So the phone never rang on that Tuesday. It rang on Wednesday, and it told us we’d have to wait a week to find out whether they were going to link us with that particular child. They insisted it was purely an administrative hold-up. That they were still viewing the match extremely positively. But, nonetheless, doubt started to creep in. We automatically thought the worst and imagined them lining up other families to care for the child we were now, unadvisedly, thinking of as our own.
But on the following Tuesday at 6pm, I got an email from the family finder:
“I am pleased to be able to report that we had our linking meeting this afternoon and you are our chosen family for X*.’
It’s hard to describe what I felt at that moment. I was at work so it was kind of weird. I think I just felt relieved and numb. I called my partner quickly and told her the news – she was instantly overjoyed and overwhelmed. She spent most of that night crying actually. But I still felt quite detached from the situation, on account of having spent the last week backtracking in an attempt to preserve my own sanity. In the days that followed many people cried on me, upon hearing the news. But still, nothing from me.
Days later, I was watching Babymama on DVD, starring the awesome Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. There’s a moment in the film where a guy says to Tina: “I remember when I was told I was was going to become a parent. I’ll never take it for granted again.” And that was it. Inexplicably, I was off. Tears of relief, of happiness, of fear and of disbelief. It finally hit home.
And then, in the days that followed, it got more and more overwhelming. We found out that they’d lost some of our paperwork and were going to have to move our panel date. But far from delaying the process, it just meant that we would have our panel and the child’s panel all in one day. They thought introductions should take about a week (!) and that this child might be living with us in around two months’ time.
It’s happening incredibly quickly but nobody, including us, sees any good reason to hang around. We’ve had crisis talks with work. Excited calls with family. There’s so much to do – and we haven’t even met our child yet. It’s so overwhelming that’s it difficult to even articulate all the thoughts that are rushing around our heads. We’re saying goodbye to life as we know it. Looking forward to what will be. Terrified of all the things that could go wrong. Determined to make sure it all goes right. Suffice to say, everyday is a heady mixture of excitement and panic.
Underlying everything is the feeling that this is meant to be in some way. It’s what the social workers seem to think – and I now can’t imagine it any other way either. We are going to be parents. I’d love to talk more about the special little person in question, but I can’t really do that here. Our protective instincts are already formidable.
We had a takeaway the other night because we couldn’t be arsed to cook – what with everything going on and all. And this picture was my actual fortune cookie. It actually said that! It’s not wrong.
*Now, our child is not really called X. But I’m not about to start disclosing their identity online. I’m not as stupid as I look.