Sunday, November 14, 2010

"The Call" part 1

One of my grandmothers turned 90 this summer. I missed that celebration since we've been trying to save up all our moolah for travel expenses. My other grandmother had her 80th this month, so last Tuesday night we decided that it wasn't worth it to miss both big family events. So since Ted had a long weekend of teaching ahead of him, Abe and I flew out early last Friday morning to visit my family. It was a fun week. I got chaufered around by my 17-year-old niece for the first time. Abe's cousin demonstrated wonderful burping skills. We ate a lot of red velvet cake, catfish, fried okra, and pimento cheese sandwiches. Abe got spoiled by relatives (and friends that may as well be family). We all sat through a Presbyterian church service together, taking up three pews. It was a good time.

We made this trip for moments like this one. Granny reacts to battery-operated, noise-activated chickens. It's blurry, but this photo somehow sums up everything I love about my Granny.

I was not online for most of this trip but on Tuesday night right before going to dinner with my grandmother and dad, I checked my email and saw that our caseworker had written, asking to "visit with" us at 10am the next morning. She ended the whole thing with two exclamation marks and a smiley face. Oh boy. I was stunned. I immediately called Ted who picked up by saying, "I just got the email too."

After dinner, I went to visit a high school friend to see her and her new house and then my sister met me at our dad's with a big bottle of wine. I am so glad she came. I was jittery and not sure if I'd be able to sleep. We sat up talking with the soothing sound of a Southpark episode on the tv in the background. I somehow fell asleep.

My dad had taken Wednesday off, so he'd said I could use his office for the big phone call. On our way there, we stopped by a drive-thru coffee place where the lady working greeted us with a loud "howdy!" My dad is a regular. I got an overly-sweet pumpkin latte and an overly-sweet bran muffin, both of which I attempted to
eat. I got settled in at my dad's office and couldn't get online. Their intranet kept kicking me offline when I attempted to access my email. I think I may have yelled once or twice. Maybe. Probably.

We hopped back into Daddy's truck and drove to my mom's office across town. On the way, our caseworker called, and we put the call off for ten minutes. I got
all settled in this time at my mom's desk, and our caseworker conferenced our call with Ted in Oregon. Let me tell you: I don't recommend getting your referral phone call while not in the same location. We didn't really have another option besides waiting two days until I got home on Friday. That wasn't an option, obviously.

There is nothi
ng like that moment when you hear your caseworker say, "Okay, I'm pressing "send" and then waiting waiting waiting, refreshing, refreshing, refreshing your inbox until BAM: there it is.

You see the subject line "Introducing...." and your heart starts pounding. The reality hits you that you are about to see your child's face for the first time. There is nothing like it.
I was hunkered over the computer screen, unaware of what my mom and dad were doing. I knew they were in the room but that's about it. I had my phone on speaker so they could hear the initial part of the conversation. I opened the email and saw ten tiny photos of a little girl. I couldn't decide which to click on first, so I just chose the one that showed her face in close-up.

Scanning for viruses... seemed to take forever. Then.

Waiting for the photos to open...

Her face. Huge perfectly almond shaped eyes. A slight smile. Chapped bottom lip. Head cocked a little to one side. Ears that stick out (so do Ted's, may be the one way she looks like us). I opened the other photos. In one she is sitting on the floor playing with a doll. In another she is standing in a yard in a pink plaid shirt with her neck all stretched out, as if she was in mid jump. In my favorite photo, her chin is tucked in and she's looking up at the camera, a little ruffly hat on her head. In every photo, she looks angelic. I'm sure she's not. I mean, I'm sure she's a real little girl who has tantrums and fits and bouts of sadness. But in these photos, she is pure sweetness.

I wasn't sure how I would react upon first seeing her face. With Abe, I immediately burst into tears. The same was true with her. There is nothing like this moment (have I said that before?). You are looking at a face belonging to a stranger on the other side of the globe, a stranger who will become your daughter, your son's sister. It hits you right in the gut. Well, in the heart, I suppose. There is no way around it.

We listened to her story and read through all her documents and at the end, we both said with no hesitation, "Yes." And that was that.


