Adopting in Your 40s

"First-time parent at 41? If this is my midlife crisis, I couldn't have hoped for a sweeter one."

A Midlife Joy

"You sure look great for just having a baby." These delightful words came from a complete stranger who bent down to look into my baby cart as I maneuvered it through the crowded mall. "Why, thank you."

I didn't tell her that I was adopting him. I figured, What the heck, let her think I look great. It gave me a boost to have someone think, for once, that I was in good shape and not slightly overweight! After all, at 40 we should be in the middle of the infamous midlife crisis, shouldn't we? It seems that's what everyone, especially the media, tells us to expect. Yet this is when my husband, Mike, and I got our baby boy.

Who Would Have Thought?

I never expected to be a first-time parent at the ripe old age of 41. In fact, after a long and painful journey through infertility and numerous miscarriages, both my husband and I thought we might not have children at all.

"Have you two thought about adopting?" my father-in-law asked one day.

I wasn't prepared for this line of questioning. Adoption isn't anything new for my husband's family. His older brother was adopted when he was 5 years old. Mike was all for adopting, but I seriously thought I could still get pregnant. My mother had seven children, and my grandmother had my uncle when she was 41, so why couldn't I? I ignored the statistics showing the odds of my getting pregnant getting worse the older I got. What did those doctors know, anyway?

It wasn't until after my last unsuccessful infertility treatment that I was ready to pursue adoption. As it turned out, I had some time to get used to the idea, as the paperwork was enormous, and getting everything together took longer than either of us had imagined. After submitting the paperwork, I decided to put it all as far out of my mind as possible. Our social worker, Dennis, had told us that, due to our age, it might be a while before a birth mother chose us. So I was unprepared when I received "The Call."

That day I had a feeling that something important was waiting for me at home. My nerves were like a taut wire ready to break. But I ignored this feeling; we'd already settled in for a long wait. I went to a yoga class. When I got home, I found a phone message from our social worker, asking us to call him at home. Dennis never had us call him at home. That feeling rushed back in full force. I dropped my gym bag and dialed the number.

"Hi, Dennis. You wanted me to call?"

"Oh, yes. I need you to go to a meeting for me tomorrow afternoon."

"I can't do that. You know I'm working."

"You don't understand. This is an important meeting."

"Okay, let me get a piece of paper and write down the information. What's this meeting about?" I tried to ask casually as I searched for a pen. Then Dennis delivered the punch line:

"Oh, it's just a meeting with your birth mother."

My heart dropped to my stomach. A birth mother? For us?

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