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One Year Ago: The Match Meeting

Yes, it really is called a Match Meeting, and it is the moment both parties–the birth family and the adoptive family–meet for the first time. We had our meeting just one week after receiving The Call. We drove about four hours north to where the birth mother and her family lived, and as you can imagine, my stomach was in knots the entire journey. We spent our time talking, planning, and praying. As we became closer, my breathing got shallower and shallower, and I thought I was going to have a panic attack! Thankfully, God calmed my heart, and I pulled it together.

We walked into the restaurant, the first ones in the party to arrive. The birth mother’s father arrived, then the social worker, and then about ten minutes later she arrived with her grandmother. I’ll always remember the moment she walked in, when it all started to sink in. She was over eight months pregnant, and seeing her with her baby bump, knowing that she was carrying a baby girl that could possibly become ours…it was incredible.

Somehow, amidst the strangeness of what was taking place, we all settled in, and our nerves relaxed. I had feared it would feel like an interrogation, but it was actually pleasant, two families getting to know each other. We talked about our lives, our families, our homes. We actually had a lot in common! They asked why we were choosing adoption; we asked her the same. It really was a time to try to understand each other, and most importantly, feel at ease about moving forward with the adoption.

She had brought our adoption profile with her, and she shared that she and her grandmother had separately poured over a pile of profiles, and both of them had settled on us in their top two. She said she chose us because we looked happy together. She also said she loved that we love Disneyland. Ha! We were always told you never know what detail about your life might draw someone to you. Of all the things, it was Disney!

We spent about two hours together, and then we said good-bye to the family. We spoke for a few minutes with the social worker there, then called our social worker on the way home. For the most part, we felt secure and at peace, even though I did have a total meltdown somewhere along the drive home. No matter how good things felt and how happy we were with the meeting, it still was overwhelming, frightening, and it still had all the makings of heartbreak. But even with all that, it was hard not to be excited. Although we hoped she would choose to continue the adoption with us, we knew that no matter what, God had a child for us. Of course just two days later, we received the news that she was choosing us to be the adoptive parents of her baby. The meeting was a success. We were matched!

One Year Ago: The Adoption Call

The evening of January 5th was a quiet, ordinary night. Christmas had passed, New Year’s had come and gone, and we were beginning 2015 watching the Harry Potter movies, settling into the third one. At 7:30, the phone rang, and as I picked it up, my heart began to beat faster. The caller ID showed our adoption agency. It was our social worker, and I could tell immediately that she had news. “Candace?” she began. “Do you have a minute to talk? Is Rob by you?”

Those are good words to hear for a waiting couple! We paused the movie and sat on the couch together. She began to tell us that a mother was interested in us for the adoption of her baby. We grabbed a piece of paper and I scribbled the information she shared with us, stopping to ask questions for clarification. She didn’t have a lot of fist-hand information herself, but she was reading what had been given to her by another social worker, the one who had met with the birth mother. At one point, she began to use the pronoun “she” to talk about the baby. She stopped and said, “Oh, so it must be a girl.” I remember writing on the paper “GIRL!” There were other things that came up, some that were quite concerning for us and the agency, but the bottom line was this: She was interested in us, and we could choose to meet her if it sounded like something we wanted to move forward with.

It didn’t take much thought. Yes! Yes, of course we wanted to meet her! We hung up, with the plan that we would talk again in the morning. Robby and I just stared at each other, smiling, shaking, completely in shock over what had just happened. We had pages of information, so once we had hugged (okay, maybe jumped and screamed a bit too), we looked through the info again and talked through it all.

I remember not wanting to sit down. I would just stand and pace and hop around. We called our parents, who were just as shocked as we were. None of us really knew how to feel. Excited, yes, but scared, hesitant, concerned.

Once we had made phone calls, we sat down together, and I told Robby that that very morning, I was praying and reading Scripture. I was reading the story of Adam and Eve, and when I came to the name of the garden, I had thought, “This is a beautiful name for a girl. If we ever have a baby girl, I think this could be her name.”

Two weeks later, our baby was home with us. Her name was Eden.

She’s Ours

I’m going to be honest: I’ve rewritten the opening sentences of this post half a dozen times. I simply don’t know how to start. Where, exactly, do I begin? With the call? With her birth? With a timeline? With yesterday?

Maybe I’ll just start from here, the now. I will begin by saying what the last hour and a half of my evening looked like. I was in my daughter’s room, rocking her back to sleep for the third time tonight, and kissing her sweet face. I’m not sure why she was waking up (I feel like I never really know…), but the second she was in my arms, she curled up towards me, snuggled in, and fell to sleep again. We’ve had lots of these sweet moments together, and tonight was, in many ways, no different.

But then, in one big way, it was different. Yesterday we had our finalization in court, and finally…finally!…the last word was in. Today, from the moment we woke up to right now and for every moment to come, she is ours. There is nothing, no one, to change that. Even though we have loved her with everything in us from the very beginning, the snuggles and the kisses tonight were wet with happy, grateful, and let-it-all-out-it’s-finally-finished tears. All the hoping, all the wishing, and all the waiting–all has been worth it. She’s ours.

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