Posts Tagged ‘Adoption’

I know all (2) of my readers are dying to hear the story of how our dog got out of her crate without the crate being unlocked. Well, so am I!

The real ‘bones’ of the story are that we leave the house, with our beast locked into her crate. We are happy. We come home to find our beast outside of her crate. Our beast is happy. The crate is still locked. We are mystified (and really p.o.’d because she has been nibbling on the door moldings … hope hubby doesn’t decide to read this entry …).

But how does she escape? Is she part hamster? Are her bones made of rubber?

This latest escape goes back to the beginning, almost seven and a half years ago, when we adopted our, then one and a half year old, beastMy Beast from a local shelter. I saw her picture on the internet, and fell in love with her big brown eyes.

WAIT … I’ve gotta go back further. About eight years ago our kids started doing and saying what all kids eventually do, “can we get a dog? We will look after it all by ourselves. You will never have to do anything.” Oh, I remember those words well … probably because they ring in my ears whenever I am feeding her, walking her, brushing her, or … scooping her poop! For any reader who has children, or will one day have children, they will eventually say the same promises to you … they LIE! But I digress.

So, I fell in love with her big brown eyes (ever heard the phrase ‘don’t buy a book by it’s cover’?). I went to the shelter to ‘pick her up’. In reality it was more like the great inquisition! And the paperwork would rival what you have to sign and fill out to adopt a real live human child! And, despite being completely honest in all I wrote (except maybe the part about ALL household members wanting to adopt her … a certain male occupant of this house and family was not, and will never, ever admit to wanting to adopt her, except to adopt her to someone else), they let me have her!

I went to the shelter that day, and fell even more in love with this beast’s motherly instincts than her eyes. I had brought my son with me (he had been having a tough year at school on the playground and I really wanted him to connect with the beast, with hopes that they would become great friends) so, while I was writing the equivalent to novelettes of why our family ‘needed’ to adopt the beast, my son sat at a table and drew pictures, and the beast laid at his feet. Whenever someone walked near the table, the beast sat up, at stayed between them and my boy.

That beast was Shiloh, and she became ours that day, because SHE adopted US.

We had done our reading about dogs … by ‘we’ I mean ‘I’. We had bought all the tools and gadgets … by ‘we’ I mean ‘I’. And our beast would be crate trained … by ‘our beast’ I mean ‘we’. It was more of a magic show, and she the master illusionist. You see we would put the beast in her crate (not the hard plastic type, but the wire ones … that look more like a cage … a certain male occupant of the house prefers the word ‘cage’), then go off to work, school, etc. Then we would come home to the beast happily meeting us at the door, and the crate still locked.

We realized that the metal bars could be bended out of place (and her bones may, indeed, be made of rubber), so carabiners were added … everywhere! Hubby took on the task of ‘securing’ the crate … and when testosterone is added to any job, overkill is bound to occur. This crate is more carabiner than it is crate! And, until yesterday, that was good enough.

I should mention that the crate was also carabinered to the two walls it is near … we had discovered that if she couldn’t get free ‘of’ the crate, she would free herself ‘and’ the crate, and both would be many feet from where we left them in the morning.

So, back to the fiasco.

One day, when I placed the beast in her crate she had ‘the look’. Now our beast, whose eyes drew me to her in the first place, also communicates wholly with those eyes. After years now of her ‘eye whispering’ I think I am starting to catch on to her language. That day she looked at me and communicated “I miss three of MY people, I’m lonely, I’m not happy with the rainy forecast for the week (because I know YOU are a wimp and won’t walk me in the rain, like HE would), and I’m going to show you who the Alpha female is in this house.” And I shook in my perfectly practical shoes. Because I ‘knew’ she would escape her cage.

When we got home I asked my daughter to humor me, and get out of the vehicle, and wait by the garage door, ready to catch the dog escaping (her crate is in the garage … don’t get your knickers in a knot, we leave the light on, and … hubby’s choice … she listens to sports radio … I think he does that as a torture tactic). As soon as the door started to rise, out she came! But we … and by ‘we’ I mean ‘I’, were onto her!

So, off to the hardware store for more carabiners … but, whose the alpha female now, beastie?

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Although he is over 4000 kilometers away, I want to honor the man who has taught me some of the most important things in my life.

As he celebrates, and is celebrated on this 70th birthday, I feel the distance of the miles between us, profoundly.

