Its 2:51 am Louisiana time. I’m awake because we are headed to the hospital soon. We met Asia last night and her little sister Shelby. Donna the social worker picked them up and brought them to meet us over dinner at Zea’s. Yes, it was awkward. By the time dinner was over, I had sweat patches under my arms that had long left their designated sweating areas. The only reason I knew was because Calliope needed to use the bathroom somewhere in the middle of dinner and I saw myself in the mirror briefly. It wasn’t one of those long pauses to stop and take a good look at myself or anything. It was a quick glance, not even one to see myself, more on accident than anything else. But it was enough for me to realize the issue at hand. Oh, and Calliope. What can I say? She was a doll. Maybe that sounds odd to some, but my friend Bob would understand completely. She sat and ate her dinner fairly quietly. Before dinner came, she played with the colors. She didn’t beg to be the center of attention. There were no time outs or even a hint of crying. We are so blessed. And to ask to be blessed yet again seems like a sin. Asia was very nice, very shy and very thoughtful. She didn’t have a lot to say, but I’m pretty sure we all agreed with everything that was said. And it looks like we are leaving here in about 45 minutes to go pick her up. And I think her sister Shelby will be joining us, but I’m not sure. Originally, her Mom was going to take her but after dinner we got a text from Donna asking if she could offer us up as a potential ride. We said sure! I’m not sure who schedules a c-section for 5:30 in the morning, but I don’t like them very much right now. Our plan was to get up at three, pack, maybe shower and then head out to pick up Asia. The hotel we are in is less than five minutes away from the hotel, by plan. Asia lives half an hour away. So much for planning. Of course, its not like we had more than two weeks to plan this either. Thats it folks. Two weeks. Less actually. Factually. We went to bed by 10 thinking 5 hours would suffice for sleeping. My mind and body had other plans and I didn’t even doze off once during those five hours. I heard Calliope say something in her sleep and Michael snoring at different times and intervals throughout, but never once did I slumber. I suppose it has to do a lot with that two weeks. I haven’t had time to process this the way one would hope. To just think through the few million scenarios that could happen over the next week or so. But that is a luxury I don’t have, we don’t have. In the end, everything is still up in the air. There are some serious hurdles between here and when we leave Louisiana, especially if we want to leave with a new family member. But last night, we took one more step in a positive direction. And we are thankful to everyone who is cheering us on, crossing their fingers, saying a prayer…
To tell you the truth, I am doing this mostly for my own sake. I won’t remember many of the details after a couple of years have passed and this is a great way to record at least some of them. For instance, I can hardly breathe right now. Or all day for that matter. Sometimes it is the sheer height of the rollercoaster. Other times it is the plummeting depths that keep you from breathing. There never seems to be a middle ground. There is nothing concrete about this situation. I have no idea what we are walking into. My imagination has had a ball today coming up with twenty THOUSAND different scenarios. Hell, its even been fun to some extent. One scenario involved Asia, her mom and all her siblings (none of which I have heard anything about except they live together) meet us for dinner. Considering how little communication there has been, that would be a total nightmare in my opinion. I’m sure we would be fine, handle it etc… but it sure would be unexpected. However, if her Mom were to show up for dinner, I think that would be more than ok. We do sort of have dinner plans for Thursday evening with Asia which is exciting. And I think it would be nice for Asia if she had someone there for moral support. It can’t be easy meeting us the day before she is going to give birth. And I mean that. I know that I’ve been going on in my own head about how hard this end of it is, being unsure of what is going on, juggling logistics, etc… but the truth is we have to stand up and be the adults in this situation. Asia is young, and I’m sure her emotions are beyond any kind of control at the moment. She doesn’t need us harping on her about what we need. She needs someone to care. Someone who will give her some answers about what the future holds, some straight answers (via gay mouths). Lets just hope she isn’t completely blown away by our progressive Californian attitudes, thoughts and way of being. Lord knows my Mother went screaming in the other direction (back to Texas, and now living in Louisiana of all places). The cultural differences are nothing to scoff at… Besides gumbo and crawfish, I’m not sure how much I like the idea of being in Louisiana for three weeks. Two white males running around holding hands and raising children. Its all too much. Just asking for trouble. Obviously, there will be do holding of hands in public, or anything of the kind. It actually is too dangerous. And while five years ago, I might have done it in spite of what people might do or say, I can’t afford to be so cavalier now with Calliope in the midst. Oh how I ramble.
Tomorrow, we are getting up at 3:30 am and will arrive in Louisiana around 5pm. Travel days are not awful, but they aren’t exactly fun either. In any case, the baby we find ourselves stalking is to be born on Friday. One way or the other, we should know something by Monday, providing everyone is healthy and discharged on schedule. And yes, the end is near. Or is it the beginning 🙂
Just got back from the Newells’ house. Calliope and Piper are amazing together. They are about two weeks different in age, but they are so much the same and so much not the same. Its adorable and I fall in love again every time I see Piper. And its not like they see each other all the time. It is sporadic at best, but it matters not. I think they truly like one another, are drawn to one another. Calliope cried when we announced it was time to leave. She genuinely wanted to stay and hang out with Piper. It broke her little heart to leave.
