Connie texted me at 3:30pm.
“I’m on my way!”
I put the final touches on the flowers on the dining room table and ensured the right music was playing. She walked in to our house a few moments later with a somewhat hesitant demeanor. Her face said, “Hiee!” but her body said, “I’m here on business, and I do have to keep this professional.” It made me nervous. Nervouser.
She sat down at our dining room table and spread out all of her paperwork. She began checking things off and flipping through folders, and I watched her. Feeling she was being watched, she stopped. “How are you feeling?”
“Nervous,” I said.
“Because, well…” I went on to talk about Gay Rights going to the Supreme Court. Of course, that had me anxious all day. I’m not sure why that was my first response. I guess because I didn’t want to admit that I was terrified I could be handed a kid within weeks. “I just get so fired up about this topic, I want people to be equal and I will stand up for them and their rights. I mean, this is America for fuck’s sake, and people can’t get married?! Don’t write that…”
“The ‘f’ word.”
“Ok,” Connie smiled.
Connie interviewed us for about 2 hours. She asked about where I went to high school and what it was like. She asked how David and I met and I told her we met after his ex-girlfriend and I became friends when he dumped her and then I ended up secretly dating Dave a few weeks later without her knowing and then she hated me.
“Don’t write that.”
She asked if we liked our careers. She asked about our parents, our family histories, the different dynamics between us and our siblings. She asked us to describe our marriage, to which I immediately responded, “Normal but also adventurous,” and my husband immediately replied, “Boring.”
“Don’t write that,” I said.
“Any of it. Just put that we’re best friends.”
She asked us about our house, how many fire alarms we have and such. It was about this time that David announced, “We need snacks.” He cut up cheese, got crackers and pretzels, and also a small tub of pimento cheese spread. He laid it all out and Connie ate as she asked us more questions. She asked us where we were born, where we were raised, what our relationships with our own mothers was like. She asked us questions for about 2 hours.
“Ok! So now I’m going to take pictures. Is that OK?” Connie asked.
“Sure! Um, just, go ahead wherever you want to go!” She walked around taking pictures of everything from every angle while I started cooking dinner. After taking pictures, she spread everything back out over the dining room table and began writing again. She made notes and drew lines and checked boxes. I chopped shrimp and sauteed ginger. “Do you eat shrimp?” I asked.
“I’m making shrimp lettuce wraps for dinner, so, please stay and eat with us if you’re hungry!” I have never taken such care to cut perfectly cubed pieces of shrimp as I did last night. I chopped the cilantro like a damn 5-star chef. If you only could have seen the precision with which I whisked the peanut-sauce…As I prepared what I hoped would be the greatest meal I’d ever made, Connie started with the child check-list. This was the hardest part.
“So I’m going to give you some possible scenarios and you are going to tell me ‘Acceptable,’ ‘Would Consider,’ or ‘Unacceptable.’ Ok?”
David was on the floor in the living room with Abraham and I was in the kitchen. Connie started. “A child with dental problems.”
“Acceptable,” we both said.
“Difficulty connecting with parental figure?”
“Difficulty connecting with maternal figure?”
“A child who has been sexually abused?”
Pause. “Unacceptable,” I said.
“Would consider?” David asked.
“But we have Abe. If the child was sexually abused, the likelihood of him or her perpetrating is high. We can’t do that.”
“Ok. You’re right. Unacceptable,” he relented.
“A child who has been physically abused.”
“Would consider,” we said in unison.
“A child who was abandoned.”
“Would consider,” we said.
“A child who is drug-addicted.”
“Would consider,” we said.
“A child with behavioral issues.”
It went on like this for about 30 minutes. We discussed, we debated, and we deferred to Connie for suggestions, which she gladly helped us talk out. In essence, we built different versions of a child we would accept and then trusted that we could handle the things we think we can handle because, damnit, then we signed the papers. We signed off on the kind of child we agreed to adopt.
We signed. The papers.
“Do you drink wine, Connie?”
“I’m a social worker. Yes, I drink wine,” she quipped.
“I’m a drinker. I love me some wine. Don’t write that,” I said.
We clinked over shrimp filled lettuce wraps and the evening took a deep breath and exhaled a sigh of relief. We signed. That part is over. And as I refilled Connie’s wine glass I thought, Well, I guess we passed.
In the end, Connie and I turned out to be long lost friends. We know each other from a former life, we’re so similar in our behaviors and life stories. We sat on the front porch for hours, literally hours, laughing and being honest and telling our secrets. David passed in and out of the conversation, but mostly it was just us girls. “I’m so glad I’m going to Haiti,” she said at one point. “This would be way more inappropriate if I wasn’t leaving my job next week.” Don’t write that, I thought.
Finally, at about 10:15, I told Connie it was time for me to get to bed and she agreed it was time for her to head home as well. We came inside and signed the last piece of paper, something about SIDS, and gave each other hugs. My case worker ends up being my friend and all that panicking was for nothing.
We have 2 classes left and, as soon as those are complete, we are on the list and ready to go. And then, we could wait 5 years for a kid. Or, 5 minutes. There is zero way of knowing. And I kind of like it that way.