Tuesday, August 30, 2011. Late evening.
The extra-large purple LL Bean duffel bag on wheels is sitting in the nursery where it has remained (fully packed with all things newborn baby....diapers, onesies, swaddling blankets, pacifiers, car seat base, etc.) since early March. Since our other adoption fell through.
Chris and I never had the heart to unpack the carefully packed duffel bag once we found out that we would not be going to Arizona on March 11 to meet the little baby we thought and hoped would be joining our family.
So there it sat. Waiting for another chance to be used.
And now we arrive home after the madness of this evening: desperate calls from T at our adoption agency...learning that we might be parents to a baby born today in FL...being told that we'd have to get to Orlando tomorrow...telling T at the adoption agency that I'll be heading down to FL...the scramble at my mother-in-law's to get me plane tickets, a rental car and hotel reservations (and having to explain to the hotel that we have no idea how long we'll be there - possibly two weeks or three)...telling our families.
It's all a blur.
Now Chris is unpacking, checking the contents and re-packing the extra-large purple duffel bag.
"I just want to make sure that we didn't forget anything when we packed this back in February."
My husband is a very smart man.
My tired brain is spinning as I try to get my own bag packed. Florida in August. It's going to be hotter than hell. Tank tops. Lots of tank tops. And shorts. And a short black skirt. I try to pack neatly and hope that I've made sensible choices, but figure that I'm not going to a wilderness and can just buy everything I need when I'm down there.
"This is so crazy," I think to myself and apparently I say this out loud as well because I hear Chis pipe up from the nursery, "Yeah, it is."
Soon we're in bed. Staring at the ceiling. Holding hands. Little bursts of slightly hysterical giggling erupt out of us from time to time. And just as many bursts of fear and doubt. What if I get down there and this falls through? How can we go through that again?
Somehow we fall asleep.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Chris drives me to the airport. I know it's killing him that he can't go with me right now. He's finishing the last two weeks at his long-time job and preparing to start his new job at a new company. There's no way he can come with me. Assuming that the papers are signed tomorrow and this little baby becomes ours, Chris will fly down on Friday to spend the weekend. And then, depending upon how long I'll have to be in FL (because this is an inter-state adoption there are papers that have to be filed in courts in both RI and FL...it takes time for the various judges to sign off on these things. The adoption agency tells us I could be there up to three weeks.) he'll come back down the next weekend.
We say our goodbyes curbside with a long intense hug.
I head to the counter to check in and check the extra-large purple duffel bag and my big suitcase. Then it's off to the gate. My heart is racing. I'm sweating.
Finally I'm sitting in a chair at the gate with the other passengers waiting to board. Can't read because I'm too keyed up (I usually pass the time in an airport reading) to focus. Can't watch the tv because it's some moronic morning show and I'm too keyed up to focus. Can't do anything except worry about what's going to happen when I get to FL.
Will this all fall apart again?
At last the flight is boarding.
Just as I'm getting near the front of the line my cell phone rings. It's a FL extension. I fumble quickly to answer. It's E from the Florida adoption agency. I hop out of line to take the call.
"Hi Jennifer," says E, "I just need to tell you to not get on the plane."
My heart drops to my feet.
Oh, God. Not again.
"It turns out that your BCI check is expired."
An all too brief sigh of relief is replaced by utter panic.
"What???" I gasp. "I don't understand, we just had our finger prints and everything re-done for our home study renewal. Our social worker told us that everything was all up-to-date. I mean...I'm supposed to be getting on the plane right now."
"I'm sorry, but it looks like your BCI just expired. Without a current BCI we can't move forward."
"So," I say, trying to collect myself, "what exactly does that mean?"
"Well, it means that you need to go get your BCI check done today and then you can come down."
"Oh, God. OK. Honestly, I don't even remember what that is or how to do that," I say, hearing the panic in my voice. "Can you help me with this? Let me know where I'm supposed to go and what I'm supposed to do?"
"Sure, let me get the information and address for you and I'll call you back. Actually, I can text it to you."
I dash to the guy taking the plane tickets and say, "I have to get off this flight immediately. Where should I do that?"
