Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Miracle of Adoption-Baby Number Two

January 20, 1989 was a momentous date in the life of the Bush dynasty and the O'Brien family. You may wonder what our families could possibly have in common.

For the Bush family, this was the day George Sr. moved into the Oval Office and became our Forty-First President. And while that was of great importance, the events about to take place in the life of my family carried more significance.

While President and Mrs. Bush were making their rounds of presidential balls, we were sitting in an airport in Charleston, South Carolina waiting on a flight from Guatemala, Central America. It was carrying a three month old baby girl. She was given the name, Bailey Jean, at birth. Her first name was my mom's maiden name. Jean, is my middle name.

She would carry the name of her mother and grandmother, one she would never meet this side of heaven. That was important for me; the passing of a legacy through one's name.

When the missionaries asked if we wanted the next girl born, our answer was, "No, we want the next baby born." At that time, there were three women visiting the children's home, ready to give birth. Bailey was the next born, the others were boys. We knew from the beginning she was meant for us.

We opted to have her brought to us by Larry, the missionary. Her story unfolds on camera, and we have it to watch over and over again.

We arrived at the airport with time to spare. Our friends, Steve and Lori Williams, met us in Charleston. Steve was to be the official videographer. The plane was scheduled to land at seven p.m. We were there by five p.m. Anticipation grew as the magical hour approached. I paced back and forth, until there was a path worn in the carpet. My husband was cool and collected.

Daddy's girl...then
The aircraft was finally on the ground, yet we continued to wait. Babies are last to come off the plane many times, so we tried to be patient. One by one, passengers filed by, as disappointment gripped my heart with each one. I tried to contain the tears, but I could feel the well of emotion filling up.

Steve decided to go on board and video Larry carrying our baby out to us. He thought it would be more dramatic to capture her expressions inside the plane. The look on his face as he came off the plane is one I'll have in my memory for the rest of my life. He spoke these words in disbelief, "She's not there."

"What do you mean, she's not there?" I said "She has to be there." I burst into tears as my husband held me. There was no explanation.

We asked the flight attendant if there was a baby on board and she assured us there was not. She suggested we go to the Delta ticket counter. As soon as we approached the counter and gave them our name, there was a message awaiting us. The original flight had been canceled and she wouldn't be arriving for seven more hours.

A mixture of relief and anger flooded over me…mostly relief. I was thankful she was on her way but angry no one had informed us sooner. A simple announcement would have prevented our anguish. (Cell phones didn't exist.)

Now more waiting…the four of us went to dinner, shopped until the stores closed, went to a late movie, and  w  a  i  t  e  d.

Bailey and Lori
I cried until there were no more tears and then cried some more. The months of waiting for my baby girl had been difficult. Claire mailed pictures of her to us. Once you get a glimpse of a baby God has gifted you with, it's gut wrenching not to be able to get your arms around it. Once the floodgates opened, I couldn't stop the tears.

Finally, the announcement was made, she was on the ground. The camera was on and the moment we'd waited nine months for…"Welcome to America, Bailey Jean," were Steve's first words to her.

She was the most beautiful baby girl I'd ever seen. Her hair was long and jet black and I couldn't stop talking about it. Tears of joy fell all over her as she stared into our faces. We both cuddled her and held her and told her how much we loved her. It's a moment frozen in time for the three of us.

Not realizing at first what was happening, the flight crew and a few passengers had gathered around us to witness our joy. Applause broke out among those watching. They shared their experiences with her on the flight.

Lori and I stole away to the restroom with our little bundle. Bonds were sealed that night with these dear friends as well as those who were at home taking care of Andy.

Lori was the first to change her diaper; Steve's voice is the first voice she heard on American soil. There are many others who have had tremendous influence on her life to shape her into the woman she is today.

She is more beautiful today because of who she is on the inside. Though her outward beauty is stunning, it will fade one day, but the inward Strength she's built her life around will never fail her.

Her namesake would be proud to know her legacy is one of godly character and strength. I'm sure if she can see her she'd say, "Yes, that's my girl, I'd know her anywhere."

Blessings from My Little Corner,


  1. rich with emotion and memory, Cindy. I'm glad you've written all this down :).

    1. Oh Robin, it was a time in my life I think I'll never forget, but I wanted to make sure my children know how much they were wanted and loved. From the moment of their "conception" till the moment they were placed in my arms they were loved, and are loved. When I'm gone, they'll have my words. :)