While on vacation, Ryan and I both received some strange text messages from Kelly. I got the first one late Friday night (7:15pm in California, which means it was 10:15pm in Georgia). It said, "I just need to know if yall still want to work with me."
I immediately texted back:
"Of course we do!! Are you okay?"
Several hours passed and I got this message:
"I just think we need to have a very serious conversation but I don't want Mary involved. I just want to talk to yall because I haven't been sleeping. I'm just so worried and upset about the way this whole thing started off."
I immediately texted back:
"It's absolutely fine! Everything is totally fine and we could not be more excited about working with you." (9:05pm in California; 1:05am in Georgia)
I didn't hear anything else from her. Hopefully she went to sleep.
Saturday morning, I texted this:
"Ryan and i are both traveling right now so we aren't together but we will be home monday. Are you free to talk on monday night? Maybe we can put some of your fears to rest?"
I didn't hear anything else from her.
On Sunday night, Ryan got this text:
"I love [sophie]…I just have a coulpe of very serious questions to ask you..i have taken the time to think seriously about this…we all need to be on the same page with this before we can continue. I love [sophie]."
Evidently, he debated even showing me this text because his immediate thought was, "She's going to ask us to adopt Sophie too." And how did he feel about that? He needed time to think.
My flight got in at 10:15pm and I physically walked in my door at 11:30 (trouble at the baggage claim). Ryan texted me at 11:45 that he was 15 minutes away (dropping off the other guys on his way home) so we hugged and brushed our teeth while attempting to share every detail of our separate vacations. Then he showed me the text.
"What does that even mean? Does she want us to adopt Sophie too?"
"That's what I was thinking."
"I don't know. Probably."
"Can you even imagine what her life is like with those people? We would have to."
"I love you."
"I love you too."
Five minutes later, Ryan was snoring.
Three hours later, I was wide awake. I was trying to imagine our life with little Sophie - explaining to her that "your mommy loved you SO much that she decided you should come live at our house" and "this is your baby brother and he needs a big sister to protect him. Can you help us take care of your little brother?" (or sister...we don't know what we're having.) And maybe Sophie wouldn't remember living at Amanda's house - on the couch? How much do most of us remember before the age of 3? But jeez...how much therapy were we in for? Sophie would feel permanently rejected and hurt. Forever. She would wonder what she did wrong and I began to imagine all of the sleepless nights when Sophie would probably cry for her "mama" and I would have to explain to her that "I'm your mommy now." She wouldn't understand. But maybe the presence of a biological sibling would give her some stability and comfort? They would be forever bonded because they'd both been abandoned by the same woman - and adopted by the same loving family.
Finally, I got up and took 2 Tylenol PM. I fell asleep thinking about the paperwork required to permanently change her name. We would call her "Georgia" enough times that by the time she started kindergarten, that would be her name. Georgia Westhoff. And that way, if her crazy mom ever tried to find her and take her back, they couldn't find her (because let's face it, she would probably change her mind after a week and then we'd get harassing phone calls until they eventually drove up in the middle of the night and took Sophie away from us). Crazy-ass crazies!
I woke up the next morning all groggy and dazed, like the whole thing never happened. For a while I thought I'd imagined it all, and technically I guess I had...but the text was real. It was the ubiquitous question on my mind and it deserved scrutiny. I even went so far as to re-design my house (in my mind again) to accommodate a 3 year old. Which room would she get? What colors would she want? What bedding would we pick out? How would she get along with Delaney? What would our friends say when we came home from Georgia with TWO kids instead of one??
Needless to say, I did not accomplish much at work on Monday.
I hurried home so I could be there by 5:30 to call Kelly. Ryan tried her cell. It was no longer in service. He texted her. "We're home and we'd love to talk to you." Then I got a text from a number I didn't recognize: "Hey this is [kelly]. I would really like to talk to ya'll. I have no phone. I need minutes on the cell phone that i have. Does mary do that? I have no way of talking to ya'll until i get minutes. This is my friend's number, so if you could let me know how i can get minutes to talk to you guys, that would be great."
I gave the number to Ryan so he could dial it. A girl answered. He asked if we could talk to Kelly. She said, "She just went to the bathroom. Can she call you back on this number?" He said sure. And we waited.
What if it was Tony texting us the whole time? What if the girl who answered was his new girlfriend and Kelly wasn't there at all? Mary warned us that sometimes Tony grabs Kelly's phone and text messages people. They were going to think of a "code" so Mary would know it was Kelly and not Tony.
I texted back:
"We have no idea how to add minutes to your phone but we are here and ready to talk to you. We think mary has to do it but we are waiting to hear back from her."
I got a message back:
"Well i cant use this phone all the time. Its not mine. Mary knows how to do it when you're ready."
Just then, Ryan's phone rang.
What the hell?
