Every tree limb overhead seems to sit and wait, while every step you take becomes a twist of fate.
Up on the watershed, standing at the fork in the road...

If you are new to our adoption blog please take a moment to scroll down to the archives at the bottom of this page and start with July 2009 post "Watershed."


Boutique baby fool-I should not be let out of the house without a chaperone

I am obsessed with this blog.

I spent...um...hours? reading it last night.

Maybe it is because the author lives in England and in my daydreams we are a witty little globe trotting family living in Oxford, eternally working on a Ph.D. thesis, attending church in a small stone building from the dawn of history, and riding the chunnel to Paris for long weekends.

Maybe it is because we both have an important J in our blog worlds.
Or maybe it is because she cracks me up and helps me laugh over some of our more awkward adoption moments.

Because it reminds me of last Sunday.

Last Sunday we were driving home from church down a street very close to our house with lots of boutique stores and restaurants when I spotted a new store. Or new to me store.
With baby stuff hanging in the window. Really cute baby stuff!

It's our first kid. I can still afford to daydream about boutique onesies and monogrammed baby carriers. We have not given up and gone straight to Bab.ies R. U.s yet. (Although I'm sure we will before too long. I mean, after we've spent $50 on a onesie and pacifier we may decide the child actually needs more than that to survive.)
So I make J stop the car, I hop out while he goes to the gas station or somewhere equally uninteresting.

I open the door and step into boutique baby heaven. It is quiet. It smells like vanilla and lavendar. I am alone. I reverently pick up a few onesies from the sale rack and stroke them. I go into baby daydream mode. I pet blankets and examine a lot of weird looking accoutrements (sp?) that I have no idea what to do with. My wet shoes squeak quietly as I head up to the cloth diaper section. A fascinating wall display of cloth diapers. But not your mom's cloth diapers. Pre-shaped, buttoned, snapped, velcroed, emroidered, multi-colored, diapers and more diapers.
I start picking them up, examining them, stroking the soft fabric...

Then that inevitable moment. It's happened in other boutique baby stores.

SHE - she of the fertile mommyhood with a giant baby belly and a toddler sitting quietly coloring in the corner - she who works at boutique baby store for the discounts - enters my baby daydream space.
And I have to interact but it is SO Awkward. With a capital A.

In one glance she can see that I don't need cloth diapers. At least not for my own child. But who would buy cloth diapers for someone else's child? So she feels weird and I am running through the stories in my head. But you see I haven't perfected this situation yet. I tried it out at a different baby store and it almost ended in tears.
I ask about the different diaper brands and she explains that what we need depends on age/size. She looks at me expectantly with eyebrows raised. I say - "um, not newborn. Not big toddler. I don't know - I guess about one year. Yes, one year old. Maybe. Or maybe closer to 20 months. A smallish 20 months?" I think she doesn't believe me so she shows me the adjustable sized diaper system. Good...good. Now the rainy day and cup of coffee I had at church are getting to me and I am shifting around wondering when J is coming back to get me and sort of wondering if I could just buy a diaper for myself?

But the diaper systems are complicated and multi-faceted and she has no other customers. And she is hinting for more information. And she has to show me every single possible diaper option with those raised raised eyebrows. And it is taking FOREVER. And I can feel the stress rising as I try to keep myself from giving out any personal information.

My eyes are shifty. I blurt out that we're adopting. She then asks two things that stump me completely. 1. What's her name?? and 2. When is she coming home with you?

I'm prepared for what country? for what age range? for boy or girl? but not for much more.

Ah, the 24 million dollar questions really. And I loathe saying I don't know.
So I give her a month and a name. WHAT? Did I DO that? What is wrong with me?

To make a long story short I ended up SIGNING US UP for a class on cloth diapering. Oh yes. I did it. November 7th here we come. Looked at every single diaper option without looking at any of the prices. (This one really confused J.) AND managed to LIE about my future child. Now I can never go in that store again without an adorable one year old named ------- within the next 4 months. Oh my goodness. What is wrong with me?

At least when I read my new blog stalkee's post about the double stroller situation I didn't feel quite so ridiculous. But the difference is that she DIDN'T FABRICATE a story about her children!!

