Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thoughts on B

Corrine and I both blog. Many of you know this. And many of you know, therefore, that her blog has a lot to do with the process of adoption that we have been put through been patiently enduring.

I have not blogged much about the experience because she has been diligently recording our trials and triumphs. Why duplicate, right?

What I failed to recognize, however, is that I am withholding my own thoughts. My own perspective, which differs from Corrine's, merely by virtue of being a man. My take on things naturally would be different. Not opposite. Different.

So here's the deal. Here's my whole take on the adoption thing.

1. Yes, many believe us to be crazy, given that we have six between us already, ranging from 18 to 1. Know what? We agree. But we don't care, either. Crazy is the new sanity.

2. Yes, we fear some may suggest - to themselves and their friends - that we are doing this for money. We knew that foster care provides money. We had no desire to foster. End of that debate, right? Nope. We found out fairly recently that adoption, too, offers families a monthly stipend. The child we are adopting has multiple special-needs diagnoses. The stipend will not cover the accumulated expenses. Trust me. It's a shame. So - yes, we're getting a monthly stipend. (Insert ironic laugh here).

3. Yes, meeting our son, for the first time, was surreal. There's a quality to this whole process that has yet to define itself for me. As a writer, I am at a loss for words. Here is a child born to a woman incapable of being a mother, whose negligence nearly killed him. His neglect so severe, as an infant, that at 5 he has the vocabulary of a three-year-old. He is often frustrated at not being able to articulate his emotions. But when he smiles at me, and his arms wrap around my neck, I am the one who regresses and the words fail me and I am the one incapable of expression. When he says Dadda he becomes an oratory giant and I am reduced to silence.

4. I am a man, yet live in a world of men so wretched that they cannot do something so simple as love their own child. That they can live with themselves knowing that in another corner of this universe their own blood filters through the veins of a human, yet they remain incapable of action. I wish the pulse of this young boy's heart beat so furiously that it drowns any notion of such a human.

5. Curiously, during these past few weeks - meeting B for the first time, and our subsequent all-too-brief transition days together - I have thought a lot about my own father. Yesterday he asked if B had ever been fishing. I said no. Three volumes of meaning passed between us in a single, silent moment. I could see my father's imagination, a picture of him in a boat with B.

6. I consider myself to be a fairly progressive male: movies make me cry, I love to love my wife, I write extremely sentimental poetry every so often. Yet ... I still find myself keeping my emotions in check a lot. More than I want to. I don't know why. It's in the wiring, I suppose.

7. I would be lying if I told you I wasn't afraid of what this adoption will do to the relationship I have with the other children. I've done foolish things, but I'm no fool. I know two things: they will have feelings, and they will probably not express them truthfully. That's not the same thing as saying that I think they don't support this. It's just me saying that another addition will add weight. In more ways than just to the pressure on the car tires.

8. I am already imagining B when he is 10, 20, 30 and 40, and adding parentheses next to each that displays my age in relation. And yes, it makes me swallow hard.

9. I love my wife more for this, and I can't explain why; anymore than I can explain why dark, still waters make me giddy and scared at the same time.

10. We gave B the middle name "Orrin" after Corrine's grandfather. Corrine was named after him too, with the C and the E added at either ends to make it beautiful. We kept B's first name, of course, and he will have our last name. It's the name he calls himself already, and he refers to our home as his home. Isn't a child's seal of approval the most significant gift he can give you?

I bet you're wondering why I have a new picture of Corrine at the top of this post.

It's because I couldn't use the picture of B and I together in our kitchen, taken this weekend. It would violate confidentiality where he is not yet legally "ours."

So the picture is of Corrine. A new favorite of mine because it reveals her spirit well: this woman with so much beauty and so much vibrancy in her that she can't help but burst into your life and brighten it.

B is there, too, a fuzzy out-of-focus blotch in the background.

And it dawned on me just now the metaphor: after being for so long out of focus, the time has come for that to change. And who better to bring him into focus than a woman with so much vitality and fierce love that she can add another child into her life as if he were her own?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

When You Love Someone

When you love someone - you'll do anything
You'll do all the crazy things that you can't explain
You'll shoot the moon - put out the sun
When you love someone

You'll deny the truth - believe a lie
There'll be times that you'll believe you can really fly
But your lonely nights - have just begun
When you love someone

When you love someone - you'll feel it deep inside
And nothin else can ever change your mind
When you want someone - when you need someone
When you love someone...

