Even though we had agreed to pursue T. in February 2009, I didn’t tell my father or other family members until April.
We’d been there before.
Months earlier we heard about a boy who fit our profile and we apparently fit his. I called my folks and siblings to tell them all about this boy – that my niece and nephew would have a new cousin. We talked about what we needed and needed to do and when everybody could meet. It was very exciting and very real. I was going to be a dad!
And then we got a call that it wasn’t going to happen.
We barely understood what had happened ourselves. It was heartbreaking and an all-around kick in the nuts. And then we had to make the phone calls letting everyone down one at a time, reliving the heartbreak and the nut kick and answering the same questions over and over.
The second time this happened wasn’t any less deflating, but at least we had enough sense to hedge and lower expectations ahead of time. Still there were the questions without good answers. There was also something new – skepticism. I was becoming some sort of reverse Chicken Little. My family members couldn’t understand how we were putting so much faith in a system that was so dysfunctional. They thought it a bit crazy to reorder your life around a promise that could be –and was – reneged. No one likes it when Lucy yanks the football away, but its not like there’s a hell of a lot of respect for Charlie Brown, either.
So, when we first heard about T. I didn’t call my parents and for two months, I didn’t say a word.
After that first meeting, when all the parties agreed he’d be in our home two weeks out, I let my father and stepmother know that we’d be adopting a boy with Down syndrome.
Let’s just say the skepticism didn’t exactly evaporate.
Consequences and I haven’t been very good buddies. I’m much closer with my friend, rashness. So its hard to blame my folks for being a little concerned when their son of limited means and a fairly extensive record of general idiocy says he and his wife are going to adopt a child who may be completely dependant for three, four or more decades. Surely, there were all sorts of practical issues that we hadn’t considered. You can’t blame him for not getting it. You can’t explain the feeling my wife and I felt when the concept of T. first entered our hearts – the supernatural rightness that replaced anxiety with peace and beauty unhindered by doubt.
My dad is not a hippy. “Beauty unhindered by doubt” would not be a winning argument.
“So he’s not going to be a rocket scientist. Neither am I. What’s my excuse?” I asked my father.
I just told him he was going to have to trust that we were doing the right thing.
How my mother found out about T. is a whole different story.