“I have a birth mother interested in you,” our attorney told me over the phone.
“She’s due in two weeks.”
Unlike the many stories of ‘typical’ adoptions we’d heard, our search hadn’t taken the months or even years that some do. In fact, we’d only begun our search seven weeks ago. Seven weeks! We had nothing ready for a baby…Nothing…no clothes, no diapers, no crib…we didn’t even have a room available at the time because we had a guest staying with us. The scramble to get things ready was on!
Time was not on our side but, fortunately, our friends were. They generously donated clothes, supplies, and furniture from their own nurseries and by week two the essentials were in place. It was at that point I took a breather and reassessed what was left to do and it came to my attention that something vital was missing from my parenting arsenal: Advice.
Normally, a mother would have several months and possibly a baby shower or two to learn how to care for her newborn. Her friends and family would offer the tips and advice that had made their baby’s life easier and their own adjustment to parenthood less stressful. I, on the other hand, had a couple ‘how to’ books that hopefully would provide me with ‘Everything You Need to Know During the First Year’. Now, typically a book wouldn’t be my first choice as a guide but at this point I was looking for a security blanket as much as the guidance these books contained.
On several occasions I offered the books to my husband. To be honest I was overwhelmed with the thought of being the sole source of information about how to care for our little bundle of joy and wanted a back-up. My husband, however, seemed perfectly at peace with our rapidly approaching monumental change and continually refused to read the books, assuring me that he would “do it later”. Actually, I think he realized his days as a child-free dude were coming to an end and he didn’t want homework. I couldn’t blame him. Even if his disinterest was annoying I could relate to his apparent denial of premature responsibility.
When we finally got the call from our birth mother we raced to the airport and hopped a flight to the city where our daughter was to be born. We arrived in the middle of the night and went directly to the hospital but our birth mother was asleep so we continued on to our hotel. The next day we met our birth mother, her new boyfriend, her family, her doctor and nurses, and the social worker facilitating the adoption. All those eyes were on us as they evaluated every aspect of our parenting potential.
After spending the day at the hospital we took some time to have dinner and relax a little by ourselves back at the hotel until ‘the call’ came. The doctor was going to induce labor…we needed to get back to the hospital as soon as possible. We took a deep breath and began getting ready, all the while knowing these were the last moments for the rest of our lives that it was just the two of us. It was an exciting, frightening, and overwhelming feeling.
I offered these thoughts up to my husband as I was fixing my hair. When he didn’t respond I turned around to see what he was so focused on and found him sitting on the edge of the bed digging through our bags like a hound at a fox hole.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
He pulled out the baby book and, with an urgency I had never before witnessed, he started thumbing through the index. Without raising his head, he said, “Looking at the book.”
“I’m looking at the baby book.”
“SERIOUSLY?” I asked, flabbergasted, “You’re cramming…for a baby?!!”
His sheepish look was all the answer I got.
Well, I’m happy to report the adoption went well and we have managed parenthood for nearly two years with only a couple hiccups…and I don’t think he ever looked at that baby book again.