or you miss an opportunity for a baby. I took an adoption bag with me wherever I traveled-stuffed with profile books, home study copies and paperwork in case we needed to send something. I’ve had one eye on my phone and one eye on my life for a very long time. Some weeks we got 4-5 situations, some weeks not a single one.
After our failed match from December, situations had been sparse. So when the email came through in February, I perked up. I was at work at my desk and I began to skim. With each word I read about this situation, my pulse picked up. In three years, I had never seen a situation so perfectly line up with our family. I read it again-surely I was missing something. There couldn’t be a situation this perfect. By the end, I was calling Darrin, leaving work early and going home to write a letter to the birthmom. The short paragraph I had about her was so familiar to me. The things she loved. The hobbies she had. Her love for this baby. The care she was taking of herself and her baby was phenomenal. Hear me when I say, adoption situations are rarely perfect-if they were, birthmoms wouldn’t choose to place her baby, she would raise her baby. But this one-in the world of adoption-was pretty close to perfect. We sent our profile book and my letter that afternoon.
I could think of nothing else.
It can take a week or more to hear back about whether a birthmom is interested in you and even longer to actually be matched. Our caseworker had told us that when she met this particular birthmom over lunch that she was very organized and a big planner (Holy Monica Gellar-my heart fluttered). She had made a thorough and thoughtful plan to this point for placing her baby for adoption. Birthmom told the caseworker that she wanted a lot of time to look through every single profile book and wouldn’t make her decision until she could read through each and every one. I tried to settle in for the wait. The caseworker also warned us that birthmom already had her eye on a couple from Texas and that her preference was a family with no kids. Two strikes against us.
6 hours later. A text from the agency:
“Are you up? Please tell me you are awake.”
Our agency coordinator had gotten a text from the birthmom that went something like this:
“I was going to wait until I got all the profile books to make my decision, but when I saw Heather and Darrin’s profile, I just knew. They are this baby’s parents. I choose them. And would choose them a thousand times.”
She would choose us a thousand times. She would choose us a thousand times?!! I cried. Darrin cried. It immediately felt different than all the others. The birthmom wanted to talk to us very soon, and we couldn’t wait either. We set up a conference call with the agency and birthmom for the following evening. It was surreal. I could barely keep it together at the office the next day. Was this really happening? Could it really be this perfect? Would she still like us after we talked? What will she think of us? What is she like? IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?
The next night, sitting at our dining room table with our fully charged phone in the center, we spoke for the first time. The conversation was nervous but easy. Connection and Jesus are good like that. We talked for an hour. We had questions, she had questions. It was apparent from the first moment that she had immense love for the baby growing in her belly. After we hung up-she confirmed with the agency as did we, that we wanted to match. The next thing we needed to coordinate was a visit with the birthmom, in person. Eek! It was important to all of us. We set it up and talked about a few details:
We would meet our baby’s birthmom in person, a few weeks later-March.
The baby was a little girl.
She would be born in Kansas.
And her due date was June 29th.
Yes. Two days before the stop date. And, in a smirk from the Creator, also Tucker’s original due date.
Ok God. Ok. I see you.
And so began the journey to this baby girl. We had a long way to go until June 29th-how would this relationship with our newly matched birthmom work? What happens now? How far away is Kansas anyway? (“Survey Says!”: 15 hours) How do we navigate this tender experience? If this falls through, we’re done-oh God, what if it falls through?
What unfolded over the next 5 months is what happens when the real Captain looks at you and says, “I told you to let me drive the ship.”
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Along Came Molly series next week.