Way back when we started the process of adoption, someone spoke to us about what typically happens during your match period. Every match and placement story is unique and there is no formula. That said, there are things that are typical. Things that normally happen.
For example, normally you have some notice between being matched and meeting your child. Well, no one ever said Don and I were normal.
On Tuesday, December 11 I was still in my office when my cell phone rang just after 6 p.m. on the East Coast. The caller ID showed me it was coming from Overland Park, KS so I knew it was someone from our agency. We had sent in our expiring clearances a few weeks before so I while I hoped it was “the call”, I figured it was more likely to be about those forms.
Now, just a quick word about how our agency is structured. Adoptive parents have social workers who only work with them, and expecting moms have social workers who concentrate exclusively on their needs. That means that even though each family has its own social worker, he or she is not the one who calls you when you are in a match.
That’s why when I answered the phone and the caller identified himself as someone I had never spoken to before, I knew what was happening. I shut my door, sat down and started taking notes.
Before Cole, the birth mom specialist, told me about our match, he did mention those expired documents. When I told him they had been sent the day before Thanksgiving he said something peculiar.
“Well, that’s great,” he said. “It might affect the length of your ICPC stay, but it shouldn’t make much difference.”
That seemed peculiar because documents that should be ready within the week seemed hardly likely to impact a match. That is, unless the baby had already been born.
WAIT. Had the baby already been born?
Then Cole confirmed what my mind was just starting to stumble upon. The baby we’d been matched with had been born the day before. In California. His birth mother had chosen us as his parents and since he was being discharged the next day, we’d need to get ourselves to Modesto right away.
Thankfully, Modesto is only 2,800 miles from Arlington.
Remember that I was at work still. Don was on his way home and even though I had sweet fantasies of how I would tell him we’d been matched (assuming I was the one who took the call), there was no time. Cole asked me to reach him via cell phone so that he could communicate as soon as possible with the baby’s birth mother.
When Don answered the phone I said, “We really need to decide what middle name we want for a baby boy because when they ask us to fill out his birth certificate tomorrow, we’re going to need to tell them.” He laughed and then said, “Really?”.
A few more phone calls with Cole and it was official. We were in an immediate match. We stared at each other in disbelief. We laughed a lot. We opened champagne. We called our parents. We called someone to watch Casey puppy. I called my boss to let her know I’d be out for the next 12 weeks (!). We called Jaimie and Dean to see if we could borrow some infant clothes. We found someone to notarize a document at 10 p.m. We booked plane tickets. I packed.
At 2 a.m. we turned off the lights. I started to cry. It was a crazy mixture of happiness, fear and relief.
I have never been so scared in my life. I had never felt such joy. Until the next day, when I held my son for the first time.