Everything had changed after Isaac came over, and yet to the naked eye, nothing had. Life in the house had continued on in this teetering balancing act, it felt like a political election, where you make polite talk with friends of opposing views, all the while certain that your candidate will win. I knew that Mom had a piece of her that felt that I would keep the baby, and allow her to help raise it, and in the same token, Dad seemed shyly confident that I understood his logic, and would give the baby up for adoption.
I had the number from Kenzie of the local Millwood family that had been on the list for years. Dad didn’t pry if I had called or when I would, he just gave off this vibe that he knew I would do it without saying one word. With everyone confident that I would make the right decision, but none of them agreeing on what the right choice was; it was no wonder that I’d been confused.
I’ve been going through motions, meeting with Kenzie, reading parenting books that my Mom leaves on my nightstand, but never really investing in any of it. I’ve been wasting everyone’s time, just waiting. Waiting for the right decision to just present itself like a sign in the sky, or even just a personal word from God. One that would be nice and clear. I would have even settled for Isaac to apologize and come back to help me raise the baby.
And that was the ticket. I hadn’t really expected a big sign, but I had been hoping for Isaac all these months. It didn’t matter that I’d told everyone that I wasn’t, and that I didn’t care about him, and that I didn’t need him. I didn’t truthfully believe any of those things, but everyone bought what I was selling. If only it had rubbed off on me, then I wouldn’t be eight and a half months pregnant, a full thirty-eight weeks, nearly about to burst, with no inclination on what to do.
Mom had gotten out Simon’s old bassinet, and placed it against the wall in her bedroom. I imagine that she would put it in here with me and Hadley once I delivered, but it just proved that there wasn’t room for this baby.
I had heard Mom talk with Grandma about moving Simon out of his brand new bedroom, and putting me and the baby in that one, but that doesn’t seem right for Simon. I don’t think they could even say Simon would be happy to give up his room, because he was beyond excited when he finally got it.
Hadley’s a senior this year, so it would only be one year sharing a room with my sister and the baby. I suppose that’s not terribly long. It seems long though, and yet too short in the same breath. This is my last year with my sister, and best friend, before she moves on, goes to college, and invests the next decade of her life training to be the worlds best doctor. I thought my path made sense before, but now, it’s all unclear and my confidence shaken.
I decide that I will call the Siew family to arrange a meeting, just to test the waters. Maybe there won’t be a sign, but if things could just feel right one way over the other, then I would take that.
Their daughter Scarlett is a cute girl, she comes running in from playing in the backyard wanting to have a lemonade stand. It’s such a childlike question, that it brings on a wave of nostalgia.
I analyze her parents in how they respond, which is that she can later. I wonder if they will let her or if they are just saying it to appease her in front of company. She’s eight years old, she must be in Simon’s class. If I choose this path, it’s going to be awkward for everyone, it will reach down even to Simon and his classmates. What if he decides to date Scarlett in ten years, and her little sibling, is actually Simon’s niece or nephew?
I feel sick just imagining that scenario.
However, I do warm up to Quint, he’s easy to talk with, it’s nearly as if this entire arrangement was just an afternoon visit with my parents’ friends. I could imagine we are here to catch up on old times, though we aren’t, not at all. They want to adopt my baby, that is their goal of this meeting. And my focus, needs to be, on whether I can live with that, if it’s best for the baby.
Rebecca seems flustered and frazzled, and I’m trying to like her, but everything she says seems to come out the wrong way. Mom finds out that she works for her friend Hazel at the diner, and then get into a conversation on that in the beginning.
I’m only partially listening to the idle chatter of useless information of who knows who, amongst exclamations that it’s a small world. All I can focus on is that Quint works in construction, and Rebecca is a hostess at a diner, who sometimes sells pottery at the Farmer’s Market. I imagine that this adoption would cost more than they can spare, and they’d have to pull out a loan just to cover it. And I begin to wonder yet again, what is it that a baby needs? Is it money or love, space and a yard? And if I have the ability to provide those ingredients, wouldn’t that make me an okay mother? Or is there something more, that I can’t see that, that this family might be better equipped to give my baby?
