Monthly Archives: April 2007

happy anniversary honey!

Today is our 6th anniversary. Prior to 2001, I knew “marriage” was hard work, but not this hard!

My partner loves to garden… but should not dig holes. Guess who gets to dig holes in rock hard clay? I guess you could say I’m becoming the gardener’s assistant.

My partner loves to sleep with the ceiling fan on its highest setting. She would prefer 66-68 degrees temperature and I am a 72-74 temperature woman. We’ve resolved that by putting a “single” heating blanket on my side of the bed. How I love getting into toasty sheets rather than trying to get to sleep with freezing feet.

When we moved to our present location, my Mexican palate consisted of tacos. My partner loves Tex-Mex and there are three Mexican restaurants to every non Mexican one. I have learned to eat refried beans, quesadillas, Mexican rice, avocados, sopapillas, not a awesome accomplishment, but I’m making progress. Where are we eating tonight? Mexican, of course!

I love to decorate with deer horns. Yes..I came from the North Country, and a woman likes her deer horns! My partner has adjusted and I have my collection lining the walls of our living room. (Let me assure you, its very tastefully done!)

I had a teenager when we joined lives. She had no children. It was quite an adjustment for her. Watching my 23 yr old cry on her shoulder after he was married, was very touching. She has stepped up to the plate and made him feel loved.

Marriage is hard work, but there’s also easy times. I guess its like pedaling a bike up a hill, tough as nails. When reaching the top however, what a joy to coast downhill, what exhilaration and delight! Coasting and uphill pedaling…. it’s hard work at times, but the rewards are worth it. Happy anniversary honey!    dr pers ©2007

See:  Ten reasons to marry or partner:

Another ADD kid on medication…

Another ADD kid on medication…

While my son had his sweet times and I love him dearly, he was a difficult child to raise. There was never a dull moment and it seemed like he was constantly testing me to my limits. At one point, I was so utterly frustrated and helpless with him, I considered contacting social services. It was devastating to find myself in this situation and I did not think I could handle him anymore.

I grew up in a home where spanking was effective. I only remember one spanking, and it was the last. Many of us repeat what is familiar and I began spanking as a form of discipline too. I was aware of the stories where spanking turned into beatings, so I had the limit of three whacks. Surprisingly, these did not phase my son at age 4, 5 or 6. He would laugh and say, “it didn’t hurt..” I can’t tell you the wild thoughts that ran thru my mind when I heard those words. I will tell you, he is lucky to be alive!!!

Amazingly, this low point, pushed me to having him evaluated. A neurologist had me read books about Attention Deficit Disorder and we evaluated his patterns and behavior. At age 6, this doctor decided to put him on medication and I worked on becoming more structured and consistent in my parenting skills. Life at home and at school began to improve.

I am thankful to this day that he was diagnosed early and didn’t fall behind in school. He always had trouble with math, but loved to read about military history.

He took meds till about age 15. At that age, it was difficult to tell if the meds were providing any benefit. When one of his teachers told me that BJ doesn’t seem to have that usual sparkle in his eyes, I decided this was the time to stop. School never came easy for him but he managed to accomplish enough to graduate from high school. He now tells me that he didn’t apply himself and wishes he would have put forth more effort. Sound familiar?

With 30-50 per cent of young black men not graduating from high school, I am proud of his accomplishment.

Today, he is a Sgt in the U.S. Marine Corps and putting forth his best.  dr pers ©2007

See other adoption articles

Can I afford to adopt?

The financial cost is a major issue for being able to adopt. Domestic adoptions usually cost less than private and international.

When my home study was completed, my paper done, I thought I would have a year of waiting before a baby arrived. I had several costly expenditures planned, one of which was a new roof for my house and a Hawaiian vacation. I wanted to have these financial expenses out of the way and paid for, before making the final adoption fee.

Two months after completing all the paper work, and a few weeks after arriving home from my Hawaiian vacation, I received a phone call from my social worker. Sherry said, “I have a healthy baby boy recently born, do you want him?” I was shocked! I thought I had a year to save up money and prepare!

Prior to this, in my research about adopting, I visited a family of 10! They had adopted 6 children. I visited with this mom and dad about a number of issues and must have expressed at some point that I was unsure of having enough money. The father of 8 said, “if you wait until you think you’ve saved enough money, you’ll never do it. Somehow, it will all work out.”

I remembered this father’s advice and tried not to worry about having enough money on hand. I did have to scrimp and save to pay for the new roof later, but it worked out.

