One week from today we will meet with our possible future son’s caseworker. This meeting is significant. It is the swimsuit competition of adoption. There can be no tan lines, no nip slips, no flashing of anything south of the border. One stray hair and suddenly you’re Suzette Charles*. Who? Exactly.
In preparation for our walk down the runway, we spent the weekend working on our Life Book. A Life Book is just fancy adoption-speak for scrapbook. The word scrapbook causes me great anxiety. It makes my ass itch and my foot twitch. I know there are many people who scrapbook as a way to relax and to those people I say, “Have you tried cutting?” Personally if I want to relax I’ll wash down a few pills with a glass of wine**, but hey, to each their own.
The Life Book is meant to tell the story of your family. The story of us. The first step is to select your photos. Fortunately we have become the kind of people who take pictures of everything. Chris eating a sandwich! Sean watching TV! Todd reading a book! We initially chose more than a hundred photos, but less than fifty made it into the book. The next step was to buy supplies. Now if you are the kind of person who becomes anxious at the mere mention of the word scrapbook, you should probably not under any circumstance ever go shopping for scrapbook supplies.
Scrapbooking is a multi-billion industry. Seriously. People who do this are not fucking around. Entire sections of craft stores like Michaels and JoAnn Fabrics are devoted to the art of the scrapbook. It is no longer enough to just slap some random vacation photos into an album. Hell, it’s no longer enough to just go on vacation. No. Now you have to buy beach-themed background papers and three-dimensional stickers of the Statue of Liberty and color-coordinated letter sets and photo corners and sticky glue tabs and the album itself will set you back a week’s pay.
So after emptying out our 401Ks and taking a second mortgage on the house, we commenced life booking. It really is quite difficult to sum up your entire life in 10 pages; even more so when you know someone is going to decide whether or not you get to be a parent based partly on those 10 pages. We obsessed over photos and layout and color-themes and which three-dimensional beach stickers we should use as if that would be the deciding factor. We were going to let you have the child but then we noticed that you mixed fonts on page seven which suggests to us a certain level of chaos that might not be healthy for such a young child.
Seventy-two hours later — after all the anxiety, all the raised voices, all the tears — I was happy with the end result. We had done it. We had effectively marketed ourselves. Page after page of happy faces, fun times, love…and stickers. Lots of stickers.
I don’t know if this Life Book will seal the deal for us; if it will make us a Vanessa Williams or a Suzette Charles. But we’re a good family. A loving family. If I was on the outside looking in, I’d want to be a part of my family.
Still, it would be much easier if one of us just had a magical baby-making vagina.
*Suzette Charles was first-runner-up in the 1984 Miss American Pageant. She was eventually crowned Miss America when Vanessa Williams was forced to step down because nude photos of the future Wilhelmina Slater were leaked to Penthouse (clearly this was in the days before celebrity nude selfies). Anyway, my point is no one ever remembers the runner-up…even if they eventually do kinda, sorta win.
**I don’t actually do this.