Hear the Angel Voices

Hear the Angel Voices

I’ve been waiting on myself to begin. I knew it was time to get back to this and I knew it was time for a shift. I shut down the old blog, bought a new name, and created a new site. A new chapter. But how to begin, Becca, how to start. The pressure. Y’all are like,...

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Bye, Mom.

Bye, Mom.

My mom died on April 1, just a little over two weeks ago. I don’t know which cliché to use – does it feel like yesterday or years? Both, I guess. My mom was a young 74 and did all the healthy things – the exercising, the kale, the vitamins, the check-ups. I look like...

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No Shame

Well, it had to come. Some of you readers have been with me for a while now. You’ve read these random blogs and followed along on Facebook as Jax came home from China, was diagnosed with all the things, and proceeded to grow up into a teenage boy. He’s gone from...

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The Answer is No.

So we’re homeschooling over here. It’s going really well, I’d say. We have great people, Jax’s anxiety is at an all-time low, he’s happy, he’s inquisitive, and importantly, he’s learning things that are relevant to his 14 year-old-life and skills he’ll use for his...

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Better

I have sucked as a parent lately. Truth. 'Tis the season for holiday lights and wrapping paper and for mom to be a stressed out asshole. That should be a Christmas carol. “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the waaayyyyy. My mom’s annoyed at everyone, please bring...

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Grandma Mary

Grandma Mary

Dear Jax,It's Gotcha Day, little dude. We adopted you eleven years ago today. I love this day, but this year's celebration is bittersweet. Your grandmother died on Friday night. Your dad's mom, Grandma Mary. This year's Gotcha Day will be a little less inflatable...

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Relief

Relief

Johnny made it to his Army base on Monday. Other moms are messaging me tips to survive boot camp, linking me to Facebook groups, introducing me to people who can show me the ropes. It's lovely, but I’m in a different sort of situation. “Hi Martha with your...

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Maybe This Time

Maybe This Time

A day or two ago, Jax had an appointment with a psychiatrist. Jax has never met this man before, but I have, and I like him a lot. He regurgitates mountains of stuff from memory, has a Harvard degree, and is smart, smart, smart. All good stuff when you’re a mom...

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Brothers

Brothers

Johnny, I've been down at the Capitol this past week fighting for a bill that would expedite the adoption of older kids. I'm pretty invested in it because you and I went through this. We had nine months to make your adoption happen, and had I not already had a giant...

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Nobody Said It Was Easy.

Nobody Said It Was Easy.

And I quote: "And after fourteen years of foster care, Johnny was getting all As and Bs in school, happily helping around the house, had checking and savings accounts, and looking for his first job - all within just a few months of being adopted into a family. "...

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Dear Person Who Hurt My Child.

Dear Person Who Hurt My Child.

I've spent the last few days outlining an open letter to the person who hurt Jax. A real doozy of a piece, cleverly called "Dear Person Who Hurt My Child." I was going to write and publish it this morning, throw it all out there and let the internet lovelies react to...

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Not the Best Witness

Not the Best Witness

The adult who hurt my son will not be charged. I'm a lawyer. I get it. There are no witnesses, no physical evidence, and Jax ...well, Jax isn't the best witness.  At 13, Jax still believes that Noelle the Naughty Elf stole my car keys and tried to take my...

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When the Flashing Lights Fail.

When the Flashing Lights Fail.

I am a Helicopter Mom. No shame here, no self-deprecating humor, there is really no other option for this child tornado of mine. Maybe helicopter isn't the right word, I think I'm more like the car with the flashing lights that travels behind the Wide Load truck on...

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“They don’t need another backpack, Mom.”

“They don’t need another backpack, Mom.”

I was coming out of an Ace Hardware the other day - feeling super handy, I might add - and on the way to my car, I saw a woman standing by a table raising money. It was a legit 100-gazillion degrees in Phoenix and I was entirely prepared to do the polite smile...

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The Opposite of Yelling

The Opposite of Yelling

I was sick this week. Throwing up throughout the night, curled up in fetal position at the base of the toilet, not sure how clean the bath mat is, I do not even care, I will never eat blue cheese in a salad again, SICK. Being sick as an adult is lousy. Being sick as a...

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To Johnny, on your 17th Birthday.

To Johnny, on your 17th Birthday.

Dear Johnny, I know this isn't where you thought you would be at age 17. Still in the foster system, a day pass on your birthday, preparing to be shuffled around again, and then again and again. I know. As a child, you must have thought ahead to 17 and pictured your...

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An Unlikely Intersection

An Unlikely Intersection

Last week, a family asked about adopting my foster son, Johnny. A family. Adoption. This was a big deal for a sixteen year old foster kid who moved in with me last month because he had nowhere else to go and had every intention of aging out of the system as an orphan....

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Out of the Way, Mom.

Out of the Way, Mom.

