Well, gentle readers, I understand that this whole thing must seem like quite the whirlwind! Believe me it has been (is?). When I left work last Thursday to go teach at a weekend congregational development conference I fully expected to be back at work on Monday. I am a little ashamed at the state in which I left my desk.
Friday morning during a break at my conference I phoned Marla, just to check in. I knew there were plans for us to be shown a couple times in Texas over the weekend and there had been some issues about the fees that we were working out. I was nervous and also relieved that we were back in the game. When we got back from Atlanta in October Andrew and I both felt strongly that our baby wasn't far away, that she was really just around the corner. We had both been thinking it, but afraid to say it out loud. When we finally did, it was almost all we talked about late at night before going to sleep. When I found out we were going to be shown I felt sure our baby was in Texas.
I spent about five minutes on the phone with Marla, checking in. Then we said goodbye, she promised to call if she heard anything, and I headed back to being a trainer, determined to stop checking my phone every 2 minutes. I succeeded for the next hour, and then when I glanced at it I saw I had missed two calls from Marla, and that she had text messaged me. "Alissa, call me ASAP" it said.
I knew. I knew that she was going to change my life. I had thought that this call wouldn't be like that other call weeks ago and I was right. This time I was in tears before I even got Marla on the phone.
"Alissa," she said. "I wanted so badly to tell you this these past couple of weeks, there is a baby girl in Georgia for you. She is beautiful and the ten days are up."
Jubilee's first mom wasn't able to choose a family for her baby girl, and we really don't know much about her. She relinquished her daughter at the hospital after giving her a name, and then she needed to go. We kept Jubilee's middle name as the one her first mother gave to her, and I got my hands on all the records that I have been able to, for my daughter to look at one day when she's ready. The rest of that story, I think, isn't mine to tell. Suffice to say we stand ready for openness, and will always keep her in our hearts and prayers.
Everything about this trip has been different. Granny and Papa M, Jubilee's carehome parents, are amazing. Granny M immediately invited us to stay with them while we waited for paperwork and we accepted. We were able to learn the routines that J has been living by, and spend time transitioning her from their care to ours.
Andrew left Monday, back to Seattle to get things ready for our return. My mother - henceforth known as Nana - arrived last night and spent most of today simultaneously telling me "don't let me be too pushy" while holding her newest grandbaby every second she possibly could. The three of us: Jubilee, Nana and me, are hoping to get permission to head home Friday.
I'm still processing this past week, will be for a while I think. I feel so lucky, so blessed. It's the rare moments during the past three days when I have been alone with my daughter, cuddled up just the two of us, when I have really felt it - that combination of gratitude, disbelief, wonder and something indescribable. I think this is what it feels like to be a mom.
You love and support has been amazing. Thank you so much for celebrating and for walking this road along with us. We are, all three, lucky to be loved so well by such quality people.
We can't wait to get home. ♥