“We got the call!” one of the couples on our profiles page announced the other day. They didn’t have to say anything more. We knew exactly what they meant.
It’s been nearly 20 years since we got our “call.” It came late one night when we were least expecting it.
On the other end of the line was a sweet woman from another part of the country asking us if we were interested in adopting her baby.
Even though it happened nearly two decades ago, just describing the moment gives us goosebumps. It was one of the best moments of our life—the moment when we realized our dream of parenthood might actually become a reality.
And yet even though phones and everything you can do with them have evolved over the years—remember the days when all you could do was make a call?—this recent piece by Emily Westbrooks shows that the anxiety and hysteria surrounding “the Call” is still as strong as ever.
An adoptive mother who is hoping to adopt again, Emily describes the mixed emotions and–let’s be honest—the downright insanity that every waiting mother feels as she waits for “the Call” informing her that “her baby has arrived.”
In this case, it’s from her agency. But as is often the case today, it could just as easily come directly from the expectant parents themselves.
As Emily explains, having gone through the waiting process once before, she knows a little about what to expect. “The Call” could come at any minute. Or it could take longer. Sometimes, a lot longer.
When you’re going through the adoption process, people around you will tell you to take it easy, keep calm, and not get too excited. But when the only thing separating you from becoming a parent is a simple little telephone call, that’s not so easy to do.
Managing your expectations, not to mention your emotions, is one thing. But it’s only the first step. Once you get the call, that’s when things can get really crazy.
Not only do you need to make sure that the expectant parents are serious about their adoption plan and that they get all of the guidance and counselling they need to make an informed decision.
You also need to make sure that you’re all on the same page in regards to openness and the kind of relationship you want to have after the placement.
Still, getting “the Call” is step one. It sets everything else in motion. It’s also one of the few events in your life that can instantly turn everything else upside down.
So knowing all this, it’s hard not to live in a state of perpetual anticipation.
Back when we were waiting to adopt, we didn’t have caller ID. As a result, we never knew who was calling in. Picking and choosing our calls wasn’t an option.
And so we answered every call, not knowing whether the person on the other end of the line was an expectant mother asking us to adopt her baby or, say, a telemarketer trying to sell us something we didn’t need.
To this day, I’m not sure if any telemarketer has ever been greeted with a more exuberant “hello!” than the one they got from us or with a larger sigh after they explained the reason for their call.
And yet even today, despite all of the technological advances that have been made to phones, Emily shows that there’s still no sure way to get through the process unscathed. (Have you ever stepped into the shower just as your phone rang?)
To illustrate the point, she recounts an incident when her agency called her, prompting her to nearly “have a heart attack” and probably lose “five years off my life.” Trouble is, the call wasn’t about a possible match. It was an invitation to speak at an upcoming event.
Spotty cell service and low battery life are two other occupational hazards that waiting parents have to deal with, according to Emily. As she explains, “a waiting adoptive mama does not let her phone battery dip below 50 percent at any given time, no matter what. Them’s the rules!”
Which brings her to yet another dilemma: To go — or not to go — on vacation?
Even though you’re supposed to go on living your life while you’re waiting to adopt, it’s nearly impossible to make long-term plans when you know that you could be one phone call away from becoming a potential parent.
Yes, international phone cards, texting and travel insurance are all helpful. But they don’t eliminate the uncertainty and anxiety that comes with waiting.
No one can predict when the call will come in. But that won’t stop waiting parents from trying. Just before she got the call that her daughter was waiting at the hospital, Emily says she heard a voice inside her head as she was making the bed telling that her child had arrived.
Ever since then, she can’t go through a day without looking for a similar sign that her new baby may be on the way.
Waiting for the adoption call is without doubt one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the adoption process. And yet for all the insanity-inducing adventures that come with it, in the end, as Emily and everyone who has ever found a match knows, it’s all worth it in the end.
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