Posted tagged ‘sons’

20 Years Ago

November 18, 2013

Twenty years ago this month – which happens to be Adoption Month – my husband and I were finally on the same page at the same time in the same frame of mind and submitted an application to begin an international adoption.

Several weeks before we had attended an international adoption forum at a sort of local hotel where six different adoption agencies were represented.  It was a Monday night and the hubby was semi willing to  attend as long as I promised to leave in time for him to be home to get his weekly televised dose of WWF.  Of course I’d promised.

With fingers crossed behind my back.

It was crazy.  There was a table on a small stage lined with agency representatives.  The little room was almost full.  Full of families contemplating adoption…..families that had completed adoptions…..families in the process of adopting….and kids.

Kids of all sizes and ages, running around the room, dodging parental grips, snatching hugs, sharing toys, giggling, sipping juice boxes and just having fun.

About half way through the question and answer session, I nudged the hubby to ask if he was ready to go and he shushed me.  He was listening to what people were saying. He was hooked.

Line and sinker.

Sadly, albeit appropriately since the Baby Jessica and Baby Richard sagas had just played out in the local media, the biggest concern for the pre-adoptive families was the permanency of an international adoption. And how to fund the expensive process.

We talked on the way home.  It had been a bit of a journey for us to reach this point.  We’d experimented briefly with fertility drugs.  We’d toyed with the idea of just being satisfied with the exposure we had with his daughters.  We explored adoption through foster care, open adoption and family adoption.  Nothing felt right….until that night.

So we filled out the first of three applications that were to come.

We were requesting  a little girl from India.  A toddler….or an older child that needed us.  We felt led because we had watched a tv program that depicted the dire prospects for baby girls in India just a few weeks before.

And we began to think about…and prepare…to add a little girl to our lives.  Our hearts began to open and to flower and to ready themselves for that child.


But it would be three months before our child was even born.

And another three months until we were handed this:


Our case file had been matched to a baby boy in South Korea.

It would be another six weeks until we were to hold him.  He would be four months old.

And it was seven months after submitting that first application to adopt.

Seven months of waiting and planning and preparation……and loving.

I have done a lot of reading over that past 20 years.  I understand that children who are adopted can sometimes feel a sense of abandonment.  That they may feel a sense of loss at being released for adoption by a birth parent.  I often wondered if mine ever wished for a different family.  Wished they had been matched with a family that could have given them more….or a different kind of life.

We have never talked about it…..and so I still wonder.

We have talked about their adoption situations however.  Shared what we know and the little bits of information that we have.  Told him how lucky he was that his mother knew very early that she wasn’t ready to raise a child on her own.  How grateful we were that she made the decision that brought him into our lives.

But there is another part of that story that I have neglected to share with them.

I have neglected to tell him (and her) how much they were loved even before we knew them or held them or hugged them.  How  our hearts were growing and getting ready from the day we filled out those early applications.

So while their birth parents were struggling and planning to leave them, on the other side of the world we were planning….and loving….and waiting to receive them.

Its a sad world in which adoption is needed.  But it would be a sadder one if it wasn’t available.

For everyone.



HOW Did It Happen???

March 13, 2011

The Prince turned 17 a couple of weeks ago.


Which means he no longer has a ‘restricted’ driver’s license and can drive after midnight even though he may or may not be coming from or going to a real job.

Which means he is just a year and a half away from graduating from high school.

Which means he is only a year and a half away and a summer away from starting COLLEGE.

Which means he is going to be putting his big boy pants on and looking for a real job to help pay for a car/gas/books/food/date nights/whatever.

Which means he is only a year away from casting his vote and having a real say in what is going on in the world.

Which means he is actually going to have to make decisions about things more important than just what he should have for a snack before going to bed…..or which channel to watch on the television…..or which homework to let slide this week.

Which means he is no longer my baby boy.

Just HOW did that happen?

Just how did this:

……..evolve so mind boggling quickly into this???

How…FREAKING how??????

March 12, 2010

When he was little, we read aloud every day a multitude of times.  We sang in the car.  We sang in the shower.  We played with tinted soap in the tub and shot water color aliens off the shower walls with squirt guns.  We built snow castles and snow forts and snow dinosaurs and snow men.  He painted snow with tinted water in spray bottles.  He collected shoe boxes of ‘treasures’ and every single Star Wars action figure that has graced the planet.  He started painting as soon as his fist could hold a paintbrush.  He played with store bought PlayDoh and home made claydough that smelled like gingerbread and grape kool aid.  He built castles and bridges and roads in sand.  We made cookies and brownies and candy and decorated cupcakes and paper hats.  He has eaten peanut butter with a spoon and fingerpainted with pudding.