Dad is the one that is moving this meeting along. He brings it back to the focus, which is the simple fact that this is an interview. It may be in the Siew household, but it’s us who holds the reigns. He asks about their plans for Scarlett, do they encourage a college education?
Rebecca begins nodding vigorously, and going on about how she is always talking with Scarlett about how important a good education is, and the fact that both her and Quint have graduated business college. Quint admits that he hopes that Scarlett, and that this baby, if they are given the opportunity to raise it, would choose to attend college, and that he is working to save for it now. But he admitted, against Rebecca’s glares, that he doesn’t want to shove them into that choice, if it isn’t one they really want.
Dad seems appeased with the responses. I begin to wonder if he would just be happy with anything they have to say, if he’s just focusing on one thing, getting this baby out of me, and into someone else’s house. I don’t think he would, and I feel bad thinking it, but I really don’t like Rebecca.
Dad asks about discipline, and their diet, their nighttime routine, and who does the primary care for bathing, and homework. It’s difficult to even imagine them having my baby in their house, reading him or her bedtime stories.
As soon as the direct questions started, Mom began to wilt next to me, she won’t face any of us, and I wish she’d just end the meeting for me.
She doesn’t, so I excuse myself to use the restroom. They have a nice sized house, there is no question that they could house this baby here better than our house could. We are at maximum capacity, and can’t even all sit down for dinner together. Which isn’t always a big deal since we aren’t all home these days at the same time, but this house could have family dinners without issue.
I can hear them in the other room, Rebecca explains that they have three bedrooms in the house, and the baby would have it’s own room. She would want the baby downstairs in her room for the first few months though, easier for late night feedings.
I haven’t even considered late night feedings. Feeding a baby that wakes up every four hours to eat, and still passing Chemistry, how is this even plausible?
Rebecca excuses herself, and finds me in the kitchen, standing there like an eavesdropper. I don’t have to apologize though, she begins apologizing to me, quietly so no one in the next room can hear.
“I’m sorry if I’ve said something wrong,” she begins. “I just want you to know that we would love your baby like it was our own, and we aren’t opposed to open-adoption. In fact I think it’d be good for you and the baby to have a relationship.”
“How would that work, open adoption?” It’s something I haven’t been able to see, but that’s not new. I look to my future with college, and I can’t even imagine myself there, let alone with a baby. I look to high school, and it’s the same thing. I can’t imagine my room without Hadley in it, I am lacking all ability to even imagine the future, and open adoption is one of these areas that doesn’t make any sense.
“I’m not sure. We could invite you over for dinner sometimes, or send you emails if you prefer? Just keep you up to date with milestones on the little one.” She reaches with her hand to caress my stomach longingly, and I pull back.
“I’m sorry, I-I’m just really nervous about this, and hope that you will consider us.” Her voice is quavering, and I still don’t feel bad for pulling away from her. I don’t want anyone to touch my stomach, not even my own mother. “Please know that we would work with you, agree to your terms, we don’t want you to feel uncomfortable with us.”
“I need to pee,” and I point to my belly for explanation, before retreating to the bathroom off to the side of the kitchen.
It’s in there that Mom finds me. I have this summer cold, I can’t quite kick, and she comes in to check on me when she hears me hacking away. “I wanna go home,” I tell her when the coughing passes.
She doesn’t look happy with this news, not like I thought she would from her behavior earlier on the sofa. She just stares at me with this sort of sad smile on her face, like no matter what I do, I can’t please her, or anyone. And I feel the same inside with myself. There is no win in this situation, not for me, not for the baby, and not for my parents.
Notes: I finally know what Julia is going to do, even if Julia still doesn’t have an idea. Thank you everyone for voting, last I checked, majority wanted Julia to keep the baby. I was a little surprised, I thought there would be more adoption votes. I am not basing my decision on the poll results, I was just merely curious. My decision is based on Julia, her wants, her relationships, and her family, and what I think a naive, romantic, young girl might choose to do.
She really liked Quint and Scarlett, rolled the want to be friends with them right off the bat. But she didn’t like Rebecca, their relationship dropped to a -20 very quickly.
If Julia decides to give the baby up for adoption, she will still be very near to the baby, as you can see below, and it would be an open adoption.