It was a week that the girls were in Lima for their annual visit to their grandparents’ homes. I was working at the hospital every day that week to make some extra money. I got a phone call at about 2:45 PM while I was working in the ICU at Forbes Regional Hospital. I was clearing things up and getting ready to leave. Just as I was running out of a patient’s room to the desk, writing on the charts, the unit secretary said, “Barb, there’s a phone call for you.”
I got on the phone, and it was a lady with a Korean accent. Her name was Cecilia. And she said, “Barbara Basel?”
“Boy, you’re a hard lady to find!” she said.
“I’ve been trying to reach you all day, and they keep sending me to different units,” she said. “We have a baby for you.”
By that time, I had everybody’s attention. All the workers on the unit were standing around looking at me with rapt attention. Many of the people working there knew that we had lost a couple of babies and that we were adopting.
“The baby was born May 4, 1983.” This was June now, it must have been June 14th—we made our matching day June 16th, which was exactly one year to the day that I had had the last surgery that took our last baby and our chance of having any others naturally. Our appointment was June 16th at 11:00 in the morning. Eleven AM had been the time my operation had been scheduled a year before.
She told me how much he weighed—3.35 kg. He had been born in a hospital in Seoul. We had made our appointment time, and she was ready to hang up when I asked, “Can you tell me? Is it a boy or a girl?” I thought that question was pretty basic, but Cecilia seemed unconcerned.
“A boy,” she answered.
I hung up. Everybody was staring at me.
“I just got a baby,” I announced.
And then I just put my head down and started to cry. When I looked up, I just said, “I’m going back to the break room.”
It took me a while to get my wits about me. When I did, I called my husband, Rick. He wasn’t there, of course. He was never at his desk. So I called the number for his secretary, Cindy. Everybody Rick worked with knew that we were waiting for a baby too.
I got Cindy on the phone. “Cindy!” I said. “I can’t find Rick, but I finally got the call we’ve been waiting for! We’ve got our baby!”
I couldn’t understand what she was saying, but I could hear her excited on the other end. Finally she said, “I’ll go find him. Where are you at?”
I gave her the phone number for the room that I was in, and it wasn’t long before I got a return call from Rick. He was really excited.
“Barb? We got the baby!” He was asking me all these questions, and I told him all I knew. I hung up the phone. It was 3:15. I wasn’t supposed to leave until 3:30, but I was just worthless. I couldn’t concentrate on anything any more. My work was done.
I went out and asked if I could just go home.