In Mali, the crocodile is featured on many Dogon granary doors. It is there to protect the family, and so, on finding this one, we invited it to protect us on our own journey towards finding a child.
We have spent nine months getting the agreement. We have spent another three amassing papers, mayor’s signatures, personal statements, recommendations, attestations of our morality, emotional stability, and financial security, lack of contagious diseases and presence of infertility…… Infact, just to give you a taste of how much charge some of these documents have, I have to tell you a wee tale about the latter:
Dr Galand of Avignon had, in what he called a pre IVF clean up (‘It looks very nice in there Madame’ he said when I came to ‘and by the way…’) tied my fallopian tubes without either my or Julian’s permission. At the time we were so involved in the process of trying to conceive even half naturally that we simply gave a nod to the illegality of it and went on with the treatment. Later, although we may have had a case, we decided we didn’t believe in the suing society because we didn’t want to be victims of the past but preferred to stay present and even celebrate our childless, art and music filled life. When the ‘certificate of infertility’ arrived I was almost sick. ‘Due to her age’ it stated - I was then thirty-eight - ‘and despite our best efforts, Madame is considered terminally infertile’. Needless to say, I have many contemporaries who are still having babies at our ripe old age of forty-four….Anyway that was just one document.
Where were we? Ah yes, we have all the documents. People have said the loveliest of things. We have three sections of photographs: Us, Our Family, Us at Work and Where we Live. (Lovely pics although everyone in them, apart from the Tuareg guide with me in the Sahara, is conspicuously white. Unlike many of the other candidates we do not live in Marseille or Montpellier or Paris. We live in a small Provencal village.) The next step was the presentation and, having researched Dogon mudcloth motifs and symbols on doors for the cover, I handed the pile of papers over to Julian.
Our dossier, which will be delivered to the ‘Agence Française de l’Adoption’ next week, speaks from our hearts. Let’s hope they hear us.