Holding Pattern

We are in Kansas City, MO awaiting the birth of a baby boy who will presumably become ours.

Grammar Alert: The verb tenses will not be consistent in this entry.

We flew into MCI (aka KCI, aka the most frustrating airport not in Chicago) on Tuesday night. Boring stuff happens, and on Wednesday, we are ready to meet the birth mother.* Max says he feels like he did when he was about to meet my parents for the first time. I say I feel like I’m going to a job interview. We turn the wrong way on 47th, so we’re a little late for the meeting. S is currently living with some of her family at a hotel close to the hospital. When we get there, I know I hugged S and her sister, and then shook hands with and gave a kind of “man hug” to her stepdad. S, sister SM, and son X are all coming with us out to lunch. When we began to get into the mini van (*sigh*), there was a little tension. But Max making faces that caused X to light up, and S and I chatting away as we did on the phone, quickly melted the bulk of the tension. We decided to go to The Cheesecake Factory, because we don’t have one in the Bay Area. S and SM were a little worried about the prices. We said, “Hey This is a special occasion.” It still took them forver to order, between chatting, keeping X occupied, and the fact that the Cheesecake Factory menu is longer than most Oracle documentation. [Today I found out that S & SM were worried that no one would talk, that we would think they were odd by their choice of food, and that X would misbehave such that we thought S is a bad mother.] Max ordered a Grey Goose vodka. [This caused me to worry that S & SM would think that Max is an alcoholic. In reality, they were impressed that Max was comfortable ordering a drink.]

We had a nice lunch, complete with dessert. I took everyone back to the hotel, where Max proceeds to play with X while each of “the girls” use the bathroom. We are all impresed by this display. S has to go to her lawyer’s, so she, SM, X, and I all go, drop S off, and then SM, X, and I go grocery shopping. — Practical advice: Buy lots of bottled water! And remember that 12 oounces are really pony bottles, so, really, the Aquafina is not cheaper than the Dasani. — We get back to the office before S is done, so SM programs the radio in the mini van. She and Max have similar tastes in music. Next stop: Target

So, I’m in Target with a pregnant woman, her son, and her sister, shopping for baby stuff for the baby currently carried by the pregnant woman. I do not use this word lightly: It was surreal. I had to ask her about which size diapers to buy, what baby skin stuff he might need, and so on. I felt like a real idiot. I thought that she would never give her baby to someone who made such a big deal out of different kinds of nipples, lotions, and pacifiers. Overall, however, the shopping trip is a positive experience. We end up going back to our hotel, and inviting their mom over for pizza. Mom is a kick! Nice, polite, and immediately chatting and smiling. S & SM tell her that we’re “down to earth people.” Apparently, we use common phrases: It’s all good (thank you John Perkins) and Slapped upside the head. They really are happy that we’re normal (you know what I mean!). I never thought about it, then realized that there are probably adoptive couples out there, mostly older ones, that would be more about getting the baby than getting to know the baby’s family.

Related Tangent: Ever since really learning about open adoption, I’ve hoped for a relationship with the birth relatives like close friends or family. Our counselor made me think that S didn’t want contact, when she really did. I was so glad and continue to be glad that we’re able to meet, talk, get along, and even confide in one another.

So, anyway, Day One is a success… Except we learn that if S is induced on Friday, the baby may be in the hospital for 5 days, for which our insurance won’t pay and I just don’t like the idea of doing.

Day Two, I confirm that our insurance company (Blue Cross) doesn’t even let its right hand know it has a left hand (thank you, phil locke). I am told how to cover the baby in the hospital, and am then transferred to a woman with a thick accent who tells me that the baby won’t be covered. Of course, I’ve already printed info received for the home study that the baby will be covered, AND I’ve just talked with the other rep, so I know that’s bogus. She tells me that the hospital will only let the baby stay for 2 days and then he’ll go home with his mother. I have to tell her twice that that’s NOT what the state of Missouri does. She says that having a healthy baby stay in the hospital for 5 days is for “parent convenience” and not covered. I tell her: “It’s not CONVENIENT!” I decide to hate that woman.

