By Dagmar Mueller
I am not even sure where to start our story, so I thought I might begin with the happy ending. On December 22, 2005, we went to the hospital in Sherman, Texas, to meet our future daughter and her birth family for the first time. This was the day we would bring our daughter home. We were still in shock, filled with disbelief and exhilarating joy.
Our adoption story actually started with the story of infertility about 11 years earlier. After we had undergone a myriad of tests, treatments, and taken many medications, we were told there was nothing more the doctors could do for us. We had been married for 10 years
At that time, we tried to adopt right away. In Germany, where we are from, we were told that an adoption of a baby would take about seven years. We were 32 and 33 years old — too old, since placement of a baby had to happen before 35 years of parental age. In our mind, that closed the door for adoption, and we had to look for other ways to fill our need for family.
For three years, we resided in a living community made up of young Christian adults who served in a Christian coffee house and book store, but we still didn’t find peace in our hearts. We wanted to experience the whole range of parenting, not just the teenager or adult years.
Then we immigrated to the United States. Earlier, in 1990, we’d been in the states for a year of Bible school in Dallas, Texas. So when we started praying what direction God wanted us to take us, he directed our steps back to Texas. We knew this was a more permanent move, like the one Abraham and Sara made in the Old Testament.
The desire for a baby never ceased. Once we’d settled into our new lives, I began to research online, searching for adoption agencies. I asked each one if we could still adopt in Texas, despite our status as resident aliens. The answer was always no or we don’t know. For eight years I kept on searching the internet once or twice a year and sent out e-mails with no results.
Finally, I sent an e-mail to the Buckner International adoption program. Once again, we got a friendly but negative response; so we went on with our lives.
But imagine our surprise when one week later, I received another e-mail from Buckner. They had checked with their legal department and discovered that yes, we could adopt through them, as long as it was domestic, not international. Wahoo! A door had just swung wide open in front of us.
We were excited and prepared for our first meeting at Buckner. Then Chris lost his job. But by then we knew this was still an open door. We had just to wait a little longer to walk through it. About 11 months later, he found a new job in McKinney that he loved.
In February 2005, we finally sent in out paperwork and in the following month we finished the home study and a seminar at Buckner. By September 2005, we were in the famous “book.”
During this time we read a lot and searched our hearts and moved forward one step after another. In the beginning we were pretty skeptical about open adoption since we had not ever heard about it. But through reading the assigned books and listening to a teenager and a birth mom who had been living the open adoption, we were convinced this is the right way for us. Then we had to convince our families in Germany that this wasn’t another crazy idea of ours, but a real possibility. Families can get very protective.
The monthly support groups for waiting couples helped us during the waiting period.
Slowly we began to realize that this was for real. Sometimes our emotions are slow to follow reality. I quietly asked God that something happen by December. but the month began with no word. One of our new friends in the support group continued to pray and believed that we would hear something by the end of the month. She kept on saying, “December is not over yet.”
On the Friday before Christmas, we received an e-mail with the subject line “Would you consider?” We considered all the information we got and said, “Yes, you can present our profile to the birth mom.” The baby was not born yet, but it was expected the following week. I am not sure how we managed to emotionally survive the following weekend, but we did, and we went back to work on Monday waiting for news.
Tuesday morning we got the next e-mail telling us that the baby had been born. It was a healthy girl, 18 inches long, 5 pounds and 4 ounces.
We were informed that the potential birthparents profiles would be presented to the birth mother on Wednesday morning, and we would be informed when she made her decision.
That Wednesday, I should have stayed home since my head was spinning. I could not focus on my job, and I was glad that Christmas was near and everything was calming down at work. I went home that afternoon like any other day, hoping Buckner had called the house. When I opened my door, I heard the beeper of the answering machine. My heart raced as I ran to listen to the message.
The caller was Rachel (Buckner adoption counselor). She’d left her number. I returned her call, but got her voice mail. My emotions ran the gamut of highs and lows as we played phone tag. Then, finally the phone rang again and I heard her voice say, “Congratulations you have been selected!” I began to cry.
I called Chris on his cell phone and left a message for Papa Chris. Still crying, I called everybody I could think of. Germany, work, fellow church members. Then came our counselor’s call with the details. I realized that this would be our last evening alone as a couple. How cool was that? We were so ready for this after 21 years of waiting. We made one more trip to Wal-mart for preemie diapers and tried to sleep.
The next morning we headed to Sherman. At lunchtime we were introduced to our little girl, Anna Raphaela Odessey Mueller! We named her Anna after my great grandmother and Christoph’s grandmother. Raphaela means “God heals,” and we wanted to give God the honor for this healing moment. We kept the name Odessey given to her by her birth mother, which means “journey.”
So our daughter’s name means “a blessed journey of healing.”
So many incidents that happened during this time let us know that God was in every moment of this adoption process. Even the small things. The nurse who handled the paperwork not only had the same last name as us but also my mother-in–law’s first name. Anna’s great grandmother had the same last name as the best man at our wedding.
So many years of waiting finally culminated in this wonderful gift, and we could not be more thankful that the birth mother and her family chose us. Our prayer now is that Anna’s life will bring healing to not only our two families, but to all of the families she will touch throughout her lifetime.
Dagmar and Christoph Mueller, with their daughter Anna, are currently living in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Perspective edited by Candice Spear.
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