Tag Archives: single mom

Lonely Single Mom

Yesterday was rough.  I am traveling for the first time in months, and none of our regular sitters were available this weekend.  I was pinched and had to go with someone new.

This woman has spent the week driving me nuts.

We talked, we negotiated a 4 day/3 night job, I promised to follow up with an email outline and texts.

I thought it was all good.  Until this cuckoo bird called me yesterday, saying she had not received any of my communications and that because I apparently hadn’t sent anything, I had failed to confirm.

Oh, and her rate was her “live in” nanny rate—basically I’m paying her like Hope is an infant, needing 24 hour care, which roughly came to about $2K

Say what now?

She said, well what if Hope get sick at school and needs me to pick her up? Ok, right, but 1) we have a contact for that, 2) Hope would rather shave her head than go home from school sick and miss seeing her crush in gym class–the last class of the day and 3) unless she is projectile vomiting, I’m going to tell that nurse to put some ‘Tussin on it and send her behind back to class.

Lady, you have got to be kidding me. I cannot.

So, we renegotiate because clearly she did not understand my needs. I resend the email and text messages.

I think we’re cool.

3:34am, in all CAPS: MISS ABM, MY INTERNET HAS BEEN OUT FOR DAYS BUT NOW I GET YOUR EMAILS. I WILL BE THERE. I UNDERSTAND. THANK YOU.

Um, ok. Yes, in all caps. She yelled at me in the middle of the night.

Sigh.

Sooooo, you accused me of not sending emails, but you weren’t able to access the internet.  Yeah, this is just peachy.

At 9am, I have a conference call with the new tutor, while I’m out getting some exercise. Never mind that I think I’m going to do three loads of laundry and I haven’t started packing and my flight leaves at 1:10pm.

10am, sitter calls again because there is a discrepancy between the time I originally requested with the sitter service and the time I asked her to come.

OMG. I calmly tell her that the time I have told her, texted her, emailed her repeatedly is the only time she needs to be concerned with. Somehow she gets riled up, then I get riled up, then she threatens to quit, and I lose my ish since I’m supposed to be on a plane in a couple of hours. I start sobbing. She now claims to quit because I am crying; I just hang up because I’ve got to come up with a plan, and I don’t have another moment to spare with this bird.

She calls me back, I tear her a new one; she apologizes for like 20 minutes; I can’t get her to hang up.

Sigh.

Trip’s back on, though I’m stressed to the max and making a mental note that it’s time to hire someone privately.

She calls me and texts me twice more, including the text of a beautiful forest fire, that I guess is supposed to be inspirational…I guess.

She picks up Hope and I eventually get to Chicago.

I call Hope, and she politely tip toes around the fact that the new sitter is a cuckoo bird. I’d done everything I could all week to chat the sitter up and to seem optimistic about it, but come on…Hope is 14 if the sitter is a crackpot, then she’s going to know that the sitter is a crackpot.

Finding help and support can be so challenging for me.  I don’t have much family around anymore.  I haven’t been good about nurturing some of my pre-Hope friendships; life is so different now.  Sometimes Hope’s anxiety behaviors clearly turned folks off, and I just took steps away.  A great deal of my support comes from “staff.” The housekeeper every two weeks, the dog walker that helps to manage some of Yappy’s puppy energy and the sitter service that helps me be able to travel for work and have an evening or two a weekend a month to myself.

When I first started using the sitter service, things were great.  I was able to find some really kind, patient and compassionate young women to help me look after Hope.  I wouldn’t say they babied her, but she got a lot of attention and had fun when the sitters came.  These days, those awesome women have moved on to other things and this has resulted in us being a bit rudderless without consistent sitters. And please know, we need help.  No, make that *I* need help. It’s really crazy out here all by my lonesome.  This single mom situation is serious!

