You wait for a young woman with an unplanned pregnancy to choose life for her child. You wait for her to decide on adoption. You wait for your family book to be shown to her. And you wait for her to choose you.
Once she has chosen you, you wait for her to give birth. And then you wait for her to sign the papers that say she is no longer that child's parent--you are.
Thankfully, our waiting game was short. We contacted our social worker in January, completed our home study in April (with a 2-month outreach in India in between), and got the call in May for a baby due in early July. Just under 24 weeks.
While we waited, I was keenly aware that nothing was 100% decided yet. One day, I would be absolutely confident that I would be a mom by July 4. The next, I was certain that the birth mom would be overcome with love and happiness and want to parent the child and we would have to drive home with an empty car seat.
I coped by thinking of my life as an algebra equation. (Yes, that's odd for someone who didn't get along with Math in high school.) You know how you solve for X -- you have to get X by itself by doing its opposite. If X is being added to the equation, you subtract it from both sides. If it's multiplied, you divide, and so on.
So if I was worried that she would change her mind, I did something opposite of that worry. I cut up the fabric I bought in Uganda in 2007 and decided to sew a crib skirt. I remembered the promise I had made to myself when we lost Kaleb -- that I wouldn't hold back any of my emotions out of fear that I would be disappointed in the end. I threw myself into all the preparations any expectant mom would do. I solved for X, for worry and fear--I hoped, planned, prepared. I loved. And I cried and leaned on our friends when X loomed too large.
My husband and I also prayed daily for the birth mom. We knew some of the struggles she was going through and we knew her decision wouldn't be easy. We prayed that she would be rescued through the adoption, that she would know a new and better life, just as her child would.
All I can say to someone else caught in the waiting game is don't hold back. Don't be afraid. Love with all your heart. In the end, it is worth the ups and downs. Each tear of worry and wondering makes the moment that much sweeter when you look for the first time on the tiny, perfect face of your child.