Selfies Document Life-Changing Trips to FedEx Office
The Last Pickup
Tears streamed down Lacy Healey’s face as she raced down the road to a FedEx Office retail store about 20 miles from her house outside of San Antonio, Texas. It had been a long, stressful day. Healey, a personal trainer, cancelled her final appointment with a client that afternoon to give herself a better chance of making the 7:15 p.m. drop-off deadline for FedEx Express overnight service. She had an envelope in her possession that needed to be delivered the next day. A 3-year-old on the other side of the world depended on it….
The Moment When She Knew
Years ago as an undergraduate, Healey completed an independent study under a professor who had adopted a child from China. It was something she wanted to explore later in life when the time was right.
“There are so many kids who need homes,” Healey said. “There are thousands of babies who are abandoned for whatever reason. I’ve been thinking about [adopting] since I was in college, but financially it’s a big barrier for people and a general knowledge base of where to start is inhibitive.”
Healey and her husband, Kristofor, began discussing adoption in 2012. They gathered as much information as they could to better understand what it would take to make the idea a reality. The Texas couple realized early on that it wasn’t going to be easy, financially or otherwise. They spent the next few years preparing themselves for what they expected would be an arduous process.
Then, in September 2016, Healey was hit with a sudden sense of urgency.
“[Kristofor and I] were dragging our feet, and I had this feeling that there was a child out there waiting for us.”
Healey and her husband contracted with an adoption agency in Austin, Texas, not long after. While driving to her hometown for Christmas last year, they received the file of a little girl living in an orphanage in south central China. The file indicated that the toddler had special needs. She also had a smile that melted their hearts.
“They say there is a moment when you know that a child is yours,” Healey said. “When I opened her file and saw all her pictures and her history, I knew.”
The Paper Chase Begins
The file marked the beginning of a process that Healey calls the “paper chase”.
Healey began to compile an intense amount of paper work required by the adoption agency. She and her husband provided bank statements, mortgage documents and information about her business as a personal trainer. She even had to sketch blueprints of her home. To Healey, it seemed like her entire life.
“We live in a rural town about 35 minutes from the main highway in San Antonio,” Healey said. “We have terrible mail service where we’re at. In order to ensure the paperwork would arrive timely, everything had to go through FedEx.”
Over the next several months, Healey sent packets of paperwork to the adoption agency in Austin and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services outside of Dallas.
“Going to FedEx Office was the most emotionally charged time in this whole process,” Healey said. “You’re sending off paperwork that is changing your life. You might receive an original document from a foreign country that says a child is yours, and then you have to give that up and put it in an envelope and send it across the country.”
Tracking a Beautiful Rose
Healey made her first trip to the FedEx Office in San Antonio in December. She stressed about leaving an envelope so important and so precious in the hands of a total stranger.
The first packet included a payment to the adoption agency.
“You’re sending paperwork that is worth more than your college education, and you want to make sure it arrives on time,” Healey said.
To commemorate the moment, Healey took a selfie in her car with a receipt that showed the package tracking number. From then on, she took selfies of every trip to FedEx Office.
There was one visit in the spring that was particularly emotional for Healey.
It had been a long day of work and appointments with clients. Healey was physically and mentally drained but still needed to send important paperwork to her adoption agency. She hopped in her car and headed to the FedEx Office store about 20 miles from her house. She needed to get there before the 7:15 p.m. drop-off deadline for FedEx Express overnight service. When Healey arrived, her heart sank to see a lengthy line in front of her. She feared she would miss the cutoff.
“I was sobbing my eyes out,” Healey recounts. “I knew if the packet didn’t go out that day, it would have to wait until tomorrow, and then the [adoption] agency wouldn’t look at it until Monday. There’s a sense of urgency when there is another human being waiting in a foster home on the other side of the world. She has medical conditions and everything is time sensitive.”
FedEx Office Center Manager Javier Armendariz was working behind the counter that afternoon and recognized Healey. He had talked to her once before and knew a little bit about her story.
He motioned her to come up front and made sure her envelope was picked up that night for overnight delivery.
“He told me to bring [my daughter] by when we brought her back home with us from China,” Healey said.
Emotionally exhausted but relieved, Healey left FedEx Office that evening hoping she was one step closer to meeting her daughter.
By the time August rolled around, it had been nine months since Healey and her husband had first contracted with their adoption agency in Austin. Healey had compiled enough paperwork to last a lifetime and made nearly 10 trips to FedEx Office to ensure that paperwork made it to its destination on time. Then, she finally received the news she had been waiting for all along: it was time to fly to China to meet her daughter, three-year-old Meili Rose, which translates to “Beautful Rose” in English.
The family of three recently returned home to Texas and has plans to make at least one more trip to FedEx Office. This time, there will be no paperwork, no stress and no tears. Healey said she will be all smiles as she introduces her daughter to the FedEx Office team.
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