About Cheerio

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In general I am a cheery and energetic person. But I am enshrouded in a cloak of iron. That cloak is the weight of greiving my son, whom I've lost to adoption.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

3 Candles - 3 Weeks and 3 Days later

This post is after the actual event, but the enormity of it all still stands... If you're new to my blog, you may want to stop at this point. Go visit my post from 3 weeks ago, and then come back here and read on. Here is a link to that post: --> http://cheerios-world.blogspot.com/2008/12/dec-18th-candlighting.html Three weeks and three days ago; I was standing outside on my deck. There were three candles on the railing. It was a dark and cold winter night. I was just by myself and leaning back against the house. I had my arms folded and tucked in close to me. Part was to keep warm out there, and part was to keep myself from falling apart. Have you 'hugged' yourself like that? It's almost like an embrace of fear. "What's going on? Why? What's going to happen next? What's going to happen to or with ... (fill in the blank)?" "Make it stop! Make it stop!b" my mind screamed over and over. There were three lit candles. Shadows and light were dancing as the flames flickered in the wind, but I was not focused on any one of them. Instead I just stared blankly into the night. As I looked on, there was no joy in my heart. There was no spring in my step.Instead the expressions on my face matched the thoughts in my mind which ranged from sadness, numbness, anger, hurt, rage, fear, and back to sadness again. The cold windy weather perfectly matched the heaviness in my heart. And then . . . 3 weeks and 3 days later . . . there was
. . . a breakthrough.
One of the boys - represented by a flame on one of the burning candles - was found! Found? Yes, Found. (It is days later as I write this, and I still get goose bumps, and tears in my eyes at everything this word encompasses - this small word "found') 10 years! The last time we saw him, he was 9 years old with light hair and thin build, strong willed boy with an incredulous smile. The last time we saw him he was just a child in grade school, and now he is a young man. But I am getting ahead of myself, ahead of my story. One night I was standing on the deck of my house crying for three boys missing from our family. And it was 3 weeks and 3 days later that the breakthrough came. It started late one night with a promise to my sister of pictures. And the very next day three tiny pictures were e-mailed to her. She actually got a recent picture of each boy. She forwarded those pics to me, and I kept them open on my computer all day long. I would just stare at the screen, studying their faces, wishing I could see a little more clearly, wishing the picture was just a little better. Cry? Oh, Yes I cried! I could not stop the tears, nor did I really want to. Although the three pictures were not close ups, I could tell that their eyes are the same from what I remembered back 10 years ago. More tears welled up, and I tried to not hope. Whenever hope surfaced, I tried to shove it back down again, tried to keep it 'under control.' What if it ends with the pics and the trail goes cold again? And then two days later as I'm dashing about the house before running out the door for work, my sister called me. I was not at all upset about a delay, because she was calling to report that she made contact with her oldest son. They talked online webcam for 3 hours that night into the morning. Again, I cried (I'm crying even as I write this). My emotions were all over the place! There was relief, happiness for my sister, angst of how my Nephew was dealing with everything, and there was joy. There was still this teeter totter between hope and fear, and fearing to hope. I don't think there is a way to describe how I felt, honestly. It was as if all the emotions that have been bottled up or swept under the rug for the past 10 years surfaced - all at once. 10 years worth of emotion is A TON of emotions to suddenly be stampeding my direction. The story goes on. The next night I get another call from my sister. They talked again that day for over an hour. Things were sounding more positive, and I could let hope peek out just a tiny bit. I am happy for her, so very happy. And yet I am reserved in expressing that joy. Because I know that as happy as she is to have contact with her oldest, her pain is just as heavy at not having the same with the younger son. A few more days pass, and I get an invitation on my facebook page from him. You would have thought I was just a schoolgirl again. I was so nervous and excited at the same time. I couldn't sit still, I fidgeted all day long, I kept daydreaming, and I kept thinking back to all those good time memories. I was feeling hopeful. At first I was afraid we would lose him again, but that one little electronic invitation seemed to push that fear out of the picture. I was able to actually write to him after all those years. What do I write to a 19 year old boy without sounding as if I'm 100% mush? I have this overwhelming want to just hug him. To hug him (and I know I'm going to cry, just like I am now), hug him so very tight. He's living in a different state than we do, and communication so far has been him and my sister via internet. This past weekend it was my turn. I finally got to see him too! It was so very cool and weird at the same time. It was indeed surreal. It was so good to see his smile again! And his voice ... lol ... it is not the voice of the 9 year old boy (for which I am certain he is thankful). But that is okay with me, as long as I'll have the privilege to keep on hearing it
Especially since 3 weeks and 3 days before, I was crying as I helplessly watched 3 candles burning.
3 Candles - 3 Weeks and 3 Days later

