Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Revenge of the Meanies

I don't usually write this sort of thing because I hate drama. I hate drama and I inherently shrink away from people who perpetuate it by giving it attention. But I want to address something that has recently become an issue for me. I'm going to address it and then I'm going to leave it be because I don't want this to be the sort of blog that's all whining or drama or negativity.

I just deleted the nastiest, vilest, most hate-filled comment I have ever received. I am trying not to cry right now. Never in a million years would I have believed that anyone would say something so horrible, so evil to me.

The person who left this comment can't possibly have thought I'd actually publish the horrible things she said to me. I've made my opinions on meanies quite clear. So I can only assume that her purpose in leaving the comment was to hurt me.

Well, jerkface, mission accomplished. You hurt me. You almost made me cry. You made me feel like total crap. Why? Why did you do that? Why say such horrible things to me? You don't even know me! Clearly, you think I am a horrible, evil person and that adoption is an abomination. I get that. Then why read my blog? Why bother? You've insulted me. To what end?

I want to make something abundantly clear: I LOVE adoption. I do! And I chose adoption because of love. Love love love. There is NOTHING in heaven or earth that anyone can say or do to change my mind. No amount of vile filth, anger, or nastiness that is flung my way is ever going to change that. If you want to be a rage-filled hatemonger, go right ahead. But that kind of abominable cruelty has no place on my blog. I'm not going to publish it and I'm not even going to mention specifics because I'm not going to promote that kind of attitude or behavior.

I'm not going to stoop to that level of anger. I'm just going to say this: If you are a meanie, leave me and my blog alone. Please. I'm asking you nicely. If you can't play nice, if you're only going to spew hatred, go elsewhere. Please. Please go away.

And now I'll return you to your regularly scheduled, mostly-optimistic blogging.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Quick Niles, pull up the ladder, she's found our clubhouse!"

Last night I thought of that quote from the TV show Frasier. It felt appropriate, given the circumstances.

I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later. I've had this blog for nearly a year now. I should be surprised it didn't happen sooner. But it didn't happen sooner, and I was lulled into a false sense of security. I felt like my blog was one of the last safe little corners of the Internet.

But last night, it happened - the meanies found my clubhouse. And they had a lot to say. Thank goodness for comment moderation!

So far, I have published only one of the comments I got - the commenter disagreed very agreeably, which I appreciate. I have no problem with that sort of not-so-mean meanie. But the others weren't as nice. For some reason, I can't bring myself to delete their comments on my moderation page. I can't read them all the way through - I feel angry and sick halfway through - and yet I can't bring myself to delete them. I could publish then, I suppose, and leave follow-up comments trying to refute their nastiness and explain my position. But I've seen that done on other blogs, and it never works. The angrier a person is, the less likely they are to react with anything other than more anger.

I understand that. I understand the psychology of that kind of behavior, anyway. And I know that there are meanies out there (I've discussed them at length on this very blog), and that for many women, many years ago, adoption was a bad thing.

I know all that, but that doesn't mean I want any of it anywhere near my blog. There's enough anger and bile and filth out there (I'm looking at you, Ms. I'm-going-to-liberally-sprinkle-every-comment-with-the-F-word). I can't stop any of that. But I'm sure as heck not going to give it so much as a pixel on my blog. I'm not going to entertain or encourage or even try to understand that kind of rage and hatred. It has no place here. None.

The invasion of the meanies brought to the front of my mind something that's been floating around for a while now - what is the purpose of this blog?

When I started it last year, I wrote it for P and M and for Roo when she gets bigger and can read and understand. And I wrote it for me, so I'd have a record of this significant time in my life. It honestly never occurred to me that anyone else would want to read it. My mother, maybe. Close friends, if I ever made any. Family, perhaps. But I didn't write it for any of them. It wasn't their blog. It was Roo's.

My, how things have changed! I had 89 followers when I checked this morning, and thanks to Google Analytics I know that I have plenty of regular readers beyond those who follow. It's kind of amazing. And overwhelming. And sometimes creepy and weird. I've had moments of, "Who are all you people and why are you reading my blog?"

When I first started to get blog followers, I panicked. I considered making my blog private. But I also got these amazing, kind, meaningful e-mails from people who were touched by my story and who thanked me for being willing to share. So I kept my blog public.