I come from a birthday, anniversary, holiday, visitor, graduation, etc. celebrating family. Any event that exists, or can be created, is a good excuse to get together for a meal. A seventieth birthday is a huge reason for celebration, for food, for cake, for presents … presence.

Rather than dwell on that which cannot be accomplished, I will share that which has already been accomplished thanks to the man who chose to take me as his own … daughter.

The best gift my dad has given to me starts with his name. When I was two years old. When he was asking my mother to marry him. He had one condition … that he would not just give his name to my mother, but that he would give his name to me. And so, the wedding preparations and the adoption process began. Thank-you for giving me your name.

My dad also gave me the unconditional love of a father. There has never been a day or experience when I have ever felt that I am not fully his daughter. He was naturally able to hug and discipline me … as though it was our shared blood that got under his skin … and into his heart.

He showed me what passion was, and wasn’t. He worked more jobs that paid the bills than fed his soul, but when he was doing something with passion, he did it with every fiber within him. I remember him counting down the years until he could retire, when working at one passionless job, and now he is seventy, and showing no signs of fully giving up the job that he loves.

He was always honest with me … whether I wanted to hear it or not. He told me when our cat died, when our dog needed to be put down, when I was wrong, when I wasn’t doing my best at school, when I didn’t call often enough. He told me when he was angry at my mom, my brothers … me. He told me … with not a word, of how lost he felt when his mom, my grandmother died. He told me he loved me.

My dad is who he is … and if you don’t like him, that is not something he will lose sleep over. He does not exist for the purpose of impressing others or becoming who he is not. He is who he is … like it or lump it!

My dad is a good man, and I have many fond childhood memories centered around him …

clams in the pasta meal
dancing with me before heading out to a dance with my mom
buying blue satin shorts for me because I said that everyone would have them walking where you grew up while you told childhood stories
warm from the oven biscuits
keeping score for your minor softball teams
Christmas shopping for mom
allowing me to help install a Gyproc ceiling for my bedroom
teaching me how to make snow angels
Chinese buffets

and so many more lasting memories!

Dad, I wish you a happy birthday. I wish you a day of feeling loved, appreciated, cared for and of thanksgiving.

There is not much more I can say, that goes beyond the words of Moses :

“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”

Numbers 6:24-26

Other than, I love you.

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We have children for many reasons. For some, it is just what you do. For some, it is an inner desire. For some it is to create a new being out of your love with another person. For some it is to bring joy to our lives. And for some … it just happened.

Once we do have our own children, whatever reasons we had for having them need to disappear, as their desires and wants need to forever trump our own, for the rest of their lives.

The following video shows a clip of a famous (at least Youtube famous) story about two young and impulsive men who purchased a lion cub from Harrods of London many years ago. It tells of how they cared for him, and  that the life they gave the cub was,  obvious in the video, a joy filled experience. Their decision to raise a lion cub was quite an enormous responsibility, one that they (like us in our quest to have a child), perhaps, had not understood fully when they made that decision.

Now tell me animals do not form bonds, and do not express emotion! What a beautiful reunion of the lion who was chosen raised and saved by the two men who chose to raise, and then let go of the cub, for his own good. Really it was in their letting go of their lion that gave Christian life as he was intended to have it.

Often, as parents, we have a plan for the lives of our children, from even before they are conceived. We hope for their future, we try to protect them from harm, we lead them in directions that we deem best for them. I do believe that the intentions of most of us as parents are pure and good. But, we can be living vicariously through our kids. Or, maybe our kids are hindered to progress in their own lives, because we neglect to let them go.

It is in that letting go that avails us to beautiful reunions, when they chose to return and share with us, as parents, the joys and sorrows of their independent lives. The story of Christian the lion, and, more importantly, the men who purchased him, tells of the joy of giving freedom to those we love.

It is a challenge to let go of our children. It is a challenge to not see them as our possessions … something we hold, and keep to ourselves. It is not a natural thing to let our children go off and live their lives independent of ourselves. But it is in granting that freedom that we allow them to have the greatest success, the greatest freedom to be who they were created to be.

In a second, and last visit of John and Ace to Christian, in Kenya, they reflected on how far ‘their’ lion had come, “he was no longer dependent on any of us, and that was the most wonderful success … John and Ace are convinced that they did the right thing, giving him back his freedom.”

“Point your kids in the right direction—
when they’re old they won’t be lost.”

Proverbs 22:6

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