April 23, 2013 began as a normal Tuesday except my husband, Chris, was away for a work conference in South Carolina. I had a 1:45 IEP meeting in the main office conference room for one of my students. Toward the end of the meeting, we were filling out the IEP dates and trying to determine the exact day school is set to begin next fall. I came out of the room and was looking for a calendar on the secretary's desk. She handed me a "missed call" slip and said, "I have a message for you." I quickly looked and down and realized it was our caseworker, Annise, from our agency. I asked our secretary, Sue, "Did she say anything?" to which Sue replied, "She said you will know who it is." I misheard Sue and thought she said, "She said you will know WHAT it is." At that moment, I felt my heart drop and I felt shaky. I returned to the meeting and told my coworkers and the parent (luckily she is wicked cool and normal and did not think I was nuts!) what could possibly be happening. The meeting ended soon after and I tried to call Annise. Unfortunately (for me) she had just taken another call and was busy so I left a message on her vmail. I came back out and talked to Sue again to clarify what Annise had said. That is when I realized that I misunderstood Sue's original message. Once I understood the original message, I realized that I may have gotten ahead of myself and that Annise may have been calling to check in instead. I knew I had to keep calling just to make sure so I called Annise back another 4 times (not exaggerating here...luckily, the AAI staff is super patient and understanding). Finally, I talked to her at approximately 4:20 P.M. We engaged in small talk for a minute or two so I did not immediately realize it was "the call."
She then said, "I have a little guy I would like to talk to you about." I couldn't believe it. Because of the delay in talking to Annise, I was actually pretty calm (for me anyway) when I got the news. The phone jack in my office does not work anymore so I was using the phone in my co-worker's office. Her computer was acting whacky (of course) so I quickly hung up and ran across the foyer to the main office so I could use a phone and computer at the same time. Luckily I have watched 4, 356 adoption videos on youtube so I knew what is needed during the call, haha! Minutes later I got see his BEAUTIFUL face. Since school was over, some of the teachers were exiting the building via the front door. One by one, my 4th grade co-workers walked by and I was able to wave them into the office. They were actually the first people to lay eyes on him!
Since Chris was away, I called his cell but was unable to reach him. I decided to go home and try again. Chris is typically pretty good about picking up his phone so I was getting frustrated. He finally called back. He had decided to read his book and sit by the pool after his conference was over. His damn ringer was still silenced. He saw that I had called 20 times so he immediately called me back. He could not believe the news either. I f/w him the emails from Annise and he was getting frustrated because the internet service at the hotel was spotty and he was having difficulty opening the docs up. He was able to see A's pics which was the most important thing! I printed out his pics and then began my tour around town. I stopped by a few houses: my parents, some of the aunties, etc. My SIL, BIL, niece and nephew live across the way so I also had them come over to see his picture too.
So, what I learned that day was "the call" does not always happen the way you envision it to, the way it happens a lot in the youtube videos.
So, the most frequently asked questions I get are, "When do you meet him?" and "What happens next?" We are currently waiting to receive notification of the first court date and will most likely get this info next week. During the first court date, the birth parent/family member appears in court (in relinquishment cases), or the judge reviews the file (in cases of abandonment). After this court case clears, they will schedule the court date of the adoptive parents. At this time, our agency estimates that we will probably travel in late July to attend court and meet our child. Three months is a long time to wait, but unfortunately this is the way it is.
After we pass court, we will return home from ET and wait for our case to be submitted and cleared by the U.S. Embassy. Once this occurs, we will be able to travel back to ET, obtain A's U.S. passport and Visa, and return home with him!! This will occur approximately 8 weeks after our our first trip, so most likely in mid to late September. Once again, nothing is set in stone and there is variability among cases. This timeline is also assuming everything clears along the way. As we receive more info in the coming weeks, we will have a better estimate!