What not to Expect when You’re Expecting
- Meet an adoption attorney at the dog park who turns into one of your best friends. Explain to her that you were adopted. As long as you can remember you have dreamed of adopting, too. Also explain that your boyfriend hasn’t even proposed yet, but you know he’s the one.
- Marry your boyfriend.
- Ask your adoption attorney friend what to do next. Have her set you up with a social worker. The social worker will tell you what else.
- Be sure the social worker is at least an hour’s drive away. Be sure she can only meet in the late afternoon as to maximize traffic frustration on the way to and from her office.
- When you meet with the social worker, be as honest as possible. Be sure to mention the multiple rapes you’ve lived through and the alcoholism that got you through grad school. She’ll order further therapy though you assure her that you’re 10 years sober and have spent most of your life in therapy and groups.
- Take a CPR class taught by a woman with little mastery of English. Be sure that the thing she tells you that most sticks with you is that if you put a tourniquet on an extremity to stop the spread of venom of a rattle snake bite the ER will chop off said appendage.
- Schedule a physical and endure the doctor’s looks when she asks you why you want to adopt. Tell her because you always have wanted to.
- Endure the social worker’s judgement when you go back and she tries to convince you that because you aren’t pregnant, you should feel a loss. Try not to punch her when she gives your blood relatives the credit for your identity instead of the family who raised you.
- Take at least a year or two to get all of your requirements done, including at least $500 a piece for a background check and $2500 for the social worker who apparently doesn’t approve of adoption.
- Get approved in mid-June and a phone call in mid-August.
- Fly with your mother to Madison, WI to meet your daughter only 10 minutes after her birth. Your husband will meet you when he is finished moving your shared homefrom Hollywood to Alhambra by himself. Well, let him have a moving company and your best friend to help.
- Endure the stress of your agency, which turns out to be a matching service do little to no work for you after the match, just call and text you at a rate of $190/hour telling you what to copy, who to send it to, and who else to pay. Wish that your friend that you met at the dog park was your adoption attorney.
- Be sure to ignore the matching service when they advise you to commit a felony by crossing state lines with the child before you have the legal okay.
- Be thrilled when your husband arrives, but sad that your mom must leave.
- Get out of the hotel every single day. Go to the zoo, the National Mustard Museum, the one and only authentic Thai pavilion in the United States, wine tasting at the Capital, and every mall in town. Eat frequently at Noodles and Company because they are inexpensive and nutritious.
- Go to your daughter’s doctor appointments after arguing with the insurance company because they don’t understand how adoption works. Be thrilled when the doctor is impressed with your daughter’s strength and development.
- Be relieved when you have legal clearance to go home, be frustrated when the agency changes their mind and clearance goes away, then excited when the Wisconsin attorney finds a new agency and you are allowed to go home.
- Fly home and enjoy your precious daughter who only cries when she needs a diaper change or a bottle.
San Diego native, CLS Ferguson, PhD, is a communication professor at Mt. San Antonio College and California State University, Northridge. She paints, sings, acts, models, produces independent films, and has published many academic articles and two academic books. Her portrayal of “The Black Rose in Silence,” which she also co-wrote and produced, earned her a best actress award and a best film award at the L.A. Neo Noir Festival. Her music video, “Secrets & Lies,” recently earned accolades on the indie film circuit. CLS has published poetry in Shangri-La Shack, Still Points Quarterly, PQLeer, Dirty Chai, Sheepshead Review, Drunk Monkeys, and other places. Her poetry collection, God Bless Paul, is out on Rosedog Books and her co-authored chapbook, The Way We Were, with JC Jones, is out on Writing Knights Press. She and her husband Rich are raising their daughter Evelyn and their Bernese Mountain Border Collie Mutt Sadie in Alhambra, CA.
Photo credit: Cat Gwynn