Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"The Kid" by Dan Savage

So, here are my answers for this round of the Book Tour. Today’s subject is “The Kid” by Dan Savage. I’ve enjoyed his sex advice column which runs locally in the Washington City Paper for years. He’s a very readable writer and funny as hell. I think his experience with adoption is very unique to his situation and his relationship and so I’d be wary of drawing any conclusions about open adoption based on his account. I’d want to know how someone a little less cool experienced the process before I’d proceed with it.

Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/. You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: Love, and Other Impossible Pursuits by Ayelet Waldman (with author particpation!).

1) If you were participating in an open adoption, what are the top three questions you would ask the birth mother?

First, I’d want to know about who the biological father is, if she is still in contact with him and what if any involvement he might expect in the child’s life? From what I understood from the book, the bio-father is the giant question mark in the equation and you’re better off doing things by the book from the start. I wouldn’t want an adoption reversal because of lack of due diligence to inform the father of his rights.

Next, I’d want an honest assessment of her health, both current and pre-pregnancy; with frank questions about smoking, alcohol and drug use. If it were possible to sneak in some information about family health issues that would be a bonus.

Finally, I’d ask what sort of relationship she saw herself having with this child and us ten and twenty years from now? I’d want to make sure that both long-term and short-term expectations were matching what we wanted.

2) Dan mentions that while he wasn't put off by the concept of a home visit prior to adoption, but that for the straight couples it was another "insult on the pile of injuries and indignities of infertility" ( p.70). During your IF journey, what has been the experience that has left you feeling most exposed?

For me it was providing the “sample” for the semen analysis. I swear I thought everyone in the waiting room (I was on a Kaiser health plan then, sort of like McMedicine) could tell what I was there for. I also felt like the people who checked me in at the desk were shouting SEMEN ANALYSIS at the top of their lungs. Then, insult to injury someone knocked on the door to ask if I was finished – and I was still trying to get started.

3) On p. 164, Dan is terrified of bringing baby items into the house before the adoption is finalized. Will you (or did you) bring items into the house before a birth or an adoption?

We did bring stuff into the house, because to our thinking, if something had gone wrong, not having stuff around the house wasn’t going to be some sort of saving grace or a way of escaping feelings of guilt. Because, of course, it is a stupid superstition. Onesies and cribs don’t cause adoption reversals or stillbirths any more than they cause marriages to break up because of adoption reversals or stillbirths. That said, I felt a little afraid to actually act on the logical side of my brain. It was like when I got my ear pierced when I was fifteen – a mild rebellion against parental authority with no real consequences except for pumping up my own bravado. Look at me, I’m not hung up on silly superstitions. And yet I was very careful while hanging a mirror not to break it – but that shit is real.


Stacie said...

I always asked my poor husband what pornography had been provided for his this time. Sometimes there were movies, sometimes not. We speculated that they were stolen frequently.

A twisted, and shared, sense of humor made the testing and sample providing not quite as dreadful as it could have been, though I still would have preferred the traditional, "Oh, look, my period's late..." method of conception.

josh said...

I should add that the semen analysis sample collection was at a general lab. No EZChair covered in butcher paper. No wife. Strictly BYO-porn.

Me. I forgot the porn.

The Town Criers said...

I think we minimize the male experience when it doesn't involve surgery--but I would find it completely mortifying to have to go into a room with everyone knowing why I was going in and having to bring myself to orgasm. Painful--no. But mortifying...

Bea said...

Yes, watch those mirrors.

Your questions for the biological mother are quite well-thought out, and cover a lot of ground. Especially where it concerns the biological father. People don't talk about him as much.


Lori said...

"Onesies and cribs don’t cause adoption reversals."

Logically, I knew this. But it didn't hurt to be mindful of The Jinx.

Our daughter was born at 3 am. We bought a car seat -- our first baby purchase -- later that morning when Babies R Us opened.

Ellen K. said...

Great review. "Someone a little less cool" -- I like that. : )

D. never had anything nicer than a private bathroom for his collections. Even at the RE clinic, which was a university clinic.

Re: the birth father, I'm reminded of the line in the book: "Everyone seemed most concerned about the rights of birth fathers -- and how to terminate them." And also the Simpsons episode where Marge's sister adopts: The social worker screeches, "Oh my God, it's the birth father! Run!" (Or something like that. This appears to be one of the few Simpsons quotes that hasn't made it online.) Such a commentary on the role of the birth father -- Dan and Terry seem to luck out with Bacchus, and with Oregon's laws.

Twisted Ovaries said...

See, I'm glad you wrote about your trip to the Semen Analysis Funville. Not so I could laugh at your discomfort or anything mean like that, but it's nice to know that in places like that you guys are just as uncomfortable as we are. Misery. Company. You know.

Deb said...

Great answers. Thanks for sharing your experience at the clinic for the SA. My dh had the same thing happen with the knock on the door and he thought they were laughing at him when they were explaining the "aids". Of course, he thought the worst part about it was that all of the women in the office were pretty and that made him feel like he was performing a lewd act in front of all of them. (Behind closed doors of course :) )