The phone call, so unexpected. “My daughter’s pregnant. Would you and your husband be interested in adopting the baby?”
I think I stammered out that we’d talk it over and call her back. I hung up the phone and turned to my husband. I’d barely gotten the words out of my mouth when he was saying, “Yes! Yes!”
In a curious little twist of fate, we were in the car, on our way to Carrabbas, where we were to meet family. It was Father’s Day. We barely gave Dad time to sit down before we asked if he wanted to be a grandfather. It was one of those “duh” questions, even though he and the Monster expressed their concerns about the situation.
By the time I went to bed on Sunday night, I knew it was a girl, had picked out her name (Sophie Helene), and had begun thinking about how to decorate her room. By noon on Monday I’d allowed myself to blissfully browse the baby sections at several online stores. By the time I left work that afternoon, I’d decided on the theme (Secret Garden) and had a general idea of what we needed to pull together for the adoption.
Tuesday night Joe was panicking because we still have so much work to do on the house to get it presentable, we’re still so much in debt, how can we possibly manage to pull off this adoption in three months–and do we even know she’s pregnant?
Well, no, but all indications point to her being about 5 months along, and I couldn’t live with myself if we didn’t at least try.
I cried myself to sleep that night, praying that if we were going to be unable to make this miracle happen, that we’d find out right away.
Wednesday I was trying to breathe amidst the worries that Joe had brought up the night before. I called my sister. “I need you.” She took a long lunch and drove out from Arlington and we went to Don Pablos and talked about babies and adoption over cheese enchiladas and hot sauce.
About half an hour after I returned to the office from that lunch break, my phone rang again. The pregnancy test was negative, and there’s no baby.
I was surprisingly upbeat as I notified the few people I’d talked to about it. It’s better this way; we’re older, set in our ways, have too much debt and too many things to pull together to try to adopt right now.
And that night I cried myself to sleep. And the next day any time anyone looked at me, I cried. And every time I saw the books on adoption that I’d optimistically checked out from the library on Tuesday, I cried.
Sophie was only in my head the whole time, but she was so real, and now she’s gone. Every day as I wander through my office, passing out credit reports to the collectors, I see the pictures of their children taped up in their cubes and I feel so empty. The only pictures I have of my twins are photocopied photos of the fertilized embryos that were transferred to my womb a few days before they died. And the only picture I have of Sophie is a mental image of a misty green bedroom with pink and green bedding, white lattice around the walls with ivy and flowers woven in, and quaint Kate Greenaway pictures on the wall, and a tiny brown-skinned girl with enormous brown eyes and her small brown fingers tightly clasping my finger.