Our First Meeting
It seems almost impossible to accurately describe the feelings and emotions that surround the meeting of the parents of your child. That statement alone holds thoughts that can never be understood unless this exact experience has been a reality in your life. But, here I am over two years later, and I clearly remember every detail, and I will try my best to express and explain the most important meeting of my life.
The night before the meeting I sat at my window, watching the snow quietly fall, and told Bundle all about the events of the next day. I read and re-read their profile, analyzing every word and picture. I was so nervous I could not fall asleep and I just stared and talked. I wasn’t nervous because I was unsure of my choice to pick a family for adoption I was nervous because I wanted to pick the perfect family. My idea of perfect is not the family who has everything together, never fights, and looks beautiful every Sunday at church. My perfect family is one that loves each other unconditionally, loves God, and loves life. How exactly do you decipher these qualities from a couple you meet for two hours? I had no idea how I was going to be sure that these were the people I wanted influencing and raising my son. This seemed like an impossible task and I was terrified of making the wrong choice.
The snow began to pile outside my window and I decided that the first test for the couple would be whether or not they canceled our meeting. It was an early morning meeting and we had chosen a neutral location at a conference room in a hotel. But, of course the blizzard was predicted to blow through the night and well into the following day. I told my social worker that I did not want to cancel the meeting and I waited to hear what the couple was thinking. I wanted to see if they thought this meeting and, essentially meeting their potential son, was worth driving through record breaking snow. If they canceled I would have never rescheduled and started back at the beginning.
The next morning my social worker confirmed that the couple was not only willing but thrilled to hold to our meeting time. So, my family packed into my Dad’s truck and proceeded to drive in a raging blizzard to get to the meeting. I went over thoughts and questions in my head as I stared out the window and whispered to Bundle. I had read their profile so many times, I felt like I knew them already. I tried to put myself in their shoes so that I could understand what they were thinking and feeling. My plan was to be myself and see how well we meshed because Bundle’s personality would probably reflect mine. We pulled into the hotel parking lot and I instantly checked all the cars plates and tried figuring out which one was theirs. A car can say a lot about a person and I was desperate for any clues or hints.
We trudged through the snow into the conference room with my social worker. She said that the couple was in the hotel waiting and that they were very nervous. We joked about how we should just not smile and shoot questions at them and make them really nervous, just to break the ice. It was obvious that everyone involved was going to be nervous but I wanted to see the couple in a comfortable setting so that I could understand who they were, how they acted, and their thoughts without the pressure to perform for me. So I rearranged the room. The hotel had set up long tables with chairs sitting far apart and it was very impersonal. So I suggested taking the chairs away from the tables and setting them up in a cozy circle to ease everyone’s nerves.
Watching them walk through the door brought a flood of emotions. My mind immediately went to work. First thought, Nate held the door open for Amber, good. Second thought, she is beautiful. And this was the beginning of exhaustingly documenting every thought and storing it deep into my memory. Every second that happened in that meeting I relived and worked over in my mind every hour of every day until I went into labor.
I immediately jumped out of my seat and ran, actually waddled over to them. I told myself early on that I would not pay attention to superficial things such as looks or clothes. But, the first thing I noticed was that they were a very good looking couple and well dressed. I introduced myself to Nate first and I told him I would rather hug him than shake his hand. I remember thinking that he was really handsome and had features that Bundle was going to have, dark hair and blue eyes. This was very important to me because I wanted Bundle to look like the family I chose. He smiled and hugged me and was quiet. I instantly decided it was not necessarily the shy kind of quiet but more the thinking kind of quiet. I then turned to Amber. She was beautiful and very nervous. Hugging her was special because Bundle hugged her too. I’ll never forget when she looked at me and then at Bundle. It was a defining moment in that day and in my life. It wasn’t the sparkle of excitement in her eyes or the kindness that I saw, those things I expected. It was the sadness that I saw, not for her or from her past but for me. I had put myself in her shoes so many times and I knew she would be nervous and hesitant and excited. But the fact that she had thought about me, my feelings, what I was about to do, made me realize that she already loved Bundle. She had a kind heart, she understood me.
After introducing my family, minus my twin who couldn’t make it, we all sat down in our circle of chairs. My social worker prayed and we began our meeting. Right away, Amber, was so nervous that she picked her finger nail off. It went sailing through the air and then fell to the floor in the middle of the circle. She quickly jumped out of her chair, picked it up, and stuck it in her pocket. It was a hilarious event because my little sister literally asked her why she decided to put her nail in her pocket. This was the ice breaker because everyone had to laugh. Looking back it’s even funnier because I know Amber so well and I am no longer surprised at her hilarious and wild antics.
The afternoon seemed to float along. We talked about planes, boats, and shopping. We talked about their history as a couple, their goals, and families. I was very specific in my expectations for them and they met every single detail that I had in mind over and above. It surprised me. I set goals that I thought I would have to compromise on. I did not want a history of divorce in either family, must be adventurous, educated, friendly, Christians, outgoing, kind, hard working, easy to relate to, and the list was endless. They fit each idea and description and I was overwhelmed.
Then Amber told me of when she first found out about me choosing them and she was so excited just telling me about it. Her eyes were sparkly, excited, and her words were full of happiness and anticipation. I loved that she was so bubbly and vibrant. She said exactly what she was thinking right when she thought it. It was easy to tell that she was driven and loved life. Nathan was very funny also but in a different way than Amber. He was kind and sensitive and reminded me a lot of my Dad. Towards the end of our meeting I excused myself to call my twin and fill her in. I wanted to be on the outside and secretly spy when they thought I wasn’t looking. So I stood in the back of the room and watched Nate and Amber interact with my family. The thing that struck me the most is that they were so eager and absolutely bursting with life. The room was never silent, but filled with laughter or happy chatter. We had our serious moments but they were met with open hearts and minds. This was not only similar to my family and home life, but it was exactly the atmosphere I wanted my son to be raised in. I wanted an atmosphere of life, living, laughing, and loving. I chose life for my son once and I wanted to choose life for him indefinitely.
Before I knew it two hours had flown by and we decided to head out into the storm. I could’ve sat and talked for hours and hours with them and this was something I had not expected going in. I said good bye to Amber last and I asked if she wanted to rub my giant belly. She looked at me with hesitation and I’m pretty sure slight anxiety. My decision was already made and I knew Amber would be perfect for Bundle. And as corny as it sounds we shared a special moment.
So how do you pick the people to care for your child? How do you make that choice of handing over the life you made? I wanted to be the one to protect him and love him. But I couldn’t. Once you get past the feeling of helplessness you have to decide who can take your place. So how do you pick and trust someone to care for the only thing in this world that you love? You don’t. I really believe that I did not pick them. God did. It was a God ordained plan. A masterpiece of events and incidents. We found each other through God. This plan is my gift to Bundle. I may not give Bundle his dollar from the tooth fairy, I may not give him his first piggy back ride, I may not give him gas money or drop him off for his first day at school. I may not give him a kiss good bye after his first date or give him the keys to his first car. But I gave him my eyes, I gave him my heart, and I gave him life.
Ash is proud to be B’s Birth Mom. She graduated from college with a major in Business and Finance and a minor in Philosophy and currently works as a portfolio manager for a large North Eastern banking institution. In addition to drinking in the salty sea air while taking long walks on the beach, Ashley’s favorite activity is spending as much time as she can with friends and family, especially if it involves smothering B with love and kisses. Visit Bumber’s Bumblings where you can find her occasionally collaborating with her son’s adoptive mom.