But as time passes, and I tell more and more, I still question that decision. I've seen people on other adoption blogs gloss over parts of their stories because they (rightly) feel that the stories have almost a sacred quality, and they don't want to cheapen them or tell them to just anyone. And I think, am I doing that? Have I cheapened Roo's beautiful story by sharing too much? Do I share too much?

I think, maybe I should stop with the story parts. Maybe I should make it not about Roo at all and more about me and things after placement. Maybe I should start a new, private blog for the Roo stuff so I can keep it special, just for her. And I have, but I worry that maybe the damage, if that's the right word, has been done. I think I'll always worry that I've said too much, things I can't take back.

Blah. My brain is a jumble of this sort of thought at the moment. I wish the jumble would settle a bit so I could sift through the rubble and try to arrive at some sort of decision or conclusion. My mother told me that my blog is important, that it has helped people and changed their minds and hearts, and that Roo will appreciate it when she's older. I'm not sure what I think.

What I do know is I don't want meanies hanging around here. I'm not saying that adoption is absolutely always a wonderful thing. But this blog isn't just about any old adoption. It is about Roo's adoption, which was a wonderful thing. Call it denial or stupidity on my part if you want, but I'd rather not hear about adoptions gone wrong. I'd rather not know why the meanies are meanies. Knowing why they're angry isn't going to make me a better, happier person. It's not going to change how I feel about the adoptions closest to my heart. I'd rather just stay away.

And I'd rather they stayed away from me, too. Nothing and no one in this world will ever convince me that placing Roo wasn't the best thing I could have done for her. Nope, sorry. No talking me out of that one. And this blog is still, at heart, a blog for Roo. So there.

So consider this my official notice. I'm posting a sign outside my treehouse. No meanies allowed! I'm not going to share or spread your anger, and I'm not going to change my mind. Play nice here or find a meanie treehouse to play in.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm Sure I'll Rant About This Later ...

... As a matter of fact, I know I will. But I just want to say this now, while the thought is fresh in my mind.

Having a baby out of wedlock doesn't make a woman a horrible, evil person. It just means she's made some mistakes. It doesn't mean she should be treated like crap. It doesn't mean you're better than she is just because you've never made those mistakes. Those mistakes aren't your business. They're between her and God, and they're not for you to judge.

Jesus said to love everyone. He didn't say to love only perfect people. If you read the scriptures you'll notice that He spent His time with the sick and the afflicted - with the sinners and the lepers. He wasn't mean to them. He treated them kindly, He taught them to be better, and He loved them.

So if you want to judge me and treat me rudely, fine. Just don't do it under the guise of Christianity. We both know better than that.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

June 2009, Part Two

When I was a preschooler, my mom’s sister had a baby. I was excited, because I loved my baby dolls. My favorite was a bald little Cabbage Patch baby whose plastic head bore the odd scratch and streak of marker that most of my belongings had. It’s been something like twenty-three years now, but I still remember how excited I was when my aunt gave me one of her baby’s diapers to use for my Cabbage Patch baby. A real diaper! It was too big for the doll, but it was still smaller than the last diapers I’d seen (which would be my own diapers from a few years before). That real diaper is still on that Cabbage Patch baby, packed away in a box in the garage.

That diaper was nothing compared to the newborn–size Pampers I’d bought for my baby. They were the absolute tiniest diapers I’d ever seen. I can’t count how many times I’d pick one up and squeal over how tiny it was, and get excited for the tiny little person the diapers were for. Pregnancy was fun that way - I got excited about things like diapers.

The nice thing about my crazy hormones was that if I was feeling depressed, I just had to wait it out. Sure enough, I’d be feeling something else soon. Depression this month gave way to an excited nervousness. I couldn’t wait to meet my little girl.

From my journal: “I can't believe I'm going to be a mommy to a tiny new person. I know you will be a LOT of work but you will so be worth it! I love you so much already. I can't wait to see your squishy little newborn face and count your fingers and toes (even though I know they're all good from the ultrasound). I just know you will be the cutest, smartest and cleverest baby in the world, ever. I'm going to be an unbearable braggart. I can't wait to have you to brag about.”

