Archive for October, 2009
Once the baby came home, BF moved his office to the house. Our computers are on opposite walls, our backs to each other when we are working. When you walk into our office, two screen savers greet you. Can you guess which one is mine and which one is BF’s? The juxtaposition of these two photos just cracks me up.
I was reading a book about adoption this weekend (written by an adoptive mom) and was paralyzed by these words,
“Adoption is a bittersweet solution to a two-way problem. Sweet, because a baby in need of a home finds a home in need of a baby. But bitter because it is nobody’s first choice, and the baby will grow up one day to understand that.”
While I understand that these words are what the author felt, they are her truth; I am struck by the absolute nature of them– the “it is nobody’s first choice, and the baby will grow up one day to understand that” statement. Now, I’ve talked before about how sensitive to and impacted I am by what baby’s biological mother must have gone through to make the decision she had to make and I know that for many mothers who choose adoption for their child, it is not their first choice. Sadly, it might be their only choice. But, for now, what I want to consider is that statement from the adoptive parent’s point of view because it is just so wrong in our case, and I know we are not alone.
There is no infertility backstory to our adoption. There is only this: the desire to adopt born in me when I was twelve. By then, I had such a strong sense of the imbalance and injustice of the world that I wanted my family to adopt and, when they could not, I vowed that I would one day. That awareness stayed with me, actually multiplying over time. There are so many reasons why adoption spoke to me, so many ways that I knew it was clearly my calling. Truth be told, the imbalance of the world undoes me. I don’t have many ways to right the world’s wrongs, but I can be in communion with the realities of this world and its people. I know I can’t look away from that which I see that inspires me or hurts me. I know that if it steals my breath, I must get it back in a way that whispers of justice or truth or love or community or engagement.
BF and I talked about adoption before we ever married, before we ever got too serious in our relationship because adopting was a must for me and I knew that, if I was to be partnered in this life, then I would need to find a partner who felt inspired to adopt as much as I did. Adoption made just as much sense to him as it did to me and like I had my whole set of reasons why adoption spoke to me, BF had his.
The thought that some people believe that adoption is always only a second choice for those who adopt saddens me. Truth be told, I never wanted any family story other than exactly the one we have. I could never picture my reality any other way than what it is. If there is any bitterness to our reality it is this: the imbalance of wealth and health in this world and the reality that there are not enough creative solutions being explored to impact dynamic change so that those who wish they could raise their biological children would have the infrastructure, resources, and health to do so.
The littlest kid is growing and growing and growing. He’s tall; he’s walking; he says daddy and doggie; he mostly sleeps through the night; he’s opinionated and curious, fiesty and funny, charming and, as BF says, cheesy. These days I am calling him Frankenbaby for the way that he walks. In fact, I think we should dress him as Frankenstein/Frankenbaby for Halloween and let his walk be part of his costume, but I don’t think I’ll be able to talk BF into it. If we can help him get over the fear of his mane, he’ll really be a lion cub at Friday’s Halloween March– a trek down Main Street of our town where hundreds of kids trick or treat at the doorways of local businesses and shops. He, however, has been shrieking like a banshee each time we put on his lion mane so it may be that he’s Frankenbaby afterall.
Here are some of my favorite shots of baby during October, as he crept towards 14 months old and 9 months with us.
This past Saturday, the newest Circle de Luz class– just 10 days into the program- were scheduled for a day at a local challenge course. The challenge course comes with a scary release form– making you promise not to sue them if you die and all. The outdoors program that runs the challenge course hosts a lot of different opportunities like rock climbing and kayaking and, well, things that are kinda rigourous and may lead to a bump or seven. The release form that the girls and their families had to sign covered everything from the very low-impact team building exercises we were doing and the scary daring stuff. When I gave each family their release form last week, I explained as I best could in Spanish (come on, I am fairly conversational in Spanish, but I don’t really have conversations about safety all that often so I’m not sure how clear I really was) that this form seemed really scary but the stuff that the Circle de Luz girls would be doing really wasn’t scary.
Fast forward to this Saturday, about an hour before the girls were going to be picked up for the trip, my phone rang.
“Hello,” I answered.
“Hello, Rosie, this is Angela. Is it important that we go today?” A soft voice asked.
“Why, what’s up, honey?” I asked, wanting to get a better idea of what was going on– maybe she was sick or something was wrong with her family or if she was nervous about the other girls or what.
“I just don’t want to do it.”
“Why don’t you want to do it? Are you nervous about it?” The liability form flashed into my mind.
“Are you nervous about not knowing the other girls or are you nervous about what you will be doing?”
“Would it be helpful if I told you the types of things we did last month when we took the 2014 girls. You may not do the exact same things, but it will give you an idea of what you can expect.”
And so I explained every single thing we did when we were there the month before and told her exactly how high off the ground each thing was.
“Does any of that sound scary to you?”
“No,” she answered.
“Do you feel better about going and doing it today?”
Then I told her how proud I was of her for being brave enough to call me and tell me what she was feeling and how proud I was of her for working through her fear to get to the other side.
Later, I was thinking about the phone call, about how I would have just said, “I’m sick” and wormed my way out of it if I were 12 and didn’t want to do something. Heck, I probably would have done that at 35. I love that Angela didn’t have the filter and air that we sometimes gain with age. I love that she was just a girl who faced her fear and wasn’t ashamed to talk about it and was even willing to have her mind changed. Talking to Angela on Saturday reminded me of a truth that I learned during teaching– that it is the young and unjaded, the pure and the honest, the fresh and the vibrant who teach us the most remarkable life lessons. Maybe on Saturday I helped Angela to feel better about what was in front of her, but the truth is that Angela reminded me that articulating our fears is just about the finest form of bravery.
We may not be locking that cabinet anytime soon, but I do think we’ll be going for a toilet lock ala Tina Fey in Baby Mama. And I will be suffering through it ala Amy Poehler in Baby Mama.
BF was going crazy. Baby had figured out how to pull the air conditioning registers out of their hole and had taken to A. crawling around the house, pushing them and B. throwing stuff down the duct work. Watching him do this, it suddenly became clear to us where a pair of baby’s soft sandals had disappeared to: under our house, ripe for some family to find 75 years from now when they are gutting the little cottage that could to build their home of the future. Even though we found Little People, toy remote controls, cars, and packages of baby wipes down in the register, the humor of the whole situation wasn’t really making it worth it to BF to keep the registers as they were. So he went out and bought industrial strength (which is also baby strength ’cause our kid is strong as all get out) superglue and, after putting baby to bed one night, went around the house, gluing the registers down. BF went to bed feeling satisfied.
The only catch? Baby has expressed ZERO interest in the registers since that day. Has not even glanced at them as he is crawling by. BF doesn’t want to admit this, but it is killing him.
So, just a few minutes ago, baby turned away from the bathroom cabinet that has all his towels in it (he was dismantling it) and walked towards me. Five steps. No joke! So, we have a walker. And we also have a Milestones Contest winner. Congrats to Anne for calling the walk date as October 20th. I wonder if he’ll be walking well enough to do the Halloween Parade in our town by feet or if we’ll be pulling him in a wagon. We’ll see pretty soon!
And we also have this morning’s Love Your Body day Pledge winner. Congrats to Laura! You can still enter the Love Your Body pledge contest. Hope you will!