Our adoption experience so far has reminded me of one thing. How desperately we want things to be right. How desperately we want to be in Gods will. How we long for confirmations that things are the way they should be. How we look for signs that give us peace and tell us “Yes, this is the right step, yes this is good.”
Most of you know that our adoptive mother picked us from a profile we had made, to give to prospective birth parents. I sent it out many times, each time with a prayer that it would be to the right person, and that somebody greater than us would make it happen, and make it be right. Part of me wishes that she would have picked us because she could just tell we would be great parents, or because we seemed so happy, or because we seem so stable. The truth is though, that’s not what jumped out at her from our profile. She didn’t pick us because we live on a farm with a large extended family. She didn’t pick us because we have fun with our kids and take them camping, or because we are so good at loving each other. She didn’t pick us because we are nice Christian people. The one thing that stood out to our child’s parent was the fact that Gene is tall.
No lie, HEIGHT is what tipped the scale in our favor.
It’s funny, because our profile was an online file on the computer, and I updated it frequently. If pictures were outdated I would stick a new one in. I took stuff out that seemed cheesy. One afternoon I was looking at our profile and thought to myself “You know, in these pictures you can’t really tell that Gene is tall, but when people meet him, that’s what people notice first. So as an afterthought at the “About Gene” page I wrote this: “You can’t tell in the pictures but Gene is 6’5”, and when we go out together people always ask him if he plays basketball”. That was the sign that birth mom received that gave her pause, gave her peace and said “Everything will be ok”. Because you see, the birth father is also 6’5”.
Fast forward to the birthday, and in meeting lots of members of the biological family, the theme was evident, that even in the midst of pain, these people were looking for comfort and hope that we were the right people to parent their little girl. Is it coincidence that Gene & birth dad “Could practically be twins” and that they “Walk and talk exactly the same” or that I “Look so Italian, I could fit right in at family gathering?” some of this stuff made me laugh and yet I get it.
When I arrived at the hospital on Saturday Morning (Day 3) I washed my hands to start care time with baby Allie (what we had called her up until that time) Birth mom came for a visit too, and we took turns feeding the baby, and then I told her if at all possible I would really like if she could finalize a name for the baby. She said, “Oh, yeah we were talking yesterday and he (birth dad) really wants to name her Jena.” When she said that, I gasped out loud. Because this name, was not just any name. This name had made it onto my short list of names for all my children. Jena has been a candidate for a girl’s name in each of my pregnancies. I never thought of it with this child, it wasn’t on my radar. I was blown away that we would be so lucky enough to have a name for the baby that I won’t just tolerate, but actually love.
And that’s how baby Jena was named. The OBGYN came into the room while we were talking, and gave his opinion that in a name like that, he always goes with the more traditional spelling, so it’s easier for people to spell.
Well, we both thought it was none of his business, so in a unified act of defiance we decided to spell it the non-traditional way. (I know, Real Mature. In our defense we both separately had thought it would be spelled with a single n)
And somehow, the name Jena reminds me that it will be ok. That it was the right step, and that it is good.