When I was 28, I first started thinking about how I might have children if I never married. I was currently in a relationship, but just did not think we would marry and have kids. He was 10 years older than me and already had a daughter. He was pretty honest about not really wanting to have more children, so I first mentioned to my family that I might have children before, if ever, marrying.
I gave myself a deadline for when I would have to get serious about moving forward with getting pregnant and when that deadline first came, I gave myself a 2 year extension. When the second deadline approached, I met with my doctor to discuss how to go about getting pregnant. Come to find out, it was not as easy I thought it would be to get pregnant….and it was expensive……and I had to consider how to explain the whole donor issue with my child.
My sister had never been a fan of me getting pregnant outside of marriage. When the deadline came to make a decision and move forward, she made this comment to me: “Why don’t you just adopt one of those babies from China?” My response to her was: “Like they would let me” I did however start considering adoption as an option. My sister’s two kids were both adopted and we had several other adoptions on my mom’s side of the family. Adoption was a good option for me because I was also self-employed and maternity leave was not a benefit I offered myself, nor could I have. I considered domestic adoption, but was not a great candidate at 38 and single.
I attended a friend’s wedding and at the reception, I met a woman who was single and had just returned from China with her daughter Grace. One month later, I attended an orientation and two months later, I finalized my dossier for adopting from China. I was supposed to wait 4 to 6 months, but China reorganized their international adoption process and it turned into 14 months before Laura and I traveled to China to meet Devin. We traveled in December of 1997 and I returned home 2 days before Devin turned one.
Laura was not originally all that thrilled to travel to China and I felt like I had to twist her arm to get her to go. I think she went more out of guilt than any real desire. She traveled with one entire suitcase filled with food. For me, it turned out to be one of the greatest experiences of my life. It was great to bond with the other 12 families, and it was fun to see the first part of China only because we had our daughters with us. We first flew to Hong Kong and spent the better part of 2 days there. We then flew to Changsha the night of December 7th. On December 8th, we all met our daughters and spent the next 5 days or so touring Changsha….not a big tourist destination in China. We then spent the 2nd week in Guangzhou which was more touristy.
The food was interesting. Some meals were very good, but some were pretty scary. When we arrived in Guangzhou, I saw a McDonalds in the shopping center next to our hotel. We checked in to the hotel and I immediately went to that McDonalds. I bet I had not been in a McDonalds in 20 plus years, but was soooo thrilled that the fries, apple turnover and chocolate shake all tasted just like I expected. Weird combo, but was I afraid to order anything with meat. The hotel also had a Hard Rock Café in which we spent a lot of time and I really do not like Hard Rock, but the desire for food that resembled home was too strong. More later….