I'm on a roll

A heaping side dish to an earlier post about foot-and-mouth sufferers.
The depiction of adoption, particularly from the People’s Republic of China, on national television so far off from reality I cannot fathom how this stuff gets the final OK to air.
I need to draft a firm yet educationally enlightening letter to the networks. In it I will plead: Please do your research before writing these completely false story lines about China adoption. You are spreading false information to the public, creating false expectations to potential adoptive parents.
Worst of all, network people, you are subjecting real adoptive parents to inane lines of questioning from the viewing public based on these totally false tales spun on television.
Case in point: the “King of Queens” series finale that aired earlier this month featured a longtime couple on the brink of divorce when their adoption agency calls, thereby saving their union, and says “come to China right now, your baby has just been born.”
Ok, it does not work like that at all. I’m not saying a sitcom has to chronicle every nuance of an international adoption. For that to happen, the show would be more like Ken Burns’ documentary, except 10 hours longer.
What I’m saying is that it’s a loooong process. For us, it was two years. The way things are going now, it could be much longer than that.
You don’t get a random call about your baby being born. Babies rarely become eligible for adoption before they are six or seven months old. They become eligible for adoption in part because their birth parents and circumstances of their origin are unknown.
And even when you do get “the call”, there’s still a lot of bureaucracy before you get to China.
Our little one was eight months old when we first learned her name, saw her picture. The information and photographs we received on her were from her five-month-old medical exam. Still, we had to wait an additional two months to travel, during which we applied for a visa to enter China, completed additional paperwork, and prepared carefully for this monumental experience.
You don’t just grab a pair of chopsticks, your passport, and race your soon-to-be ex-husband to the airport, as was shown in “King of Queens.”
God. And I kind of liked that show. But this finale really ticked me off.
I won’t even go into how offensive it was when Carrie takes a pregnancy test in China and learns she’s pregnant. Yeah, because that always happens. And then the couple has to decided WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE BABY THEY JUST ADOPTED. I wanted to be sick. I wanted to scream.
I mean how hard could it have been to even Google “China adoption” or read a few China adoption blogs, before writing the script?
Too hard, apparently.
“Sex and the City” did the same thing for its series sendoff. In this case, socialite Charlotte gets a folder in the mail with her newborn baby girl in China’s picture on it. Folder came directly from China.
That doesn’t happen, either. But enough is enough on this topic.
I’m just sensitive to this. Also, I’m concerned. If storylines about subjects I know well are this far off base from reality, how much else are we being fed on TV that’s all just a dish of crapola? Food for thought.

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Foot-mouth disease

From now on, whenever I’m out with my baby girl (born in China, daughter to me now and forever after) and I encounter some rude, insensitive or just plain ignorant person, I’ll unload comments here.
For example, there is the woman I’ve known casually for years who works at a local business. Last week I’m in her line for the first time since the adoption. She looks at my baby girl and asks: What prompted this?
Huh?
Seeing as I couldn’t find an answer either profound or cutting enough, I chose to keep quiet and let the words slowly sink to the floor with a thud.
Next, she proceeds to tell me that she, too, has “adopted a little one.”
Oh! I say, how exciting. Please tell me more.
Turns out she went to the shelter to get a dog. She just loves her new “baby.”
Totally the same thing, of course.

Do homemakers have W-2s?

This is the rhetorical question posed to our accountant, after I quickly thumbed through our late-but-we-bought-time tax returns: “Why the $@#% am I listed as a homemaker for 2006 when I worked the majority of the year??”
There is a form — listing my earnings outside the home — clearly attached to the document. Nowhere on that form from my former employer does it say “homemaker.”
I’ve worked full-time since the late 1980s, with one six-week maternity leave in the early ’90s. I left the workforce in November 2006. Yet, it doesn’t matter to accountants and the IRS. I’m no longer a “wage earner” and “income producer.”
Twenty years of work and nothing to show for it. Not even a final shout-out on the tax form.
That’s sad.
In the seven months that I’ve lived the life of a homemaker, housewife, “housefrau” or domestic goddess, however you spin it, I’ve realized not much has changed in terms of the public’s perception. Like it or not, this is the official label affixed to my backside.
It deeply disturbs me that I am deeply disturbed by the title homemaker next to my name. Why?
It discredits all the women out there who are honored by the title. It belittles our mothers and grandmothers, many of whom didn’t have “the choice” that I had to pursue a career and have a family.
Still, I’m bothered.
I didn’t walk away from a career to be a homemaker, although I did want to be home. It hasn’t been easy, the letting go of the working life, the mindset.
I came home for my daughters.
One, a newly hatched teenager, hit a rough patch this past year. My nights/weekends/holidays shift was adding a lot of potholes to her bumpy road. Simply put, I just wasn’t there for her when she needed me.
My other daughter is a toddler, recently adopted from China, and in need of a lot of love and attention. I made a minimum one-year commitment to dedicate the time and attention I once devoted to my career, to her so that she could get the good start in life she deserves.
I’ve never worked harder in my life than I have in the last few months.
Try fitting all that on a tax form.

Newbie's first keystrokes

OK. Here goes. This forty-something quasi-technophobe is starting a blog.

The adventure began one week ago when my husband prodded me to start one. Not so much because the so-called blogoshpere needed another, but because he thought this on-hiatus career woman needed an incentive to keep writing and learning about modern technology.

Turns out, he was right! Darn him.This is a perfect example of how our marriage works. I know where everything is in the house, remember that he has a dentist appointment today at 3:35 p.m.; he knows what’s best for my soul.

I’m content to operate in an analog world. He gently nudges me toward the digital domain. I like my paper and pen journaling process. I like to write letters. I enjoy the tactile sensation of leafing though a magazine, the daily newspaper. I like used book stores.

It was he who has delicately suggested over the years that I open an e-mail account, set up a Web page, get a cell phone.

So, a week ago I began a blog in another location, because it looked simple. Wrong.Turns out the whole platform was incompatible with my Mac. Bye-bye first blog, hello current incarnation. Newbie has her wings. Now it’s time for some flying lessons.