In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. ~Proverbs 16:9
Adoption was not originally part of the plan. I never had any connection to adoption when I was growing up. To my knowledge, I never knew anyone who was adopted, or had adopted, or was part of an adoptive family. I never heard stories about adoption that made me vow to one day adopt. The willingness to adopt was not part of my litmus test for the man I married. Let’s be clear: Adoption was never on my radar.
But after galavanting around Europe for a few years, when Mike and I decided it was time to complicate our lives, things didn’t happen the way they were supposed to. And eventually, we realized adoption was our only option for building our family.
So began the paperwork: filling out financial forms, obtaining clearances, getting clean bills of health from our doctors, asking close friends to write recommendations. It took us about four months to get it all together. And that was just for the initial application. Then a social worker interviewed us, asking us questions about our family life and the homes we came from. Once we were approved to be parents by the states of Maryland and Virginia and the District of Columbia, we had to put together a photo album of our lives, in the hopes that a birth mother would look at the pictures we’d chosen and deem us worthy of parenting her child. I felt for the birth mothers in that situation. How do you possibly make that choice? What do you look for as you’re deciding who’s going to raise your precious baby? We were told birth mothers made the choice based on anything from the logical (lifestyle portrayed in the pictures, for example) to the random (the wallpaper in a picture was the same as the wallpaper of her childhood room). In addition to the photo album, we had to write a letter to the birth mother, describing ourselves, however we wanted. I, the writer in the family, was clueless how to even begin. Mike had a vision and one evening whipped out a few paragraphs. They were good. And funny. But then, Mike’s funny guy. He was hoping to write something that would make a birth mother smile. In the midst of a traumatic, emotionally charged situation, he figured a letter that made her chuckle would stand out. (Turns out, neither piece was necessary; the birth mother simply requested her child be placed with the longest waiting family.)
With those two pieces as finished as they were going to be, we let go and let God. It was now out of our hands. All we could do was wait to be chosen. We did a bit of outreach ourselves–telling everyone we knew and adding a marketing email signature–but we left most of the heavy lifting to our agency. We were paying them, after all.
The wait felt like an eternity. In hindsight, four-and-a-half months was not that long. And of course, as we hold Teddy now, that wait and the journey were totally worth every moment. Looking at our baby’s precious smile and sweet, sweet dimples, we wouldn’t have our story written any other way.