Giving thanks for my children’s birth mothers, and wondering if the feeling is mutual

Let me say this about November: it’s not all pumpkins and relish. Even in Florida, it sneaks up cold and hard, or at least occasionally chilly and hard, and I can’t yet be lured into the joy of the season. I don’t mind the season, exactly – it makes coffee taste better and hot showers feel so good. But it reeks of a reckoning, the kind of spiritual reconciliation we face whenever another end-of-year approaches. Case in point: November isRead more

The Attachment Disorder, Part II, or Mama learns patience

About a year ago, I rid the house of sippy cups, because sippy cups are a pain in the butt and I longed for the day when everybody drank their beverages all civilized-like, you know? The problem with sippy cups was twofold: one, they need to be assembled and disassembled using rubber stoppers, which are prone to grow mold when left unwashed for more than, say, two days. Which was never done on purpose, people! It wasn’t me who taughtRead more

Florida’s foster care system, and how badly it sucks

The following is a guest editorial I wrote for the current edition of Folio Weekly. Consider it one in a series of occasional rants. My daughter spent the first nine months of her life in a bassinet in a Latin American orphanage. I don’t mean that she slept in the bassinet. I mean that she lived there. She spent perhaps an hour each day being held for a few minutes, getting a quick bath, getting her diaper changed — thenRead more

Part II: I love you, I love you forever, or Done Deal

Last Saturday was the second day of spring soccer. The Diva couldn’t play because she had a temperature of 103. The Pterodactyl wouldn’t play because the Diva couldn’t play. And get this: the Tyrant said she wouldn’t play because, “I’m shy.” Two hours later at the frozen yogurt store, she said, “Watch this, guys!” and she pulled down her pants and showed everybody her 4-year-old butt. I was all, “SHY? YOU’RE SHY? THIS IS SHY?” Uh-huh. I seriously don’t thinkRead more

The Tyrant’s sick. But at least she’s here.

Who brings a 4-year-old with strep throat and a 102.5 temperature out to dinner? Oh. Um…that would be us. But it was Kids Eat Free night! And she didn’t actually have (much of a) fever when we left. Soon after we sat down, though, I noticed that she was shaking like Jennifer Lopez’s booty and her back was on fire. I put her in my lap, and she dozed off into a febrile snooze. So we went ahead and orderedRead more

Me and the Octomom and how we’re nuts

The other day Oprah interviewed Nadya Suleman, the Octomom, about being an unemployed, broke single mother of 16 children, and about the fact that her lips can’t possibly be natural. The show included a financial intervention of sorts with money guru Suze Orman, who has teeth that shine like beacons in the darkness. Orman apparently spends time with Dr. Phil because she has picked up some psychology tips, like, when you don’t believe someone, you should roll your eyes atRead more

My children who have blessed me, and the burden they carry

At a recent Place of Recreation, two little girls began playing with my kids, allowing me to sip a cocktail and text people. The girls’ mother soon approached me, and I complimented her on how well her children played with younger children. She thanked me, and said, “I have a friend who adopted her daughter from China.” “That’s nice,” I said. Awkward pause ensued. “Actually, none of my children are from China.” “Oh!” she said. “Is your husband Oriental?” “Yes!”Read more

My children: second class citizens?

NOTE: This is a guest editorial I wrote for the current issue of Folio Weekly magazine in Jacksonville, Fla. In the summer of 2020, my son will be 15 years old. I imagine him riding his bike to the beach. Maybe he’s not wearing a shirt, and has a hat perched backwards on his head. Maybe he’s in a hurry, pedaling fast to catch up to a girl he likes, and he speeds through a red light, or rides againstRead more

Dear Tricia: What would you do? I’m glad you asked.

WARNING! Adoption-related rant ahead. It’s unfortunate that we must maintain a separate genre of manners entitled Adoption Etiquette, but we must. Frankly we additionally should have Big Belly Etiquette, Wheelchair Etiquette, Birthmark Etiquette, and Yes-that’s-my-real-hair-color Etiquette, because people have lost all self-control when it comes to curbing their insatiable appetites for details of other people’s lives. Now, if you are a woman with enormous fake breasts, artfully-drawn eyebrows, and a unicorn tattoo on your lower back, don’t go all, “That’sRead more

Who’s your mama, son?

The Pterodactyl wants to see a picture of his birth mother, and I don’t want to show it to him. Now that he’s five, he thinks he has all sorts of rights. He forages through the pantry right before dinner and begins late-night projects involving tape and dental floss. You know what we do about that? Nothing. Because we’re a little bit afraid of him. His Screaming Meanie whine is like an electrical current piercing through my eardrum and exitingRead more