You will need to have a major portion of the adoption fees saved up, usually paid in several payments prior to receiving the child.  Somehow, it will all work out!   dr pers ©2007

Other posts in this series:

Reasons to Adopt a child

Hoping to adopt and they ask if you’re gay!

Surviving an adoption home study.

Will I love a child of another race?

Real grandchild versus adopted

Next post:  Another ADD kid on medication


A “real” grandchild versus adopted…

Unfortunately, there are folks who refer to children by birth as “real,” therefore suggesting that children by adoption are “artificial.”

My folks were not of those types and neither was my sister. When the local pharmacist said to my pregnant sister, “I bet your folks are glad to be getting a “real grandchild,” my sister quickly and firmly replied, “we think of BJ as a real grandchild and mine will be the second. “  See why I love my sister? What a gem!

Folks will say stupid things like that… not thinking about the logic or meaning of their remarks.  Its very hard to be patient with ignorance, but helping the world along, one person at a time, is progress!  dr pers ©2007

Other posts in this series:

Reasons to Adopt

Hoping to adopt and they ask if you’re gay!

Surviving an adoption home study…

Will I love a child of another race?

Next post: Can I afford to adopt?


Will I love a child of another race?

After several delays of red tape and adoption papers not arriving in time (all too common), my mom and I changed our airplane tickets three times. Finally the day arrived and we excitedly flew to Texas to pick up this much anticipated baby boy.

I grew up in the Midwest, USA, where the majority are white, Scandinavia and speak “Fargo.” The minorities in the area were a few Native Americans. Since I had little contact with others of another race, I wondered what my reaction would be to this black baby that I would soon adopt. Would there be any difficulty in loving or bonding with him, or he with me?

A social worker in Texas met us at our arrival gate, exchanged greetings, and placed this dear baby into my arms. You would not believe how quickly, like an instant, my worries were over and fears dispelled. I immediately felt like his mother and he my son. Most everyone who has experienced a transracial adoption will tell you that love transcends race and color. Love also transcends adoption versus birth. If you have any fears that you will feel differently about a baby that is not your “flesh and blood,” I am here to tell you… it makes no difference. No one loves their child by birth more than I love my son by adoption.

Tip for potential parents:   No matter the color, the love and pride is just as great.

dr pers © 2007

Other posts in this series:

Reasons to Adopt

Hoping to adopt and they ask if you’re gay?

Surviving an adoption home study…

Choosing the health and gender of your child…

Next post:  A “real” grandchild versus adopted…

Surviving an adoption home study…

The home study is an important part of the adoption process and will take about 3-6 months. My social worker Sherry, attempted to create a picture or description of what I was about. At this point, one’s life becomes a open book.  (Hopefully you have no skeletons in your closet?)

A social worker tries to assemble a collage or resume of you and your partner or spouse. He or she is trying to make determinations about:

1) Are you able to create a positive, healthy environment?

2) Do you have a stable career or job, can you afford to provide the basic needs of a child?

3) What are your plans for the child when you are at work?

4) If you are single, what other family members might be a part of the child’s life?

5) How “childproof” is your home, is it safe ?

6) Is there any criminal background or activity?

7) If partnered or married, is your relationship stable? Loving?

8)  What are your attitudes towards children?

Another part of the process is choosing the gender and health of your child.

Bringing a child into your family is a big decision and major change in one’s life. The social worker tries to determine how realistic is it that you are willing or able to make needed changes?

I remember talking to a woman who was interested in adoption and had something like 4-6 pets in her home. Much of her spare time was taken up with feeding and caring for her pets. She wasn’t sure if she had time for a child. (Did you see that little red flag go up, flapping furiously?)

A home study will likely be sent to other adoption agencies who have children waiting to be placed in homes. They try to match your preferences with the child’s needs.

For my situation, the whole process took about a year. However, I think this may have been unusual. It is more common to take two years and longer if you are particular about race, gender and health.

Tip: A child has no one to depend upon but his/her parent. A potential mom or dad must be mature enough to set aside one’s own wants for the needs of a child. Someday, there will be time for you again!

dr pers ©2007

Other posts in this series:

Reasons to adopt a child

You’re hoping to adopt and they ask if you’re gay…

Next post in series: “Can I love a child of another race?”

You’re hoping to adopt and they ask if you’re gay?

I went to several informational meetings in my area for people who were considering adoption. After conversations with family members and close friends, I decided to call the agency’s social worker, named Sherry.   Over and over in my mind, I practiced my strong points and rationale for wanting a child. It would be important to make a good impression in that first phone conversation.

