Archive for August, 2006

Assumption makes an Ass out of U and… Mption

Posted in Addiction, Adoption, Mumblings, Observations on August 31, 2006 by Brad

People make certain assumptions on sight. If I tell you that I am a white male in my early 30’s, you may make certain assumptions about me based simply on that. In the majority of cases, it works. Young(ish) white male, wearing a wedding ring – guess he is heterosexual, eats meat, drinks alcohol, probably has kids. Except that “heterosexual” is the only thing you would be right about. I find myself having to defend and explain my choice to be a vegan teetotaler to new acquaintances, and occasionally even having to remind old friends. I also have long hair, multiple piercings in unmentionable places, and I only wear black. Did your perception of me change just a little then?

Assumption and convention make life very difficult at times. When you tell them you do not drink, a surprising number of people try to push you into having a drink with them. Why? I do not want to tell work colleagues (who are basically strangers) that I am a recovering addict and that is why I do not drink, but sometimes that is the only defence they will accept. Why is it so hard for people to accept it as a simple choice?

So you see why, when people ask how many kids I have, I say “none”. It is not that I want to deny Sprog’s existence. It is not that I do not want to claim him as part of my genetic future. It is just that, if I have to go to those lengths to explain why I am drinking a coke instead of a beer, imagine what it will take to explain why I gave away my son. Imagine the way their perception of me will shift.

Same reason I hope Sprog is not gay. Not because I am freaked out by him doing the dirty with a guy, but because I do not want him to have to cart around that extra baggage. Growing up and existing is hard enough as it is.

Stereotypes – represent!

Posted in Adoption, Mumblings on August 23, 2006 by Brad

See, here’s the thing. I am a birth father (first father, biological father, sperm donor, glazed donut, whatever you want to call it – it is after all just terminology and as long as you understand what I mean, should not be quibbled over. But that is a blog entry for another day). I am one of a very small minority of birth fathers who make an appearance in the adoption community. This rather disturbingly means that I am virtually the only one who has a hope of answering certain questions, and therefore some people look at me as the quintessential birth father. I had to look in the dictionary to even spell quintessential.

The problem I have with this concerns stereotypes. The stereotype of the drug addicted birth parent is all too prevalent, and as fate would have it I fit that stereotype perfectly. Unfortunately, it is a stereotype which birth parents are constantly battling to overcome – to educate the masses and prove that birth parents are ordinary girl-or-boy-next-door types. We did not all get high and neglect our kids, causing them to be torn from their mother’s bosom. Some of us did, sure, but many of us did not. I therefore dislike the fact that the unknowing may read my blog, put two and two together, and come up with “All birth parents are substance abusing losers”. I am certainly not the poster child for America’s Birth Fathers.

I considered splitting this blog. Moving the addiction related posts elsewhere, keeping the adoption ramblings here. Scanning back through my blog, I realize that would be exceedingly difficult. Both addiction and adoption are such a huge part of who I am, and indeed are probably the only reason I maintain this blog at all – I feel no burning desire to explore other facets of my life to this degree, inviting comments from the public to further expand my horizons. Both themes are inextricably entwined. Hell, addiction is part of the reason Sprog was placed for adoption, and conversely, placing Sprog for adoption is part of why I have such immense difficulty fighting the addiction. Furthermore, obliterating the addiction theme from this blog would be basically lying to my readers. If I cannot accept who and what I am, how can I ever expect anyone else (particularly my son) to?

I am not going to proudly announce that I am a drug addict, nor am I especially proud of my status as a birth father. I am proud of my son. Kind of scary that ejaculation should be one’s greatest accomplishment. It is a funny old world.

Destination: fulfilment

Posted in Adoption, Mumblings on August 21, 2006 by Brad

My wife asked me to throw out all our spices that are over a year old today. Damn, there were alot of them. We had allspice from 1997. That allspice has moved house with us several times. It was almost like tossing an old friend. All friends become a little bland after that many years, ya know?

It got me to thinking how long we have been together. It probably is time we had a baby. That topic has been at the center of several blistering discussions lately. On the other hand, bringing another life into ours just because we have been together awhile is patently ridiculous. My wife, however, claims that it is a basic biological urge which is bringing about this desire in her. Which of course, being in a thinking mood, got me to thinking about what kind of urge the urge to adopt is.

There is nothing biological about adopting, except in the case of relative adoption which is a different animal. Is it therefore possible for adoption to fulfill this biological need that so many women claim? Certainly it fulfills an emotional need, the need to nurture another living being, but in that case why is a dog not enough? I have heard it said that people coming to adoption have come to realize that they do not need to experience a pregnancy, all they want is a child. This makes a certain degree of sense – pregnancy which does not result in a child is generally a heart rendingly sad event. Definitely the end result is what is desired – a child. Does the journey matter?

