Can I Have This Dance?

This week is adoption week for Kassandra. Yes, we’ve changed the spelling of her name. We’re rehearsing for the questions the judge might ask her. She confidently announces that, “I’m Kassa” or “I’m three years old,” all while holding up five fingers. Our adoption ritual is simple. We go before the judge, listen while he or she talks about how wondrous adoption is, take pictures, and then take the crowd to lunch. This is our 17th adoption and we’ve done it with every one. But, the biggest part of our adoption ritual is celebrating the adoptee. Less than half of […]

Family Traditions

The past few days, my house has been filled with a variety of renditions of the Happy Birthday song. It’s been a couple of months since we had a birthday in the house and Kassandra apparently really likes that song. This all came about after she and I went to a baby’s first birthday party on Saturday. It was such a special day. The birthday girl was adorable, and the house was filled with people in a party mood. Kids ran around, playing games. Parents chatted with each other. One of my older daughters was there, so while I held […]

There is Hope

Many of my children have mental health diagnoses. In fact, many children who go through the foster care system have mental health diagnoses, too. I remember when I was first starting off as a foster parent. Every kid in my home had a diagnosis. I began to notice a trend. Depending on their age, the kids all had the same diagnosis. The teens had Oppositional Defiant Disorder. The little ones all had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In our county, the same psychiatrist examined them all. I began to doubt the diagnoses and worked with our medical and mental health providers […]

Past, Present, and Future

Have you ever had one of those moments that you dread? You know the type I mean. You know you have to have this moment, but you really, really, really don’t want to go there. But, you know you should. It’s the type of moment that many in the LGBTQ community know well. Well, I’m about to have one of those moments. Three years ago, when we took custody of Cassandra, we questioned what might happen if something happened to us. Who would get custody of Cassandra? What would prevent her from going into foster care? And, the worst thing […]

Adoption: Double-Edged Sword

For the most part, I’m a fan of adoption. I’m adopted. My brother is adopted. I have three cousins who are adopted. I have two cousins who have each adopted two children. And, as you know, I’ve adopted 16 times. Adoption is more a part of my understanding of how to make a family than any other method. As my family, we adopted some through the state foster-care system, some through private adoption, and some through agencies. The only type of adoption we have not experienced is international. Our children were all born in the US. However, one of my […]

Love the Babies

We have a new baby in our family.  Before you get too excited, you should know that it’s not my baby. This baby belongs to my daughter and her husband and is grandchild #10 for us – not counting fosters, steps, and those whose existence is unknown to me.  I know that sounds a little weird.  However, in our world, sometimes we have to accept the weird.  Let me explain how it works.  Many of our grown kids suffer with mental illness.  This is most likely the result of early trauma in their lives.  Some do not believe they have […]

Drag Show as Lifeline

I went to a drag show yesterday. So now, I know you’re asking how that’s possibly newsworthy. People go to drag shows all the time. And, I freely admit I’m one of those who goes fairly often. I love a good drag show. But, yesterday’s show was different. It started in the usual way. I arranged to meet several friends at a drag brunch in Hagerstown. Good food, good friends, a couple of drinks. You know, the usual. The restaurant arranged the seating so that many of us were at long tables. Our table had our group of four and […]

What’s Your Joyspring?

What brings you joy? I mean real joy. Is it an island vacation? What about the look in someone’s eyes? Having stability in your job? Your family? Your friends? A pet? What brings you joy? I have a friend who loves the beach. She and her family go year round. And when she talks about going, her face softens and her eyes light up. Every single time. It brings her joy. For some people, the holidays are a time of joy. But, for many, many others, it’s a time of stress and struggle. There are demands on our time, our […]

Wonder & Joy

The holiday season is under way and, once again, I’m completely overwhelmed with a sense of wonder and joy. As soon as lights start to appear on houses and streets, I am transported back to childhood. It was a time when anything could happen; miracles were expected; and love abounded. At least, that’s how I remember it. Having a small child in your home for the holidays helps bring this wonderment to life. We decorated a little early this year, at least it was early for our home. Thanksgiving weekend was spent putting up the trees. We have five. We […]

Rule-Bound

I think my favorite season is fall. The weather gets cooler. The outdoor chores wind down. The kids are back in their normal schedule. There are leaves to play in. This fall season even included a significant snowfall. All around it’s a great time of year. Cassa loves the snow. I don’t think she remembers much of it from last year. She just turned three last week, after all. But, when it snowed at our house, Cassa headed out, bundled up to look like the Michelin Man. She and one of our teen boys ran around, threw snowballs, built a […]