Lucky Number 11
By: John Jericiau
It took about a year for Alen to get on board with the whole baby thing. Our first date (after corresponding by email and then phone for a couple of weeks) was over seven years ago, on June 11th. We chuckle now as we recall that The Stepford Wives was starting at 8:11pm that night, and after the movie and then some bowling, our date ended at 2:11am the next morning. We learned that we both wear a size 11 shoe, our ages are different by 11 years, and we were both born on the 22nd of the month, which is 11 doubled. I also gave our first date an 11 on a zero to ten scale.
Little did Alen know during those first few dates that I was reeling from the loss of my newborn son Ryan. I didn’t even let him in my house for fear that the stroller, crib, changing table, and pile of fresh diapers would scare him away! The subject of kids came up in conversations or when we would see a cute one (they’re almost all cute) during our dates, and he would share how fond he was of children, and that “someday” he “might consider” having one of his own, but I couldn’t dare ask him “If it were next month, was that too soon?” Eventually (I think the 4th date) I finally came out with the tragic story, and he was extremely supportive, tearful, and loving, but he was also a new physician finally out of residency with his entire life ahead of him with no immediate intentions of adding something so permanent and life-altering to his recently altered life.
Only incredible sparks were happening between us and the desire to be together grew stronger and stronger, so I put away any thoughts I was having about a child, much like you put your holiday decorations away in a box on the top shelf of your closet. We enjoyed our relationship and the success it was having, and after about a year we celebrated by moving in together. Amazingly he began bringing up thoughts of possibly having a family together, and I took that to mean that I should immediately make an appointment with the adoption agency to get the ball rolling. Our communication and listening skills have improved greatly since then.
It didn’t take long for us to get through all the paperwork and other requirements to be adoption-ready, especially since I had been through it all before, and now I was finally able to free my box of baby thoughts from the closet! Before we knew it we had been chosen by a Midwest birthmother who was having a girl in a few short months, and the excitement during those months was almost but not quite equal to the sadness we experienced when six days before the birth the woman decided against adoption. That devastating feeling had returned, and back went the thoughts into the box on the shelf.
After about a year we felt stronger, but also wiser. We allowed ourselves to be picked by a birthmother from Las Vegas who was due in four months, but we left the box in the closet as a precaution. Many red flags later, after taking her to her first appointment with a physician, she tested positive for methamphetamines. And as quickly as it started it was over.
None of this was helping the cause! Funds were depleted and we felt defeated. We were not sure at all if we could face this scenario ever again. However, little did we know that an angel was about to pay us one heck of a visit.