Since last Tuesday, we have had just one email from Asia. It was one line and acknowledged that we were coming to New Orleans and that we planned to be there early in case she wanted to meet us. But that is it. Its hard to stay positive with such little communication. Its hard to be excited. Less than two days away, I will be on a plane to New Orleans and I am in denial. My mind doesn’t acknowledge this as “happening”. Well, wake up, because it is happening. Logically, I understand that this adoption is bound to be different than the first, but somewhere in the dark recess of my mind, I won’t let go. I need more assurance. To me, open communication leads to honesty and accountability. It makes me think of big corporations being “transparent”. It gives me faith that things will move forward with dignity. Things might not end the way I want, but there will be a discussion about it, understanding… and yet, I am getting on that plane come Wednesday morning. And I will press forward, hoping for the best. Even though the best might truly be that she decides to keep the baby. I want what’s best for Asia and the baby. Yes, I want a second child. Now more than ever. We even have names picked out. But not if it isn’t the right decision, the right time… And I can’t decide that. It is out of my control. Welcome to my rollercoaster.
In the end, Michael is absolutely right (when has he ever been wrong?) when the baby, whether it is this one or the next one or the next one, is in our arms, it won’t matter any longer. All will be love and no amount of anxiety or praying or anything at all will change that. Period.
Three days with no word. We truly are in the middle of it. I forgot how hard the waiting can be. How hard it is to temper excitement. How hard it is to know you need to buy plane tickets and generally coordinate being in another state for weeks. How hard it is to juggle excitement with logistics. Ugh!
However, we remain cautiously optimistic.
Oliver or Olivier? Delphine or Delphina? In the long run, does it truly matter? Well, yes, I do want every single person he/she ever meets to fall in love with him/her. Isn’t that what every parent wants. Global acceptance. Ok, not really. Where would I be today if I had been loved by everyone I ever met? Who knows, but I do know that its impossible to achieve such a goal. Plus, I just don’t want to agree with everyone. I love being different. Yes, I am talking about being gay. It has forced me to be far more aware in life. It has forced me to be strong. Being gay is one of the best things that ever happened to me. So what’s my point? My point is that we are about to embark upon a journey even more different than anything we have ever done before, and likely will ever do in the rest of our lives. We are going to adopt a black child. Two white males and their adopted two and half year old daughter are welcoming a fourth person into our family. A very small, beautiful person (though it hasn’t been born yet). And we couldn’t be more excited, nervous and generally happy.
But the funny part has nothing to do with the fact the baby will be black. I was far more concerned with the fact that Calliope has been such an angel, such a blessing. Her adoption was flawless, her birthparents are just an extension of our family these days, she never cried much, she is gorgeous, smart and just all around perfect. How can you share your love for such a beautiful creature with another? For the longest time, I was so worried about whether or not I would love a second child as much as I love Calliope.
But then this potential adoption in New Orleans showed up. And one day as I was sitting on the sofa daydreaming about babies and Calliope was sitting about ten feet away eating lunch, it happened. I was completely wrapped up in thoughts of newborns, their smell, holding them, rocking them back and forth or just that amazing experience of having them nap naked on your chest. And there was love, and lots of it. And Calliope was right there. I didn’t love her any less, but she is not a baby anymore. There is no sadness that Calliope isn’t a baby. Every day she is something new and older, something more. And there is no comparison. The new baby will be just that, new. It was a true revelation for me. In that moment, I knew that Calliope would still always be “perfect” and have a perfect spot in my heart. Our new family member will have its own spot in there too. I am relieved. I was honestly worried about the balance of love and how it would all work out. It seems silly in hindsight, but at the time, it was very real to me.
Speaking of perfect, look at this picture of Calliope giving Dad a “look”. Freaking amazing.
Today I can’t stop thinking about cute little babies, and holding them, and kissing them and feeding them and watching them sleep. Newborns! So adorable. So fragile. Everything and everyone that I encounter is being affected by it too. I am more lenient on Calliope, so quick to hug her. Michael too. I should call my mom. Anyways, that is a love puddle. It ripples out in all directions spreading love and all things good.
