This morning, while Miles watched Caillou, Travis and I went out to the garage to haul this dresser inside and up the stairs.
It might soon be filled with a baby’s things. The diapers, the snap-around-button undershirts that let the remains of the umbilical cord dry out, the bootie socks, the soft swaddling blankets, and the black hoodie we loved to put on Miles.
Or. It might stand empty.
We won’t know until two or three days after the baby is born if he’s coming home to our house to be our son.
With Miles, Travis refused to let us buy most everything we’d need. Although not typically superstitious, he was convinced that getting the baby stuff would jinx the adoption.
This became a bit of a problem when it turned out Miles was coming home on Christmas Day. Before letting us leave, the gruff hospital social worker asked if we had bottles and the other things we’d need.
“Um, we don’t have bottles,” Travis told her. “But we’ll get them on the way home!” Luckily, Walgreen’s was open.
This time around, I got my way. Which is to say, we have prepared a bit more but haven’t gone whole hog. In making the choices about what to buy, what to assemble, and how far to go in creating a baby’s room, I wanted to be practical but not assume too much.
You see, when adopting in this way—when you just don’t know for certain what will happen until the birth mother takes that final legal step—every day you make choices about how far you’ll go toward preparing for the potential arrival. Every day, you play out your hopes and then rewind and play your future again with a reality check. A lot of the typical preparation and excitement of parents-to-be just feels presumptuous for us.
I’ve focused on the essentials: the things we’ll need in the first weeks and the things that will be too difficult to accomplish with an infant swaddled against my chest all day.
I won’t assemble the crib yet (he won’t use it until later anyway). I won’t purchase colorful wall decals. I probably won’t even get a changing table.
But I did paint the room. A simple, bright white. That way, it remains a blank slate, a room with possibility but not one that over promises. If the baby comes, we can add vivid colors through furniture, wall decals, pictures, and bedding.
I bought diapers (scored one-size-fits-all BumGenius for $15 a pop on Ebay!).
And I’m going to paint the dresser.
We found it on a curb this summer. It’s sturdy, spacious, and helps us avoid spending more dough we don’t have.
To start bringing in some color for the room, I painted the top and drawer pulls a bright, rich yellow. I wanted to stop there, but the yellow looked awful against the wood stain. I didn’t want to give up the yellow, so I decided to sand down the rest of the dresser to prep it for white paint. After sanding, though, I stopped, and it sat in the garage until today.
The woman who has chosen us—at least initially—to become the parents of her baby is due on March 3. That is now six weeks away, to the day.
I started writing this post without much emotion, but as I wrote that above, drops of sweat trickled down my ribcage from my armpits. It is not warm in our house.
Until the time we get the call, we’ll wait and wonder when the phone call will come and what the news will be.
At least for today, I have recommitted to carefully coating the dresser with a clean, crisp coat of paint. I’ll let it dry. Then I’ll put the empty drawers back into place.