This post was originally published on "Walks in the Marsh" on June 6, 2009
Things may be changing in our lives at some point in the future. My wife, Jennifer and I have decided to upgrade to Family Plus One by starting the journey toward adopting a baby. Over the course of our 8-year (and counting) marriage, family has occasionally been a topic of discussion but it always came down to two differing opinions -- I hoped to have one, Jenn leaned more toward the "nope, not gonna happen" side of the spectrum. As a result, it was something of a shock when, as my birthday gift, she told me that she was ready to consider it. Wow, things really do change when you hit 40!
Since that particular barrier fell, she has thrown herself into the process wholeheartedly, debating baby names, coming home with baby user manuals, and launching her own blog to record the journey. It's quite a change and in all honesty, one that I'd given up expecting to ever see.
Now the research into the adoption process is well underway, initial inquiries have been made, interviews have been had with a few agencies, and the smelling salts are always at hand to help rouse me to consciousness when the dollars start getting discussed. At times I feel like Steve Martin in "Father of the Bride" as, under stress from the costs of his daughter's wedding, he stands in the supermarket tearing bags of hot dog buns apart so he can buy just the number he needs. Want to specify a particular gender? Certainly we can do that for you, sir! It will just be another $5,800. Would you care to look at the menu of options one more time? Thank you and come again.
Unlike hot dog buns, of course, setting out to add that long-hoped-for Plus One is not the time to pinch pennies. Instead, it's a time for long, serious discussions about what we hope our family will be, how we will raise our child, and what it means for our future. We look ahead toward our jobs, our goals for the years ahead, our plans for the house, and everything now revolves around someone we don't know yet, like a player to be named later but in diapers, and it's extraordinary.
When I told my father our plans, he replied "It will be most important thing you'll ever do." I expect he's right, which raises all sorts of pressure to get it right. Like any parents, I'm sure there will be plenty of times that we don't but hopefully, the times we do get it right will matter far more in the long run. After all, I want my child to think his parents are pretty cool, just like I do my folks. That seems like a worthwhile goal to shoot for.