Tag Archives: adoption

Dear Diary, Day of Nothing Much Is New

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A few years ago, my the 11 year old SOLD her 7 year old sister some old books. the 7 year old wanted a refund.

A few years ago, my the 11 year old SOLD her 7 year old sister some old books. the 7 year old wanted a refund.

So, nothing exciting has been happening. No fun stories to report. The kids came home, took them for mani pedis and a movie. My 11 year old had a sleepover with her bff. The dog came home from doggie day care exhausted and that is always wonderful.

This guy I am dating is alot of fun.

I think I am going to get serious about finding my birth family. But only if it is easy and only when I feel like it. Unless any of you want to find them for me…I am craving information, I am craving the unknown to be known. And I am really interested in my medical history.

But then I get distracted or busy with kid stuff and it all fades away again. Until the next chest pain or uterus pain or boob pain and then I get all hyped up about needing to KNOW.

Still planning to drive across the country this summer with the kids.

Now I am used to the snow and cold and I sort of hope it stays winter forever so I don’t have to do yard work or wear tank tops.

When the 11 year old refused the refund, the 7 year old took matters into her own hands. Sisters, can't live with 'em? Bury them.

When the 11 year old refused the refund, the 7 year old took matters into her own hands. Sisters, can’t live with ’em? Bury them.

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Solider Boy…Oh My Little Solider Boy

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I have a best friend who everyone wishes was their best friend. Actually, ALL of my besties instill jealousy in others. Not intentionally, I am just one hell of a lucky gal and I have incredible best friends. When I think of the women I have been blessed to have in my life, as my friends, closer than family, I marvel…because I myself am not that great of a friend. My intentions are always good but you know where good intentions lead you…

When I was pregnant with baby #1, I was secretly terrified. I didn’t even know how scared I was. Mainly because I had no birth story of my own. I was adopted so my life began at 5 months old. My mother couldn’t give me any idea what birth was really like or even what MY birth was really like. So, as far as I knew, my stomach was simply swollen. Or possibly I was growing a huge tumor. I was the second in our group of friends to have a baby. Our first friend wasn’t all that helpful at the time because, well, she was taking care of a baby. My girlfriends didn’t really know what to make of the situation. I wasn’t a “kid” person. I wasn’t particularly maternal, like, ever. So, they rallied but we all just acted as if nothing was different. Which was comforting.

My best friend had been through a major surgery just a couple of years before so she was the one who instinctually knew I must be scared. Thinking back, we were just kids. But holy hell were we strong. Friendship really doesn’t cover what we have. This particular best friend is always ready with a laugh. She is the one who makes me funny. She makes anyone she meets feel like they are her best friend. She’s a good egg.

One day we were at my mother’s house. My mom is kind of what Oprah would call a hoarder. She has lots of random things lying around and stuffed in cupboards and tucked into corners, stacked in boxes, pushed up against the walls, on shelves in the garage, you get the idea. It’s heaven for little kids and prop comedians. We were sitting there at the kitchen table discussing plans for who knows what, when all of a sudden my best friend picks up a tiny wooden solider toy from the back of the stove and starts laughing hysterically which makes me laugh hysterically which makes me cry…down my leg. Even when I wasn’t pregnant this was the way our time together generally went. She laughs, I laugh, we pee.

Now we are both laughing so hard we are crying and she starts singing the song from the 60’s by the Shirelles “Solider boy….oh my little solider boy…” ( I should mention here that she has a killer singing voice. Like, she was in a blues band and all, cut a cd…the girl can sing which makes this all the funnier). I know I know, you had to be there. But, we decided that she WOULD be there for the birth of my first baby. I needed her. She would make this terrifying thing I was going through ok. She would make me laugh and remind me that it wasn’t the end of the world. And, she would bring Solider Boy with her. I was supposed to have a focus object for labor and Solider Boy was obviously perfect.

Now we had a plan. My best friend would smuggle Solider Boy in to the hospital in her mouth, cause he fit in her mouth and then pop him out when she got to my room so I could focus! We were still in fits of giggles when we left my mother’s house for the our own houses…ofcourse she called me 10 minutes after she got home to sing the Soldier Boy song on my answering machine which sent me running for the bathroom.

