Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Today is June 30.


Fifty three years ago today, a lovely 19 year old brunette, draped in the lace, tulle, and stiff netting common to the mid-1950s, walked down the aisle of a Catholic church in Tucson. This was an arduous thing, since it was the days before air conditioning, and it was already 90+ degrees. And these were the days of the Latin Mass, so it wasn’t a short ceremony.

My father (just turned 27), his dad, and his gentlemen were dressed in white jackets, dark pants, bow ties and cummerbunds. The pictures show that one of his gentlemen wore white socks with his dress shoes. I guess there’s one at every wedding.

My parents were married by the Bishop of Tucson, one Daniel Gercke, who was a great friend of my grandparents. He of course is now long dead; however, his near life-size portrait hangs in the entry of my parents’ house, an everyday reminder.

A young cousin of my mother’s was the ring bearer, with the ring tied to a white satin heart-shaped pillow.

This wedding would be the last great gathering for both sides of the family, as my mother’s younger brothers never had the grandiose ceremonies she had and my father was the youngest of his many siblings, and they would fracture and scatter. But nobody knew that then – it was a hot desert day, a beautiful ceremony in a lovely church, a beautiful couple, a reception at the dude ranch owned by my mother’s uncle, pictures taken in front of the massive oleander hedges in full bloom.

It was a beautiful day. Not a cloud in the sky – literally or figuratively.


Forty-two years, four sons and four daughters born, two daughters’ deaths, three grandchildren, isolation, misunderstandings, many moves and permanent shifts in relationships later, my parents, my #2 brother (2B), #4 brother (4B) and myself were at 2B’s condo having a barbecue to celebrate. 1B was down in Tucson leading, by choice, his isolated life; 3B and his psychobitch wife withheld their children from my parents; #1 sister was in California busy. So it was just 2B and 4B and me. It was a nice time.

I stayed as long as practicable. As soon as was polite, however, I bolted for hockey practice. I liked hockey practice. Besides, there was this tall, dark preppie boy that I’d been dating – nothing serious, just dinner, movies, a hug here, a light smooch there – for the last month or so. I was late to practice, but still got some of it in.

The guy I was dating lingered with me in the parking lot afterwards. We waited until everyone was gone for some quiet time. We talked, we lingered, we were close, and he kissed me – a real one, not just a smooch – that summer night.

How was I to know that this was the start of the best time of my life? How was I to know that three and three-quarter years later I’d walk down the aisle with him? That the kid who shyly asked me out would turn out to truly be a knight in shining armor?

Who knew that I would use the very same satin heart-shaped pillow that my mother carried by her ring-bearer in my own wedding? I still have it; it's in my closet with the goblet we used for receiving the Eucharist at our own wedding Mass.

DH's and my wedding anniversary is in April, but this one, on this day, is just as important. It was the beginning of the rest of my life.

Hell yeah, I’m so lucky.


So June 30 has good karma for me. I’m sad my mother didn’t live to see her 50th (she missed it by three months), 51st, 52nd, and now 53rd wedding anniversary, but the day itself was a day of good karma for her, too.

I think June 30 is the only one in my mind at the moment that has such a status.

Friday, June 26, 2009

HR 213: Blitzing Washington

Being a good doobie and researching things, I know that there are some tax benefits to adopting. I came across this blog entry by David and Cindy, and as soon as I was able, I found out where HR 213, The Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2009, was: it's still languishing in the Ways and Means Committee in the House. It hasn't moved a muscle.

So I fired off letters to my three Washington representatives. I used my late mother's name in the letter to Jon Kyl; appealed to John McCain as an adoptive father; alluded to the fact that Harry Mitchell and his wife taught at my high school, and that my older siblings had his classes, in that letter and now represents my Congressional District. Simple, one page letters.

Then I emailed an Arizona Congressman who is a co-sponsor of the Bill, John Shadegg - and requested that he send an update since, at the time I wrote the letter, the online Bill tracker was down. Another simple, one page letter. Any more than that, it gets ignored.