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ca cha cha cha ching$$$$$$

Today I saw a bald eagle. My husband has seen one twice since we've moved to our 'new' home. Today as I was driving along the river, I was getting ready to get on the interstate when I saw it. It was probably the same reaciton as people who just saw a celebrity. My jaw dropped open as I'm trying to focus on driving...I'm just in awe... stupified and frozen. If I had not had that celebrety shock hit me, I might have gotten a shot of it w/ the camera on my cell phone. It was not very big, so it must've been a young bird. I was so excited about it, I got on-line to write about it ... and then I found this blog. The irony, I was so pumped about seeing the Bald Eagle. The national bird, symbol of freedom! strength! dignity! and honor! But after reading this, my visual was instead of a young eagle with it's wings bound and lyaing helplessly on the table. A table in an auction house. The onlookers eyes were filled with greed. I sense the fear in the once - majestic bird. It has been reduced to becoming someone's prize - at the right price... Here is the link for you to read. http://apathoftheheart.blogspot.com/2009/01/january-23-2009-adoption-situations.html Or you can scroll down to read it as I read it today ... I've pasted it below for your convenience... >I've interjected my comments are in gray< "Friday, January 23, 2009 January 23, 2009 Adoption Situations I hope this post finds everyone doing well! Thank you for all the comments and suggestions of more adoption books. We're headed to Borders this weekend to expand our library:) The following are our most current situations available to our clients: 1.) *NEW* Caucasian/African-American Boy, 2/10/09, UT, $23K + potential medical expenses, *BM used marijuana during pregnancy and wants open adoption with poss visits 2.) *NEW* African-America/Hispanic Girl, 2/28/09, Maryland, $20K, Alcohol exp during pregnancy 3.) *NEW* Caucasian/Hispanic Unk Gender, $35K, May 4.) Caucasian Unk Gender, $37K, June 5.) Caucasian/African-American Boy, $30-35K, Apr 6.) Caucasian/African-American Boy, $30-35K, June 7.) African-American Boy, 2/23/09, $20K, GA 8.) African-American Girl, 3/10/09, $20K, AL 9.) African-American Boy, 3/13/09, $20K, GA 10.) African-American Boy, 3/25/09, $24, UT 11.) African-American Girl, 4/11/09, $24K, UT Contact me at karalee@christianadoptionconsultants.com if you're interested or to find out more about CAC. Have a great weekend, everyone! :) " **second blog post** "Tuesday, January 6, 2009 Updated Situation List Things sure are moving quickly! :) Here is a list of our updated situations: 1.) *NEW* Caucasian Girl, 1/23/09, BM on methadone 2.) *NEW* African-American/Hispanic Girl, 2/28/09, Maryland, $20K (Alcohol Exp) 3.) *NEW* African-American Boy, 2/6/09, GA, $20K 4.) *NEW* African-American Boy, 2/17/09,SC, $21K 5.) *NEW* African-American Boy, 2/17/09, UT, agency fee $16K 6.) *NEW* African-American Girl, 3/1/09, TX, $20K 7.) *NEW* African-American Boy, 3/6/09, LA, $20K 8.) *NEW* African-American Girl, 3/1/09, AL, $20K 9.) African-American/Caucasian Boy, Due March 10.) African-American/Caucasian Unk Gender, Due April 11.) African-American Boy, Due Feb 12.) African-American Boy, Due Feb 13.) Caucasian Boy, Due Feb 14.) Caucasian/Hispanic Unk Gender, Due Feb 15.) Caucasian Unk Gender, Due May 16.) 3/4 Hispanic 1/4 Caucasian Girl, Due Feb17.) African-American Boy, $16K, 2/22/09Contact me at karalee@christianadoptionconsultants.com with any questions or if you're interested! Posted by Karalee at 5:15 PM 0 comments **end of blog post** >about this second post, wow she literally says "things are moving fast". What things? Babies?< >Below I'm pasting comments to her 1/23/09 post, which were there when I read it today, because I imagine the author of this blog will delete them when she reads them. Whereas instead she should be falling on her knees repenting... karalee, do God a favor and stop using His name to justify the greed and marketing for such a repulsive industry, ok?< jctippinward said... First let me start off with saying this one of the most disgusting things I have ever laid my eye upon, and Ive seen a lot in my 21 years of living, but this putting a price on a child and listing him/her on a blog as if you were selling a car is just wrong. A white Caucasian male will run you about 35k wile an African-American male child will run you about 23k. What is this, Cars made by a certain company therefore will be better? Are you serious? These a children people, the most innocent thing in the world has now become a Market for investments and profit. Look at the way you list him here as if they were a product, like they came out of a plastic box. Do you not have children of your own? Let me ask you this would put a price tag on them and sell em on the open market? No? Then why do you find it to be right to sell another person(s) child over blogspot? As im sure by now some have you have stopped reading and wrote me off as an educated buffoon who has no idea what im talking about and to those you closed minded ignorant pricks all I can say to you is piss