When the blessed day came and I was in my hospital room in writhing, unbearable pain, I wanted my best friend there with me. But the nurses refused anyone to come in! I have NO idea why. Possibly because they were bitches, possibly not. Anyway, I heard the commotion in the hallway and I heard my best friend yell “THEY WON’T LET ME IN!! I LOVE YOU!! WE WILL BE RIGHT OUTSIDE……ME….AND….SOLIDER BOY OH MY LITTLE SOLIDER BOY!!!!!!!”  And she walked slowly back to the waiting room singing at the top of her lungs Solider Boy….and I laughed and then cried. 100 years, 3 pain shots and an epidural later I pushed out my beautiful baby girl. My best friend and Soldier Boy weren’t there to witness her first breath but I knew they were there in spirit. I slept and when I woke up, I lifted my head to check on that little pink peanut sleeping in the bassinet next to me and then shifted my gaze to the night stand to see Solider Boy keeping watch over both of us.

In the 18 years since that night, I have moved house a few times, had a couple more kids, been divorced and basically lived a lot of life. My best friend has been living in New York City for the last 15 years. We are still tight. Anyway, I didn’t know where Solider Boy had gotten to. I couldn’t imagine that my best friend would know where Solider Boy was. But recently I was reminded of our Soldier Boy after watching a Seinfeld episode where Jerry, George and Elaine were attending a classical piano concert and were supposed to be very sedate and Jerry put a Pez dispenser on Elaine’s leg and she starts laughing so uncontrollably that she has to leave the concert disrupting the other audience members and ofcourse upsetting the piano player who George was dating. I sent the clip to my best friend and told her this reminded me of us and Solider Boy… did she remember Soldier Boy? She sent me back this:

Do I remember Soldier Boy?? I had to wipe the chicken salad I had for lunch off of him to take this photo. Of course I remember Soldier Boy!

Do I remember Soldier Boy?? I had to wipe the chicken salad I had for lunch off of him to take this photo. Of course I remember Soldier Boy!

And………… I peed.

 

Happy National Adoption Day

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Nope, Santa didn't bring me....or did he?

It’s actually National Adoption Month, but today is the day. I was adopted when I was 5 months old. This is a fact I was always aware of and never allowed to forget. Being adopted in my family meant that I was extra special as I was planned for and waited for and my parents had to jump through hoops to get me and I came with directions. It also meant that I could legally marry my cousins. Ha ha.

As a kid, being adopted wasn’t a big deal. I mean, some kids in elementary school made fun of me, but then again, they also made fun of kids who weren’t adopted so, no harm no foul. But being adopted lends to some great fantasies. Like when an adopted kid is punished, we can truly believe that someday our “real” parents will come save us. And when we are really mad we can say “you’re not my REAL mom” which generally gets us some sort of reaction that distracts from the bad deed done. A non-adopted kid can’t say those things with any amount of seriousness. Nor can they check out people at the grocery store and wonder if they might be related.We have a whole other side to ourselves that we don’t know but are free to create. That is the main difference between us and non adopted kids. There is no mystery to being a non adoptee.

The pros and cons of being adopted balance each other out. My mother always acknowledged my personal “adoption day” with a present. That was fun because my birthday is on a major holiday so to get a present on a day that was half way to my birthday was fun. I was unique within my family. I knew I was wanted. On the flip side, I knew that I was unwanted by my birth family, I was unique within my family and sometimes being reminded once a year that I was not blood related to my mother was a double edge sword.

When I was younger, finding my birth family seemed like a very important issue. As I got older, it became less of an issue. Until I gave birth to my first child. Then I knew that for her sake I needed to get some information on where I came from. I registered with the NYS Adoption registry. This is a registry put in place for those of us in closed adoptions. At the time of my adoption in 1973, my birth mother put down some very simple facts for me to someday know. The height, weight, hair color of both her and my birth father, the circumstances of their life at the time of their decision to give me up and any health issues they knew of.

The day I received this information in the mail, I ripped open the envelope and said to my brother-in-law “well, I’m not black!” And we laughed for about a half an hour. The info was very short and to the point. Not enough for me to be able to fill in the health history that everyone has to fill out at the doctor’s office. Again, not having a health history is both a blessing and a curse. I don’t know what I need to be scared of, and I don’t know what I need to be scared of….see? I can choose to focus on that as a positive or a negative. I chose positive.

Adopted kids even get to eat the bow!!!!

We adopted kids are generally very protective of our parents feelings surrounding us searching for our birth parents. I know one of the major reasons why I don’t actively search is because I would never want to hurt my mother’s feelings. My dad was a little miffed when I told him about getting my non identifying information. My dad simply forgot I was adopted. To him, I was just his kid. After all, whenever we went anywhere together everyone always said how much we looked alike and that goes double  when we went out with my kids. Dad would always just accept the compliment without pointing out that it was actually impossible for me to look like him.

