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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Great Expectations (Part 4)

Heather and I grew up Catholic.

We still remember the hard pews and long Sundays, the monotone sermons and dry wafers that clung to the roof of our mouth. We weren't Catholic anymore and I didn't dress for church to visit Catholic Social Service, wearing a Who Framed Roger Rabbit t-shirt and red suspenders with pants that would be described as trousers. Heather dressed normal.

The social worker met us in a drab room with wood paneling and Berber carpeting. It smelled churchy. We wanted to know about open adoption. What was it? How did it work? Can we pick the parents?

She was a mildly shocked. Maybe it was the way I was dressed or that we were so excited. Open adoption wasn't that common and we were on the edge of our seat because this was it. We knew it, we could feel it.

The social worker explained that adoptive couples put together profiles. These were mostly narratives that told us a little bit about themselves, their background, education, philosophies, etc. If we liked someone, she told us, we could meet them. There was no pressure to say yes, no pressure to follow through. In fact, we could change our minds at the very last minute.

When we left, we were locked in. We weren't changing our minds. We couldn't be parents but we could find a good family. We were going into this wide-eyed and awake.

Heather told Steve the situation. She was pregnant and there was a chance that he could be the father. She had made a decision to make an adoption plan. He could be involved, if he wanted. If not, we had it covered. He was fine with that.

That made things easier.

We returned home for Christmas break and told our parents. Initially, we didn't mention Steve. The news was best served as simply as possible. Heather was pregnant and we were making an adoption plan. We had already met with a social worker, we were looking at profiles and we would choose the parents.

My parents were respectfully supportive. Heather's mom was incredible. Her father was not.

She was making a mistake. She would regret it. This was his grandson she was giving away. He would remain in that position throughout the entire pregnancy and beyond. That sort of pressure was difficult. If we were teenagers, it would have had lasting repercussions--on Heather, on us, on the child. But we were old enough to weather the resistance and work through it.

We had her mother. We had my parents. And we had each other.

In a way, the hardship galvanized our relationship. I pushed through barriers that kept me from committing. The pregnancy was greater than the two of us and we were both heading in the same direction, hand in hand, step for step.

We returned to school after the holidays, our decision intact. We poured through the profiles. There were certain attributes we were looking for but mainly we wanted good people. Several profiles later and we weren't making a connection. Then we read  about Wayne and Cathy.

And called the social worker.

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