off. I am a product of the hole open adoption craze. It was like a new fashion craze amongst you everyone is doing it so it must be right. Well its not right and I will tell you why. When my Amom stopped sending my Mother(Casi) news and pictures on how I was doing, my Mother went to the adoption agency and complained. They told her there is nothing she can do about it, that I was now under the control of my Amom(Terri). My adoption was an open one and just like that it became close. I will only say this the amount of pain that caused my mother still ripples threw time today. What it did to me has changed who I am forever. I spent most of youth jumping around from step dad to step dad watching the first one physically and mentally abuse Terri and I. The second one never loved me he told me that himself. There was no father figure besides Terri's Father. He passed away when I was 15 the only sort of guidance for me had no passed on to a better place, I was lost. I didn't know who I was I new that I wasn't blood with the people I lived with and deep down inside I knew I didn't belong where I was. As a teen I was far from an angel I did a lot of things I look back onto now and hold in deep regret of my actions. When I was 16 Terri left me with her Mother who at the time was unable to walk. I had complete freedom and I took full advantage of it. I found my self stealing her car, credit cards, an cash and partying every night. By the time I was 17 I was kicked out of Terri's mother's house and left to move back in with Terri. This was the hardest time of my life.Terri was a drunk and a mean one at that. It caused many fights and many problems for us. I dont want to cover much on this time. I was doing nothing but living to die. I knew deep down I hated everything and everyone and the only thing that made that go away was a abusive drug habit that still scars my heart today. Both of my shoulders are destroyed from self inflected wounds they will never look the same. These are the things that haunt me. Now I tell you that story to tell you this one. The adoption agency told my mom she would not be able to be a good mother for me. Those lieing bastards. I have 2 little brother and one little sister. Both of my Parents are still together and married doing what they can to make sure we there children have everything we need to succeed in life. They told her this would not happen. Now ive read all over books about feeling angry towards (and I hate using this term) the Natural parents and if your one of those right now reading this I want to say this from me to you. Forgive and open your heart, remember when your young and scared about the world? Well they were two and they where tricked by a money thirsty industry. If they would have known the true cost it would never have happened and it would have been done there. So again forgive your heart will feel better as will theres. So don't sit there and tell me someone cant raise a child because they've smoked a little pot. Or because they are young and still young adults themselves. 99% of parents out there love their children with all the heart to an extent that words not describe. I say 99% because there is that 1% who kills their children because they are legitimately insain and God told em to do it. Love is a powerful thing and it will make you do crazy things, such as forget your old life style and began raising a child. And so now here you sit reading over adds on the Internet for children. All of them have different packages and millage on them and you feel good about your self? It should not matter the race or gender of age of the child why? Because they are Children all the same innocence wrapped up in a bundle of joy. So I hope this made some of you think a little bit about the truth behind this industry, its not always everything they tell you it will be. January 23, 2009 3:49 PM >Thank you jctippinward for sharing of yourself, your soul, for helping others see without the tainted rosecolored glasses< "worried said... How do you sleep at night knowing that you sell human flesh in the name of Christianity? You are not a Christian. You are being used by the devil to do evil work. January 24, 2009 9:27 AM" >You hit the 'nail' on the head, Worried! Selling babies one of the most UNChristian things around...even if 'everyone's doing it!'< >Ok, Ok. I TRIED to not comment, but since it would probably be deleted, here's what I said ...< Cheerio! said... "Thank you karalee - thank you for removing the fog for people to clearly see how even so-called "christian" ((NOT!!)) agencies sell babies. Price Tags visible to all. I hope that for the sake of the child you adopted already, you would seek out books like Primal Wound by Nancy Vierrier to see inside an adoptee's heart. Adoption affects children. A child being separated from their Natural Parent is a great loss and wound to them. It is a well hidden fact & people don't who are not adopted do NOT want to hear it. Why wound these children in the name of God? why not instead stand beside the expectant woman and TEACH and SUPPORT her to be the Mother God desires her to be? January 24, 2009 10:01 AM"

