Amanda’s Arrival by Ferry

Ferry Tales

TOM: Jack and I got married back in 2013, but we were both pretty driven in our careers and weren’t thinking about much of anything else. He was C-level at a biopharmaceutical company, and I was responsible for a chain of stores in the Northeast. He’d been married before—to a woman—and had a child, Matt, who’s actually living with us now, but that’s another story!

JACK: This one’s about Amanda.

TOM: So anyway, time passed, and careers flame out—well, mine did, because stores were closing, the Internet was hurting the malls, you know all that. And I got a decent severance package but didn’t have a clue what to do next.

JACK: I told him to take some time off and think about it. We’re only in our early thirties, he could still do anything, go back to school or even start his own company.

TOM: I ended up just taking some time off. I took a painting class. I went to the gym every day. I walked around Cambridge. And no matter where I was, in a coffeeshop, in a park, I kept running into these women with kids. And watching the kids. And realizing that what I didn’t really want was a new career: What I wanted was a child. Jack wasn’t against the idea—I’d say you were lukewarm, weren’t you, honey?

JACK: I’d just not thought about it. You know, maybe in the future, ten years off… but then I thought, he’s right, what are we waiting for?

TOM: And so we started exploring the options, and there are so many! But we finally decided we wanted to adopt. Jack has this thing about how having kids really contributes to global warming.

JACK: It does.

TOM: And of course he’s right. So the long and short of it, it was a very long process, but we ended up connecting with this little girl, six years old, her name was Amanda. And it’s a process, you know? Months and months of visits and getting to know each other and seeing what was what, and the day they said we could come pick her up for good? That was the best day of our lives. And the paperwork all happened, but it was just getting that approval.

JACK: We wanted to make it super-special for her, too. So we’d gone ahead and booked an inn for a couple of night—it was midweek, not easy to do—and get ferry tickets so she could see the ocean.

TOM: She was ecstatic, wasn’t she? Just kept jumping up and down. She’s like, Look at that bird! Look at that cloud! Everything. We never left the outside deck, the whole way here. She wouldn’t let us.

JACK: Not even to get something to eat.

TOM: And Ptown was great, it’s a great place for a kid, who knew? We took her to that little park by the East End Market and played there.

JACK: Twice a day. Every day.

TOM: And all we could do was look at her and look at each other and we couldn’t believe how lucky we were.

JACK: Same thing going back home. She couldn’t take her eyes off the water. Wanted to know if we could do it again the next day.

TOM: We promised we’d do it as often as we could. So we’ve brought her down—how many times is it, now?

JACK: Eight or nine? That first trip was two years ago.

TOM: We never get a moment’s rest on the ferry. It’s her favorite thing. But even when we’re not on it, you know, I associate the ferry now with that first day, that day she was officially our daughter.