When I last left off in our story, we were trying to get some sleep in the early morning hours of December 12. Later that day I would meet our son, but there were miles to go before that could happen. Literally miles. We live in Virginia and our son was born in California.
It’s hard to describe the emotions I felt that morning. I was definitely excited and happy, but also scared and nervous.
One of the reasons my stomach was in knots is that I would be doing all of this without Don by my side. I’m the emotional one and Don is always my rock. I rely on his strength and I was scared to be facing this giant life change alone.
We’d been told countless times that your match would come when you least expect it. That was not quite true for us as I never stopped expecting it. But I can say that our little man burst into our lives when we were least prepared for it. And that’s one of the reasons I was travelling alone. Don taught a university class last fall and the final exam was scheduled on the same day our son was to be discharged from the hospital. Of course the finals were in-person presentations – not a test for which he could request a proctor to administer. He had to be there. On top of that, we had 65 people coming to our house on the 14th for our annual holiday party. We had purchased about half the food already and all of the beverages. We couldn’t cancel the party without a reason and we couldn’t tell people why we needed to cancel yet.
After a brief discussion it was decided that I would go to California on Wednesday and Don would come on Thursday. That’s how it came to pass that I was sitting nervously by myself at an airport at 5 a.m. on December 12.
I should also mention that since we booked these tickets at 9 p.m. or so the evening before, there were no seats on direct flights. We both ended up on flights that went from DC to Boston and from Boston to Oakland. You wouldn’t think this would be a big deal, but it ended up impacting the flight time considerably. I naively thought that Boston to Oakland would be roughly the same flight as DC to Oakland, but it’s much longer. DC to Oakland is about 5 hours, but from Boston is takes 6 hours and 45 minutes.
I had enough time in Boston to get a latte and call Cole, the birth mom specialist, for any overnight updates. There had been one. Initially, the birth mother said she did not want any contact with us, but after Cole told her how excited we were and how we were booking tickets to travel 12 hours later, she decided to meet us. I was very happy for a chance to meet her and thank her.
When I hung up the phone, a woman sitting next to me said she couldn’t help but overhearing that I was on my way to California to adopt a baby. Her niece had just adopted, too – AND that baby was born on the same day as our son. She was incredibly sweet and showed me a picture of the new family. Seven hours later, when I was standing in line for my rental car, the same woman approached me. She told me again how excited she was for us and gave us a children’s book called “San Francisco Baby”. I was so moved by her kind gesture.
The flight from Boston was incredibly long. I watched a lot of HGTV and Food Network and tried to read “What to Expect the First Year.”
Finally – finally – we landed in Oakland. (I was in the same state as my son!)
Our dear friend Suzanne met me at the airport and we picked up the rental car with the infant seat installed. (I needed an infant seat!)
It’s about two hours from Oakland to Modesto. Boy, that seven-hour plane ride had NOTHING on the two hours I was in the car. I was so glad Suzanne was with me and she did her best to keep up the conversation so I wouldn’t freak out, but I’m afraid I wasn’t the best company. I seriously thought my heart would explode right inside my chest.
As we approached Modesto, we turned on the GPS. Somehow we missed a turn and ended up at the wrong hospital. A few minutes and one course correction later, we pulled up in front of Doctor’s Medical Center. My son was in that building. (My son!)
I was ready to meet him.
Catch up on our story:
1. Spoiler Alert
2. It Happened One Night