I’m also finding that our needs have dramatically changed.  For all the problems Hope and I may have, we are remarkably stable, these days. I think it time for us to look for someone who can meet our new needs, which means shuttling Hope to activities, making sure she goes to bed and takes care of the dog and brushes her teeth.  I need someone responsible, but I don’t need a live-nanny who treats Hope like an infant or a toddler.

I think the most striking thing about this episode is how limited my options feel in securing help with child care so that I can continue to do things that are required for my job. Family isn’t really an option.  Friends aren’t really an option. The sitter service is a great option, but a bit of a personality crap shoot.

This single mom feels pretty alone and kind of unsupported.  Not that the people around me are mean or intentionally unsupportive, but there aren’t people close enough to me to ask that they watch Hope for 3 or 4 days without costing me a grip.

I don’t have a village to raise this kid and that sucks.

I guess there might be some kinda village but it is nothing like I envisioned what it would be or what I now know I need for my family.

No village = mo problems.  At least it feels that way. It feels hard.

I can see how the lack of village affects me.  I wonder how the lack of a village affects Hope. I dunno.

I’m beginning to be somewhat withdrawn like Hope socially, despite my constant efforts to stay connected. I feel the sting of rejection when a band parent just ignores me, or worse, turns her shoulder to signal my exclusion from participating in a conversation. I’m actually starting to wonder if band parents are talking about me—I have no idea what they’d say?  Do I volunteer enough?  How come I don’t always sit with the parents during games (because they ignore my very presence). I also feel the lonely when I talk to my sisters over many cities and several states.  I feel it talking to my parents 100 miles away.

Single parenting a kid from a hard place is great, but my own journey has some really lonely spots. This feels like one.

Lonely parenting only adds to the stress of parenting in general.  This is tough job; you really need people around you, to lean on, to sob with, to take deep breaths with.  You need a village.

I’m hoping that I can try to build a suitable village, one that will give Hope and I the support we need.


It’s Exhausting

I’m so very tired of having to explain the death of another kid getting cut down by a police officer.

Deadly force was used on another unarmed kid of color–keyword–”another.”

Tony Robinson was killed on Friday in Madison, Wisconsin.

Just Thursday night, Shonda Rhimes tried to unpack a version of Michael Brown’s shooting on an episode of Scandal. I couldn’t even bring myself to watch it until the weekend; it hurt too much.

I don’t get the deadly force thing.  I don’t understand why, in the rock, paper, scissors game of life, a kill shot is needed when a leg or arm shot will do.  I don’t understand the comfort in training law enforcement that seems to surround the use of deadly force.

And as always I don’t understand why it seems to be necessary for me to teach my kid to how to not get shot by law enforcement, especially when she feels some kind of way about them anyway.  It’s getting harder to believe that her sassy personality and extraordinary height won’t be found threatening by someone, so threatening that she could lose her life behind some absurd ish.

The mental gymnastics involved in explaining the significance of commemorating Blood Sunday in Selma, Alabama this weekend, keynoted by the first African American president while also explaining that another unarmed African American was shot and killed the same weekend is…exhausting.

It’s depressing.

Oh, we can all say, “Well, let’s wait for the investigation and see what happens.”  Sure, of course, I’m reasonable in this and I’m glad that the police chief has responded so differently.   He clearly learned what not to do from the Ferguson police department.  But, inquisitive, invested 13 year olds who don’t miss ANYTHING in the news like this don’t wait to start asking questions or expressing frustration or proclaiming that police don’t like people like us. She wants to talk about this ish now, right now.

And frankly so do I, but like I”ve said before, I don’t know what to say.


Adopting Hope – Guest Blog

Recently the kind folks over at America Adopts invited me to compose a guest blog for their site.  Super, super cool!  I’m touched by the invite to offer another voice and perspective on adoption, particularly older child adoption.  Thanks for the opportunity to share!