When you love someone - you'll sacrifice
You'd give it everything you got and you won't think twice
You'd risk it all - no matter what may come
When you love someone
You'll shoot the moon - put out the sun

When you love someone

Thursday, October 15, 2009

UMF, CW, CT, FHH and Me

I learned Wednesday that I have been accepted into the college's creative writing department (CW for short) as a major. Those of you who know me are no doubt scratching your heads, thinking, "Um, well, duh...?"

The truth is, I was accepted as a freshman at the University of Maine - Farmington (UMF), but my declared major - CW - wasn't automatic. You have to apply, and be accepted, before you can be officially declared. This involves submitting up to two writing samples, an application, and an essay about yourself and why you want to major in creative writing.

I've been sweating it, too. I got the obligatory "thanks for submitting your application to our department..." email, that also included this little tidbit at the end: there were bunches of applicants to fill only a limited number of slots, so, you know, good luck.

Yes, I did the rationalizing. I said to myself, "Well, twelve years as a journalist, a published novel, 41 years old....They just GOTTA take me."

I don't know what the department's criteria is, either. Truthfully, I was worried I would get a Thanks but No Thanks letter.

Now, relief. I can continue with this semester's classes (A average, thank you very much....!) and then, next semester, jump into CW classes. THAT's gonna be cool.

On another note unrelated to college, but significantly more important. (And WAY more exciting) Corrine and I met our prospective new son, today, when we traveled an hour to visit him in his current foster home.

I cannot tell you his name, out of confidentiality, but I can tell you that he is red-headed, so Corrine has started calling him Carrot Top, or CT.

CT is 5, but has some developmental delays. He has been diagnosed with mild mental retardation, but you wouldn't know it. In fact, we both think it's a misdiagnosis. Frankly, he was born in a stunting environment by his biological mother, who left him with his older brother, locked in a room, many times.

He is delayed in his speech, and we think maybe that's where the MR diagnosis comes from.

Really, he more than likely has a form of ADHD (fucking hyper as hell, or FHH - that's the technical term, by the way) but what child isn't?

CT is incredibly bright, loving, inquisitive, and the aforementioned FHH.

When you ask him a question, his "yes" is "aye", which is so damn Scots-Irish cute.

He's not Scots-Irish. He's pure-blooded American. With red hair. And FHH and ADHD.

It was surreal meeting him for the first time, knowing that in a few short weeks, he will be living with us, and in about a year, will have the last name Turner.


(fuckin A)


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Better Mouse Trap

I have to figure out a new system.

My blog posts are becoming few and far between, and that's a horrible batting average.

I'm leaving for school Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:30, leaving me no time in the morning to do serious blogging. Unless I want to wake up at 4. Which isn't ever going to happen.

My Tuesdays and Thursdays are filled with homework and kids' lives and soccer coaching.

Saturday, coaching soccer games, and time with the fam, to make up for the week.

But, I need to write. It's what I'm all about. It's even why I'm going to college. Funny how that works? I'm doing all these things to improve myself as a writer, and I'm doing less writing than ever before.

I'm in recap mode, so I'll hit the highlights, and that's probably what my blogs will be from now on: daily highlights, maybe hit upon a single issue I can hammer out in 10 minutes, like I'm doing right now.

[ + ] Corrine and I went to the Fryeburg Fair Sunday (the biggest fair in the state, for non-Maniacs) It was the first time we went alone, as a couple, since we met back in 1924. Well, it seems that long anyway.

Harrison went with his girlfriend, but they did their own thing. So, it was just me and the little lady, strolling. Holding hands. Talking. Looking at draft horses and 4H quilts and crafts and people eating. We ate a few things ourselves, which is one of the biggest reasons we go. But it was nice to just hang together, no strollers or diaper bags.

NOW...not to sound bitter or ungrateful for what I have, BUT.

We were supposed to head to Vermont on Saturday, alone, stay the night at our good friend's house and see the play she directed. We had been planning it for weeks, excited at adulthood. At being able to dress up (I bought Corrine a beautiful dress and shirt for her birthday just for this weekend. Earrings to match, even!)

Well, anyone with kids knows that two things are inevitable: someone getting sick or someone backing out of babysitting.

Both happened. Griffin was sick AND Corrine's mom backed out of taking him Saturday. It scrapped our entire weekend plans for Vermont. We were, um, pissed.

So, we got the chance to ditch the kids for a few hours Sunday, a small consolation. It was our one-year anniversary a couple weeks ago and for our "honeymoon" we traveled through northern New England to see the foliage. Well, that was a big reason for going to Vermont this past weekend.


Well, not all fail. I did get to hold Corrine's hand, in public, alone, without children.

As pathetic as it sounds, that's a small victory for us lately it seems.

Well...my 10 minutes are up. It's 6:30. Time for college.

See you tomorrow...