I had some friends who were also adopted. One friend didn’t find out until she was 16 and she was searching through her mother’s drawers for a lighter and came across the finalizing paper work for her adoption. She came to terms with the lies she had been raised with but she never fully trusted her parents again. Another friend was adopted and so was his sister. I was always jealous of them because I wanted a sister or brother…I had another friend who was adopted into an extended branch of my family. My mother’s friend adopted a baby and mom and I made a big deal out of welcoming her into a very special club.

Adoption is one of the most incredibly selfless, unconditional ways of becoming a parent. Those of us who have biological children will never understand. To desire a child so much, a child that does not share your own DNA and to know beyond all doubt that you will love that child because of these differences is, well, it’s love. Especially in the world today, a world where people can undergo treatments to get pregnant despite their own bodies being unwilling. A world where infertility is looked at as a disorder to be fixed or treated, a person in this world who decides to adopt is pretty incredible.

I didn’t have to pass any tests or undergo any interviews before I was allowed to have kids, like adoptive parents do. I can’t tell you if that is a good or bad thing…. They go through rounds of social workers, therapy sessions, background checks so through the agency will KNOW if they were the kid picking on me in elementary school for being adopted. On top of that, there is generally a large fee involved. I have to say, I got pregnant for free, been paying for it ever since though :).

 I was adopted through Catholic Charities so I was free (but my parents have been paying for it ever since 🙂 ). Today, many people adopt from over seas which involves tens of thousands of dollars and time commitments that go above and beyond my measly 13 hours of hard labor. And the pain when a birth family backs out at the last-minute would be far greater than any labor pains I experienced.

Today, on National Adoption Day, please give an adoptive parent a hug or send a letter to your legislature for gay adoption or maybe consider taking a child into your home. If you have the love to give, then give it. So many children need good homes, they need to be part of a family. Who wouldn’t want to make a difference? I know that kid sitting in a foster home or in an overseas orphanage is ready and willing to make a difference in some lucky family’s life.

Fer cause then you might marry a goat!!!

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where is the controversy?

I went to my senior ball with my best friend. She is a girl. I am a girl. We are girls. No one said a thing about us going to our senior ball together. Not the teachers, not the students, not our mothers. No one. Maybe because we both wore dresses? I don’t think anyone thought we were gay, and I don’t think it would have occurred to us to be offended if they had. We both had many gay friends so being included in that clique was pretty normal for us anyway. We went together because 1: we were best friends, 2: I was living in Texas at the time just home visiting, and 3: her live in boyfriend had just moved to South Carolina. Really, if you don’t have a partner, who better to do something special with than your best friend? 

We both wore black cocktail dresses and we had our pictures taken by the professional photographer. I think we probably even danced together. No one shut down the ball or kicked us out or condemned us to hell for having fun. That was 1991. Now, in the year 2010, a girl was not allowed to bring her girlfriend to her senior ball. I don’t get it. I mean, I do. I hear bigoted, ignorant, people who try really hard to force others to conform to their rigid ideas of humanness. I know they exist and I know they hold positions of power in society. What I do not understand is what exactly were they trying to accomplish by canceling the entire senior ball and blaming it on this girl who wanted to go with her girlfriend? Maybe they thought all the kids would hate her and attack her like some scene out of Carrie? How sick are these freaks who “run” the school, state, country? 

I watched a few interviews with the girl who was at the center of the controversy. It really didn’t seem like she was asking for anything. She just wanted to go to her senior ball with someone she liked. And, of course, the students would blame her for the cancellation of her prom…cause they are kids, without fully developed frontal lobes, so, they are not fully rational humans yet. Unlike the school officials, who decided it would be a good idea to ruin every kid’s prom experience because one kid wanted to bring a girl as a date and wear pants. Cause those school officials have fully developed frontal lobes and well, ok, maybe they don’t. 

It isn’t suprising but it is sad. I don’t ever remember caring if someone was gay or straight as a kid. It was just a non issue for me. I mean, for my gay friends it was an issue, I don’t discount that they went through their own private hell in coming out. But when they did come out, it certainly didn’t make me love them any less or change my view of them. They are beautiful people no matter who they hold hands with. To be honest, I don’t want to think of anyone having sex….not straight people or gay people or people I know or people I don’t know. Other people’s sex lives do not interest me. Why do they interest government officials? Because God told them to be interested? Ok, but we have separation of church and state so if God is talking to the elected officials then they should pick a new profession such as priest where it is perfectly ok to think about kids having sex. 