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Visit

We were working our way through the crowds at the airport. The white floor tiles were sparking and echoed the sounds of clomping shoes and rolling luggage wheels. We got our boarding passes and made our way to the terminal. In time we boarded the plane and had both an uneventful takeoff and landing. There was some chatter as we drove to the house. Ahh, the familiar sounds and scents of farming, horses, and animals. For our visit, we stayed at my Grammy’s house, everything was tidy and spotless. She did not allow dirt to linger, regardless of where she lived and what she did for a living. Before I knew it, it was time to go back home. We had just about everything packed up in the car and were getting ready to head back to the airport. I almost forgot one last thing, and went back in the house to get it. I am absent minded, and always leave something behind no matter where I go. So, while I’m inside I decided to make another quick sweep upstairs to the room I had been staying in. The room was warm and cozy.
The old dresser was in excellent condition, under Grammy‘s care. It was polished and the beauty of the dark wood shone through. I chuckled to myself as I noticed she was putting things back in order already. Thinking I wouldn’t be back in this room, she had her three music books laid perfectly on the stand. She was prepared for when she’d be playing the piano again. I supposed she put the books away, not wanting to disturb or inconvenience us with her playing while we visited.
Grammy wasn’t going on the drive to the airport and was upstairs in another room. After the quick sweep upstairs, I stopped at the chair where Grammy was sitting. It seems I caught her off guard, she didn’t know I had come back inside. I watched her casually push her reading book back behind the lamp and out of my sight. I went to her and gave her another hug. I expressed that it was so very good to see her again, and we had a great visit. I can almost still feel the warmth of her cheek in that hug. I gave her another big hug and held on tight. She said about going to an event later that night. I reminded her that we had to get back to the airport to catch our flight home. She looks up at me with a sad look in her eyes, and said, "You mean you won’t come with me tonight?" I held her hands in mine and told her that we would come back one weekend each month this summer. That she should think of something she wanted to do on those visits. Almost as if she didn’t hear me say I had to go, she started talking about little things, kind of chattering. I started to worry about missing my flight. But I also didn’t have the heart to pull away from her or say goodbye. I felt very determined and resolved to come back to visit her throughout the summer. I was excited about it. It was a very strong feeling. She pulls out this newspaper sized piece of paper. One side had events listed in separate sections. She pointed to each section as she talked about the events. Then she flipped it over. Wow! Was I surprised to see all those stickers! There were blue stickers, yellow stickers, green stickers, round sticker, square stickers, triangular stickers and many many more! She said how she likes to give the sheet to one of her neighbors who have children. Then she pulled 9 stickers off and said, "But they don’t really need more than these." Although she was referring to her neighbor children, I knew she was hinting that her and I could do stuff together with the stickers instead. As I noticee how white her hair had become, she says to me, “You’d be surprised how I can just sit all day long without doing anything.” Not long after that my husband comes in. We gathered that last item I had come back into the house for, and that feeling of resolve to see her again was so very strong. We turned to leave, and the door closed behind me. Then I woke up.
It was all just a dream.
But the feelings still lingered when I woke up, and I felt sad, so very sad. That strong resolve to see her again left a dull ache. I knew that no matter how much I planned, I was not going to see her at all this summer. Or next summer. Instead it would be just like I did not seen her last summer, or any of the past 7 summers since she has been gone.

Their Big Red Mailbox

We live in a valley between to very old mountains.

