My Son’s Adoption Story And Who Should Know It

The cast of characters:

Jane = me

Sam = well-meaning friend

John = my husband

Joe= our son

—–

We were watching our sons play in our neighborhood park. Polite, easy conversation about school, spring and the upcoming Boy Scout camping trip.

Sam turns to me and says, “So what is Joe’s adoption story?”

My mind goes blank. It’s been years since anyone has asked me that question. It’s been so long I’m not quite sure what is being asked. I have no idea what to say.

To fill the now awkward silence Sam says, “Well, John told me I should ask Joe.”

Ask Joe? What would he say? He was only 6 months old. He couldn’t possibly remember the day he entered our family.

And then it hits me.

Ohhhhh. THAT adoption story.

sonstory

Sam, still trying to fill my awkward silence, begins talking about his service in Korea and what little he knows about adoption there.

Finally understanding what he is asking, I offer a laundry list of reasons why biological parents choose adoption for their children. Poverty. Teen pregnancy. Single parenthood. And some reasons we’ll never know or understand.

And then, I’m proud of my husband. My husband has an issue with boundaries. More specifically, my boundaries. He shares things about me with other people, as a way to connect, that I’d rather decide to share. Or not. It’s not malicious. He doesn’t mean to annoy me. But it does. He calls me “a private person.” And I am. So, knowing that he has a tendency to cross the line but that he honored our son’s privacy has touched me. Deeply.

Because our son’s adoption story isn’t pretty. It isn’t tidy. His biological parents wrestled, like all other biological parents out there, with their decision to choose adoption.

And it is our son’s story to tell.

Or not.

Because the circumstances that brought him to us do not define him.

Some people travel by car. Some by train. Some by boat. Some by plane. But they all get to the destination. Eventually.

And our son made it into our family, at 6 months old, by plane. This cute, chubby cheeked, giggling little bundle. The last baby off the plane. Me, afraid they had missed the flight but had forgotten to tell us. The escort, in her broken English, placing him in my arms and telling me of the dream she had, of the wonderful family he was coming home to and how he would be so happy there. His sweet, chubby face. His grin. Captivating us. Clutching each of our index fingers as he slept between us on that first night in our family.

Oh, that first night.

Our baby on Korea time. Us, exhausted, excited and weary. Searching through his bag, desperately wanting to know whether to give him soy or dairy based formula. That’s all we wanted to know. How do we feed our child? We took the formula from his bag. The instructions were in Korean. The interpreter at the airline desk said it was soy based. Great, we thought. We brought both. Soy it is!

Our baby boy gobbled down that first bottle and part of the next and promptly fell fast asleep. We patted ourselves on the back. Such great parents already. We know how to feed him. We know how to get him to sleep. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

An hour later, at the hotel, he wakes up crying. Screaming. We change him. We offer him another bottle. We play with him. Nothing is working. He is exhausted, we tell ourselves. He’s in a strange country with strange sounds, strange smells. As much as we love him already, we are still strange to him. My husband holds him, gently bouncing him as I run back to the car and get another arsenal of toys to distract him.

As I walk back into the hotel room my husband is holding our son. With out-stretched arms. Our son is laughing. He is grinning ear to ear. My husband is stunned. His face frozen. Mortified.

“I don’t know what to do,” he stammers.

He is covered, from chest to thighs.

In poop.

Our son exploded. And poop is everywhere. All over my husband. All over our son.

And our sweet, grinning boy is happy again.

I get a garbage bag from the front desk. I gently peel the clothes off my husband and my son. They bathe, together, son laughing and husband still speechless. And now, I’m giggling. The mess. The expressions of glee and horror in one moment. The laughter. Delicious, delightful laughter.

That sweet peal of tinkling joy from our precious, amazing son.

That is our son’s adoption story. The late flight. The other babies, coming off the plane one by one. Us, searching for our son and finally seeing him for the first time. The escort placing him in my arms. The smile. Those cheeks. The formula that we were told was soy but was really dairy. Feeding him the wrong formula and the poop we waded in after. And then, after the poop and the bath. After he wouldn’t sleep in the pack ‘n play. When he snuggled between us and clutched my husband’s finger and then mine and promptly fell asleep. Cuddled between us both.

That is our son’s adoption story.

