I didn't set out to be a single mother, far from it.
I have always been a big believer in the traditional "white picket fence" scenario. So, when I made my monumental realization in June 1997, it completely changed my world. Oh, I'm still a believer, and I do hope to be married someday, but the moment of hard truth struck with lightning precision after a breakup, when I figured out the obvious: I didn't need that man in my life in order to have what I really wanted -- a child. I began to think about adopting.
Trying to adopt as a single woman presented a series of issues that I needed to address: money, the effect on my job and the kind of support I could count on from my friends and family. As it turned out, I didn't need to worry. My friends were thrilled, my boss bought me my first "how to adopt" book, and my parents wept with joy. It really does take a village to raise a child, and I am proud to say that my village was mobilized almost immediately.
Ducks in a row, I was ready to take the next step, which was to research, read, live, sleep and breathe adoption. I surfed the Web and read the AOL message boards religiously. I wrote letters and attended orientations, lectures and classes, and every step of the way I discovered proof that there is no one way to adopt. I got certified as a foster parent and have had several close calls, but I am still waiting.
In September 1999 I started paperwork for the China program. Ironically, when I began my adoption journey I was, at 33, too young for China. By the time I was the required 35, the age had been lowered to 30. Today I am waist-deep in my wait. My dossier went to China in January, and I hope to have word of my daughter soon.
The past three years have been frustrating but an incredible learning and growing time. I don't feel that a moment has been wasted, and in a strange way, I am almost glad that it has taken this long. I will confess that I am not always patient, but waiting has served only to strengthen my desire, and time has tested my village's commitment. To borrow the immortal words of the Grateful Dead, what a long strange trip it's been.
--by Linda L., LindaL3@aol.com, age 36, single mommy-to-be