It started with an email.
The agency we used for Mari's adoption was working with two local expectant parents who were considering adoption. Because of some of the significant challenges in this couple's life, none of the families in the agency's pool were comfortable being shown to them. So the agency was taking the unusual (for them) step of reaching out to some of its old clients to see if they could gather some potential adoptive parents for them to consider.
I read the message right as I was heading out the door for a run, expecting to brush it off. Instead it stopped me in my tracks. Something about it felt...familiar, almost.
I chalked up the feeling to having not read the email closely enough. Surely there was some factor I'd missed that would make it absurd for us to even consider. But all through my run it wouldn't leave my mind. Once home, I thrust my iPod into Todd's hands, the email opened on the tiny screen. "Just read this," I said, with no preamble. "Then tell me what you think."
A few minutes later he looked up at me. "I think this is exactly why we do adoption," he said quietly.
That evening I wrote back to the social worker. "We're interested in talking to you more," I told her. Even with that noncommital wording I hesitated for a long time before clicking "send". We're just not the sort of people for whom things happen out of the blue. It must be foolish to think we might possibly meet this couple's needs, be part of this child's life.
The next day, hidden in a back bedroom of a friend's home while playgroup burbled through the rest of the house, I listened to the social worker tell me more about the expectant parents and the heartbreaking, frustrating circumstances into which their baby was being born. The challenges were big and any open adoption relationship would need a lot of support to be healthy. I understood, on some level, why it had felt like too much for those waiting parents already in the agency's pool. But, still, it felt familiar to me. Not scary. In many ways, it paralleled aspects of our family's existing adoptions. These were challenges we knew (or thought we knew).
Because of those parallels, the social worker thought we and the expectant parents would be a good fit for each other. If we agreed, we could quickly write up a new introduction letter that she'd give to the couple, along with our old profile materials they had on file from Mari's adoption. But we needed to move quickly and we needed to be sure--the couple had already selected one set of prospective adoptive parents only to have them become overwhelmed and decide they couldn't continue. She did not want to put them through that again.
This time I didn't hesitate.