Ten years ago tonight was one of the scariest nights of my life. I remember the date because Chad and I had been married exactly one month. Picture it:
We are lying in bed in our tiny one bedroom apartment, it’s around 11:30 p.m. or so. That night we had some friends over to try out our new pots/pans/dishes that we had gotten from our wedding. We had been back from our honeymoon for about two weeks. We still had gifts we hadn’t opened, boxes yet to be unpacked, piles of thank you notes yet to be written for the hundreds of gifts we had gotten. The weather is exceptionally cold for Florida.
We hear sirens down the street. Normal, we live two blocks from the fire department. Then we see flashing lights from emergency vehicles, still “normal” because we live in the first “quad” of apartments off a busy street. The emergency vehicles turn into our apartment complex. We are slightly alarmed. We just figure a neighbor is sick, had a heart attack, whatever….and needs assistance. Then we hear “BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!” Someone pounding on our sliding glass door of our patio. Full on panic! It’s a firefighter in full gear screaming at me in my pajama’s behind the glass. “Get out of the building immediately!” Chad and I dash for the front door.
O.K. side note: You know in your head your list of things you would grab out of your house in case of an emergency? Photo album of your wedding, Grandma’s favorite painting off the wall, your remembrances and keepsakes? Well let me tell you~ I’ve had a mental list like that for years and when an guy in a smoke mask is screaming at you in the middle of the night, the list goes out of your brain immediately.
I didn’t grab our socks, shoes, my purse, car keys, NOTHING. Nada. We run outside in our bare feet in the freezing cold. We stand on the frigid asphalt watching a slew of emergency workers run around. After waiting for what seemed like forever, a police officer finally comes over to us and tells us that one of our upstairs neighbor left his fireplace burning and it had caught his apartment on fire. We watch helplessly as the fire fighters axe the roof open, extend the fire truck ladder and start pumping thousands of gallons of water into our building via the roof. Smoke is billowing. We hadn’t gotten renters insurance yet, we were going to meet with our agent the very next day to see if we could get it cheaper than our complex was offering. I picture all of our things being burned up. All those thank you notes that had taken a week to write, crisp. Water ruining our new wedding album. Brand new sheets, linens, furniture going up in smoke.
Neighbors brought us socks and blankets. We just stood in the cold, anticipating the absolute worst. About an hour later, we are able to go in to observe the damage. Our apartment is filled with smoke. We open all the windows and doors. As the smoke clears, we realize everything appears to be o.k. Smoky, but o.k. The firefighter accompanying us says he is amazed. We are amazed.
The next day our carpets were steam cleaned and all of our clothes were taken to the dry cleaners to remove the smokey smell (courtesy of our apartment complex). We lived in that apartment for a year and EVERY time you used the exhaust fan in the bathroom it smelled exactly like Fat Boys BBQ Restaurant. It wasn't funny then, but it is funny now.
So, I know you're saying "Sarah, what does this have to do with the adoption?" We learned to be better prepared with things like, say, bringing your keys with you so that when your house is burning down you can at least sit in your warm car or maybe to stay on top of important documents and expiration dates. This also goes with being prepared about potential health/attachment issues we may be facing. We should be prepared, but expect the best. That's the best way I know how to explain it. We are expecting a blessing. We are expecting our expectations to be exceeded. We are expecting our lives to be changed for the better.