Story of the Kid, Part 2: E-mails, Names, Back to the USA

We flew from Drake Bay back to San Jose on Friday. We checked into our hotel, bought some gifts for our family, and were making our final packing arrangements to fly home on Saturday, as was scheduled. We were about to go down to the exercise room to blow off some steam when I picked up my phone to check my e-mail for the millionth time that day and saw this message from Tina, our social worker:

After filling out all birthmother paperwork, [birthmom] has chosen you guys to come meet her baby boy. [Birthmom] is at Walnut Creek Kaiser. She would like you two to come straight from SFO to Kaiser. She has told me that if she is sleeping at the time she would like to be woken up. The hospital is all set up with everything they need for the two of you to go visit [birthmom] and the baby.

A little about the baby:

8lbs 10oz
21.5 inches
Born 3/29/3012 around 8am
Baby is doing well in the nursery as of 3/30.

I stared at my phone, completely dumbfounded. When Carey came out of the bathroom, she found me sitting in the chair, face in my hands, crying. I handed her my phone and both of our mouths hung open. I may have swallowed three flies. The only words we could muster were variations of, “Wow.” We e-mailed Tina a slew of questions about the timing and whether we had to be ready to take the baby home on Saturday. We went to exercise in an attempt to burn off the energy we felt and try to clear our minds.

After exercising and while we waited to hear back from the agency, we called our parents to tell them of the good developments — the hotel thankfully gave guests free international calls. Everyone was excited, offering lots of encouragement and promises of prayer. They also helped us gain perspective while we were in our stupor. This was a great opportunity, perhaps even the gift we had been praying for, but we were not obligated to adopt if it was not the right match.

As Carey and I went out to dinner at an Argentine restaurant near our hotel, I grabbed a notepad and two pens. We had decided on a girl’s name, but had not discussed boys’ names much. While we waited for our food, we each wrote down first names and middle names. Then we discussed our lists. From there, we took the top choices of each list and wrote a second list. We quickly settled on Atticus as the middle name, and had a few options for the first name. We wanted to wait and meet the child first before we decided what his first name would be. What if we really liked the name Boutros Boutros, but he just looked like a Kofi or a Ki-moon?

(A terrible picture of us at our last sit-down meal in Costa Rica. The papers with our name choices are somewhere on the table.)

After getting hardly any sleep, our alarm went off at 3am PDT. We took the shuttle to Juan Santamaria International Airport to begin our journey home. At the airport Carey found a cute toy monkey, making it not only the first thing we bought for our child, but also the only thing we had for a baby. Did I mention we did not expect the adoption to happen this quickly?

The flight to Houston was uneventful. Once we landed, we went through customs, through security again — an extremely annoying process — and then we found our way to our gate. We had a long layover and took the opportunity to call friends for prayer and and more perspective. Were we crazy for considering this? How can we make such a decision so quickly? Our friends gave us great counsel. We also spoke with Tina, who had great insight and people skills to read our situation. She could tell just how tired and overwhelmed we were — our journey home would take fourteen hours. She also knew that the birthmom would want her mother to be present, but that would not be possible if we were to meet on Saturday evening. Tina quickly called an audible and worked to arrange our meeting for Sunday morning. I was so tired I could not articulate that we really wanted to to sleep and shower before meeting. Thankfully Tina was able to read into my blathering and change plans.

The news that the delivery happened in Walnut Creek was such a blessing. Our agency works with families all over the US. We thought we might have to change directions and fly to another city once we landed in Houston. Instead, we would be able to go home. We would be able to meet a birthmom in the hospital where Carey works. We could use Carey’s parking pass and she could get us food at a discounted price in the cafeteria. The birthmom actually had her prenatal care with one of Carey’s colleagues, a doctor who went through residency with Carey, and who has been cheering us on throughout our adoption process. She wondered when she was caring for the birthmom if we would adopt this child. At first things were coming together in a way that made us say, “That’s weird.” By the end of Saturday, we were saying, “God, what are you up to? These are no mere coincidences.”

After the layover, we headed home to the Bay Area. A rainstorm hammered SFO, but we landed safely. We promptly became lost in the airport looking for our luggage. Clearly we were ready to become parents. We finally retrieved our bags and made it onto BART toward home. Our friend Barry and his daughters picked us up at the station and took us to our house. They still had lots of baby supplies and offered to loan them to us if we in fact did adopt. This was the first gesture of much humbling support we received.