One night my mother and I were in the living room, talking about things, and I was getting uncomfortable so I shifted to my side to relieve the pain. Something felt amiss but it took me a few minutes to realize what it was: my baby wasn’t wiggling. She ALWAYS wiggled when I was on my side. I panicked. I spent the next hour rubbing and patting my belly, crying and praying, desperate for a flutter or a foot in the ribs. I got half a hiccup.

I drank some OJ. Baby Girl loved OJ and usually did a happy dance when I had some. Nothing. I pulled the stethoscope out of my mom’s first aid things and searched for a heartbeat but I was so nervous that all I could hear was the frantic pounding of my own heart. Then, finally, after what felt like an eternity, I felt a little outward push.

I calmed a bit, but even though the perceived danger had passed, I had a new fear. My pregnancy had been healthy and uneventful thus far and I hadn’t had to worry about that – my baby was safe and warm and happy in her watery home. Now I didn’t have that assurance. I felt helpless. Something could have been wrong and I couldn’t have done anything! I was glad I was due soon. The last thing I needed was something new to panic about.

I bought a crib and mattress on sale. I was relieved to know that I finally had everything I needed for a baby. But I was a bit nervous at the prospect of being the only one to care for my baby. I didn’t know what I was doing! I’m the youngest in my family and my experience with babies was limited to my nieces and nephews. When they cried or fussed or needed new diapers I just passed them on to their parents.

I wondered for the millionth time if keeping my baby was a selfish choice. Was it wrong to raise my little girl without a father? I hoped not. I hoped that I could find a good man soon to be her daddy. I continued to go to church every week, even as my belly got more and more conspicuous. My baby seemed to like church. She wiggled happily throughout. I’d grown accustomed to people staring at my belly and then pretending they didn’t see me. I didn’t care. God had been there for me when no one else had, and I knew I wanted my little girl to grow up going to church and learning how much her Father in Heaven loves her.

I had a little panic in church on Father’s Day, though. This was a whole new can of worms I hadn’t even thought of yet. My little girl was going to feel so left out when all the other kids got up on Father’s Day to sing to their daddies. She would have no one to sing to. She would wonder why the other kids had dads and she didn’t. What if the other kids made fun of her? Made her cry? I couldn’t bear the thought. I pushed it aside. Something could always be worked out, I thought. I just didn’t know what.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Name Calling

I have made an effort to whine less and help more on this blog. Whether I've been successful is anyone's guess, because a lot of my little rants are actually whines in disguise aren't they (cold risotto, anyone)? But I hope that my whiny rants skew towards education rather than irritation. And on that note, here's another :-)

One of the first things I noticed when I encountered adoption meanies on the interwebs was that many of the birth mom meanies consider the phrase "birth mom" to be the vilest of insults. One compared using it to using the N-word. And I thought, wow, really? Because I've never heard "birth mom" used as a put-down, an slam, an insult, a verbal weapon, or a dressing-down. Maybe that's just me and my sheltered little life of hot risotto (sorry, I really liked my cold risotto analogy and I'm probably going to use it to death here). Maybe there are circles of people and places in the world where if you want to deal someone a terrible blow, you call her a birth mother.

But I've never felt that way. You may have noticed that I refer to myself and others like me as birth moms. I certainly don't take offense to it and you can be sure that I don't mean it to offend anyone else. I think that a birth mother is a great thing to be!

The meanies feel that calling a woman a birth mother is insulting, akin to referring to her as an incubator or a breeder. Again I think, really? The only names that would suggest to me that a woman was an incubator or a breeder are ... well, incubator, and breeder.

The meanies would much rather be referred to as natural mothers, first mothers, or original mothers. All three of those make me a little uncomfortable. Because if I'm Roo's natural, first, original mother, what does that make Roo's mama? Unnatural? Second? Unoriginal - an impostor? Pshaw. I don't buy that for a second. Roo's mother is her real, natural, actual mother. I didn't place with a robot or a cardboard cutout.

Why is it that all of these so-called less offensive names for birth moms are inherently offensive to the parents of an adopted child? Can't we be friends, people? Can't we all have nice names? Does one person really have to demand to be called something that makes them look like the better person? I realize I'm speaking from the non-smoking section of the restaurant here, but I don't know a single adoptive mom or dad who feels like they're superior to their child's birth mom. The adoptive parents I know love and respect their children's birth moms. Doesn't that deserve love and respect in turn, rather than being called or thought of as second-best, unnatural or fake?