Adopting Hope: My Story as a Single Adoptive Black Mom


Silencing the Noise

Recently blogger, Love Hurts, posted an essay called, “am I a good mom?” I can’t say that I ask this question specifically; it’s more that I review collections of incidents and do assessments and think about where I could do better, how I could’ve done worse and be glad I didn’t.

I’m constantly looking to improve, but overall I have gotten to this space in which I try to be kind to myself. I try to give myself a break. It is an odd thing to have no kids one day and a kid, a teenager no less, the next day. It’s hard work. I get it half wrong or just all wrong every day. But I figure Hope seems happy, she’s safe, she’s fed, she’s loved, she’s learning. I must be doing something right.

I’ve come to believe that my worries about parenting are triggered by factors and individuals outside of me and Hope. There are the comments about what I let Hope “get away with” as we continue to work on big issues from her past. There are the side eyes I get because I’m apparently doing the most. Then there’s the passive aggressive commentary when I’m apparently doing the least.

I try to stay inward focused on Hope’s needs just so that I can tune out the noise. The noise doesn’t add any meaningful input into my life or parenting. It does serve to further breakdown whatever confidence I might exude on any given day. It makes me question the things I absolutely know I got right and cry more over the things I wonder if I screwed up royally.

What’s interesting about the criticism is that it rarely offers a suggestion for a better way to do anything or if the commenter might pitch in to help. Sometimes they offer suggestions, but they aren’t helpful because the offering is made without tons of nuanced information about my and Hope’s journey through trauma and adoption. So it really is just noise.

Today I am sitting in a conference room in the mid-west in a meeting away from Hope. Today she is out of school. Nanny 1 has left for the day and the other nanny won’t be in until this evening. Hope is “Home Alone.”

homealone

Hope has food.

She has a list of chores and activities.

Appropriate PPV movies were purchased this morning.

The crockpot is going for dinner.

I will call to check on her throughout the day.

Hope’s got an emergency contact list and access to two building concierges who can help out if necessary.

She’s 13 and will be home alone for maybe 10 hours. She will likely sleep 4 of them easily.

I did play a bit of resource Cirque du Soleil trying to have someone there to entertain/watch her today. My machinations didn’t work, and so she’s home today alone.

And you know what?

She’s going to be fine.

Are we both a little nervous? Yep, because I’m not downtown; I’m 1200 miles away.

Am I confident that the likelihood is small that she will burn the condo building down or some other cataclysmic event will occur? Yeah, I’m pretty confident.

Do I think by the 3rd check in call/Google hangout that she’s going to go all snarkily, “ Mom, geesh, don’t you have something to do?” Yep. And I will smile and tell her I’ll call her back later.

And do I think that she will be happy to see Nanny 2 this evening? Yep.

Will I celebrate her major achievement in demonstrating teen responsibility when I get home tomorrow? Yep, like a boss (provided the condo building is still standing)!

explosion570

Do I wish things had worked out differently? Yeah, but they didn’t.

Does any of this make me a bad mother? No, I’m pretty confident it does not.

Parents make tough decisions with available resources all the time. It’s what parents do. I know through this journey as a new single mom that I have much more empathy for birth families and the challenges they may face along the way. Sometimes things go really, really wrong. I’m fortunate to have resources, to understand systems, to be able to pull things together to fill most of my gaps. My heart breaks for those without those resources and ability to navigate the rocky landscape; it’s easy to see how a cascade of bad, tragic things can happen.

So instead of internalizing the critiques, staying pissy about them, and finding ways of “punishing” those who poke my mom’s eye, I’m going to send out some energy to other moms, new moms, adoptive moms and any kind of moms who need it. You’re doing fine. You’re making tough decisions, some will be great, and some will suck. You will triumph, and you will stumble. I hope that you don’t experience or internalize the negative criticism floating around about your parenting and that your would-be critics think to ask how might they help you be more successful rather than point out your perceived flaws. The former would be so much more productive than the latter.


