Wednesday, July 14, 2010

One Year Ago...Part Five

There are just a few more little stories I want to add before I wrap up Christiana's adoption story.

Tuesday: We were expected to take Christiana to a doctor's appointment when she was one week old to get clearance before flying home. On Monday, I called our insurance to find providers in our network. Then I Googled to find the closest clinics and started calling to find some who could fit us in. Apparently, I started too early because at one clinic, the doctor actually answered the phone and explained that her staff wasn't there yet. She told to call my insurance and have them call her office to verify our eligibility. I thought that sounded ridiculous and decided to call another clinic. Later that morning, still hadn't found an appointment so I tried that clinic again. This time I reached her receptionist and she just scheduled an appointment for me on Tuesday afternoon.

Then we sat down to figure out how to get to the appointment. We considered renting a car for the day, asking the neighbor with the pro-life sticker on her car or calling a cab. We decided to call a cab. Dave was a little concerned because his experience with cabs coming in a timely manner was not satisfactory. So, I planned to start calling at 2 pm to have them come by 2:30 pm and her appointment was at 3 pm. After calling several companies, one of them gave me a number of a guy who was in the area and asked him to come an get me around 2:30 pm. Then I got ready to go and watched by the door. When an unmarked luxury sedan drove pulled up to the the house, it was surely not the kind of cab I had expected. This was the first time I had ever been in a cab and had only seen them on T.V.

Terry was a very nice man dressed in a suit. He was very friendly and talkative and found the clinic easily. When I told him that I would need a ride back home, he handed my his card with his number. "Executive Car Service" is what it read. I panicked a little, "So, how much is this trip going to cost me?" I was happy to learn the price was similar to the other cab companies. Since I needed a ride back home, he said that he would stay in town and wait for me.

I entered a very hot and completely empty waiting room. There wasn't anyone in sight, not even a receptionist. It was very strange to me. A man, woman and three kids came in. They were African American. The woman kept commenting about how Christiana had a nice tan. I just said, "Yes, she does." When I told her she was six days old she said, "Oh, so you just had her!" That's when I disclosed that she was adopted. She asked a few more questions and when she heard that the birth mom never held the baby she said, "She just wasn't strong enough yet." I thought that was good insight. I hope one day she is strong enough and wants to see her.

The receptionist finally came and gave me some paperwork to fill out. I let the woman hold Christiana. I asked her about her daughter's hair. Christiana's was so fine and smooth. She said that would change as she got older. One of the kids got sick because he was having a migraine. Incidentally, not the kid who was supposed to see that doctor. Shortly after that the receptionist came and got me. She brought me to another, much cooler, waiting room. She said that they didn't want a six day old baby waiting in the main waiting. Hmmm. A little late for that. I had already been there about 45 min. There was a T.V. in that room and a movie playing. I couldn't hear it but thought to myself, "I really hope I'm not here long enough get into watching this movie."

The doctor was really nice. She was also African American and answered the questions I had about Christiana's skin. It was peeling off all over and I wondered about how to recognize diaper rash since it would be hard to tell if it was red. She said it would have raised bumps if it was irritated, the peeling was normal and that as a teenager, Christiana may want to have the birth mark on the back of her leg removed. Christiana was back up to her birth weight plus six ounces and the doctor did not seem surprised to learn that she was on donated breast milk. She didn't ask any more questions about it. (I actually thought that was weird. Most people have more questions or concerns with the idea.) She said that Christiana was healthy and cleared for travel and she wrote a note for us to present to the airline if needed.

I called Terry and he came to pick me up. In hind sight, I realized that I was the only white person in the clinic. The doctor was African American, the nurse was Hispanic, the receptionist was Indian, one patient family was Indian and the other was African American. I remember feeling sad for Christiana that she would not grow up in an area with so much diversity and thinking that it would be a great excuse to visit Florida more often.

One last notable thing about my visit was that I had to pay our deductible up front and in cash. That just really surprised me and left me with barely enough cash for the cab ride. He didn't charge me until after the ride home. Dave said that he later realized that the clinic was in a not-very-nice area of town and perhaps that's why they didn't take credit cards. I was struck by how odd it probably seemed for me to get dropped off and picked up in my swanky executive car. I hated to think I was reinforcing any stereo-types about rich white people but the reality is that we are very rich compared to most of the population of the world. I am thankful but yet I am uncomfortable about that since it is said that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.

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