Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Oh, Baby.

This morning at 9 – on my “day off” C calls it though I consider it my only day on, since it’s the one day all week when I can write or shop or run errands, see a doctor, read, or sit and think – C and I went to a dreary little windowless office to be fingerprinted. It was – I believe, after I send this form to Austin so they can make sure I did not abuse or neglect any children in Texas while I lived there – the last component of a lengthy, tedious application to the adoption agency. (My favorite section was the one where we had to list the addresses and dates of every place we lived in the last 35 years. Attach additional sheets of paper if necessary, and it was.)

I downloaded Your Baby’s First Year for Dummies onto my Kindle last week. We don’t know how old our baby will be when we get it, but it’s possible he or she could be fresh out of the womb, in which case we’ll need to know about umbilical cords, formula, and jaundice, etc. It could just as likely be a year old and I’ll need to read another book.

Months ago or more, we were talking about kids and realized we had similar feelings: we both had wanted to raise a child but had put that desire aside as we got older. Seemed like it was getting late and it probably wouldn’t happen. But of course in the last two years both our lives have changed dramatically and maybe it’s not too late. It surely will be soon, but maybe if we step on it there’s still a chance. I’ll be 53 next month, but I figure I’ve got at least another good 20 years in me. That’s long enough to raise a kid. And C is 9 years younger. (It is strange to think, though, that when my mom was my age, I was in my thirties.)

I had this unexamined thought in my head that there are lots of babies out there who need parents. Don’t you always hear that? It’s not true. There are very few infants, and everybody competes for them. Adoptable babies are even more scarce for same-sex couples because international adoptions are out. People create web sites, put classifieds in college newspapers, Google Ads, looking for pregnant women who for whatever reason are not keeping their babies.

Now that the application is complete, someone from the agency will visit us on Monday to do a “home study.” We still have a lot of work to do to convert our office into a nursery, cover up all the electrical cords, get a crib and diapers, formula, and the rest, but that doesn’t have to be done yet for the home study, which I understand is more or less to verify that our apartment is reasonably clean and that we have room for a child. It’s hard to know how to plan our preparation since we don’t know when the baby will arrive or how old he or she will be.

Okay, now I’m feeling the pressure to write everything I’ve ever thought about babies and childrearing in this blog post – discipline, circumcision, gendered toys and clothing, school, homemade baby food, Santa Claus – but I’ll save it for future days. Maybe I'll blog while the baby is napping.

The deal C and I made is that since he makes a lot more money than I do (like exponentially), he’ll be the breadwinner and I will be a stay-at-home dad. I have to say I’m a little terrified.

What a crazy life so full of I-certainly-didn’t-think-I’d-be-doing-this-now.


jdjb said...

Well, there are a lot of kids out there who need parents, they're just not infants; the older kids get the short shrift again and again. I don't understand it, but I guess people (like you guys) who have the means and inclination to adopt know something more about it. No offense, but it seems to me that same sex couples, being "non-traditional," should consider more fully going a non-traditional route when adding to their family. That said, I am relieved you're not turkey basting for a baby!

Steven said...

Thats one of the aspects of this process that I started to write about but decided to save for later. There are of course lots of kids over 5 who need homes, many or most of them teenagers who've had troubled lives. We thought long and hard, because the need is so huge and heartbreaking and we wondered if we shouldn't adopt an older kid. But eventually we decided we just didn't feel up to it. Though of course you never know who the kid is going to turn out to be, we feel able to take an infant and grow into the experience along with the kid. If our child ends up with a disability or other issue, we'll rise to it. I have huge admiration for people who adopt older kids, as I do for people who care take care of people dying of AIDS, or people who feed the homeless, etc. But it's not a life I would choose.

jdjb said...

I was having this conversation with a friend more recently and he pointed out that there will be unwanted babies, and the fact that you're not turkey basting so you can have your DNA in the baby really is an important point.

So I take back my previous objection, if you would consider it an objection.