Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Road to Hell paved with things like home improvement ideas, child entertainment schemes and neoconservative foreign policy schemes

Or, in our case, a full day of domestic bliss.

I'll blog a little tomorrow, though I don't have anything really burning to say. Do I detect a certain slough, a lessening of intellectual intensity in the blogosphere, since the Election? Dunno, but in my case it feels seasonal as much as anything; I hate this time of year, when you rise and sleep in darkness. Mojo gets hit worse than I, but even I feel a certain lassitude during these short, cold late autumn days.

Add to that our friends in the very last stages of the adoption process have hit a very idiotic, very nasty little bump. Nothing that will disrupt their adoption, but just a dirty, petty display of human greed, and I'm...angry is too strong a word...irked about it. Certain aspects of international adoption are really unsavory, and the money-hunger is the worst. Yes, I know that many countries involved in IA are very poor. Yes, I understand that they often have no other recourse.But, dammit, fine. Be honest. Call your fees "fees" and be businesslike about it. The thing that chapped me more than anything about our adoption experience was the "presents". We had to "give presents" to the orphanage staff and to the officials at Civil Affairs. The huge chunk of cash we "donated" to the orphanage had to be in new, crisp $100 bills - I almost requested nonconsecutive serial numbers to fit the ransom feel of the damn thing. Look; I give presents to people I love because I love them and donations to causes I support. These were "tips" at best, bribes at worst. IA is awash with money, it is wrapped up and undergirded and carpeted and upholstered with cash. There's a man called Brian Stuy who is widely loathed in the China IA community for hammering away at this and the potential for criminal activities like baby-buying and baby-selling it provides.

I'm glad we have our daughter, and I hope my friends bring theirs home soon, and safe. I wish everyone longing for a child could get one, decently and soon. We love and are very lucky to have our little girl. But I won't pretend that there's nothing about IA that makes me uncomfortable. There are, and thinking about our friends' sudden problem just reminds me of what they are.


Lisa said...

Good morning, Chief,

You all have done a wonderful thing by adopting a child, but 129,000 children in America wait for adoption out of foster care this year. Most don't get adopted because of their race, age (over 6), or disability.

Here are two links on the matter.

Lisa said...

p.s. -- I don't like this daylight savings time, either. I need lots of light, and prefer at least a downshift in seasons. Here in N. FLA we get Summer and then Winter. It's been colder here this week than in NYC.

Charles Gittings said...


I've been looking back through your archives a bit and have a delicate question for you (and feel free not to answer if you don't want to)...

What happened to your first daughter?

FDChief said...

Lisa: We did look into adopting a foster child. We were discouraged by the combination of the damage many of these children have taken and my age - at 50, I am barred from adopting a child under 12-13 in most states as well as most countries outside the U.S. China is one of a handful of nations that will consider a man my age for adoption of a girl as little as Missy.

We also ran in to a few ugly situations where the birth parent attempted or succeeded in forcing either visitation or actually gained custody.

So, while we considered adopting out of the fostering system, we ultimately rejected the idea.

I'm sorry to hear that weather has been so wretched in the Not-So-Sunshiney-State. Add to the short standard time days and...ugh.

Charles: little Bryn Rose died stillborn of a cord compression accident within hours or days of birth. She still had a beating heart but her brain function was so damaged that she was not able to live without aid. We held on to her for a day and then turned off the machines and let her go.

We still grieve for her, our little girl lost.

Charles Gittings said...

That's so sad FDC... words fail me. This was after Peeper was born, correct?

[ FYI to you, Lisa, and Pluto, my cat Lulu is recovering nicely now, and thanks for your good wishes. She was really in bad shape and I was worried sick about her. ]

Lisa said...


Thank you. I did not realize the absurd laws re. adoptive parent's age. I also think it horrific that single or gay couples have been barred from adopting all but the most handicapped children. What a statement of a society.


I am ever so glad your kitty is recovering nicely. They are so devoted and helpless, and it is heartbreaking to see them unwell. My continued strong kitty thoughts go your way.

FDChief said...

Charles: No, Bryn was our first child, born 14 months before the Peep, in March, 2002.

I am glad your kitty is better. Poor little souls, it's very hard to see them suffer.

bigbird said...

Our first child was born too premature for the medical technology of the time and lived less than two weeks. After much night work, we went the adoption route when I was pushing forty, adopting a Korean infant girl and later an eighteen month old Korean boy. These children were escorted over here; the arrival of the girl consisted of handing her over the velvet rope at the airport and having us sign a form.

Fast forward several years to when they were in high school: A US based adoption agency ran trips to Korea that included stays at the same Korean agency. Quite a family trip! While the kids obviously look Korean, their dress and demeanor made them stand out as Americans.

When our daughter was getting fed up with grad school she was questioning me about going into the Army. She would be a good officer material, no doubt about that. I told her that while it was an interesting side trip in life it would have little to do with her education to date and her career plans. So, she stayed out.

Chief, our son is following your early career path; different battalion but same brigade and MOS.