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  • Christine Shuck

Adoption... and Other A Words...


After 4+ years of roller coaster ups and downs, we finally adopted our 6 1/2 year old, Angela, on Friday. There wasn't much fanfare. It wasn't even in court. No photo of a smiling kiddo, her new "natural" parents (that's the term the court uses), and a judge proudly standing behind us.


There was awkward video testimony after we were sworn in (and had to be told we could put our hands down because we are complete bumbling dorks). There was the dramatic jump/fall of our cat off a bookshelf in the middle of the whole thing, and Angela cackling like a banshee as the cat crashed to the ground and bounded off. And the judge congratulated us, rang a little bell, and as soon as he did, Angela turned to me and asked loudly, "Now can I go to summer camp?" Quite obviously bored with, and completely over, the ceremony.


We gave her a second middle name, Rose, as is the custom with Dave's family, while keeping her original middle name, and she is now, officially, a Shuck.

The very same day I received a letter from our adoption attorney outlining the steps he is now taking for the adoption of our soon to be 10-month-old. In a few months, unless there are any issues or family that steps out of the woodwork, or his biomom decides to get her act together, our sweet boy will join the clan and we will gracefully bow out of foster care.

It's definitely been a journey. In the 4+ years we have fostered, we have taken in three children in total. We aren't lifers, although I honestly wish I had done it sooner, and had more opportunities. Ah well, perhaps in my next life. As it is, by the time we are done raising our little boy, I will have been actively parenting for over half a century. It is a sobering thought, but they keep me young, they really do. The crazy things they do, and say, parenting is a fantastic adventure.


Le Fou Frog

We celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary at Le Fou Frog on Saturday evening. My husband and I are ridiculous foodies - but Le Fou Frog is in our top 100 meals of all time. I didn't even care about that extra pound on the scale in the morning. The tastebud extravaganza was so worth it! And the next time I see Sweetbread on the menu as an entree, I'm far more likely to order it than the roast duck. The duck was lovely, but the Sweetbread, sitting atop the most creamy mashed potatoes and drizzled with this amazing sauce was beyond the par. I ended up eating all of my husband's leftovers for lunch the next day!


As I wrote on a Facebook post:


"Marriage is a work in progress. It has ups, and it has downs. It has compromise. It means NOT suffocating your spouse in their sleep no matter how much you want to at the moment. It means taking turns losing your collective shit. It's hard to live with another human being at times. And other times, it is awesome and wonderful and you wonder how you could/would be able to live without them.

Dave and I have spent 19 years together, 16 of them as a married couple. We've been in a lot of places-gritted teeth, growled "I love you's", and plenty of dorky in-love moments.


Happy 16th wedding anniversary, Dave. I look forward to being a pain in your patoot for another 16, and beyond."


"I Like Your Shirt"

I buzzed by Home Depot on Sunday to find a length of chain so we could hang this baby...

She loves it, by the way. I could only be so lucky if she were to choose to sleep in it, since she's been refusing to sleep in her own bed for three months or more.


I had to pick up an order, so I headed towards Customer Service, chain in hand. There was a short line.


"Next!" I stepped forward and smiled at the woman and held up the QR code for the pickup. She smiled back and said, "I like your shirt."


This morning when I put it on, I hadn't planned on going anywhere. Not that it mattered, but the shirt, well, it's controversial. It shows the notorious RBG (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) and included a quote that read, "When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty."


And I realized then I had found a like-minded soul. We exchanged words, I directed her to the Moth's Bodily Autonomy show, and we parted ways.


I had just spent a part of the morning sparring with some guy I didn't even know on Facebook. I was angry, and sad, and so afraid. Not for me. I'm post menopause, the point is moot for me. But not for my children. For the women and girls I knew who have the working parts to make babies, carry them, birth them.


I've avoided talking about it, except with immediate family. I have directly avoided any public mention of it on my FB page or a half dozen other social media outlets. Partly because I feel so fucking helpless, so tiny, so insignificant. I'm seeing the war of words unfold before my eyes and I don't want to fight, I don't want to talk about this deep, painful and personal choice that has been ripped from my loved ones, and countless others I don't know. I don't want to engage in discourse about it because it makes me so abysmally sad...


That it has to happen in the first place...


That making it illegal won't make it go away, just make it far more deadly...


That those in power haven't learned from the past - coat hangers, Lysol, suicide, murder, orphanages, children shunned and deemed less than second class


I hear one side scream MURDER as if women gaily traipse into this decision and bathe in the blood of the unborn without a care in the world.


I hear the other side scream MY BODY and YOU DON'T OWN ME and I think of Handmaid's Tale and wonder if Gilead is just around the corner.


And I honestly wish I could go hide in a corner and wait for all of the screaming to be done. I know what it is like to be faced with that terrible choice. I know what it is like to WANT a child, desperately, and to have to let go of that dream.


And no, I'm not going to tell you that story. Or any of the others. The hours and days of desperation, the realization that I was completely and totally alone at a moment I desperately needed love, reassurance, or just someone to LISTEN. And the moments when all I wanted was something that I could not ever have. For me, this topic is intensely personal. As it should be, as it is, for so many others.


I fear for this world. I fear for this country. I fear for my daughters.


This state of affairs... it cannot stand. It cannot continue.


That abortion exists is a tragedy. To outlaw it is an even bigger tragedy. Will we never learn from the past?


I hear the terms "conservatives" and "libtards" tossed about far too often. We are people, human beings with vastly different views. Somehow, we have to come back to each other. We must find common ground. We must compromise.


How that works, I don't know, but it is needed.


Desperately.

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