1 of these things is not like the others

If adoption had not been available, we would have homemade the child we wanted.

If the agency that did our home study had been a bit more subtle about the financial incapacity of the ‘birth mother’ they tried to hook us up to, we might have adopted that baby instead. Healthy, melanin-graced week-old girl, who was going to exceed her mama’s back seat’s carrying capacity.

My lovely wife, who was in fact not even born in the dark but at 9:17am thankyouverymuch, responded to this suggestion with a puzzled look: Wait now, they’re saying that in their social services family-preservation function, the solution they’ve offered a 29 year old mother of two school aged children with a new baby is…someone else raising the new baby?

Huh. And this I’m to explain to my now-daughter, how? Because you know the child is going to ask. And we’re going to say that your first mama couldn’t afford a minivan. And the next question, Why didn’t you buy her one? we get to bungle in real time because Tammi the social worker is going to be long gone by then. Nah, I don’t think so.

Like Auntie Jean always says, If all of your problems can be solved for five thousand dollars, your problems may be urgent but they are not serious.

So, not only did we preferentially choose adoption, but we searched far and wide for the baby whose first family was facing problems that we could not actually have solved with $5000.

And Jesus didn’t tell us to do this in His holy name, either: the only other adoptive parents we’ve found who could have homemade their children but chose not to, were receiving broadcasts on the G-d channel. Telling them that the Lord wants good Christians like themselves to save children. Or in a more sophisticated formulation, that the Lord had a special plan for their child, a plan that will show itself in time.

If I could meet one more happily married set of freaks like us, who didn’t suffer infertility and share in the losses of the adoption triad, but instead insisted on being drawn into a series of crimes and misdemeanors across national borders, I would pay a hundred dollars to interview them.

Because I think the oversimplified, dumbed-down story, angled from the point of view of the couple whose dreamed-of baby never appeared, and as a result they had to settle for adoption, has been cast as ‘the adoption experience’: You thought you were going to have a baby, that didn’t happen, it was painful, and then adoption turned out not to be simple or easy or really even fix that.

I was told that adoption was fixing something for my child and her family that was broken at a deeper level, and that the fees we paid were going to help other families stay together. Not that I was going to feel healed.

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