Huh. I should feel worse than I do. I should probably stop going into these type of stores and stick with the big impersonal stores. But you see, the problem is that J and I don't have any "stuff." And it took us over an hour to choose the 2 tiny baby toys I took with me to Ethiopia last month. Given that kind of track record we really need to be at least window shopping now, comparing brands, etc so when we finally get baby we'll have more than a $50 onesie and pacifier. (Not that I've even bought these things but these are the two things I actually can identify in the baby stores at this point.)



  1. First- you crack me up.

    Second- I've done something similar

    Third- I realized I don't have to be uncomfortable around people. Regardless of how well intentioned, just hinting, asking out right or just hinting for info. I keep it to myself and my internal knowing smile. (Although- in the snarkiest of times I do make up outrageous stories that leaves them wondering if I made it up or am just out of my mind... )

    Four- YES I love her blog too!

  2. I'm single and have no kids (and it appears that will not change anytime soon - God?) so, I am at a loss here.

    I get that adoption is a very personal decision and there are so many hurdles and hoops that one almost thinks it will never happen - even with baby/toddler/child in arm, on US soil with adoption completed. (I think of our friend the Vaudo's and their trip to bring Sam home from Kaz) However, I would love to better understand, sympathize more, be less ignorant of why adopting family's find it so hard to "explain" the situation to clerks at baby stores. I get it's personal - do you get tired of talking about it? I can see how that might be. Do you feel that by talking about it outside of your small group of people who are directly involved that you will jinx it? Are you afraid the clerk will laugh, will roll their eyes, never leave you along etc.?
    Please help me to understand why it is hard to shop for baby. I would think it would be a happy time - then again....

    Darby - this increasingly likely single, childless woman who is not trying to be insensitive - just trying to understand.

  3. Hi Darby!
    I hope you'll read this here but if not I'll send you an email.

    It would not normally be "weird" for me at all. But right now the problem is that i have no idea who the baby is - how old, when she or he is going to be here, what size, etc. But these are the first questions people ask. These are questions you are supposed to know about your child.

    It is painful to wait and wait and wait. And not know and not know. And so when strangers ask what they view as questions that should be easy but questions that I view as impossible to answer (and painfully so) it can get awkward. I desperately want answers. I tend to make things up to make myself feel better. Then I feel guilty for doing that. I could just say "I don't know" to all of the stranger's questions and I can't explain it but that feels so awful to have to say. I think it is because if you are pregnant they don't really ask more than when is the due date. They find it acceptable for you to be in the store shopping for baby things.

    If you are adopting it seems to illicit so many complicated questions and raised eyebrows. "Will he/she be sick?" "Did the parents die?" "Was it expensive?" "You are such a good person to do that." etc. - those are the next set if you can get past "how old?" and "when is he/she getting here?"

    I don't know. It feels like such a huge invasion of privacy when you are already feeling weird about being in a baby store poking around at things wondering if you are jinxing the whole adoption by buying things so early.

    I think we'll still get questions when baby gets here. So I need to figure out how I want to answer questions that make me uncomfortable.
    :) Hope that answers that!

  4. Amanda,
    Excellent points. I should have thought of them. I think the awkwardness is really something I can't/won't understand untill I try and have/adopt a baby and feel it for myself. I'm sure you understand that. Your post was a good one - b/c is made me think about how complicated the entire thing is. I suppose if you were adopting a child of the same race, then when he/she arrived, the questions/looks/stares from strangers would go away. They would just assume it was your biological child. But adopting outside of your race, once baby comes home, there are all sorts of questions/comments etc. Wow - it's hard for me to even wrap my brain around it intellectually - I can't imagine what its like emotionally.

    I will pray for peace in your heart and head. That God will either take the desire to look in baby stores away, or give you the grace to go in them and instead of feel overwhelmed by what you don't know, that you will feel a real sense of positive anticipation about the surprise that is to come. I will also pray that He gives you just the right words to say to all those who ask questions; that He gives you just the right smile to show those of stare; and a new level of comfort in sharing your story when the time comes.


About Me

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J and I have been married for almost 15 years. We have shared many adventures and a lot of watershed moments. In 2009 I began blogging and in 2010 we adopted our daughter from Ethiopia. In March of 2012 we began the process to adopt a little boy from Haiti. This blog follows the many twists and turns on the road to our two children and beyond.