SARcasm











So I am sorry that over the last two weeks we have literally one or the other of our little family has been sick, or we’ve been travelling almost every single day. However, the good thing is that my time sick the last few days has given me a little chance to catch up on some of my blog reading, including my friend T over at The Dubious Hausfrau – you can find her link over in my blogroll, and I’ve linked to the specific blog entry here. And she had a great idea (that she in turn had gotten from a friend, and proper credit is given over there) about a reverse bucket list – instead of listing all the things we have yet to do, perhaps a list of the things we’ve done that we can celebrate and be thankful for are in order … as much as it’s my policy to not dwell on the past and live instead in the present and future, that can sometimes lead to feeling you haven’t lived life yet, and minimizing the experiences that have made you who you are. So for giggles … here’s my reverse bucket list.

  1. My family. This is the one thing I know without a doubt I’ve done right. I’ve married a good guy and had two kids I was never certain I’d have. That’s pretty awesome in my books. There are lots of other things on this list that excite me and give me great joy, but through the good times and the bad, this is my anchor and my rock. When you add in the parents, step-parents, sibling, grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws … the people around me and I have built a tremendous network of love and support and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.
  2. Teaching. Yes – I haven’t done as much in this field as I’d like but if I’m honest, I’ve had two years of working in a classroom of my own, three years teaching online courses, and some solid supply teaching … this is not bad in this day and age starting out in the profession in Ontario, and I am blessed for that.
  3. Two degrees – on a similar note, I’m proud of having earned two pieces of paper that have allowed me to pursue that career, in however an ad hoc, haphazard fashion. I have, in frustration, felt at times like those pieces of paper were worthless, but I also know there are people out there who would love nothing more than to have them, and if I’m honest, would have worked harder for them and appreciated them more than I – I am grateful for the opportunity to have gone to the school of my choice, to have graduated, and to recognize it took a village to make that happen.
  4. Travels – I have been incredibly blessed with the travelling I’ve been able to do … from almost every major city in the US (New York, LA, Las Vegas, Miami), to Edinburgh, to various parts of Canada, to Mexico and the Carribbean, I treasure all of my vacation moments, and look forward to more as we can manage them. Especially when events are tied to them … Wrestlemania …. Disney … honeymoon … my brother’s World Championship drumming win … a cruise … all very, very cool, and something I need to remember when I sometimes feel like life’s ‘too boring’.
  5. Having seen a play I wrote get produced. I know this was controversial back in the day – it was very autobiographical and artsy emo chick nonsense, and I think I might have hurt or upset some people in the process … I don’t know if I would do this again now as a more mature adult. But both the pride of seeing my work onstage, and the lessons learned about writing ‘what you know’ while being careful about it, I think was worth the growing experience of it all.
  6. Directing theatre. I’m grateful to have learned fairly early that I can’t act, but I do have a vision for putting things together aesthetically. It’s been a steep learning curve and I’ve had lots of help, advice and support, but I’m proud to have directed two plays … that’s kind of a cool experience, and something to remember as I find myself missing theatre of late. Perhaps something to get back into.
  7. Having acted. Even if I will never win Anne Hathaway’s Oscar, I’ve had the chance to be a part of some pretty nifty productions with some pretty cool people. I like it. I like it a lot.
  8. Preaching a sermon; I have always found the idea of leading worship inspiring and with both my faith and my inclination to public speaking, something I have always been interested in doing. I had that opportunity in my teens when I helped lead youth worship, and I have had the blessing to grow into that role a few times now over the last couple of years at my current church home, and I am so thankful for the lessons and support I’ve received for that endeavour.
  9. Defeating the Legend of Zelda. Both quests. Yeah baby! 😀 Yeah OK maybe not as cool as the others but dammit, it took me years!
  10. Seeing my name in print – in newspapers and blogs, writing has always been like breathing to me and so it’s really super cool when something I write does get picked up. Hasn’t happened in awhile, but it’s pleasing.
  11. Breaking the soother habit. Yeah – again – but this one took me four years.
  12. Getting my driver’s license. Fifteen years from bell to bell people, with some real issues in terms of spatial and depth perception, I am damn proud!
  13. Being a wrestling writer. OK – it’s not exactly Pro Wrestling Illustrated or WWE Magazine, or even the Pro Wrestling Torch or Pro Wrestling dot Net, but I have my own little wrestling corner on the web, with its own little audience, I get to chat with the fine folks from Kayfabe Wrestling Radio from time to time and enjoy their support, and it feeds my little need for attention. 🙂

