Two years ago today our world turned upside down, in the best possible way. For most people, when they are adopting they wait for "the call." For us, it was a bit different. On April 8, 2005 we got "the email." We had recently moved and Michele from our adoption agency was having a hard time finding our new phone number. (Actually, with Tyler we got "the email" also. That's another story you'll have to wait until August to hear.) At any rate, that day the email came and rocked our world. We weren't expecting it. In fact, Brent and I were just beginning the process of adopting a two year old boy with Down syndrome from Colombia. Tyler was just over ten months old and we knew that Miguel's adoption would take several months at best. We were in control. We knew where we were headed and what our plans were. We had our reservations about adopting from Colombia but we felt like we needed to head down that road unless and until Heavenly Father told us otherwise. Well, He told us alright. In a big way.
I clearly remember going upstairs and sitting down at the computer. There was an email from Michele. I wasn't particularly surprised to hear from her. The subject line wasn't anything suspicious. When I opened the email, that's when everything went topsy-turvy. It was a short note. Something along these lines -- Jodie, give me a call. We have a situation we think you might be interested in. It is a baby girl, born April 6. Possible special needs due to pre-natal drug and alcohol use. Baby is tiny, no pre-natal care but she seems to be about six weeks early. Call me ASAP. Michele
I think I read the email about a dozen times and then called Brent at work. We couldn't believe it. What did this mean? Were we supposed to adopt this baby girl? Weren't we supposed to adopt Miguel? What was Heavenly Father trying to tell us? We figured we had better take it one step at a time and we called Michele.
Michele gave us as much information as she had. It was indeed a baby girl. She was tiny, just over four pounds. She was very sick. She was born at a smaller hospital and had to be rushed to the children's hospital in Buffalo. She was on a ventilator and wasn't eating on her own. They didn't know if she would have Fetal Alcohol syndrome but it was a strong possibility. They were discussing placing a feeding tube. The birth parents had both signed to terminate their parental rights and wanted a closed adoption. There were many unknowns about her future medically. Did we think we might be interested?
I honestly can't remember much else about that initial conversation. I remember being so caught off guard. I know that I hit my knees and said a prayer asking for help and guidance. Then Brent and I talked for a long time. Turns out, we both had our doubts and concerns about Miguel's adoption but hadn't really voiced them. We wanted so badly for his adoption to be right for our family. We already loved that little boy and it was so difficult to admit that he wasn't meant to be our child. We prayed together to know if this little girl was meant to be ours. The answer came quickly. We called Michele.
We, of course, weren't the only family they had called. We knew that would be the case. They needed to keep all their options open. We understood and told Michele that we absolutely wanted to be considered. We were scared. Although Brent and I were open to most special needs, Fetal Alcohol syndrome was one of those things that we didn't know much about and felt ill prepared to handle. We researched and tried to put our minds at ease. We knew that this was out of our hands. If she was meant to be our child, it would work out.
The next twelve days are a bit of a blur. A few days after "the email" we finally got "the call." Michele called us to tell us that yes, they did want us to be the parents to this baby girl. We were in heaven. We already knew, somewhere deep inside, that this was our child. We couldn't be happier. We chose her name, Emmalee Ann. We spelled it this way for a reason, Lee is my middle name and we wanted to include it. We chose Ann for her middle name because it is my sister's as well as my oldest niece's middle name. We had to have our home study updated. At that time we still lived in Utah so we had to make flight plans and hotel reservations and pack and get everything ready to bring home a new little one. We bombarded Michele and Sara with emails and phone calls. We had the wonderful task of sharing the news with friends and family. We were ecstatic.
Emmalee Ann was placed in our arms on April 20, 2005. She was two weeks old to the day and smaller than any baby I had ever held before. As you can guess, we were thrilled. I will post more about that day on my blog on April 20. :)
For now, I sit here reflecting back on that day, two years ago, when everything changed. Being an adoptive mom has taught me a great deal about patience. I have learned that despite my desire to control everything, I really have little control over such things. My purpose is to plan, prepare and be ready for the miracles when Heavenly Father is ready to send them. I am thankful we were ready for the miracle of Emmalee. She has changed our lives. She has made me a better person. I only hope I can be the best mom possible to her and Tyler and any other miracle children we are blessed with.
*Side note, Emmalee obviously does not have Fetal Alcohol syndrome. In fact, she is a perfectly healthy, happy two year old. Miracles never cease!