How I became a Father
So there we were, Laurie and I, in June of 2005 with two little boys on the way and the entire contents of our house packed into one room. (Note: my wife accurately corrects me that it was the NURSERY that we had packed everything into, so that we could still walk through our sitting room to the kitchen. Okay fine.)
So we got back from our second visit with our soon-to-be sons and started moving everything OUT of the nursery and INTO the Dining Room. We had a bit of a storage issue because we lived in St. Elmo in a house that was built in the 40's when they didn't build closets in rooms- they had wardrobes. We were also faced with the issue of where each boy would sleep... we had a crib for Nick but Damian was going to have to make due in the Pack-n-Play. The only reason Laurie was able to tolerate this was because it was only going to be for 10 days. We were to close on the new house and move in the weekend of July 1st. The boys would each have their own rooms and a playground out back.
June 16th, 2005- I think it was a Thursday, we drove to Knoxville TN to the Bethany office for the 3rd time in two weeks. This time we were coming back with our sons. I don't know what I expected exactly, but I can tell you when you get into that room, you really don't think about it that way. In addition to our joy and excitement about bringing the boys home, we were also face-to-face with Amanda who was saying goodbye. It was apparent to us from the beginning that both Amanda and David had chosen adoption, and then us in particular, out of real love and concern for Damien and Nick. It was clear they had thought this all the way through, and knew that they were giving the boys up for their own best interests- but that isn't going to make it any easier. I don't remember exactly everything that was said, but I do remember Amanda saying "Please take care of them" and then making a quick exit from the emotionally charged room. I remember everybody, including the Bethany person, being in tears. I remember signing yet another stack of papers, and the next thing I remember is strapping them into the car seats for the ride home.
Adopting two boys would be akin to having twins naturally. You have to buy two of everything, but in this case Damien was two years older than Nick. However, when we first got the call about meeting Damien and Nick three weeks ago, my wife had quickly sized up the situation and made a list of the additional toddler-friendly accessories we would be needing. So we had two car seats. I had no idea so much equipment was needed for kids. My wife, however, who a child-development background and is VERY organized, had thought of everything. We got home.
The next week, Laurie's parents came down from Wisconsin to help us move. For the last two days in our St. Elmo house Laurie and I slept on an air mattress while her parents had our room. Her parents watched the boys while we closed on both houses. Then on July 2nd we watched Two Men and a Truck try to move the equivalent of what should have been Six Men and Three Trucks worth of stuff 17 miles up the highway to Ooltewah.
And so our new life began. This is the end of this part of our story, the first part of the rest of our story is still being written. 16 months later, Laurie and still marvel at how we went from "zero to 60" in about two weeks, after a 4 year wait. God absolutely had this planned out. We questioned him at times but as we look back at it, it's clear why God chose this time, and these two boys for our life. I can't imagine it any other way. We continue to have regular communication with both Amanda and David, including follow-up visits. Amanda has been out to our house, seen the boy's rooms and their playground. I think it's gone a long way to reassuring her even more that the boys have a happy life, that she really did what was best for them. our story will continue...