Controlled Cry Breaks

While reveling in the knowledge that Hope is coming to visit in a month, Grammy triggered a meltdown. This sandwich generation stuff is some mess; I’ll tell you that.

I sent off a happy email to my immediate family about Hope being in town for Thanksgiving.  I knew Grammy would hit the roof since she’s traveling to see my younger sister, Sister M, for the holiday.  She called and wailed about how she was going to miss it, and she wanted to come on this day and that day and she could stay three days and do stuff and on and on and blah and blah and blah!

Whoooooooaaaaa!  Stop Grammy.  Slow your roll.

All I could think of was No.  No.  No.  No.  No.  No.  Did I say no?  Did you hear me say no?  No, you can’t stay 3 days, and heck no you can’t stay here.

No.

And then the tears started on both sides.  I was so overwhelmed.  She was firing off questions that I either didn’t have an answer for or didn’t want to answer, and she just was out of control.  And my inability and unwillingness to answer some questions somehow got twisted around to make me feel like an inadequate mom.

Then she announced that I had two people to consider: the tween and the senior.

I grew a small backbone and replied, no I only have to look out for the tween; she is the highest priority.  Grammy, you are not the priority.  You are not a priority right now.  I love you but you are not the priority.  You are grown and can take care of yourself.

Sobbing.  Gnashing of teeth.

Grammy is so excited, so excited.  I’m so excited that she’s excited.  But I need a chill pill.  In the middle of the busy workday I was clearing my schedule for a two week vacation that will be great, but will not be restful, fielding text messages about a bridesmaid’s dress that I didn’t know about but that I need to go order in two weeks, feeling like crap because this week is turning out to be not dissertation productive, having a consulting opportunity fall in my lap that I know I can’t take because I’m stretched too thin as it is, scheduling painting quotes, and responding to sweet emails from friends and family who want to know what to get Hope as welcome gift… Grammy’s hissy fit about not being welcome to visit Hope in the first 24 hours of her arrival was too damn much for me to deal with.

And the answer was still no.

Holy hell.

The security shields went up, and I got snappy.  Then I felt guilty.  Then I apologized, because well, Grammy is my mom.  I adore my mom; I can’t disrespect my mom.  I want her to be excited, but I need someone to actually care about me at this very moment.

I am falling apart.   This week I feel like I’m barely functioning.  My emotions can run the gamut in the span of about 15 minutes.  I’m exhausted.  I’m getting over a sinus infection.  I feel like I can’t seem to do anything right and in the midst of all the joy, all the happiness, all the hulabaloo, only a handful of people are asking me how I’m doing, I mean, really doing and managing and coping.  The truth is that this week is not so great. People care and want to be so helpful, but I’m feeling like very few folks are looking past all the excitement and seeing me in what is really feeling like an incredibly fragile state.

Much like Hope, the emotion that I feel at the center of all of this is anger.  I’m angry about melting down.  I’m angry about not being productive.  I’m angry that this sinus infection is still bugging me.  I’m angry that I keep forgetting to schedule my mammogram.  I’m angry that The Furry One still needs a bath and I can’t manage to muster the energy to do it.  I’m angry that as a fixer I can’t fix one damn thing that’s going on right now.  I’m angry that Hope’s angry (that’s a doozy right there).  I’m angry that work is so demanding at the moment.  I’m angry that my dissertation director hasn’t emailed me back about the 10 pages I sent him nearly 3 weeks ago.  I’m angry that one of my dissertation subjects now thinks we’re buddies and keeps calling me on my cell phone.  I’m angry that the paint quotes are all pushing $600 for one measly room.  I’m angry that the stress has triggered a physical pain response that exhausts me more than all the other crap in this stupid paragraph.

I feel like the most productive thing I’ve managed to do this week is cry for about 2-3 minutes of every hour that I’m awake. Yeah, I’ve got the controlled cry (feel it, cry it out, wipe tears, get back to the grind) down to a science. I have no idea why I even bother with makeup in the morning.  I do at least wear waterproof mascara.