Our home is situated on the south side of one mountain. It is not a very high mountain, but it is still a great workout to hike to spots that offer a scenic view.

One of those scenic views overlooks the river, and bridges. One is a stone railroad bridge that was built early 1900’s, but it still functions with several working tracks even.

On the way to our house you would follow the river along a main road. Once you turn off the road onto our street, our house is only ½ mile up. Although it dead ends at the top of the mountain, there is still a fair amount of traffic coming and going.

We are still kind of new in this neighborhood. It is only our third winter here. This summer several other houses were sold, and we are trying to get acquainted with our neighbors. Many of the houses that were sold (including ours) are very old, somewhat neglected, and in need of repair.

One such home is the beautiful 2 story brick house at the intersection of our street and the main road. I think it was sold soon after we moved in here. You couldn’t help but notice activity going on, because it sits right there at the stop sign as you wait to turn onto the main road. And again, you can’t miss it as you slow down to turn off the main road onto the street.

I would excitedly watch the old house take on a whole new look as the transformation began. I would drive slowly by and watch as they dragged out old plaster, debris, and carpet. I don’t think they gutted it, but they removed a lot.

I was happy as they replaced the windows, and was celebrating as they put in new doors and a fresh coat of paint on the porch. Dignity was being restored to this tired old house. I was almost envious to see it coming along so nicely at such a quick pace, as we struggled to make just one improvement at a time. It seemed like theirs was all fixed up and beautiful in no time.

When winter came and the daylight hours decreased, with all the lights on I could easily see inside as I drove by. There are a lot of windows, and no curtains were hung at that time. I could see the painting, the new cabinets, and the work being done on the inside as well as the outside.

In the spring they cleaned up the yard and trimmed some of the shrubs.

I’m not too crazy about their landscaping efforts. They just put down landscape cloth with mulch on top. There were few large rocks placed here and there in their fresh mulch bed (can’t really call it a flower bed, as they forgot to plant flowers). With a house like that, I envision a flowerbed alive with color and beauty along the foundation.

Other than the landscaping, they’ve done a wonderful job. I’ve enjoyed watching the phases.

One day early in June I was turning off the main road and, as usual, glanced over at the brick house. Something different caught my eye.

Just outside the gate of the wrought iron fence, was a boy. He was checking the mail and happened to look up as I was driving by. We made brief eye contact and I could tell he was watching as I drove by in my dark green Toyota Tacoma.

I don’t remember having seen him before. With him standing there, it seemed he was a teen maybe 13 or 14. Seeing him instantly caused me to think of my own son.

Mentally I made comparisons between this boy and my own. Who is taller? Which one is bigger? This boy seemed a little thicker, as of the last picture, my son was skinny. I wondered if my son goes out to check the mail too. How often? What color is their mailbox?

Every day I drive by their Big Red Mailbox at the end of my street. Almost secretly I hope to see the boy. I think it’s because he is a trigger for me. Not that I needed any more triggers in my life than I already have which cause me to think about my son. After all, I don’t think a day has gone by without me thinking of him. But somehow, seeing this boy gives some flesh and life to a ghost of a dream that I hold onto.

I noticed a for sale sign in their front yard last week. Although I don’t even know him, it makes my heart a little sad to think of this boy leaving. Maybe it is sad to me because he will be gone without me ever getting a chance to know anything about him. I don’t even know his name. I will never know this kid down the street. But when I drive by their Big Red Mailbox; I have feelings of hopefulness and wishing.

There is the definite sense of longing to someday know the mystery boy in my life. No I’m not referring to the kid who lives down the street, but to the mystery boy in my own life and in my heart, my son. Sigh … I desperately long for the day when I will see him face to face. I wait for a day when I can look into dark brown eyes, which are a mirror image of my own.

I, close my eyes to imagine what it will sound like just to hear his voice. That longing, that hope, that dream, all of that is what is going on inside of me each time I see their Big Red Mailbox.
Big Red Mailbox

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Someday he'll find you ...

There are a lot of preconceived notions about adoption.
It is amazing how often people who are not personally involved with adoption freely give their opinions on the subject.

