January 9 – Pre-Church Meeting | Mae’s Adoption Journey
So although we hadn’t really dumped much expectation into the meeting at church, there were definitely some butterflies fluttering in my stomach as we got ready and headed that way. I didn’t want to care. I didn’t want to hope. Yet something in me was curious about this little gal. And don’t we all deep down wish that something crazy magical like this would happen to us?
We finally got to church. Mike had worship practice. And then we slipped away to meet Scott & Patti in the hotel lobby. Our church meets at the Hilton Garden Inn, so it’s never easy to find a super secret spot to meet, unless you want to rent a hotel room or something like that. So – we opted for the hotel lobby which was across the building from the conference room where we set up for church. This way we could meet privately. This was top-secret stuff.
As good friends, the four of us rolled up chairs to a round glass-top table and made it seem as though we were about to undergo a serious business transaction. I tried to control myself and not swing around in the chairs too much; I love a chair that rolls. But the conversation at hand called for seriousness and maturity. So, I tried to sit still as we opened up the somewhat awkward yet life-changing conversation.
Opening Conversations About a Baby
The conversation went smoothly as Scott & Patti explained to us the situation. Their friend was helping raise his niece. She was about 3-4 months old. He had come to the point that he was considering adoption for her. It was early in the process for him, and he still wasn’t completely sold – but definitely considering it. We immediately had come to their minds. And in the event he wanted to move forward with adoption for her, they were checking to see if we’d be interested.
Why This Fit the Burgesses
So much about this situation made them think of us. Mostly, we were already in the adoption process and desiring a domestic adoption. Our home study was complete. We were about ready to go active. Plus, the baby was biracial, and that was something we had requested in our adoption papers. They knew that she had been well cared for, and that she came from a good family. Plus, they knew her family would be looking for a good couple to raise her.
Why It Might Not Fit the Burgesses
While Scott & Patti felt like so many things fit, they made sure to present the situation carefully. They weren’t sure this was exactly what we were looking for, and we could tell the last thing they wanted to do was push it on us. But, also not wanting the opportunity to pass us by, they went ahead and mentioned it. Everything about it was awfully close to home – come to find out she was living only 10 minutes away from us. She wasn’t a brand new baby – she was already 3-4 months old. And, this would be more of an open adoption than we had planned for since we’d need to all work together to make this happen.
Um… Sure, We’d Go For It
After Scott & Patti explained the details, I looked to Mike to respond and lead the way. I’d felt like God had made it clear to me to let Mike guide this process all along, and so I wanted him to respond. I was all for pursuing it and seeing what God had up his sleeve. But I needed Mike to be, too. This was still such an up-in-the-air, hypothetical situation. She wasn’t definitely up for adoption yet. The big decision to find her a family hadn’t been made. But, the issue at hand was for us to decide to get involved, despite the lack of finality. What if … she was to be adopted … would we be interested? Not exactly the easiest decision – especially since we thought we had a plan for what our adoption was to look like. Did we really want to derail the process for a far-out opportunity? An opportunity like others that had already fallen through?
Despite the discomfort with the “what ifs,” and our desire to guard our hearts, we didn’t feel any red flags. Even as much as some of the scenarios didn’t match what we had in mind, something about it felt right. Sure, she lived in Lee’s Summit – but we knew our child would come from one of the 50 states – Missouri included. She wasn’t a “brand new” baby – yet months earlier I’d begun to feel like I wasn’t sure I was ready for an infant from the hospital. And while the open adoption scared us a bit, having friends like Scott & Patti vouch for everyone involved gave us much peace.
So, with that, we gave Scott the OK to mention us to his friend if he decided that adoption would be best for his niece. We weren’t really sure what to expect, nor if this would really all happen. A large part of us doubted it, yet there were small slivers of hope that this might actually be it.
“You want to see a picture?”
With the agreement to move forward, Scott offered one of the biggest carrots you can give someone that’s adopting – a photo. Mike quickly shook his head no, he didn’t want to see a picture yet. There was still too much uncertainty about the whole thing, he didn’t want to get any more emotionally attached to the situation. I quickly followed Mike in saying no, but only a second later changed my mind. For me, I needed this to be more real if it indeed was happening. So I agreed and leaned over to see my first sights of a sleeping beauty.
A cute little kiddo was softly sleeping in her pack-and-play. Not sure how I should feel, I looked over and told Mike she was cute. I didn’t exactly get all gushy, but seeing her face definitely made things more real. There was a baby, she might need a family. And we’re first in line if the gun went off.
And with that, we needed to go. Church was about to start.
We still weren’t really sure what to expect. But we figured why not check it out until God closed a door.
Except after only 12 hours, we realized that God wasn’t closing doors.
Instead, He was opening them.