(more later on the rest of this day and what it was like to tell Abe)

41 comments:

natalie said...

tears reading about your tears. looking forward to hearing the rest. enjoy these days!

kristine said...

Love this! Thank you thank you thank you.

Julie said...

Lori.

paige said...

it never gets old, these stories of family joy. congratulations, happy quartet!!!!!

Jill said...

awesome. can't wait to see all the photos and to hear more. i'm dying to meet her, so i can't imagine what you are feeling.

Sara said...

thanks for sharing.

Bridget said...

I can't believe how amazing this post is. How simply amazing. So, it happens, huh?

Leslie said...

Congratulations!!

Christine said...

My hair is standing on end here. Amazing.

los cazadores said...

Congratulations, Rooneys.

Cindy

Jen said...

What wonderful news! Can't wait to watch the journey to bringing her home:)

coffeemom said...

Just brings me to tears. beyond happy for you. For all of you. oh..

Zach said...

Congratulations! I'm very happy for your entire family.

Jess said...

Wonderful news for a wonderful family!

Kim Foo Young said...

wow - tears

Little Ethiopia(n) said...

wahoo wahoo wahoo! So excited for ya'll! Our son has perfect huge almond shaped eyes--almost Asian looking (I've actually had people ask if he's Samoan! to which I say, well, his twin sister, sitting right here beside him, is Ethiopian so....) I've learned these eyde are a characteristic of the Tigray region...any chance your daughter is from there too?? :-)

semiferalmama said...

How special for your parents to be in the room. Can't wait to read more.

Jamie said...

Congratulations and thank-you so much for sharing!
Blessings,
j
www.beneaththeacaciatree.com

dandiesinthesunshine said...

Loeb.

Christy. said...

SO exciting!!!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely thrilled for your family!

Tami said...

Congratulations!

Meg said...

Oh Congrats! I just love reading these emails! yay yay yay!! I know you can't share any info at this point...but maybe you could tell us how old she is???

Kirsten said...

Congratulations!!!!! I am usually a lurker here- I love reading whatever you have to say, because you are thoughtful and insightful and an excellent writer. I don't know you but I know you to be a wonderful parent through this blog and through our mutual friend, Staci. What a wonderful family of 4 you will make! I will continue relishing the chance to read about your extraordinary journey. Bless you!

rebekah said...

Big congratulations! I love how you write so matter of factly about the referral call - this is how it has always (well, twice, anyhow) seemed to me. Thrilling and exciting and also, well, there you go, here's your new child! Like so very real - the opposite of unreal.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Hurray!
-Kate

msl said...

Right in the heart- that's it exactly. Overjoyed for all of you!!!

Rebecca said...

Congratulations to the Rooney family. The Rooney family of FOUR. I'm sure she is adorable. I'll be praying for a swift court date and safe travels!

Jillienne said...

Congratulations!!!

becca albertson said...

I'm sobbing....

Evelyn said...

My heart skips a beat. This is so beautiful!!!

The Busters said...

The call stories are always my favorite. Thank you for sharing!

laura said...

So incredibly happy for you...Congratulations!

Renee said...

oh...I love getting that email..introducing... Happy beyond words for you! Hoping a court date comes your way very soon!

Heidi said...

Aaaaah! Late to the party as usual these days but YAAAYYY!!!! So happy for you guys! Nothing like it indeed. Tears on this end, of course! XO

AshliYoung said...

lots of hugs for you guys. :) (btw...kyle and i were in different cities when we got sam's referral. for the meeting i was in a whataburger parking lot (stealing wifi) in south texas and kyle was sitting in the office with our caseworker in dallas. so fun!!! i can't wait for your trips to be over!!!

eastiopians said...

Congratulations!!! SUCH a life-changing exciting moment!

Eryn said...

There is also nothing like reading about "the call". I'm sitting here, should be making dinner for my kids, but here I sit, throat lumpy, eyes wet. So So happy for you guys!

~Laura~ said...

oh, more tears. I can't wait to see your girl!!

Claudia said...

oh, I just LOVE reading about 'the call!'

Bex said...

CONGRATS!!!!! Was this on Tuesday the 9th that you got the email!? That was the same day my husband and I received our call for our daughter!! Wow! What agency are you with!?