August 06, 2014

Day 66: I Adopted a Child

This is Amelie.
For those of you who are anything like my sister, let me start out by saying that I am still most definitely a single-person household. And no, I won't be buying six-year-old approved groceries any time soon. (But don't worry Sam, I know you were totally kidding.) In fact, I can't even claim my adoptee on my tax return.

No, the extent of my responsibilities when it comes to Amelie, the girl I "adopted" through Children International, is having $30 less per month in my bank account. (However, that will not stop me from referring to her as my pseudo-child from now on.)

Amilie and my relationship started last month. The day was July 24, 2014, actually, and it began with me walking to the CVS across from my office to get a 3 PM drink.

Now, in the afternoons, my reflexes become uncharacteristically sluggish. So while I recognized that the girl with the clipboard should be avoided with a "Oh hi, no one on the other end of the line because no one's actually calling me" call, I was a little too slow on the uptake.

And these people are trained for this exact situation.

If you don't know who "these people" are, all you need to do is ride the DC metro anywhere from 2-7 PM. They're the ones creeping behind the newspaper machines, eyes peeled for anyone who doesn't have a phone immediately visible.

And as soon as someone without a means of distraction is spotted, like me, they pounce. It usually goes something like this: the person with the clipboard starts by asking you a string of personal yet not intrusive questions until the two-minute mark hits, at which point they can reasonably assume you guys have a personal connection (because, hey, they know where you got your shirt now). The conversation then immediately shifts to some variation of, "So, you know how many children in the world don't have clean water?"

Now, normally I'm a pretty compassionate person but even at a young age, this ploy has never worked with me. Even five-year-old Nicole realized that whether I ate my steamed green beans or not really had no impact whatsoever on the starving kids in China.

And I was indeed seconds from delivering the "I'm late for work" zinger to get this clipboard-ed girl out of my hair... but then she mentioned that sponsoring a child meant that the kid would send you at least two handwritten letters a year.

Normally, I might have had enough self-respect to not pay money just to receive mail. But as she continued, my thoughts wandered to that morning, when I had checked my mailbox for the first time in a week... where I found a bill from Comcast, an ad from Men's Warehouse, and a letter addressed to Manjula Sengupta.

So a few questions later and a visit to the BBB website, I was signed up. And ten days later, my package with Amelie's picture and a few facts about the Philippines, her home, showed up in my mailbox. As I sit here writing this, hopefully 80% of this month's $30 is being used to give her clean water, health care, shoes... all that good stuff.

(And if this is really all just an elaborate fraud, God doesn't take points off for being an ignoramus, right?)

But in all seriousness, these kids definitely need help and Children International seems like a legitimate program. I mean, they told me that if I ever went to go visit Amelie, they'd cover the shuttle from the airport and even guaranteed that I almost definitely wouldn't be sold to a human trafficker.

(Just kidding about the last part.)

So there you go; from July 24th forward, I will forever be the proud parent of my first child (or at least until I tell them to stop withdrawing money). Hopefully somewhere out there, Amelie is as pumped about this as I am.

Now the only thing left is to work on getting Derrick to pay child support.