I'm in a different situation than a lot of birth moms, too, because I single parented for nine weeks. I think that in my situation, I certainly could make the case for being Roo's original mother, or first mother.

But I don't, and I never will. If it was that important to me to be seen as Roo's mother - to BE her mother, I wouldn't have placed her. As I've said before, Roo's parents are her parents, no qualifiers or modifiers or any other kind of adjective necessary.

Again, the meanies would object. That's not fair! Why is it that I, a quote-unquote first mother, am the one who gets an adjective and the adoptive parents get to be just plain Mom and Dad? Easy. I'm the one who placed a child for adoption. They're the ones who parent that child. It makes much more sense to me for me to be the one with an explanation attached.

But there's another difference there. The meanies never refer to placing a child for adoption. They say they "lost a child to adoption." What a horrible attitude! I certainly didn't lose Roo. I know exactly where she is. She and I both gained so much from placement! Loss is the last word I'd pin on her adoption.

I'm doing my short-story-long thing again, and I apologize. The point I want to make today, I suppose, is simply this: I am a birth mother, and I'm perfectly happy being called just that.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I get some interesting questions in my e-mail and I've decided to answer some of them here on my blog.

Here's one I got a few weeks ago. It was a bit meandering, so I've paraphrased.

What do you call Roo's parents? I have seen in some birthmom blogs their birth child's parents are called the adoptive parents or Aparents. Do you use either of those? I have not noticed it on your blog and I wondered how you feel about it.

You haven't noticed it on my blog because I refuse to add modifiers or qualifiers. P and M are Roo's parents, plain and simple. I call them by their names. I hate cutesy terms like Aparents. If others want to use them, that's fine, I won't judge, but I think, Roo isn't ever going to call P and M her "Aparents" so why should I? To her, they'll be Mama and Dada, Mommy and Daddy, Mom and Dad. They ARE her mom and dad. So I refer to them as her mom and dad. I don't see a need in speaking or writing to specify with an adjective that they adopted her. I'm not her mother, I'm her birth mother. So if I'm ever talking about her parents, I'm sure not talking about myself! (And I am sure as heck not talking about H, either.)

I hope that makes sense. I feel like I used a lot more words than I needed to.

I did get asked once what Roo will call her parents as she grows up. To which I can only say to the asker, what did you call your parents as you grew up? I'm betting you didn't call them Biological Mom and Biological Dad. They were just plain Mom and Dad, right? Or Mother and Father, if you grew up in that kind of family. Why would Roo call her parents anything different?

I love answering questions, even stupid ones. E-mail me at thehappiestsad AT gmail DOT com, or use the little Formspring box in my sidebar.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cold Risotto Redux

Confession time: I'm a nosy sort of person by nature. Not nosy, maybe, because that sounds disrespectful. Let's say I'm curious. I think part of it is that I'm the youngest in my family and I always felt like everyone else knew something I didn't. I still feel that way at times. I was the rare teenager who hated missing a day of school, because I was always afraid that on the day I stayed home, they'd announce something important, and I'd miss out.

I digress.

I was recently featured on the BirthMom Buds blog, which was a thrill for me. I found that, in the weeks following placement, when I was feeling down I could always find an inspiring quote or song on BirthMom Buds. Anyway. Every so often I'll click over to the post I'm in and see if anyone's commented - not because I think anyone should, necessarily, just out of curiosity. Has anyone found me comment-worthy?

There was nothing for a while and I was fine with that, because if no one had anything to say that at least meant no one had anything mean to say. But I clicked over a few minutes ago, and there was a comment. It was left by an anonymous person, of course. I've noticed that when people have unkind or unpleasant things to say on the internet they very rarely take credit for them. This person took exception to me saying that Roo was meant to be with the family she has. Anonymous said that if she was meant to be theirs, they would have conceived her.

I thought that was pretty mean. Does this person think that people with fertility problems aren't meant to be parents? Rude! Some of the best parents I know didn't conceive their children. I tried not to let it bother me, because I don't particularly care what Anonymous believes - I KNOW that God meant for Roo to be with P and M, and no amount of anonymous nay-saying will ever convince me otherwise. I tried not to let it bother me, because Anonymous went on to say that she (?) was traumatized upon being told that she was adopted. Cold risotto: served. And maybe I'd be likewise crabby if my risotto has been cold, too.

