Triad Viewpoints: Adoptees

Periodically, I will bring to this space various perspectives on adoption.

How many people are there — do you think — who were adopted, who have adopted a child, who have relinquished a child, or who know someone who has experienced any of the three?

Well, that’s how many viewpoints there are on adoption.

This starts a series (I use the term loosely, because related posts may or may not be contiguous. I, after all, am the master of this universe) on viewpoints of adoptees I either know in real life, online, or other in some anecdotal way.

I’ll also post some viewpoints of other parts of the triad later on.

Feel free to chime in — respectfully.

“Compared to friendship, gold is dirt.”

I am rich. My bank account isn’t digit-heavy, but still I am rich. I have really good, really wonderful friends.

Meet some of them:

Juli. We met in 4th grade at “Our Lady of K-Mart,” as we used to call our Lutheran church. Although we started as rivals for attention and 1st chair (flute-players, both of us), we became friends and have remained so for **coughs into hand to hide the number** decades. Juli has seen me through all my phases.

Jennifer. “Guano,” as we called her after a winterterm class about islands made of bat poop, became my roommate during our freshman year in college. We were a tight pair in a group of friends calling ourselves the “Six Pack.” Jennifer and I thought it hysterically funny one night to invent Bread Cart Racing behind the rural grocery store. That night, as I recall, we also moved street benches into the middle of the brick Main Street, nearly peeing our pants with laughter (well, she probably really did pee, but I didn’t.) I tried living with her and her parents one summer before our junior year, and I was a disaster. Amazingly, she still loves me.

Lucy and Cheryl. We bonded over aisukohees (iced coffees with gooey white mystery fluid) in cramped cafes on the Hankyu line between Sannomiya (Cheryl’s apaato — apartment) and Tsukaguchi (Lucy’s apaato) when we all happened to be teaching conversational English in Japan. We laughed about bad teeth, ubiquitous umbrellas, and obaasans (grandmothers) who maddeningly walk in the very limited space in front of you ever so s-l-o-w-l-y. Living now in different states, we’ve stood up with each other at our weddings, and we keep trying to plan a second get-together at an onsen — this time a stateside spa.

Kim. I hired Kim when I managed a wacky workplace for adult education. She forgave me and quickly moved on to better jobs, and throughout the years we’ve stayed in contact. I can count on Kim, a mental-health professional (influenced by the crazy workplace? hmm…), for intellect, introspection and telling it like it is. We joke that while we started off political opposites, we are now meeting more toward the center.

Elektra. How many people can say they have a friend named Elektra? I met E also at the wacky workplace. We bonded over a bad breakup I had, followed shortly by the meeting, courting and marrying of Roger. Followed again by her meeting, courting and marrying Rob. We tried to conceive; they conceived. Our daughter was born, their son was born. Our son joined our family, their daughter was born. Sometime during all this birthing, her family moved to Philly, so we are more phone friends these days (come back to Colorado, E!).

Elektra and I met in New York City last year for a fabulous night of Mamma Mia! and an art deco hotel. OK, E, only the art deco hotel was truly fabulous. And I was NOT flirting with that waiter.

Zaina. Zaina and I have the same birthday. And we’re exactly alike, except for a few things. Her passports are Canadian and Syrian. She has a different birthyear (OK, OK, I’m older — not saying by how much). She is petite. She is multilingual. She is an extreme extrovert.

I met Zaina when Roger and I taught at an international school in Syria — she helped us navigate Syrian culture. She makes the best brownies ever, and we still talk to each other once a year, on our birthdays.

Rose and Michelle. Now we’re into my Mom Friends. Sometimes you fall into friendships because of your kids — the same ages or the same activities. But I enjoy being with Rose and Michelle independent of our little people because (1) the make me go to yoga once in awhile, (2) they, like me, complain about the tedium and chaos of momhood while really loving it, and (3) they drink Mojitos with me.

How did I get so lucky…so many times??

Birthfamily boys

My son, who is 4, has been very interested in his birth family lately — especially the male members.

About a year ago, Reed came across some photos of him as a newborn with his cradle care family (he was with them for about 2 weeks). Reed asked who the two small boys were in the photos, and my mom told him they were his foster brothers. Since then, Reed’s been fascinated with the idea that he has brothers somewhere.

He’s also been asking about AJ, his firstfather. We plan to contact AJ for the first time soon to see if he’s up for any kind of relationship. We’ve already cleared this plan with Reed’s firstmom, Michele.

The big news is that Michele, who got married last summer, is pregnant! She’s got a lot going on, with her move out of state and the new baby.

Reed was thrilled with this announcement. Well, he clarifed, he WILL be thrilled if this is a boy. But NOT if the baby is a girl.

We hope to see Michele before she moves. It has been over two years since our last get together.

Image: DBC Collectibles

Mother’s Day — how it all started

I was awakened this morning by the person who made me a mom — and I’m going to share all the gory details.

No X-rating here. This person was Crystal, Tessa’s birthmom (she’s OK with this term, so I use it when referring to her).

Crystal chirped into to phone, “Happy Mother’s Day to the best mom in the world!” Which means a lot, coming from the mom of Ty — one of the best behaved 10 year-olds I’ve ever met.

We caught up with each other…her work is going well and she loves living independently with Ty in their own place. She’s crazy-busy and loving it.

As always, we revisit the chain of events that brought us together. We talk about Tessa’s school, her bike-riding, her swim lessons, the latest examples of her will of steel and tendency for drama. Crystal always offers sympathy that I am raising a daughter who is just like she was.

And she is grateful. Six years after we met, Crystal still feels that raising Tessa in the toxic environment that was Crystal+Joe (birth father) would have been disastrous for all three of them — and Ty. She insists we are much better equipped to deal wish such a willful, impulsive child than she was.

I hope she’s right. Tessa’s nature is definitely different from my own. I get the willful part (ask my mom), but impulsiveness it not one of my own traits. As I raise Tessa with our nurture, I strive to be aware of her nature, and to successfully merge the two.

To Crystal and Michele, to my own Mom and Lisa, to GG and Grandma (two RIPs), to my aunts Deni and Pattie and Mrs D (mother figures who continue to bless me) — I honor you on this day.

Open adoption parenting & mindfulness