WARNING: This post is long and wordy...sorry! :)
My last post was all about fear - and this weekend I felt like my fears were subsided. Tony and I set out on Friday to drive to Nashville to stay with her sister and family. On any long drives, I always bring my bag o' entertainment which usually includes my iPad with movies and books, a couple of physical books, a magazine or two and anything else that is portable and seems interesting. :) I loaded up my iPad with some rented movies which included The Fighter (great movie!), Love and Other Drugs, No Strings Attached and Arsenic and Old Lace. I chose Arsenic and Old Lace because Ariel told me it was her favorite play. I have always wanted to watch it - so why not now?
As I started watching it, I received my first sign that I should stop worrying about this adoption. One of the main characters in the movie is named Elaine HARPER and they don't just call her Elaine, they actually call her Elaine Harper over and over again. I took it as a sign that we needed to stop worrying about it and let God handle it.
We were so excited to see The McIntyres on Friday night - we sure do miss them. Anna Grace found Bertha the Gnome in my purse and thought it was the funniest thing - so, of course, I had to get a picture of them together!
We spent Friday night talking with Amy, Jim and Anna Grace - enjoying a bottle of wine and sitting outside on their nice impressive new deck. We also got to see glimpses of Henry and Peter too - those boys are just super busy. I love that Henry had been volunteering at the Special Olympics. Our niece and nephews are such well behaved, great kids! We love them.
We woke up Saturday knowing this is the day that we would meet the birth mother of our daughter. After playing with Anna Grace outside and meeting her friends, Tony and I continued on our journey and drove to Knoxville. As we were pulling into Knoxville, I saw this billboard that was advertising some kind of business - but the business name was HARPER. I never really see that name anywhere in books, movies and billboards, but now twice in 24 hours I have seen it.
When we pulled up in the parking lot near the restaurant almost 30 minutes early - Tony got out to pay for our parking and as I was sitting in the car, I looked up and a man was waving at me. It was Ariel's dad - he must have recognized us from our profile. So, I got out of the car to meet them. They were extremely nervous - and I was unbelievably calm. It was awesome to feel that way.
The Melting Pot was a great location for our meeting - it is one of those places were your meal goes for awhile and it is quiet. We had lots of good conversation throughout the meal which I was extremely happy about. Before our cheese course got to the table, Ariel stepped away to go to the restroom and her dad thanked us for adopting his granddaughter. I can't believe he would thank us - because we are so thankful for him and his daughter. He got a little teary-eyed - but told us that he knows his daughter made the right decision.
As dinner went on, we got to talking about how Ariel chose us to be parents to her daughter. I found it interesting to know that she received a stack of profiles that were about 1 inch thick - it is amazing to me that we got picked so quickly after our disruption with those kind of odds. They told us they had to weed out profiles at the beginning some way because there was no way she was going to read all of them. They looked at the potential adoptive parents jobs to make the first cut - she was looking for people who sounded like they had good, stable jobs (thank you Walmart!). Next up, she looked for parents that were able to save for a college fund. And, then finally we got picked because I was adopted and that put her mind at ease that I would be able to relate to her baby girl.
As the night was wrapping up, she told us about her hospital plan and this was a big sign for me. I thought one of the reasons our last adoption was disrupted was because Sarah had spent so much time with Kinley. Because she had a C-section, she spent 3 days in the hospital and almost all day, every day she spent with the baby. She bonded so much with that baby so I can completely understand why she couldn't part ways with her. Ariel and her dad said she wanted us there for the delivery - and the hospital is going to provide Tony and I a room. After the baby is born, she wants some pictures of the sweet baby girl - and she wants to be able to hold her and her dad wants to hold her. She then wants to be moved out of the maternity ward into a regular room - and Tony and I will take over from there. I love this plan because I think it will be be easiest on all of us.
We ended the night talking in the parking lot and we both received hugs from Ariel and her dad. I have to say that we loved them both. They were the sweetest people. We wish the best for them and we will continue to pray from them forever. We will always remember the decision Ariel has made and we will always let Harper know how much they love her.
On Sunday, we had to wrap up the weekend with a trip to the Loveless Cafe. If you haven't been there and you are ever in the Nashville area, check it out. They have yummy biscuits and the best homemade preserves. Tasty strawberry and blackberry preserves! And, I found pumpkin butter in their store...I am sure it will be just as scrumptious!
I know I say this frequently - but we appreciate all your prayers! We feel extremely loved. While you are saying a prayer for us, please also remember all the people in Joplin, MO. I can't believe the devastation they have experienced. It is extremely sad and I honestly can't believe it is so close to home (less than an hour away). My department is trying to find out ways we can volunteer up there in the next couple of weeks. I love how Walmart pulls together and always helps out a community in need.