Thursday, January 21, 2010
Tonight I had a rare free night and the not-uncommon urge to shop for boots, so I went to the usual haunts in Pasadena. Hurrying with my purchase back to the parking garage, I saw a girl bundled up in a black coat, underneath a multicolored umbrella. Her sopping cardboard sign said "Expectant mother. Please help with donation."
A story flashes in my mind. We will connect and she will see that I am a warm and good human being, and she will mention she's looking for an adoptive family for her child. And, I will tell her that I have completed my homestudy and am looking to adopt. And here is my card. And can we go somewhere and have a cocoa? And we will bond over that cocoa, and the she will have her baby in the spring and I will help to deliver the baby, and take that baby home to the room in my house painted white and spring green, while she pursues her dreams to become a scientist at an Ivy League school (after two years of community college). And we will spend every Mothers' day together, with that child. This vision lasts all of three seconds.
I went up to her. "Are you really pregnant?"
"Yes," she said. "Six months."
"Do you know about Casa Teresa in Santa Ana?" I asked.
"A lot of people have told me about places for single mothers. But I want to be with the baby's father 24/7." She gestured to a boy about 10 feet away, under his own red umbrella. "Neither of us grew up with fathers. It's better for the baby to have a father."
I looked at her for what seemed like a while. Pale skin. Watery blue eyes. No eyelashes as far as I could tell. I don't know why the word "METH" came to me in capital letters in my brain, but it did. Perhaps all they keep telling us at the fost-adopt training has scared the bejeezus out of me and sunk in. Or maybe she's having a girl and, as the Old Wives tell it, the girl has stolen her beauty.
"Oh," I said.
She looked down at my Coach handbag.
"Well, good luck," I told her.
"Thanks," she said.
I walked away thinking that I probably should have given her $5 or $10 or however much cash I had in my wallet. And then I wonder if standing in the rain asking for money is really better for the baby. And then I know that it is not my place to wonder these things. Because it just Is.