Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Fantasy Baby Shower

I went to my fantasy baby shower today. It was awesome, because I made it all up. Something about attending my third office baby shower of the summer got me started. (At each one, I'm invited to give thoughtful "welcome baby" gifts to people I barely know. I'm really not bitter or jealous - I'm totally happy for them. But I can't help but notice that when T. arrived, not one person said "congratulations" or felt it was a gift-giving occasion, and I find that a harsh commentary on the stereotypes that pertain to foster/adoption of older children. So I indulged my imagination a bit.)

My baby's no baby, so here's how my imaginary baby shower went down.

First, the 8 or 10 other people out there who adopt teenagers showed up. We read each others blogs, so you know who you are. There were gay and lesbian parents, straight parents, single parents. There was beer. Real, cold beer. There were a lot of war stories and also some kinda sick jokes.

You know what nobody said? Nobody asked me where his "real" family is. Nobody asked what race he is. Nobody looked at me with sadness because they assume that I can't have a bio baby. Nobody told me I have to put him on a wheat-free diet, or asked me if he gets good grades, or told me that "all parenting is the same no matter where the child comes from." Did I mention the beer?

Hell, since it's my fantasy baby shower, I'm gonna say T's birth relatives came along too. We're all gonna be seeing alot of each other on holidays for awhile so I guess they decided to show up and make friends. They took a pass on raising him, but today at my imaginary baby shower, they decided that they still want to be a supportive presence in his life. They brought banana pudding. He loves their cooking.

T loved his baby shower. He's been part of every decision we've made about becoming family to each other, so it was only right that he attend his own baby shower. He thought it was hilarious, as he often finds amusement in observing my awkward attempts at first-time parenting. He loves to dance, so there was dancing.

There were also really good presents. One foster adoptive mom gave us a gift certificate to Costco. "You won't believe how much juice they drink!" she said. Another gave us a gift certificate for iTunes. "Encourage them to listen to music on headphones," she said. "That's the closest you're going to get to some alone time for awhile." Somebody else offered to come by on a Saturday night to hold down the fort while Tim and I went out for a dinner date. Oh blessed relief.

My folks were there (they'd come in real life, for sure, and they did send a popcorn machine when T. moved in, to their credit). Tim's parents came too (in real life, they are confounded by our choices). Even his brother (who, in real life, recently said to me of our adoption "So what should I call him? Step-nephew?"). But here's the kicker: the neighbors (the same ones who, in real life, called their attorney when we told them T was moving in) showed up. They looked me right in the eye and said "We're sorry, we were racist narrow-minded bigots." Then they had a beer and got down.

As my fantasy baby shower drew to a close, T's socialworker came up to me. "We 're going to get out of your hair now," she said. "Let you do your thing." She slapped me on the back. "Thanks for stepping up!" she said. "And good luck with all this." Then she drove off into the sunset.

Now that was some good daydreaming.

15 comments:

Advocate Mom said...

if only.....

:) I was so bitter about the baby shower thing when my boys came home. Having been married 12 years without children, you can imagine how many baby showers I had attended for other people.

I liked your shower. Especially the beer. :)

GB's Mom said...

That was one of the best daydreams I've ever had the privilege to read! Thanks :)

jaenkes said...

Nice - I like it! I already daydream about this. With a biological 9yr old and the plans to adopt a 6-12yr old child, I want a celebration of sorts, but don't know if people will "get it".

A bbq, with beer, sounds lovely!

Claudia said...

Great fantasy shower, great post. My favourite present is the costco voucher.

Liz said...

It sounds lovely and perfect! I hope you get the real-life version too - better late than never!

Mama Drama Times Two said...

Hey, after your done writing the thank you notes for the baby shower and putting away all those bulk bought juices boxes, stop on over at my blog to pick up an award I left you. Just because you are beautiful.

mrsbasement said...

that was awesome. (except the part where the social worker rides off into the sunset ;}

marythemom said...

Thanks for the invitation! Hope you don't mind that I brought wine coolers (I don't drink beer) and teenagers. Hopefully the 6 dozen brownies and 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies we brought made up for it. The Visa gift card I regifted to you should allow you to buy him some cute clothes (and this way I didn't have to guess his size and preferences).

Someone suggested an adoption shower for us, but we'd turned it down because we'd been warned not to plan overwhelming activities with lots of people right away. We should have had one of these!

Mary in TX

(My word verification was a real word this time. "Motives." What do you think that means?)

M and M said...

that was a perfect shower!

Lulu McCabe said...

Hey guys. Thanks for coming! MarytheMom: LOL. You have been a great blogger friend. And yes, like you, we took to heart the advice to avoid parties/announcements and keep things low key when T. came to us. I think that is absolutely the right thing to do. But I think that sometimes the quiet, bittersweet way a foster/adoptive child arrives in your home, plus the general lack of understanding about older child adoption translates to a bit of social alienation for the new parents. This imaginary baby shower was all I needed!

Anonymous said...

I love your fantasy baby shower! I've enjoyed reading your blog too, since we will hopefully be adopting a teen (18!) soon through LA county. Not only do we get all of the typical teen adoption comments, but we also get needled on adopting an "adult". BTW, I believe that I met T's brother, E, a few weeks ago.

sue66 said...

Hi. I was just referred to your blog today. Thanks for writing this! I have two 20 year olds--both came to me after age 18. My oldest is turning 21 next month and I cannot wait for the caseworkers to ride off into the sunset! (I did have a wonderful shower from my co-workers, who are in child welfare and "got it". At a bar, with beer and booze and gift certificates and an 'it's a boy' balloon.)

Thanks for sharing.

Jill said...

Just found your blog. We live in LA, can we attend too? We'll bring some Ethiopian music for our dream manifestation. Congrats to your precious family!

Anonymous said...

A colleague is adopting a teen. I recalled reading this fantasy shower blog and have decided to offer a real shower. Any suggestions? Usually baby showers are held at the office, but if alcohol was really a plus I could have it at my house. What do you think? Any and all thoughts are welcome.

Lulu McCabe said...

Hey, good for you for holding the real deal! I'd say the office is fine. I recommend giving some guidance on gifts, or taking up a collection. A Zappo's gift certificate maybe? Teens love shopping for shoes! Also, you might work with enlightened people, but I know we found slot of people to be confused about what to say about older kid adoption. If that might be true of some of your colleagues, maybe you can find a lighthearted way to set the right tone so your friend can be spared awkward questions about what happened to the child's "real" family, etc. Have fun!

 
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