So tell me how….HOW….did I end up with a kid who apparently hasn’t a creative bone in his body?

Who doesn’t seem able to think outside the box…..or enjoy doing something that requires just a wee bit of original thought?

Just where did I go wrong?


Out of the Box

January 17, 2010

And here I thought he was so restrictive.  So in line with maintaining his composure.  So not cool to thinking…or being….’outside of the box.’   He spent an entire afternoon and evening at a friend’s house doing this.  He was a little….mournful….that we insisted on him coming home at 9 pm.  On a weekend.  Grrrrr.

But here is the result.

I am just so proud.



September 26, 2009

     Every once in a while something pops up in my life that I seriously regret.  Some memory of something that makes me feel like I made a wrong choice.  A baaaad decision.  And I begin to think about the long range consequences.   And what kind of an effect that decision will have.

     I have been told that I think too much.

     The Prince has been playing soccer since he was five.  That’s 10 years now of soccer skills and listening to coaches and plying his team working skills with other kids his own age.  And he is very good at what he does.  He has superb skills.  He has leadership ability.  He knows how to be part of a team and how to carry his own.  He can make others listen to him most of the time.  The problem is, he doesn’t believe that about himself.  And that attitude all comes down to a bully situation.  I think. 

     When the Prince was going into third grade, we made the decision not to have him move from the recreational league to the travel league with most of his team.  The travel team league would mean year round practices and games, farther out of town games and tournaments and more intensive coaching.  We felt that the year round, intense sport situation would conflict with his academics at school.  We wanted him to still have fun with the game but  be able to become serious about reading and homework and projects.  It was a parental decision.

     While I don’t regret that decision, I seriously regret the place that it plunked my child.  From that moment on – with that club – team selection became a very political issue. There was such a large group of the Prince’s age that wanted to play, that there would always be two teams.  An ‘A’ team and a ‘B’ team.  A ‘white’ team and a ‘green’ team.   A ‘select’ team and – because they didn’t want the two teams playing against one another – a ‘rec’ team.  In spite of his skills and his heart, the Prince was generally relegated to the rec team after tryouts.  Because he missed a year of travel soccer back before third grade.  Political.  And that’s not a biased parent talking.  If I had my druthers, my kids would be in drama….or art…..or music.  Seriously.

     Unfortunately most of the boys who were in his class of peers in elementary school were on the ‘other’ team.  There was one that was particularly vocal about the Prince not being good enough for the ‘real’ team.   His teasing was picked up by others and we told the Prince to just laugh it off.  It wasn’t true, after all.  He knew that.  We knew that.  That was all that mattered.  besides, I knew their Moms.  Talking to them might make other things more difficult so it was better let sleeping dogs lie.  Right?

     Fifth grade.  Sixth grade.  Seventh grade.

     Tough times anyway.  Times made tougher by the ‘friends’ that continued to tease.  Continued to….torment….albeit in a ‘friendly’ way.    The circle became even bigger when he moved to middle school and there were more from the real team there.  Most of his team mates attended other middle school in the district.  We tried to talk him into making new friends…and he did…. but their interests were not soccer.  Which he is what he loved.  And besides, the others in that group had been his ‘friends’ since Kindergarten.  He liked them.

     During this time the Princess had been exploring other sports but was recruited by another club that was teaching her some excellent soccer skills.  We asked Prince to change soccer clubs so he would be working with hers but he chose to stay where he was.  He liked his coach and he liked his team mates.  Even if they weren’t ‘good enough’ for the real team.  Finally he decided to switch. For the training.

     Then the mantra with his circle became his need to switch to another club because he was too chicken to continue on the ‘not real’ team.  Again, we told him to just let it roll.  He would have to learn  how to deal with trash talk sometime, right?  He knew he was getting better training.   He knew his skills would be better.  That’s what mattered.

     In eighth grade – blessed be – another student from his school joined the outside soccer club.    So did his sister.  We parents swapped driving duties.  The kids became good friends. 

     One day, my new friend and driving buddy approached me about the teasing that was going on among the boys.  She asked me if I knew what was being said to our sons at school.  Every day.  Multiple times.  I nodded when she told me.  Nothing different than the Prince had been told before.  Nothing different than I had heard for four years. 

     Then she said something that put my son’s anguish into perspective.  Eight members of that ‘real’ team were in their circle of  friends.  If three of them (and it was usually more)  made a daily comment to our sons about ‘not being good enough’,  then they were being told three times – EVERY day – that they were not good soccer players.  Didn’t I wonder what kind of effect it  had on my son’s self esteem?


No.  I never really did.

