#TeamAbigail, Part 2: The Runup to D-Day

When we received the news that we had been picked, it was January 13.

The expected due date was given as February 8. However, that was a rough estimate, given that it was from an ultrasound in ER early in the pregnancy. According to the folks at Catholic Charities, delivery could happen at any time, and they would not be surprised if it was sooner rather than later.

In other words, we were on standby. While the expected due date was almost a month away, we could not just assume anything.

So we went into preparation mode.

On the bright side, we had most of what we needed already: because we were waiting on the state to approve us to be foster parents, our house was “home study” ready. We had a crib, we had a bassinette, we had a diaper bag, we had some baby swings. We had a rocking chair. MrsLarijani went out and bought some outfits. We went to Costco and bought some diapers and baby wipes. After making a quick registry, someone bought us a car seat/stroller combo.

In order to be prepared, we loaded some changes of clothes for ourselves, complete with a stocked diaper bag, as well as the car seat, into the trunk. We wanted to be ready when we got the call.

We also had a dilemma: we needed to pick a name for our baby.

Did I mention? Catholic Charities told us, “it’s a girl”.

We knew what we wanted for a boy’s name–Samuel Amir–but we had not arrived at a decision on a girl’s name. We had contemplated it often, but had not arrived at a name that we each liked.

We wanted a Biblical name, but not Jezebel or Athaliah or Herodias.

I thought about my favorite women in the Bible–Deborah and Jael. Jael was a badass: anyone who drives a tent peg through a bad guy’s head is worthy of consideration in my book. And Deborah was both brave and wise.

But those didn’t go well with my last name.

And while I like Elizabeth, MrsLarijani vetoed that one. Besides, that one, like Mary, is way too common.

We also wanted a Persian middle name, and finding one for a girl–that had a Christian theme–was proving elusive.

We both settled on Abigail Hamadeh Marie. Hamadeh means “one who praises”. Marie is MrsLarijani’s middle name.

We also thought through the logistics of MrsLarijani taking maternity leave, then going back part time. We did the math on that, and figured it would provide no benefit for her to go back part-time.

We decided that MrsLarijani was going to be a SAHM. Due to the inflation–that doesn’t officially exist–and due to my not getting my promised pay raises, the margin was thinner than I wanted, but we figured it was doable.

But after the news, we waited. We knew we could get the call at any time. We also knew that the expected due date was weeks away. We had no idea how accurate that estimate was. In the back of my mind, I knew that ANYTHING could go wrong. A lady in our church lost her baby weeks before delivery. Died in the womb.

Better people than us have gone through that fire. I see no indication that we are less-deserving of such things than anyone else. And while God performs miracles and even protects people from evil, we also know that, for reasons we don’t fully grasp, bad things happen to good people.

This is why I prayed to God: “let her be born healthy, let the adoption process go smoothly.” There are many things that can go wrong in an adoption. Even if the baby is perfectly healthy. Even after you’ve taken your baby home. And in rare cases, even after the adoption is finalized.

I knew of the risks. I knew enough adoptive parents, and I was aware of the legal issues that can go south. Sadly, this is why many couples adopt internationally: while that carries a lot of red tape, not to mention travel expenses, once the child comes home, the chances of a birth parent flying in and suing to get the child back are close to zero.

And so we prayed.

And waited.

And prayed.

And waited.

Being cynical, I figured we would get the call at the least convenient time, if not after the expected due date.

Meanwhile, at work, I had some tight deadlines: due to a third party sitting on an RFP (Request For Purchase) for 6 months, we had until mid-March to finish a major implementation. And I was responsible for ensuring that our critical systems interfaced with the new product via the API (Application Programming Interface).

As February 8 drew nearer, the anticipation–and stress–rose. We were sort of expecting some kind of news during the week of the 8th.

But, true to form, my cynicism proved reliable: February 8 came and went: no news.

Saturday, February 11 was a tough day for MrsLarijani.

While she had been, consistently, the best salesperson at the store, the new general manager had been, for lack of better words, chilly at best toward MrsLarijani. She had aligned herself with some of the younger gals in the store, and had been extremely critical of MrsLarijani. It didn’t matter that MrsLarijani was the most punctual, reliable, and highest-performing salesperson on the floor: the GM simply didn’t like her. That tension had been boiling for months, ever since the old GM–who was very good–was transferred.

But that Saturday, things had come to a head: over a very minor issue, the GM “wrote up” MrsLarjani. That was her first “write-up” in her four years at this place. And MrsLarijani was rightfully pissed.

She wanted to put in her notice and, in so many words, tell them to go pound sand. I told her to go to war and fight it. She had the recourse to go over the GM’s head, and MrsLarijani was well-regarded by the higher-ups. We worked out a game plan to pursue that route.

Then, at about 9PM, as I was taking out the trash and swapping out the cat litter, MrsLarijani received a phone call from a number out of Lexington.

It was Catholic Charities.

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