TMG Philosophy: Stronger In Waiting- The Wait is Over

This was the day.  This windy, blustery, autumn day in November was the day.  After a distracted morning at work where I waited for the clock to tell me I could leave, it was time.  I picked up Chad nearby and we headed to the meeting.  This was like no other meeting we had ever attended.  This was the biggest meeting of our lives.  Today we would meet Nathaniel, an 8-week old baby boy.  We had been chosen as a match in the fost-adopt process, and today would be the first day in the transition period of moving him from the Emergency Foster Home to our own home.  Today we would determine out how long that transition would be, how often we would see him, and if/when he would come home with us. 

The ride there was quiet.  Nerves and anticipation coupled with impatience and fear filled the car.  Questions swirled but were never uttered.  Was our wait over?  Was this right?  Were WE the right people for this baby boy?  The social workers involved could still stop this…could still tell us they had made a mistake and the match wouldn’t work.  So I waited to see signs of that disappointment as we approached the house. 

The emergency foster mother, Jane, caring for Nathaniel had fostered 96 babies, a number that both impressed and intimidated me.  I waited to see her face, meet this person who played such a heart-filled role in this baby boy’s life.  Would I like her?  Would she like me?  Did it matter? 

As she opened the door, I looked away from her almost instantly, done with those questions now, and ready to meet this baby boy.  The smile on my face became forced as my eyes darted around the room.  My shoulders sunk a little when Jane told us he was in his crib still.  I barely heard her ask us to sit down.  What? Sit down?  Why?  What were we waiting for?  Years of pain and grief, years of wondering, years of yearning, years of waiting…and she wanted us to sit down?  Was she going to offer us tea next and share holiday stories? 

There is no manual for emotionally charged, awkward moments like this…moments that bring people together through extraordinary circumstances that include both loss and hope.  This baby was here because of tragedy and trauma.  This baby’s mother suffered loss when he came home from the hospital with this woman we met today instead of with her.  This baby had lost the connection to a woman he grew inside for almost 9 months, the way she moved, the sound of her voice.  And now Jane had loved and nurtured him for two months, and she was getting ready to say goodbye to him.  Yet here we sat ready for our beginning, for our waiting to be over. We knew the story, recognized the loss, felt the bittersweet mixing of sadness and joy.  It was huge.

While I continued the awkward, pasted smile and watched the clock above Jane’s head, I felt myself ready to lose it.   We answered her questions and listened while she talked about Nathaniel’s routine and his traits.  Just. Bring. Him. Out. Already!  And then I heard her ask, “I wonder why they chose you?”  One question.  That one question was almost my undoing.  What did THAT mean?  Was this not going well?  Was my smile too big?  Was I mumbling?  Were my clothes not motherly enough?  Did she have a say in all this? 

Just before I threw up in my mouth, Chad’s hand on my knee steadied me.  While I recovered from the shock, Jane went to get Nathaniel. I watched her walk out…and I waited. 

As she walked back into that living room carrying that blue-eyed, brown haired tiny baby boy, I felt stronger.  I looked at him, and I knew.  This baby.  This boy.  Nathaniel.  We had found him.  He was why we had to wait so long. We were supposed to wait for him because all that time had made us stronger, made us ready for how much our hearts would stretch and grow.   He was why we had cried so hard. He was why nothing else had worked.  He was why.   He was ours.  

Time brought our hearts together: our first day.

Time brought our hearts together: our first day.



Stronger In Waiting- Part 3

Stronger In Waiting- Part 2

Stronger In Waiting- Part 1

TMG Philosophy: Stronger In Waiting- Part 3

It was September 11, 2011.  Chad and I had just finished a 24-hour local Relay for Life event.    Drained and raw with emotion, we arrived home only to be bombarded with all the special programs to remember and honor those lives lost and forever changed 10 years earlier on September 11th.   By evening we were saturated with emotions: from Relay, from evocative 9/11 shows, and from the fost-adopt process we had set in motion.  I always considered it strange that I could remember everything about the day with absolute clarity, and yet can’t usually remember what I was about to say.  A few more months of waiting, and I would know why.  

While we were waiting for that emotionally charged day to end, a baby boy we didn’t yet know was fighting to be born, struggling to feel loved, waiting to meet us.  Waiting to heal us.

The next two months were a whirlwind of home study meetings, social worker visits, anxious dreams, more paperwork…and more waiting.  They were all at once the fastest months of my life, and the slowest months.  The quiet times that came found me questioning if this was right.   Not whether this was right for us, but if we were right for this.   Could we actually welcome a child into our home and give love from our scared and aching hearts without the assurance of being able to adopt? We were ready to be a forever family, and not strong enough to be a helping family.  We were ready to grow and to give.   The very real possibility that we would take a step in that direction only to have it taken from us often left me frozen and crying with fear.  “Wait and see”, was the phrase we so often heard. 

While we worked through the process, waited to hear of any potential match, that baby boy grew stronger and stronger waiting for us. 

In early November, on a rainy, Friday morning full of the most hope I had felt in years, we arrived at the agency offices. Here, we would preview all the available children for fostering and fost-adopt in the county and state.  After hours of reading about these children, babies and teens alike, we once again felt that heavy saturation of emotions.  The stories crushed our hearts, chipped away at our resolve.  Did we really have the strength to help these children?  Did we have enough love to heal this pain?

We left with a heaviness that was made lighter only by the possible matches we held in our hands.  Chad drove, and I stared at the pictures and words on the pages in my hands.  Which one? How do we know? Do we wait some more?  The phone rang. 

One phone call.  One phone call started answering what ten years of pain, ten years of waiting were for.  As I listened to the words from our social worker, the tears came.   I waited until she was done talking…and cried some more.  With very little information about a 7-week old baby boy, we agreed to a disclosure meeting, and waited three of the longest days of our lives. 

Because so much of the fost-adopt process is about matching and chemistry, we knew that the two social workers we met at the meeting were scoping us out for compatibility.  We knew each question was carefully asked to “test” us, with the baby’s best interest in mind.   We waited to hear we were not a good match.  We waited to be asked to leave.  We waited while they told us about the baby’s sad beginnings.  We waited while they warned us of the risks associated with the case.  We read court reports and waited for the next question.  As we held hands under the table, we answered the questions and waited for more of the story.  We waited to hear his name: Nathaniel.  We waited to see his picture, although by the end of the meeting when they showed it to us, we already knew our answer was yes. 

Yes.  And so we waited two more days to meet him, two more days for time to bring us together.  


Stronger In Waiting- Part 1

Stronger In Waiting- Part 2