National Adoption Day: How I Became a Mommy Overnight

Today is National Adoption Day. It raises awareness of the need for children waiting to be adopted to find permanent, loving homes. We bring you an amazing story of Kendra, her husband Frankie, and their quest to become parents.

Kendra’s Story

We waited so long…yet no diapers, no car seat, no baby clothes, no nursery. Not a trace of getting ready for a baby to come home. But one phone call changed all that!

Eight years ago, my husband and I thought it was time to start our family. Little did we know that God had other plans for us! We tried to conceive for four years with no luck and then sought out fertility procedures. Heartbreak after heartbreak, we came up empty handed. Until one day we were late attending a graduation party and were seated at table where we knew no one. As we were getting acquainted with one another, the dreaded question was asked that we’ve been asked time and time again, “So do you have any children?” That is when one of the couples brought up adoption. They had some friends who adopted and asked us if we ever considered it. We actually did discuss adoption, but it seemed so far out of reach. The time, the mountains of paperwork, and the financial cost of adoption made it seem impossible to us. The couple at our table told us to check out Bethany Christian Adoption Services. So that very next Monday, I called Bethany and set up our first informational meeting on adoption.

Now usually in the adoption process, a birthmother chooses a family around seven months of pregnancy. This way you get a chance to get to know each other, go to doctor’s appointments together, and then be there for the delivery of the baby. However, our story did not turn out this way at all!

After eight years of trying to conceive, and now a year of waiting to be matched by a birthmother, wondering if it was ever going to happen, we suddenly became parents overnight! Here’s how that crazy but wonderful day went down:

Monday, August 19th was Meet the Teacher at my school.  I met all my sweet 4th graders and their families; all eager to start a new year. I was immersed in planning and getting ready for the school year the couple of weeks leading up to this.

My colleagues and parents were asking if we had heard anything from the adoption agency over the summer, and if we had been matched by a birthmother. “No, no, no,” was my constant response.

August 20th was our first day of school, and we had a busy day getting settled in and getting to know each other. It was a great, but exhausting day.

My husband, Frankie was in San Diego, CA working a baseball camp and then went to his hometown of Barstow, CA to visit his dad, sister, family and friends.

Around 3:15 p.m., Frankie received a phone call from Kate, our adoption caseworker. He was walking into a restaurant with his cousin and good friends and saw the call was from her. So he stepped back outside to talk to her. She asked him what he was doing and he said, “Going to lunch with some friends.” She said, “Isn’t it kind of late to be having lunch, 3:15?” Frankie said, “I’m in California.” “What?! Really?!” said Kate. “Then how are you going to go pick up your son in Orlando?!” Frankie was in complete shock with tears running down his face.

Frankie immediately called me at 3:30 p.m. My students were already gone for the day, and I was busy working in my classroom. He said, “Kate has a baby for us in Orlando and you need to go get him right now.” I wasn’t sure I heard him right, and asked, “WHAT???” (As I explained earlier, in the adoption process, a birthmother would choose the family she wants to place her child with at 7 months of pregnancy.) He said, “Yes, you need to go pick him up now or he is going to foster care!” So we decided right at that moment- this was our son! This is what we have been waiting for!

I ran to my colleague’s classrooms crying and they looked at me with panic, “What’s wrong!!!???” I said, “Nothing’s wrong, it’s good!  The agency called and I need to go pick up my baby right now!!” Tears streamed down their faces and we hugged and hugged.

Then panic set in: It’s the first day of school. I wouldn’t be coming back tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next. My new class and parents don’t even know my situation.  Is the baby healthy and OK? What’s his story? OMG- WE HAVE NOTHING FOR A BABY! Not even a car seat, anything for him to sleep in, diapers, formula, etc….

My whole 4th grade team and the principal gathered in the room.  Everyone was so overjoyed, supportive, and helpful.

One of my colleagues, Nicole drove to my house, we rounded up a car seat from the neighbors, and we were off to Orlando. I needed to call my parents and let them know of the news, but Kate the caseworker was already texting me a list of things I needed to do before I picked the baby up: call a pediatrician and schedule an appointment within two days (did not have a pediatrician and had to work out all the health insurance details in the car). Call an attorney to get the paper work started. Have a name picked out to put on the paperwork.

Excitement, stress, emotions, nerves, all wrapped into one. This was really happening!  (and no ‘two months’ to get ready). Only one hour…on the way to go get him.

Our neighbors were a Godsend. As I was going to pick him up, they rallied the troops, collected and bought baby items and filled our house with the first essentials. Some of my co-workers also pulled through and brought needed items. We are so blessed to have so many people who love and care for us! Words cannot express enough thanks!

Nicole and I finally got to the agency in Orlando. Kate (the caseworker) was on her way there from the hospital with the baby.  We had to wait what seemed like forever. Then she walked through the door with a car seat in arm…and I saw the tiniest, most precious being I have ever seen. It was a moment I can’t explain! He was perfect! And he was mine!

After countless papers to sign, we were on our way home. As we arrived to the house at 11 p.m., my neighbor Liz comes rushing down the road pushing a huge tub of baby clothes. The excitement was in the air!  Nicole and I were exhausted from the long day. She went home to get some sleep for her second day of school and my sleepless night began of staring at my child and trying to convince myself that this was real.

Frankie bought a red-eye ticket home and arrived the next day at 6:30 in the morning to meet his little man for the first time.

It has been a roller coaster of a ride in the last 8 years, but now I can say, it was all worth it! Sometimes our lives don’t turn out the way we think they should, but God sure knows what he is doing and his timing is perfect!

IMG_0966

Ezekiel Allan

Born August 10th

5 lbs. 2 oz. 17 in

Gotcha Day: August 20th

DSCN1950Kendra has been teaching for 16 years and currently teaches 4th grade. Frank coaches baseball at the University of South Florida. They have been married for 10 years and Ezekiel is their first child.

Editor’s Note: Today–Saturday, November 23–is National Adoption Day. To learn more about how you can adopt a child, visit www.nationaladoptionday.org.

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3 Responses to National Adoption Day: How I Became a Mommy Overnight

  1. Sheriss November 23, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    Wow,Kendra! Thank you for sharing you story with us!

  2. Dolores R Strange November 24, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    God always know what is best for all of us..He knew what the both of you wanted and that’s why you waited only for the best he could give you both.. Thank you for sharing this Beautiful story. Love you three.. Auntie Dee

  3. Kristie November 25, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    Ur story is beautiful.. I am so excited for you & Frankie. GOD is GREAT!!!
    Im so glad Pauline shared your heart warming story on FB. It gave my goose bumps… 🙂

    Kristie (Wildes) Melcher

    Kristie (Wildes) Melcher