But here's the phrase I essentially used for all four letters: "Since 2009 is already halfway over, it is imperative that attention be drawn to the House Bill, get it moving, have it bandied about, and get it passed before the sunset provisions of the 2001 Act take place in 2010." I also suggested that the relief be made permanent in each of the letters.

As a side note, isn't it stupid for something SO IMPORTANT to have a sunset date? As if the importance of adoption, and assistance for it, was temporary and therefore disposable! Sheesh.

I'm also going to put a bug in the ear of people who can make a buzz locally, so the buzz can extend to Washington.

As David and Cindy advocated sending letters to your representatives in Washington, I now would like to pass along the same advocacy on my page. Call and/or write your senators and representatives on Capitol Hill. Write your papers, talk to people, write advocacy groups, talk to local politicos on both sides of the aisle, make it known how important HR 213 is! Everyone in the adoption community needs to have attention drawn to this very important Bill.

Let me know what you're doing! How creative can you get?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Phoenix Adoption Seminars: Beverly Quidort

One thing I have noticed is a complete dearth of advertised adoption seminars in the Phoenix area. The one I referred to in a previous post I wound up not being able to go to; I had to work late, and it was waaaaayyyy the hell out in the northwest valley. Besides, the information was published in the paper the same day it was held – hardly enough notice to get body and soul together.

I look online, and there just isn’t much. I do find a lot of information on past seminars and workshops... you know, from 2007 and 2008. That’s just not helpful.

However, lucky me! The SW and Agency strongly suggested attending the workshops held by Beverly Quidort (KEE-dorr) here in Phoenix, usually held on a Tuesday when there’s enough attendees. Her workshops have a cost of $30 for an individual and $40 per couple – extremely reasonable, considering the costs of other (past!) events I’ve come across.

So, in a shameless but unpaid plug, I’m sharing with you that DH and I are attending the following workshop she has scheduled for the first week of July. From the information sheet, here's the information:

This workshop is for those who are pursuing a private adoption and are currently, or in the process of being certified. We will explore the value of networking as a way to let others know you are interested in adopting. Emphasis will be placed on The Birth Parent Letter, which is a primary networking tool. We will explore how to write a birth parent letter, what information should and should not be included, and who should receive copies of the letter. This is a practical, hands-on workshop, so bring your ideas for an evening of information and fun.

I think this is a really good one to start with (duh), especially since I’ve sort of hit a brick wall with my drafts of a PBM letter. Part of it, I know, is that everything is hanging in the air. I know that there’s no point in bugging SW for news; once they’ve submitted the report, it’s out of their hands and at the whim and manpower of the courts. Like I told DH, despite knowing it’s not an overnight thing, I’m impatient, excited, and oh so ready to move along in this journey. I want to know, dammit!

A little background on her: Beverly is a specialist in adoption, a mother to two adopted children, and has been in the social service field and adoption for over 20 years. She focuses on facilitation and counseling of the adoption process for birth parents, adoptive parents and the adoptee. Her expertise includes international adoptions, post adoption search, preparation of certification studies and other reports for the court, facilitation and counseling for hundreds of adoptions. So not only does she work the field, she has been there herself as she has two adopted children, and is imparting her personal experience. This is the kind of stuff I like to see when going to things like this: practical, hands-on experience.

I will say here that as a contact, Beverly is very responsive. I left a message, she returned my call within two hours. We played a little more phone tag, but we connected and she was very friendly and responsive, and eager to help.

Here are some of the other workshops she holds, scheduled for when there’s enough interest:

Join us as we take a look at one side of the adoptive triangle - the birth parents. What is an “open” adoption? Are there different degrees of openness? Are there any benefits to having an open adoption? Are there any problems? What does openness mean to me, the adoptive parent? What impact does openness have on an adoptive child? What does the birth parent want? We will answer these questions and more during this interesting and informative evening. A panel of birth parents will join us, and share their experience and answer any questions first hand.

