Friday, February 19th 2016 was an ordinary day. My husband and I woke up, drank our coffee, kissed goodbye and went off to our jobs. It was a calmer day than usual at work for me and I even remembered to pack a lunch, so when 1:00 came around, I found myself in the teacher's lounge enjoying a peaceful lunch with my colleagues. I had no idea that once that lunch was finished my entire life would change forever.
Ok, side note: When you become active with an adoption agency, they make it clear that the communication you have them will be mainly through email from then on out. In other words, adoption agencies don't actually call you unless it's "THE CALL." They don't dial your number unless it's important, big.
Back to Friday: Lunch is over, it's about 2:00 in the afternoon and I'm outside, walking back to my office to finish my day when my phone rings. I looked down and see the words Kansas City.
There is only one reason an unknown Kansas City number would be calling...And within the next three rings, before I answered the phone, my head became light as it swarmed with questions...
Wait, why are they calling me when we haven't even been matched with a birthmother?
Is this is my cousin who lives in Kansas City? Maybe she got a new number.
Where should I answer it? Should I run to my office? What if I miss the call?
Do I need to have a pen and paper?
And then I felt faint and my hands began to shake. I sat my lunch box on the ground, sat down on the ledge of our school's fountain, and answered the phone.
"Hi Tara, this is Laurie from American Adoptions, can you get Jeremy on the phone? (I must not have said anything). Tara? Are you there? If it's possible get Jeremy on the phone that would be great, we need to discuss something."
Who knows what I said in response to Laurie at this point. It probably wasn't even english, if anything at all.
Then Laurie said a sentence I will never forget as long as I live, she said...
"Tara, a baby was born in Oregon at 2:00am this morning."
A baby was what? Whoa. Breathe. What? BORN? THIS MORNING!?? Immediately I started to pray, before I hung up the phone my heart started pleading with God and loud and clear I heard God say "I've got you. I've got this. Go call your husband." And so with that little info, a baby was born in Oregon, I ran back to my office and called my husband. He then called Laurie and she conferenced us all together.
These were the details:
Baby boy (oh my gosh, a BOY!)
Born in Oregon (Wow, all the way across the country!)
Birthmother had chosen us as one of her top three couples- actually, we were her THIRD choice but God decided to bless the two other couples ahead of us with babies right before this baby boy was born...so... we quickly rose to her first choice. When it's God's plan, He will move Heaven and Earth.
And finally- We had to be in Oregon within 24 hours to accept this opportunity. AND we had to plan to be there anywhere from 10 days to 3 weeks.
24 HOURS? OREGON? 3 WEEKS? HOW? AND WITH WHAT MONEY?
OK, remember when God whispered "I've got this?" He wasn't kidding.
This is what happened within those 24 hours:
Plane tickets to Oregon- My parents donated their miles.
Plane tickets back to Florida- Jeremy's mom donated her miles.
Dog sitter for possibly 3 weeks- One of my best friends, Lana, called right away and said she would take our dog AND take us to the airport the next morning, even though that meant being at our house at 5:30am!
Two cats to feed and look after- My neighbor and good friend Jenny came over that night and not only did she bring me baby boy clothes, socks, blankets and burp clothes, but she also said she would feed and look after the cats for the whole time we were gone. She even bought them food on her own dime!
Car rental- A mom of one of the 5th grade students I teach called and said "I've got your car, no matter how long you need it. It's on me."
Hotel- Mike (a man I've never met) who sounded like he was straight out of the movie My Cousin Vinny is the step-father of my dear friend, Jaime. Jaime texted me and said, "Call my dad, he wants to help, here's his number." I called Mike when we were on the plane getting ready to take off. Mike said "I'm adopted, my brother is adopted. I had a great childhood. I want to help you get your baby. I've got the hotel bill for as long as you need it. Let me do this." Friends, that hotel bill was near $2k by the time we checked out.
Adoption expenses- We could only say "yes" to that call if we were able to raise $3k more. This had to do with the extra adoption expenses in Oregon. I took to FaceBook and asked family and friends to help if they could and to please share our story. Our Go Fund Me account jumped up to $3k that first 24 hours and we raised $5k by the time we left. Not only could we afford the adoption, we had money for food.
Two weeks later, on March 3rd, 2016 we arrived home in Florida a family of three.
For 1,460 days we prayed for a child and on an ordinary Friday God looked down on our little family and said: "Watch this."
His name is Ezekiel "Zeke" Lee Quellhorst, it means God strengthens, and he is our son. Praise Jesus.