I remember saying that as a child, stamping my foot to emphasize the point. Whoever I said it to said something along the lines of “You’ll change your mind, dear.”
Well, I never did. I can’t say why exactly – the trauma of my dad leaving for Korea and then Thailand when I was a child, incipient feminism, Murphy Brown (wait, I was already in my 30s when Dan Quayle blamed her unwed pregnancy for the moral decline of America!)?! Who knows? Who cares? I just DON’T want to get married! And for whatever reason, I never did.
Still, it was a little disconcerting when the “you’ll change your mind” answers became “whatever makes you happy” answers when I hit my 30s – it seemed a bit too easy an acceptance of my spinsterhood!
Though I never wanted to get married, I always wanted kids. Maybe Dan Quayle can blame this one on Murphy Brown, because I never thought I needed to be married to have kids. And it seemed China agreed, at least at first, when I started the process to adopt Zoe. Then the rumors started, a few single women were delayed for home study updates, and I started to get nervous. I remember being out of town for a conference and obsessively checking my agency yahoogroup list for rumors, and finally calling the agency to ask for advice.
We decided to be proactive and do a home study update attesting to the fact that I was heterosexual and actively seeking a husband. I had to explore my entire dating history with the social worker, and after compiling that list of losers, was it any wonder I DIDN’T want to marry any of them?! Still, the whole thing was completely humiliating, because of course like all other paperwork submitted to China, that home study update had to be notorized, authenticated by the Texas Department of State, and apostilled by the Chinese Consulate. Sigh.
I also had to do a letter saying I was heterosexual and actively seeking a husband, and I emailed Bonnie at "Greatwall dot com" to ask her exactly what I had to say in my “I am a heterosexual” letter, and how fervently did I have to state I was “actively seeking a husband.” Too bad Bonnie’s email address was Bonnie at "Greatwall dot ORG!" Because I got a reply from some guy named Liam at Greatwall dot com saying, “Bonnie doesn’t work here. AND WILL YOU PLEASE STOP EMAILING ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Which is how I learned that “I am a heterosexual and actively seeking a husband” is not a great internet pickup line!
One of the reason China changed the rules and blocked adoption by singles is because they were afraid people were lying about being heterosexual. I wasn’t. But I was lying about actively seeking a husband! And I was conscious of that lie throughout the wait for Zoe. One time, I got a call from a dating service – “We are looking for attractive, interesting singles in the DFW area who are interested in long-term relationships.” I immediately responded, “No, thanks, I’m not interested,” and hung up. And suddenly I was worried that the CCAA was calling to check if I was really actively seeking a husband! I wanted to call them and say, “Don’t worry, I’m looking for a husband in a more traditional way – I’m hanging out in bars!”
So why am I revisiting this ancient history?
Yesterday morning the girls tell me they want a baby sister. I explain that China won’t allow single women to adopt, and they suggest other countries, and I explain again that there are really very few countries that allow single women to adopt. So of course they suggest I get married.
And I find myself stamping my foot and saying, “I don’t WANT to get married!” And imagine, this time the audience is my KIDS! How weird is that?!
The Angrier Adoptee, part 1
1 week ago