It is one of the happiest times of my life, and I am literally furious 98% of the time.   Oh there’s a bunch of other emotions in there too, but if I had to characterize the emotions by color, I’m seeing shades of red most of the time.  It almost feels primal.

After the second Grammy/ABM meltdown of the day, I told my mom, I don’t need Grammy right now.  I need my mommy.  I need a hug.  A there, there it’s going to be ok.  I need a chicken casserole, and a pedicure.  I need a day without questions that ultimately make me feel like an invisible, but somehow still schnitty, new parent. I need a day to watch Netflix and drink cocoa in my PJs.  I need some nurturing.  I need someone to plan things for me for the next couple of weeks so I can collect myself.  I need someone to ask me how I’m doing and really, really mean it and not judge me when I say I’m really, really not doing ok.

Maybe she heard me.  Probably not.  My attitude and outlook is not the best this week.

Sigh.

Time for a controlled cry break, a shower and some coffee.  Time to get this hump day going.


It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…No it’s Hope!

I arrived minutes before she did.  I had barely taken a seat on the oversized sofa, when she came in.  She had on a hoodie with the hood pulled low.  She peeped out and slid the hood back and slowly smiled.  I saw tears in her eyes and I started to tear up.  I said hello and asked if I could hug her.  She stretched her arms, and I stretched mine.

That hug was like finding a piece of me that I never knew I was supposed to have but being so happy that I found it.

We both admitted to being nervous, especially with everyone standing/sitting around grinning at us and watching every little first that we had.  We made plans, and the team said, why don’t you take her tonight?  A day early?

Oh yeah!

We picked up a weekend bag for her; picked up a few grocery snacks, got a takeout pizza and a red box movie.  The movie sucked but we had a nice low key first evening.

I gave her some yummy smelling things from Bath and Body Works and as I draft this blog post I think I’ve heard her spritz her new body spray no less than 28 times.  She just denied it.  The whole hotel suite smells like Moonlit Path, and all I can do is sit here, grin and pop some more allergy meds.

I’ve learned a lot about my daughter today.  She frets about money in ways that seem like she’s never had any financial security.  She misses her father, but thinks he would be happy about this adoption.  She has too many friends who are also waiting for forever families.  She likes green apples, green grapes and hates blue cheese unless it is paired with contrasting flavors.  She has a palate that is eager to be expanded.

I am deliriously exhausted, barely blinking my way through Scandal, which I swore last season would be my last Gladiator chasing set of months.  Two hours of sleep last night and a cat nap on the flight.  I am tired.

But I just tucked Hope in and kissed her forehead before retiring to my sofa bed.

Yeah, super, super day.


An Unexpected Gift!

So two amazing things happened today.

  1. My dissertation quantitative study response rate tipped past 50%!  This high response rate wasn’t really necessary, but it is a really awesome development for my study.
  2. Way, way, way more important:  Hope sent me a letter.

Did you catch that???

 HOPE SENT ME A LETTER!!!

 So, I up until this point, I thought the rainbow, unicorned sparklies of seeing her profile could not be topped.  They were easily surpassed by Match Day.  Then today, out of the blue I get an email from my agency that included her letter, dictated to her therapist yesterday.

So, of course that makes today the new Best. Day. Ever!

My bio was given to Hope yesterday as a way of introducing to the idea of me adopting.  She was told that it was a letter, so she was insistent on responding back.   How awesome is that???

She likes me!  She really likes me!

She asked about The Furry One and what it was like in Virginia.  She told me about her hair and asked me if I would help her with it.  She asked about the schools , if she would have to buy a uniform and if we could go bike riding.  She mentioned that she’s a chocoholic too.  She said she looked forward to our first phone call.   It was, without question, the best letter ever written.  Ever!

