Thoughts on Adoption

The Whole Fam Damily

I haven’t written much about my experiences with adoption, specifically International adoption, because I decided long ago that my daughters’ stories are theirs and to reveal specifics about them is not my place. However, there are some aspects of our journey I feel comfortable about sharing.

When my wife and I decided to adopt, after some research and communication with a couple of friends we knew who had gone through a similar experience, we decided to adopt from the People’s Republic of China. We were quite fortunate to be introduced to an organization that arranged Chinese adoptions, and that organized the entire trip, including working closely with us throughout the process, including translating documents and accompanying us through every necessary step.

When we began the process we also discovered there was a Yahoo group dedicated to those of us who were using this organization, which was called U.S. Asian Affairs. We used it to introduce ourselves to the group and, over time, to learn about the process and the lives, as well as the hopes and dreams, of the other families who had traveled or who we would be traveling with, as well as those who would be adopting subsequent to us.

When we were in China, at the China Hotel in Guangzhou, I spent nearly every free evening down in the sports bar, where they had a couple of computers set up and I could send emails to the group, apprising them of our progress and how were were feeling. I also continued to communicate with others for several years afterward, am still friends with many of those with whom we traveled, and also belong to a Facebook group that kind of took over for the Yahoo group.

Even though I’m no longer using the Yahoo group to communicate, at the beginning of each month approximately ten emails are sent to everyone who’s a member. Of those ten, three are from me. I’d like to share them (I may have shared one or more of them sometime in the past 14 years, but I can’t remember and don’t want to search) here. This first one is from October 12, 2005. Our oldest was a little over four years old and it would be another year before we adopted our second child.

The post was in response to a question another parent had posed, which was “Maybe some of the referrals come with information that stretches the truth, but I think that the act of being placed in our loving arms is not quite as wonderful for these girls as it is for us. Give them time.” Here is my response:

This has to be one of the most important, and profound, statements I have read on China33 in some time. We must, repeat must, remember what these children have experienced. Each of them has had to suffer two major, life-changing upheavals. The first was being separated from their birth mother (no matter the circumstances under which it took place); the second being taken from either a foster family or the only real home they have known.

We have to control the tendency to see our good fortune in finding them as the only interpretation of these events. We must fight against trying to impose our perception of reality on them. I believe the wisest thing we can do is try and understand their lives from their perspective. They may not be able to give voice to it, and their memories are almost always pre-verbal, but that doesn’t negate the powerful emotions these events evoked.

I have watched our Aimee nearly shut down in situations that were similar to the evening she was placed in our arms. A room full of children, adults, noise, and pandemonium. Even an open house at pre-school has greatly unnerved her. However, with every day she has grown a little more secure in our existence as a family and now, at over four years old, she is finding her place and blossoming like we hoped for her.

The most important thing we can give our children is the knowledge not only that they are loved, but also that they are respected. I can’t emphasize this enough. Remember the concept of “walking a mile in their shoes.” By all means, revel in the joy of finally having her in your arms; the ineffable depth of emotion you feel when holding or even just watching her (or him). Just keep in mind that you are the lucky ones. If our children were truly lucky, the conditions leading to their abandonment would not have existed, and they would still be with their birth family.

Remember, one day they will be all grown up, and they will almost certainly be at least curious about why they were separated from their birth family. You will be doing both them and yourselves a great service by keeping that day in mind – always.


Evolution

Another quite simple Photoshop effort, though all this is is a compilation of a quote I’m fond of and a photo of what is referred to as the pillars of creation, located in M16, the Eagle Nebula, over thataway.

The Pillars of Creation

If you study cosmology, and you’re not blinded by any particular religious dogma, it becomes clear that our evolution as a species (the human one) draws a gravity-assisted line from the first hydrogen atoms to who we are now. That we have reached a point in our evolution where we have been able to understand how we and our universe came about and developed over billions of years, I find every bit as awesome as the thought of some bearded white dude thinking us up out of nothing. Actually, I find it more awesome.

Understanding cosmological (read, primarily, stellar) as well as biological evolution is, to me, far more beautiful and compelling than anything I’ve learned from all of the world’s religions, including the one I was raised in (Judaism) and the one I was surrounded by (Christianity). I find it far more compelling and reasonable and, again for me, all the proof I need that we don’t need a “God” or “Gods” to explain how we came to be and where we’re headed.


Trump Channels Saddam

Trump’s Presidential Transition Efforts

Nothing says you truly love your country quite like working overtime to destroy every shred of cooperation and comity, essentially following the Iraqi policy following their withdrawal from Kuwait in 1991.

