PAGE # 62
Morning hours

We sign in at the pediatrician's office.  When the receptionist sees our name, and then Baby Lily in our arms, she looks more confused than surprised.  

"We're adopting her," Tom says quickly.

There is too much to explain so I just stay quiet.

When Lily's name is called, our pediatrician, Dr. Shine, greets us with a hug. 

"I had no idea you guys were waiting to adopt!"

"We weren't," I say.  "It was kind of a sudden opportunity."

Dr. Shine examines Lily and the thought occurs to me:  Should I ask if she sees any signs of fetal alcohol syndrome?  But then Dr. Shine is all smiles, saying that Lily is perfect and good luck/congratulations/I'm so happy for you guys.

I'm relieved that Lily's appointment has gone well.  Tom didn't seem worried beforehand, so there's no sign of any subsequent relief on his face.  Actually, he's been occupied with the concrete task of Lily's health coverage--fighting with our insurance company--so he hasn't time to worry about Lily's actual health.  Our insurance doesn't want to cover Lily until she's officially adopted, but that will be at least another six months from now.

So, as we're driving home from the pediatrician's, Tom calls Shelley, our attorney.  He needs her help--some kind of document from her--so that we can prove to our insurance company that Lily is a real baby, in our care, in need of medical insurance, until she is legally adopted by our family.

But the conversation does not go as planned, because Shelley immediately informs Tom that Kendra is not doing so well.  You need to call her.

I take the phone from Tom.

"What's going on?  Is Kendra alright?"

And I'm thinking I knew it!  I knew it all along!  Of course Kendra isn't okay.  Of course Kendra wants her baby back!

But Shelley doesn't say that.

"Kendra is okay, and she's really happy with you guys," Shelley says.  "But she's having a hard time not knowing where the baby is, not knowing if the baby is okay, so you should probably call her.  Today."

I can call Kendra?  Kendra wants to talk to me?  To us?

This is great news.  I am thrilled when the attorney tells me she will email me Kendra's contact information.  But then she says:

"And make sure you are real nice to her.  You know, we want to keep her on our side."

Our side?  What is the attorney talking about?  

"And you should buy a prepaid phone to call her from.  Don't use your cell or home phone," she says.

As soon as Shelley hangs up, I hand Tom back his phone.  Then with my own cell, I dial the social worker's number.  When Paula answers, I tell her about my conversation with Shelley.  And I ask her opinion about the prepaid phone.

"Oh, I think you can call from your cell phone.  Kendra doesn't seem like she's going to bother you with a million calls all day long.  She really thought this adoption through.  I think it's fine to use your own phone."

I want to call Kendra immediately!  But Tom is holding a a finger up, a gesture indicating that I should wait.  He's back on the phone with Shelley, he called her  again as soon as I hung up, he still needs to work out the medical insurance problem.  I am looking through my emails to see if Shelley has sent me Kendra's contact info yet, which of course, she has not, because she is on the phone with Tom.

When Tom finally hangs up, I tell him what the social worker said, that we can call Kendra from our own phone, no worries.

But Tom shakes his head no.  Shelley reiterated to him that "we really should use a disposable prepaid phone."

This seems pretty insulting to me, insulting to Kendra, who did just give us her baby.

Tom points out that Kendra won't know that we're calling her from a prepaid disposable phone.  

"Look, Jen," he goes on.  "Shelley says it's important to retain our anonymity at this point.  If Kendra learns our identity through caller ID...that kind of info spreads quick.  And according to Shelley, if the birth father finds out who we are, there's no telling how he might respond.  Even if he's not interested in parenting Lily, he might be interested in bothering us, in trying to shake us down for some money."

"Okay, okay," I say.  "We'll buy the disposable phone."

To Be Continued...


Myst said...

Still here, still reading... Or should I say devouring the words off each post.


Jennifer said...

Thanks Myst!

Anonymous said...

Good god. Dehumanization of natural mothers is alive and well...