I was in a staff meeting doodling on my tablet when this email came in, and I began to tear up as I read this sweet, precious letter from my new daughter.  What a thoughtful thing for this child to do, expressing curiosity and responsiveness.  I’d like to think that this might be a great beginning for our future communications even long after she moves here.  I’d like to think that maybe we will leave each other sweet notes in lunch bags and on the mirror and that we’ll talk about important things on park benches with some ice cream a year from now.

I also know that I’ll have a laminated copy of this letter for those nights I’ll clutch it while I cry myself to sleep when I’m wondering what the hell kind of parent I am and if I just totally bombed that moment of discipline, bonding, or conversation.  I’ll look at this letter and remember when she was curious about me, eager to know me and how I almost had to hold myself back for fear of giving too much too soon.

I know that some moms have told me that me that loving a child nearly breaks your heart because it is like your heart can’t even hold all the love for this kid in one place.  That love just grows and grows.  I know that the affection I feel for Hope will change and grow, but I already feel my heart stretching in ways I didn’t know were even possible.  I’m starting to get it, but I’m not sure I have the words to describe this kind of consuming desire to protect and love Hope.  It’s actually startling; two months ago, I didn’t even know she was out there.

I’m so excited that I’ve cried most of the day.  Seriously, I’m going to have to get better waterproof mascara if this keeps up.   On days with breaking adoption news, I’m crying my make up off by noon.   These days its happy tears.  I  hope I get to cry happy tears tomorrow!


Betwixt and Between

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There is an overlook in St. Kitts and Nevis where you can see the small isthmus that connects these volcanic islands together.  Standing on this overlook, you can see both the Atlantic and Caribbean Oceans.  One is choppy and violently crashes its surf; the other is nearly still with a surface barely broken by gentle waves.

I think I might be an isthmus between two islands.

My existence feels a little chaotic.  I am at times joyful and incredibly chill,  other times angry, often impatient, still other times depressed, withdrawn and incredibly anxious, and most of the time exhausted.

I am a bit of a mess.  My emotions are all over the place.

In the days since Match Day, I feel like I have had very little control.  Hope will not come to live with me for several months yet, despite the fact that I’d like to board a plane to fetch her immediately.  I mean stat!  Accepting the reality that neither of us is ready for the big move is hard.  Her room has been a guest room with extra storage for 12 years; I have a lot of sifting, sorting, packing and donating to do to be ready for her arrival.  I also have a plan to be finished drafting my dissertation by December; the completion of that draft on time is essential for me to stay on schedule to graduate next spring.  I’m anxious about possibly taking custody around the holidays because I am afraid Hope will be overwhelmed, resulting in my being overwhelmed.

I am also still enduring well-intended, but frankly stupid commentary.  “I can’t believe the agency is letting you adopt alone.  You really need a husband.”  “Why don’t you know things like X, Y and Z about your new daughter?”  How is it that silly comments can already make me feel inadequate as a mom when my mommy-dom is so new and in some ways doesn’t feel official yet?

It is more important than ever that I learn to guard myself against hurtful words and practice forgiveness and judgment-free living.  Forgiveness has never been something I have withheld in great amount, but I am finding that the need to practice it (with a side of grace) at this point in my life is more intense than ever.  I am also finding the old, more judgmental me is slipping away, which is a good thing.

At least two people have shared adoption horror stories with me in the last few days, though I’m not sure what the purpose of the story was supposed to be other than to scare me.   A year ago, I couldn’t believe that anyone’s adoption placement might fail, and I blamed those parents for not trying hard enough.  I don’t blame them anymore; I know better.  It happens, and it is devastating.  I have discovered a pool of compassion I didn’t know I had for all parties involved in a failed placement.    At this point, I find failed stories so painful, gossipy and non-supportive of adoptive families.  When I recently said no to a child, I know it was the right decision.  I knew such a placement looked good on paper, but would be ultimately be a disaster.  This is not an easy path.  I’m learning that forgiveness of all the people making comments that are not supportive of me or adoptive families in general is critical.   It is really the only way I can reduce whatever pain hurtful words inflict.  I have to let it go, not for them but for me and Hope.