But I find myself bothered just the same. Part of it has to do with me mistakenly clicking over to the blog of one of the anti-adoption meanies I took to task here. I do wish people would label their blogrolls a bit more accurately. I expected a birth mother blog and instead I ended up on the blog of a woman who quote-unquote lost a child to adoption. And it wasn't enough for her to opine thusly. She had a few comments from people who tried to tell her that although her experience wasn't a good one, theirs had been. And this meanie called these people some of the filthiest, most vulgar names imaginable and verbally ripped them to shreds. I've read some anti-adoption stuff before, but this was the most evil and hate-filled. I felt physically ill after about thirty seconds.

You know what bothers me? It bothers me that these people have taken something like adoption - something that is, for me, an act of pure love on both sides - and turned it into something nasty and vile. I feel like it taints the proverbial waters. I feel dirty just having read such filth. I hate that I could ever be put on a blogroll with such people, grouped together with them under the nebulous heading of "first mother blogs." (A term I hate, by the way. I'm a birth mother, thankyouverymuch, none of this "first" or "natural" nonsense for me.) I hate the thought of people like that reading my blog and thinking mean, evil thoughts about me or Roo or her family. I feel sick just thinking about it.

And what breaks my heart even more is to see that these meanies are giving advice to adoptive parents who, meaning well, ask questions with the ostensible hope that their childrens' birth moms won't end up as bitter and hate-filled as the blog authors.

I read one such question and answer, and the answer made me very, very angry. So angry, in fact, that I had to stop myself from leaving a comment refuting every selfish, hurtful point made in the answer. I thought that maybe I'd have a new feature on my blog where I re-answer such questions from a sane, healthy perspective.

For example, I can't imagine that I will ever once feel hot daggers in my heart when Roo calls her mother "Mommy" even once, much less every single time for the rest of my life. Quite the opposite, at my last visit when I asked Roo where Mama was and she pointed at her smiling mama, my heart felt full.

Adoption is not an "ongoing loss" for me. P and M are not "the winner[s] in all of this." We all won - we all love Roo. I certainly don't feel like a loser. How could I? I did something amazing and it changed all of our lives for the better. Placing Roo is probably the one decision in my life so far that I will never, ever regret. The most peace I've ever felt is that moment when I traded my will for God's and accepted that Roo needed to be somewhere else.

I hate the thought of some well-intentioned, concerned adoptive mother being paranoid about talking to her child's birth mom because of the words of such angry, bitter people. I just hope that the question-askers asked the same questions of less livid birth mothers, too. I think our answers are much more reassuring and much less scary.

I've said my bit before about what I think of the Cold Risotto Susans out there, but the problem is that I can't change them, I can't shut them up, and I can't make them go away. I try to ignore them but it can be hard when they seem to come up more and more. They make me angry, and they make me sad. I just wish I knew what to do about them those times I can't ignore them.

How do you, dear readers, handle the angry Susans you run up against?

Today ...

... is my daddy's birthday. He would have been 54.

It's hard to believe he's been gone almost two years now. I still will see or hear something funny and think, I'll have to tell Dad about that. There are actually 5 or 6 pictures I took in Ireland that I took because I wanted to show my dad. It didn't occur to me until a few shots in that he wasn't there to see my pictures anymore. It was a strange feeling.

Instead, I talked to him as I looked at the things I took pictures of (weapons on display at the Galway museum). When I hear something funny, I tell him about it. I know he's probably busy, but I talk to him anyway, just in case. I talked to him when I was making the drive from Phoenix to Layton for the FSA conference. I talk to him when I'm watering the orange tree in the back yard, and when I'm watching a TV show we once watched together, and when I'm feeling sad and miss him.

I should be used to it by now. I shouldn't have these little moments where I'm surprised not to hear his voice on the phone, or see him mowing the lawn. I should be used to him being gone by now. Usually I am. I guess I just forget every now and then.

I miss him so much! I hate that when he died I'd been making such poor choices. I know he was worried about me. I hated it. I felt like such a disappointment. All I ever wanted was for my daddy to be proud of me and what I made of myself.

