When you get so deep into a process sometimes you lose sight of what it is you’re doing in the first place. Friday I was working from home, intent on finishing a film with a hard deadline. I was so engrossed in the finer points of iMovie 11 I hadn’t noticed that my social worker had called. Her message: “There’s a baby, in Long Beach. We’re showing profiles right now, so we need to know if you and Steve are interested. But there’s a catch …”
All the molecules surrounding me slowed. My body froze. My mind made frenetic laps around the weekend and the possibilities.
“But there’s a catch …”
The catch was not only that we had to decide if we wanted to be presented to the birth mother within an hour. It was also that the father has schizophrenia.
Phone calls to track down Steve at work. Separately, we both embarked on quick Internet searches to learn that this baby has a 13 percent chance of developing schizophrenia. Calls to friends much smarter than us, with advanced degrees in psychology and child development. Calls to our moms.
And separately together, we came to the same conclusion: that an hour is not enough time to make such a life-defining decision. We passed, saying prayers for a good life and a good family for this little guy who has a genetic mark against him. But who has great odds of being just perfect.
Here is what we learned: We are ready emotionally and spiritually, but we don’t have a diaper in the house. We don’t have a car seat or bib or tiny hat. We need these things. We need to be mobile in case our adoption comes down like this, which it very well might. We learned who the very inner circle was for this situation. We learned to wait until it is right.
This morning I had a dream. I was walking and there was a little bi-racial girl crawling along the side of the road. I picked her up, wrapped her in a blanket, and went through a labyrinth of bad apartment buildings to find her mother. When I finally saw her, I knew that she was an addict. And I handed over this sweet sweet girl, along with my card, and said, “I know you’re an addict. You won’t be able to keep her. When you’re ready, give her to me.”
And then I woke up.