These Are The Days

Smart ~ Writer ~ Mom

Month: October 2013

My Latest Column on Open Adoption Bloggers: “Remembering the Fall”

Photo credit: shutterstock.com Page by Daryl Lang

Photo credit: shutterstock.com
Page by Daryl Lang

My son was born in the fall – early October – 25 years ago. I’ve been lucky to spend a few of his birthdays with him.

Here’s my latest column on Open Adoption Bloggers.

Why I Hate The Word “Blessed”

You hear it all the time.

“Oh I feel so blessed.” “God has really blessed me.” “Let’s ask for God’s blessings.”

I call bullshit. Not on the whole God thing. I believe in God, but don’t feel the need to justify whether I do or don’t in this space.

My problem is how people say it. As if God is up there (up where, really?) looking down and randomly choosing people saying, “Yes…let me bless that real housewife of Beverly Hills with zillions of dollars and a new car and fame and Botox…” All the while, turning his back on the people in the world that really need a blessing.

People like Davion Navar Henry Only.

He is 15 and has never had a real family or a real home. Now I have to give a shoutout to the folks who have been providing him with a foster home. Fostering a child is a very noble act and one that requires a great deal of commitment. (Yes there are people who abuse the foster care system, but I’m not going there).

But think of it. Here is this young man who normally our society wouldn’t give a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding. He’s a black male born to an imprisoned woman with a drug problem. Odds are that he would be dealing drugs, raping women, murdering innocent people or – God forbid – dead already.

But he isn’t.

Instead, he stands up in church and asks for a family. No, he pleads for a family. I cannot imagine having to plead for a family. Having to plead for someone to love you not because they’re paid by the state, but because they genuinely care about you. He wants to feel connected to someone. Anyone. And when it comes right down to it, don’t we all?

He wants to play football. He wants to use the restroom without having to ask that it be unlocked.

These are simple things that shouldn’t be denied to our kids. And yet, they have been denied to Davion.

My heart sank this morning when I read this story. How does this happen? There are about 400,000 kids in the US Foster Care system. My question is – why are there so many kids in need of permanent homes when there are so many people unable to have biological children who are yearning for the chance to parent a child?

Is it because there aren’t enough families interested in fostering or adopting older children or those with troubled backgrounds?

Is it a lack of money?

Not enough awareness?

Are these kids not pretty enough? Young enough? White enough?

Have you read Nia Vardalos’ book “Instant Mom” ? I have and to say I devoured it would be an understatement. Long story short, she and her husband were unable to conceive a child through all of the normal and medical routes. With a heavy (but open) heart, she explored alternatives. Blowing away all Hollywood stereotypes, she and her husband adopted an American child from the Foster Care system. Her story was real and compelling and I couldn’t put the book down. Now, she’s an adoption advocate who works aggressively to get the word out about the growing number of children who are aging in a failing foster care system.

Many of you know I placed my son in an open adoption 25 years ago. I’ve shared my story in a number of places. Adoption isn’t for everyone, but it was the right choice for me and my son at the time. I feel extremely fortunate to have a close and loving relationship with him and his family to this day.

Yeah, I hate the word “blessed.” I believe in a very loving God. One who looks out for all children. Not just the uncomplicated ones.

When I think of my two young daughters that I parent with my husband – and my son who was raised by a phenomenal family and is making his way in the world as an independent young man – I don’t feel blessed.

I feel enormous gratitude.

I feel like we’re the lucky ones.

Open Adoption Roundtable #51 – “Does It Get Easier?”

The latest prompt from Open Adoption Bloggers on the Open Adoption Roundtable asks, “Does It Get Easier?”

My short answer is: YES.

My long answer is…it depends.

Here’s why. Open Adoption is about relationships with and communication between people. It’s fluid. It’s delicate. And it’s real. Therefore, it’s subject to the same flurry of emotions and uncertainties as any other relationship.

At the beginning of my open adoption journey (back in 1988), communication between my son, his family, and myself was all conducted through the adoption agency. Cards, letters, gifts, videos…all were sent to this agency first and then transferred either to me or to his family. It was a bit awkward, but it came as no surprise to me. I knew it all upfront.

Nearly one year from his placement date, my son’s parents made a trip out to Massachusetts (where I lived) for personal business. Just them – no little ones. The trip was phenomenal. Although I and my mother had met this wonderful couple, my father, sister and my son’s birthfather’s family had not. We enjoyed one jam-packed day touring Boston, walking, talking and getting to know one another. It was extraordinary. It was as if we had known each other for years.

