Okay, so after yesterday’s post about basically nothing, I’m going to write something real. And not-funny, and probably not all that entertaining, but meaningful. This post is full of meaningfulness.
Found this yesterday, while working on copyedits for my next book:
Starting a family, having a baby, seemed so straightforward to everybody else. Something they always assumed would happen, and so accepted without surprise or gratitude once it did. Me, I would’ve celebrated every day…
Yeah, I wrote that when I started the first draft of this book ohsomany (10, maybe?) years ago. Sounds so sad and pathetic, right?
All my life I wanted a baby. I mean literally all my life, ever since my grandmother gave me a Baby Tenderlove (Am I dating myself here? Does anybody remember Baby Tenderlove?) and I wore out her voice pull-string until the recorder thingie merged two of her phrases, and “Mommy’s so pretty!” and “I’m dirty…I need a bath!” became “Mommy’s so…garble…dirty.” This is true—It became all she could say. It gave me a complex.
Anyway, I digress…
I always assumed it’d happen someday. I mean, every warm-blooded female assumes love, marriage and baby carriage are a given. I actually wanted seven kids but when I met my husband, was still “courting” and didn’t want to intimidate him, I told him we could start with three. Thinking I’d negotiate after that–if Jer wasn’t on board–settling, if necessary, for six. Yes, I am the queen of compromise.
But, of course, the universe had different plans…We didn’t buckle down until we’d been married for a few years. We were having fun, and Jer didn’t know if he was ready, and to be honest I was enjoying my freedom. At the time, I had a 50+ hour a week demanding job, leading teams of people who needed attention day and night. And at the same time I was writing—my real passion—with this foolish dream that I might someday get published. Seriously, that’s all I had time for, the work and the writing and quality time with Jer, and I had no idea how I could possibly squeeze a baby into the picture. Course I did bring it up periodically. You know how you do that, trying to keep something on the front burner so your sig other doesn’t forget about it? Bringing it up at inappropriate moments? Like we’d be eating pancakes and I’d say, “This pancake looks kind of like a fetus!” (Subtle.)
And then, I finally got a contract signed for my first book, about four years ago. With all the money we’d saved up I was able to quit my job, which meant that not only could I write full time but also I could think about babies. So that’s when we started thinking about adoption.
Hell, that’s a lot of back story. I’m boring myself. So I’ll just cut forward through the next four years in present-tense bullet-point fashion like this:
Elizabeth and Jerry finally…
- Sign with agency to adopt from China
- Learn China has a 5-year wait
- Switch to Vietnam (and sacrifice $3,000)
- Vietnam closes to US adoptions (we’d sacrificed $20,000)
- Sob some more
- Regain composure
- Save more money
- Find out I’m pregnant
- Have a miscarriage
- Have another miscarriage
- Fall into deep depression
(Boy, this is a cheery post!!)
- Do some research and find out almost every country has since closed to US adoption, and the remaining countries don’t allow diabetics as prospective parents
- Consider suicide (not really, but maybe come close to considering the consideration of suicide)
- Decide on domestic adoption, knowing it’s a huge risk, that you can fork over a ton of money and end up never getting chosen by a birth mother
- Redo a butt-load of paperwork, get fingerprinted three bazillion more times, and finally get activated, preparing for a year (or more) wait.
And so, now we’re up to last December. The domestic program is unlike international in that birth mothers review profiles of a ton of PAPs (prospective adoptive parents), and finally choose the parents they’d like to adopt their child. So we put together a profile talking about our lives, our families, etc., along with a bunch of photos (which may or may not have been slightly Photoshopped to remove a cheek mole and, in a regrettable summer photo, someone’s thigh-cellulite.) And we prayed to be chosen, while joining forums where PAPs moaned about 2-3 year waits and how they’d lost hope. And we sank into despair.
Okay, cliffhanger. This post is too long and all full of emotion, and writing it has killed me a little inside. I’ll continue tomorrow (after we hear from our social worker…)