It’s funny, but after I moved to my new digs — to get more room for myself and my even­tual fost/​adopt child — I basi­cally lost touch with the agency that I’m coör­di­nat­ing with to make the adop­tion happen.

I’m not sure why things unfolded the way they did in the last two months or so; I think I was focused so much on self-​​stabilization that I just lost sight of every­thing else. This trou­bles me and sug­gests an area in my own per­sonal growth that I need to address.

Two things hap­pened in the last month to remind me of what I was doing and why. The first took the form of a casual encounter at work; the sec­ond took the form of a sug­ges­tion from a long­time friend about a book I might want to read.

In early September a ran­dom kid paused by my office door and glanced in. This is hardly uncom­mon. At least once a day I get peo­ple walk­ing by, look­ing inside for a moment, then either doing a double-​​take or back­track­ing their steps to have a sec­ond look around. My office space, small as it is, is packed with visual stim­u­la­tion. I have animé broad­sheets on the wall com­mem­o­rat­ing greats such as Wolf’s Rain, Ghost in the Shell and Lain; I have stuffed Shake, Frylock and Meatwad pil­lows from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and I have a com­plete Star Wars Action Fleet of TIE vehi­cles: The orig­i­nal fighter, Vader’s cus­tom job, the bomber, the Interceptor and the rare and prized Defender.1

I also have some line draw­ings I’ve done for var­i­ous rea­sons, as well as some ad one-​​offs that I par­tic­u­larly like. So it wasn’t too bizarre for me when this kid passed, looked around, and declared it to be “cool”.

We talked a lit­tle. He had a fam­ily mem­ber in the hos­pi­tal and had to go and visit, but asserted he’d be back. Okay, what­ever; but he did in fact come back and we talked a lit­tle more about animé, life in gen­eral and so on, and he was work­ing up a bit of courage, I thought, and then he asked me how much I charged to draw things.

I asked him what he had in mind, and he said Link, the char­ac­ter from Legend of Zelda. I said I’d see what I could do; could he come back tomorrow?

No prob­lem. The results, mod­eled after a draw­ing I found online, fol­low the fold.

Link, finished

He loved it.

And he remained with me, this kid. In my mind, I mean. He was very bright, engag­ing and friendly; he was cute and out­go­ing, and I found myself think­ing I wouldn’t mind hav­ing some­one like him for my own son. And I won­dered at why I seemed to be putting things on hold for a while, why I was insist­ing that before I could under­take (for the sec­ond time) a home study or state home visit I had to have every­thing in place, pro­vide what I felt was a more or less ide­al­ized space. I knew I was delay­ing things. I had lost momen­tum, and that didn’t make sense to me.

That was the agent; the cat­a­lyst fol­lowed soon thereafter.

Last week, a good friend sug­gested I read David Gerrold’s book The Martian Child, which is a more or less true-​​to-​​life account­ing of Gerrold’s adop­tion, as a sin­gle gay man, of a young “spe­cial needs” boy. The text res­onated through me — I sus­pect I’ll be review­ing it in depth here even­tu­ally — and sparked back to life the latent need toward father­hood that caused me to move in the first place.

I’m back in touch with my agency folks and we’ll be start­ing the home visit process again later this month. That’s good because it’ll give me time to do up Yoshi’s room. It won’t be like the Lego-​​brick style I had in mind when I was liv­ing in an apart­ment with brick walls; if I can, I’ll get retro 50’s and 60’s style fur­ni­ture, reclaimed and refin­ished if nec­es­sary, to do his room, falling back on mod­ern trends only as a last resort — though I con­fess to being tick­led by some of the cur­rent incli­na­tions toward lock­ers and/​or tool cab­i­nets. They just drip with pre­teen hyper­ma­cho cool.

It’s funny that I had to draw a car­toon for a ran­dom kid to remind myself of what I was up to; but as I looked at Link I real­ized that, if I could spend a half hour or so to make a line draw­ing and bring a smile to one child’s face, it wasn’t really that much of a stretch to imag­ine myself in the ide­al­ized role I’ve been hav­ing of me as The Perfect Dad.2

Gerrold’s story, though, was the real clincher; he’s an accom­plished SF author — he wrote the non­pareil episode of ST:TOS called “The Trouble with Tribbles” — and every, I mean every, word he laid down in his book The Martian Child res­onated with me and reminded me of what I wanted; and showed me that it wasn’t impos­si­ble. I was look­ing for a kind of pathfinder, and I found it in Gerrold, though he still doesn’t know it yet. He and I have enough in com­mon that his story of suc­cess is enough to let me believe I can make it too.

I owe my rein­vig­o­ra­tion of my path toward Yoshi to three per­sons: Gerrold, yes; but also to that cute, sweet boy who reminded me in per­son of what I was miss­ing by not being a dad. What’s odd about it is the very real prob­a­bil­ity that nei­ther of them will ever know what kind of a dif­fer­ence they made to me — how per­sonal it was, and how affect­ing, and how important.

As for the third per­son: Bryce, thanks. I’m glad you posted what you did when you did, I admire how you’ve per­se­vered to make your fam­ily real against some long odds, and even though you’re straight I’ve loved you pretty much from the moment I first talked to you after that fire in our shared alley­way. (Nathan was right, BTW; you’re cute.) You’ve been a stead­fast friend, a good man, and a hell of a fine touch­stone for me to judge what really mat­ters and what doesn’t. Thank you, and I hope one day we can all geek out with our kids to Doctor Who, Sarah Jane and Torchwood in a weekend-​​long nerdfest.

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1. Imperial hard­ware is infi­nitely more cool than the Rebel stuff.

2. I know it’s fan­tasy and impos­si­ble. That knowl­edge scares me more than even I guess I real­ized, but god­dammit, I think I can face the challenge.

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