While waiting for the ladies' room recently, I started talking to another woman in line. As these things happen, it turns out that she also has adopted twins. Come to our table and meet everyone, she encouraged. Grandma, Grandpa, Dad, Mom, adorable four-year-old twins and their new baby brother, also adopted, were enjoying a (loud) sushi dinner.
We chatted a bit. Her twins also have had language delays and they are very attached to each other."The first eight months were hellish," she told me, "How about you?" "The second decade seems to be going more smoothly than the first," I mused.
On the drive home, I thought about that family. That's what MY life was supposed to be. Intact marriage, a third child, perhaps a girl, after the twins. A nice family outing now and then. We were warned about developmental delays; I expected a few rough months with the boys.
On the glossy pages of the adoption agency are photos of families like this one. There is no mention of dealing with the local police, DCFS, special educators and therapists.
Two days later, I made a late-night drive with one of the boys to the psychiatric hospital. Without even looking in the rearview mirror, I could feel the usual tight grimace of resigned determination. But inside my head, a voice was screaming, "I did not sign on for this!" Pediatric psych wards are not in adoption promotional literature either.
What did I expect? That woman in the restaurant! I anticipated her life for myself.