I do not understand who these officials think they are saving or helping. I do not understand why it is ok to discriminate. Since when, in America, the country that fights wars for peoples civil liberties, is it ok to make laws against an entire population? I know we have a long history of doing this. To African-Americans, to women, to Japanese, to Irish, to kids. We have blemish marks on our record as a country that is all for human rights. But we learned from our mistakes, right? Now we know better, therefore we DO better, right? 

Not yet. Apparently we are still screwing up. I can only imagine how ashamed we will feel in the future(not that many of us don’t already feel ashamed) when we look back and have to teach the early 21st century history which will include bans against same-sex marriage or gay adoptions. We will feel the shame. The same shame that we feel today when we teach about slavery and discrimination against women or against black people and white people marrying or child labor. It was wrong, we learned our lesson, we will not do it again. 

Except for the gays…they can’t get married. Cause that would be wrong? Gross? The beginning of the end of our society? Because gay people are LESS than straight people. That must be it. They don’t count. Gay marriage will hurt US!! In fact, they really don’t deserve any rights what so ever!! Not to vote or attend school or ride the bus. Oh now come on! That is taking it too far!! Just not to get married and we should make it really hard for them to adopt. After all, if the gays adopt all the kids, they could start a gay army and then take over all of us straight people and make us gay!! 

Gay isn’t contagious. You can’t catch it or “make” someone gay. I don’t get the discrimination at all. I can kind of understand the warped mentality of discrimination against women….we look different from men. Or blacks….they are a different color. Or kids….they are smaller than grown ups. But gay people? Gay people look exactly like all of the other minorities” we” have already decided to accept. How can we justify withholding basic human rights from a human being

But we do. And some of us yell and scream about it and some of us quietly protest. There are some of us who will love and accept our gay friends but when it comes down to it they will deny them, just like Peter denied Jesus when confronted. Why? How can anyone possibly believe that it is ok to discriminate. We are in the 21st century in a country that was founded on the idea that we should be free. I won’t argue with you, try to change your mind. But I know, from personal experience, that gay people live and love just exactly like you do and they make great parents and they have healthy, long-lasting relationships. I wish the powers that be could have had my upbringing because if they had they would have no fear and they would do what is right and good. 

But they didn’t. Although there has to come a day when we get over the tainted messages we were given as children and become adults who can incorporate the ideas and philosophies other than the outdated ones that parents, church or bigoted peers taught us. Just cause my great great grandma said it doesn’t mean I have to live my life by it. 

Today, my best friend and I are looking forward to our 20th high school reunion. She is married with 3 kids, I am divorced with 3 kids and we will go together. I said that everyone will think we really were a couple back then, and that we still are. And they will think that her husband is just our baby maker. We laughed at that idea. Who cares? I mean really, if you have time to worry about who your next door neighbor is doing then you have far too much time on your hands. Get some Pride.

F.D.K. (Funeral Director’s Kid)

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No this was NOT my bed…

Growing up, I didn’t really feel connected to the human race. I always felt a bit different. I guess it is because I was adopted. Not only was I adopted, but I was adopted by a funeral director and a nurse. Not only was I adopted by a funeral director and a nurse, but we lived above the funeral home.  I thought I must have been dropped from outer space as I had no birth story, and I was surrounded by death and the knowledge of sickness. You can only imagine what conversations around the dinner table were like. My parents were pretty much done with each other by the time I was 8, so all they really had to talk about was their work. They were both workaholics. I don’t mean that as a “catch phrase” or a “label” they seriously worked all the time. They both loved what they did and hated their home life. Which left me either alone or with my grandparents, who fortunately lived a few blocks away.

At a very early age I learned how to walk without making any noise. Just like the Native Americans do when hunting. This was no easy task as our house was a 100 yea old Victorian with all hardwoods that creaked. Until I mastered this skill, I was made to stay in one room whenever there was calling hours or a funeral downstairs. I also learned to lip read cartoons and infer plot by body language because I was not allowed to turn on the volume on the Grieving people did not need to hear little feet running around above their heads or God forbid  Tom and Jerry. I didn’t question this. I just figured out ways around these rules.

Many times both my parents would stand calling hours. I remember being at the top of the stairs once and whispering very loudly “mom!! mom!! the cat is throwing up on the rug!! mom!! mom!!” and some stranger  opening the sliding divider and laughing hysterically at little me in my pj’s. Mom was not at all amused, to say the least. Not sure if it was because the cat puked or because I thought she needed to know right then and there.

