July 1st was a Thursday. There was nothing particularly special about this day until 4:45 when my cell phone rang. I was on my way home from work, sitting in rush hour traffic, planning to spend the rest of my evening decorating a birthday cake I was hired to design for a 1-year old.
"Hi Ashley, this is Mary from Adoption Network Law Center."
"Hello. How are you?"
"Good! Are you and Ryan together right now?"
"No. I'm in my car. Ryan is on his way to the groomer to pick up our dogs."
"Well, I'm calling to let you know that you have been selected by a birthmother."
(ginormous grin) "Are you SERIOUS!?"
"I don't want to tell you too much without Ryan, but I can tell you that she is due on October 15th. She met all of your criteria except for one and she is very anxious to hear back with your answer."
(trembling and trying not to crash) "Okay...well...oh my gosh. I can't believe this."
"She is a non-smoker, non-drinker, non-drug-user. The birthfather is in the picture and he is totally on board."
"Can I ask you where she lives?"
"She is currently in Georgia, but I can't tell you where, exactly. She has a living situation that she needs to get out of, so her living expenses are slightly higher than what you said on your preference form."
"Okay. Well...what do we need to do next? Are you in your office for a while? I need to call Ryan and tell him. He's going to FREAK OUT!"
"How soon do you think you can get home?"
(looking at the cars stopped on the highway in front of me) "About half an hour?"
"That's perfect. I'll just call you back from my cell phone and we can conference call. My office phone is set to an automatic out-of-office message so it's easier if I call you."
"Oh my gosh. Okay...thank you! This is so exciting. Oh my gosh. We will talk to you soon!"
"I'm looking forward to it. And I know she is anxious to hear back. She just picked you guys a few hours ago and she has been texting me ever since, asking, 'Have you heard back from Ashley and Ryan yet? What did they say?' She is very excited."
"Oh, that's awesome. Okay, we'll talk to you soon. Bye! Thank you!"
"You are welcome!"
(screaming out loud) "ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!! WHAT JUST HAPPENED!!!!!????? THIS IS SERIOUSLY HAPPENING!!!??? WE ARE GETTING A BABY!!!!!"
I immediately called Ryan and realized I was still shouting:
"WE HAVE JUST BEEN SELECTED BY A BIRTHMOTHER!!!"
"I just talked to a woman named Mary from Adoption Network Law Center and we have been selected by a birthmother!!!!! Like...she just picked us 2 hours ago!!!!"
(trying not to crash) "Are you SERIOUS!"
"I KNOW!!! She lives in Georgia and she is due on October 15th."
"I guess we're not going to Mexico."
"I know! WE ARE GETTING A BABY!!!"
"WE ARE GETTING A BABY!!!!"
The conversation continued for a while. We were doing everything we could not to crash our cars and truly believe what was going on. We couldn't say it out loud enough. We couldn't stop shouting or smiling. It was entirely surreal.
At one point, we were pretty much done sharing all of the information we could think to share and Ryan said, "We have to keep talking because if we hang up, I'm just going to start calling people and we don't have enough information yet."
So Ryan and I made small talk for the next 25 minutes. We repeated everything back to each other so we could stall. We laughed about the fact that we *just* booked our trip to Mexico (an all-inclusive resort with our friends from October 16th-23rd) but if the last 5 years taught us anything, it was to keep making plans and simply HOPE that they might include a baby. We didn't want to look back and resent the things we "could have done" while we were waiting. So we booked the trip, but also bought trip insurance. (always holding out hope)
And while a baby is a life-long dream, and of COURSE it's more important than Mexico, I still asked the question, "which is closer? Georgia to Kansas or Georgia to Mexico? Is there any way to wait for our baby while sitting on a beach in Mexico?" :)
I pulled in to our neighborhood and up the hill to our house where there was a mini-van sitting in our driveway. I flipped on my turn-signal and looked at the clock. We had 3 minutes to get in to the house and answer the call from Mary. I looked at the mini-van again trying to figure out who it could be. Who pulls in to somebody else's driveway and blocks both sides? Sometimes people pull in to get their mail, (the bane of hosting the neighborhood mailbox 3 inches from our house) but there was a person sitting in the driver's seat. Then I thought, "Okay...maybe she got her mail and she is looking through it." so I pushed the buttons to open my garage to get her attention. The mini-van didn't move. "OH MY GOD! I HAVE TO GET IN THERE AND ANSWER MY PHONE!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" I debated driving over our lawn to get in to the garage when I saw our neighbor run across her lawn to the waiting mini-van. She held her finger up like, "Hold on one second" and I sort of laughed. "Seriously? I know you don't know this, but the most important news of my life is about to happen. I need you to get out of my driveway!!" Soon, the mini-van backed up and waved at me as she passed by. "Yes. You're welcome. Good-bye." as I gunned it and nearly crashed my car in to the back of the garage. I'm pretty sure my tires screeched as I came to a stop.
I jumped out of the car (zero time left) and ran in to the house. There were two messages. "DANG IT!" I pushed play. One was the groomer. The dogs were ready. One was Mary. It was 4:44. It was before she called my cell phone. It was an old message. Thank God.
Just then, Ryan walked in to the house. We ran to each other and hugged like a scene from a movie. "WE ARE GETTING A BABY!!!!!" Ryan hugged me even tighter and lifted me off the ground. "OWW! You're squeezing and hurting my boobs!" "Sorry. I'm just SO happy!" Just then, the phone rang. I felt a happy little flip in my heart as I frantically searched for paper and a pen. I looked at Ryan as he picked up the phone and our lives changed forever.
She was born in December, 1972. She is 5'9" tall; 145 lbs. She has blue/green eyes with blond-ish/brown-ish/red-ish hair (dyed so much that she forgot her natural color). She has pale skin, fine hair, 100% caucasian, and she completed the 12th grade. Her favorite subjects in school were science and math (Ryan's too!) and she enjoyed sports in school. She has been a live-in nanny for 10 years but dreams of attending culinary school some day. She describes herself as an easy-going person who likes to laugh. She likes cooking, movies and sports. She does not drink, smoke or do any drugs. She found our profile on Adoption Spacebook and she is a Christian. She has a 3-year old daughter (with the same birthfather) who is 3' tall with green eyes and brown hair. She is perfectly healthy.
The birthfather was born in 1966. He is 6'1" tall; 180 lbs. He has green eyes, black hair, olive skin and he is 100% caucasian. He describes himself as an outgoing people-person who likes music, art and playing guitar (me too!), and he is completely on-board with the adoption.
I still don't know what it will take to feel real. We don't know the sex of the baby yet, but we will find out in a few weeks. We've had several moments when we've looked at each other like, "CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?" and the answer is always "no". We've waited 5 years for a moment like this. We've come close before (6 weeks of a pregnancy that terminated on its own) but that entire process taught us to be careful - not to get our hopes up too high. We knew it would feel amazing to get that phone call, but we've both replayed it over and over in our minds and it still has not sunk in.
We have 3 months to prepare our hearts and our home for this new little miracle, and it will be here before we know it. I'm not sure anyone is ever totally prepared for such life-changing news, but man...we sure are READY!
WE ARE GETTING A BABY!!!!