another aside…

The Dossier Begins


For those who don’t know what “the Dossier” is, I’ll let this rather silly passage from my upcoming not-silly book enlighten you:

Into the life of every prospective adopter comes a word, a word striking fear, a fear so real and so near, that unless a drop of water to wet the mouth, or piece of hankie to wipe the brow, may be found immediately, the will to proceed just might be vanquished before one’s even begun. Some speak the word only in a whisper:


Okay, it’s not quite as sinister as all that. The dossier is the initial paperwork packet that gets sent to China and enrolls a family on the master list of families awaiting matches. The dossier experience must be lived in order to be appreciated, although “appreciate” is almost certainly the wrong word. The dossier is taxing in the extreme, culling data from every extrasolar corner of paternal and maternal universes alike, no era too remote, no historical connection too dim. However, as many adoption memoirs before this have masterfully chronicled the chilling particulars of the clerical black hole that is the adoption dossier, the reader of this one shall be spared the terror.

Completing the dossier requires more stamina than brilliance, and many who would struggle to define, yea, spell bureaucratic acuity have passed through its gauntlet with flying colors. But the faint of heart would do better to give up before starting. I myself was ill-suited to beginning such a monumental endeavor, but my chipper wife cheered me on, and I got moving. The agency provided a task list so long as to almost be beyond all cognitive grasp: letters, documents, notarizations, state seals, and embassy authentications ad nauseam. Our mad hope was to figure everything out and be finished, working on it full-time, in two months.

That was our first dossier in 2007. Today began #3 with Health Checks at the hospital. Hope (who is always a challenge to drag along to strange, noisy places) obliged us with the snapshot, no photo credit needed.

“Why is Tammy looking down at her leg like that?” 

Ah. The lady behind her (everyone there but us was a pregnant woman) in the pee line dropped her open cup all over the back of Tammy’s jeans.

Let the adventures begin.