Home Decorating and Adoption

I saw a television show today about adoption. On the surface it was supposed to be one of those home decorating shows that run on HGTV and DIY 24 hours a day. The premise of the show had two very hipply dressed hosts visiting a home in need of spiffing up. They achieve this by selling the families old possessions in a yard sale, then use the money to buy new hipper decorating things. It is implied that with this done the family will experience complete happiness, at least until they aren’t hip anymore.

In this episode they came to rescue a family of three living in an average tract house somewhere in southern California, like they always do. Dad was a slender balding systems analyst and Mom was a big and perky party planner. The daughter was a beautiful impish eight year old obvious international adoptee. Though it was never mentioned, I assume she was of Indian decent.

Most of the families house was a mish mash of things that seemed to have all belonged to the parents since before their marriage. There had been no thought given to decorating, except for the little girls room. It had been painted a bright blue, with bunk beds covered in tulle, and finished out in a Barbie and Horse theme. I imagine it was the Mother’s idea of a perfect little girl’s room.

In this show, each family member is responsible for deciding if their own things will be put in the garage sale, and the hosts speak to them individually about things that they feel need to be sold. They spoke with the little girl first.

The host assumed that she would want to keep her Barbies, she didn’t. She said that she never played with them and didn’t care if they were sold. He then asked her if she wanted her new room done in a horse theme, since there were so many on the high shelves all around the room. She said no, she didn’t really like those either, and since they were on such a high shelf she never got them down. She didn’t like her bunk beds either.

They then brought in the Mother and told her that the girl didn’t want the toy horses anymore. The Mother refused to let the toy horses be sold, she had always wanted them so badly as a child. All the while the girl sat there, with that reserved erect posture, so different than the adoptive Mother, saying nothing, looking only at the TV host who had taken up her cause. It looked to me like she actually had some hope in getting rid of the unwanted toys at first, but then I saw a look of resignation, she knew she would be keeping the horses. I knew that look so well.

I felt so bad for that little girl. I knew that wasn’t the first or last battle she would lose. I knew exactly how she felt.

I didn’t watch the rest of the show, I already knew how it would come out.

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Adoptee as Muse

One would think that adoption would be a stimulus for the arts, and it does seem to be when it comes to adoptees. I know of many very talented adoptees working in all kinds of disciplines and mediums. They write, paint, play music, I’m primarily a weaver. Most are work with a high level of technical proficiency combined with a good bit of talent.

We start to run into problems when we act as muses. Even the thought of adopting can inspire the average potential adoptive parent to create some of the worst kind of poetry ever written in the English language. They then post this on the internet to the praises of all who also are caught up in the desire to grow their family. Not a thought is given to the offense of first parents, adoptees, or the matter of good taste.

I wish I could say that it ends here, but no, in this day of inexpensive music recording and MySpace music, adoptees also inspire song. Lots of songs. All of them bad. Most start off simply, a reedy voiced girl heard over the gentle strumming of a guitar, or the sound of a electronic keyboard, lamenting the loneliness and poverty the poor child has endured. Then the music builds at the mention of the adoptive saviours, ending in a fake string enhanced crescendo that would make any big haired, power ballad pushing, 80’s band step back in awe. Yes, it is the worst kind of crap.

I am not as familiar with visual media created by those inspired by adoptees, though I’m sure it’s out there. It does seem that ever adoptive parent fancies themselves a fashion designer, one only has to type “adoption” into the search engine at Cafe Press to see hundreds of efforts on that front. I wouldn’t suggest eating right before doing this if you are an adoptee, or at all sensitive.

All I really want to know is what we have done to deserve this kind of mistreatment? Most of this focuses on the most innocent among us, the very young children. What have we done to so offend the God’s of decency? Why is it that we must endure this artistic flailing directed toward us? Is this the price we must pay for creativity later in life? It just seems so unfair to forever be associated with such crap.

For the love of God, if you think you might be inspired by an adoptee, or the institution of adoption, and are not an adoptee, just don’t do it. Stop. Think. Focus on something else. We will all be better for it.

Home Study Questions

It seems that a lot of adoptive parents feel very validated by the fact that they have passed a home study. This investigation seems to be the magical factor in proving they will be the bestest parents ever.

But I wonder.