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Filed under Adoption

Jane Cries A River For The Impoverished Music Industry

I watched an awards show. Finally. In it’s entirety.

The 2015 Grammy Awards.

2015-grammy-awards

Don’t get me wrong. I used to be an awards show junkie. I never missed. Even the shows announcing the nominees. I loved the entertainment industry. As a music major in college, I thought I would be a part of it one day.

But then, life happened. And kids. I discovered a whole new vocation I never thought in a million years I would enjoy so much. Motherhood. It’s been a blast. And the reason entertainment is my weakest category in Trivia Crack.

All in all, I felt it was a bit lack luster. Madonna tried to be shocking. Yawn. A legend crooned with a much, much, much younger up and comer. Creepy. Rock bands that should have retired long ago tried to show they still had it. Uh-uh.

Then, the Grammy’s put domestic violence and human trafficking into the forefront. Brooke Axtell, a survivor, spoke out against abuse against women. She gave a moving speech and Katy Perry followed up with a beautiful rendition of “By The Grace Of God.”

I thought, good for them. They should pick a cause every year to support.

And then, (you knew there was going to be an “and then” didn’t you?) ……..

And then………

Recording Academy president, Neil Portnow, used his time on stage to promote Creators Alliance, a new lobby group to represent those poor, under-appreciated and under-compensated music artists in Washington.

Wha………?

Oh, you mean like Steven Tyler, Alicia Keys, Adam Levine and Jennifer Hudson?

Yep. Those artists.

And I couldn’t help but remember when Metallica made (pardon my language but there really is no other word) asses of themselves in 2000, crying about Napster.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a poster child for plagiarism. I’m a rule follower from way back. I had a neighbor tease me once because I still use iTunes to buy my music. So sue me. I think stealing is wrong. Whether it’s milk, money or music. But when it comes to musicians, raking in millions from their craft, and they want to cry about the other thousands they may have lost? I have one thing to say. Take care of it privately. Quietly. Get your lawyers on it. Use your considerable wealth and position and power without telling me all about it.

Neil Portnow wanted to use his platform to gain support and inform the fans. Inform the fans? Seriously? He wanted to wag his bejeweled finger and remind Johnny that downloading songs for free is wrong and robs artists of fair compensation? Johnny doesn’t already know that? And fair compensation? Nobody is downloading some no-name artists music for free. And if they are, I can tell you the “no-name artist” is thrilled that someone is even listening to them.

I sat there. Trying to judge the reaction of the audience. The cameras panned the crowd and showed a few bobbing heads of agreement but there wasn’t some wild outpouring of support (Thank God.) I honestly don’t know how the audience felt. But if they agreed, it seems they had the common sense to keep their (greedy) feelings private.

I agree that people should be rewarded for their work. I agree that sharing music online without compensating the artist (and producers and writers and etc.) is stealing. I wouldn’t have stolen an album from a record store back in the day. I shouldn’t steal a song of the internet waves now. But talking to me, sweet little Jane, sitting in her living room on the weathered coach she can’t afford to replace, telling me that if this rampant internet stealing continues we’re going to have a world without music because artists won’t be able to make a living in the music industry anymore? Bullshit. (Oops. Excuse me again. But this topic pisses me off.)

Cry me a river. You want to talk about professions that aren’t fairly compensated for their craft? The ones who truly struggle to make a living? How about teachers? Police officers and firemen? Or social workers? Create a lobby group for them.

The Verge headline this morning said it best: Grammy Millionaires Unite To Lobby Washington For Better Pay.

Earlier in the evening, I mused how wonderful art would be if artists pursued their craft for the pure joy of creating it. Not for money. Not for glory. Not for fame. Real, true artists sharing their gifts.

Find me a gifted, talented, true artist that is also poverty-stricken and suffering and I’ll be happy to get behind your cause. But until then, Mr. Portnow, keep your wagging finger and your millions to yourselves.

 

 

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Filed under Soapbox

Lovely Spam, Wonderful Spam!

I am not perfect. By any stretch of the imagination. I love run-on sentences. I love incomplete sentences. I rely on spell-check. Heavily. Not because I can’t spell but because I’m horribly lazy.

And speaking of lazy, I don’t edit my posts very well. Or sometimes at all. I know. I’m a terrible blogger. But I own it. And I have my excuses. (And they truly are excuses.)

