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Zip and Zoom and Wooosh

November 7, 2010

S is for Sam, south, and sounding things out.

Five years ago today Sam’s adoption was finalized. For many, this moment is quite honestly more a of a formality than much else. A potent, and long awaited one, but normally, it is a given. We give it meaning. We invite others to join us in noting the event. We hand over our understanding of family, by definition, to the state for the day. (We grieve the omission of the birth parent’s name from the new birth certificate, and also welcome the appearance of our own.) We pop corks. We grab tissues. We exhale. We create ritual, or avoid it. We are surrounded by so much love.

We wake up the next day, and say; Was that it?

In our case, there was something more. But, because I am becoming increasingly aware of how Sam’s story and my story, are not one in the same, I am reluctant to say much more. He may feel rather resentful that not one part of his story, was his to reveal one day. (He knows that his mother is a writer, and that one of her favorite topics is him. But when will that stop being exciting, and start being intrusive?)  One day, if he chooses to write about the story I told him, or his first mom shared, or maybe even his birth father, then he can tell you why our finalization was something more than just a forgone conclusion.

***

Last night we were reading our night night story. It happened to be a borrowed book, an ABC’s of Maine. The very last page, featured a pristine Maine scene of a line of skiers, all white, zooming down a pine dotted mountain. Under the heavy type set letter Z were the words Zip and Zoom. It was Sam’s turn to guess the picture, and the words (Chipper Chickadee, Jovial Jellyfish) and Sam touched the page and said; “zzzzzzzip and zzzzzzzzoooooooooommmm.” And just like that, my son read his first two words, without a damn bit of help from me. Almost five years to the day, that a probate judge read his new name out loud for all to hear, my son read two words on his own.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 8, 2010 3:24 am

    wow. *sniffs*

    I love the whole first paragraph. I especially like this: (We grieve the omission of the birth parent’s name from the new birth certificate, and also welcome the appearance of our own.) That is so true. The reality is adoption is full of contradictory facts and feelings.

  2. Lesia permalink
    November 12, 2010 10:00 am

    Oh, Catherine, this is a heartbreaking line: “I am reluctant to say much more. He may feel rather resentful that not one part of his story, was his to reveal one day.” But I don’t think it’s a bad thing that you’re shifting your focus, and making space for his emerging sense of self and self-preservation and privacy. You’ll find a different way to write about your past, present, and future experiences, I’m sure, respecting his limits and honouring your intention to share your challenges and insights about transracial parenting in a way that feels right for both of you. Just because you’ve written about some of the things that have happened doesn’t mean they’re the whole story of your lives together; we all have different perspectives and memories of shared experiences and why can’t a story be told from different points of view at different points in time? I guess what I’m trying to say is “don’t feel guilty”, which is what it seemed like from your Facebook status update, that introduced this piece: “Of course I had to write about it. Don’t I always? But how much longer can I in good conscience?” Our kids’ needs change as they grow older and our understanding of them grows the longer we live with them and as they become better able to articulate their own thoughts and feelings, and, as with all of parenting, we have to go with the flow and try to meet them.

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