I know, I know, I’m a bad boy. It’s been months since I’ve blogged. No doubt, dear reader, you thought I’d fallen into a deep pit, physically or emotionally, from whence my return has been egregiously delayed. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Autumn and holiday season were extraordinarily busy at EDGE, which conspired with a lack of progress on the adoption front to keep my literary aspirations from culminating in pen-to-paper (or fingers to keyboard, as it were).
Alas, at least for the moment, I must put aside childish things (like "Downton Abbey" and a penchant for writing mobile code rather than prose, despite the urgings of my therapist) and put my head back into the word processing. It’s not due to the reemergence of my muse or the completion of my closet renovation - although the latter has occurred.
No, dear friends, Kevin and I have the possibility of another match!
You’ll recall the circumstances the last time; it was a terribly difficult emotional process of soul-searching due to the exceptional medical challenges of the mom and infant in question. (For more, just read that blog.) Happily, it seems the new situation lacks complications of any type thus far; do let me pause, however, to knock on the faux-wood laminate covering what no doubt is cheap composite material that is slowly breaking down into kindling in my home office. It’s better than nothing.
On Thursday, we received a phone call late in the day from our agency, Friends in Adoption (FIA). I’ve not yet met June, our wrangler over there (I’m sure there’s an appropriate term for her position - something along the lines of "case worker" - but I so respect the ability of these women to manage the expectations of prospective adoptive parents that I’ll happily compare our behavior to that of mutton and hers to the effusive stroking that keeps us from cascading, bleating, off the edge of an impassioned cliff) - but she sounds capable and genuinely amiable. She informed me that we have a "situation."
Now, in the non-adoption world, having a "situation" usually implies that something has gone wrong. Examples: "I know it’s your wedding day, but we have a situation here" or "Can we please talk about this situation" or "I thought I was raising a self-respecting, hard-working, selfless boy with a sense of propriety and at least a modest vocabulary, but instead I got The Situation." But when your adoption agency calls to discuss a "situation", they mean to say that a pregnant woman is in the process of creating an adoption plan that potentially involves you.
The first time we got this call, they phoned Kevin. He is, after all, the primary contact for FIA. I recall getting instantly excited, and then rapidly crushed as I heard about the challenges facing our first potential child. This time, the news was rosy: a perfectly healthy birth mother living in New York not only liked our profile, she chose us exclusively. She loves us even before meeting us.
Let me put the facts out there: our potential birthmom is giving birth to a baby girl in late April, and she wants us to be her baby’s parents. She’s so certain of this that she opted to forego the ritual phone call and progress directly to meeting us, which will happen this coming weekend.
Little in life can prepare you for the leaping of your heart in this moment - and straight men in fertile relationships, don’t even try to compare this moment to that when your wife or girlfriend tells you that she’s got a bun in the oven. We know what you’re probably thinking at that time ("Oh, shit") - but for adoptive parents who have been dreaming of a family for two years and been literally and emotionally poked and prodded, signed countless forms and undergone rigorous financial, legal and criminal checks to ensure we’re "acceptable" as parents, it’s different. Especially if you’re a same-sex couple, and the foremost religious structures of our time ritualistically attempt to tear down your dreams based to an inflexible belief in dogma rather than a spirituality that actually follows the teaching "love one another."
Ironically, however, we all end up in the same place. Kevin and I spent some time with June discussing the details of our potential match, and considering carefully the limited number of individuals with whom we should share this news (I keep forgetting that I’ve committed to writing this experience into a blog; there goes all hope of controlling expectations prior to the actual adoption plan getting off the ground), and then, our heads awhirl, we unconsciously, quietly, ended one chapter or our lives and began another. And the overriding self-talk that occurs at these moments, strangely enough, is nonetheless, "Oh, shit."
Let me clarify: we’re not afraid of starting a family; we’ve wanted that for years. And we’re not concerned about money, or support, or college tuition, or baby nutrition, or how to correctly swaddle. We’re ready.
But if there’s something intellectually humbling about the gift a woman gives when she opts to place her baby into the care of an adoptive family, there’s something viscerally humbling about the gift a woman gives when she considers placing her baby into the care of your family. It implies a level of connection, of faith, of trust, of love in other human beings that clearly has seeped from the overly-articulated missions of said religious structures. And it’s scary.
Because even if you know you’re up for raising a child, that you’ve desperately wanted to open your home and your heart to an entirely dependent human being to whom you can give the world and expect nothing in return, even if you know you’re ready to be a parent, I believe it’s both natural and inevitable that, in the face of such faith and trust, any person would question whether they’re worthy of the gift.
That’s a wondrous, but frightening, question - and its answer lies in the future. One cannot be worthy of life’s journeys until one conquers fears and sets upon them. Every quest starts with a single step. Ours (hopefully) - and that of our potential birth mother - begins with lunch in upstate New York this weekend.