“It’s a girl.”
“Yeah Stephanie, I know.”
“No, I mean she gave birth to a baby girl. And they still want you to have her!”
This was the conversation between my Stephanie and Stephanie Money at Angel Adoption Inc. on Friday, May 27 right before lunchtime. The fact that made this astounding was that we had never spoken to her mother before. She and the father had only seen our profile the agency had sent out to them. They had chosen us based on the profile alone!
Around 12:45, my principal (and the third Stephanie of this story), came out to the playground and told me I needed to call my wife. She said it was very important. I thought it was one of two things: Either something had happened to Big Daddy (Mama’s daddy) or it was something with the adoption we had been pursuing. It obviously turned out to be the latter.
When I called, Stephanie relayed everything that was going on about the situation in warp speed. I tried to wrap my mind around it all, but with little success. All I could think about was how wonderful it would be if this really did happen. You must always be cautiously optimistic when adopting, but this really showed a lot of promise. We both laughed and cried, and she promised she would keep me informed of what was going on.
All of the legwork, or should I say speakwork, was handled by Steph. When the day was said and done, we had lawyers arranged in both Baltimore and North Carolina that were already on the case. It was decided that we would leave out Saturday morning on a 400 mile journey that would have us meeting our daughter!
I’ll spare you the details of the drive, and the conversations we had, and all of the other boring, monotonous musings. What I won’t spare is this: We arrived in Baltimore around 5:30 and checked into a hotel. We then made our way to the University of Maryland-Baltimore hospital to meet the fifth member of our family (fifth if you count our 4-legged girls, which we do, or third if you don’t count the furry daughters).
Upon our arrival into the hospital, which by the way is a lot different than New Hanover Regional Medical Center, we were given visitors’ bands and then went up to the 6th floor. We were greeted by more security, and after handing off our id’s and gaining more clearance, we made our way to her room.
Her mother and father were both there, and we exchanged pleasantries. And then came the moment we had so desperately waited for. The culmination of 5 years of sweat and tears and thousands of prayers-our beautiful baby girl. Her parents were very specific about wanting us to take her and bond with her and gave us time to do so by leaving the room. They had even put the birth certificate lady off three previous times because they said they were leaving it up to us to name her! We felt so honored and blessed to be able to do so. Without hesitation Stephanie told the lady that her name was Tinsley Ellison, with the Osborne to be added later after the paperwork was completed.
I don’t think either Stephanie or myself ever saw a more beautiful thing in the world than that gorgeous little 5 pound, 14.9 ounce, 19 inch long bundle of joy. We were so overcome with emotion that our dream of becoming a family had finally been realized.
Today was Tinsley’s two week birthday. I think I spotted a grey hair (just kidding, she barely has any hair). It’s hard to put into words what the last 13 days of knowing her has meant. It still feels weird, that I’m actually a dad. I know it will be more real once our gold Honda Odyssey pulls out on 95 south to make our trek to the Port City. I am so overwhelmed at what a blessing and miracle this little girl is for both of us. I know that the road ahead will be paved with so many awesome things, and I can’t wait to experience it all!
There’s a quote that I absolutely love and use often. “The harder you work for something the more it means to you once you get it.” We waited so long for Tinsley Ellison Osborne to come into our lives, but I gotta be honest-every bit of pain and heartache has been worth the payoff. Because of what we went through to get her, it has made us so much more thankful for her. And when all is said and done, one day if she can look back and say that despite everything that may have happened in her life, she was thankful that we were her parents, we will have succeeded as Mommy and Daddy.