What do I need to know about parenting an adopted child? Adopted children go through different developmental stages. Some stages are common to all children, others focus on adoption issues. In this workshop, we will explore how to raise an adopted child in a healthy environment. Topics will include when and how to tell your child he/she is adopted, what adoption issues are raised during a child’s development, and how to present adoption in a healthy, positive way. Talking to your child about adoption will have a life-long impact on your child’s self esteem. Learn how adoption impacts your child’s life, and how you can support your child through the process of working through these issues.

If you live in the Phoenix area and would like to inquire about any of Beverly’s classes, please call her at (602) 861-3950. All of these seminars are held at 1118 East Missouri in Phoenix – just north of 12th Street and Camelback Road.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Friday... A Crazy Weekend Coming Up

I haven't gone anywhere. Just have been busy, and having a grand ol' time picking apart that awful book that really should have been titled, "Twenty Ways Your Adopted Kid Will Be Scarred For Life Because Adoption is Traumatic, Awful, and Miserable For the Kid." Stay tuned for my review which will be liberally sprinkled with snark and cussing.
The thought just flew through my mind that maybe, just maybe, this time next year we might be celebrating DH's first Father's Day. I don't think I've ever openly thought that in previous years. It's sorta mind-boggling. :)
Since SIL was insanely generous and kind in taking we ladies to Ireland, I figured (and DH agreed) that it was only fair that we pick up the bill for Father's Day. We picked this place at the mall where he and I had been pleasantly surprised at how good it was, as well as being reasonable. DH had not called his sister with the plans - I'd been trying not to be a nag, as he and his sister are something akin to oil and water - until Monday. By then, her selective hearing only heard that we were picking up the bill. So, when DH finally called her on Monday night, she completely steamrolled him and declared that we're not going where DH and I planned, but to the restaurant where Princess Entitlement works so she could be there. "I'll call [FIL], she said, and essentially hung up, giving DH absolutely no room for rebuttal.
Damn lawyers.
I was completely steamed. There was a part of my brain that wondered if this was part of the price for accepting her offer for the trip, but the rest of me was appalled at her presumption and rudeness. I was shocked at DH for not getting a word in - he's usually much more aggressive than that - but more shocked at SIL. I simmered all night. What really pissed me off was when, after completely upending what we had planned to suit her, she said condescendingly, "Oh, and Allie's father is welcome to join us."
W. T. F.??? Excuse me? As if my father's a second-class citizen. I was infuriated. I stormed upstairs and didn't talk to DH the rest of the night - not so much that it was his fault, but he happened to be the target.
Tuesday morning, I sent out an email that was entitled, "Sunday's Plans Stay As They Are." I was really proud of myself - I didn't say what I was really thinking, and didn't point fingers. I sent it to that whole side of the family. What I did say about the conversation was a) I didn't care for how it went down, and I hope it never happens again, b) plans stay as they are, period, and c) tough cookies that PE won't be able to join us - adulthood sucks sometimes.
Not a peep in reply. Not one.
FIL was peeved at SIL. He's tired of the PE-centric crap too, considering that PE has completely blown them off since she's been home from college. He was supposed to talk to her. DH talked to MIL after the stupid call, and he's not sure that she's on his side - she historically takes SIL's side, no matter what.
If I wind up taking just my dad, fine. I know he'll enjoy it.
I hate family holidays sometimes.
Stay tuned... scathing review to come. :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I Don't Understand It Either

I don't usually venture into politics, and am not going to get into my personal thoughts about politicians and their crap, but I wanted to quote this response to Julie's post today by Brigid:

I can't believe that in light of the huge push to ADOPT unwanted babies instead of MURDERING THEM IN THE WOMB the Right isn't pushing for more tax credits for adoption. It just isn't rational!

Without getting into murky political waters, I'll just say that I agree that it's a strange paradox. Someone I know who is a active in the local pro-life movement has not, as far as I know, addressed this issue. The lawmakers should.

