“Everybody’s got a hungry heart. Lay down your money and you play your part.”
For almost 24 hours, we thought we might have a son.
We received an email from our adoption agency at 4:30 on a Friday. “There’s a new profile. Instant baby. You have until 6:30 to decide if the birth parents can see your book.”
I could feel the jolt of adrenaline in my arms as I clicked on the profile. We were on our way home from paying our water bill and Lu was in the back seat asking me to read her Snow White one more time from the front seat. For one of the first times in her life, I said no. I scanned the profile as quickly as I could to glean the details. Baby born the night before, in the ICU with an unfamiliar medical condition. I started googling the name of the medical condition, immediately.
“Mama, can you please read me the book!” Lucy asked.
“Honey, I can’t right now. I just got an important email,” I told her, reading a medical journal on my phone. I felt like crap, denying the book, knowing that she had no idea what “important email” means. Why should she? I envy her blissful ignorance of these matters.
Thank goodness for my lifelong interest in medicine, the year I spent dissecting the cadaver in my high-school advanced biology class, my ability to read fast. By the time we were home, 5 minutes later, I knew that this was a reparable condition, in most cases. It meant weeks, if not months, in the ICU and hospital but, in most cases, it meant a normal life afterward.
As we walked Lucy into the house, carrying her books in one hand and the phone in the other, I mumbled some of this to Danny, not wanting Lu to hear. We did what we rarely do — we turned on the television and let her watch a cartoon while we went to different rooms. Danny started googling on his phone in the kitchen while I ran upstairs to call our two friends who are nurses and email our doctor, who was out of town. What do you know about this condition? Is it worth the risk?
Within 30 minutes, we both had answers that felt right to us. We called our adoption counselor. Yes, we said. Yes, they can see our book.
It took less than 30 minutes for us to open our hearts to months in the ICU and a lifetime of possible medical complications. We opened our hearts to this little boy we had never met.