First Contact—isn’t that the name of that movie where Jodie Foster talks to aliens? Oh, wait, that’s just Contact. But finally getting a call from an expectant mother—after months of silence and one unconvincing scam—did feel a little like someone was reaching out to us from another world.
I’ve been working hard at that “networking” stuff the IAC advises hopeful adoptive parents to do. I’ve been keeping our Facebook page up to date with photos and posts that show WHAT A HAPPY, LOVING, READY-FOR-A-BABY COUPLE WE ARE! I’ve been blogging here and on our adoption website. And, like many things on the internet, it can feel kind of like a black hole. (See how I’m working that space metaphor?) It’s like homework for a moderately fun class, which bares minimal relation to Cecilia’s and my desire to parent an actual baby.
That desire is deep and real and personal, and it lives on a planet of its own.
So imagine my surprise when a number I didn’t recognize popped up on my cell phone and for once it wasn’t a wrong number or the recorded voice of Congressman Javier Becerra or the woman from Carnival Cruise Lines asking if we’d planned our next vacation.
A crazy five days ensued. I won’t go into the details, because the woman who called us is real—so amazingly, fantastically real—and she and her husband are still out there living their lives and making plans for their baby. But I will say this: We talked to them on the phone. We Skyped with them for an hour. They saw one of our cats and we saw their dog. Paws were waved.
During this time two things became clear: 1) how much we liked and respected them and 2) that this wasn’t the right situation for us.
My parents raised me to work hard and not take things for granted. So if an opportunity arises and I don’t seize it, I panic that I’ll never get another because, clearly, I must not be serious about my goals. Cecilia looks at the world differently. She likes to live in that “maybe” zone, where anything could happen. For all you Meyers-Briggs fans out there, she is the P to my J.
So you can guess how our conversations went. And they were good conversations that we needed to have—and which we probably couldn’t have had without looking adoption square in the face.
It killed me to walk away from this couple. They hadn’t officially selected us yet, and maybe they never would have, but they told us, sincerely, that they thought we would make great parents. Our families and friends have said the same thing, but to hear it from two people who meant You would make great parents for OUR BABY may be the biggest compliment we’ve ever received.
It was the opposite of what the universe had seemed to be communicating during the course of our unsuccessful fertility treatments and miscarriage. Something inside me healed a little bit more.
Of course, ultimately we’re not in this for compliments. We’re in this because we want to raise a child, and it’s hard to return to the world of waiting. But we’ll never forget the couple who made the hypothetical seem probable.