Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Blessing

A friend adopted a son several years ago. Their first week as a family in church was Fast Sunday and Testimony Meeting. She stood up and I remember her words clearly. She said, "We couldn't be happier." 

When we met Rose and Sam, we knew they were foster children, but I fell in love with those two. They called me Mommy, and I loved them as though they were my own. But I remember that I didn't have that feeling of "we couldn't be happier." The celebration at bringing Sam and Rose into our lives was based on something that could not be. Rose and Sam could not be ours. 

After Rose and Sam left, we had a few months of quiet, just the two of us. We were happy, but I was really ready for us to be a family of more than two. We got a few potential matches, but no callbacks. I was getting discouraged, because I didn't know if we would wait a few days, a few weeks, or a few years for a match. I started to doubt my choices in going with Foster Care for adoption. We began thinking about private adoption. Literally the same day we started to get serious about choosing another route, I got a call from our social worker, Sharla. She said they had a potential match. She said she wasn't sure if I even wanted to hear it because she knew I wanted a girl. The match was two boys. I told Sharla to go ahead and tell me, and as she spoke, I felt the small seed of something. They were not at all what we were looking for or thought we wanted. I didn't want to get my hopes up. I asked her to submit us, and I called Hank, and he felt good about the match, too. Pam and Hank were here visting when I got the call, and they told my parents, and everyone was getting all worked up because they were babies, something we weren't expecting. Pam and Hank were still here when I got the second call. I was shaking. Sharla said the boys' social worker wanted to meet us. I told her we were going to Mexico, and it was horrible to have to wait, but we really were looking forward to our vacation the next week. We made plans to meet Kimberly, their social worker when we got back from Mexico. 

While we were in Mexico, I still didn't want to get my hopes up. We did buy a guayabera for the toddler and a blanket for the baby, but I wouldn't say, "when we get the kids," but "if we get the kids." 

We met with Kimberly, and I was feeling really good about everything, but I still wouldn't get my hopes up. I asked her how many other families she was interviewing. She told us they had just come from one...but she already knew she wanted us to have the boys. At that point, I let myself start to get excited. I told her we had bought gifts for them, in relief. She said she felt even better about the match, knowing that. The memories run together as we met the kids, and Kimberly brought them to live with us. 

When I walked into the visitor's room at our first meeting, I knew Henry was mine. I glanced over at the baby, said hello, and went to sit on the floor with Henry while Hank held Sam. 

They had a few more visits with their biological parents, then rights were terminated, but I felt like I couldn't breathe easy until I had their new birth certificates in my hand. 

I love Rose and Sam, and I think about them every day, but my experience with them was nothing like it was with Henry and Sam. 

I have been praying for these babies for ten years. Their biological parents, whether I was one of them or not. That they would find me, and that the things they would have to go through before they found me would be minimal. I feel like my prayers were heard and answered. I feel that maybe they were watched out for before they made their way home, to us. I know they are mine, though I am breathing easier since the birth certificates came.

When I think of Henry and Sam, I think of the song, "A Thousand Years," "Darlin' don't be afraid. I have loved you for a thousand years, I'll love you for a thousand more...I will not let anything take away what's standing in front of me. Every breath, every hour has come to this."

When I first went through the temple, my stake president said, "This is graduation day." Everything has come to this. I thought, that's weird. But it's true. That was the end of one thing, and the start of a new.

Today is graduation day. Today is the last step. They have found their home, they have been formally adopted, and today they will receive their names and blessings and be welcomed into our family by the ordinance.

I look forward to the rest of our lives as a family.

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