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Single Mom Diaries: And Baby Makes Two

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I WANTED A BABY MORE THAN A HUSBAND continued...

Nevertheless, I almost skipped down the sidewalk after that session. Until she'd mentioned single motherhood, I had never considered it. Now the idea was planted in me, germinating. And this idea, too: that whatever I wanted didn't require my husband. So I left him. I wasn't thinking, I'll leave, then have children. I was thinking, At least this way, I'll have a chance.

Four years later, when I was 34 and still single, I read an article in the paper about families adopting baby girls from China. In those days, China allowed single women and men 35 and older to adopt. By the time I finished the mounds of paperwork that were apparently required, I would be 35.

I did not make a lot of money. I did not have a trust fund or any sort of inheritance. I was an adjunct professor, a freelancer. But I had enough. I was enough.

"Shouldn't a baby have a father?" my mother said. "She doesn't have any parents right now," I replied.

I dove into the adoption process. In many ways, it was an advantage to be self-employed and single. I ran adoption-processing errands by day and worked by night; I didn't have to coordinate my efforts with a partner. I sent away for my birth certificate, retrieved statements from my accountant, dropped by my local police precinct to be fingerprinted, had a social worker to my home. Every document had to be notarized. I made a will. Who would take the baby if something happened to me? My friend Steve, I decided. He was someone a baby could count on. He appeared at the door with soup when I had pneumonia, stayed late to take out the garbage after dinner parties, called me every day and made me laugh. Throughout my single days, he was my steadiest friend.

One day Steve arrived for a visit just after a boyfriend had left, and I began, inexplicably, to weep with relief the moment I saw him.

"What's up with the tears?" he wanted to know — and I had a real epiphany, right then.
"I want to be with you."
"You aren't yanking my chain?" he said, raising one eyebrow (a special skill he has).
"No. No chain-yanking," I said. He said, "We'll see."

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