We had our match phone call last night between our birthmother in Georgia and our adoption agent in California. We scheduled this call last week so we spent the entire weekend anticipating the chance to hear our birthmother's voice and find out more about her.
Moments before the phone rang, Ryan looked at me and said, "Are you getting nervous, because I feel really nervous." I looked down at my list of birthmom questions and the pen I found to write down all of her answers. I realized 2 things. Not only was I not nervous, but I was being completely analytical for the first time ever. In my life. EVER. Ryan was being emotional and I was getting ready to go on some sort of speed-date.
The call was supposed to happen at 5:30, but the phone didn't ring until close to 6:45. And for the purpose of this story, I am now going to refer to our birthmom as Kelly and her daughter as Sophie. I need to protect their identity a little bit and "she" and "birthmom" are just too vague and confusing for what I'm about to tell you - not to mention, impersonal. Also, our agent's name is Mary (for real) so now you know that too...in case I mention somebody named Mary and you're all, "who is this Mary person? and why do your stories take so long?" but just hang on...because I've got even more information for you:
Kelly and Sophie are in need of a new living situation - like, immediately. We know this because we are responsible for all of Kelly's living expenses until she has the baby and Mary needed July's payment ASAP. We were getting constant updates about where Kelly would be staying tonight and tomorrow, but there was still no permanent answer as to where she would live for the duration of her pregnancy. Then, at 3:00, a very real possibility presented itself. We are responsible for retaining lawyers in both Kansas City and Georgia (they are responsible for the child as he/she moves from state-to-state) and it turns out, the Kansas City lawyer has connections in Topeka where he and his wife have been helping birthmoms find safe/affordable housing for the last 15 years. It's part of their practice. The husband deals with the adoption lawyer-ey stuff and the wife helps the birthmoms get to the grocery store and doctor's appointments. So, if we wanted, we could pay for Kelly and Sophie to move to Topeka for part (or all) of her pregnancy. Interesting.
For us, moving Kelly to Topeka meant:
1. we wouldn't have to pay a Georgia lawyer (the baby would be born in Kansas)
2. we wouldn't have to book any last minute flights to Georgia
3. we wouldn't have to spend 7-10 days in Georgia, waiting for ICPC to clear
4. our family and friends could potentially be there for the birth of the baby
Of course, that also meant uprooting Kelly's life, uprooting Sophie's life, and taking Sophie away from her daddy for 3-4 months. It was good on paper, but if Kelly wasn't up for it, we weren't either.
The phone rang at 6:45 and Mary warned us that Kelly was very nervous and she may not say much (plus, she'd just been told she might be moving to Topeka so I'm sure that was still sinking in). Mary told us to be ourselves and follow her lead - she would guide most of the conversation.
Kelly answered the phone and from the moment she said "hello" we (honestly, truly) felt connected to her. Her daughter was running around screaming in the background - just like our niece Delaney does on every single phonecall I've ever had with my sister. She admitted right away that she was nervous - like waiting for a boy to call her for the first time, or hearing back about a job interview. She also said she was pacing around her house and sweating, which made me love her even more.
Mary asked us to talk about how we met and we're pretty sure we endeared ourselves immediately upon mention of The Ranch and our need to go country-dancing every Saturday night (because The Ranch is nothing if not endearing)! She said, "I'm from the south, y'all." We described our first date and how we talked for over an hour, never once running out of things to say. She told us she was looking at our pictures as we talked and already felt really good about her decision.
At one point, she talked openly about why she is placing this child for adoption and how guilty she feels that Sophie doesn't have more. She knew 6 weeks in to her pregnancy that she was placing this child for adoption because "this baby deserves more than I can provide." I told her she didn't owe us any explanation. "We think you are incredibly brave. And we promise, we have so much love to give this baby. You are giving us an incredible gift and we cannot thank you enough for that." She said, "well...that's really nice to hear."
I asked about her support system and she said there aren't many people in her life who even know she's pregnant - including her daughter. She broke my heart when she said nobody around her really supports her adoption plan. Her parents both died when she was young, so she has a grandma she could live with, but "She has an opinion and it's different from my opinion so I just don't need to be around people who don't support me right now. I know I'm doing the right thing."
Just then, Mary (in California) interrupted and said, "I'm sorry you guys, but I have to put you on hold. We're having an earthquake right now!" Ummm...what? We could hear the phone click and then Kelly on the other end said, "Oh my gosh! That's crazy!" Ryan said, "No kidding. I would be freaking out!" Kelly heard him and said, "Are you guys still there?" We said, "Yes!" and then we all agreed that Mary was being *really* calm - we would not have been so calm. Mary came back on and apologized for being so scared, but she hates earthquakes. We applauded her for handling it so well, then we talked about earthquakes and all of the things we don't like. Spiders, snakes, tornadoes and earthquakes topped the list. We found out today, that earthquake in California was a 5.4!
We talked a little while longer about Sophie and how tall she is for her age (which is perfect...because my family makes some TALL babies!) If this baby is anything like Sophie, he/she will fit right in. Also, Kelly mentioned that Sophie was born c-section, which made me think it's possible this birth could be c-section too (which means we could schedule it...which, for a planner is AWESOME!) I asked if she knew the sex of the baby, or when she might find out. She said she'd already had her free sonogram and she considered faking some cramps so they'd have to do another one, but then we got to talking about how she would be moving soon and didn't really know where she would be or who her doctor would be, so it might be a little while until she found out. I don't know how Medicare works, but if I have to write the doctor a personal check to get a sonogram, I will.
(p.s. have I mentioned that we want to find out the sex of the baby? because we do! Our little trip to IKEA over the holiday was enough to get us salivating over baby clothes and obsessing over "do we buy pink or blue?" It's the one variable that probably won't change tomorrow, so we want to be able to make some plans. Some.)
We could tell that Mary was getting nervous about rush-hour traffic and earthquake damage and trying to leave her office, so we decided to call it a night. We mentioned how great we thought the phonecall went and how nervous we all were (except me...I'm a robot, apparently) and we'd be in touch regarding the Topeka situation. (Mary was going to sort that out with the lawyer tomorrow and call us). So we said our goodbyes and hung up the phone.
I looked at Ryan and we smiled. Then I ran to the bathroom with explosive diarrhea. I'd been nervous after all!