I am a planner. You know the type. My calendar is color-coded months in advance. I never accept a last-minute dinner invitation–because it isn’t on my schedule.
Adoption was no different. I read every piece of adoption literature I could find, and set our family’s course. Then I watched, “Paperwork in the fall, baby in the spring,” melt before my eyes as Guatemala changed its adoption regulations. Baby Isaac made it home just in time for Christmas. What did that teach me? That I needed better plans!
That spring, my husband, Jarrod, and I began the process to adopt again. This time, everything went according to schedule, and in July we got the call telling us that Isaac would soon have a younger brother, Elliott.
When we drove to our agency to sign the papers for Elliott, my plans fell apart. On the desk was a photo of a handsome three-year-old. I snuck a glimpse, and the agency worker flipped it around and asked if we knew anyone interested in adopting an older child. The boy’s large, dark eyes seemed filled with sadness and longing–but I also detected a twinkle in them. I felt that he and I were locked in a stare, communicating directly. I returned the photo and tried to concentrate on signing the forms, but I couldn’t forget those eyes.
I hopped in the car, looked at Jarrod (my sensible half), and waited for the, “You can’t adopt every child in Guatemala speech.” It never came. We went over the million reasons why adopting a third child might be a bad idea, but kept coming back to the fact that we believed him to be our son.
When discussing which of our new baby’s birth names to keep, Jarrod remarked, “I love Luis and Estuardo, but I’ve always felt that our son’s name should be Gustavo.”
Later that night my world stopped turning. I opened an e-mail from my agency, featuring the toddler in the photo. His name? Gustavo.
The next few weeks were a whirlwind. We were excited that our family was growing, and scared that it was happening so fast. We were elated to hear that our agency deemed us capable of adopting this older child, then crushed to hear that another family was also interested in him. After getting the call that he was ours, we assembled the paperwork for a new dossier in less than a week.
Then we waited for our new baby, and for his big brother, who was approaching his fourth birthday. Isaac waited, too, though he wasn’t old enough to know what was going on. I wondered how he’d feel if he could understand that he’d soon be a middle child.
But mostly we waited and watched the plan unfold. It wasnt our original plan. But it was someone’s plan. And we couldn’t wait to see how it would turn out.