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?


  1. I think you just found your newest book to write - adoption from Dad's perspective. WOW. B and C and the rest of your brood are in our thoughts and prayers as you all embark on this wondrous journey. PS Crazy is indeed the new sanity and, in our house, 50 is the new 30...at least since we are parenting a 19 year old and fostering a preemie infant!

  2. I'm speechless. That was so lovely.

  3. We are giving a great gift to B and he to US!

    You, give me the best gifts, everyday. Your heart. Yor love. Ever enduring and always deepening.
    I love you!

  4. It's really a shame you struggle with words. I just wish you could somehow find a way to put your feelings down.

    Really Andy. Try.

    (PS. This really is awesome.)

  5. oh to have been adopted by someone like you two... what a blessing... and yeah Hallie is right i so wish you could find a way to express yourself man...

  6. I am so very, very happy for you and Corrine. I think what you are doing is truly wonderful.

    (I also can't wait to meet B.)

  7. This is beautiful, Andrew. I'm very happy for you and and your growing family :)