Friday, September 20, 2013

i’m a simple fish tongue with big adoption dreams

Last week we got an email from an expectant mother looking for some nice lesbians to adopt her baby. Let me just say that, if the situation were leading somewhere, I wouldn’t be telling you about it right now. I would be talking to a few friends and family members, glowing quietly and secretly making baby-clothes collages on Polyvore. Because I would respect the delicate nature of this time.

But, yeah, spoiler alert.

The expectant mom—I’ll call her New Zealand—was sixteen, African-American, expecting a boy in February. AK and I had some conversations about the challenges of raising a black male in a country that sometimes thinks black males are going to mug them. We decided we’d be honored to give it a try, and we’d seek out help when necessary.

We let ourselves daydream a little. Something surged up in me that I’ve been pushing down hard for a long time. I imagined our little guy in playgroups with our friends’ kids, getting spoiled by our parents. I imagined telling him about his birthmom, who’d found a good home for him so she could go to college. I imagined not buying any stupid sports-themed baby clothes, but happily accepting any hand-me-down sports-themed baby clothes, as my idealism (already eroded by the past three years) crumbled with the reality of parenthood.

But I can totally get behind dressing our future child like an adorable elephant.
I texted with New Zealand, and talked to her for a half hour on the phone. She was sweet and polite, athletic and church-going. But over the next few days, she faded out, and so did our hopes that she was The One.

I’ve learned to grieve very efficiently. Sometimes I think this is a useful skill. Sometimes—while I’m in the throes of self-pity—I feel like a creature who exists solely to lose things, like one of those animals who has evolved for one very specific purpose. Like that insect that eats fishes’ tongues and then wedges its body into their mouths to act as the new tongue. But hopefully less disgusting.

Actual nature: somewhat less cute than a baby dressed as an elephant.
Then I realize things could be worse in a thousand ways, and I try not to let my life grind to a halt. I remember calling in sick to work once when I found out I wasn’t pregnant and was really sad. That’s the act of someone who doesn’t expect to have many bad days. Now I try to multitask while I pout.

The good part is that AK and I were pretty much on the same page throughout our little New Zealand trip, and we shared some giddiness, hopefully not for the last time. We felt readier than we’d ever been before. But while learning experiences are nice, babies are even nicer. So if you know anyone who has an extra one on the way, you know where to find us.


Kim said...

I have a new slogan: If not you two then who? Rooting for you and wishing, quite seriously, you and AK would consider adopting me. One day one child will be very fortunate...

val said...

When this comes true for you---and it will come true---I have the cutest little cow costume that Lyla wore 2 halloweens ago and you will adore! Consider it yours. Xo

Cheryl said...

K: I want to adopt you, but AK tells me it's not appropriate to constantly ask your adopted child to look at your problematic moles.

V: This is especially perfect, because AK has an adult-sized cow costume. We could get a whole herd going.

Kristin said...

Aawww. I've been wondering about how your path to parenthood fits in now with your other, unanticipated journeys. Good to know that you and AK are so, so ready. I still trust that your trip - whenever it happens, and wherever it takes you - will be wonderful and amazing. Sending lots of hopeful wishes that, though he may not be from New Zealand, or even a little elephant, your own little beast will be home with you very soon.

Cheryl said...

Good to hear from you, Kristin! Thanks for the vote of confidence. We need it.