It's 10 years later.
We have a nice life, the Coach and me. We have a nice house with a nice pool.
We have established careers. Good paying jobs. We have our routines (well, sort of).
We have two grown children (Marty's kids), who have graduated from college and begun their own careers. One of them has a baby on the way.
And we have the child we prayed for, hoped for, wished for. The one we believe we were destined to have all along. A beautiful, funny, witty, charming, oh-so-talented 10-year-old who is everything we ever could have wished for. (OK. She could be a little neater, but ...)
Sure we could use a winning lottery ticket, but, for the most part, life is good.
So why then, when I got the Facebook message yesterday afternoon, did the back of my neck get all hot and prickly and my stomach do a little flip? Just like it did every damn time all those years ago?
"Did you ever think about adopting again?"
Wow. What a question.
Only every second of every minute of every day. I'm an infertile woman. An unexplained infertile woman. No one could ever tell me why my female plumbing didn't work the way it was designed to. And it really didn't matter. All I knew is, I can't have children. Not the "normal" way.
I had to find mine. Literally. Or, she had to find me. We put the word out to our friends and family, sent letters, marketed ourselves -- before blogs and Facebook and MySpace.
One day, we got a phone call out of the blue from a woman named Gail, who asked, "Are you the couple looking to adopt a baby?" And less than 30 minutes later, she said, "I've made up my mind. Y'all are it."
After holding my breath for the next three months -- including the three days after she was born -- we brought her home with us. And all our dreams came true.
But, even though I was deliriously happy to have a baby in my arms at last, I was still an infertile woman. And I would have loved to have had more children. If I had not been an infertile woman, I would have. No questions about it.
But I am. And I couldn't.
So I went on with my life, being the most devoted mother I could. I have savored every second of every day, knowing this was the only chance I was ever going to get. I held too much. I cuddled too much. I hovered too much. I spoiled. So what?
Am I the best mother? Hell no. My kid doesn't eat enough fruits or vegetables, doesn't always have table manners, could really use better telephone manners and can't wash a dish or fold an article of clothing. She also stays up way too late on school nights and probably spends way too much time on the computer.
But she is a wonderful child with a sparkling personality, a beautiful singing voice, an amazing imagination, an incredible ability to write fiction and a budding little talent at drawing. An honor roll student.
And I love her with every breath in my body.
When Lora was born, I stole Rosie O'Donnell's line, likening motherhood to the movie, The Wizard of Oz, which goes from black and white to color: "Life is now in color."
It's true. And then they become a tween and lose interest in you and life kind of goes back to gray again.
Just like any other woman in the universe, I would love another one. A baby. Another round of burps and lullabies and rocking to Linda Ronstadt. Diapers and cute little outfits. Giggles and smiles and discovering the world. Oh how my heart says yes.
But my head says no. Diaper changes? Midnight feedings? Day care? Car seats? Putting up a crib? (I just got my room back!) I don't think my back or my hips can take another baby on them.
Besides, people will think we are absolutely nuts. I can hear the tsk tsk'ing now, the tongues and fingers wagging, the eyes rolling, the hands wringing.
I'm 49. He's 54. We have a 10 year old. When she graduates from high school I'll be 57. He'll be 62. By the time a newborn baby graduates I'll be 67. He'll be 72.
At least we'll be retired.
We have a little house. A little bank account.
We have a grandchild on the way!
But is it fair to deny me, a woman who has so much love in my heart, a woman who initially wanted a huge family to make up for my tiny one, a child? One that I could not give myself on my own? Am I really expected to say, "No. But thanks for asking!"?
And is it fair to deny Lora, who loves children and who is so wonderful with all of her little cousins, a little brother or sister? She would love that.
Want to know the most amazing part of this story? The person who messaged me? It was Lora's birthmother. She has a friend, who has a son, who has a girlfriend, who is having a baby. It was she, the grandmother-to-be, who asked Gail to ask us. She has heard the stories about Lora, about how cool she is, about how we stay in touch with her birth family and have frequent visits. She has seen, almost first-hand, the kind of parents we are.
And wants us anyway.
And that just amazes me.
So, as I write this, there is this possibility. No certainty. The family has a decision to make. And once they make it, we may have one too.
And my heart is already saying yes.
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