Saturday, May 25, 2013

Can It Really Be That Long Ago?

Ten years ago, Kristy and I were entertaining some Aggie friends for Memorial Day weekend. It is not often that I remember exact details of a weekend evening, but this particular one will be with me for the rest of my life. I have started to write the "Seth book" (Kristy also has the beginnings of our story on paper). I have the outline and dates all down in a file and the "easy" sections fleshed out, but I have quickly found that it is incredibly difficult to write about some parts of the experience that has shaped our lives since that Memorial Day Eve. Below is the first section of a book that may never get completed.


Sunday, May 25, 2003 (Albuquerque, NM)

I climbed back up the ladder to finish installing the ceiling fan in the living room. Cable had patiently waited in a room that was lit only by the flashlight Kristy was holding while I had just sprinted up the stairs to answer the strangest phone call from my mother-in-law. “Russell, can Kristy come to the phone?” asked Suzanne. I let her know that the power was out, but Kristy could call back in a little while. Suzanne excitedly said, “It’s not an emergency, but tell Kristy to call us back - RIGHT NOW!”

The wiring of the ceiling fan and light fixture was quickly completed, and now, we were all interested to know why Kristy needed to call her mom in such a hurry. I tried to entertain Cable, Allison, and Abby (our Memorial Day weekend visitors) while Kristy slipped upstairs to find out what had put her mom in such an anxious state. Why would anyone start a conversation with “It’s not an emergency” and expect you not to think that it was anything but an emergency?

To this day, I can’t recall a single element of the conversation that went on downstairs with Cable and his family, but the memory of the conversation that occurred after being called upstairs is vivid. Kristy told me that there was a baby boy about to be born on May 31 (less than a week away), and the biological mother wanted to talk to us about adopting him. Suzanne and Bob (who live in Mena, Arkansas near the mother) were acting as the go-between for us. Kristy asked me if we wanted to try to adopt this baby. I remember that Kristy was concerned about money or any number of other things, but I told her, “Yes! Call her back. Tell her yes.”

I cannot pretend that we were not warned that there were some complications in the situation that we were presented. With adoption, there is seldom a warm fuzzy story behind the thought process that leads a young woman to consider that option for her child. On that Sunday evening, we were asked if we were interested in becoming parents of a newborn baby whose unmarried biological mother was a 15 year-old high school sophomore and biological father was an 18 year-old freshman fraternity pledge at Baylor University. The answer to the question of whether we wanted to be (or perhaps needed to be) this boy’s parents was an emphatic“Yes!” The answer we gave was the right one on that Sunday evening; the answer is the right one now; and the answer will still be the right one in the future. However, Kristy and I found out over the next 13 months that giving the right answer doesn’t necessarily lead to the outcome that you hoped or dreamed. This is especially true if you give that right answer in the high of learning that you are going to be a father for the first time.

Our "adventure" with Seth changed us in so many ways - some of them (most - if I am completely honest) were not for the better. Our decision that night still reverberates through our lives 10 years later. Doubt, fear, hurt, and anger (among other things) related to this time of our lives can still bubble out of me at weird times.

I am confident that Seth physical needs are being met. I pray regularly that he is being loved. AND, I have hope that one day I might understand why we were selected for this ordeal that was both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes, that hope is only way I can get that weird bubbling of emotions to calm down.

Seth, you are loved more than you will ever know. Happy Early Birthday, Son!

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