Another unique thing about being the funeral director’s kid is that I believed “body” was a bad word. Because around my house “body” was always whispered. “Make sure you don’t go into the basement. There’s a ‘body’ here.” ‘When is the ‘body’ arriving?” “I have to go prepare the ‘body’ so I won’t be up for dinner” Really put a cramp in my bike riding because I kept my bike in the basement. And I know all of you who knew me when are curious. Yes, I did see a ‘body’ once. It was our 99 year old next-door neighbor Rose. I accidentally walked in on one of my dad’s men doing an embalming. Not pleasant. More because it was the first time I had seen a 99 year old lady naked rather than because she was dead. 99 years dead or alive is scary. My dad’s man about had a heart attack. I scared the bejeezus out of him!!

That didn’t scar me. It was just what happened. I felt worse because I knew I would get in trouble than I did for disturbing the sanctity of the embalming process. It was a total accident, but still, a punishable offense.  It was a good life though. My dad was almost always around and there was almost always a party happening downstairs. Dad would play music that the guest of honor would have loved and there was always a lot of laughter and everyone was always dressed in their best, smoking cigarettes. Some nights I would sit at the top of the stairs and just listen to all the adults chatting and laughing and sometimes sobbing. My dad was an expert at what he did and was very successful. And when we didn’t have a funeral, I would go exploring.

Our funeral home was beautiful. My parents were antique collectors. My dad was all about Victorian and my mom was all about Early American. So, the upstairs where we lived was all Early American and the downstairs  was all Victorian. So when I would go downstairs it was like entering a different world. Velvet couches and gold ornate wall paper and oriental rugs. Really a great place to pretend I was a princess. I wasn’t really allowed to play downstairs, but you know how kids are. My friends and I would go down and have seances and try to bring about the spirits. My house was the hot spot on Halloween.

We also had The Funeral Home Phone. The Funeral Home Phone would ring at all hours. The prank calls at 3am were always amusing. Ring Ring  ” George Washington just died! We need a hearse!!” snicker snicker. hang up. Well, that’s clever. I wasn’t supposed to answer The Funeral Home Phone. But when dad wasn’t home and mom was in the tub, the opportunity presented itself. I was 5 and I answered it just like my dad, mom and grandma did, or so I thought… “My daddy isn’t here but my mommy is in the tub. Hold on plwease! MOM!!! SOMEONE DIED!!!!!” Lucky for me that it was just one of dad’s men calling to check on a “body” that was being dropped off and he thought I was hysterical.

My dad had a few men who came and helped out every so often. They would come upstairs between calling hours (calling hours were traditionally 3-5 and 7-9) and drink coffee, smoke like fiends and talk and laugh. I was always around when the men came upstairs. They thought I was great. I would entertain them with dance solos and they would tell me dirty jokes. Other times, dad and I and the men would meet out for coffee and donuts and cigarettes. It was the late 70’s early 80’s, everyone smoked. But these men were a throw back to the early 60’s. The suits, the hair, the attitude. Really fun guys.

There were so many rules to living above the funeral home. Besides not walking loudly or watching tv with the sound on, I wasn’t allowed to play in the front yard. Gives a bad impression to have a little girl playing under the funeral home sign. We couldn’t have a dog. I wasn’t allowed to talk about who came and went to our house. If  my parents were on The Funeral Home Phone do NOT interrupt them to tell them the toilet is overflowing. That was apparently rule #1….who knew?

I still have a hard time saying “body” normally. I think it was 7th grade health class when our teacher was saying “body” this and “body’ that without whispering or any hesitation that I began to understand that the rest of the world said body and meant body. I said body and thought “dead person in the basement” .

Being a funeral director’s kid is pretty tough. Other kids were always asking me if I slept in a coffin. Didn’t I wish!!! Or if I saw dead bodies or ghosts. Well, duh, I lived over a funeral home. The only kid who was really kind of mean about it was the grave digger’s kid. How’s that for ironic? Overall it was a good childhood to have. I was part of our family business. I was always in charge of dusting the legs of the tables and chairs before calling hours and checking all the supplies in the bathroom. I did eventually learn how to answer the phone and take messages and how to stand calling hours. I still use my silent walking skills to my advantage and I can get the jist of any program on tv without hearing a word. Body puddy and embalming fluid aside, it was a good life.