Based on my own experiences, and those of other adoptees, I propose the following questions be added to all PAPs home studies.

As you may know, many potential birth parents love to swim, as there is a chance your potential child will inherit this love of the water, do you have a pool? If not, are you willing to build one before your child reaches school age?

Adoption agencies can only work as the instrument of God, not as God himself, are willing to sign a hold harmless agreement with God in the event that your child should turn out to have a mind of their own?

Do you have sufficient closet space for your child? One child under the age of four will require at least 3 square feet of space, after the age of four or the weight of 60 lb., attic or basement space may be utilized.

The Adoptive Children’s Act of 2002 states that all adoptive children shall be provided with a pony. This pony is subject to inspection by local Animal Control Agencies. Have you completed your pony care check list, completed your pony care classes, and enclosed your stable inspection form?

Resurecting Melanie

I learned to write young. The first thing I learned to write was my name. Except for it really wasn’t my name. I didn’t know that then, but I always knew that it didn’t quite fit.

My adoptive name is ugly, clumsy, and hard to spell. When people hear it, they say “What?”. If someone sees my name before they meet me, they always tell me that they did not expect someone like me. Nobody ever gets it right. It is an ethnic name, from a heritage that is not mine. It is a name that I am ill suited to carry. It just does not fit me.

I have always hated it.

It never occurred to me that I had a name before I was given the one I bear until I saw my non-ID when I was in my early twenties. There it was, a pretty name, a name that would have made all the difference in how I was perceived. It suits me and I like it.

Later I found out my birth name (for lack of a better phrase) had a story. It’s a good story. I like that too.

Ever since I discovered my name I’ve always felt like it was really mine. I’s like to use it. But it is too late. I am forever that clumsy, ugly, hard to warm up to, name.

Why do I think that if I had my birth name I would have been more what I wanted to be? That even at this late date, it would just make me feel better?

A dear friend of mine changed her name late in life, just because she felt like it. She wasn’t adopted, she just wanted to be Mariah, instead of Mary Ann. It worked for her, she was a Mariah.

I just don’t know if I’m too far gone to be a Melanie.

Where The Hell Have I Been?

It’s a legit question, where the hell have I been?

Well, other than the obvious internet drama and the phoenix like upcoming of
Advocating For Change

and a bit of a technical problem with my blog, don’t ask, and don’t ask WordPress either, nobody knows.

there have been a few more events in my life that took all my time.

Oh where to begin?

How about with my dog?

Apollo, he’s a furry adoptee of unknown heritage. I didn’t adopt him, my since deceased Rottie, Mars, did. One evening, my hubby and I returned home to a commotion in the garage. Instantly we both feared that Mars had an animal trapped, and wasn’t going to let it go without eating it. So I sent my husband in. Instead of hearing the growling and screams I expected, hubby was cooing at something, so I went in. There was the cutest, thinnest little yellow puppy I had ever seen. Mars, the big bad Rottie, who had never shown one bit of interest in any other dog, was licking and petting it. He looked up at us as if to say, “This is Apollo, he kind of out of a place right now, mind if he crashes here for a while?”

We let the puppy stay. He was always very much Mars’ dog. Mars taught him to behave, and when to eat, and how to treat the people bearing food and affection. He raised Apollo well, though he was never really a people kind of dog, he was a dog dog that kind of liked hubby and I.

When Mars passed away Apollo got a bit closer to us, but there wasn’t a real close connection, we were like foster masters. He seemed okay with it, he preferred to do dog things and we let him.

We moved him at the beginning of last week. His new area allows him onto our back porch and a good view of us through the windows when we are in the back of the house. I don’t know if it was the stress of the move or being closer to us all the time, but he has decided that he is our dog now. He wants to be with us all the time. It’s kind of nice to have a dog that prefers our company again, but he feels that he should be able to come and go as we do. He, in fact leaves every time that we do.

His new fence is constructed exactly the same way, and of the same materials, as his old fence. The only difference being this one will not hold him, as far as I can tell nothing will.

Day One: The fenced area is complete, looks pretty good, we go to get the dog. He fine with the car ride, and seemingly his new area. It’s very large, 100 feet by 50 feet, includes our patio, back porch, lots of lawn, bushes and flowers, doggie heaven.

