Over the course of the next week, I was talking to a new sitter to see if she'd come watch the kids for us on Friday while we went to the Living Alternatives (Fatherheart) banquet. Our sitter, who we love and adore, went off to college in August. We haven't been out since she left since 1) money has been tight and 2) our favorite sitter had left town. Before she left we asked her who she might reccommend and she suggested a girl in our youth group who I was considering as well. We weren't positive she'd be able to and we had no idea who else would be able to come over that night.
Thursday she wrote me and said she could definitely do it. Sitter-check. I told her to please be there at 5, so we could go over the routine with her and give her the tour of the house. The banquet was in Tyler and everyone I talked to said, "Yes, just a little bit past Canton," which is an hour away. When I had looked up the banquet I saw the time 7pm, so I thought if we left at 5:30p we'd be okay and even get there a hair early.
But right before our girl showed up, I looked at the TICKETS and saw that the reception started at 6pm and the dinner at 6:30. Then I looked up directions and saw that Tyler, in fact, is TWO hours away. We scrambled and I was very upset with myself. All the way there I prayed "Lord, give me peace...if we're not supposed to be there, just give me Your peace." I didn't find that peace.
Let me add here that in my hurry, I forgot to put my makeup in the car and hadn't done anything with my hair. I was looking a hot mess and feeling very dejected over it all.
Especially when we finally made it to the church at a quarter to 7 and then couldn't find the building the banquet was being held in because that church campus probably has it's own zip code. ALL the doors were locked and I was still praying the same thing, "Lord...are we supposed to just get in the truck and go back home?" No peace-but I figured it was just my will getting in the way. We found a door where we could see people having a bible study inside. We banged on the doors, but they didn't hear us. Again, "Lord...allow me to give this up. Just let me have peace to drive away." No peace.
The next door we tried was OPEN! Inside was a woman and we asked her where the Living Alternatives banquet was being held. She stared at us blankly. I sighed and then I thought to show her the tickets. They had an auditorium name on them. She lit up and pointed to where we needed to go, telling us how to get into that parking lot. We literally SKIPPED with huge grins on our faces like DORKS to the car. We drove up and went into the banquet, where we got pulled back to find our reserved seats. We were then seated just.in.time. to hear the first speaker begin.
We had missed the reception, dinner and the opening prayer, but we got to hear every one of those amazing speakers. They talked all about how the organization had been started by Bev with just one girl looking for a free pregnancy test in the early 80's and has grown to a facility that has a 30,000/month budget and touches thousands of lives every year. They talked a lot about adoption and when it was over, we had only been there an hour. We walked out in the hallway and grabbed the books they had available and started to walk to the car. I felt a pull in my heart and I told Allan I had to go to the bathroom. We took a detour. The pull in my heart wouldn't let go. I *needed* to meet Bev.
So I came out and told Allan, "let's go introduce ourselves to Bev. If we're going to be working with this place in the future, it will be good for her to know our faces." I knew we needed to do this, but I would be lying if I said I wanted to. May I repeat that I had on no makeup and my hair was a tangled mess. This was a VERY formal banquet and other people were dressed to the nines, intending to donate thousands to this ministry.
But up we walked...looking through the people and pushing past people, until I thought maybe Bev had left and we wouldn't get to say hello. Then...there she was. She was speaking with some other women, so we had to wait patiently, on the outskirts of the conversation, but listening. She said her goodbyes to them and started to walk away. We followed quickly after her and I blurted out, "BEV!" When she turned around, she looked surprised and scanned our faces for familiarity. I shoved my hand out in front of me to shake her hand and told her that my name was Tara and this was my husband, Allan.
Then I gushed about how inspiring what she has done is and mentioned Childbirth & Beyond to her and how it's easy to get discouraged, but it really helped me to know she started with such a small beginning. She thanked me and was gracious, but she looked like she really needed to go. You know the look, when someone is listening to you, but they really have getting the heck out of there on their minds. I was not inclined to irritate this person I admired, so I got ready to say goodbye.
Then I blurted out, "We're going to be filling out our adoptive parent packet soon." All at once her eyebrows went up, she reached out and grabbed my forearm and she stared me straight in the eye and said, "NOW, is the PERFECT time!" She looked to Allan and said, "We only have one orientation per year and it will be in February." Looking back at me she added, "Start the process now and you'll have everything you need done by then and you'll be able to go."
We then shook hands goodbye and we left. I might have floated out the door, I'm not sure. We stopped at Waffle House on the way home to have dinner (since we had missed it!) and to talk about the night and our thoughts and feelings. We both agreed that between the hat and the timing and Bev's reaction and the way we felt inside, it was TIME to move forward.
The rest of the weekend went quickly and on Monday morning I called and requested our adoptive parent packet.