*The following is a guest blog post by Kristi Tolman, mother of twin girls, Kenna and Michal adopted from China and brought home to the United States in July 2005.*
Every adoption journeys begins differently.
Ours began with a really difficult boss.
Eric and I had been married for 15 years and both had careers that we loved. I ran a large marketing department for a high tech company and worked with smart, interesting people who I enjoyed being around. We lived in Chicago but I commuted to Phoenix for my job two weeks of the month. My boss was someone I had worked with at another company – someone whom I greatly respected.
And then my boss resigned.
The woman they hired to replace him was extremely challenging . Throughout my career I had had many bosses. Some had been wonderful and some had been difficult but none had been like this woman. Not one to give up easily, I tried being sickeningly nice to her. I also tried being coolly professional. But four months after she arrived, I simply couldn’t take it any more and called Eric and nearly yelled in the phone, “I’m going to quit.”
I was secretly hoping that he’d talk me off the proverbial cliff and tell me all the reasons why I should stick it out, try my best and make it work.
But he didn’t.
He simply said, “Quit.”
I immediately launched in to a long list of reasons why I couldn’t possibly quit but by the end of our conversation I’d written my letter of resignation.
One month later I was unemployed for the first time in my post-college life.
Voluntary unemployment has a sneaky way of making you stop and think about what you really want. It was then, at that pause in our lives, that we decided what we really wanted was a family. Our close friends and neighbors had a daughter from China, whom we adored, and it was surprising simple to decide that we wanted to adopt from China too.
We attended an informational meeting at the adoption agency our friends had used and three months after that our dossier was completed. After our paperwork was assembled, we learned that our agency had a policy of not sending any dossiers to China until they had a minimum number of families who had completed all of their paperwork. They thought it would be at least two months before they would be ready to send our dossier to China.
Waiting two months seemed like an eternity, so I turned to the Internet and started researching other agencies. One agency in Texas kept coming up again and again so I called them. They told me to FedEx them my completed dossier so they could review it and see if it met their guidelines in addition to China’s guidelines.
They called me the next night around 9:00 p.m., after staying late to go through it. They said it looked great and they could send it with their group of dossiers going that week.
Three days later, on November 11, 2004, our dossier arrived in Beijing China.
And six months later, on May 23, 2005, we received the phone call that literally changed our lives.
Thanks to the Internet, I knew agencies had received referrals. Eric went to work and I paced in the kitchen waiting for the phone to ring. When I couldn’t take it any more, I called our agency. They confirmed that they had received referrals and I should wait for a call from our social worker.
I had a neatly-typed a list of all the questions I wanted to ask her when she called. Each question had a space after it so I could take notes. I laid a pen on top of the paper to make sure I was ready. I checked the Internet over and over and read one posting after another from people happily sharing their referral information.
And then the phone rang.
It was our social worker.
She was holding our referral in her hand.
She. was. holding. our. referral. in. her. hand.
She asked me one simple question that made my heart leap.
“Did you buy one crib or two?”
“One,” I answered. Trying hard not to allow myself to believe that her question meant what I thought it did.
“Well, you better buy another crib because it’s twins . . . . and they’re beautiful!”
Almost everything after that is a blur. My neatly-typed questions were never asked and I didn’t write down a single thing she told me. I spent the entire day in a foggy, blissful state celebrating that we were not just having a baby – we were having two.
On July 11, 2005, almost one year to the day after we attended the first meeting at our first adoption agency, two beautiful little girls, wearing identical pink flowered sundresses and too-big, hot pink sandals, toddled into a stuffy conference room in Guangzhou China and forever grabbed hold of our hearts.
Looking back now, I’d like to give my former boss a huge hug. If it weren’t for her we might not have started the journey; a journey that lead to the two most amazing little girls I’ve ever met.
A journey that made me a mom.
ABOUT OUR GIRLS
Kenna and Michal are now 8 1/2 and about to start the third grade. They both play the piano, dance, sing beautifully and swim like fish. They are talkative and funny and are the best of friends — most of the time! I truly can not imagine our lives without them.
Follow the Tolman family on their blog at www.andbabiesmakefour.com