By: Christopher Coyne
We have always been told it takes a village to raise a child. It took a village for us to have a child. A few short months after our failed adoption most people did not know what to say to us. We had virtually lost two babies and we were clearly mourning that loss, but we did not have an outlet to express this. I took out most of my frustration on canvas. I spent hours a day locked up in my studio consuming gallons of coffee and applying layers and layers of paint on a blank canvas. Only crap came out through me for months. I was so consumed by this darkness that was flowing through me that I was lost in my own head most of the time.
I was almost always in this state, acting like everything was fine and walking my dogs around West Hollywood. Everyday I walked up to Tasty Donuts that was dangerously close to our place. I would get a donut and a large coffee. On one of these days our very friendly neighborhood drycleaner stopped me and asked where the babies were. Her name is Lida but we refer to her as our “Jewish Persian Mother” and she lived up to that name. I told her everything and she asked me to speak to one of her clients, a real estate agent, who had successfully adopted a baby. I was not interested. I was not willing to talk about my failed adoption and I did not want to here about his success. I told Lida I would think about it but she had her own way of dealing with our loss. She gave her client our number and he called me.
I could feel myself close up while talking to this person on the phone. He was the quintessential pushy real estate salesperson. I was resistant in hearing anything about his story, his perfect daughter, or his amazing attorney. I tried to explain our situation to him. I tried to tell him we had a failed adoption. I tried to tell him we were not interested in adopting a baby. He was not listening to me. He was not interested in hearing anything I had to say. I was beyond annoyed with him. I kept trying to cut him off while he insisted that we just “get over it” but I was forced to listen. Jon eventually beeped through and gave me an excuse to get off the phone with this jerk. I told him I would call him back after I spoke to my partner but I was not planning on ever calling him back.
I told Jon all about that conversation. As I expected, he too was not interested in hearing anything about adoption. No way. There was no way we would ever go through adoption again. We were hurt, angry, and not willing to speak to another adoption attorney. Jon had to do a conference call and I returned to my studio. My cell phone rang a few times but it was a blocked number. I answered the call after two or three calls. It was the attorney. He called me.
He sounded like a really nice guy. He had recently lost his partner. They had conceived a little girl through a surrogate and had adopted a newborn boy many years ago. At the time it was controversial for same sex couples to adopt. They were both attorneys and ended up on Oprah a couple of times. End of the story: they were the very first gay couple to be listed on their children’s birth certificates!
Three hours later Jon called me again. I was still on the phone with the attorney. He only had a few clients at a time. The cases were managed out of his home office. He managed every step of the process and could not guarantee a successful match, but he did everything possible to represent his clients. It all sounded pretty great but I felt stuck. I did not know if I could ever go through anything like that again. I was still trying to find the remnants of my life before the failure. Regardless, I knew there was no way I could get Jon to even consider talking to any attorney. He had closed his heart to the idea of adoption. He had closed his mind to the idea of parenthood. There was no way we could go through that process again.
I ended the conversation with the attorney. I told him I might send him our profile but I thought that would never happen. The attorney, John Long, offered to go over our profile and even show it to a potential birthmother at no charge or obligation. When I recounted the conversation to (my) Jon I must have been very convincing because I dropped off a profile the next day at the attorney’s office.
The day after that we received a call from the attorney on the way to my nephew’s soccer game. My mom was in the car. The birthmother who had received our profile from John Long wanted us as adoptive parents. Two hours later, we were on the phone with her. That next weekend we were on a flight to Boise, Idaho to meet her in person.
We knew we wanted to be parents. We knew we could do this again. There would always be that nagging voice in the back of our minds reminding us of the failure. We chose to listen and remain hopefully optimistic. What did that mean? It meant no shopping and no baby showers! We had no idea when the baby would be born at this point but we thought it would be around December. It was late September and we were going to need some time to let this all soak in.
[Photo Credit: Frankekko]