On that very trip, I broached my son’s mother and mentioned I might be interested in taking a trip out west to visit and would they be willing to meet me for lunch or something. I remember the exact moment…vividly. She and I were seated in the backseat of a car headed back to the birthfather’s family’s house (have I lost you yet?) She and I were chatting like girlfriends. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Let me give you our information.” And with that, she wrote her full name, address and phone number down and handed me the piece of scrap paper.

I felt so many emotions…I was stunned, ecstatic, nervous, happy, eager, cautious, overwhelmed…

Looking back, I suppose it was only natural. They had been to our homes and called us on the phone to make arrangements (no cell phones or Internet, remember, but still – information could easily have been revealed).

That day set the tone for these last 25 years.

The openness and trust that my son’s parents exhibited that day wasn’t just coincidence. It was a result of the relationship that we started to build with one another – all of us – on that day. There was just something there, you know? Something that’s kind of hard to explain. Think of your best friend. You know how you have that special something that only you two know? It’s kind of like that. We all just knew that this was right. This was good. And this unique family adventure we had just begun was going to be amazing.

And it has been.

Open Adoption Roundtable #51 – “Does It Get Easier?”

The latest prompt from Open Adoption Bloggers on the Open Adoption Roundtable asks, “Does It Get Easier?”

My short answer is: YES.

My long answer is…it depends.

Here’s why. Open Adoption is about relationships with and communication between people. It’s fluid. It’s delicate. And it’s real. Therefore, it’s subject to the same flurry of emotions and uncertainties as any other relationship.

At the beginning of my open adoption journey (back in 1988), communication between my son, his family, and myself was all conducted through the adoption agency. Cards, letters, gifts, videos…all were sent to this agency first and then transferred either to me or to his family. It was a bit awkward, but it came as no surprise to me. I knew it all upfront.

Nearly one year from his placement date, my son’s parents made a trip out to Massachusetts (where I lived) for personal business. Just them – no little ones. The trip was phenomenal. Although I and my mother had met this wonderful couple, my father, sister and my son’s birthfather’s family had not. We enjoyed one jam-packed day touring Boston, walking, talking and getting to know one another. It was extraordinary. It was as if we had known each other for years.

On that very trip, I broached my son’s mother and mentioned I might be interested in taking a trip out west to visit and would they be willing to meet me for lunch or something. I remember the exact moment…vividly. She and I were seated in the backseat of a car headed back to the birthfather’s family’s house (have I lost you yet?) She and I were chatting like girlfriends. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Let me give you our information.” And with that, she wrote her full name, address and phone number down and handed me the piece of scrap paper.

I felt so many emotions…I was stunned, ecstatic, nervous, happy, eager, cautious, overwhelmed…

Looking back, I suppose it was only natural. They had been to our homes and called us on the phone to make arrangements (no cell phones or Internet, remember, but still – information could easily have been revealed).

That day set the tone for these last 25 years.

The openness and trust that my son’s parents exhibited that day wasn’t just coincidence. It was a result of the relationship that we started to build with one another – all of us – on that day. There was just something there, you know? Something that’s kind of hard to explain. Think of your best friend. You know how you have that special something that only you two know? It’s kind of like that. We all just knew that this was right. This was good. And this unique family adventure we had just begun was going to be amazing.

And it has been.

How I Run

Real runners know their splits. They know their PRs and they all speak in Garmin-ese. They look cute in their shorts or spandex and their ponytails (mostly ladies, but some guys, too). And they look fierce and strong and non-sweaty.

Not me.

My face gets all red almost instantly. (I’m very Irish-y).

I sweat, which at first is a nice “atta girl” that I’m doing the old body some good. But after awhile, it’s blinding.

Literally, the sweat pours down my face and stings my contact lenses and blinds me. (*Note to self: get a sweatband or something that will absorb sweat and not make my hair look like Edward Scissorhands cut it).

Most runners have decent form. And by decent form, I mean they look as though they’re running.

You know when you watch a running race on TV – one of the Olympic trials or something – and the runners fly like the wind, cross the finish line and then their arms and legs flail a bit as they try to slow down? Those last few seconds of the race? Yeah. That’s how I look when I BEGIN running.

My times are horrible. In the last three years since I started this running gig, I’ve learned that I’m nothing if not consistent. I tend to hover around the 14:00 mile.

I’m not entirely certain you could call what I do “running.” Maybe it’s jogging. Maybe it’s stumbling. Maybe it’s wishful thinking. But the point is, I get out there. Whether it’s on the treadmill at the Y while my girls enjoy the play area or hobbling around my neighborhood.

And I’ve found that running is the only thing that helps me lose weight when I need to or keep it off when I want to.

Do you run? Am I the slowest runner on the face of the Earth?

http://slowrunclub.blogspot.com/

Source: http://slowrunclub.blogspot.com/

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