The Match Meeting
Welcome to the second installment of my blog series on our adoption story! Hopefully, you were able to catch the first story about how we started the adoption process and the moment we got our match call.
If you are the type of person who likes to read the last few pages of the book first (or you caught the live show), you know that this story ends with tears and heartbreak. But the story I want to share today is PURE JOY! I think it is often difficult to remember the good when we know the bad that follows, but when we can, I am convinced we are better for it. At least for me- it keeps me honest and truthful in the way that it prevents me from labeling the whole book as a tragedy, when there is clearly beauty written all over the pages.
After that moment in the hallway, our adoption facilitator went on to tell us all of the details about our birthmom and the baby growing in her womb. I won’t share all of those details (because that is her story to tell), but we did learn that she was due in a month and a half and that she chose not to find out the gender until the birth. I remember sitting in the kitchen with Justin; crowded around the phone on speaker and the faint sounds of Jack’s TV show humming in the background (“Turn on a show right now! I can’t hear what she is saying!!!”). I remember grabbing a strangely tiny piece of paper in our kitchen (it was probably a piece of mail) and writing down very important notes like, “She is pregnant.” I am pretty sure I wouldn’t need my notes to reference that profound point.
But after straining to hear every word on that phone call, I had written down her name, her due date, and all the details about her situation.
We scheduled our match meeting for the following day. Guys, can I tell you how flipping nervous we were? If you have ever been part of a match meeting in an open adoption, you get this. In essence, it is the blind date of your life. I had so many emotions running through my head.
First, I felt so honored that she chose us. Out of all the letters she received, in the past couple days, she had read ours and decided that we were the right family for her child. Feelings of inadequacy immediately ran through my mind. I just prayed I met her expectations and that I would prove worthy of this beautiful decision she made.
Also, some very human and practical things ran though my head. She knew so many things about me, but I knew so little about her. What did she look like? Did she like to laugh? Did she listen to country music or heavy metal? What were her dreams for her future? Was she serious, adventurous, smart, silly, quiet, energetic or calm?
I knew she was brave.
Was she scared like me? Did she love this baby more than anything?
Yes. Yes, she was and yes, she did.
I felt my heart expanding in that moment- for this brave woman and the life inside her.
I am amazed at the human capacity to love. We lose, we fail, we stumble, and we break and then we stand back up and choose to enter the ring again. All for the price of love. Some of us are shaky at first- with the bright lights of the stadium and the carefully calculated risks running through our head. But we steady ourselves and walk forward. I think that is what Justin and I did that day. After a beat down, drag-out fight of infertility and miscarriages, we stood tall that day and chose love all over again.
And the choice to love is worth celebrating.
The day and night after we got that call was a bit of a blur. We went out to lunch at BJ’s and I actually told our server that we just got matched with a baby. Our family didn’t know yet, but Julie from Chula Vista was now in the loop. I often do that- tell random strangers things about our lives. Usually servers. And Justin always rolls his eyes. I guess he thinks other people are not as amused or interested about our lives as I seem to think. I chalk it up to being an external processor.
So, what does one do with their evening after hearing this type of news? We didn’t know either, so we decided we should probably go ahead and buy Jack a new dresser for his room so we could use his old one for the baby room (it matched the crib). We bought a blue dresser from IKEA and Justin spent the evening putting it together while I wrote in bed.
After a restless night of sleep, we left to go to the match meeting. On the way there, Justin and I talked about how we were feeling. We both marveled at the fact that we had both performed in front of hundreds of people (him more than me), had gone on probably 20 job interviews between the two of us, but we were COMPLETELY and utterly unprepared for this type of meeting. One does not grow up prepping for this type of situation. We re-read the notes over and over again in our little binder from our facilitator entitled “What to Expect in Your Match Meeting.”
When we pulled up, we said a prayer, grabbed hands and walked inside.
Meanwhile, our hearts were pumping out of our chests.
The meeting went better than I ever expected. It was organic, real, full of lots of nerves, and authentic. We talked about our interests, fears, hopes, expectations and next steps. We walked away from the meeting entirely changed and excited for the future we would all share.
Although our meeting was overall positive, I think we were all aware of the fact that this road would not always be light or pain free. At some point, we knew we would be in a hospital room bundling up a brand new little baby. We would be walking out with full hearts and arms, while hers would be newly empty. It was sobering.
It was so hard to process all of the emotions that day. But overall, I kept having to tell myself that WE WERE GOING TO HAVE A BABY. We would no longer be a family of 3.
Now…the FUN part!
We decided two things that day: 1. We wanted to tell our parents immediately 2. We wanted to do something fun to surprise them.
We had to come up with a plan to actually get all four of our parents to come over at a moments’ notice. Please also note that we are all very close, so situations like this are immediately fishy. So we decided to tell them that we were having some issues with work and we really needed them to come over so we could discuss it and get their advice.
I wish I would have recorded the phone calls, because I am sure they were comically awkward. But in the end they took the bate. They were all scheduled to come over for dinner and discussion.
Meanwhile, I was busy prepping for the big reveal. After the match meeting, I ran to Party City and picked up some balloons, streamers and confetti. I picked up a poster board at Office Depot next door. I squished all the balloons inside the car and drove home in pure bliss. I spent the rest of the afternoon decorating the room.
And this is what happened…..
We spent the rest of the night laughing, planning, dreaming and marveling at what God had done. It was a night to remember. It was certainly a day with beauty written all over it.