Some time ago, I was asked to write a five-part series for our adoption agency, Children’s Friend and Service, entitled “A True Tale of Adoption.” The idea is that the first installment would be about life before children, then an installment about each of our sons, and the final installment about our life as a complete family.
Here, with permission of Children’s Friend and Service, is Part I of the series . . .
I suppose we have Hurricane Gloria to thank. In September 1985, when I was a senior in high school, I had applied for two part-time jobs to supplement my nonexistent income. Wind damage had knocked out the power at one of the businesses to which I had applied—a local grocery store around the corner from my home—and they needed immediate help to retrieve the items from their freezers and save their stock. They called and told me I was hired and asked if I’d be willing to help out. With motives more financial than magnanimous, I eagerly accepted the job and skipped on down to lend a hand. And that’s when and where I met my future husband—though he didn’t know it at the time.
He was 24 years old, so definitely (to my 17-year-old self ) fascinating by virtue of his advanced years, and he was handsome and a guitarist in a band. Enough said. I was in love. We worked together and became friends until that fateful night in November 1986 when my appearance and corresponding nasal sound effects revealed I had a bad cold. Don came through my line at the store with water, cough drops, and a small orange juice. I rang up the items, not thinking a whole lot about them, until he said, “Here. These are for you. Feel better.” Now, of course, it was clear to me that he too was in love.
Photo Credit: Jan Armor
On December 13, 1986, this grocery store held its annual Christmas party—and both Don and I decided we would attend . . . well, we’d meet there. It wasn’t a date or anything. Except by the end of that evening, which we count as our “first date,” it was clear that this was one love story that was meant to be. Eight years to the day, on Tuesday (yes, a Tuesday), December 13, 1994, we were married.
Both Don and I were deeply entrenched in our education for a very long time—he pursuing his Master’s in Musicology at Tufts and I, a full-time public high school English teacher, a Master’s in English at the University of Rhode Island. We both started our Ph. D. programs—he at Brandeis and I continuing at URI. We also traveled—a lot: London, Paris, Budapest, Vienna, Helsinki, Prague and destinations throughout the United States. The world was our classroom, and we were avid readers and explorers.
The idea that we would ever even want to have children didn’t really pass through our shared consciousness. We saw ourselves as one of those “sophisticated couples” who would spend our luxurious days taking classes, eating exotic meals, traveling to distant locales, seeing independent films, and strolling through museums.
Then one afternoon in 1995, Don and I were out on one of our sophisticated dates—a movie . . . Babe . . . yes, the movie about a talking pig. We sat through the credits (mostly, I’m sure, to consume the last vestiges of our exotic bucket of popcorn) when the name Oscar Farias, a production assistant on the film, appeared. That’s when Don—Don Farias—turned to me and said, “If we ever have a son, can we name him Oscar?”
If we ever have a son . . .