Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Referral Games part 2

Part 1 here

You should know that just as an Olympic athlete dreams of a gold medal, or a Hollywood starlet pines for an Oscar on her mantle, we adoptive families also have one dream, a dream that gives strength to the weary and causes us to press on to the prize...and that dream is The Call.

The Call is when your caseworker reveals that finally, finally, a child has been chosen for you, and then produces your longed for daughter or son before your eyes via the magic of technology. The same technology that will later transform photos from that magical moment into a professional video montage complete with upbeat yet perfectly appropriate tear inducing Christian music which will then be uploaded to YouTube with the intent to cause thousands of strangers both to cry and be inspired to adopt a child as beautiful as your own.

Here's how my fantasies of The Call have played out in my brain for the past three years:

  1. First things first: in The Call fantasy, I'm looking very cute. Good hair day, bothered to put on makeup, probably even wearing an Africa shirt. And some Toms. And some Noonday jewelry.
  2. Walker's in his home office, easily accessible, wearing not an undershirt with pit stains but a nice shirt. Probably an Africa shirt. And Toms. (He actually owns neither of these but this is my fantasy.)
  3. I'll be reading my Bible and praying for Africa or something when I hear my charged up phone ring, see the 817 area code, and know that This Is It. My caseworker Lindsay will say, "Are you near a computer?"
  4. I'll pirouette to Walker, who will not wave his hand, shush me, give me a dirty look and mouth 'con call' but instead will pull me into his arms for a lingering, knowing, hug. Then we'll jete' across the yard, into the house, and to the computer.
  5. Our children, who would have also been sitting quietly reading their Bibles/praying for Africa, will link arms around us as we wait for the email with her photos to appear on the screen
  6. I will have learned how to use that very expensive camera I bought, and it will be fully charged, and a Magical Photographer Elf will appear to Capture the Moment when we first see the face of our precious longed for, prayed for Bethie.
Here's Reality.

  1. For starters, this is what Walker was wearing the day we got our referral:
He's not a golfer. Hence the cocky golfer gameface.

because Walker, who is not a golfer, was golfing in Pebble Beach.  Yes, he was OUT OF TOWN. He'd flown out to California with Dave (that Dave) and some other guys for mancation. And left me. Alone. With four kids. When we received the most important call of our lives. While he golfed. And he's not even a golfer.
2. It was an email, not a call. I know, right? 

Last Friday I had lunch with Jessica and then I figured I could squeeze in a little grocery shopping before the kids got out of school at 2:45. Problem was HEB was having lots of really good specials so I ended up buying a lot more than I intended. It was already about 2:30 when I got in a check out lane. No worries, I can still make it - if only Patience McSlowly would quit taking her sweet time checking out her groceries. And remembering her coupons. And finding her wallet.

So now it's about 2:38 and I'm starting to sweat a little. Hurry up lady. Okay, check some email while I wait...look here's an email from Lindsay about our UCIS stuff. I'll email her back while I'm standing here, being the multitasker that I am, "Will y'all wait on a referral for a 2+ until the UCIS is approved?"

Oh my gosh, it's 2:45, and this lady is not checked out yet! Sheesh! Come on lady! I'm late!! Deep sigh. 

Look, Lindsay emailed me again.  Hi, Walker and Missy.  I hope you are both doing well! I am contacting you to see if you would be open to a child’s medical background.  There is a child in care in Ethiopia whose referral is complete and ready to be presented to an adoptive family....

And then I caused a little scene as I jumped up and down three times and burst into tears in the middle of the checkout line at HEB.

And scared the heck out of every other lady in there, including both Mrs. McSlowly and my checker-outer, who kept saying, "Are you okay? Can we help you?" while I breathed deep and wiped away tears because IT WAS FINALLY HAPPENING RIGHT NOW, RIGHT HERE, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HEB. 


After a few seconds I realized their inability to distinguish my Happy Ugly Cry from a Sad Ugly Cry and assured them and the three or four other concerned bystanders that No! This is good news! This is my happy cry! It's good! {stifle sob} I HAVE A BABY!! {gasp} She's 23 months old! She's in Ethiopia! {shake/wave fingers not holding iPhone} I HAVE A BABY!!!

Ohhhh! They cried, and said Congratulations! and one sweet lady hugged me and said, "I am going to be praying for you and your child. God bless you." And made me cry some more.

I had no idea how flustered I would be when it finally happened. I mean, in my fantasy, I was sitting demurely reading my Bible/praying for Africa, right? Not already late picking up my kids in the middle of the grocery store!

I could hardly talk, I was breathing so fast, but oh my word I needed to get my groceries sacked up because I am so late and I bought so much food! But my hands were shaking so hard I could barely sack up the groceries!

My checker-outer, Silvana, also got very excited and teary and jittery for me. Finally she called over a guy to help sack the groceries since I was in a hurry and my hands wouldn't work and stuff. And when I asked if I could take her picture, since she shared in this wonderful moment with me/wasn't golfing,

I'm a mess. See the olives back there?

she kept smiling and crying and thanking me for letting her be in on it!

Finally all the groceries were sacked and the sacker helped me out to my car. HEB employs people with mental disabilities, a fact I love, and this guy was one. I could tell he didn't fully grasp the excitement this crazy lady had brought to the HEB. "So y'all have been waiting a long time, like a few weeks, huh?" I smiled. Yeah, something like that. Then as he was loading up my trunk, he said, "Well, it was real nice of those people to come through for you, and get you a baby girl. Real nice."

Y'all, I admit, I have had my moments of intense frustration with our agency over the past 18 months. But now, all I felt was gratitude. It was real nice of those people to come through for us and get us a baby girl. Real nice.

By this time I was SO late, I flew to the school where my kids had already been taken back to the Bench of Shame in the office. I parked my van, jumped out, and left it running in the circle drive. Because leaving a car running in an elementary school driveway is what you do when you just had a baby in the middle of the HEB.

As the kids jumped up to see me I interrupted their "Where were you Mommy"s with the news "YOU HAVE A BABY SISTER!!"

They gasped and cheered as we walked outside and then Maggie said, "WHERE IS SHE? IN THE CAR?!?" I answered no, honey, she's still in Africa, and she burst into tears! Sweet baby girl!

She pulled it together long enough for this picture,

Celebrating right after they found out next to my running car. I don't know what's up with Shep's shoe.

and then we went home. Where I tried to reach Walker. On the golf course.

More tomorrow!


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