Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Call!

Is there such thing as love at first sight?--by Lisa Osborn

On Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at 11:06 am, I got "the call" at work. My husband, Don, and I were fairly confident we were going to get the referral during the week because we had seen the information change on the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) website on Monday the 23rd. However, we weren't certain what day it would be. I had it in my mind that there would be a preliminary call from Gladney to determine who should be notified first, and what numbers to call. Well, much to my surprise, there wasn't a preliminary call. When I saw a number on caller ID coming in from New York City, and heard Andrea Yonai's voice on the other end, it was the real deal. I can't describe the feeling of hearing Andrea say, "Lisa, I have your referral. I am looking at a picture of a beautiful little girl."Overall, I remained fairly calm and didn't cry too much. I was shaking like a leaf clinging to a tree. During the call, I asked many questions to learn as much as I could about the baby. However, the information Andrea had in English was very limited. Oh, how frustrating to want to know so much, but to walk away with so little. However, I had to remind myself there will always be questions--most that won't ever be answered. Anyway, Andrea told me as much as she could and I cherished each word she said. There was about a 90 minute lapse between when I got the call, and then saw Lindy's face for the first time. During our journey I have looked at so many referral pictures, so I wasn't really sure how I pictured her. Would she be chubby? Would she be petite? Would she have that crazy hair that sticks up everywhere? Would she be bald? I had wondered how I would react, and whether I would experience the amazing love at first sight so many women undergo when they see their child for the first time, no matter how they look. When I first saw her picture, I was speechless. I just stared. I don't remember my thoughts because I was captivated by her big, beautiful eyes. Then I came out of my trance and kept thinking, "this is my daughter, this is my daughter, this is my daughter." Does love at first sight exist? Yes, yes it does.

Don and I had told ourselves we weren't going to tell anyone about the referral until we had our consultation with a pediatrician specializing in international adoptions (from Dr. Heidi's group in Houston). However, upon seeing her beautiful face and learning about her, we knew she was our daughter and not just a referral we could accept or decline. Therefore, we chose to share her pictures with friends and family prior to the consultation.

That night we celebrated this blessed event by going out for none other than Chinese food. I know I didn't eat much, but Chinese food never tasted better.

While you are waiting you play the scene over and over in your head, but it doesn't always turn out as you picture it. My biggest piece of advice to those waiting is to be prepared. I recommend having a list of questions anywhere you think you may be when you get the call. There are lots of great questions floating around out there. The call goes pretty fast. Ours was about 11 minutes with questions. I also recommend you think about how you are going to share the information with your immediate family. I wish I would've taken the time to conference Don in on the call so that he could experience hearing it firsthand. I have heard of some families who wait until everyone is present before looking at the referral pictures the first time. If you plan to videotape or take pictures, of course that takes additional coordination. If you plan to share your referral via email, I recommend you write the bulk of the detail up ahead of time, keep it in draft form, and fill in the blanks when you are ready to share. If you plan to consult with a pediatrician dealing with international adoptions, do your homework ahead of time and be prepared to act immediately. True, it is another expense among many, but we found it to be very beneficial.

Everyone has their own comfort level and personal style with how they approach the call and the days after. It is a sweet time. There will be laughter and there will be tears. Remember as much of it as you can and ENJOY IT!!!

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