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“As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen.”

 Winnie the Pooh

We’re celebrating our daughter’s baby dedication on the one-year anniversary of the day we met. It’s hard to believe that a year has passed, honestly. It has caused us to pause in the midst of the crazy, and remember how far we’ve come in twelve short months. So much has happened. I also can’t imagine life without our Sweet Girl.

What I want you to know about the day I met my daughter is that it was crazy, surreal, wonderful and that I was at the same time stunned and ridiculously in love.

We went to work like normal. Looking back, that seems crazy. Who does that? We pretended life was normal, like it would keep us sane. We had no idea how to prepare. I picked a few small toys to take with me and we stumbled through some stunned prayers. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever been so nervous. Truly.

It was like a blind date with the person we knew we’d give our hearts to forever.

The kind of blind date no reasonable person would agree to. A blind date supervised by professionals and attended by others who desperately and generously loved the baby who would become our Sweet Girl, all of us nervous and knowing that life would never be the same for any of us. We were opening our hearts although it might all fall through. Nothing was for sure, and the wisest thing to do was to protect our hearts, but it was completely impossible.

It wasn’t the hospital waiting room of biological birth stories, but we also experienced this anxious wait for our baby, uncomfortable on vinyl-covered institutional furniture. With our process moving so quickly, we were strangely stunned and overwhelmed. We chatted with our adoption worker about things – I can’t remember what – but we filled the time.

And then she arrived. This happy, smiling, roly-poly baby with wispy brown curls wearing the sweetest flowered sundress I’d ever seen. She didn’t stop moving and exploring, crawling across the floor and pulling herself up on the coffee table. We tried to talk to the amazing women who would become our ‘birth family’, and wanted to learn everything they could possibly share about the most gorgeous baby we’d ever met, but all we really wanted to do was stare at this perfectly wonderful little girl.

What I want you to know about becoming an instant mom is that I’ve never cried as easily in my life, including that day. The crazy process of adoption makes a heart particularly vulnerable. We heard weird comments about how people thought we were super-human through the process (and we’re so very not). Instead we had this weird combination of vulnerability, strength, courage, resilience and transparency as we just did the next right thing. Every step of this parenting journey, including the day I met my daughter, has been scrutinized by others, whether a social worker, an adoption trainer, birth family, a friend, acquaintance or a family member. And I want you to know that while I’m okay with this, the vulnerability isn’t easy. We’ve had people be remarkably kind, and people be remarkably unkind. We’ve endured questions and comments that you’d never dream asking someone who welcomed a child by birth.

What I want you to know is that I didn’t know how to respond when we were called mom and dad for the very first time on the day we met our daughter. Two days before Father’s Day, our names and identities of almost four decades changed and we became Mama and Daddy. When they left us alone with Our Girl we played on the floor, we took photos, we laughed, and then – much to our surprise – she snuggled with us, almost like she knew she was home. She stared at Daddy, in awe of his voice – looking at him every time he talked.

We walked away from that life-altering meeting still stunned, not quite sure how to process what had just happened, but knowing that our daughter would be coming home in just a couple of weeks. It would be funny to see a video of us that evening. I think that we went out for dinner, and then went to Costco. We bought wipes and diapers and pajamas, because quite honestly we had no idea what we needed but we knew that babies needed these things at least. It felt so strange to tell others that we were buying these things for our daughter.

On the spot, we printed the photos that we’d taken on our iPhones (oh why didn’t we have the presence of mind to bring a real camera?). It wasn’t until we had photos in hand that we realized that Sweet Girl and I wore matching silver sandals. I looked at those photos before I went to sleep and when I woke up. We printed one large for the fridge door. I didn’t even know my daughter’s middle name, but I knew that I loved her more than I thought possible.

But what I really want you to know about the first time I met my daughter? I want you to know that it was the day I met a flesh and blood miracle. She was the daughter born in my heart nine months before I saw her face. She was the child I knew I would love forever. She was a gift in response to our prayers. I want you to know that on that day, I became her real Mama. The crazy details about how we matched were more than the human engineering of circumstances and tangible proof that nothing about this was an accident. Every single thing that we had to go through to get to that place was worth it. Completely, utterly worth it. People complain to me about the process or the system or any variety of things, and all I can say is – look at this miracle. I’d walk through fire for this child of mine.

And that “blind date”? Well, it was the best step of faith I’ve ever taken. Ever.


This is the first post in a series of adoption stories on “What I want you to know about my story”. I’m so excited to introduce you to beautiful people with remarkable journeys – adoptive dads, adoptees, international adoption, and birth family. Praying that we’ll receive their stories with open hearts, and that somehow, through this sharing, ultimately some very special people will have their voices heard and children will find the loving families they deserve.