28 January 2009

If I Had 10 Million Dollars

Two months ago, Wifey’s colleagues did the impossible. They won the lottery. Four of them. They split one of the biggest jackpots in Canadian history.

We told the kids and began imagining what we would do if we were to win $10 million. We’d get a bigger house, pay off my mother’s mortgage, pay for Wifey’s sister’s schooling, take a huge month-long vacation, set up a trust fund for my brother, buy a Playstation and have some fun.

I’d also quit my job and finally achieve my life long career ambition to be a philanthropist. Can you imagine anything better than finding great charities to fund and making their work happen?

The flipside to all this imagining is that our kids started to have a new ambition. They wanted to win the lottery. Since it was so easy for Wifey’s colleagues to work at winning the lottery, and they did win, the kids insisted that we should be equally successful at winning. Missing from this equation was the element of chance.

Bubaloo suggested that we spend all our money on lottery tickets, while Bella extolled on the sins of gambling.

We opted to set up a little family experiment. For the next year, every week we’re each going to invest a dollar.

Bella and I will combine our dollars and place them in a savings jar. We’re 10 weeks into the experiment and our jar has $20 in it.

Wifey and Bubaloo have joined forces to win the lottery. Each week they spend their $2 on a lottery ticket. Any winnings they receive must be placed into a jar.

So far they don’t have a jar. They haven’t even won any cash to put into the non-existent jar. The only thing they’ve won with their $20 is a free ticket. One single lonely free ticket. Even with two tickets in one week, we still haven’t won the 649 or Super 7. Just imagine.

The idea is at the end of one year we’ll compare the contents of both jars and make a family decision on how to spend it.

Well we’ve already decided that it will be spent on a ‘fancy dinner.’ We just haven’t quite come to agreement on what constitutes ‘fancy.’ I do believe that the kids have nominated McDonalds, Swiss Chalet and the Lone Star as their options.

25 January 2009

LGBTQ (Adoptive) Parents

Right now, I’m sitting in the Porter lounge having just doused my pants and laptop with a latte. I think I was a little overly enthused to sip some of my free latte. I’m here catching a flight after having attended a weekend-long conference on post-adoption peer-to-peer supports.

With 28 moms and 2 dads, I was the only queer person in the room. This only reinforced my need for LGBTQ-specific post-adoption supports in my community. All of us had one major life-changing thing in common – we all had at least one adopted child. Despite this, I wasn’t able to connect with any of these people.

In part it could perhaps be because I was an average of 10-20 years younger than all the other parents. The generational gap was evident every time I didn’t get one of their cultural references. Who the heck is Davey Jones and why was running into him at a hotel such a life defining moment for you? (Apparently he was from the Monkees and had a huge teen scream-your-head-off-and-faint following).

It wasn’t a one-sided generation disconnect; it was mutual. Any time I mentioned Facebook they didn’t see the networking potential or the future challenges posed by our kids being able to search for birth parents and relatives.

I’m still flabbergasted by the number of people who assume that birth children are not a possibility for us or that we have not faced an extensive infertility challenge. As far as I know, both wombs are functioning. We just lack the sperm to allow an egg to take up residence there. No matter what Wifey and I do, any child in our home will not be the biological likeness of both our parts. So, why should adoption be any different for us in this respect?

There was even a general disgust in the room of referring to themselves as adoptive parents. Not parents who adopted children. Nor parents with 4 children - 1 adopted and 3 biological.

I love being an adoptive parent and referring to myself as such...if only because I commonly use the specific phrasing to disassociate myself from having had any role in my children’s public display of poor behaviour. Sometimes, I just want to avoid judgmental people who I clearly see thinking “how did such a smart girl get pregnant, not once but twice as a teenager.”

My family is complicated and messy. I’m out. Sometimes more than others. My kids are out and constantly out me. I just spend so much time trying to sort out how my identity puzzle fits for me and has a place in the larger world.

So yeah, I’m going to make me another adoption splinter group and bring together the queers!