I’m sure I could think of more … but I want to turn it over to you. What items are included on YOUR ‘reverse bucket list’?

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{July 15, 2013}   Baby Veronica

As an adoptive parent, I’ve been following the Baby Veronica story for some time now. To save this blog post from getting horribly long, and to avoid the risk of leaving out important or pertinent facts, some thought-provoking insight, and a pretty thorough view of the landscape, can be found by checking out both of the following sites (NOTE: they represent two opposing sides, so please read both for at least something of a balanced view):

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/baby-veronicas-birth-mother-girl-belongs-with-adoptive-parents/2013/07/12/40d38a12-e995-11e2-a301-ea5a8116d211_story.html

http://nicwa.org/babyveronica/

Now I want to clarify I am not on ‘a side’ here. While as an adoptive parent one might expect a natural inclination to side with them, I am sensitive to the touchy issue of removing native children from their homes and cultures, and I do understand the adoption was not finalized at the time Veronica’s biological father asserted his parental rights. At the same time, I recognize at first he had no intention of parenting the baby, and she was raised and settled for two years in what seems to be a happy home with a healthy ‘open adoption’ setup which was disrupted by the father’s reemergence. I can’t help but wonder about ulterior motives – punishing the biological mother with whom he had an acrimonious relationship? a politically motivated move? – while at the same time recognizing this is a sensitive topic and the case of a native child being raised in a native environment always needs to be given some due consideration. Mudslinging aside from both parties – from accusations of not allowing contact to the seeming treatment of ‘child as commodity’, I tend, at the end of the day, to consider this simply a messy and unfortunate situation that is difficult and tragic for all involved.

That said, while reading this article on the topic today, I came across a comment that I found so very offensive as an adoptive parent. And I considered ignoring it as the ignorant ravings of someone who simply had no idea what she was talking about, but have since decided, given how many misunderstandings there are out there about adoption, adoptive parents, biological parents, rights, relationships etc., that it merits response lest anyone else harbour any such attitudes (the kind of attitudes that to this day lead to references to our kids’ ‘real mother’, or whether we will ever ‘have kids of our own’). Here is the comment:

“Her adoption wasnt finalised so they where not the adoptive parents, they have shown by their actions that they don’t give a f**k about her because they want ownership. They know she doesn’t remember them (fortunately their ambitions show many red flags) but that doesn’t matter adoption especially private needs to be banned. You have commodified babies into saleable items people wont adopt these children who need parents, ie these in foster care as that would mean them doing work to help the child. What these who want to adopt want is a healthy baby well sorry the infertile are not owed babies. Everyone has the right to try for a child its up to nature to decide if you can have one.”

Where do I even begin? I will ignore the first accusations – the ones directly aimed at these particular parents – as I’m not familiar enough with the case on a personal level to know whether those accusations are fair or not; they’ve been made on both sides, towards both the biological father’s tribe and the adoptive parents themselves. However … banning adoption? I agree private adoption can be problematic, and I don’t want to pretend that there is no comodification of babies, stigmatization of ‘birth mothers’, etc. I am admittedly on that score speaking from the position of privilege as someone who was blessed to be in a position financially, emotionally, mentally to adopt. And while I have made a promise on many levels not to share the details of our children’s first mother’s story, I can tell you without hesitation and ask for your trust that, while it was more than clear that she loved both boys, struggled with the idea of placing them for adoption, and wanted nothing but good things for them, their lives would have been untenable had she kept them. This is not simply a matter of a woman who was young, poor, or taken advantage of – at least not by us – although those are all parts of her story. You can be young, poor, uneducated, and still manage as a parent. There were deep seated issues here by which, she would not have, and she was in many ways the first person to recognize as much.