Thinking I was giving my child the tools to deal with the outside world, I was forcing him to take constant hits….against his abilities, against his dedication to do well, against his talent, against his self esteem.  Multiple hits…on a daily basis.

I truly did my son wrong.

And he is still paying for it.

He  remains  friends with most of those boys from the bullying years.  That’s a good thing.  Some of them even play on his high school team.  Others have gravitated to other sports. 

I admire my son’s  ability to forgive,  his talent and his dedication to a sport that he truly loves.  I especially admire his courage.

I just wish he did.

Useta Be

September 17, 2009

Useta be…..we would cuddle in the lazy boy rocker with a blanket and a bottle and enjoy a few moments of quiet and calm for those last few moments of every day.  I would steal a few glimpses at my favorite tv show and always be drawn back to your sleepy eyes and round little cheeks and oh so very sweet hands.

 Useta be… would perch in the crook of my elbow, our temples pressed together at the side of our faces, the whispery soft feel of blood pumping to your brain carrying thoughts and wishes and dreams…..soulmates.

Useta be……(before the air bag deemed it unsafe) you would perch in your car seat next to me, clapping your hands and hooting and hollering along with the latest Disney Sing Along cd.  ‘Davy Crockett’ and ‘Tiki Room’ singers had NOTHING on our mutually off key chorus.  We made up with enthusiasm what we lacked in ability.

 Useta be……we snuggled together in your bottom bunk to read aloud at night and you would protest mightily at my Kindy Teacher use of voices for all of the characters.  My big bad wolf was just too dang scarey.

 Useta be… liked the clothes I picked out for you to wear….well, most of the time anyway.

 Useta be….. we would lace our fingers in the car, talk about things we saw at the side of the road, make up stories with your spelling words and share the things that went on in your world.  We could solve any mystery…..any problem…..anything.

 Useta be…….mine was the smile  you looked for when you needed encouragement to try something new,  pride when you accomplished a goal and comfort when things were not going so well.

Useta be……

 Now, the teenager that you are, has lost the ability to speak in entire sentences,  doesn’t crack a book unless its absolutely necessary,  listens to music only you can hear through your ipod ear plugs,  mumbles in response to even very basic questions,  scowls disdainfully at outfits of my choosing and seems to smile only if there is something to be gained.  Homework is yours and not to be shared.  You rage when I ask you to pick up your socks and every chore is completed with a stomp and a growl.   You don’t want to talk.  You’re too big to cuddle.   You’re too private to share.

“You are too involved in my LIFE!” 

Just humor your  Mom here, son. 

 I am missing the useta bes…….

Help! There’s a Gorilla on my Roof!

August 16, 2009

    It has been twenty years since I was last there.  They still had a dolphin show and the Fun House.  The Iron Dragon was a brand spanking new ride.  We’d gone with my soon to be in laws, their two boys and my soon to be stepdaughters.   We got a hotel room, spent the entire day exploring, riding and snacking.  My son’s first trip was just over a year ago when the entire 8th grade spent their last day of school there.  He came back a roller coaster fiend.  And I mean…FIEND.  The Princess had never been but she was finally tall enough to go on everything.  It was a sort of kind of in leiu of a birthday party treat that I let her invite a friend – and her brother invite a friend – and we headed to Sandusky, Ohio for a day at Cedar Point.   

     In the days before, we had gone on the park’s website and looked at the many point-of-view videos of their rollercoasters.  You know them.  The little videos that were taken from the front of the coaster’s car??  The Princess was worried.  Plenty worried.  She wanted to know if there were any just …’regular’….rides.  We left very early in the morning to fill up the gas tank.  The ATM at the bank was not working.  The first gas station would not allow me to use my credt card.  The second had no power at all.  I borrowed some of the spending money cash, filled up the gas tank and we were off.   The kids slept most of the way.  ‘Gladys’ – our sometimes irritating GPS voice – guided us safely along our way.  It was 10:12 when we arrived.  The car had barely come to a stop when the boys were out the door and RUNNING toward the gates.  They SAID they had to go to the bathroom.  Riiiight.  I didn’t see them again until 3:30 in the afternoon.

      The girls, on the other hand, managed to contain their excitement just a little.  They walked quickly ahead of me and waited until I finally let them go.  Hang together.  Keep in touch.  And they were gone.  Their first ride?  The Raptor….a twisty inverted, outside looping coaster that travels 57 mph in 2 minutes and 16 seconds. It’s one of the longer lasting coasters in the park. 

   I met up with them shortly after.  They had downed a HUGE Icee slush and were off to another coaster.  The ‘point of view’ videos??  Totally forgotten.  They were on their way to totally experience every single thrill ride in the place.

