Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It was 20 years ago today..

Well actually it was 20 years ago in September that the adoption of my sons was finalized. Donnie was 2 and Dave was 4 when they came home to me. This is the only picture that I have of them before that time. Donnie's hair wasn't really red , catchup was spilled on the picture. Why am I writing about this today? Because today is Blog Action Day 2008: poverty
I hadn't planned on writing anything today but then I read the posts from Tara and Christina and began to think about poverty. I wasn't raised in poverty, didn't have that much experience with it until my sons came into my life. I've come close as an adult but that was as a result of my choices.
But my sons? As small children, infants even, they lived in extreme poverty, a car broken down under the bridge with a mother who could barely hold it together for herself and absolutely no way to see what her children needed. She knew where all of the free meals were provided but mostly went there to hustle ciggies. At 4 Dave could point out the churches that did food or showers or which corner you could "stand" at. It wasn't an issue for Donnie, but Dave felt the effects deeply. He worried, at 4, that we would not have enough gas to get us places, what would happen if we had a flat tire and was there enough food in the house. He struggled all the time with these issues. I had to learn to cook meat because he thought if there was enough money to buy meat, then the family could stay together. He panicked if we only had mac and cheese for dinner and I learned to keep empty boxes in the cupboards so that he didn't think we were out of food. It broke his heart to see the people begging on the corners so we kept things in the car he could give to them when we saw them. He had a hard time accepting presents because he couldn't be sure they would not be sold or traded for something else. As an adult, he is generous, caring and secure. He takes care of those he sees on the street if he can. He buys meals, stops to help with car trouble and spends a great deal of his time helping others.
Poverty has long reaching effects. Dave only lived in that situation for 3 years, but it haunted him for years and may still at times. That's my exposure to poverty but it leaves me with these questions.
Why are children going hungry in one of the richest nations on earth? Why are people getting bonuses for screwing up the economy when Head Start funding is being cut? Health care? Forget it. And people with disabilities are the poorest of the poor. They want to be contributing members of society but if they make too much, they loose what few benefits they have. They must maintain their status in order to keep their health care coverage because they know they will not get coverage any where else because of all of those preexisting conditions! They cannot afford to be without health care so they cannot afford to work. How is that fair?
Things have got to change. I hold on to the HOPE that it can. Tara left a link to read about the Obama/Biden plan. Read it, think about it and if you need to, find out what the McCain/Palin plan is and see which one will address the issues. Things have got to chance.
Thank you for listening.


Christina said...

This has left me heart broken and hopeful at the same time.

Yes, it is the children that hold on to the memories of poverty. What a beautiful thing to share your story of adoption.

Your right! We live in one of the riches nations in the world and poverty is still an issue. I ask myself why all the time.

I was so happy to read that your son is caring and generous along with being secure. This is a beautiful gift you have given today.
: )

paris parfait said...

Oh, Leau, what a powerful piece! Thank you for writing so beautifully about these touchstone experiences in the lives of you and your children. And thank you for your recent email. So sorry with travel the past three weeks, haven't had time to catch up. xoxox

Lori said...

Hi Leau,
This is beautiful! It is wonderful to know there are people in the world such as yourself that adopts and gives children the life and love that they need. Thank you for that.

eb said...

crying sad and happy tears - such a beautiful post - feeling your love and kindness and the difference that makes - you have made an impact - a big one - thank you BEautiful friend - with people like you in our hopeful world - change WILL come...

much love

xox - eb.