I’m not like many of you out there. I’m not waiting to be discovered. I’m not jonesing for a book deal. I’m just a gal, full of ideas bouncing around in her head that need to be unleashed once in a while. So, I write a post. I scan it for any glaring errors and then I hit “Publish” and walk away. Well, click away.

Imagine my amusement when I received this comment regarding my blog:

(Identifying factors have been deleted to protect the well-meaning spammer.)

“certainly like your web site however you need to test the spelling on quite a
few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling
issues and I in findingg it vedry troublesome to tell the truth however I’ll definitely come again again”

"Spam, spam, spam, spam. Lovely spam, wonderful spam." - Monty Python

“Spam, spam, spam, spam. Lovely spam, wonderful spam.” – Monty Python

Ahhh, the irony of spam comments.

I love spam.

Spamm all ways amuzes me.

 

 

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Filed under Because It Amuses

“Hello. I’m Calling From Microsoft. And I’m Calling To Help You With Your Computer.”

I just received another one of “those” calls.

Yes. I know it’s not really Microsoft calling about some virus in my computer. I know this because I’m just a teeny bit tech savvy and a tiny bit jaded after my half century on this planet.

But I play along anyway. It’s entertaining. I have a little time on my hands. And it keeps him on the phone for a bit longer, preventing him from scamming someone else.

“I’m calling from Microsoft because we have been alerted that your computer is infected with a malicious virus.”

“Oh, God. No! This is the second time this year!”

“Well, I’m calling to help you fix the problem.”

“Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! You don’t know how grateful I am.”

“It’s all right ma’am. We’re going to fix this. Ma’am? Are you near you computer?”

“Yes! Please help me. Just tell me what to do!”

We have a bit of back and forth as I pretend to open my computer. Turn on my computer. Oops. The battery is low. I have to plug it in. Now, where’s that cord?

‘So explain to me how this happened…”

He gives some explanation of which I understand about every 3 words. Not because I’m hard of hearing but because his accent is so thick. Meanwhile, I’m looking up his phone number through a reverse-phone-look-up site. He’s calling from China. His accent sounds like he’s from somewhere else. And his name is Zach Martin. From Miami, Floor-eee-DUH. (Emphasis on the DUH.)

Yeah.

Right.

We talk a little more as I ask him questions, making sure he’s legit. He plays along and gives me some phony company name, the Floor-eee-DUH address and phone number. I pretend to believe him.

“Okay. It’s up and running. What do I do?”

But as he tries to get me to press keys, I interrupt him from time to time.

“How could this happen?” and “I’m so careful!” and “What is this world coming to?!?!?”

I then pretend to cry. Sniffles, at first. But then I begin to boo-hoo. His voice softens.

“I can’t believe this is happening to me,” I sob, “I-I-I-I’m so careful. Oh, the humanity!”

“Let me get my manager.”

A man with a slightly more decipherable accent gets on the line.

“Ma’am? Are you okay?”

I sniffle and snuffle, trying to suppress any laughter. I’m running out of material. I blow my nose, stalling, trying to figure out what to do next.

“No!” I shout into phone. “I’m not okay. My computer has been hacked by evil bastards who have nothing better to do than to prey on innocent people. I’m a good person. I volunteer. I look out for my neighbors. I eat right and exercise. I take my vitamins. I open doors for old ladies. Why would someone DO THIS TO ME?!?”

“I understand ma’am. It can be scary. But we’re here to help you.”

“I know you are. And I’m so very grateful. You are so kind. But I just can’t help but think of the horrible, hateful jerks who prey on the innocent. If they would just apply their considerable skills to doing good in the world just imagine what could be accomplished. Teach children programming skills. Help companies keep online information safe. Keep spam out of my inbox. Heck. Even cure cancer or solve world hunger. Do you think that could happen? Get the evil hackers to cure cancer?”

Silence.

Oops.

They know I’m onto them.

Busted.

Click.

Ah, well. Hopefully, I kept them on the phone long enough to save another less-in-the-know soul from falling for their shenanigans.

 

 

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Thank You, Colonel Harry Shoup, For Keeping Santa’s Magic Alive!

