In February we got an email about some adoption situations. This is nothing new, I get them about once a week. Most of the time they are WAY out of our budget so I day-dream for a minute what it would be like to pursue them, and then I come back to reality. One of the situations in this particular email was twins. For some reason I am obsessed with wanting twins so of course we threw our hat in the ring. I spoke with the caseworker (her name is Amy) at the agency (which was not LDSFS, the agency we're currently going through) and found out that there was only one other couple interested and that there was a second set of twins coming a month later. She (half) jokingly said "Let's just give one to you and one to the other couple!" Sounded good to me. A week later the woman stopped returning calls to the agency so that situation never panned out. The other set of twins never materialized either. (Come to find out women pregnant with twins are less likely to place their babies than a woman with a single baby. The novelt of twins adds significant pressure to the woman) But our name was now with this new agency so we would get calls/emails every once-in-a-while about situations that needed adoptive families.
That brings us to two weeks ago. I got an email from Amy, it listed a bunch of situations but she said she thought one situation would be perfect for us. A baby boy due in Ohio on April 12th. I was sick at the time and so it took a couple days for me to get to the email. I responded back with a "Sure, throw our hats in the ring". We were the only family that had expressed interest and so ours was the only profile being shown to her. Our profile was printed and overnighted to the woman. She got it Friday (April 1st), on Monday she called her caseworker and said she had a few questions for us. She said she was going to the doctor the following morning and would call when she got home. We anxiously waited for that call...wondering what questions she might have. Amy called us in late afternoon with some shocking news...the woman was being induced in the morning! She asked if we were still interested (for sure!) if we were ready (absolutely!) and wondered how soon we could be to Ohio (just a 6 hour drive!). There was still information that had to be sorted out so she said she'd call us back. Nathan was the one that talked to her and he got a very positive vibe from the conversation so we hoped the news would be good. Feeling celebratory, we ran to Target, TJ Maxx & Carter's and picked up some baby boy stuff. We didn't hear anything that night until late. Amy said she was sensing some hesitation from the woman's caseworker...she didn't know if it was about adoption in general or us in specific. She said she'd keep us posted. A phone call Wednesday morning confirmed that the baby was born and the mother had decided not to place. Although we had some idea that this would be the outcome (after the previous night's call) we were still heartbroken. We cried together. I told Nathan I couldn't do one more...I was done. He felt the same way (you may have seen this post on Facebook). We decided to not make a decision in our hurt, but wait a few days and see how we felt. That was Wednesday.
Thursday started out normal. Nathan got up, went to work and I went about my business being a house wife. He got home shortly after three and as we were talking about his upcoming work weekend my phone rang. It was Amy. I will remember her words forever: "Hi! You guys still want a baby?" My first thought was that the Ohio woman had changed her mind and decided to place. She told me that a baby girl had been born the night before in Savannah, Georgia and they needed a family ASAP. She said "she's yours if you want her." I told her Nathan had just walked in the door...let me run it by him and I'd call her right back. I gave Nathan the details and we called Amy back to tell her we wanted her. She said she'd get to work on their end...we immediately started preparations on ours. I called my mom to have her check on flights and hotels. We called friends to set up care for Winston. Nathan called his boss to set up his leave. Amidst all this we started furiously packing (which was easy because I had created detailed packing lists for the Ohio trip I thought we'd be taking earlier that week), doing laundry and picking up the house (I didn't want to come home with a new baby to a filthy house...although the house wasn't too dirty because we'd cleaned it a few days earlier, once again in our preparations for Ohio). I stopped the mail, talked to our neighbors, arranged a ride to the airport, packed all three of our suitcases (the small pink suitcase filled with tiny pink clothes was just too adorable for words) and Nathan and I quickly went back to Target, TJ Maxx & Carters to exchange all that blue stuff for pink stuff. While we were out we announced our news on Facebook and started receiving a HUGE amount of well wishes (seriously...HUGE amount...the notifications crashed my BlackBerry three times that night). We got home, pulled out the boxes of baby/nursery stuff, pulled the tags off all the pink stuff and threw it in the wash. We finally got to bed at 3am. Friday morning at four the alarm went off, we got ready and headed to the airport. Our first stop was in Nashville, we snapped a pic, excited to be one step closer to our baby girl. Next up was Charlotte, NC. I texted the caseworker who had already arrived in Savannah, asking her what the plan would be once we landed...she was still working out the details with the lawyers. She said to call her when we landed in Georgia. I called my mom who was figuring out where in Savannah we could get the carseat and stroller we wanted, she said she'd figure it out and have the info when we landed.
