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Last Train to Motherhood is the chronicle of my journey to become a mother and about being a mature mom in this modern day society.
The story began Memorial Day Weekend 2008, when I abruptly announced to my husband my need to adopt a daughter. We went into full adoption mode that day, researching adoption agencies and the legal documents needed. In our research, we learned that we were working against a tight deadline. No one would grant a healthy child to a person over 50, which meant at age 45 I had a little wiggle room, but not enough to handle any major setbacks. Whatever plan we came up with had to work, and it had to work the first time. It was as if we were racing to catch the last train to motherhood.
Within a week, we had decided on an agency and ordered several official copies of our birth certificates and marriage license. We also received the initial adoption information packet from the agency. We scanned the programs for the one most likely to grant a female toddler to a woman my age. Most domestic programs were out since they would not allow us to choose the gender. China had girls, but it promised to be more than a two-year wait just to get our application reviewed in that country. Even the Republic of Rwanda wouldn't give a toddler to a woman my age. In the end, Ethiopia seemed the best option. They would allow us to have a daughter, and we were told they made their decisions in a timely fashion.
Excited by our decision, we moved forward with the speed and precision of aerial acrobats, carefully completing forms, sending checks, petitioning our government, sending checks, petitioning their government, sending checks. In little more than a month, the application was completed with what the agency said was unprecedented speed.
A year later, we held our precious child in our arms and the real work of parenting began. From birthday parties and discipline to potty training and education, Last Train to Motherhood details what it took to get on track in today's child-centered society, and how we found our balance to thrive as a family.
Hal Wofford Hutchison, M.Ed., is a former columnist, writer and editor for the Arkansas Democrat and the Arkansas Gazette newspapers. She has also been a secondary educator, and a university counselor and administrator. She lives in Little Rock, Ark., with her husband of 23 years and their daughter.