They may not say it out loud; however, they really do consider themselves “knowledgeable.” They quickly become indignant if you even HINT that maybe there is more to adoption than they know.
Hmmmmmmm In a way I can’t fault them. After all, I guess I was one of those all-wise-about-adoption people. I knew what adoption was, and how wonderful it is, and would emphatically proclaim it as a win/win situation.

And yes, it is all that. It IS wonderful and it IS a win/win – IF, and I repeat IF I said it is wonderful IF you are on the RECEIVING END of adoption.

However, that only represents 1/3rd of the ‘story.’
 Adoption is a TRIad, tri, meaning three….There are three viewpoints to consider. What about the Adoptee? What about the Natural Parent(s)? If a person is to be knowledgeable regarding adoption, then they need to search for the other 2/3’s of the adoption equation.

I apologize for the brief rant, but ignorance really is what prompted this post.
There is a multitude of stupid, insensitive, and flat out uneducated things people say when they find out I am a FirstMom. One of those things is “… someday he’ll find you…”

Now, I understand the motive and heart behind someone saying this to me, honestly I do. I realize that they are just trying to encourage or comfort me. So I usually keep that in mind, and put on a smile and nod my head.

But just because their intentions are to ‘do good’ does not mean the end result is what they intended. Those words are glowing of the rosy adoption rhetoric and are obviously void of reality.

Reality, as in real – life.
The realities in “…someday he’ll find you…”

While they may see me with a fake smile and nodding on the outside,
on the inside I’m blowing my stack and this is what I’m screaming at them. I’m screaming, “Oh, Someday?” And EXACTLY What am I supposed to do until then?!? An event 20 years in the future does not help me today, tomorrow, or the next day after that. I’ve lost MY CHILD!!! Your empty words of comfort are useless to me. An event 20 years down the road does not fill this empty aching void in my heart, in my very life!!!!!”

What? Do they think that it will “fix” my broken heart if I wake up every morning and say to myself, “Self, I feel sad, horrible even. But take heart in 20 years, maybe I won’t.” Then I walk away feeling happy.

 I wish they could stop for a few seconds and think about how absatively ridiculous that even sounds. Yes, “absatively.” It’s both absolutely and positively ridiculous! Without a shred of doub!

Another thing I would be screaming is “Oh, really?
Please tell me where you got YOUR Crystal Ball? Oh, wait, maybe God told you this in a dream? Or or or or or a Prophet visited you with this divine message to give me?

So, I am supposed to limp along in life clinging to this notion that you have about how things are going to happen in MY LIFE? In the life of my son, who is a complete stranger to you? Get off your cute little adoption merry go round, you’re obviously dizzy from it!” But the thing that I would like to scream the loudest, the thing that I want to say the most is …

“and then what?”   “AND THEN WHAT?!?!”

“If someday he does “find me” what are you expecting to happen next? Are you expecting the last page to read “… and they lived happily every after”? Then the book to closes on yet another lovely adoption fairytale story?”

That is what people believe – fairytales. That wala! Adopted person meets natural family and everything from the past suddenly heals – Oh, wait…. Society doesn’t think there IS anything from that past that needs healed.

Right, it’s Wala! adopted person meets natural family, they hug, cry a little and both go one their merry way with their lives feeling happy and fulfilled.

I don’t even know where to go from here. There is no way to bridge from that fairytale way of thinking to reality. They are just so, so, so, so far from each other. If you’re on the outside of adoption, looking in, I’m happy you are spared our pain and all the misunderstanding surrounding what our life is really like vs what the adoption professionals picture it to be. But I also want to challenge you to start trying to sidestep the adoption professionals. Search for blogs, posts, and websites written by adoptees and FirstMoms (bmom, birthmother, birthmom, natural mother) and see what this 2/3 have to say for themselves.

If you’re ‘guilty’ of saying “…someday he’ll find you…” find Adoptee or FirstMom blogs and read their real to life accounts and experiences on the subject of reunion. Read about the obstacles an adoptee faces to even consider a reunion. Read about the emotions that seem to come out of nowhere like a train charging right at them. Read about the fear of rejection. Read about the rejection of either side when it happens.
Stop being part of the “1/3 majority” when you hear about adoption. Understand the emptiness of “…someday he’ll find you…” and instead offer real words of comfort, like “I am sorry for your loss, it’s a painful thing to lose a child – or – it’s a painful thing to lose a natural parent.”
some day ...