For Kathe…

This world of grief that I am living in gives me, I suppose, a taste of what it must be like for Alzheimer patients. I am forgetting regular normal things that I never forget. Yesterday, I was supposed to mail some papers to the government in the morning. Not only did I not remember to do it, but it didn’t even enter my brain for the entire day. Not once.  Only late last night did I suddenly remember and immediately I wrote it down – which is the only reason I remembered it enough to write about it here this morning. That is my now typical experience. Not only do I forget the thing, but nothing later on triggers the memory. It sits forgotten while I go about my merry way. Grrr…..

On the other hand, I am remembering things that did not happen. I suspect that has nothing to do with the grief though. It is probably just regular old-man stuff.  And so, in the last posting I sent a picture of Danny making a glass of chocolate milk, which I had referred to in the earlier post that day. And in the earlier post, I referred to the explanation in my original first or second post back in March when I began the blog. Well, lo and behold, there is no explanation there.  There is no explanation anywhere, as my direct supervisor, Kathe, has pointed out to me. My apologies to Kathe and to all of you.  The explanation:

When I met with the seventeen year old whom I wrote about in the first post back in March, I was looking for an analogy about the impossibility of a true adoption ever ending.  I asked the young guy if it were possible for him to get me a glass of milk.  He said it was. I asked then if it were further possible for him to make that a glass of chocolate milk. Again, he said it was. Then I asked him how he would change the milk from white to chocolate and he told me that he would mix the chocolate in with the milk and stir it up.

So then I asked him if I were to change my mind still again, would he be able to change the chocolate milk back to white.  He, of course , said no.  Thus, I told him, was the reality of an adoption.  An adopter is the milk; an adoptee is the chocolate. Once mixed together for real, it is impossible to ever separate them again.  There is no faking it, nor is there any “backsies.”  Once chocolate milk, always chocolate milk.  A broken down adoption (called a disruption prior to court and a dissolution post-court finalization) was never an adoption.  A hoped for adoption; a planned adoption; an intended adoption; a make-believe adoption; the illusion of an adoption; a conditional adoption. But not a real one.  Because a real one is like chocolate milk: it is impossible to ever go back. Ever.

Once one claims one’s child, one can never unclaim them.  A person – most of us – can have more than one parent after all – but none of us can have an ex-parent.  Some – even many – birthparents who surrender their children, but never their heart’s claim, know that.  I know that from both ends: Aunt Rita was my mother, albeit my second mother, but my mother, dead though she was, remained my mother.

Danny and I refer to his legally adopted parents as his fake parents or his foster parents. Never as his mother and father.  Those words don’t fit; they don’t describe the truth of the relationship. If they did, what he and I did on Saturday would not have occurred.

Adoption, like all parenthood, is unconditional, irrevocable, and forever final.

Like chocolate milk.




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2 Responses to For Kathe…

  1. Rick Whitaker says:

    I love it! My son and I are chocolate milk forever! (Thank God! Who wants white milk? Or chocolate without the milk?) This is such a great analogy for kids! Another stroke of genius, Jack.

  2. Dotty Hannigan says:

    Dear Jack,
    Thank you for your blog-it has helped me go through a very hard time right now with Jacob. He has been through many hospitializations-(sorry for the spelling) and we were always there for him.
    He is now 18 years old and in the eyes of the law an adult. He can make his own choices and decisions. He is now doing drugs,alcohol, and getting invoved with ganges. I haven’t given up! When people say just walk away! He’s not your flesh and blood! I always say” He was born in my heart and he IS and will always be MY SON!.

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