As the plane took off I once again couldn't hold back the tears. We were only a short 35 minutes from our little girl. When we touched down in Savannah and the captain said "Welcome to Savannah" the tears came in full force. This of course brought the attention of the flight attendant and the people nearby. "We're here to pick up our baby daughter" we told her...and she started tearing up as well as several of the passengers near us. They wished us good luck and we got off the plane. Nathan turned his phone on and noticed a voicemail, which he quickly checked. It was Amy. She told us not to transfer the money (to pay the agency), that there was a change of plans. I knew. I hoped with every fiber of my being that I was wrong...but in that instant I knew. My heart sunk. Nathan called her back and found out the woman had decided not to place the baby. It was over. Another dream shattered. I texted my mom "Don't buy the stroller", then crumpled into a chair and sobbed. I didn't care what I looked like or how much noise I made....I couldn't control it. Right there in the concourse of the Savannah airport my heart broke wide open. Nathan held me tight and let me cry, while shedding tears of his own. After a few minutes he gently got me up, said we should go get our bags and then we could decide what to do. We posted on Facebook that it had fallen through and immediately started getting kind words from those we love.
As we made our way to the baggage claim it felt like we were in a dream...a horrible dream. We got to baggage claim only to find out that the airline had lost our luggage...except for the little pink suitcase, full of baby clothes that we would no longer need. (Now THAT is what you call irony). At the baggage claim desk I lost it again. The sweet woman who was helping me, upon hearing what had just happened, came around the desk and hugged me tight. She told me how sorry she was, and that she would be praying for us. The guy at the car rental place was not to nice. He was actually kind of a jerk...ok, not kind of...he was a JERK. When we stepped outside to pick up the car, the unknowing attendant asked "Will it be just the two of you?" More tears. We drove to the hotel in near silence, the only sounds were my quiet sobbing and Garmin barking directions to us.
We got checked in and to the room and we called our parents. More tears...and anger. I had a horrible headache from the tears and all I wanted to do was to take a nice, long hot shower and cry some more. But we had no luggage...except for all the tiny pink clothes. Which meant no brush, no comb, no clean underwear, no PJ's. During this time I was still getting 'Congratulations' notifications on my phone...each one stung more than the previous one had. Night came and our luggage still hadn't so we tried to sleep. Saturday came and we found out our luggage had been located...it had gone to another city on another airline. They said their delivery service would run it to us, we'd have it in an hour. Two hours passed and still no luggage. I got a call from the same kind baggage claim agent from the day before. She told me the delivery truck's brakes had gone out so they couldn't deliver it until later...did we want to come get it? Seriously...now all these mishaps were ALMOST comical. (Some day they will be...but not yet)
During the time we waited for our luggage we had decided to stay a few days to rest and recuperate...but I couldn't stay in Savannah. It was just too raw, too real, too painful. We looked on a map and saw that Hilton Head, SC was close so we (once again) enlisted the help of my mom to get everything switched. So we went to the airport, picked up the bags and changed the rental car reservation. Luckily it was a new guy who seemed quite a bit nicer than the first...in fact when I explained why we needed to change the reservation, he teared up with me. We took the afternoon and saw downtown Savannah. It was beautiful, but the pit in my stomach I got every time I thought about why we were there was not.
Sunday morning we got up and made the drive up to Hilton Head, where we stayed until Tuesday afternoon. From there we drove to Charleston, SC & caught the flight home. We got home LATE last night and walking back in our front door empty handed was harder than I thought it was going to be. I took that little pink suitcase full of baby girl clothes and put it in the spare room and shut the door. I can't deal with that today.
It is amazing to us the caliber of friends and family we are blessed to have in our lives. The outpouring of love and support has lifted us up and carried us when we couldn't go any further. We are very blessed.
Over the last week Nathan and I have asked ourselves multiple times why we have been asked to travel this road. Adoption is tough, but it seems that we have experienced an exceptionally rocky road. Four failed adoptions in nine months...with two of those coming in one week. We don't know why this is our path, but we know we're supposed to be on it. Someday it will all work out. I wish I knew when....oh how I wish I knew. We hope that this will be the end of our heartache, but if it isn't we accept that.
I am a lucky woman. I married a wonderfully supportive husband. He is my rock. I have a kind, generous mother & father who would do anything to help us in our hours of need. I have grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins & siblings who give us love & support. I have beautiful friendships that buoy me up when the waves crash around me and I can't stay afloat. And I have a loving Father in Heaven that wraps His arms around us when we're all alone and feeling broken. And while my heart and empty arms ache for a child, I am grateful for the things I do have that help us get through horrible things.