Today I woke up, took a shower, shaved and got ready like so many other times in my life. Its been years since I’ve had to do that, and so I don’t… normally. But I had to get off my arse and find a good preschool sooner or later for Calliope. Today was our parent tour of our one finalist in the list of preschools I’ve been researching. They have a spot open mid year which is lucky. They aren’t cheap. Neither are nannies. We really want her to be hanging out with other kids on a more regular basis. And not just one or two. Group dynamics are hard. I still haven’t conquered them and I’m pretty close to 40! Plus one of the neighbors’ little girl goes to this same school. We actually saw her there today which was kind of nice. Calliope would not be in her class as she is a little bit older, but they will see each other in the outdoor play area during the day. And its possible that we could work with the neighbors to organize group drop offs and pick ups! I love carpooling. It’s my version of saving the world. The school is great. The most amazing thing was the ratio of male to female staff/teachers. Its almost 50/50 which is extremely unusual. Being a gay man, I love it. It feels awesome. Don’t read more into that than need be. The other arresting moment I had was when I realized that I had been in a room of about fifteen two year olds for at least ten minutes discussing politics and what have you with the school administrator without being interrupted by craziness. It was calm. Fifteen kids, two year olds! It was incredible and that was when I was sure it would be a fine place for Calliope to spend some time. I think Michael was very happy with the visit as well. The paperwork might take a while with all the permission slips and doctors’ approvals, but I’m sure we’ll manage. I just don’t think she’ll be going there next week.
Afterwards, I dropped Michael off at the house and took Calliope with me to order a light fixture for a client. Well, that didn’t last long because she decided to throw a huge fit and we had to leave right in the middle of the transaction. That was fun. However, after a very stern conversation in the car with Calliope about her transgressions, I decided to try REI for some snow boots. We were successful and several people commented on how cute, nice or pretty my daughter was. One lady in line was so impressed I thought she was going to give me an award or something. Two and a half? Really! She is so tall and well behaved and well spoken. Its just unbelievable. Of course, I’m thinking to myself that only if she had seen Calliope a mere thirty minutes earlier, she would understand 🙂
We went home after that where I made lunch for everyone and Calliope went down for a slightly late nap. I typed some emails to clients, even made a couple of phone calls. Had decided to go down to the lighting store during naptime and finish my transaction from earlier, though I loathed the thought of the looks on their faces upon my return. Michael is on the phone. I believe he is talking to my sister’s partner, but when he comes towards me and puts the phone on speaker as he sets it upon the table, I know it isn’t her. Michael knows how much speaker phone is not an option for me. It feels so cold. There’s always a pause where there shouldn’t be in conversations caused by this form of speaking on the phone. I can’t hear it that well, and I’m never sure if they can hear me. Its just awkward and I hate it. Anyway, its our Adoption coordinator. There is very little information. New Orleans, no drugs or alcohol, picked us specifically, black baby due on Tuesday of next week. Are we in? Yes, we are in. Please get the ball rolling to get more information as soon as possible. This means finding an agency in LA that will work with our agency here to administer all the paperwork, legal and otherwise. They will also coodinate an assessment of the young lady to ascertain the truthfulness of everything reported. We only have a week, not even. Get over there and do it already. They will, but its already the end of the day there and so we won’t hear anything again until tomorrow. But we can’t exactly wait to start thinking about the possibilities, the ramifications, the torture a five day pregnancy would cause to our lives!!!! So I leave and go to the lighting store. Somehow facing them in light of new circumstances is trivial. And I do and I handle it. They are fine, cordial even. Then I run home, take some more work notes and scream out loud with anxiety every time my mind has a moment and stop about the possibilities. Should we take Calliope with us, or leave us here? Wait. One couple we know were out of town for a month for an out of state adoption. We can’t leave her that long. No, she definitely has to come with us. Do we have enough starwood points to cover a suite in New Orleans for at least a couple of weeks? Ha. Thats funny. Because we totally do!
Oh wait, we have to wake up Calliope because we have an interview with a potential babysitter in about fifteen minutes. Great. Do we have a list of everything we want to talk about? Have we even thought about it? Can we possibly do this given the phone call that we just got? I’m losing my mind here. But we do go through with the meeting. The lady is nice. A little older than I expected, but completely comfortable with Calliope and us. We will definitely use her, I’m sorry, IF we don’t have a newborn baby in five days. We will not be going on any “date nights” which was the whole purpose of a babysitter. This is ludicrous. What about that client that I just landed that has exactly two pieces of furniture in his whole house? Superfluous I know, but my head is spinning and … well… lets just order pizza and watch a bad movie. Michael is totally game. Man I love him.
I just went to change the lint screen on the dryer and there was more glitter than lint. There was a time when that would have elicited a chuckle from my throat and the not so very politically correct thought “That’s so gay!”. Now it just means I have a 2.5 year old girl, which also makes me chuckle 🙂
I posted previously that I would put some pictures up of Calliope in her new snow gear and skis. I’ll do better than that, here is some video footage of her first outing in skis. Nevermind the hooligan next to her. He’s just lost his mind. I honestly had no idea Michael was videoing this event. I thought he was taking a succession of photos. But now that I’ve seen it, this is what I have to say. I’ve always been super aware of when someone is watching me, or even just seeing me. I’m ultra vain about my outward appearance. And not just about my fashion. I care what my actions say about me as a person. When a camera or video device appears, I put on a little dance, a little entertainment for the crowd so to speak. And in my mind, I thought this was the only time this was true. I’m not normally this funny, dorky little song and dance guy. Well, this video proves otherwise because I truly had no idea I was being recorded and there I am doing a jig and everything! Just hilarious. Please enjoy.