And then we’re done. Names, ages, family histories, jobs, joint income. The interviewer stumbled over my details. Hers was fine, she’s got a profession; but having no employment history makes it more difficult. You’re a writer? Yes. No references? No, unless you count Amazon reviews. Now that’s an interesting idea—a star rating for suitability in their process (well, it worked for Madonna, sort of). Who’d pass? Siri Hustvedt, of course, Amazon readers love her. And so by proxy, Paul Auster. I can even see Easton Ellis bringing out a copy of Less Than Zero at interview. Yes, you’ll qualify, Brett.
He’s talking to us. Focus. Make a good impression. Don’t crack a joke. This isn’t Friends.
‘I know the newspapers always make a meal of it. But, really, adoption is a simple process in our country. We’re not Russia!’ and he laughs, as if this keeps the agency staff room regularly creased up. I think of those long white rooms somewhere in the blanket of Siberia. An old Gulag building. More bars on the beds than the windows.
He’s still laughing to himself. He’s annoyed we’ve not joined in. He ahems, straightens his back.
‘So that’s it?’ I ask.
He fiddles with the forms. He looks up, as if something’s missing. But then it’s gone. He’s talking.
‘Yes. That’s it.’
We glance at each other. This is it, then.
‘Okay,’ he says, ‘so when do you want to meet your new parents?’