This is a story about how small the world is, and about how the smallest kindness can sometimes be the thing that keeps you sane.
It was the summer of 2015. For months, we'd been waiting with no news about Baby Girl J. We knew she was ours, but we had no idea when she would finally finally get to come home to us. The waiting was interminable, but the uncertainty was worse...
You see, there should have been no uncertainty. We had official records on Baby J--where she was, how she was doing, her history. But then something happened. Starting in March of 2015, I had gotten into the habit of emailing our agency every other week to check status. I wanted to stay on their radar, since they were the only ones with the ability to email ICAB and say "can you tell us what's going on?" Typically, I'd get a "no news" message and go about my day. But in June of 2015, the messages changed.
I had requested the ability to Skype with Baby J. It's allowed as long as the caregivers have the technology available, and many of them do. So the Skype request was part of my regular check-in ritual. In response to one particular check-in I received an email included the following:
...unfortunately, it won't be possible for you to Skype with Baby J, as the foster family caring for her lacks the technology...
Um, what? Everything we ever read about Baby J told us she was in an orphanage. Not just an orphanage, but an orphanage on a hospital campus, where she could be treated for her medical concerns. A foster home? What happened? What's going on???
I emailed the questions to my agency, and the response I got was, in my view, unacceptable. There was no urgency in it; no clarifying information; nothing. Just "we'll get back to you."
I was beside myself. I turned to a private group of adoptive parents for some prayers and support--had anyone else experienced situations where their child had been moved into foster care while their adoption was being finalized? No one had heard of such a thing. I got more nervous, which was maddening because there was nothing I could do.
One of the moms messaged me privately asking where my daughter was supposed to have been living, and I told her. That was a big day for providence: July 28, 2015. This wonderful woman connected me with another woman, and she saved my sanity. She was in the Philippines with her own adopted daughter, bringing treats and supplies to orphanages around the country. It just happened that the orphanage NEXT on her list was my daughter's orphanage.
My request of her was simple: would she see if Baby J is there? Could she just tell me if Baby J was doing alright? It's a big orphanage (70ish kids!) and honestly, I had no idea if she'd actually find my baby or not, but she promised to try.
She did better than try.
The following Monday, I received pictures in my inbox of my sweet Baby J, smiling and happy, and right where she should be. Pictures of this wonderful woman who barely knew me, loving on my little girl in my place. Pictures that taught me the first thing I ever learned about Baby J: she loves spaghetti and chocolate cake! Oh, how I cried!
It would be two more months before I would finally be able to put my own arms around my sweet baby girl. And it would be another two weeks before my agency confirmed for me what I already knew--that my daughter was where she should be, and that the confusion was merely a mistake on their part. They were talking to me about a different family's child.
Frustrating in and of itself. But all those frustrations and countless others were made easier to bear by the incredible, simple kindness of a woman I may never meet, who understood what a little bit of knowledge can mean to a waiting mother.
It's an awesome thing when you can actually see the world getting smaller right before your eyes. That's what I think about when I remember this moment in our adoption journey. That, and how the power of women working together never ceases to amaze me.