    Cell phones are wonderful things when you are in a place like this with teenagers.  As I wandered through shops and sat through shows, I kept up with them via text messges and occasionals calls.  His were short and sweet.

   “Where are you?’   ‘In line.”

    “For a coaster?”   ‘Yup’

     “Which one?”   “Don’t know.”

     “Having fun?” “‘Yup.”

     I met the girls for lunch and listened as they detailed everything they had been on….every twisty turn and upside down adventure.  They were horrified at the cost of their lunch.  They rode the train with me to the back of the park.  One of them upchucked every bit of the expensive burger and fries as we got off.   A nice slow, rattling train ride.  Go figure.  Cedar point Hunt party 077And then we were on to the water rides.  And the swings.  And the water rides again.  And again. And again. 

     Snake River Falls.  

     Thunder Canyon. 

     Sky Hawk. 

   It was a circle.  Off one and onto another.  I finally left them and wandered through the Frontier Village shops.   

     Then I got a call from the boys.  When were we going to leave?  They had done everything they wanted.  They weren’t interested in getting….wet.  I told them to play some games or get something to eat.  The girls weren’t ready.  I called the girls to say that the lines for the coasters in the front were rather short so they should probably start making their way forward.  I found a bench and waited for the four of them to….collide or something.

    I saw the boys first.  They saw me too and came running toward me with the biggest stuffed gorillas I have  ever seen.  I mean huge.  I have asked several times since but I am still not sure what they had to do to win them.  All I could think of was HOW are we going to get them home??? 

     And they were very ready to go.  But the girls weren’t.  So they sat and waited. 

     Moved to another ride and waited. 

    Carried the gorillas with them, sat down on them and….waited.  Cedar point Hunt party 082

All the while contemplating different ideas as to how to fit their prizes into this:Vue 

     Four rollercoasters lines later and we were on our way. 

     Now, we drove down in my zippy little car…..four teenagers and me.  Three in the back and one in the front.  Not a lot of wiggle room in there.

     We managed to stuff one gorilla into the back of the car.  After several attempts to get the second one in as well, they finally pulled it into the back seat on top of them.   Smashed up against them.  And I pulled out of the Cedar Point parking lot at approximately 5:30 pm, unable to see out the back window with three teenagers in the back seat unable to move or wiggle or…..breathe.  Heh.  And we had a two and a half hour drive ahead of us. Soooooo….we went in search of a Home Depot….or a hardware…….and found a CVS Pharmacy.

    Too many dollars later, armed with one package of bungee cords  and two very small rolls of duct tape, a rain poncho, two cans of Green Tea with Gingseng and Honey, two Gatorades, an interesting looking paperback novel and a couple of candy bars, we were wrapping and taping and bungee cording the second monkey to the top of the car. 

Cedar point Hunt party 084   Cedar point Hunt party 088






     And then we were back on the road.   It was trial and error for the first couple of miles.  The arms started flapping.  The Princess grabbed them through the sunroof and hung on for dear life until we could stop.  We devised a ‘rope’ of sorts from plastic CVS bags to tie them together.  They continued to flap.  At the next stop we used the rest of the duct tape to fasten the arms together and make a rope to hold  on to them through the sun roof. 

  Now I am the first to admit that I watch too much legal eagle television.  All I could envision as I was driving down the Ohio turnpike….and two other expressways…and numerous side roads as we made our way home like thisCedar point Hunt party 092…..

 …..was a bungee cord snapping….the gorilla  flying off into the windshield of another car or truck….and me….in a police car muttering the words ‘negligent homicide.’

    My head and my hands were sweating the entire way.

   We stopped to check our bungees at every service plaza and rest stop between Sandusky and home.  And at a couple of gas stations too. 

AND  I was driving 10 miles UNDER the posted speed limit the entire way because I knew cars and trucks would pass us and not be cruising along behind us. 

    Along the way we were getting ‘looks’….and thumbs ups….and pointing fingers and laughs….as cars sped by.  And we totally made the work day of the attendant at the turn pike exit when she took our money.  Her ‘oh MY!’ when she noticed the gorilla on top of my car was hilarious.  SHE would have a tale to share about HER job.

      Even though we struggled so much with the durn things I really had NO idea how big they  actually were until the Prince’s friend had his sitting on the porch waiting for his mother to answer the door.   Or when the Prince was trying to fit his into OUR front door.

     They are HUGE.

     And I am not sure what they plan to do with them.  The Prince’s actually takes up about a quarter of the remaining floor space in his bedroom.  But after this trip, I am never going to Cedar Point again in anything smaller than a van.  Preferably someone else’s.  And I am definitely planning to make sure the gorilla in OUR house will be an invited guest at the Prince’s wedding some day.