Serendipity Is Fun!

Serendipity Is Fun!

If you’re anything like me, perhaps you’ve moved sometime in the last 100 years, and among the items you carried into your new space were a few boxes, crates, or Rubbermaid containers filled with things you’ve haven’t looked at since. Things you’ve moved once, twice, three times … maybe more. Boxes you couldn’t possibly throw away, even though you also couldn’t say what was in them if you had to. Such has been my way for the last two moves, the first in 2007 and then again in 2015. This time, however, things have changed! Thanks to my mentors from the Arizona Marketing Association, I’ve had a lesson in purging – getting rid of old things instead of continuing to move them from home to home. And I am implementing what I’ve learned.

Most of the things filling my boxes are of the paper variety. So far, I’ve filled our City of Phoenix recycle bin, and have discarded enough further paper to fill it at least once more. The good news is that in actually taking the time to sort through all the boxes, I have come across some treasures. Several include photos of my son from his grade school days. But the one that made me smile the most was this note, and the attached photocopy.

Note from Kathy

Here is Eric’s writing “sample”:

Winter
by Eric S.

Winter is here
Christmas is near
Children play outside
couldn’t build a snowman, but I tried

Inside there’s hot coaco blankets and more
because it’s not warm out anymore
come on in Mark
don’t play out in the dark

Kids all snug in their beds cozy and warm
in hopes that tomorrow it won’t storm
in case it does they have games to play
just like they had to yesterday

They cant wait for Christmas when Santa comes
when every one gets presents even the bumbs
They have to leave cookies out for santa to eat
and carrots too, to give the reindeer a treat

The tree is ready decorations are up
when parents drink hot coaco out of a cup
children cant sleep cause Christmas is near
they wait for sleigh bells or maybe reindeer

Christmas is here finally at last
when parents have fun children have a blast
come on guys the presents are near
and besides I want to see what’s in this one here.

Kathy once asked me from whom Eric seemed to have inherited his sweet tooth, particularly his penchant for Oreos. That one was easy: his paternal grandmother, Diane. How did he come by the skill to load his own software onto the computer at age 2? His birthdad. I’ve never been much of a poet, but it’s nice to think that maybe he does have at least a bit of my writing skill.

What Do You Mean, “YOUR Son”?!

What Do You Mean, “YOUR Son”?!

Spence-Chapin, the adoption agency I used, was an old, established institution. As adoptions go, they do a pretty good job of fostering communication between the birth and prospective adoptive families. Just to be clear – a birthmother, a woman who relinquishes a baby for adoption, does not become a birthmother until she’s signed the paperwork and the adoption is finalized. Until that time, she is a prospective birthmother.

Not long after my son was born, Spence-Chapin did two positive things for birthmothers. They started a birthmom support group, which I attended regularly until I moved away from the area. And they also created a birthmother advisory board, made up of a group of birthmothers who offered input on how the birthparent department handled their side of the adoption process. I’ll write more about both of those in the future.

Perhaps as an extension of these efforts – and because I’ve always been a pretty good public speaker – I was invited to participate in a number of panel discussions and presentations to people involved in adoptions. Some of those were seminars for hospital staffs and social workers. One was a huge audience at the annual adoption congress. But on a couple of occasions, I spoke to small groups of prospective adoptive parents. The goal was to give couples considering adoption a glimpse into the birthmother’s point of view. I always cautioned them that my story was uniquely mine – they should not expect the same perspective from their birthmother.

During one particular presentation, I made specific mention of “my son,” and a woman stood up and challenged me, “What do you mean your son?”

I was flabbergasted. What did she mean “What did I mean my son?”?

I looked her in the eye and said to her, “He’s my firstborn male child. What else would you have me call him?”

She sat down, flummoxed and irate. It had just never occurred to her that another woman out there somewhere might also be referring to her child as their child, too. But that’s what adoption is. Two – maybe three – families involved in the creation and raising of this little person. One’s not better than the other. None has more claim than the other. They just have different roles. But if it was that difficult for this mom to wrap her head around, no wonder adopted kids can be confused.

I worked hard to stay in touch with my son and his family without ever pushing beyond what felt comfortable to them. And even so, he struggled with the emotions that must inevitably arise when you wonder why they didn’t keep you.

My son’s father wasn’t ready to get married. I’d seen the effects of single motherhood on my own mother and my sister, and I wasn’t willing to do it on my own. For many reasons, abortion wasn’t an option for me. So from the beginning, I knew adoption would be my choice. And from the beginning, Eric has always been my son.