In the summer of 1986, I had just begun the steps to adopt for the first time. I was single. People frowned. My family, true to form, believed in me and supported my idea. My sisters have always been my greatest advocates. If they have thought I was a total screwball with hair-brained ideas, they have never let on. The first step I took in the adoption process, after meeting with an adoption consultant (there's a story there, too) was to sign up for The Conference on Single Parent Adoption, sponsored by an organization known as SPACE (Single Parents for Adoption of Children Everywhere.) The conference was amazing! I met many families, and many prospective parents, and as I looked around at the 100+ people there, I realized that what I wanted to do was not only achievable, but not insane.
The organizer of the conference was a very funny, warm, smart woman who had adopted four children, all of whom were present. Her only girl was 21, and her sons were 14, 11, and one. I spent a lot of time talking to her, despite the fact that she was incredibly busy. We clicked. I loved her, and the feeling seemed mutual. I didn't see her again until two years later, when my own Older Daughter was an infant and we attended the conference again. And every two years, from then on, we went, through the adoption of my Younger Daughter and right up through OD's first year of undergraduate school. Gladys Beatrice, the conference leader and I became very close friends. Down to the soul friends. Our children grew up together; in fact, our children refer to each other as brothers and sisters. We weathered unspeakable difficulties together. We have had laughing fits so hard we've had to pull the car over. We spent hours and hours at the beach together, our children splashing in the lake while we sat in the shade and talked about everything there is. My move from New England was hard on me and all my family and friends there, and GB is no exception. But the friendship stands the test of time. She turned 65 in November. She retired. And she's moving from my beloved Massachusetts to California for a million great reasons, and also just because she wants to.
When she called me about a month ago and asked if I wanted to drive across country with her, I didn't hesitate. The Attorney agreed: it had to happen. So I'm packing a suitcase, flying to New England, and driving coast to coast with my friend. It will be a wild trip, and we are taking the southern route so as to slide through my current home town so she can see The Attorney and my Younger Daughter. We have cards, audio books, GPS, a laptop, 2 still cameras, and a video camera, and we are taking our Thelma and Louise trip, minus the seedy bars, lecherous cowboys, and flight off a cliff at the end.
Here we are in 2006. It's not the greatest shot of either one of us, but you can see the joy we feel in being together.