Worth My Salt

Sometimes, I honestly don’t know why I’m doing this.

I know it’s the right thing to do. I know I’m being called to do it. But every time someone asks me, “What made you want to adopt a child?” I draw a blank. I stammer. I say something acceptable and then spend the next hour sorting through the words, hoping to find the golden nugget of truth. It’s not something I consciously decided to do or willingly embraced. Yet, here I am, about a month shy of my 36th birthday, beginning the adoption process. And because I think best when I write, I figured why not chronicle the entire madcap experience here?

A little back story on me. I had dolls, sure, but I preferred to wear my plastic She-Ra armor and defend the Crystal Castle (a.k.a. “the garden shed”). I wanted play “G.I. Joe vs. Cobra” in the backyard with all the boys (and would choose to be Scarlet or the Baroness depending on which team picked me). When my parents told me it was time to start earning my own money, I chose to mow lawns rather than babysit. And this was when we lived in south Florida where it’s 98 in the shade with 100% humidity. So, yeah, the idea of motherhood is a bit foreign to me. I don’t have much experience with kids younger than 13, and though I’ve been a teacher, it’s a far cry from parental experience.

Wayne and I discussed different adoption options and finally landed on the one that seemed to be the best fit for our current stage of life and personalities: foster to adopt, special needs. I’m already beginning to see that the wonderful world of adoption is chock full of terms and acronyms, so allow me to explain our choice.

Foster to adopt involves taking in a child or children when one birth parent’s rights have been severed. (Also know as TPR or “termination of parental rights.” I told you there were acronyms aplenty.) Basically, the state is trying to reunify the child or children with family, but that often does not happen because the parent is found unfit. Children who come from these homes are often abused (emotionally, physically, or sexually) and neglected (especially with regards to health).

We chose this option because we want to adopt an older child rather than an infant. There were two reasons for this. One, I didn’t feel led to give up my current job, and two, doing so would put some serious hurt on our finances. (While we could survive on one salary, it wouldn’t be pretty. And I wasn’t really keen on pinching pennies until they scream.)

Also, it’s one of the greatest areas of need in the United States. According to Adopt US Kids, “More than 250,000 children…enter the foster care system every year. While more than half of these children will return to their parents, the remainder will stay in the system.”

Image courtesy of examiner.com.
Image courtesy of examiner.com.

The other term, special needs, is a little more misleading. Yes, it applies to children who have some sort of physical, emotional, or mental handicap, but it can also apply to children who:

  • Are older than age 5
  • Are part of a sibling group that needs to be adopted together
  • Have a history of trauma

The second one in that list is the reason why the term applies to us. We have room to take in up to three children, so we’re opting to go for a sibling group. I’m hoping for a pair because once the children outnumber the parents, you have to start playing zone defense.

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We have taken the first steps to make this happen. We selected Bethany Christian Services as our agency, filled out our preliminary application, and attended the first two-hour information meeting. The next step is to begin IMPACT training, which involves 20 hours of classroom time. Part of me is eager to get started, yes. But another part of me hesitates. It asks, “What are you doing!?” We’ve finally managed to get ahead a bit financially, and life is hectic but manageable. I get plenty of sleep. My schedule is my own. I have down time and can enjoy an evening on the town without pulling off a feat of logistics to rival D-Day. And I’m choosing to give all of that up, no waterboarding involved.

But of the many blessings I’ve been given, the first and most amazing is my family. I was surrounded by love from the moment I was born. (In fact, my aunt hid in my mother’s hospital bathroom until the nurse left because she was excited to see me and just couldn’t wait.) I have two loving parents, a younger brother, and an extended family who has never once failed to support me. I was never abused, never neglected, never told I was unwanted or that someone didn’t have time for me. And I’m coming to see just what an amazing gift that is. I can’t help every child who has not known this kind of security, but I can do something for the handful God has in mind. To do anything less is disobedient to the one who died for me, the one who allowed me to be “adopted” into God’s family.

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life, in a great cause.” I may very well be jeopardizing all of these things by adopting, but I can think of no cause greater than that.

Maybe I know why I’m doing this after all.

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If you’re currently adopting or have survived the process, I would LOVE to hear from you. Please leave me a comment in the section below, and tell me your story. I’d love some advice and to get to know others in this amazing community!

If You Can Ask Google About Loki…

I’ve run across some fairly awful grammatical, spelling, and stylistic errors in my time, but most of them were made by teenagers—people (hopefully) still learning how to write well. However, thanks to meme generators, e-card makers, and other innumerable sites that allow people to create their own images, we’re now caught up in a tsunami of awful writing. And the worst part is, no one seems to notice. How do I know? Because they create and share the stuff without a second thought. Take this one for instance.

