Published September, 2014
I first met Ruth and Nora at a Starbucks in the town my family had moved to the month before. I had already spoken to Ruth on a pretty terrible cell phone connection halfway through my pregnancy, while I paced back and forth in the guest bedroom of my grandmother’s condo. I was desperately eager to please—having read through their online profile and seen a picture of them together, I was sure that they would be excellent parents and I really wanted them to like me.
That first meeting essentially had two purposes: to let the three of us see whether we liked each other and to demonstrate to Ruth and Nora that I really was pregnant and not a lunatic.
I was visibly pregnant and I gave them a picture from the ultrasound I had before the move. Ruth was not exactly thrilled that I was drinking coffee, but I told her that the risk of miscarriage was slight if I had a couple of cups of coffee per week, and so she accepted that. We chatted and it was clear that all three of us wanted this to work out. It was sort of like an extremely odd first date.
Of course, “extremely odd” is putting it lightly—many prospective adoptive parents are eager to the point of desperate to make a good match and adopt a baby, and many women making an adoption plan are desperate, full stop. I can’t speak for what Ruth and Nora were feeling that afternoon, but I very much needed to be doing the right thing and for all of this to work out. Since I had decided that my baby would be better off with parents other than myself, I wanted to pick really amazing parents. Because if you can choose, why not choose the best? I think it’s a futile quest—birth parents are just people and adoptive parents are just people and we’re mostly all doing the best that we can. We talked about our hopes for the baby and overall seemed to have a great deal in common.
Ruth and Nora came to visit me twice before the birth. I still remember the first moment when I felt that Nora really wanted to be a parent or could really imagine herself as a parent: I don’t want to send him to school in track suits, she said in the car, seemingly out of nowhere. I know that some kids go to school in those, you know, the sweat suits or the ones with that shiny material—I don’t like it. I don’t want that for our kid. I didn’t have strong feelings one way or the other about track suits myself; though I should perhaps disclose that neither Joey nor Kit wear them. But hearing Nora abruptly imagine out loud her son going to school, and what that might be like, made me feel that she wanted to be a parent to the child I was carrying—and in the end that’s what I really wanted out of that first meeting.