At the other end of the continuum, there is peacefulness about moving forward with my new daughter.  It is odd that this calmness coexists with the madness swirling around me.  I went into the room that will be Hope’s room today.  I recently stripped the room of its old décor and had it painted white.  There’s a lot of work that needs to be done in there to prepare for her arrival.   I found the task of room prep (getting rid of things from Pre-Hope days) overwhelming until today when I went in and started pulling things down to send to the Goodwill tomorrow.  I realized that I will relish in tossing some things out and repurposing other things.  I am excited about creating some design concepts to send to Hope.  This transition is a beautiful thing and in some ways I’m running towards it.  Today the tasks brought me a sense of satisfaction; I’m preparing for this change and this young person in a very concrete way.  It isn’t hypothetical and it isn’t conceptual anymore.

I also realized that I need this time and that embracing this awkward period is a good thing.  Although I am eager for Hope to come home to me, I realize that the few months of waiting will give us both some time to prepare ourselves.  Again, this isn’t an easy path; preparation time is needed.  By my own reckoning I need at least 6 more weeks to get ready.  The reality is that this time will also allow me to get through the heavy lift of conducting my research and writing my dissertation this fall.  Besides it will only be a few weeks until we are Skyping regularly.  I’ll see her face, hear her voice, begin to learn how we will navigate this new path together.  Something about embracing this transition period brings me comfort.  I can take a deep breath, pick out paint, write and dream about our tomorrows.

And yet, both of these emotional states, anxiety and calm, wax and wane.  I can float from one side of narrow isthmus to the other in a matter of moments.  The triggers are difficult to manage and exhausting, but I figure I will get better at it during the next few weeks and months.  I will continue to learn to not take things personally and to forgive, forgive and forgive again.  I hope that my family and friends will be patient with me.  I’m a bit of a handful these days.

But it is all worth it.


The Butcher, the Baker and the Candlestick Maker

There seemed to be so many people on the team call today about Hope Kid.  Case worker, recruiter, therapist, my agency, me and at least one other person.  Apparently Hope Kid’s jurisdiction does not have conference phones, so I was called on a cell phone, which was then apparently laid next to another cell phone that had my adoption agency rep on the line (kinda bootleg, right?).

So many voices it was dizzying to keep up with the voices, the names and corresponding role in determining whether or not Hope Kid and I might be a match.  There were so many questions and answers flying back and forth; I have four pages of scrawled notes.

It was a great call, and I am increasingly convinced that Hope Kid is my kid.

The signs are there!!

  • HK doesn’t like seafood; I am allergic to seafood!
  • HK likes crochet; I can crochet and I had a great aunt who made me the strangest crochet summer dress one time (weird and random)!
  • HK likes singing, and I am a Black Teena Marie knock-off (oh the irony!) while I’m commuting to work with the car windows up!
  • HK likes tween music; and I still reminisce about how fine the members of New Edition were before we all grew up and hit 40.  Ok, some of them are still hot.

See?  Total glittery unicorn!  We match and everything!!

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No, seriously, Hope Kid seems to be a resilient kid engaging in typical age appropriate behaviors.  Hope Kid’s foster parents recently noticed the emergence of a crush.   Ah, young love.   There is some lingering baggage from some rough years, but it was described as “carry on” not “steamer trunk” at this point in recovery.

The call moved quickly, and I had a chance to talk to the foster folks.  It’s an odd moment.  I already love this kid, and I want to thank them for caring for Hope Kid.  It also seemed not quite appropriate to say that, so I packed it away for now.  They were kind and helpful.  And the team was insistent that we all talk today; no one wanted to waste time for what seems like a possible match.

 For now, I get back to praying and meeting with my agency about next steps.

It feels like a match.


