Prospective Adoptive Parent Profile #12 – The Final Profile
After the debacle with Joe and Patricia, I think the birthparent department at Spence-Chapin may have lost faith that they would ever come through and find a family for me. It wasn’t their fault – but that kind of thing should not have happened. If adoption is going to work, all sides need to be forthcoming about all the details. Evasiveness only delays the problem – because the secrets will be revealed, and if they’re your secrets and you’re not the one to reveal them, they will bite you on the ass.
So you can imagine Mary’s upbeat nature at our next scheduled meeting. She was bouncing on her heels with excitement. “I have it,” she said. “This is the one – I just know it.” A new family had just received approval to enter the adoption process – they were so new that the agency hadn’t even had a chance to redact their profile of identifying information so I could see it. Mary sat at her desk and read it to me.
Their names were Kathy and Bruce, and they’d been married 15 years. They had a biological daughter – hmmm… It turns out, they’d had a baby girl who was born with a heart defect and lived less than a week. Understandably distraught, they decided to try to get pregnant again as soon as possible, or they feared they’d never try again. So they got pregnant – and their second daughter was born, also with a heart issue, but she was strong enough to pull through. However, she was the only bio child they would have.
So they already had a little girl, 10 years old at the time they were wading into adoption. That had been one of my four criteria: a family who already had a child. Sure, I would have preferred if their existing child had been closer in age to my son, but it was way more important to me that they already were parents. And I loved that they’d taken their time deciding about the adoption. I could also see immediately – after having waded through the 11 previous profiles – the fact that infertility was not a factor would be quite significant.
They were Catholic, and active in their church – things that wouldn’t impress me all that much now, but at the time, these were exactly the characteristics I was looking for in a family for my son, because they were familiar to me. They felt like home to me. That was what my childhood experience had been, so it felt right. Although I wasn’t able to read through their profile, I was able to look at the photos they’d included. One still stands out – a picture of Bruce taking their daughter, Jill, trick-or-treating. That single photo made me so happy.
When Corina and I were growing up, our parents were OLD. It was like a double-generation gap, because they were almost 20 years older than the parents of most of our peers. Kathy and Bruce were about the same age my parents had been when they’d had Corina and me, but they seemed years younger.
Kathy and Jill were horsewomen. They routinely visited a stable close to where they lived and each had a horse they rode regularly. They also volunteered there, mucking the stalls and feeding and brushing the horses. If I’m not mistaken, there was mention that they did not have any household pets – but they were open to getting a dog later, when their new child was older. Still, to this day, I’ve never ridden a horse in my life. Yes, I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona – what was once the Wild West – and I live here again now. Still, I didn’t relate much to the horses. The promise of a dog, though – that was another plus. Mine had always been a dog family.
I was in. I wanted to meet these people.
Suddenly, Mary got up and walked out of her office – I don’t remember the reason. And she left Kathy and Bruce’s unredacted profile sitting right there on her desk. I could have so easily gone over and read it – learned their last name and where they lived. But, remember: I was a good girl, always behaving myself. I’m not sure why I didn’t – but I did not look at those pages. I let that most amazing opportunity slip past me. I’ve never known whether Mary did it on purpose, but I’ve always suspected that, even if it was unconscious, she did. (Some things are just meant to be, though. More on that in an upcoming post.)
I arranged a phone call with Kathy – and she was every bit as delightful as I’d hoped she would be. The question about my parents – inevitable, it seems – came up again. This time, though, instead of telling me that I had to tell them, Kathy said something to the effect of, “Well, you know your parents better than anyone. If you don’t think they’ll take the news well, not telling them is your decision. Maybe someday you’ll want to tell them, but if that day never comes, that’s OK, too.” Wow, respect for my decisions – that was new, and welcome.
Yeah – these were good people. Tony and I decided to meet them, and things moved forward from there.
You know, Kathy follows this blog and reads these posts. I’ll have to check with her to see if I remembered the details of hers and Bruce’s profile correctly – or if the lens of memory has colored it in any way. Regardless of the accuracy of my memory, I’ll be forever grateful for the folks on the other end of Profile #12.
As an aside, I didn’t realize until recently how fortunate Kathy and Bruce were: a recent review of the Spence-Chapin website indicates that there’s typically a one- to two-year wait for a couple to adopt a child, and the majority of their babies are placed by black and Hispanic women. I don’t know if those statistics were the same 23 years ago. But Kathy and Bruce entered the process, and within six months were able to adopt a healthy – no drug or alcohol issues – white infant at birth. The likelihood of that occurring today is unbelievably rare.
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