He started talking to her and looking at me like, "it's her!" as he pushed speaker phone. I could hear her voice. How was this strange, calm drawl coming from the same frantic person who texted all of those messages? The conversation lasted over 45 minutes, but it basically came down to three things:
1. Mary asked Kelly, "Do you still want to place your baby with Ashley and Ryan" (probably in the middle of a conversation where Kelly was going on and on about something completely irrelevant and Mary probably wanted to get her back on the topic of what really mattered) so Kelly explained to us that, "Mary kep askin' me if ah wuz still innersted in workin' with y'all so ah started freakin' out that maybe y'all'd changed yur mines." No. We haven't changed our minds. "Wul...ah jus cudn baleeve that y'all'd changed yur mines outa nowear, but she kep askin' me so ah started freakin' out..." No. We haven't changed our minds. "Wul...Mary jus kep askin' me so thass wha ah wuz geddin suh worried." Great. I think that's settled. Nobody has changed their minds. But it went on like this until Ryan interrupted with a question:
"So...what were your very serious questions? Are you okay?"
2. "Oh, yeah, ah'm fine. Ah jus wanna fine out howduh git more minits on mah fone becuz [Amanda]'s bee-un rill straynge about her fone. She keeps tellin' me, 'this ain't yur fone' an 'this is mah biznuss fone' an ah jus caint keep askin' er." Of course. We will talk to Mary and figure out how to get more minutes on your phone. "Wul...ah jus...she's jus bee-un rill straynge about her fone. Ah jus wanneda add more minits but ah dunno how it all wurks cuz ah think ever time ah wendu tha store Allan n Peggy jus added more minits cuz it jus showed up one tahm with ten more minits." Do you mean that Allan and Peggy are still adding minutes to your phone? "Ah dunno. This hole thing is jus rill straynge an ah don wanna keep askin' [Amanda] for help. Ah mean, ah got mahself inna this mess, ah shud bee abol tuh git mahself out, but...she's jus bee-un rill straynge."
Just then, the doorbell rang and it was our buddy Stu, in town for his birthday. Our plan was to meet a bunch of people for dinner at 6:30 to celebrate, so I greeted him (and his mom, who had just driven him from Lawrence) and showed them the nursery we'd renovated. The whole time, I was telling them about this phone call and how it's gone on for 30 minutes now, but we haven't really talked about anything. Certainly nothing SERIOUS or CRITICAL as her text messages had indicated.
At 6:15, Ryan was still talking to Kelly. Well...he was listening. I can't say he was doing much talking. I heard him say a couple of times, "Well...you can call us anytime. It's totally fine." At one point, I scribbled a note on a blank piece of paper with the word, "complaining?" and he nodded "yes" and made the "she's still talking" motion with his hand. I scribbled "what were her serious questions?" and he just made a face like, "I have no idea". I figured we had the car ride to the Plaza and the rest of dinner to talk about it, if necessary. I said goodbye to Stu's mom and immediately went to the liquor cabinet.
"Do you want a drink?"
"You seem like you need it more."
"I DO, actually..."
So we made some drinks. Ryan walked in as we were clinking glasses and indicated that we should probably get going. (I may or may not have taken my drink with me in the car.) Stu sat shot-gun and I sat in the back while Ryan told us about main topic number 3.
3. Mostly, Kelly wanted to explain why she left Kansas City. She regrets it every day but she just felt really embarrassed. She didn't like calling me every time she needed a fork and she felt guilty that she was relying on someone else for everything (which made me CRAZY because how is her life any different now? She's living on Amanda's couch and eating Amanda's food! How is THAT not relying on someone else for everything?) To which Ryan responded, "I know" with a really long pause. "Sorry...continue. What else did she say?" But apparently not much. She sort of sticks to one topic and repeats the same information over and over again, changing the order of the words but not the content. It's an excruciating way to have a conversation.
"So...she doesn't want us to adopt Sophie?"
"She gave no indication that she wanted us to adopt Sophie. She basically just wanted to talk about Mary and the texting thing - which apparently Mary told her some story about a birthmom who sent her a text message saying, 'I don't want to do this anymore' which turned out to be that girl's MOM...so now I'm beginning to think Kelly has confused that story with her OWN life? That maybe Tony ISN'T texting from her phone? But I have no idea. It's impossible to know what's real anymore. I think she hears things a certain way in her head and that becomes the truth. She changed her story several times while we were talking so I don't think she has any idea what's going on."
"Then what in the world was all of the frantic texting about? What were her serious questions?"
"She just thought Mary was asking her if she was still 'in it' as if we weren't - or something? I don't know. I think she's home alone a lot."
So we went on to have a lovely dinner and a great evening and we celebrated Stu with endless platters of meat from Fogo de Chao. (DELICIOUS!!!!) We stayed up playing games and listening to music until about 2 in the morning, so (once again) I didn't get much sleep, but I pretend I'm preparing myself for motherhood. I've heard you get very little sleep once you become a mom. And I don't know how to be MORE ready than I am now, but if this is the training, then I'm preparing for some sort of marathon!
As of today, our baby is roughly the size of a pineapple. He or she should weigh a little over 4 lbs. (but still...no doctor visits mean no confirmation that everything is on track, so I'm using this incredible tool called "hope" to get me through each day). I don't have a belly (unless you count the tuna sandwich I ate for lunch) so it's really hard to feel like anything is truly happening at all, but as Stu left yesterday, he said, "next time I see you, you'll be a mama!" which almost made me cry. It seems like forever and yet it's right around the corner! The weather is getting crisp and the leaves are already falling in our yard. Before we know it, fall will be upon us and I will be dressing my little October baby in a Halloween costume.
So here's to "hope".