This is a simple meme I put together with Photoshop recently. Each day that passes since the election, Trump and his administration prove repeatedly how little they care for the nation they pretend to serve.

I’ve not seen anything even slightly similar to what’s going on, even as I compose this post. Trump is anything but a patriot; in fact, I would offer he’s engaging in sedition, if not treason. He’s certainly acting like a domestic terrorist.

Can’t wait ’til he’s gone. He is the absolute worst president in the history of the United States. Hands down!


A Little Love For The Eagles

Glen Frey and Joe Walsh

My first memory of The Eagles is from 1972, the year they released their debut album, Eagles. I can remember the first time I actually listened to the words of “Peaceful, Easy Feeling.” I was living with my brother, my best friend, two close family friends, and the brother of one of those friends in two small, suburban houses in North Hollywood, California.

I had returned to SoCal from a year or so living mostly in the Bay Area; Berzerkeley to be exact . . . for most of the time, and I had been healing from the damage a licentious lifestyle can do to one’s body. I had a used VW Bug and, at the time, my brakes were shot and I had to drive slowly and with a great deal of forethought to what was occurring ahead of me (my parking brake worked OK, so a combination of paying close attention, down-shifting, and parking brake application did the trick for a couple of weeks, until I could afford to get the brakes fixed.

Eagles – Debut Album Cover 1972

I had already become a committed Feminist and was deep into educating myself and the five young men I was living with of the righteousness of supporting women’s equality (along with other forms of combating injustice.)

I was driving my VDub when the song came on the air. Given my precarious brake situation, I always attempted to drive down streets I knew were quiet and seldom had much traffic, so I was driving lazily down a mostly empty street and enjoying the music on my radio. It was the second verse that caught my attention:

“I found out a long time ago, what a woman can do to your soul. Aw, but she can’t take you any way you don’t already know how to go.”

Peaceful Easy Feeling – Eagles 1972

When I heard the first sentence I remember thinking, “Shit! Here we go again. Men blaming women for their troubles. Crap!” Then I heard the second sentence and was relieved to learn they had inserted a bit of honesty into the observation. I felt much better about how much I enjoyed their music.

One of those friend/roommates of mine went on to become the road accountant for the Eagles for a few of their world tours. He and I were living together in Van Nuys and I recall him being out on the road quite a bit with them. He also toured with Boz Scaggs, Toto, and later on became part of Billy Joel’s entourage for perhaps a decade. He did well, retired young. He also ended up getting sued by Billy at the behest of (as I was told) Christie Brinkley, who believe he had been taken advantage of by his management company, of which my friend was a member.

He was very hurt by the accusations and, fortunately, the case never went anywhere because if was based on the same kind of evidence we’ve lately seen being used by Rudy Giuliani in his epoch attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 General Election.

I’ve long been a fan of the Eagles’ music, but I’m not a “fan” of anyone. I’ve been around fame a bit. Growing up near Hollywood has that effect on most of us; we run into celebrities just going about our lives. I learned early to leave them alone and to respect their privacy.

I have friends who follow the careers of several people they admire and whose work they enjoy . . . closely. I don’t do that with anyone. However, music is something I enjoy and I found the music and lyrics of The Eagles deeply compelling. Since I’ve not paid much attention to their lives, other than listening to their music, I was completely unaware that Glen Frey’s son, Deacon, as well as Vince Gill, had joined the band. Below is a link to a video of a show they did in Atlanta.

It’s a little over two hours and I haven’t listened to all of it yet, but I’m familiar with every one of the songs with the possible exception of “Those Shoes” and “Walk Away.” This is kind of a way for me to save the video for any time I feel like listening to one or more of my fave tunes.

I have to add that seeing Glen’s son, Deke, perform in his place brought a tear or three to my eyes. I’ve always been somewhat of a softie (even wrote about it here, and here) and, it seems, as I am getting older and contemplating the end (which I’ve also written somewhat extensively about) I find myself feeling the loss of people who have entertained and/or enlightened me—especially if they’re younger than me—more painfully than I used to experience such things.

The video also has links below which will take you directly to whatever song you wish to watch/listen to. Keep in mind, as well, this was clearly recorded by a fan and the quality is not what you would expect from a well-produced, high quality production. It’s quite serviceable, however. Enjoy! I sure do/did.