I hope he's proud of me now.

Happy birthday, Daddy.

Monday, August 9, 2010

June 2009, Part One - Crying

It was hot. I was tired. My baby was wiggly.

To stretch out without pain, and to combat the heat, I’d begun swimming every day at the neighborhood pool. The water was cool and lovely and it was so nice to have a break from carrying around my baby weight. My baby seemed to enjoy the water, too – I noticed that when I swam, she wiggled a little differently in my belly as though she could feel the sudden weightlessness of her home.

The car seat and stroller set I’d had an eye on went on sale at Target, so I bought it. I had fun putting the stroller together and attaching a few toys to the handle of the car seat. I knew my baby wouldn’t appreciate them for a while but I thought they were cute. I also had fun (yes, fun) finishing up the last of the pre-baby laundry, folding it and putting it away. All that I needed was a crib and a baby. I was nervous but excited.

Having almost everything ready for my baby gave me time to worry about other things. If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s worrying. My newest fear scared me, though. I already loved my baby so much, but I knew that half of her came from H. What if I loved her less for that? What if she looked just like him and it hurt me to see her face? I hated that thought. I never wanted my baby to feel I was punishing her for the mistakes I’d made. I hated that I was in a situation where I hoped my baby didn’t look like her father. This was not the life I’d planned, and this was certainly not how I’d hoped to become a mother.

From my journal: “I was reading on the ParentsConnect blog today about the best things about being pregnant, and someone commented that one of the nice things is that they were never really alone. I liked that. I thought about that when I was home alone tonight. That I wasn't alone, because I had you to keep me company. You wiggled then, too, as if to remind me that you were there.”

My emotions were all over the place. I would have these moments of great joy and excitement followed by the worst sort of depression and fear. I was going to have a baby – a wonderful, happy, exciting time – but no one was excited. No one was happy. I was curled up on the couch one night, crying, and my mother tried to cheer me up. She asked me what baby names I liked. As I rehearsed my list (with pros and cons), it occurred to me that here I was, three weeks from my due date, and this was the first time anyone had asked me what baby names I liked. How sad was that?

Neither my sister nor the younger of my brothers spoke to me on the phone. My mother would talk to them and report that they’d asked about me (more likely they’d asked if I’d come to my senses yet) but she never mentioned specifics and they never asked to speak to me directly. Each time one of them called and told my mother what a horrible mistake I was making, I felt more and more alone. It seemed like my mother was the only person on earth who cared about me and my precious baby.

I cried. Because each time I went to the store, I bought one more baby item alone. Because only my mother had asked about baby names. Because I had no friends to talk to about anything. Because I was single and my ex was a jerk and our relationship had been so messed up that my skin crawled at the thought of a man even looking at me again. Because even if that wasn’t so, I was still alone. Because I felt like I was relying too much on my mother and it wasn’t fair to her, and because if I didn’t rely on her so much, I would be completely alone in the world.

I cried because no one thought I should keep my baby, because no one cared how I felt about it, because no one would ever be happy for me, throw me a baby shower, buy my baby cute little gifts. Because no one would want a baby announcement from me and I bought them anyway because I could not bear for my little girl to not feel loved and wanted and like the whole world was dying to know exactly when she got here and what she was like. Because this little girl I was going to deliver was precious and sweet and innocent and good and everything seemed so unfair to her – she deserved a million times better. She deserved the world and I didn’t have the strength to give it to her.

I cried because she was all I had, and because there should have been two parents, happy and in love, excited for her to be born. I loved her desperately, and I hated the thought that she might ever think anyone I know didn’t think she was the best thing in the world. She deserved all the love in the world and then some. Why couldn’t my family see that?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cold Risotto

Today, I have a story for you. It's made-up but I think it's a good story. I promise there's a point to it. Here it goes. (My sincerest apologies if your name happens to be Susan. It's a lovely name.)

Once upon a time, a woman - let's call her Susan - went to a restaurant. Susan was very, very hungry. Some people might have thought she was stupid to go to a restaurant when most people cook for themselves, but that was Susan's business, not theirs, and for one reason or other, Susan was going to a restaurant for dinner.

