As we were getting into our car in front of my parents' house this evening, I spotted a little girl who had set up a lemonade stand down the street. Card table with a hand-lettered sign taped to the edge, folding chair, pitcher and cups, cash box--the whole bit.
I instantly flashed back to doing the many lemonade stands of my childhood. For a period during early elementary school, I was constantly coming up with complicated productions. My brother and I operated a "restaurant" out of the dining room, complete with menus. I organized the neighborhood kids into putting on a multi-act circus in our backyard and sold tickets for a nickel apiece. There were lemonade stands and secret clubs and Fourth of July programs with fireworks and recitations of the Declaration of Independence. Most were only minor successes, with the exception of the circus, which had a surprisingly large audience. I didn't mind. I think I loved throwing myself into the organization process: writing down plans, holding rehearsals, making signs and forms and programs. Any excuse to get to type on our enormous electric typewriter.
I sometimes wonder how much of a role my little-girl self--the organizer, the typewriter-lover--played in my preference for adoption over complicated fertility options when we started our family. Not to say such decisions are ever mere functions of personality. There were dozens of convictions and experiences and relationships that brought us to the moment of saying, "Yes, this is it for us." But there was something comforting to me in adoption's tidy steps and checklists. The fact that it was a process with a beginning and an end and a clear path between the two. I didn't mind the forms. I could do forms. I didn't know that I could do putting my heart on the line cycle after cycle for something that might never happen. I wanted some sense of forward motion, of progress toward something. In a certain way, the bureaucracy of adoption gave me that.
So there you have it. We adopted because I appreciate paperwork. Not really. But it sorta made it easier.
Of course we crossed the street to buy some lemonade from the little girl tonight. I still remember the stranger who pulled his car over to buy lemonade from me when I was six. As we handed over our dollar (75 cents for three cups, hold the change), the girl sighed and said, "Now we're making some progress around here." I almost told her, "I know exactly what you mean."