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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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As regular readers of my family blog already know, I'm in the process of adopting a baby boy from Ethiopia. Since I'm confident that "regular readers of my family blog" describes almost none of you, I'll recap here.

Prior to ever having kids, we looked into international adoptions as a viable alternative to hardcore fertility treatments. The costs are roughly the same—unless you luck out and conceive immediately—but the end result is guaranteed. If you pay the fees and submit the paperwork correctly, you will have a child at the end of it. You'll also have a lot more control over the left-to-chance variables (gender and health) inherent in natural childbirth. The only things you don't get are a baby inside your uterus and the thrill of labor; the bureaucratic gestation period is generally the same—sometimes much, much longer—and the labor involved is much better because the husband gets to bear it as well.

But then we had a baby girl, adopted another baby girl domestically, and had another girl. For a while, we really thought our family was complete. Our girls are joys and we would have been lucky even if we had stopped there. But the fact is, we love kids! They're just so fascinating, even when they're maddening.

But the natural path wasn't an option so we started looking anew at international adoption. We settled on Ethiopia eventually and a baby boy in particular. I'd like to dispel something you might be thinking right now. This isn't about "completing" our family with a boy. We never believed that we needed both genders in our household. In fact, we really wrestled about requesting a boy: we don't know anything about infant boys and toddler boys, in our experience, are practically wild animals. Our girls can be just as crazy, but it seems like with boys it's more like the norm.

We decided on asking for a boy because we like challenges. (More glibly, we didn't think we could afford yet another wedding.) Boys and girls are just very different and we had a chance to see what's going on with the other half. So we took it. As an added bonus, I'll get to use that line from Cars: "You're in a heap o' trouble, boy!" It's the small things.

We're now just waiting on a home study so that can submit our dossier to Ethiopia. After it's translated into Amharic, we get a referral for a specific child. Then Sandi and I travel to Addis Ababa for a week to take our son back to America for good. It's going to be quite an adventure.