How To Be A Patriot

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It seems to me that anyone who really cares about their country, who is a genuine patriot, has to care for everyone. Life is NOT a zero-sum game, where the gains enjoyed by others are a loss to you and yours. No, life and human society are highly complex, interdependent systems where every part has a role to play, and when we don’t provide optimal conditions for the health and well-being of some of the parts, the whole body suffers. Would you want your car’s engine to go without one of its spark plugs? While it would still get you to where you were going, it wouldn’t do it as efficiently, nor as effectively. In the end, it would almost certainly cost more to deal with the results of an imbalance in the engine than it would to ensure all its components were kept in good working order.

Yet many approach life as though they are living on an island. It’s difficult to fathom the level of insensitivity, blindness to reality, and the callous lack of empathy it takes to turn one’s back on people who may not directly affect your life in a way you can feel immediately, but who nevertheless impact the organizations and institutions you deal with all the time.

For instance, by not ensuring all children receive healthcare, adequate nutrition, and early education, we ensure our up and coming workforce will be less prepared than they otherwise could be for the kinds of jobs that will be available in the near future. The net result is we not only handicap those children, we also handicap their families, their friends, and the entire nation. By guaranteeing they need more help for far longer than might otherwise be the case, we add to both their burden and ours.

We hobble ourselves with mistaken, outdated, unsupportable notions that give far more importance to diversity as a bad thing; as something that takes away from our sense of worth, of self. Instead of understanding, celebrating, and taking advantage of all the ways in which we complement and enhance each other, too many of us turn those virtues into imaginary vices and use them to divide and separate us. What a pity.


How Long?

Dinosaur bones and desert mountain background
Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

There’s a “tripwire” somewhere
Out there, downstream
Where . . . I’m not sure

Some discover its presence early
For some the revelation is a surprise
Everyone’s waiting for it
Our entire lives
Some wait with dread and trepidation
Some with simple resignation
Many in anticipation
Of what lies on the other side

Are there any who give it no thought?
Like our animal brethren
Who live their lives on a daily basis,
Not as an ongoing saga

Many of us prepare
In numerous ways
Some useful
Some not
I know I’ve been waiting
For as long as I can remember
Now, however, I’m beginning to
Sense its presence more acutely
I feel its approach
Though it’s still amorphous and indistinct

And each time someone younger than me passes
I swear I can feel its hot breath on the back of my neck


A Love Poem

It’s been a while since I’ve written much poetry, but I do have some old poems I’ve saved over the years. This one is probably at least 25 years old. It was written to a woman I was absolutely smitten with. Unfortunately, she was struggling with alcoholism and was also (ultimately) afraid of commitment. I was ready, but it wasn’t to be. Someone familiar with the work of Kahlil Gibran may notice his influence on this particular piece.

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

What wonders have I known since first I met you
I have tasted of your lips
Yet it is the thoughts they have expressed
Which ring in my ears
I have suckled at your breasts
Not nearly as a babe
Yet it is the aroma of your flesh which haunts me in my reverie
And the sound of your sweet sighs which fills my memories

To taste of the flesh is a simple thing
Too easily exalted
Too frequently abused
To taste of the soul is a wondrous thing
Too seldom found
Too seldom used

It is not just your eyes I see
But the depth which lies behind them
It is not merely your lips I crave
But the ideas which they convey
These. remain with me during the days
And calm my evenings
That I may lie
With images of you to lull me
Softly as I drift to sleep

Your smile floats before me even now
Your laugh softly fills my mind
And I crave your presence
Even as its memory fills me with joy

I have found in you a person worth cherishing
A woman whose value I deem boundless
And whose soul I have already partaken of
I ask for little more
Than to entrust my desires
My hopes and dreams
With one
As sharing
As giving
As you


I’m a Poet,Dammit!

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

I can write a poem
I can pen some verse
I can make it florid
I can do it terse
I can be profane
I can wax profound
Or lay it on real thick
And sling it by the pound
I’ll take a slice of paper
Slather on some ink
Arrange the words just so
And present them . . .
Whaddya think?


A Death Cult

Quite some time ago, I finally came to the conclusion the Republican Party has no business being in government. The job of a public servant, which is what a member of Congress is (both Representatives and Senators,) is to protect their constituents, the oft-referred to “American people.” Yet, it’s quite clear the Republican Party doesn’t care about the American people, which they have amply demonstrated by their obstruction of any program that might have alleviated much of the pain suffered by millions due to the Corona virus and the near collapse of our economy. It’s also clear to me their definition of economic growth, and their criteria for success, skew heavily in favor of capital and the inexorable forces of consolidation and monopoly.


