So, as a stop-gap measure, we looked into opportunities to care for foster children.1 We’d heard about a private agency called, in picturesque Boston fashion, the New England Home for Little Wanderers. They went through an investigative phase and deemed us worthy, and so we hosted, briefly, four babies for them. We remember particularly Maura, a large, sweet, placid, mulatto baby who reminded me of Aunt Jemima, from the pancake box.2 Her departure left a hole in our family, however much we’d been warned not to get unduly attached. Sheila, a sharply contrasting young personality, was small, wiry, demanding, and of Portuguese extraction (if I understood correctly). Each slaked Valerie’s baby-thirst for a time.

About this time, we asked our new friends at the Wanderers what would happen if we should decide to take one for keeps. They said the normal delay from application to adoption was about the same as gestation: nine months or so. Since they already had our file and knew us, though, it could happen much more quickly for us. But we had to understand that we would not be eligible to adopt any child we had fostered. In fact, they said, when we decided to tell them that we were ready to adopt, they would stop sending us fosters, so that we could concentrate on preparing for the real thing.
1I’d thought we’d turned first to the Massachusetts State Department of Social Service, but Valerie says no. On second thought, I now think I recall that we steered clear of them, having heard horror stories about their bureaucracy.
2By this time I’d grown up enough to fear no longer that she’d put me in the Bendix.
Ed.D 1967-68: Independent Study S.A.C.C.H.A.R.I.N.E. Reunion in Paris Thesis AAI Disaster
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