And it's also strange: you would think that one of my US Senators, who is none other than John McCain (who is himself an adoptive parent), would be spearheading the adoption tax credit push and be vocal about it. I don't think he's even heard of it.

Go figure.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Book Report, First Impressions of "Twenty Things..."

I got through the intro and completed the first chapter—the FIRST CHAPTER!—of "Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew " last night. I have to say, without a shred of shame, that it pissed me off. Hugely. I almost hurled the book across the room. Instead, I set it down with control, and read the biography of Alice until I calmed down. I'll pick it up again tonight now that my initial feelings of resentment have calmed.

Being an avid bibliophile from an early age, I can’t ever remember a first chapter of any book pissing me off so much.

I honestly didn't care for the implication that I must feel guilty for "taking" the child from the birth parent, even though I haven't actually done it yet. I didn't care for Eldridge pushing the idea that the newborn has the memory in the womb of the mother's negative feelings about adoption, or a memory of being yanked, and that every adoptee is sad and confused and angry and damaged for the rest of his or her life. This is just the first chapter!

Out of curiosity, I went to Amazon and read the 184 or whatever reviews. Back-asswards, I know, but I don’t like being swayed by reviews before I buy a book – I like reading with an open mind. I'm glad to know that I'm not alone in sensing the negativity coming through the print. One reviewer said, "... [the book] made me as a prospective adoptive mother feel horrible and guilty for wanting to adopt a baby." That’s exactly how I felt as soon as I finished the first chapter.

That reviewer’s statement is especially damning because, in many of the reviews, you then have adoptees who are curious as to what Eldridge, a fellow adoptee and also an adopter, has to say, and some of the adoptees who posted are in turn adopting themselves; and a lot of them are saying no, adoption is not that negative. One even said, “I wanted to tell the author to shut up. I love my life. I love my parents. I wouldn't and couldn't have chose [sic] anything better.”
I have to get through the rest of the book. I want to give the benefit of the doubt. More later.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Amazon's Gonna Love Me

I just finished my order on Amazon and bought some books.

I bought two of the same book - "" - one for me, one for Dad, so we can discuss the history of the English language.

Another book I bought is "Alice, Princess Andrew of Greece." Whozzat? you ask. Prince Philip's mother.

But more relevantly, I got "The Post Adoption Blues: Overcoming the Unforeseen Challenges of Adoption", "Adoption Is a Family Affair!: What Relatives and Friends Must Know ", and "Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew."

Yay! I have lots of reading to do. :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are + Other Tidbits

Okay, folks.

You can run, but you can't hide.

You can put a bag or mask on your face, but that doesn't help.

The thing is, I can "see" you. I can see people dropping by from Massachusetts, Louisiana, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina and Canada. Yes, Canada.

Isn't the Internet a scary place?

Not here. Come on over and sit a spell.


Guess who has jumped on the celebrity adoption bandwagon? When I read that the wheel landed on Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, I was surprised. From Vietnam, no less. On the other hand, Nicole's done it before, and it's not just a passing fancy. But then another source says their rep denies it. But the Embassy... but but but... I guess we'll have to stay tuned.


Octard has signed a contract with a British company to do a show.

The fact that no American TV producer would touch it with a ten foot pole speaks volumes.

Then we have Jon and Kate going down in flames. I don't watch that show. I don't even watch TV much, folks - but so much crap (read: PR?) has hit my newsgroups like a monster blizzard, and even I can tell you that Kate is a once-normal person who turned into a fame whore once things took off, and Jon is completely and utterly pussy-whipped, no spine at all. She treats him like crap and he just takes it. The kids are seeing this and God knows what effect it will have on them.

Are ratings - and therefore money - really worth it? Somehow I doubt it.

And, well, as you can figure, nothing yet. No surprise. Gah.

I'll be posting on the SB (sister blog) here in a bit. Getting back to work - that novel concept! - after being gone for ten days has gotten in the way. I have a post about a third of the way done.

Have a wonderful week, everyone.