From the Editor’s Perch

Babies

Adoption

“We’re a couple of characters,” the bearded fellow said.

I was visiting my father over lunch the other day, in an intermediate care facility.  My father wasn’t feeling so good and wasn’t very communicative, so the bearded fellow pretty much had my ear.

“We’re both adopted,” he said, nodding towards the other guy.  Which I found a bit extraordinary, as it was both of them, and then our son is adopted.  Also, their adoption isn’t usually the first thing a couple fellows in their eighties bring up.

“He’s suffering from dementia.”  The bearded fellow nodded to the other fellow with the Albert Einstein hairdo, who smiled genially.

“He’s a banker.  But he can’t remember where the money is.  Can’t remember where the bank is, actually.”

The fellow nodded.

“Oh, well.”  We all laughed.

I told them my son was adopted.

The fellow said, “I came from a family which was dirt poor.  There were eight or nine of us, all adopted, in a small town outside of Las Vegas.  My father was Japanese and my mother was Irish.  And my wife and I have eight daughters, all adopted.”

He lived on a boat now.  “I’m hiding from the world.”

I said that I thought that sounded reasonable.

He nodded.

“My wife is a neurologist who went on missions.  And each time she went, she’d bring back another baby.  Until finally I said, ‘Honey, you’ve got to stop going on these missions.”  Back then in the late 50s and early 60s, it was very easy to adopt.  You basically just picked them up.  “In Burma, at the brothels, they had the babies stacked in the corner.  If someone wanted one, they just took it.”

It took us three years and a lot of paperwork and education and travel to adopt our son.  Things change, I guess.

“Back then, it was a lot easier to adopt children from Ethiopia.  So a lot of babies got transported north and were adopted through Ethiopia.  Everyone thinks they’ve adopted an Ethiopian.  We thought we had.  But then she grew, and grew and grew, until she was 7 feet tall!   We had adopted a Zulu.”

“She earned her way through the University of Washington playing basketball and then went on to medical school.”

Photo by Google Images

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