Five long years stretched between adopting our first child, Thomas, and our second, Kimberly. There were numerous reasons for delaying the adoption, but one principal obstacle:
Thomas, our firstborn, almost miraculously fell into our lap. We were new to parenting, and it seemed to make sense to wait a little before child number two. But "a little" stretched on and on, or so it seemed to my long-suffering wife.
Two or three times a year, she would sidle up to me and ask, in her most endearing voice, "Don't you want to adopt another baby? Don't you think it's time?"
"Yeah!" I said. "I just think we need a little more time, a little more money, some job stability ..."
I was working for a publication that was teetering on the brink of insolvency. Indeed, it did finally go out of business, though not until several years after I left. This instability seemed like a perfectly good reason for delay to me -- except that even an unsteady job was more stable than my situation when we adopted Thomas.
When Thomas arrived, I didn't have a regular job at all. I had just launched myself into a brief career as a freelance writer. Talk about uncertainty! But in spite of it all, we didn't just survive, we thrived.
As time went on, I found other reasons for delay: strength, for instance. In the crush of new fatherhood, I felt my strength ebbing. Thomas seemed happy only when he was being carried. And I, as Mr. Mom working freelance for much of his first two years, was the carrier of choice. My standard advice to expectant parents rapidly became, "Lift weights." Alas, I had dropped my tae kwon do class for lack of time. Of course, I never looked at the other side, that after carrying two kids around for a while, carrying one would become light work -- kind of like swinging a single bat after you were swinging two around on deck.
Another excuse: the apartment. It wasn't big enough. We had only two bedrooms -- and our son's bedroom was small.
Time rolled on. My wife worried that we were approaching the age when we would be too old and tired to take care of a new baby. As I listened to her, I realized that if we didn't do something soon, our chance would slip away.
Finally, I got a job at a stable company that I had dreamed of working at for years. My whole being breathed a sigh of relief. The week before the job started, I took a long weekend at the beach, where Thomas, about to enter kindergarten, yelled, "Let's make footprints in the sand!" I knew it was time for a new set of footprints.
We decided to adopt from Korea. We talked to friends, studied, picked an agency. Two months after my new job started, we attended the agency's two-day adoption seminar. At lunch on the first day, in a Chinese restaurant, I cracked open a cookie and pulled out a fortune that I have kept to this very day: "Good news will come to you from far away."
Nine months later, we were waiting at the airport when five-month-old Kimberly arrived on a plane from Korea. Despite her long voyage, she laughed her way into our hearts. That first week with her, in the same apartment that had seemed too small, was the most blissful week I've ever had.
Another miracle. And to start it, all I had to say was "yes."
--By Bob McGough
Bob McGough is a writer for the Wall Street Journal and the husband of