How it all started…

So, I wasn’t that little girl who dreamed of having kids.  I dreamed of having a great love and getting married and being married, but kids…well, there wasn’t this yearning to give birth.  I thought I would be a mom, but I never felt like I had to have a biological kid.  By my 20s, I figured I’d adopt at some point.  In my early 30s I swore to my mom that I’d totally adopt if I hadn’t had a biological child by the time I was 35.  As I slid into my late 30s–having conveniently skipped past 35 neither with a biological kid or with a hankering to end my carefree lifestyle–I found myself in a relationship with someone I wouldn’t dream of having a bio kid with.  In fact, within months of starting our relationship I RAN to get an IUD to make sure that procreating with this dude did not happen.

My flawed rationale for being in this relationship could probably be the subject of a whole ‘nother blog, but just suffice to say, I knew having a biological child with him was out of the question.

As some point he found himself in a bit of a legal problem, and I found myself furious.  I didn’t care about him or his problems; I was terrified that possibly marrying him and his problems would prevent me from adopting a child.   We fought about it; he tried to convince me it didn’t matter.  But I knew it would.

That’s when I knew.   Adoption was my path, and I’d probably do it alone.

It would be another three years after the breakup, after a health scare that made me contemplate my mortality and after finishing the coursework for my doctorate that I leaped into this long, emotional journey to motherhood.

Did I mention I’m working on my dissertation while pursuing adoption?

Yeah, I’m an overachiever.  Totally.

So, it’s been eight months since I started the process.

I took my PRIDE classes.  I filled out the paperwork.  I went for my physical and was furious about having a cholesterol test (I don’t know  why, but it irked me to high heaven).  I freaked out when I found out I didn’t sign my fingerprint card properly.  I nervously sat through my home study visits, even crying through half of the first one.  I visualized me and my kid doing stuff in the future all the time.

I cried when my parents gave away some of my childhood books knowing I was quietly expecting.  I sat perplexed when a classmate excitedly exclaimed, “You’re going to be a single mom!” I was just planning to be a mom.  I realized that to everyone who would meet me after the adoption would just assume that I was a SINGLE BLACK MOM and all the possible stereotypes that tag along with that particular character.  I continue to struggle with all these new identities.

I filled out match forms where I anguished about saying no to bunches of possible family matches because I didn’t want to cope with various types of medical issues or behavioral issues.  I secretly have moments of guilt about saying I didn’t want a White child, despite the fact that I really don’t want a White child.  I fretted about painting the “room formerly known as the guest room.”

I cringe every time someone tells me how awesome it is that I was adopting some poor kid or how grateful that kid will be to have been adopted by someone like me.  Ugh.  I also cringe inside while smiling on the outside when a friend says my journey is great, but she’s still holding out hope to have her own child.  I know she means bio, but my kid will be my own kid.

I soared when I finally met an adoptive Black mom in a support group.  I have desperately needed a role model.  It’s a lonely path to trudge for the SBF at the adoption agency.

I lay awake at night wondering about all sorts of possible child rearing scenarios: Natural hair vs. chemically treated?  Basketball vs. football vs. debate club?  Sex talks…boys and/or girls. Public school vs. private school?  Having to shop at Hollister, American Eagle and some other ungodly tween/teen clothing store.  Growing feet and increasing grocery bills.  I order books from the local library on all of these things and never read them because I’m working on a dissertation, remember?

It’s some weird form of mayhem  And despite being one of the most challenging times of my life, it is hands down the best time of my life.  Really, it is the best time of my life.  I’m going to be a mom.

About a month ago, I got an email from the agency.  It was the first one about a possible match.  I closed my office door, opened the email and fell hopelessly in love with this kid.  So done.

So, now I’m pursuing this kid.  The adoption recruiter and the foster mom have both missed conference calls that sent me into fits of tears.  I believe this will work out,.  But whew, it is hard.  It’s really hard.

And its still the best time of my life.


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