It was on my list. My daily to-do list. The one that tells me I have made a difference each day. I have always worked off a list either mentally or physically. I am wired that way I guess. I am a planner. A list gives me hope for the day ahead. Without a list, I sometimes lose track of myself and wonder what I accomplished that mattered.
Today’s list included audit review and follow up, postage machine install, buying an ice machine for the office kitchen, completing reports, a meeting, approving payables, and being available to notarize documents at 2:00 pm. I had worked my way to the last item by 2:00 pm and was answering an email when Alisa poked her head in and asked if I was free to do my notary thing.
I walked into the family room. There was Alisa, the caseworker, and two young women (one blonde and one brunette), a tall young man, and an adorable, bouncy, baby girl with blonde angel curls sitting in the center of the room. All attention was on this child. One woman held her tiny left hand, and the other held the right. I realized then that this was an adoptive couple and a birth mom. I rarely see this process. I sometimes see babies, sometimes parents, but rarely see the process unfold. I have never seen it at this stage before.
The room seemed filled with a mix of anticipation, joy, and a bit of anxiety. I felt a pang as I looked at the birth mom. I was filled with the thought of giving up one of my girls, and I could not imagine what she might be thinking as she sat in the room. (Adoptions are not all the same, and many are a joint venture between birth parents and adoptive families that continue beyond the paper-work in support of the child – what a remarkable thing!) I do not know this young mom’s situation, but I know she is brave and probably a bit scared. All I know for sure is that I admired this pretty stranger who had options that may have seemed easier months ago when she chose life for this baby-girl.
Then I shifted my focus to the parents, and we walk to my office because it feels awkward to sign the adoption petition in front of the birth mom. This petition changes things. I chit-chat and congratulate the young couple. They see the pictures of my girls and ask me about them. As I comment on how fast (my) children grew up, I am thinking about the chubby legs still bouncing on the ottoman down the hall. This child will grow up too quickly for this young couple as well. That is what babies do. There will be dresses and bows, “Pat-your-Bible,” “Jesus Loves Me,” Barbies, boys, and sleepovers and one day they will wonder where all the days went. Oh, but they will get to have days- sweet, exhausting, precious days! I imagine all the memories they will make together because of the other young blonde woman sitting in the same room down the hall. The gift of all those sweet memories still to come is possible because a birth-mom is making a heartbreaking, courageous decision, and there is a caring and thoughtful advocate for both moms and the new dad, and there is AGAPE. A place to call when there is a family crisis, a child in need, or when you need help sorting through options whether it is adoption, marital problems, stress, or depression. For 51 years there is AGAPE with professionals trained to help.
I do not always get to see the work we do close up. I sign checks, meet with vendors, have planning meetings, and sometimes I forget how special this place is. AGAPE is a special place, and I work with special people. So, as I shut my computer for the day and looked back over the things I accomplished on my daily list, I said a prayer of thanks for AGAPE, a place where the to-do list represents more than just hope for the day, its signifies making a lasting difference and participating in work that matters.