When I look at pictures of my son, I can single out certain features and say who they come from. His mother’s eyes, my mouth, his grandmother’s nose. In these heady days of open adoption, his adoptive parents can do that too. But never will they get to say that he has any of their features. He will always have my mouth, not J’s. Sprog’s (adoptive) mother is always quick to point out that he got his mischievous streak from me. I am sure she is trying to include me, validate my contribution, blah blah blah… but the cynic in me sees it as a way for her to lay blame at my feet everytime he gets in trouble. There is none of that buck-passing when you are raising your own biological offspring. He got that mischievous streak from you, and damn, you raised him badly too.

No, I do not really have a point. Just pondering the meandering tracks in the back of my mind. If you want to know what sent me off on this tangent, see here. She is rather more articulate than I.

I want to see a good movie next time

Posted in Mumblings on August 19, 2006 by Brad

Miami Vice was craptacular. I am undecided as to whether or not it was the worst movie I have ever seen. Blade 3 is pretty stiff competition.

Quarantine

Posted in Mumblings, Rants on August 17, 2006 by Brad

I woke up this morning thinking I had gone back in time by about 60 days. Ack. My head had that pulsating thing happening, where you feel like explosion would actually be a welcome relief. Still does actually. My throat hurts and I can barely swallow. It makes a loud clicking noise in my ears (which also hurt) every time I do. And I firmly believe I owe all of this to the woman behind me in the line at Starbucks the other night.

There I was, patiently waiting to order my soy grande caramel macchiato, and she sneezed on me. When I say “on me”, I really mean it. As in, a big sneezy booger-thing landed on the back of my hand. I KNOW! Anyways, fortunately a napkin at Starbucks is but a footstep away, she apologized and the situation was quickly remedied. I ordered my coffee and went on my merry way.

The more savvy may now be nodding knowingly and saying “ah, he should have washed his hands. Diligently. With antibacterial soap.” And goddammit I think you people are right.

Which leads me to my point – people who are sick should not be allowed to leave the confines of their home. Nor should anyone else who has been in contact with them. There is no cure for the common cold people, surely something which makes you feel this shitty and which has no cure warrants quarantine?

Exodus 1.1

Posted in Adoption, Adoption story on August 14, 2006 by Brad

It was August 2000. My girlfriend and I had been discussing – arguing – adoption. She pretty much said I could parent Sprog if I wanted to, but if I did I would be doing it alone. I wanted my son. But I did not want to lose her and I wanted her to be happy. The world is a miserable place for a guy whose woman is unhappy.

My girlfriend had already placed a baby girl for adoption three years earlier. I was there at the time. I thought it would be the same this time, thought I knew what I was getting into. She contacted her daughter’s parents to ask whether they wanted to extend their family. They were taken aback. They had two adopted children and felt that their family was complete. They asked for some time to consider.

Meanwhile, we started looking at adoptive parent profiles on the internet, just in case they said no. After awhile the profiles all started to meld into one huge mass of self-serving superiority and insincerity. Most of them started “Dear Birthmother” which pissed me off before I even started reading. Oh yeah, I forgot, I was supposed to run away and leave my poor vulnerable girlfriend in this terrible predicament. Damn, I totally forgot to be a complete asshole. Next!

I hated them all. As I read all the wonderful things they could offer my child, I was thinking “So can I” or “But he doesn’t need that”. I started to slip into hopelessness. Insomnia set in as I spent nights questioning our decision. My days were consequently spent in a zombie state and my work was becoming the haphazard doodling of semi-consciousness. I started taking amphetamines and then methamphetamines to balance myself out. I would stay awake for days at a time, then crash all weekend. My girlfriend expressed her worry, so I would pretend to sleep until she fell asleep, and then I would get up again and fiddle with inconsequential side projects all night.

Depression began to weigh on me. I had always been one of those people who is described as “never serious” but suddenly everything was deadly serious. I started using cocaine once or twice a week, where before it had been an extremely rare occurence at parties only. I had season tickets to the Celtics that year and I would snort at the games so that I could enjoy myself. Everything became lackluster without it, so I started using more.

Eventually, Sprog’s parents-to-be contacted us to confirm that he would be joining their family. This made my girlfriend happy. She wanted her babies to be together. If she was happy, then I was happy.

I was riding billowy clouds of happiness that concealed Mount Doom.

Neverending Story

Posted in Mumblings on August 14, 2006 by Brad

Go here. Watch the Limahl clip for Neverending Story. Now quit laughing at my hairdo kkthx, his is way more amusing.