I had a moment recently. My son, Jax, and I had been in the car running errands for a few hours. I was singing along to the Beatles channel when Jax said, "Mom, I'm hungry." Well, yeah, breakfast was a hurried cup of yogurt three hours ago so that's reasonable....

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Welcome Home, Kid.

Welcome Home, Kid.

A teenage boy is coming to live with me. Today. In eight hours, I will be an official foster parent. It's been only a few months, but I have notes upon notes about my short experience so far with this child welfare system of ours. I can't wrap my head around how we...

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I’m Supposed to Be in the Creek

I’m Supposed to Be in the Creek

Last week, I was in my favorite place in the world with my 15-person family. Every few years, we head to a ranch in the mountains of Colorado. We've been going here since I was a little girl, and there is truly no place I would rather be. I told my clients I was out,...

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“See you next year?”

“See you next year?”

I volunteered to go to an education meeting last week with a foster kid. This kid was in high school and not too interested in me at first. I didn't blame him, I'd never met him before and this was a child who lives in a constantly-changing world with...

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The Santa Exit Plan

The Santa Exit Plan

It was late-September of 2008 when we brought my son home from China, just two months before December and our sparkly, over-the-top, American-style Christmas season. My little boy had no idea what Christmas was. He had no idea who Santa was. Hell,...

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…Except That It’s Christmas

…Except That It’s Christmas

This time of year, man. It’s stressful and chaotic and my annual intention of providing a Pinterest-perfect Christmas lasts about a day and a half until I decide that F-bombs will definitely help me assemble the gingerbread house. Ahhh, December. This year, the...

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I Gotcha, Kiddo.

I Gotcha, Kiddo.

Jax’s eighth Gotcha Day is coming up. “Gotcha Day” is the anniversary of Jax’s adoption from China. It’s the day Jax became our son, and like good adoptive parents, we celebrate. Jax gets a few presents, we decorate, we eat pizza and cake, we participate in general...

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The Invisible People

The Invisible People

I was at a Ross the other day. I love Ross. There is one by my son's school, and on the days I don't feel like laptopping at Starbucks, I walk around in their exceptional summer air conditioning while having riveting conversations with myself about my need for their...

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­­Dear Donald Trump,

My son thinks ­­you want to deport him.

I’m sorry, did I jump ahead of myself there? That was rude of me. Let’s start over.

Hi there. I’m Rebecca. Yes, yes, nice to meet you, too.

I have an adopted son. He was adopted from China in 2008, when he was three and a half years old. He’s ten now, an American citizen, and I’ll state the obvious: I love my son. A lot. So much. He’s the greatest, Donald, just the greatest.

This son of mine thinks you want to deport him. Literally, Mr. Trump. My kid thinks you and your people want to send him back to China.

I’ve spent a lot of time, a lot of resources, a lot of everything helping this kid feel secure, feel safe, feel permanent. I don’t want to brag, but I think I do an okay job. It’s the most important thing I do, and I work really, really hard at it.

You’re making my job exceptionally difficult.

This morning, while I was cooking breakfast, my son, like he does one gazillion times a day, asked me a question:

“Mom, what’s an immigrant?”

I’ll admit that I was more focused on not burning the toast than I was on my kid so I replied quickly.

 “An immigrant is someone who wasn’t born here, but lives here.”

As the words left my mouth, I realized where this was going. I turned to face my son just in time for what came next.

“Can I get sent back to China, Mom? I think people want to send me back to China.”

I knew when I adopted this little boy that there would be a slew of issues I would have to navigate, Mr. Trump. The 2016 Presidential election was not one of them.

It’s a shame that I can’t use this election to teach my son about democracy, about our country, about national pride and history in the making. But I can’t. Instead, I am shielding him from this election. I am keeping him as far away from it as I possibly can. I am hovering over his iPad, ready to shut down YouTube in a hot second – not because of adult language or inappropriate content, but because he has already heard one too many of your loyal supporters proudly say into the face of a news camera, “If you weren’t born here, go back to your own country.”

It’s not hard to see why he’s scared.

Yes, of course, I have tried to explain that there is nothing to worry about, but he’s a little young to grasp the nuances of legal citizenship. And frankly, I don’t think it would make him feel any better if he did. I’m a forty-three year old lawyer who was born in Illinois and I find this election’s rhetoric frightening.

Immigration is a tricky issue. I live in Arizona, I get it. It’s a big topic around these parts. It needs to be talked about, it needs to be discussed. Of course it does. But the way we discuss it matters. Words matter. And your words, Mr. Trump, your staff’s words, your supporters’ words are frightening the smallest and most vulnerable people that you could be, come November, sworn to govern and protect. I usually like a solid example of irony, but I don’t like this one at all.

I’m going to do my best to navigate this with my son. I’m going to do my best to allay his fears, to bring him back to the land of protected and safe, to keep his patriotism intact.

In other words, I am going to do my best to repair the damage that this election has done to a ten year-old American boy.  There’s nothing great about this, Mr. Trump.  Nothing.

Sincerely,
Becca

*This post also ran on the Huffington Post.