West Coaster

I’ve known Joanna since 4th grade. She’s always been dazzlingly beautiful, completely confident and totally talented. We spent a lot of time not knowing each other, but we reunited, better than ever, when I moved to LA in 2005. This year for her birthday, she wanted to go on the rides on the Santa Monica Pier.

On the roller coaster, they’ve figured out the maximum scream nexus and have placed a camera there, right as you are plunging to near-certain death. We got the picture — we’re in full-fright mode, hair all over, wide-eyed and molars out — in order to put it in the alumnae publication that comes out once a year from our Very Proper Elementary School.

Today felt a lot like Joanna’s birthday.

News came from my social worker that I am one of four families a young woman at UCLA is considering meeting, but that the baby’s father is pressuring her to hold on. “That is the problem with African American placements, the families do not want to let go. I will keep you posted but it does not look too promising,” the social worker wrote to me.

Then I felt all sick and like I am missing a whole chunk of information about how I should find this child. Like I’d been led on. Like adopting is only for the rich folk. So I sat at Taco Bell in Santa Ana, waiting for my support group at the agency to start. Wondering if I should cry or not.

I wandered in, early, to find the agency’s director in her office. I broke down and told her that I was feeling out of information and out of ideas and out of my league and maybe I should go through the foster program and — well, everything.

I guess she’s used to people like me. She told me she loved my profile and to make 25 copies so she can send it out next week.

It’s a little bit of information, and a little bit of hope. And the ride, at this particular moment, is a little smoother.

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Vanessa McGradyWest Coaster

Comments 3

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Vanessa,
    I wanted to refer you to an amazing blog I just discovered. It’s called “The eyes of my eyes are opened,” and by a lady in L.A. It’s the journey of a couple adopting from Ethiopia–great writing and so touching. I discovered this blog because she wrote an article called “Stages of Waiting” for Adoptive Families Magazine. It’s an article you should totally read…although I don’t know that they post all the contents of the mag online. She talks about how she goes through wild stages of emotions: doubt, joy, bargaining, outrage,renewed optimism, disillusionment etc. Totally easy to relate to. All adoptive parents feel this way. Maybe Julie Corby would send you a copy of the article.
    Terri Urban

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