Chutzpah abounds in the fantastical world of adoption. Well endowed (silicon-enhanced?) country singer Tammy Cochran tells of a near tragedy in her short life:
"I started adopting a child back in 2005 and ran into some difficulties pretty quickly with that adoption …. My facilitator got arrested for some illegal activities that she participated in. It kind of put all of our adoptions in jeopardy -- with everyone that was working with her on adoptions at the time."Determined to have her child, Tammy persevered. According to “The Boot” (a website for country music fans with pages on such subjects as “Best Cheating Songs” and “Best Flat Broke Songs”):
“The adoption, which was supposed to take about nine months, took two long years to become finalized....
Honors the birthmother? Please. And that kid is Tammy's because she paid big bucks to a crook even though she never laid eyes on him?'It was a huge emotional roller coaster. I was home here in Nashville. At that point, my adoption was completely in jeopardy. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to bring my son home. I was very upset, obviously. I wrote this song 'Half the World Away.' It's kind of a lullaby-type of song pouring my heart out. I wanted to let this little boy know that I was going to wait for him as long as I had to wait for him. It just expressed what I was feeling at that time. And it honors the birth mom that had the courage to let her baby go.’
And then there is mattress peddler Sleep Country USA, using foster kids for PR. Sleep Country asked for donations of pajamas for foster kids this summer. With winter approaching, it switched to requesting used winter coats. Now, it wants toys for Christmas. I’m sure foster kids feel good, going to Sleep Country with “foster kid” stamped on their foreheads to collect their pajamas, coats, and toys. And what are those foster parents doing with the money the state pays them to take these kids in? Surely they can afford $5 pajamas from Target, $20 coats from Wal-Mart, and a few toys from Toys R Us.
Hey, Sleep Country, why don’t you give pajamas, coats, and toys to kids who really need them, those from poor families whose welfare grant is about a third of what foster parents get?
Speaking of foster kids, The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department recently adopted a rule waiving camping and day use fees for foster families who adopt a foster child until that child turns 18. These fees range from $5 for day use in a state park to $24 for parking a RV.
An earlier rule gave families with foster kids free camping. Foster parents screamed “unfair” when they lost this perk if they adopted the kid. So, now they get to keep it. The whole thing sounds like the brainchild of someone who works for the OR Parks and Recreation Department who has kids from foster care, because it is so off the wall. Either the family has its own resources to care for the child, or they are receiving subsidies from the state. Either way the family can afford $24 to park its RV, which cost many thousands of dollars in the first place.
This fee waiver raises the question of how families prove they are eligible. (“See the wacky kid tied down in the backseat? We just adopted him.”) Perhaps the Department of Human Services will mail a park pass along with the amended birth certificate.
And because adoption-related stuff never fails to catch my eye, this last one, an ad for Chili’s restaurant ought to win the tastelessness of the year award “I want my baby back!” screams the ad, followed by “baby-back ribs, that is.”
Ron Blankenbaker, a long time columnist for the Salem, Oregon Statesman-Journal used to include what he called “Pieces of String” – short, telling nuggets – in his columns. The phrase comes from a story he recounted about children going through their deceased mother’s belongings. In the attic, they found a large bag filled with strings labeled “Pieces of String too Short to Save.”
If you have other short snippets of adoption related stories, please add them here so we call all enjoy them.