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**Images can be enlarged by clicking on them.**

Someone tagged me in this one on Facebook because I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan, and while I appreciate the sentiment, I can’t get over the fact there are two errors in this card. First off, “that” is the incorrect relative pronoun; it’s typically used for objects, animals, things, and groups. For instance, you could say, “The bees that stung me are in a hive up that tree.” Girls who love baseball (in addition to being awesome) are most definitely not objects. Hence, “who” is the correct relative pronoun in this case.

There is also a glaring run-on sentence that could be fixed by placing comma right in front of the “and.” Brother, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve added one of those to a sentence for someone, I could pay to house Mark Harmon in a manor on the English moors and make him pretend to be Mr. Rochester for my literary amusement.

And then there’s this one that makes me despair because it’s a witty observation ruined by a single incorrect letter.

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A “suicide pack”? Seriously? It would have taken two seconds to check the many meanings of “pack,” none of which is “an agreement, covenant, or compact.”

I’ve taught English for more than a decade. I know the English language can be an aggressive, hairy she-beast sometimes. It is unwieldy and hard to train, but the Internet has made it so much easier to prevent errors like this one. Back in the 80s when I was wee, I used to think the phrase was “for all intensive purposes,” and I was roundly chastised by a teacher (in front of the entire class) for writing it that way.

Today, I would simply look it up on the good ole’ world wide web, correct my mistake in the privacy of my own home, and save myself the public shaming. It also would’ve saved Mrs. Wilcox from an afternoon spent wiping up a bottle of liquid  soap off the bathroom floor. (Hey, she brought it on herself. I just worked out my feelings with the tools that were available to me. Don’t judge.)

There are teeny tiny errors that make exactness impossible….

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Which owl trusts the cat? We’ll never know. (My money’s on the one to its right. He looks pretty content with the state of the world.)

And there are enormous errors that make a sentence’s true meaning completely indiscernible.

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The way this sign reads, the only person who can hope to take a leak in this facility must be disabled, elderly, pregnant, and a child. I could see someone being elderly and disabled. That’s easy peezie, lemon squeezie. Disabled and pregnant? Sure, that’s plausible. Elderly and pregnant? Hey, it happened to Sarah. But the only person I know who could combine “elderly” and “child” is Benjamin Button, and even he couldn’t be both at once. So while the owners of this store are very excited about you shopping with them (hence the “THANK YOU” written in all caps), the bathroom is verboten to all patrons, even those who meet some of the qualifications. We all know what they meant, but that’s not what they said.

And then there are errors that just make me wonder what the heck is going on with the public schools these days.

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People with a limp-wristed grasp of grammar always claim, “I know it’s correct because it sounds right to my ear.” I hate to break it to you, but your ear is only as good as the stuff it hears. So if you’re surrounded by yutzes “that don’t talk good,”  chances are you aren’t going to either. Your ear is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.

I know verb tenses can be treacherous, like staircases in Europe, but the correct one is easy to discover. And, let’s face it, “I would have came” is as awkward on the ears as a rousing chorus of “Let It Go” performed by precocious children. “I would have come,” on the other hand, is pure bliss, the auditory equivalent to a glass of ’47 Cheval Blanc. Besides, why would you trust a person who spells wisdom with a Z?

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If people can ask pressing questions like “Why does everyone I know like ‘The Walking Dead,'” surely, they can ask “What does suicide pack mean” and discover their word choice is flawed. So simple. And it would make the world (at least my corner of it) a little better.

But I’m totally with the people who asked Google about Loki. I can’t figure out why the sight of Tom Hiddleston drives some women to self-immolation. Seriously, he looks like he should be playing D&D in his parents’ basement and working at Sbarro.

I don’t even know if Google’s algorithms can solve this mystery.

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Shhhhhh….it’s a secret.

What do you think? Is good grammar dead and gone, or can it make a comeback? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the sad state of American English. However, if there’s an error in this blog, don’t point it out. Keep that little gem to yourself. 🙂

Consider the Bees

For those of you who don’t know, my husband is a journeyman beekeeper. That means our basement is filled with wax, wood, and all sorts of weird things like buckets on sticks and a specially-designed vacuum that can hoover the little critters out of places where they’re not wanted. No kidding.

I’m not as involved with the care and maintenance of all the little divas as he is, but I help out enough to know what’s what. And doing so has taught me a few lessons about God and the wonderful and awe-inspiring ways in which He works.

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