Image by herotimes from Pixabay

If the shenanigans of the Republicans during this last election hasn’t shown you who they are, I submit you’re either not paying close enough attention or you’re a closet Republican. How does one explain the constant drone of allegations of election fraud, which are made more ridiculous by the reality not one Secretary of State—Democrat or Republican—has come forth with any evidence of fraud?

In fact, what little fraud has been uncovered was a couple of instances of people illegally voting for Donald Trump . . . and what are we to make of the revelation by the Republican Secretary of State of Georgia that Lindsey Graham suggested he find a way to dump legitimate Democratic ballots?

Now we find ourselves in the unenviable position of having a lame duck POTUS for the next 64 days. Unbeknownst to the majority of us, the transition period between administrations has always been a time of heightened vulnerability and, thanks to the narcissistic sociopathy of the outgoing president, this time may be the most dangerous in our nation’s history.

Trump has always been the show pony, the elephant at the circus, designed to keep our attention while the guys under the bleachers steal our wallets and photograph our daughters’ underwear. The grift should be ending on January 20, but you can bet your house the Republicans will be jockeying for position to mingle under the bleachers.

We need to stop this cycle. Think of how much cleanup there was after the GWB administration; an eight-year period that made Dick Cheney a far richer man than he had been, while coming close to bankrupting the entire country. Seems like every time we have a Republican president, at least through the last three to five, we’ve had to claw our way back to solvency. Did I mention the thousands, maybe tens or even hundreds of thousands of deaths resulting from our knee-jerk reactions (and over-reactions) to 9-11 and the ongoing, so-called “war on terrorism?”

I’m not letting the Democrats off the hook entirely, either. The majority of the Party are enthusiastic supporters of capitalism, an economic system that has, in my opinion, outlived its efficacy and needs to be adapted and adjusted to meet the exigencies of the times we’re in.

This pandemic has made it clear we need to take better care of our people. We need universal healthcare. One’s health, and the health of one’s family, should not depend on where you work or how long you’ve been there. Healthcare should be seen as a right, not a privilege.

We also need to institute a much fairer way to distribute the wealth of our nation. We produce so much of value, yet the majority of that value is captured by a very small percentage of the population, hence the constant referral to the 1%. It’s a bit more nuanced than that, since there’s a lot of wealth that goes to the top 10%, but there should be little doubt the value produced by the labor of the 90% is not inuring to the benefit of those who create it.

Although I voted for Joe Biden, and I will support his presidency for the most part, he was not my first choice. In fact, nobody in the Democratic Party actually represents or advocates for the direction I’d like to see the country go in, which is socialism as the predominant form of economy. I’ll have much more to say about this in the weeks, months, and years to come.

I have long said I would be a Democrat, but they’re too conservative for me, but I was not only a member of the Simi Valley Democratic Club, but served as an officer (Corresponding Secretary) for the years 2018 – 2019. I only left that post because my youngest daughter was threatening to drop out of school. Since she was a sophomore in High School at the time, I had to work hard to show her what a bad idea that was.

As of today, she’s not only thriving in this online schooling methodology, she’s actually improved her grades dramatically and is doing very well. I still have to help her, but I refuse to do her work for her. She’s gaining confidence as she’s learning her subjects. Now I have to go and take her to the orthodontist. Hopefully, they’ll be removing her braces soon. She’s really tired of them.


Cry For Happy!

Thought I would take a break from politics, economics, philosophy, and all that lighthearted kind of stuff, and share a little something serious . . . and wonderful. I came across this a bit earlier today on Twitter. I’m surprised I was able to find a standalone video (i.e. one that isn’t embedded in a news site’s pages) I could share. This pup was rescued by members of the Secretaría de Marina (Mexican Navy Corps,) according to a member of Twitter I have no reason to doubt.

I have no idea how long this dog was stranded where it was found, standing on its hind legs in order to not drown. This one looks so much like our girl, Angel, it really broke my heart to see this. I don’t know if it’s the case, but it’s a little frightening to realize how many people will just leave their pets when danger arrives. I can’t imagine leaving our Angel should we be required to flee someday.

There are so many sad, disheartening stories of abandoned animals, and not just in areas where there’s been a fire or a flood or earthquake. There are far too many people who become disenchanted or for some reason no longer wish to exercise the responsibility necessary to take care of an animal.

Inasmuch as it’s clear there are far too many people who don’t care about other people, I suppose it’s asking a bit much to get some folks to care about animals as well. Thankfully, this particular story appears to have had a happy ending. For that I suppose we should be grateful.


%d bloggers like this: