Tuesday, 23 April 2013

For / Against

So there's another book about adoption doing the rounds.  I haven't read it yet, but I probably will, armed with a stack of those little post-it flags to write notes on the bits that annoy me. (What can I say? I'm easily annoyed - you should see all the flags sticking out of my copy of 'Adopted for Life'. Actually, I think I might keep these two books next to each other on my adoption shelf and see if the friction between them causes some kind of a nuclear explosion).

All the blog comment about this new book made me think about something.

There's some really great, complex comment out there but why do some people feel the need to be 'pro' adoption or 'anti' adoption?

I can't help thinking that being 'for' or 'against' adoption is about as meaningful as being 'for' or 'against' sex. Sometimes it's a great thing, sometimes it's a terrible thing - it's all about the context.

I'm afraid that when someone tells me that they 'love adoption' or 'despise adoption', all I hear is 'I am incapable of nuanced thought!' Dude. Sometimes it's a great thing, but sometimes it's a terrible thing. How can you be for or against it?

Is the desire to be 'for' or 'against' something partly appealing because it gives us a chance to be on a team, to be on the winning side? After all, I can't win an argument if I'm not having one, and dangit, I love winning arguments.

Back to the book: I know enough about publishing to know that non-fiction books need to have a 'big idea'. They have to have an angle. More Christians should adopt, for example, or Too many Christians are heedlessly adopting for another. That's something that the public can agree or disagree with; that's the kind of thing that will get you on to NPR. Books like this have to validate us or annoy us or we won't buy them - there's very little market for books that say meh, here are a few different angles, now make up your own mind'.

But our minds are not books. They are not for sale. We don't have to have an angle; we don't have to be for or against anything, except maybe genocide, or bananas (I'm against both, just for the record). We can leave room for nuance, if our own drama addiction will let us.

So I'm not For or Against adoption, and I don't think you should be either. Sometimes it's a great thing. Sometimes it's a terrible thing.

It's all about the context.


Speaking of context, here's a reminder that I have a hundred or so of my favourite links about all kinds of adoption stuff here, under Adoption 101. 


And a bit of personal context: having said all that, I'm going to add that I should be on a plane right now, rather than sitting here in my PJs blogging.  Long story short: yesterday, Jay had to have surgery! For appendicitis! Do I sound a little hysterical? I am. 

Yesterday, Jay woke up with severe abdominal pain. Two doctors, three phone calls to our travel insurers and an ultrasound later we were sitting in a hospital ward, waiting for a doctor to cut him open and snip him up. I'm super, super grateful for good healthcare here, for travel insurance, for the fact that this didn't happen while we were on the plane, for the fact that my parents are continuing to be so gracious and hospitable and also the fact that I got to eat barbeque chicken pizza tonight instead of disgusting plane food. 


On Saturday, it was my cousin's wedding, and we all had a really great time. Think barefoot beach wedding on an island in perfect sunshine. Think happy bride and besotted groom. Think great food and fun people. Think cake. As the night was winding down, though, I was talking to one of my aunts about our plans to go home and I realised that I was so homesick I was about to start crying. It's okay, I told myself, home soon. Little did I know. I've been pacing myself, and now I find out that my pacing was wrong. Abdominal surgery is a big deal, obviously, and it's likely to be at least a week before we can return. And then when we do, everything is going to be totally upside down because we will be even further behind with work and we'll have a hundred things to do to catch up. 

I've hardly told anybody that we are still here. I can't bear to do all the goodbyes again. 

First world problems. I know. In other places on earth, if he had got appendicitis yesterday morning he would probably be dead by now. Instead, he was out of surgery by midnight, groggy and in pain but on the way back to his usual self. When he woke up, he thought he was Daniel Craig, which was almost funny enough to make the whole thing worth it. 

This afternoon, Jay and I got half an hour alone and I'm afraid to say that I sat down in the hard hospital chair beside him and cried all over his shins. I have found the last few days really really hard - especially coping with the children - I would totally suck in any kind of a real crisis. The children and I went to visit him this morning and it wasn't great. The children's dysregulation has not been helped by a busy wedding weekend and then having their father hospitalised. Also, they have discovered convenience food and boy, isn't that the gift that keeps on giving at a time when they are already climbing the walls. On ferries, in cars, in hospitals it seems that cheesesticks and chips go down a whole lot better than sliced-up apple and raisins. On the way back from the hospital today, Pink was whining about being hungry. (And yes, I do mean whining. When she's really hungry, it sounds totally different).  I called her bluff by saying that she didn't need to worry, we'd be having lunch soon. She was not impressed, and started yelling. I told her it was nearly time for sandwiches. 

No! She roared. I don't want sandwiches! I want something in a PACKET! 

Ahhhh. Of course, I was horrified. And of course, I immediately felt like a hypocrite because hey, I ate three packets of Twisties while I was waiting for Jay's surgery yesterday. We got home and she howled and he howled and then they started hitting each other and I have no idea when we are going home and it all feels like a hot mess. 

When I left Jay at the hospital this afternoon, he grinnned at me and said This place is great! It's so peaceful here! I guess that could have been the Oxycodone talking, but it was a cheap shot and that's why I'm posting this picture of him, pre-surgery, on the internet: 

The lilac surgical gown suits you, sweetie. Very manly. 

Anyway. I think I've found something else to add to my genocide-banana axis. Appendicitis. If today and yesterday are anything to go by, I am Definitely. Against. Appendicitis.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Nine Seconds

So we are still here.

It feels pretty complicated. On the one hand, I need to - and I want to - maintain all the family relationships we have over here. I'm being a bridesmaid for my cousin on Saturday and I wouldn't miss it for the world. Four of us have all been each other's bridesmaids - the first wedding was in 1998, and fifteen years later this completes the set.

On the other hand: my children. Oy. The next generation of cousins is having a great time together, but the levels of dysregulation from the lack of routine and all the new people? Epic. EPIC.

(And that's just me. Ha).

The choice I have right now is: write a post about the complexities of trying to balance important long-term family connections with the short-term needs of my children and my own inability to handle chaos, or throw up my hands, admit I have no idea and post a video instead.

We are closing in on four weeks here. Home in another week.  How about I show you nine seconds of the boy having fun, and you tell me how to manage this family stuff?

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Reasons To Be Three

You're small enough for a piggyback... from an eight-year-old cousin. 

Playing with fountains is genuinely thrilling

And even if there are two of you, you only need to bring one towel. 

 If people annoy you, you can just turn around and run away.
And if you get bored, you just flip yourself upside down and wait for the moment to pass

 You still think that Hello Kitty make a sweet pair of shades

You can take an excursion on a rocking horse very very seriously. 

And yet 'kiss the horsey, sweetheart, kiss the horsey!' seems like a perfectly rational modelling direction.

Most importantly, though, you can see cousins who you don't remember at all and go from almost-strangers ....

...through curiosity....

 ... to friendship....

...to co-conspirators, all in less than a minute.

Long may Three continue.