After introducing myself and reason for calling, Sherry asked the usual questions: why was I interested in adoption, what was my marital status (single), my age(30) and what did I do for a living (clergy). I confidently answered each and every question. Then she asked if I was gay….and my heart stopped…….a long, long pause. I was hoping to get to a face- to- face meeting before I had to talk about any sexuality issues.

A hundred things ran thru my mind as I debated on how to answer the question. Should I give the truth or lie? I finally said, “I am not sure.” She asked me about my doubts. I went on to explain that I always had plenty of good friends, male and female, a good relationship with my dad and mom, but I found myself more naturally drawn to certain women. I had not really dated and my sexual experience was limited. Because of the attraction to certain women, I wondered if I might be gay, but I had not had enough opportunity to experiment. Considering my profession, experimentation was not an option. I was aware of the attraction to some women, but I wasn’t ready to confirm or accept a gay orientation.

Sherry listened, did not judge, and indicated that we would talk more about this subject in a face to face meeting. She also said, “since you have told me the truth, I will continue to work with you. If I suspect that you are lying to me at any point, the process will end immediately.”

Looking back, I consider myself very fortunate to have worked with this open minded social worker. It now seems almost miraculous considering the very rural location and times. While it has been 23 years, I am still thankful to Sherry for giving me a chance to become a mother and changing my life forever with the gift of a child.

More reading: Gay Adoption Basics:

Gay and Lesbian parenting sites:

Tips for potential adoptive parents: tell the truth, focus your answers and don’t ramble!  

A major key to adoption is choosing a compatible adoption agency.  Research carefully the agency’s  philosophy, their requirements, their fees. Regulations vary from state to state and agency to agency.   If you are not a heterosexual married couple in your twenties, thirties or forties, look for a nontraditional agency.      

Because I was single, I chose a nontraditional agency based in the state I was living.    dr pers © 2007

Other posts in this series:

Ten Reasons to Adopt a Child

next in series: “Surviving an Adoption Home Study.”

Cussin’ in the presence of your child…

I caught a bit of the banter on Fox this am about a phrase Alec Baldwin used towards his 11 year old daughter.  Rosie O’D has jumped in the fire and admitted to using curse words around her children.

I would guess that almost every parent has lost her/his temper with their child….even me. While I have rarely used swear words, I can testify to the fact that once you’ve said it, the child will remember, throw it in your face and you can never take it back.

I do not remember the specifics, but I do remember the shock when my son reminded me that I had said “it.” The tone of his voice communicated that my cuss word had been quite impressionable. I remember regretting that I had uttered the word. It seems rather mild now days when compared to the blitz of the F & B words. However, I wish I had not ever used it in his presence.

The biggest question I have in regards to swearing in the presence of children and teens is this: is one swearing in their presence, or swearing at their children? Does it have the same effect? While neither is good, I believe one lends to greater psychological damage. Swearing at one’s child is similar to name calling. Words do have power… they leave an impression, they give a message. And in these situations, the messages are negative and destructive to self esteem.

I was in my late twenties when someone first used the F word toward me. I was shocked and it was very upsetting. I still remember how it made me feel.

Is cussin’ that big of a deal or not? Why has it become such an acceptable way to communicate in our culture?

dr pers ©2007

Ten reasons to marry or partner…

Ten reasons to commit yourself to another:

1. I promise to be considerate of my partner 24/7.

2. I promise to be faithful even when I don’t feel like it.

3. I promise that I will not accumulate debt that we cannot afford.

4. I promise to give in 70% of the time.

5. I promise to spend holidays with your family.

6. I promise to treat you with respect and encourage you in your dreams.

7. I promise to trust you and allow you the freedom to grow.

8. I promise to be a parent that our children can be proud of.

9. I promise to put our family’s needs before my own.

10. I promise to keep myself emotionally, spiritually and physically healthy so that I might give my best.

©2007 dr pers

Ten reasons NOT to marry or live together…

Ten reasons NOT to marry or live together

1. Feeling desperate.

2. Need lots and lots of sex.

3. Believe the other will change.

4. Need permission to go to the grocery store.

5. Have no money.

6. Believe the world revolves around you.

7. Over 25 and must have toys.

8. Top ten words in vocabulary are vulgar.

9. Uses “hey stupid” for a name.

10. Thinks “slap happy” is a form of control.

dr pers  ©2007