The next step in my adoption nesting — we bought a chair for our freshly painted spare room! I’ve spent the past few months scouring baby furniture stores in search of the perfect one. It’s a small room, so the chair needs to fit in the space, but my 6 foot tall husband also needs to fit in it. I had my heart set on particular style, not the mention the fabric had to be something our cat couldn’t destroy. I came across a craigslist add earlier this week , and yesterday we went to check it out.
It turns out the chair’s owner was a sweet pregnant woman who had purchased it 2 months ago to rock their new baby in the living room of their 1 bedroom apartment. But now she realized that there just wasn’t enough space, and was hopping to find it a new home. As we examined it, and discussed how it we could configure it around a
dresser and crib, I found myself needing to justify my obvious lack of pregnant belly. I turned to her and blurted “we’re adopting.” She was in the middle of saying something else and didn’t even seem to notice my comment. And it wasn’t until the words had already left my mouth that I realized she also didn’t seem to need to hear it. She didn’t seem at all confused by our situation. So why did I feel the need to justify it?
Because as we slowly walk through this process I am starting to realize time and time again that we don’t fit into the usual mold of a family waiting for a baby. When I walk into the baby department of a store I feel so out of place. The only people examining the maneuverability of a stroller are pregnant or already juggling a baby. I feel the need to explain to the salesperson that I have a reason to be there too. To justify that I too am planning for the eventual arrival of a child. Once that child is here I know our path will become a little more mainstream. But until then, we just don’t fit into the societal mold of “expecting parents”.
That became evident a few weeks ago when I decided to compile all my researched wish list items into the start of a baby registry. Many stores allow you to start your registry online, but they all ask for a due date, which I don’t have. So I approached a salesperson in Target to ask if they could bypass this question. My concern got bounced around to a few employees. Some were understanding when I explained my situation. Others were a bit rude. In the end the only solution they could give me was to “make one up”. But how will I feel when that made up date comes and goes without the arrival of a baby? I’m not inclined to patronize a company who’s only solution is to put me in such a sensitive situation.
The folks at Babies R Us were a bit more compassionate. Their registry form actually has a box to check if you’re adopting. But they still require a due date in order to complete the process. One nice salesman spent 20 minutes trying different ways to get the computer to ignore the question. In the end he couldn’t help me either, but he apologized profusely and promised to relay the problem to the corporate team. A few hours later I got a call from the regional marketing manager. She wanted me to know that, though she didn’t have a solution for me just yet, she was very concerned with wanting adoptive parents to feel welcome at their stores. She promised to get back to me after exploring the situation further.
I know there’s no way to include everyone all the time. But the population of adoptive parents is not small. My chair’s previous owner didn’t think twice when our situation was clearly different. When will others, specifically corporate america, follow her lead? Shame on you Target for disregarding adoptive parents entirely. Thank you Babies R Us for at least attempting to make me feel included. And thank you to all the craigslist sellers out there who don’t even think twice about a clearly not pregnant couple buying baby furniture. Our path is different, but I shouldn’t have to justify myself for being on it.