I’ve known Tim for many years.
When I first moved to New York we initially lived in the same apartment share, and after he left we stayed friends. He is a thirty-two-year-old graphic designer from Washington State and works in Manhattan.
He's always wanted to be a father. After a lot of setbacks, it finally happened for him.
So congratulations, you’ve just adopted a boy.
Thank you, I’m so excited. Couldn't be more thrilled.
It’s terrific news.
I couldn’t be happier.
How long has it been?
About six months now.
How old is he?
He just turned two.
How did the whole process go?
It actually went really smoothly. This is going to sound a little strange—I mean, I'm sure in five years it will sound completely normal—but I adopted Jeremy from Amazon.
Amazon the online retailer? Not the world’s largest tropical rainforest?
Yes, the online retailer.
Tell me how that worked.
It's a little crazy, but I imagine it's probably how people felt ten years ago when they told you they met their spouse online. But back when I was researching adoption agencies last year I saw this ad come up for Amazon Adoptions and so I clicked on it and saw this new beta program by Amazon. You could apply to be a part of the new program.
Are you allowed to be talking about this?Jeff Bezos won’t come after you, will he?
No, it's cool. They’re just about to launch it so I'm allowed to talk about it. They’ve given me and other families the green light to discuss the process.
So how do you like being a father?
It's great. Jeremy is terrific. He’s such a sweet little kid. My heart has been opened in so many ways I didn’t know was possible.
I always knew I wanted a family and wanted to to do it when I was still fairly young so I’d have enough energy for all the sleepless nights and early mornings and all the craziness that comes with being a parent.
And you're a single parent.
I was going to adopt with my long-term partner who decided she didn’t want kids. We had been trying to get pregnant and then we split up. She decided it wasn’t right for her, and I respect that decision. But it was still heart-breaking. But I decided that wasn't going to stop me. I was going to adopt.
Some of the fees for adoption can be expensive. Was that true in your case?
Amazon made the process affordable, seamless, and straightforward. You can go to the Adoptions section of Amazon.com (when it's released shortly to the general public). Essentially they work with “sellers” so to speak and you can look up information about the kid. There is pre-screening on your end that Amazon does, but once you pass that you can log into their portal to see what’s available.
Amazon funds part of the process, right?
Yeah, they fund some of the adoption fees in return for some data.
What kind of data?
Oh, they want some information that you submit on a weekly basis. It’s not that big of a deal, especially considering how affordable they make the process.
What do you have to do?
Essentially they went marketing data on Jeremy. What kind of products I'm buying for him, what products I like, what Jeremy prefers, why he prefers it, what toys Jeremy is playing with, how long he plays with them. Basic information like that.
What do you do for day care?
The great thing about doing the adoption through Amazon is that they provide daycare.
Okay, this is going to sound a little crazy but they have this new protoype called Amazon NannyDroid that watches your child.
Yes, it was developed by the same team that worked on Amazon Echo.
Yeah, NannyDroid has some limited functionality, but she can play with Jeremy, feed him, clothe him, take care of all the basic necessities. She can't take him outside or anything but she can take care of everything in the apartment or house.
You know, I watched that movie AI and I never thought we'd have androids in my lifetime.
I know. It's pretty wild it's happening now.
The kid in that movie was fake though. Your kid is real, right?
Yeah, of course. That's not really funny. Just the nanny is a droid. Jeremy's human. I mean sometimes he repeats himself. Sometimes I feel like he's watching me, gathering information, processing the information, but I think all kids have their quirks.
I know. I'm kidding. When I saw you a few weeks ago you mentioned something about space camp?
Since the adoption was through Amazon Jeremey gets to go to the Amazon space camp every summer, which is run by Jeff Bezos's space flight company Blue Origin. Actually, it's a requirement.
As part of the adoption process and fee reduction, I've agreed to send Jeremy into space.
Obviously not until their space flights can safely carry humans. But when that happens, and it should be fairly soon, the adoptees are going to be the youngest humans in space. Isn't that awesome?
Yeah, wow. What if he doesn't want to go?
What do you mean? He loves space, he wants to be an astronaut. He loves this stuff.
But is it safe?
Of course, I wouldn't do it if it wasn't safe.
Do you go with him?
No, I don't like flying. But he's going to go with very experienced people. I mean, he'll be fully trained. He'll go to space camp for a few more summers and the plan is to send them up when they're abut ten years old.
We're so excited.
Do you ever think it might not be a good idea to let Amazon decide whether they can send your kid into space?
That was the deal we made. I couldn't have afforded the adoption otherwise. I'm giving Jeremy a better life and if I have to send him into space for the sake of science and for Amazon that is what I'm going to do.
But you see how some people might disagree?
Well, first off you're having a machine watch your child all day and then you're sending him into space and you're not going because you don't like flying.
Jeff has explained it all to me personally. It's totally safe, both the NannyDroid and the space project. NannyDroid just had that one issue when she was giving him a bath.
She held him under water for a little bit. She was trying to wash his hair and she malfunctioned for a moment. It was fine, I was in the next room watching TV, keeping a close eye on it all. But she's not allowed to give baths anymore.
The point is that they're trying really hard and if Jeremy wasn't safe I would say something, even though we're contractually obligated to use NannyDroid until he's ten.
So that's for a while?
They're going to upgrade her. She's only going to get better. Do you know how hard it is being a single parent? I don't think you understand.
I really have no idea. It must be hard.
I need help. NannyDroid helps me.
I'm just concerned about sending a ten-year-old into space. Can their bodies handle that?
It's only for like a week. They're going to do simulation at the space camp and study the kids and give them health reviews and make sure everyone's okay before they send them up into space.
Have any neighbors ever expressed concern about NannyDroid watching Jeremy?
No. I don't speak to my neighbors. I never see them.
Well, great to see you.
You should come over sometime. NannyDroid is making some excellent sandwiches these days. Her hands can heat up and she just presses the sandwiches down. She makes excellent paninis.
That doesn't seem safe for her to have hands that heat up.
It's perfectly safe. Come over and see. This feature is Jeff Bezos's favorite. He loves paninis!