Friday, April 16, 2010


For the last couple of years, Kara and I have talked about writing a book detailing our entire adoption experience. We’ve gone back and forth about writing it together, or writing different chapters, and a few times I’ve talked about writing it myself.

Why just me? A few reasons. There are quite a few adoption books from a female perspective, but none that I’ve been able to find that take a man’s view. There’s also a time factor – Kara has always had the zany, work-all-the-time job, and getting extra writing in doesn’t seem feasible much of the time.

Why write the book at all? Because people have questions, and no matter how much time we spend talking to people, it never seems like we can describe everything.

Today, I went to a memoir workshop that was being held at a local library. We were asked to bring a picture, and then the person running the workshop asked us to write about what was happening in the picture in both the past and present tense.

I ended up with two very different perspectives that way, and since we don’t update nearly often enough here, I thought I’d share them:

Present Tense:

I am a father for the first time. The nannies at the care center have handed my child to me and my wife, and given us a bowl of baby cereal for our daughter. We’re ushered into another room, along with a fellow family, like we’ve been feeding Mihret for months.

Like we understand her.

I awkwardly try to cradle this 12-pound being that I’ve spent two years waiting to meet. My wife attempts to get the adult-sized spoon past her six-month-old lips, but our little one doesn’t seem to be hungry. I take a turn, and prove just as inept.

Wanting to hold onto this moment, we ask our new friend to take a picture of us feeding our daughter, even though we have failed in our first act as parents.

Past Tense:

When we take photos, we try to get everything perfect. We want to look taller, thinner, more competent, more awake, more alert. At our best.

But in this single photo, the only one we have, we are dressed in the same clothes we’ve been wearing for the last three days. I have slept maybe four hours of the last 30, and Kara only a bit more. We are posed awkwardly, our child seems to be half-asleep, and everything about us, even the picture framing itself, is askew.

But it is the only picture we have, so it is perfect.

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