When life hands you a Fastpass
Janis Joplin wailed from Catherine's pocket as Sam Eagle explained that he would perform a salute to all nations “but mostly America.”
It was Sunday afternoon, Memorial Day weekend, and we were in the middle of the theater at Disney's Hollywood Studios for Muppetvision 3D when her phone rang. She had forgotten to switch it to silent mode.
We figured it was her brother calling as chaos broke out in Muppet Labs.
We let it go to voicemail.
Two days earlier, we woke up in a Quality Inn outside Florence, S.C.
My wife checked email on her iPhone and discovered a message from A Child's Hope – a Raleigh agency that we've been working with for more than a year to try to adopt a baby.
The email informed us of an opportunity. A young woman had given birth to a baby on May 22. She and the birth father had chosen a couple from the agency's website, but they gave every hopeful parent a chance to show their profile by 3 p.m.
We urged the agency to put our profile in front of the birth parents and asked them to show off our Facebook page too.
We'd been down this road before, though. We wouldn't hear from the agency if the parents didn't choose us. The next thing we would probably hear would be an announcement via email that another couple had been selected.
We had coped with rejection or, more accurately, non-selection, in the past. We could handle it again. Our philosophy: “We'll get a kid when we get a kid. It'll happen when it happens.”
We just wanted to make sure we were in the running.
Saturday came and went without any word.
“They probably didn't choose us,” Catherine said. We had just returned to my parents' home in Deltona from watching a softball game.
“Next time,” I said.
And when it happened, I thought, we would be waiting months for an expectant mother to give birth.
I wanted Sunday to be a big distraction for both of us.
So we went to Disney's Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Weekend, because I'm a huge geek and I hadn't been on the revamped Star Tours ride.
But I kept seeing the Jedi fathers and their Sith kids and the ever-patient wives trying to look normal around the nerds they loved. So much for the distraction – it just made me wish that Catherine and I had our own little one to tote around the park.
After lunch, we decided to dare the line for Star Tours. The digital sign indicated that we would be waiting 80 minutes. I led Catherine toward the left queue entrance, not realizing it was the Fastpass line.
“How many?” the attendant asked.
“Two,” I said.
“Do you have a Fastpass?”
“Oh, no, we don't,” I said. “Sorry.”
We walked toward the 80-minute line. Catherine asked, “Should we do something else and come back later to see if the wait is shorter?”
I shook my head. “It could be even longer later. We came here for this. Might as well wait.”
That's when I heard the attendant call to us: “Party of two?”
We walked back toward the young woman, who handed two small pieces of paper to us. She said, “A family had two extra Fastpasses, if you want them.”
Five minutes later, we were zooming through a galaxy far, far away, eluding the menacing Darth Vader and the infamous bounty hunter Boba Fett.
After the Muppet show, Catherine checked her phone. The call hadn't been from her brother. It had been from a Charlotte phone number that she didn't recognize.
We both checked our email and discovered messages from a social worker with the agency.
They wanted us to call immediately.
They never asked us to call for bad news.
“Oh, my God,” Catherine said, settling down onto a bench outside the theater.
She called Marisa, who explained that we had been the couple originally chosen by the birth parents.
“They looked at other profiles, but they kept coming back to you,” she said.
We got the happiest news we could ever receive in the happiest place on Earth.
And no waiting months for the child, either.
He would be ours within a week.
How's that for a Fastpass?