This week M and I met young pregnant friend’s (YPF for this post) first choice adoptive parents, a lovely couple. We accompanied her on the first, face-to-face dinner on Thursday evening. I was nervous, but YPF was paralyzed with fear and anxiety. Being working-class poor, young, and pregnant equals white trash in her mind, and where I was nervous that I would hate and despise these people in person, she was terrified they would judge her harshly and not want to adopt her baby after all. Amazing how our experiences and economic circumstances affect our perceptions of the world. M was by far the calmest and serenest of the 3 of us, and I know he had some anxiety himself he was concealing behind the brave and upbeat front.
We met had a pleasant first meeting during a dinner together on Thursday evening, just being polite and getting to know one another. The prospective parents … if we were nervous they were knee-shaking scared, which is somehow reassuring. I was very glad they did not breeze in oozing the confidence of a trust fund couple looking to purchase a Lamborghini with a suitcase full of cash. They did bring a gift for YPF, though, in the form of a couple of pairs of maternity slacks and a cute summer top, a very thoughtful and much needed gift.
How much people can get to know people over a soda and a meal is probably debatable, but they seem like lovely people. We talked openly, laughed often, and there was even a little flurry of tears talking about their attempts to have a baby themselves and how much it meant to them to even meet YPF with a thought toward adopting. It was touching.
Where I was thinking and asking questions about where they lived, what the schools were like, daycare, and other practical parenting questions, YPF wanted to know if they had a baby shower planned or had they done anything about decorating the room yet. Did they have neices and nephews, and did they live nearby? I was both amused and moved by her inquiries, because her focus was on their preparation and readiness to bring home baby and what kind of family life and extended family life he might enjoy. Having gone through the ups and downs of adoption with other close friends, I completely understood the prospective parents not buying things or preparing for baby until they were sure it would happen, that they are trying to protect themselves from future disappointment. YPF, however, thought it sad they were not anticipating and looking forward to the happy event. In her mind the deciding to adopt and having it happen was inevitable, and I was almost sorry we had to gently dismantle her innocence about the process. I know she has discussed it with the attorneys and the agency social workers, but she’s still very young and thought they were describing the exceptions of what could happen rather than the reality of what typically does happen.
They had planned a multi-day visit, assuming all went well with the initial meetings and such. IF things went well and YPF was still okay with them, they were hoping to accompany her to a scheduled medical appointment on Monday. We ended up inviting to our home for dinner on Saturday evening and invited our young adult children and their significant others over for what turned into a much looser, fun, and relaxing occasion. My adult kids are older than YPF and tend to view her as they would a younger sibling. The adopting parents continued to impress me, and while I know it may not be possible, I have come to hope they will be inclined to keep in touch after baby is born and the legalities concluded.
YPF asked us if we could visit with them on our own this evening, as she has been working and desired some time to herself without being rude to her guests. M and I took them to dinner in a historic site near our home. It is odd but I thought it would be more or less awkward than it was, that our focus would be about parenting and the adoption and our YPF. Instead it was as if we were out and about with another couple, friends we had known awhile and that were visiting us after a long separation. They spoke with such delight of being invited to tomorrow’s doctor appointment and ultrasound, and how YPF had said they could have the images to take home with them. While not counting baby before birth or anything else, they are cautiously more optimistic than when they arrived. We are as well.
For YPF, this seems like the most logical decision in the world. She speaks of the child she as carrying not as it if is her son in there, but as if he is someone she’s temporarily keeping for his real parents. She has had a really tough time with life to date and her biological family were so unspeakably awful to her she chooses to not have any contact or relationship with them. The baby’s father is a few years older and self-aware just enough to know he wants nothing to do with fatherhood or child support or anything else at this time in his life. Adoption over abortion was her choice, although I know there are moments when abortion looks a lot more attractive to her right now. She’s on the waifish side normally and pregnancy takes a toll.
The saddest thing about this situation is the our YPF was and is not-so-secretly very worried that no one else will desire the baby, that there would be no loving adoptive parents waiting in the wings, and he would be “stuck” with her and her small life of poverty. She is going to school and working in retail to support herself, asks for nothing other than an opportunity to better herself through hard work and kinder attitudes. Sharing an apartment with 2 other girls, having no car and very minimal health insurance has really hit home how much harder her life would be as a single parent and leaves her feeling hopeless about ever raising her standard of living. We do not have it in our hearts to judge her or to try and influence her choices, but that gap is amply filled with other people who believe that being a parent trumps all other things and their opinions about how life should lived. Perhaps so, and in this lovely couple from Ohio, there are new parents ready for their opportunity to meet their son.
The best parts of these few days is YPF is reassured by her choice of parents, feels confident that she has done all she can to pick good and kind people to adopt her baby. I like that they are concerned about her health not only as the hopeful birth mother of their baby but as a pregnant young woman. I know the health of the baby is first and foremost in their minds, but the fact that they speak to her as a person and not just a baby oven.
YPF is hoping they will plan a shower and get started on the room. She wants to know baby boy is heading home somewhere special, just for him. I try to reassure her that this gift is the biggest, best thing anyone has ever done for them, but she remains doubtful. She confides being nervous about them changing their minds at the last minute and she will have newborn baby and have to find someone else. I have tears in my eyes every time she says that, every time I reassure her that people would line up around the block to adopt baby boy. I remind her of how overwhelmed the adopting parents were, feeling him move for the first time, and told her to prepare herself for floods of tears tomorrow at the ultrasound. Hopefully that will be enough to convince her that her fears of baby boy being unwanted are unwarranted.
YPF is our friend, part of our extended absorbed family flock. I am so proud of her for how well she is handling her life right now.