Normally, I would be on my way home from work, but I needed to do some shopping for an upcoming trip I had planned with my husband, Matthew. We hadn’t been anywhere together since our one-year wedding anniversary, so we were both looking forward to a break from work and Winnipeg’s cold winter weather.
I left the mall empty-handed. All the retail outlets were focused on Christmas and not winter-cruise wear.
Little did I know that God had much more planned for us than this winter getaway.
When I returned to my car, I noticed that I had missed several calls while shopping. The call display said “unknown.” Not recognizing the number, I shrugged it off and on I went to my next stop before heading home.
En route, my phone rang again. This time, I recognized the number.
It was our counsellor, Kim, from Adoption Options Manitoba Inc. Matt and I had applied there two years prior. It was probably time for our annual update, I thought to myself, and Kim needed to ask us to send in some paperwork.
The real reason was the furthest thing from my mind.
Getting “the call” is something you dream about after you’ve completed your adoption paperwork and have been approved to be in what they call “the box”—the place where they pull the files of prospective parents to present to birth parents. In the days after being approved, every time your phone rings, you wonder, Is this it?
If you have been waiting for a while, like we had, you start to wonder if it will ever happen. You like to think you’re secure in just allowing things to proceed, however they are meant to be. But it’s always there, just lurking under the surface. The longer you wait, the more you start to wonder if it will ever happen.
We had waited years. During that time, we had been through several application renewals. Once we even got an inquiry that got us a little closer to being considered by birth parents. But we were coming up on another annual update and questioned whether we had the mental strength to renew our file again.
The Path Chosen
While there were other avenues for adoption, we chose this particular journey because we wanted a local, open adoption. We valued the opportunity, if chosen for adoption, to build a relationship with the birth parents and the openness of the decision process, even if it meant that things might take longer. Even if it meant never being chosen by birth parents.
A close friend of mine had confided in me just two weeks earlier that she would be willing to be a surrogate if we wished. I was and continue to be deeply moved by this completely unexpected gesture. But ultimately, I declined.
I remember how clear everything became in that moment as I said to my dear friend that it felt as if this path with Adoption Options was where we were called to be. If things were meant to happen, they would, and we just needed to be patient. And if it wasn’t meant to be, we were going to be OK with that, too.
A huge part of my comfort in all of this was knowing that it was in God’s hands.
The conversation with my friend made me more aware of that than ever. Not that God would make it happen, but that God’s plan for us would come together as He intended. When I included expanding our family in my prayers, it was always to ask God to help me be accepting of whatever that meant for us.
It’s a Girl
Fast forward to two weeks following that conversation and that Friday night call I mindlessly answered while out running errands.
I answered the call and Kim asked, in the most nonchalant tone, “What are you doing?” Later, we would learn this was her thing. Start the conversation off casually even though she was bursting with news.
Still thinking this was just a routine check-in, I responded, “Just driving home after running some errands.”
The tone of the call quickly changed as Kim continued, “I think you need to pull over.”
As the realization started to kick in and the tears started flowing, I asked, “Is this ‘the call’? ”
I pulled into the nearest parking lot and, sure enough, this was the day we had been praying for and dreaming about for years.
I scribbled down the bits of information Kim was able to provide and the first details about our baby. There was a birth mother who had chosen us to be the family for her baby girl. Elliana was due to arrive in just a few short weeks.
Those next weeks were a blur. I made it home and somehow relayed the details to my husband—who was worried I had bad news because I was crying so hard by that point. There were meetings with the birth mom, work arrangements to make and more.
All the adjustments to our home and lives seemed insignificant the moment all our prayers were answered and that little girl was placed in our arms a mere 20 days later.
No one can ever prepare to hear that birth parents have chosen you to care for their most precious gift. It is a moment we will never forget and will always be a part of our daughter’s beginnings.
We have so much love, respect and gratefulness for her birth parents for making this difficult decision, the most unselfish decision anyone can ever make.
We give thanks to God for the relationship we have with our daughter’s birth mother, which continues to grow. When our daughter is old enough to understand, she will always know how loved she is and how this decision was made out of the greatest love for her.
We are blessed to have this journey be a part of our story. And I am continually amazed at others who share their adoption stories with us. It is such a gift.
Trina Gallop Blank is the director of communications and resource generation at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in Winnipeg.
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