It’s all moot anyway because S is able to change her inducement date to Monday. We’re much happier with this, not only for the insurance and legal reasons, but because it gives us more time to get to know her.

So, S and I, with X in tow, try to go to a scrapbooking store to buy her an album for the new baby. The first place doesn’t exist anymore. The second is downtown through detours and one ways and whatnot. We find some OK baby-like stuff (very interesting stuff for heritage albums and altered books: Urban Arts and Crafts). We proceed to get on the highway going to Kansas and have one hell of a time getting back to where the streets are familiar. — Practical Advice: When driving in Missouri, have good brakes and eyes; the people there STOP for no apparent reason. — We go to Subway, where I find that she’s “very particular” (her words) and laugh because, as many know, I make Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally… look low maintenance. So that’s good. Back to the hotel to be late for a meeting with our lawyer (downtown again with the detours and one ways), but it’s OK because he was still in court. We spent a little time on documents and a lot of time talking about meeting S, the Chiefs, raising boys vs. raising girls, divorce… Max asks me to try to get him back to the Perkins that I saw on the way to Target, but I screw up. No biggie. We went to IHOP. On the way back to our hotel, S calls. The birth father (always referred to by S not by name, but by the term “The baby’s/Jack’s father”) is coming over to see her belly and he wanted to meet us.

Birth father has been a shadow in the background. We know his name, age, and that he was cheating on S. Nevertheless, Jack will want to know who he is someday, so meeting him might be useful. S says she’s not sure when he’s coming over, so we tell her to tell him that we’re happy to meet him whenever he wants.

At the hotel, we are getting into bed at 9:30. S calls, sounding a bit upset. She says that she was irritated by the baby’s father. We’re worried that he’s going to mess up the adoption. But S says that she told him that he didn’t want custody, so just sign the papers to make everyone’s lives easier. We’ll meet him at the hospital.

Related Tangent: Max and I haven’t been sleeping well, even though I’m taking this nifty med called Xyrem. So, we actually went to bed at 9:30. I woke up for good at 7:35am. Unheard of!

Day Three: I wake up before any sane human anywhere. I go for a walk in the tropical KC morning. Only it’s realllllllllyyyyy cold. I found the Starbucks and went back here. Used the hot tub for the first time in weeks, and realized that the exercise room has a treadmill. No more freezing mornings! I go over to S’s at noon. The one time I’m on time, she’s not. Her family woke up late, so I spent some time chatting with her stepdad. We both hate George W., his voice, his smirk, and his politics. And FEMA; we hate FEMA.

S and I ended up spending 6 hours together, just us. We talked about life stuff, growing up stuff, and adoption stuff. We had a good talk about money. Something I’ve told her a few times is that, we don’t want her to feel obligated to give us her baby. If she changes her mind on Monday, and she no longer thinks that adoption is the best way to go, we would accept that. She’s touched that throughout the process, we’ve been so concerned about her feelings. We talk more about building a family relationship through this adoption. I found out that she was initially pushed into considering adoption, but came to it through her own decision, and that after she spoke to us, she was sure this was the right thing. She really does love this baby, and she’s glad that he’ll know how much she loves him. That’s important to us too. Throughout the day, we talked about various adoption-related issues. We’re both committed to the baby’s best interest, to communicating openly, and to asking and saying what needs to be.

S says that she got into this position by being “ignorant.” I’ve told her before, and I may need to tell her again, she may have made some mistakes, but she’s taking them and doing what’s best for her kids. She’s trying to get her life back on track. She certainly has the smarts and the strength to do it. I told her that if she wanted to “pay us back” (for some of the living expenses) then going back to school and fulfilling her goals will be the best way to do that.


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