In 1955, Colonel Harry Shoup received a phone call at work. A six-year old boy began reciting his Christmas list. Colonel Shoup wasn’t amused. But when a second call from another child asking to speak to Santa Claus came into the Continental Air Defense Command office (CONAD) he was determined to get to the bottom of it. Evidently, Sears Roebuck & Co. printed an ad with a phone number that allowed children to speak with Santa. The newspaper printed the wrong phone number. When Colonel Shoup realized this, he instructed his staff to take all calls from children and give them the location of Santa Claus. And when the United States and Canada combined their air defense units (North American Aerospace Defense Command or NORAD) a couple years later, “the tradition continued.” 

Since 1955, volunteers man the phones on Christmas Eve to field calls requesting information on the whereabouts of Santa Claus. Santa tracking went worldwide in 1997 when it was introduced to the web. According to Wikipedia over 500 volunteers field a half a million calls, over 12,500 emails and the website receives over 1 billion hits. 

A simple misprint in a newspaper started a phenomenon. And Colonel Shoup, just another of Santa’s helpers, kept the magic alive. It’s been said that one of his staff drew a little sleigh on a large glass map of the world that they had in the office. When Col. Shoup noticed it he called the local radio station and said, “We have a UFO coming across Canada. It looks like a sleigh.” The radio station played along and reported the news.

On March 14, 2009 Colonel Shoup died. But he left behind a way to transport us all into the magic of Christmas. What a beautiful gift he gave to us in the form of a simple phone call. I remember turning on the television as a child to watch for news of where Santa had been and where he was headed. When my oldest was a child I logged onto the internet and showed her Santa’s trail. Now, I’m sharing that with my sons and with you – all because of one man’s belief in the magic of Santa Claus.

It’s Christmas Eve where I live. Santa has already begun his journey around the world and will be arriving to our house soon! Click here to follow Santa as he travels to our homes.

Merry Christmas, my dear blog friends! I hope this post finds you happy, healthy, and surrounded by those you love. And may Santa bring you everything you’ve asked for!

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Filed under children, Holiday

Revenge Of The 14-Year-Old Burrito

True story.

Dear Husband: “Honey, I don’t feel so good.”

Jane: “What do you think it is? Do you think you’re coming down with #1son’s cold?”

Dear Husband: “No, I think it might be the burrito I had on my way to work this morning.”

foodexpire2

(Check out the Sell By date)

(Now, note today’s date.)

Jane: “Hmmmm, ya think?”

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Filed under All In A Day's Work, Edibles, Lessons Learned

Since When Is A “B” Not Enough?

And not just a “B” but an 88.5.

For a 10 year old.

Are you kidding me?

Don’t get me wrong. I love this college-prep elementary school. I’m glad they have high standards. I’m glad they’re pushing my son to reach his full potential.

But when is enough, enough?

Or, more specifically, since when is a “B” not enough?

My son is bright. And imaginative. And active. (You can see where this is going, can ‘t you?) Some teachers love his exuberance, his joie de vivre. And he thrives in their classrooms. Other teachers? Not so much. They just don’t get him.

Not to be redundant but,  did I tell you he is bright? This isn’t just a delusional mom. I have perfect standardized test scores to back me up. As a result, he gets bored. Easily. But emotionally, he is right there with his peers. So, in the 5th grade, he stays. I’ve put my foot down and no one will convince me otherwise.

I received an email today asking for a conference. “He isn’t in trouble, by any means, I just don’t think he’s working up to his full potential.”

notebook-and-pencill-2

I scan the grade sheet. The detailed rubric of his progress in this one class. Writing Class. A 93. An 88. Another 88. And an 85. For an average of 88.5.

So what’s the problem?

I don’t want my kid to be lazy. I want him to always give 110%. But he hates (gasp) to write. He doesn’t like to write fiction. He doesn’t like to write non-fiction. He won’t even like to write his own autobiography. Apparently, I didn’t pass down the writing gene to him. And that’s okay with me. Because….

He loves math. And science. And engineering. And taking things apart. And putting them back together. And Greek mythology. And history. And reading. He loves, loves, loves to read.

So, the writing will come. Someday. For right now, an 88.5 in his least favorite class, and his lowest grade in all subjects, is fine with me. In fact, a high B in a class he doesn’t enjoy is pretty impressive in my book. And because he is bright, I know he will glean from writing class what he needs and apply it when he needs to apply it.

C’mon. He has an 88 in writing mechanics. At age 10.

I’m not worried.

 

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Filed under Observations, Soapbox