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.
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.
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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