Nor are we some elite buying children – we work professional jobs, but were just starting out, making entry level salaries, and went through the public adoption system. While we could afford to take children into our home and give them a decent life, by no means could we have afforded thousands of dollars in overhead to do so – we knew that money would be better spent providing for their education, or even a fun family trip on which to make memories, than padding some lawyer or social worker’s bottom line. We took a great leap of faith, as such, in keeping an open mind to childrens’ age, potential health risks etc. And our sons, when adopted, were high risk. We have been blessed in their health and their growth … but this wasn’t a given. We wanted to be parents, whatever that meant. Did that mean recognizing our limitations – that handling a severely disabled child, for example, would be beyond our ken? Sure. But we had to do some real soul searching through the adoption process of just what ‘wanting to be parents’ meant to us, and it broadened our minds – honestly, any parent-to-be, biological, adoptive or otherwise, should have to go through what we did in some ways. Infertility in some was was a blessing in disguise to explore the true meaning of ‘parenting’.

And as for the infertile not being owed babies, and it’s up to nature to decide who has one … well, when the ability to parent biologically is honestly a lottery ticket, and many undeserving people hit the jackpot while so many who are sincere and genuine in simply wanting to provide a little person a home lose out. It’s not an ‘entitlement’ issue … the adoption process in itself is a crapshoot. Ours went incredibly smoothly and lasted a year ‘bell to bell’, as it were. Others have to wait much longer. Others even more open-minded (or richer) than us might have an even quicker placement. But I do believe people willing to put in the time and the work to prove that they truly want to be parents, deserve … not a guaranteed child, but a chance. That’s all the process offers us, just like that’s all nature offers bio-parents out there. And trust me – the process is tough! If we’d given any sign of ‘healthy white baby, no exceptions please’, I would be willing to wager a small fortune (because I don’t have a big one) that we’d have never been approved for a placement.

I guess my thing is this – I am all for opposing opinions, especially on things so fraught as … well, anything surrounding parenting. Go make babies in the bedroom, in a lab, or adopt ones who are already here …  be permissive or strict, attachment-oriented or more laissez-fair … I might make the same choices, different ones, or be limited in my choices as the case may be, but they’re our choices right, and we will all have our own approach, and as long as your child is basically happy and healthy I won’t go banging you over the head about it. All of this stuff can be problematic and I acknowledge I’m not going to be looking at adoption through the same paradigm as a birth parent or adoptee. But please – if you are going to have a strong opinion, please let it be an informed one? I mean, I know internet message boards and comment sections are prime territory for the mouth (or fingers over the keyboard) moving more quickly than the brain, but don’t tar all adoptive parents with the same brush as some who have used or abused the system … or been failed by it, depending on your – and here’s the magic word – perspective.



Canada-and-the-United-States

 

This past weekend, it was Canada Day here in the Great White North (except, you know, not so white and snow-covered in July, believe it or not! Our igloos have melted!). This is when we celebrate Confederation, the coming together of the first few of our Canadian provinces under a Federal system. It might not be as exciting or sexy a story as our American brothers and sisters to the south are celebrating today – Independence Day – as they fought for their freedom in an outright Revolution, but it still represents our first steps towards our own decision-making as a country, which … while still nominally a member of the British Commonwealth, really, we do to this day.

Meanwhile, today, as mentioned, my American family and friends are celebrating Independence Day, the day they declared independence from the British, and fought long and hard to do so. While freedom is always imperfect, and both the US and Canada continue to struggle towards “a more perfect union”, towards “peace, order and good government”, I still can’t help but think we North Americans have gotten at least a few things right over the years … including the right to point it out, criticize, and elect new representation when we DON’T get it right!

Happy Canada Day! Happy Independence Day!



et cetera