"Where Were You When You Got The Call?"

It's the moment you'll never forget. Here adoptive parents share the story of that all-important phone call...

Two prospective adoptive parents listen to a phone call that they received a match.

The Best of All Adoption Situations

On a day like any other, I had been at work an hour and was on my second cup of coffee when the phone rang. Our social worker said, “Susan, we have a baby referral for you!” In my most professional voice, I answered, “Will you please hold a minute?” And then I ran like a maniac into the office of my favorite co-worker, crying and laughing simultaneously, barely getting out the words, I HAVE A BABY! The whole office erupted in cheers and tears. I will never forget that incredible moment.
— Susan, Brooklyn, New York

I received “The Call” at the school where I teach third grade. Most people had already gone home for the day, and I ran frantically around the building looking for someone to tell. But I made up for it when my daughter’s referral picture came to the school. The delivery man was mobbed by teachers yelling, “It’s here! It’s here!” When he found out the story, he was a very good sport and even stayed to see her picture.
— Deb, Indiana

I was at work in a busy beauty salon when the foster care placement worker called. She explained that the agency needed a placement for a 19-day-old baby boy for about one month. I told her that we were traveling to Florida in two weeks and really couldn’t take a newborn. She persisted, and reluctantly I said yes. She hustled him right over—a beautiful, 14-pound, blue-eyed baby. “I couldn’t tell you this over the phone,” she said, “but he could be freed for adoption in seven days.” My heart nearly came out of my chest! The call telling us that he could legally be our son came a week later. The social worker still ribs me about it, saying that if she had not been so persistent, we might have missed out. Needless to say, we never made it to Florida, but what a gift we got!
— Darlene, North Carolina

I answered the phone at work and finally recognized the south Chicago accent on the other end of the line to be that of our agency liaison. The rest of the conversation is a blur, but somehow I understood her to say that Jeff and I had a six-week-old son! The following day, Jeff and I met at a coffeehouse halfway between our offices to open the FedEx package containing our son’s photo. What a glorious moment! Decades earlier my mother had told me where babies came from, but on that day I learned that some babies come via FedExand I wouldnt have it any other way!
— Marcy, Chicago, Illinois

I was in my classroom, teaching, when the office called me on the intercom. They said that my husband called and I immediately thought that something terrible happened since he never calls me during school. He told me that we received our referral, even though we weren’t expecting it for two more months. I immediately began to cry in front of my fourth grade students. They asked what was wrong, and when I told them, they also started crying. My colleagues took my class for the rest of the day so I could meet my husband at the adoption agency. I will never forget that day! — Maureen Ann

[Planning for “the Call”]

Here in Maine I’ve learned that the only way I can get any winter exercise is to walk the halls of my school where I teach. So on Friday afternoon, March 8, that’s what I was doing when the secretary of the school called me to the phone. I had been waiting so long (including a failed adoption) that I half expected to hear bad news from our agency. When the director informed me of my match with a beautiful 2-month-old, Vietnamese baby girl I slumped to the floor and cried. Then, of course, I ran to the car and began calling family and friends immediately. After calling home to tell my Father of my wonderful news he admonished me to not use the cell phone while I was driving in such an excited state. “You’re a mother now! Start behaving like one!” My daughter, Mykayla, has just turned three and joy she brings to me and our family still amazes us.
— Marisa, Maine

It was 11:45 a.m. and I had just returned to my office from picking up some lunch. I noticed my phone’s “you have a message” light was on and dialed our voice mail system. I heard our social worker’s frantic assistant on the line. “Bill, this is Katey. Where are you guys? I just left a message at your house, and on Betsy’s cell. Please call me as soon as you get this message.”
I dialed the number and Katey picked up. “Hi, it’s Bill. I got your message.” “Ok, can you hold on a minute please?” Hold on a minute…?! “OK, sure.” Ten, fifteen very long seconds go by. “OK, Bill, you still there?” “Yep.” “OK, where have you guys been? I tried your house, and Betsy’s cell, too. Tell her that you have a daughter and she’s from Hubei province and her birthday is January 10. Referrals will be coming on Monday.” “Great! Is that all?” “That’s all I know right now.” “OK, thanks a lot! Bye!” CLICK.
Oh my god, I have a daughter. Needless to say, my lunch got cold as I began my round of calling.
— William, Pennsylvania

When You Least Expect It

My husband and I were on vacation in Florida, and we had just put on our snorkeling gear when our cell phone rang. Our social worker told us she had a referral for us and would give us the details when we returned home in a few days. All we wanted to do was jump on a plane and head home to hear about our child—but as we were stuck waiting for a ferry on an uninhabited island, we had to find a way to pass the time. We collected three sand dollars, one for my husband, one for me, and one for our baby. Then we drew in the sand Boy or Girl? August 16, and we took a picture for our baby’s lifebook. It was a wonderful day.
— Diane, Jessup, Maryland

On the day our sons birth mother went into labor, our phone lines were cut accidentally by the cable company. What a surprise it was when our doorbell rang at 2:00 a.m. and there stood our adoption counselor with the good news! Ryan was born at 3:24 a.m., and we arrived at the hospital in time to see the nurse give him his first bath.
— Joe and Jan, Chesterfield, Virginia

We returned from a vacation to find a message from our adoption agency. I casually said that I would return their call the next day, as it was after 5:00 p.m. My wife would have none of it! She made me call because she was too nervous to do it herself. When she heard me say that we couldn’t meet until the next day, she grabbed the phone and shouted, “Come on! I’m in labor here!” She made plans for us to meet our caseworker immediately. Needless to say, we were grateful to see the pictures of our daughter, Julia Grace (now three years old). What a day!
— Bob, Alpharetta, Georgia

We were checking into a hotel for our 10-year college reunion. I had given the agency rep our itinerary—and it paid off! He gave us the basic information on the phone and told us to check our e-mail for a picture of our daughter. In the hotel business center, we saw that first precious picture of Savannah. I printed copies to show to all our friends that weekend. What made it even more exciting was that my husband and I had met in that same town. Our family was created there!
— Jennifer, Largo, Florida

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I was home in bed with a severe flu, so I turned off the phone ringer and went to sleep. When my husband got home from work, he listened to our messages and heard the most important call weve ever missed! It was from the birth grandmother, telling us that the birth mom had gone into labor five-and-a-half weeks early. Our precious son had been born at 3:00 that afternoon. My husband rushed up the stairs, woke me up, and asked, “Are you ready to be a mom?” We were with our son two days later.
— Sally, Bossier City, Louisiana

Our consultant called to let us know that we should receive our referral in two to three weeks. I was determined to be home when the long-awaited Call came, so I scheduled nothing during those three weeks. The day after the wait was up (with no referral yet), we went out with our older kids to spend the day with friends. We were sitting in Burger King, and we’d just begun eating when the phone rang. I’ll never forget the words my consultant spoke to me: Lori, she’s beautiful! I still wonder what all those people thought, seeing me standing there in the middle of Burger King crying tears of joy.
— Lori, Rockford, Michigan

We were in San Francisco for a family wedding. We had a feeling that we would receive our referral soon, so we made of point of checking for messages at home in NJ. Sure enough our agency wanted to talk to us. They overnighted our son’s picture and info to San Francisco, but the hotel did not have a VCR available. Fortunately, we were going to visit a family friend at her job at a vineyard in Sonoma County the next day. We called her at her home that night and explained our dilemma. When we arrived at the vineyard we not only got a private tour, but the use of the VCR in their conference room. We left for Russia 3 weeks later!
— Phyllis and George

Our application to adopt was approved on June 9. We were expecting to wait at least a year (public adoption) for a match, so imagine my surprise when, four days later, I came home to find 4 messages on the machine. The first was from our family worker asking that I call her. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th were all from my husband insisting that I call him first. I called him at work to learn that there was a sibling group that was going to need a very quick placement. After speaking to him, I called our advocate and learned that yes, there were two little girls in need of a home… were we interested? OF COURSE! The girls were placed in our home on June 21st and we finalized the adoption of both of our daughters on September 4th, 2002.
— Patricia

Our eldest son, Jack, was born January 8, 20 days before his due date. The night of January 7 we were having Chinese take-out for dinner with our best friends. My fortune cookie read, “You will have success in whatever you adopt.” At 4:11 a.m. the following morning my husband roused from bed to answer the phone. It was Jack’s birth mom calling to say, “Your baby boy is ready to come into this world.” Jack was born almost exactly twelve hours later. Of course, I saved the fortune.
— Elea, Washington

[Online Adoption Resources for Prospective Parents]

I was in my car on my way to work and my pager was going off every minute with a number I didn’t recognize. I didn’t have my cell phone with me, so I couldn’t attempt to return the page until I reached my office. As a Sales Executive just returning from vacation, I was certain this persistent caller was a customer who needed to speak with me immediately. Once I reached my office, it took two attempts to figure out the correct number and reach the caller. I almost fell over when the person on the other end of the phone answered “Hello, Chosen Children”. I was speechless and totally overwhelmed with joy and excitement. The day we waited so long for had finally arrived. Our beautiful baby daughter was finally here! It was a blessing I didn’t have my cell phone with me in the car that morning. I don’t think I could have taken that call from my car!
— Donna

I received “the call” in a hotel room at 1:18pm on March 18th. I was on a business trip, but was in my hotel room instead of the office because I was suffering from a severe bout of food poisoning. When my husband called with the news, I was a little incoherent. Therefore, he called me back every 15 minutes to make sure that I understood what he had told me. Finally, after a night in the local emergency department and a 3-hour drive home, I was able to celebrate with my husband over saltine crackers and a glass of chilled water.
— Lynn, Virginia

A Ray of Hope

The day after my father’s funeral, my husband and I received a call at my parent’s home, the number listed with our adoption agency as our emergency contact. Our adoption coordinator’s message—that we had been chosen by a birth family to adopt their childwas the most incredible gift our grieving family could have received. We choose to believe that upon my father’s arrival in heaven, he assisted his first grandchild in finding her way to our home and our hearts.
— Donna, Portland, Oregon

It was September 11, 2001. Stunned by the horrible events I saw unfolding on television, I wandered out to get the mail. Inside our mailbox was a package containing a videotape and medical report; our long-awaited referral from Russia had arrived. My husband and I were so numb from the days events that we had trouble processing everything. When we watched the video again the next day, we were elated and excited: This was our son! We brought him home six months later. September 11, 2001 was a dark day for us all. But my little light showed up that day to shine on us a sense of purpose and love.
— Marci, Washington

We have two children adopted from Latvia and one who was born to us, and I think The Call is similar to that moment when you see the pregnancy test turn positive. You finally know it is true—you are going to have a child—yet you know you still have a way to go until you hold that baby in your arms. I can’t even remember much about the waiting; it all fades away (sort of like the memory of childbirth pains!) once your child is with you.
— Juli McGill, Alpharetta, Georgia

I remember receiving The Call as if it was yesterday. It was March 23. I got to work late that day because I had to take my 13-year-old dog to the vet. I spent the morning crying, because I knew this would be the beginning to the end of her life. I was right, she died 1 week later. My heart began pounding when I found a message from my social worker because we had been waiting 1 1/2 months for The Call. I tried calling, but the line was busy. I called my husband, and he has also received a message, but wanted me to call her back. He said he had a good feeling about it and I should be the one to make the call. When I reached her, I couldn’t believe it. We had a travel date! I still wish my dog was here to be a part of our daughter’s life, but I know she is here in spirit, and that day is forever etched in my mind.
— Sherri, Nevada


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