He directs me to the other gate agent a few feet away standing at the counter.
She is very petite with short whitish hair. If I had to guess, I'd say she's in her early fifties.
"I have to get off this flight," I gasp. I must look pretty panicky because she - Carol according to her name badge - asks me if I'm OK.
The whole story quickly comes tumbling out of me - adoption, expired form, having to get to Providence and back, and still make it to Orlando today otherwise we might not be able to adopt this baby. She makes numerous sympathetic noises as I'm talking and emits a number of "omigods", but I can see that she's sincere and obviously concerned for me. Carol kindly checks every available flight to Orlando. Luckily there are seats on every flight.
"I'm just going to put a great big alert about your situation on your reservation. When you get back from Providence just go right to the ticket counter and they'll get you on the next available flight with no hassle. Your luggage is already on this one so it should be there when you get down there."
I thank her profusely and run though the airport to the taxi stand.
"Where are we going?" says the taxi driver, a woman about my age.
"Oh, God," I say fumbling with my phone trying to retrieve the address, "I have to go get this BCI thing in Providence and - "
Before I can even finish my sentence the driver says, "Oh, sure, I know right where that is."
"Yep. Have to get that done myself every year t drive the cab."
"Oh, thank God something is going right today."
She gives me a questioning look in the rearview mirror. So, of course, in my agitated state the whole story comes tumbling out.
"Don't worry," says the driver, "I'll get you there, drop you off and if there's no parking I'll just drive around the block a few times while you're in there. We'll get you back to the airport lickety split."
She really says "lickety split."
The driver chats amiably with me. I hope that I'm actually answering her coherently because all I can think is that I hope this doesn't go horribly south if there's a massive line at the BCI check place and I can't get down to Florida in time.
Miraculously, there is no line. I rush to the window, thrust my driver's license through the little slot and say desperately to the guy behind the glass, "Do you know how long this will take?"
"Bout 5 minutes," and walks away with my i.d. before I can say anything else.
"Oh, thank God!" I say when he returns 3 minutes later with the completed form, "would it be possible for you to fax it to this number?" I thrust a piece of paper through the little slot in the window.
"Um, we really don't do that, ma'am."
"Sir, please! The thing is - " and I launch into the whole story about having to have the form faxed or not being able to potentially adopt the little newborn girl waiting for me in FL.
I must look either very desperate or very crazy because he says, "Come on back" and buzzes me through the door.
He hands me off to a lady who hasn't yet heard my tale of woe so I repeat it while she's doing the faxing on an antiquated looking fax machine. Seems like it's taking forever, but finally a beep and a receipt slowly prints out from the machine. She hands me the receipt and the original form. I thank her profusely and dash out of the building praying that the taxi hasn't been driven off by the parking police, but there she is right outside the building with her blinkers on.
"All set?" the driver asks me.
"All set," I say and lean back to try to get my breathing to normalize.
When we arrive back at the airport the driver says, "Not bad - 36 minutes door to door."
"You are awesome," I reply and give her a ridiculously big tip. "Thank you!"
I dash into the airport and rush to the ticket counter. Again, miraculously, no line. And true to Carol's word there's no hassle with me getting on a later flight to Orlando.
An hour later I'm finally sitting on a mostly full flight bound for Orlando taking deep breaths and trying to stop my hands from shaking. We're just about to take off.
"If there's a Jennifer W--- on the plane, please press your call button," a female flight attendant's voice calls out over the intercom. 'Jennifer W---- if you're on the plane please press your call button."
Oh, God. What now?
My hand still shaking I press the call button. And there running down the aisle is little Carol, the lovely gate agent who listened to my story and made sure that I'd have no problem getting on this later flight. She reaches my row and says with a concerned look, "Did you get the form you needed???"
"Yes. Thank you so much!"
"And is it a little boy or girl that you're going to get?"
She gives me a huge hug. I hug her right back and give her a kiss on the cheek. "Thank you again."
"Good luck!!!" she says with a huge grin and then hustles off of the plane. The door closes immediately behind her.
We start for the runway. We head to Orlando.