One Saturday this past January my wife, Stacey, her parents, and I were at home, watching the Packers not play any defense. We’d just put 20-month-old Slaid to bed, and I was fixing up one of my finest bowls of guacamole.
Stacey’s phone rang. She looked up from the book she was reading (not a huge football fan) and asked me to see who was calling, since the phone was near the kitchen. I told her it was a number with a 979 area code. I didn’t think anything of it, but she immediately made the connection. The only contact we had in that area code was our adoption agency. We had recently begun working with them again to adopt a second child.
We listened on speaker to the message from Karla, a counselor who works with prospective mothers. It was brief: “Give me a call as soon as you can.” Stacey was shaking as she called Karla back. Karla explained that a familiar birth mother had just delivered a baby girl at a hospital in Brenham (where Slaid was born). Somehow, we already knew the story that Karla was going to tell us.
The woman was Slaid’s birth mother, Ángela. After muddling through a language barrier, Karla had made the connection to us and asked Ángela if she would like us to be the adoptive parents of this new baby. Karla told us the language barrier ceased to matter when Ángela’s eyes lit up. No need to look at other couples’ profile books.
How familiar everything was the next day — Ángela, Brenham hospital, the same nurses, even the same hospital room, and lunch at the same restaurant.
But there were also some huge differences this time.
Slaid and Ángela met for the first time since he was born. Slaid was shy at first, but having seen Ángela’s picture so many times, he warmed up quickly. The meeting stirred something in all of us, and those feelings were compounded by meeting our daughter for the first time. Later in the day, Slaid and I went to hang out with Ángela before she went home. We played some games and Slaid bounced around. It was awesome. He was happy to get his first hug and kiss from his birth mother before we left.
Our friend, Blanca joined us at the hospital. She was there to serve as an interpreter, which she did wonderfully, allowing us to connect with Ángela in new ways. Blanca also brought her sense of humor and ability to relax any situation — perfect for the circumstances, particularly for Ángela. So different from Slaid’s birth, when my ninth-grade Spanish wasn’t enough for the situation.
And Stella. What a perfect, happy little girl. Despite weighing less than seven pounds, she could command the room with a grin, a shift of her brow, a soul-warming stare, or one of her large growing repertoire of noises. (Slaid and I may have a new bandmate.)
I had had some unspoken fears as we reentered the process. What would the next adoption be like? Would it even happen? Would it be tough on our family? It’s hard to explain the magic of that call and the days that followed, but we felt grateful and surrounded by love. Joy was an easy choice for Stella’s middle name.