Tuesday, March 20, 2007


photo credit Ed Wilson

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway
And I wonder if I'm really with you now
Or just chasing after some finer day. ...

Anticipation-Carly Simon

There was a lot of anticipation in the Club 166 family today. It's been three years since we've visited the kids' birthmother. Buddy Boy hasn't expressed much of an opinion one way or the other on the trip lately. Until last night, when he said he was going to give "Aunt Kelly" (what we call his birthmother) all of his money so that she could buy a house. Because she was poor and lived in an apartment, so we could buy her a house, or he would just give her money so she could.

"Um, Buddy Boy, that's very generous of you, but I think that you would really hurt her feelings if you did that. Also, just because somebody lives in an apartment doesn't mean they are poor. Mom and I have lived in lots of apartments. So don't say anything about her being poor, and I bet she'd really like it if you gave her and Jeffrey (their 10 year old biological half brother that Kelly is raising) a lot of smiles."

Liz and I have always pursued an "honesty is the best policy" when it comes to talking to the kids regarding their adoption history. Adoption has always been a part of our lexicon, and their birth and adoption stories have also often been discusssed. We've told them that their birthmother loved them, but was not going to be able to take care of them when they were born, and thus made an adoption plan for them, and selected us to be their parents. We've never used the word poor to refer to her, but somehow Buddy Boy has inferred that because she wasn't going to be able to take care of him or Sweet Pea before, and she still lives in an apartment, then she must be poor.

Liz and I were a little anxious about the trip. When we adopted Buddy Boy we agreed to what's called a "semi-open" adoption. That's where the new parents agree to a specified number of pictures/updates over a certain period of time. Our relationship with the kids' birthmother (they both have the same birthmother) has morphed into an open one, with cards, pictures, and letters exchanged on holidays/birthdays, and the one previous trip that we took 3 years ago for a visit (in addition to the time we spent together the 2 times we adopted the kids). When we visited 3 years ago it was obvious to us that Kelly payed a lot of attention to Sweet Pea, and not much attention at all to Buddy Boy (after contacting us and asking us if we wanted to adopt Sweet Pea when she was born, Kelly almost changed her mind in the days following her birth, because 'She had always wanted a girl'). We didn't want a repeat episode of Buddy Boy getting the short end of the stick.

Sweet Pea, for her part, has been counting down the days until we visited "Aunt Kelly". She has pictures from the last trip in a photo album on a shelf in her room, but she doesn't really remember the last trip (she was just shy of two years old). Last night, however, she seemed to be having second thoughts. "I don't want to go tomorrow, Daddy. It's going to take too long in the car, my legs will get stiff, and it's not going to be any fun."

"But don't you want to go see "Aunt Kelly" and Jeffrey? They both love you very much, and I know that they want to see you." [Sweet Pea gives me a sidelong long turned half away from me-I'm not quite sure how to interpret this] "Get some good sleep, sweety pie. It's a long trip, but remember there's a swimming pool at the motel. We'll all go swimming when we're there. It'll be fun." (Reminding her about the swimming pool is a cheap ploy, but I knew it would work. Both kids are suckers for swimming pools. In fact, I think they'd be just as happy for our annual vacation if we stayed in our home town and checked into a motel with a swimming pool).

The trip itself was fairly uneventful. Buddy Boy is a good traveler (riding in the car was always something that soothed him as a child). Riding in the car with both Buddy Boy and Sweet Pea for 5 hours brings the usual sibling squabbles one would expect between kids that are 7 and almost 5. We strategically put the laptop briefcase between them on the backseat as a pseudo barrier, but of course they're big enough to reach over it and poke the other one when they really want to (which is fairly often).

About half way there, Buddy Boy asked me what the red button on the dash was for (the emergency flasher button). I of course told both kids that if I pushed it, anyone in the back seat was ejected from the car (I've never claimed to be the perfect father). Buddy Boy immediately countered "You can't do that! It's against the law! Parents are supposed to take care of their kids!"

Liz gave me a dirty look and said "Kids, your father has something to tell you." "Well, it's really the emergency flasher button", I said. (Liz has no sense of humor sometimes). A couple of stops for gas, food, and bladders, and we arrived without a hitch.

Tomorrow's blog-we meet again...

Joe is on the road, eating junk food, and there isn't a scale in sight...


mumkeepingsane said...

I hope everyone enjoys the visit. My younger sister is adopted but here in Canada it's most often closed. Sometimes I wonder if that is more painful for everybody. Anyway, I'm really enjoying reading your blog.

Mom without a manual said...

I hope you all have a great day! I wish you all well. I can only imagine the anxiety for everyone involved. Still the open adoption can be a great experience as well!

No matter what, Joe, I think the scale will understand a little nervous eating!

Club 166 said...

No matter what, Joe, I think the scale will understand a little nervous eating!

In my family, we eat when we're happy, eat when we're sad, eat when we're anxious, and eat when we're mad.

We could never figure out whether it was "Starve a cold, feed a fever" or "Feed a cold, starve a fever", so we just use "Feed a cold, feed a fever".

If I didn't exercise, I'd be 300 lbs.