No,...Lucky Mama

Mary Whidden and James Phillips share about their daughter Langley- they also gave an overview of their China adoption experience.

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Location: Indiana, United States

Monday, June 04, 2007

Referral Day Remembered

I don't think I have ever really written about our referral day. It was not one of my better days. But we recently received a letter from our Agency- basically admitting the were not the best on customer relations for a while (ahem), and that they promise to be better and here is the plan. It actually makes me maybe want to use them again- maybe. Bear in mind this was a day when they were actually nice to us. The letter brought back some other- not so pleasant memories as well.
So here is the deal. I knew referrals were coming in- I was on all the watchdog groups. People on my April Pandas board started receiving calls early in the morning of January 25, 2006. I knew that unless something unspeakable had happened we would get a call. No work got done, I stared at the phone- for hours, I couldn't eat lunch I was so nervous, I didn't want to go to the bathroom for fear I might miss the call.
I waited, and waited, and waited till I couldn't contain myself any more. Most of you know how impatient I am. As Langley says "Mommy waits fast." But I digress...
Finally about 3:00 I called. Yes the referrals came in. No one has called you? I am transferred to a woman- let me tell you that transfer time was the most agonising ever, I don't think I breathed. The lady picks up the line and tells me that I have a beautiful daughter. I remember she told me her birth date and she was from Chongqing (which I had never heard of) and that she was the "belle of the ball." So I immediately ask if I can see her picture- they tell me I need to hurry because it is late and they are closing soon. And the reason I had not been called earlier was that the China Coordinator was at a conference meeting thing that day. (Uh- and no one else can call? Do they not know that we all know the referrals should be there? Do they not know how stressful it is to "Not Know"?)
I call Jamie and we decide he will drive in and I will take the subway over- he can pick me up at the Metro parking lot. I call him from the train and we agree to meet at the Agency- because we don't think we can make it in time if he picks me up at the Metro parking lot (Traffic for him was awful).
So I decide to get a cab. Bad Idea. I had no cash- ah but here was a nice, if a bit pushy, cabbie offering to take me by an ATM. He looked normal. A nice dude from India. Let's just say that at this point I am so nerve racked, and half hyperventilating- will we make it there before they close- is my daughter OK- blah, blah, blah- that I get in the minivan? I call the agency for their street address- they will stay for us. OK. Take a deep breath. We drive to the ATM- I don't have my card- it hits me like a ton of bricks- I left it in my pocket yesterday. I tell the cabbie- he starts screaming at me. I don't know what to do. Jamie calls- I start to cry. The cabbie keeps yelling and saying things like why are you crying? I tell Jamie he's yelled at me. The cab driver says he isn't yelling at me- he is talking loudly to himself now he starts ranting about how I am this white girl who thinks she can get whatever she wants. I try to explain the situation to him- he couldn't care less. There is something said about how God is going to punish me and I will "get it" in the end. I really think he could go postal on me. I am petrified. But more importantly I am scared I will not see my daughter that day. I call the Agency to see if someone can lend me money- they can. OK- a little bit better.
So here I am in this minivan cab, with this man from India screaming at me and calling me a racist. I am sobbing and trying to explain I am not a racist and I am adopting a daughter from China- I have friends of different races- lots of them. I mean we live in DC for goodness sake. (Why did I need to justify myself to him? I don't know- but at the time it seemed like a good idea.) He continued to rant and rave and I continue to cry.
We finally arrive at the Agency. He makes me leave my purse in the van. I run upstairs to see if anyone will lend me cab fare money-I will write you a check right now- THEY HAD TO DISCUSS IT- like it was something they couldn't do, like I hadn't already called about it. It was twelve dollars!- with tip!- and I left a good tip you know for Karma's sake, so I wouldn't end up in Hell (as if this man could decide my eternal fate). The office lady pays him so I don't have to see him again- but alas- I have left my purse in the van and have to scurry to retrieve it. The Joy! The lady who paid the money said there was a psych place in the building and he probably thought I was crazy and would skip out on the payment.
I am still crying uncontrollably, nerves?, joy?, exhaustion from not knowing?, and I have beaten Jamie to the office. So they lend me the key to the hallway bathroom and I try to pull myself together. I remember someone telling me to forget everything bad because I don't want to ruin my referral day. Uhm- OK, that's possible. It is just barely before closing time when I go in to the bathroom- when I leave the bathroom pretty much everyone in the office is gone. I meet Jamie in the hallway on my way back into the office.
We did manage to get us a very nice lady to show us our referral. Of Course she was someone I had never seen before and would never see again. Nothing like continuity.
Our daughter was beautiful. It was all surreal- like this weird dream. I actually remember more about the cab ride that the office visit. I remember she had this little scar on her face and how I wondered if she had scratched herself with a fingernail. I remember Jamie saying how we need to get a doctor to look at her medical records- but that he could see no reason that we wouldn't accept the referral. Most of all I remember just staring at her beautiful picture.


Blogger MississippiZen said...

What a wild and wonderful adventure that day! I never knew that you went through all that! At least in the end, you got to see your beautiful Langley!

Margie from the Pandas :)

12:05 AM  

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