we knew this Bethany seminar today was something we were looking forward to, and for a month we've had it on the calendar - and were getting excited about it. we drove into asheville last night and arrived around 1am. at one point i swore that i looked over at will and he had his eyes closed, but he promises he did not - keep in mind he was driving. at the next exit he got off the interstate and i drove the rest of the way into town. the dogs were excited to be out of their crates, and we were excited to try and get some rest. neither one of us could sleep. the doggies settled in and iliana snored, like usual, for the entire night (laying right in between will and i with her head on my pillow). we both felt like a kid the night before Christmas, full of anticipation about what was about to occur the next morning.
(close up of the bracelet my mom mailed me last week to remind us that my family was thinking of us today. just so happened that it is "Bethany" green.)
i jumped out of bed at 6:40 this morning, which if you know me is VERY early for me. i am not a morning person. but, just like on Christmas, i was ready to go. we showered and primped and made it out of the house by our targeted 8am. my allergies were atrocious and we had to stop and pick up some allegra, then will needed a coffee, and then he was afraid we'd run out of gas. the garmin told us we'd be at the church the seminar was located at around 8:46 when we first got into the car, and by the time we conducted our pit stops it was telling us 9:00. the seminar started at 9:00.
i am not a person who is early to visit friends and we are rarely on time, but if we have something important to tend to we like to be early. very early. this was not happening today. however, we did accomplish all of those tasks and still manage to make it to the church by 9:00. when we arrived we were not sure which door we should enter. another couple was looking for the seminar and we all made our way through the doors at the same time to be greeted by our intake coordinator and found our seats in the room with the 20 other couples of adoptive hopefuls.
most all of the employees of Bethany of NC were at the meeting. it was great to put a face with everyone's emails, and to get to know some of these people we've been going back and forth with for months. everyone was friendly, warm, and welcoming. we knew before we got there that we'd made the right decision, but this meeting reconfirmed everything. we watched some videos about adoption, listened to a slide show presentation, and chatted about openness (and it's advantages), and we listened to the area social workers tell us personal stories about placements they'd been involved with and one social worker's own adoption journey. everyone is involved to "find families for babies, not to find babies for families". we'd never really thought about adoption this way, at least not in those exact words, and it really helps to focus your perspective on things.
a break for lunch happened around 11:30 and we headed out to find some food and discuss everything that we'd been informed of to this point. we found a restaurant "tupelo honey cafe" (which i'd read about previously on yelp) and settled in for some chatting and some good southern food. we talked about how right everything felt, and how i just wanted to bust into tears because i could hardly contain my excitement. at one point in the presentation we were shown a real tear jerking video, and they warned us that we'd all be crying before it was over. they were right. i handed will the tissue box that was on our table before the video began, just in case he needed it - and he did. we felt so comfortable, so sure, so right. we've said it a million times throughout our ginormous set of profile paperwork, but it took us a long time to see God's path to building our family, but we know more and more every single day, every single hour, every single minute, every single second - that this is the path that God has laid before us. we left lunch happier than we were when we even began.
after lunch we went back into the same room and were eager to listen to the adoption journeys of 7 people (or families) who'd been involved with adoption. one couple had just received placement of their newborn son just 2 months ago, one mother had adopted her two sons via embryo adoption, another couple had adopted domestically and transracially, another mother had a painful failed adoption before her final adoption match, another couple had adopted internationally, another lady had been the "interim" caregiver for over 60 infants in her 12 years of working with Bethany, and the person who impacted our day the most was a birthmother who'd placed her child in an open adoption less than a year ago. each of these people (or couples) were so excited about sharing their journeys and telling us how they got to "the other side of the table". their emotions were fresh and raw, if they felt like crying - they cried. if they felt like joking - they joked. it was helpful to see the reality of the process and feel how other people felt before, during, and after. you often think of what it will be like to be on the completed end of the adoption journey, but it's another thing to hear about it from so many angles, vantage points, time frames, and from so many perspectives.
after listening to all of the journeys we participated in a question and answer session. this was the time to ask any question that you could think of to try and get more information. each couple had one of their questions written on a white board and the social workers took time to carefully answer everyone's questions, and left no stone unturned. the seminar was supposed to wrap up at 4:00, but some couples still had questions, and the social workers stayed until everyone was satisfied. we stayed after questions were answered and the couples planning on pursuing international adoptions broke off into a separate group. we met up with the social worker that handles our "zone" and introduced ourselves. we're excited to be working with someone who is so knowledgeable, so skilled, and so passionate about finding families for babies.
we exchanged contact information with the couples on either side of us and hope to walk with them on their adoption journeys. both couples are also pursuing domestic infant adoption, and we're excited to meet up with anyone we can in this process. our next seminar is april 26th and will be held at our local office, instead of the arden area. at this seminar we will learn more about transracial adoption and creating our profile book. we hope to have more one on one time with these and other couples who were there from durham, raleigh, and cary to have more people to partner with on this journey. we are eager for this next phase and enter it with a sense of peacefulness like neither of us has ever known.