Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Cause Worth Considering

I don't normally preach about social issues. This won't take long, and if you don't care to hear about the problems of others in the world and how you can help, fine. Skip to the next post. Given my track record, the next post might be in 8 years, but do what suits you, eh?

As you're getting ready for whatever holiday you celebrate or don't celebrate this winter, I'm asking you to consider, for a moment, what you have in the way of family, friends, enough food to eat, someone to share your laughter and tears with, enough money to pay the basic bills, etc. Most of us have enough. Maybe not a lot, but enough. Now consider the thousands of children in the U.S. alone who are in foster care, parental rights already terminated, who may have a roof over their heads now, but no permanent family to love them or give them a future. Yes, foster families take care of the basic needs temporarily, but when no permanent family is found, these children are moved from home to home, never sure who will tuck them in at night or who will be the reassuring voice on the other end of the phone when they're old enough to strike out on their own.

A lot of people think they don't have what it takes to adopt. I say there are more people who could. Sure, these kids come with baggage. Don't we all? They need love. They need a permanent bond. I'm the first to admit that I don't have all the money in the world. I do, however, have enough love to share, a stable home, enough room at my table to set an extra place, enough space for one more bed. I can make a few sacrifices if it means that a child won't grow up wondering why they don't have a mom or dad or both like everyone else.

Financial concerns about adoption put off a lot of people, too. Yes, domestic adoption of infants is expensive. Yes, it's pricey to travel to China or Russia or Guatemala to adopt a baby. Do you know what it costs to adopt a waiting child from your state's child welfare agency? In mine, the only cost is the attorney fee to finalize the adoption, and grant money is available to cover that expense if you apply. Wow.

I don't want you to think that I take this adoption thing lightly. It's not for everyone. You need to be ready to handle emotional issues, and you have to have the means to provide the basics - food, clothing, shelter. And you need time to bond with a child. It won't be sunshine and roses, but no one ever promised that parenting would be, right?

All I'm saying is think about it. Really think about it. Look into it. While we're wrapping gifts and making holiday plans to hang with friends and eat pie with family, there are thousands of little voices (and some not-so-little voices) wishing that they just had a family of their own to love them this Christmas. They really aren't asking for that much. They don't care if you're wealthy. They don't care if you're single or married. They don't care if you're young or old. If you've got some love and patience to spare, you could be just what some child is hoping for this year.

Whew! Finally.

I'm terribly sorry to have kept you waiting for so long. Hey! Wake up! I know you want to know about this fabulous news of my incredibly interesting life. I often wondered if I'd *ever* get to say this, but we moved into our new house. About a month ago, actually. I'm sitting here in my nice, warm living room, gazing lovingly at my Christmas tree with pretty, pretty lights on it. For the last 3 Christmases, we didn't have room for the big tree, you know. Things are going pretty smoothly now, and we should close on our construction loan soon. I've been cooking up all kinds of wonderful things in my spacious kitchen and taking luxurious baths in my new, giant jetted tub. Ahhhh. Home sweet home. I would take a picture to share, as I promised Robin, but all six of my nieces and nephews were here for the last two days, so there's a toy explosion happening all over the house, and my nephew let the dog in this afternoon just as the snow was good and melty so there are hound-sized muddy footprints all over my beautiful, cream-colored carpets. Then, my niece let a cat in for good measure, so there are kitty-prints winding around the doggy variety. My living room looks like some kind of inter-species animal dance studio. Maybe I should take a pic of that, because after all of my work to keep these carpets clean, it's really sort of funny that it all came down to one afternoon with the little ones.

Christmas is coming, and I'm seriously the best wife in all the world because I bought my husband a pool table for our soon-to-be-finished basement rec room. Last year I got him a snazzy electronic dartboard, so the rec room should be fairly entertaining when it's done. Yay! Since many of our early dates were spent playing pool in smoky dive bars near campus, I'm looking forward to challenging my sweetie to a game and remembering the wanton days of our youth. Ha! How old do I sound now? Let me take out my dentures and play some pool, Grandpa. I'm 28. Sheesh.

My daughter wants a horse for Christmas. Specifically, she wants a "water-poofing horse." We don't know what that means, and she can't tell us. Not that she's getting a live horse of any variety this holiday season, but I'd sure like to know what "water-poofing" is and how it relates to the equine world.

I've lost 40 pounds now, and I'm inching my way closer to what I weighed when I got married. My holiday treat for myself? Wardrobe additions, of course. I have a closet the size of Rhode Island now. It must be filled. I recently bought a very foxy pair of black leather boots - mid-calf high with skinny heels. I love these boots. Other women admire them but ask how I can walk in them. Clearly they don't understand that sometimes, for the sake of looking and feeling really sexy, a little foot pain is a small sacrifice. I'm thinking that I need to revisit my stance on footwear. Previously, I decided that I would curb my shoe shopping because A) I don't really go anywhere exciting anymore, and B) No one here cares if my shoes are Manolo Blahnik or Walmart Special. I'm admitting it now, though. I love shoes. I see a shopping trip in my future, and I think pretty soon the people of my small hamlet will be exposed to loftier foot fashion once again.