We show him around, walk him around it, spend a few hours out there with him. When we go inside he finds out that he can see us and the cats in the windows. He seems fine with that. We have our dinner, bid him good-night and go to bed. Thinking everything is fine in doggie-world. Dog seems happy.

Day Two: Husband goes home for lunch, no dog. There is no evidence of escape. He calls me, I leave work early and we begin the search. We walk the entire neighborhood, drive every street in town, even check out the pound, no Apollo. Just as we are about to give up, we check the pound again, there he is, rested, fed, and happy.

We go up to city hall and pay his bail, provide vial statistics, pick him up, and bring him home. The dog catcher remarked on what a nice, well behaved dog Apollo was. I almost asked him if he wanted to keep him. I watch over dog while hubby makes the fence higher. After several hours in the cold and rain, we are satisfied that doggie cannot escape.

I went in to dry off and shower the great smell of wet dog off. I had no more than got my hands washed when I saw him wriggling under the fence. I manged to run out and with the use of a flying tackle, catch the dog. This was a learning experience for both me and Apollo, he learned that yes, I can catch him, and I learned that I’m way too old for that flying tackle shit. I still hurt.

Hubby and I spend the next few hours staking the fence to the ground-in the 40 degree rain. I was beginning to wonder why I ever wanted a dog in the first place. Dog seems happy.

Again satisfied that doggie couldn’t escape, we are our dinner, bid Apollo good-night, and went to bed.

Day Three: Dog was still there in the morning. Good.

When my husband came home for lunch, the dog greeted him at the front door. Hubby returned Apollo to his enclosure and staked down another route of possible escape. He returned to work by 12:30. Before 1:00 PM, the neighbor called and said he had seen the dog out and had put him into our garage.

I did not know this. I was leaving work early so hubby and I could go out to dinner and do some shopping for stronger fencing material, in a nearby town. Upon my arrival at home, I see that hubby’s car is gone and so is the dog. I assume the worst. I cannot reach hubby on his cell phone, so I commence to search. I try Doggie Jail, no luck. drive all over town, no luck. An hour later, I see hubby at an intersection, follow him home, and he tells me that the dog has been in the garage all this time. He has been out buying fence strengthening materials.

Great.

We work on the fence again. It is warm and sunny which makes things a bit better, but it is clear that we aren’t going out for dinner. The dog has actually pulled out the extra stakes in the fence that we had put in the day before. We get this fixed.

We decide it might be wise to walk out into the yard and see if the dog will try to get out to follow us. As we walk away, the dog is pulling at the stakes with his teeth. When he finds that he cannot remove these, he begins to climb the fence. There is one point in the fence that was already there, it has grapes, honeysuckle and trumpet vine growing on it. He is pulling at the vines so he can get over the fence. The intelligence required to figure this and removing the stakes does astound me. This dog is solving problems. He gets out and comes happily running up to us.

We put a top board on the fence. It is dark now. Dog seems happy.

We go inside, have our dinner, bid the doggie a good-night, and go to bed.

Day Four: Dog is still there. Hubby is off work. He plans an all-out fence assault. This requires materials. As he goes to leave to fortify his arsenal, the dog greets him at the front door. Hubby puts dog in the garage and heads out for the lumber yard.

When he returns, the garage door is up about a foot and a half. The dog is happily playing at the neighbors. Yes, the dog opened the garage door. He’s like Steve fucking McQueen in The Great Escape, and that really worries me because we keep our motorcycles in the garage.

This is how it now stands. If you see a well behaved Shepard mix, give me a call.

Get Yourself Over There!

Joy’s back up!  That great news.

And a bunch of us have some other good news too.

I think Joy said it best…

Okay

So there for those of you who know there was a little rumble in our happy on line adopto-land. Those things happen whatevah, No love lost.

But something DID happen. We have our own forum now.

How cool is that?

I told you I was hooked up with the most Kick Ass Collection of Adoptees on the World Wide Web.

I am, we are, IT IS

Advocating for Change

Come and say hi, come and join.

You don’t have to be adopted at all, we will adopt you once you join, we will send you to a new and better life of our choosing.

Okay we won’t really do that, BUT we are a work in progress, and our mission is to be adoptee-centric, we are planning on adding more areas but since we are just getting our feet wet staying starting with just the adoptees.

So get your ass over there!