Sean O’Donnell was one phone call away from an instantaneous change in his life. Because it had happened once before did not seem to matter. Here’s why.
We got the kid. We got the kid. I have to keep saying it because I still don’t fully believe it. I’m in shock. It doesn’t seem real. It happened so fast I keep expecting someone from the agency to call and say, “Just kidding!” or “We changed our minds.”
When you decide to go through the adoption process one thing you quickly learn is patience. Adoption is not something that happens overnight. From start to finish it can take months or years. There are parenting classes, FBI background checks, personal references, home visits, mountains of paperwork — and all this before you even enter into the matching process which in itself is its own little world of frustrating dead ends, unanswered inquiries and lost emails.
But when it finally does happen, it happens fast. One minute you’re in the car driving to West Virginia wondering if the shirt you picked out will sway the committee in your favor and three hours later you’re in IKEA trying to decide which bed to buy for the 5 year-old you’ve never met who’s moving in to your house next week. The reality slowly begins to hit you twenty-four hours later when you find yourself in Target making a scene because they don’t have any monogrammed letter “E” Christmas stockings.
The meeting. We didn’t know what to expect. When we adopted our son Chris everything had been decided without us being present — a group of people we didn’t know held a meeting and then five weeks later we were on a plane to Oregon to meet our son. But this time it would be different. We were to be interviewed face-to-face by a committee, possibly in the presence of a second family that was also being considered. I was a nervous wreck. The most that I could do to prepare was choose the right outfit and practice my smile in the mirror.
The committee was made up of five women. They were incredibly friendly, making us feel welcome and relaxed from the moment we walked in the door. I don’t remember what they asked us — there might have been no questions. I think we just talked. We told them about our lives and they told us about the boy who, two hours later, would be our son. At the end of the meeting one of the women asked if we would mind waiting in the lobby while they talked. Clearly this was a good sign. But still, nothing in life is certain but death and taxes.
Two years ago it was just Todd and I — complete, but not quite. Then the universe gave us Chris. He changed our lives; he made us complete. And now along comes Elijah. A little boy to complete our already complete family.
It’s hard to describe the moment when they tell you. You hear the words but they don’t seem real. This thing you’ve been waiting for your whole life — this thing that has already happened once can’t be happening again because no one ever wins the lottery twice in one lifetime.
Except for us.