Susan's waitress was very friendly right off the bat. She made Susan feel welcome and kept her water glass full and took her order and promised it would be out shortly. Excited and, as I said, very hungry, Susan eagerly awaited her risotto. She was so hungry, she thought this risotto was going to be the best thing in the world. As she waited, she had visions of risotto dancing in her head and all she could think of was how happy she'd be once the waitress brought out her dish.

Some time passed, and suddenly the waitress was getting as crabby as Susan was. Finally, after half an hour or more, the waitress slammed down a dish of cold risotto and the bill and stalked away. Susan was stunned. And the risotto, in addition to being rather cold, was quite possibly the most disgusting dish of risotto ever served in the history of food.

Susan was, understandably, appalled. She complained to management. The manager was appalled as well, and tried to explain things. Shortly after Susan's order had been placed, the chef quit. The waitress received a phone call from her boyfriend, who dumped her - on the phone, and while she was at work! The manager assured Susan that her dinner was an exception, not the norm. This was a top-notch restaurant with a good reputation. He offered to comp the dinner and pushed a gift card at Susan in the hopes that she would give them another try and see that their restaurant was not as bad as all that.

But Susan was unable to get past her cold risotto experience. She told every person she knew about it. She blogged about what a horrible restaurant it was, and how no one should ever eat there. When people mentioned to her that they'd eaten there and had a lovely time, she railed at them that they must be stupid not to see what a terrible restaurant it was, and she harassed those people repeatedly and with great force about what a bad decision they'd made. She ridiculed them for their naiveté. She found their personal blogs and left numerous comments about what idiots they were to even consider eating at that restaurant again. In Susan's opinion, this restaurant should be closed down immediately and not allowed to open again until changes were made to ensure that no one would ever be served cold risotto again - in fact, they shouldn't even serve risotto. Susan decided to make it her life's work to speak out against the restaurant, and she couldn't understand why the whole world didn't join in her crusade.

Now, you're probably wondering why on earth I am blathering on about snippy Susan and her cold risotto. Susan sounds like a real piece of work, doesn't she? Because really, who could have such an ego as to assume that if they had a bad experience somewhere, no one else should even consider that place?

Let's change the subject for a second, and then I'll get back to Susan.

Sorry, that's a terrible segue. Here's a better one.

That is an awesome Segway.


I have a great experience with adoption. I think it's wonderful. I might not tell the entire world to eat at this restaurant called adoption, but if I knew someone was hungry and didn't know where to eat, I would certainly tell them to consider eating there. I would tell them about my experience so they would know that, even though it serves up the occasional dish of cold risotto, eating out isn't a hazardous thing. It can be, but it doesn't have to be.

But I have noticed that there are a number of Susans in the adoption world - on-line, in any case, and they are just as snippy and unyielding and very much against the institution that they feel wronged them so much. They got cold risotto. And that's not fair, and I won't argue that point. What I take exception to is these Susans (allow me to apologize if your name happens to be Susan) who go on-line and tell hungry people that they need to learn how to cook because restaurants are inherently wrong. I don't like hungry people being told they're going to get food poisoning if they eat out.

You know what? I can't stop these people. I know there are people out there for whom adoption has not been a good thing. I feel sorry for them. The things that have happened to some people are unfair, wrong, and shouldn't happen to anyone. But I get tired of them insisting that adoption is a bad thing, refusing to believe that it can be an amazing and wonderful thing, simply because it wasn't for them.

Adoption was the best thing in the world for my little Roo. It was the best thing in the world for my mother. And it was the best thing in the world for probably close to 100 little children I can think of just off the top of my head. I'm sure there are countless others for whom it was also the best. We're all happy with our risotto. We are proof that the restaurant isn't a bad place, that the risotto isn't always cold and that, just the opposite, it's frequently the best dish on the menu.

Susan's risotto was bad, but that doesn't mean I'm going to let her tell me that my risotto was a mistake and that I'm going to regret it for the rest of my life and that I "lost" my appetite to risotto.

For every horrible, traumatic, food-poisoning story you hear about adoption, there are probably ten thousand stories or the best dinner ever that no one ever tells. Cold risotto makes for good news. A cozy family meal interests no one.

Is adoption always the right, best, most wonderful thing in the world? Nope. Because it involves people, and people are imperfect. But I think each hungry person should be able to decide for him- or herself how best to have dinner.