Family members: James

and Felix (10 years old)

First, a note: a common mistake people make when thinking about families like ours is to assume our family came together through an act of charity on the part of Felix’s father and me. Recently at my doctor’s office, when the woman behind the front desk found out that our family had come together through adoption, she said – though it was totally unrelated to the business we were doing (and though Jim’s and my adoption of our child occurred 10 years ago) – “Well, congratulations on adopting because that’s a wonderful thing to do, and there are a lot of children out there who need good homes.” And I said, “Thank you, but that’s not why we adopted.” It isn’t. Adoption for me was a selfish act. I wanted desperately to be a mother, and Jim and I faced fertility struggles. I just wanted a child to love and nurture as a parent. The money we paid the attorneys and social workers and doctors and the Ethiopian and U.S. governments for filing all of the necessary paperwork could have fed an Ethiopian family probably for the rest of their lives. Had we been motivated by charity that would have been the more charitable route to take. But, like I said, I was inspired entirely by wanting more than anything to be a mother. And I am deeply grateful to my son’s birthmother for helping fulfill that desire. She chose this path for her son. She placed him at the care center in Ethiopia and checked in on him and followed his progress toward adoption. Felix’s birthmother, who loved her son beyond words, is the one who made the truly charitable and generous decision to place her son for adoption.

Felix was born in rural southern Ethiopia. His father Jim and I adopted him when he was a baby, and he came to the United States in August 2006 when he was 11 months old. Immediately upon arrival in the U.S. he was in the hospital for a week, first in Chicago and then in Madison (for what turned out to be giardia, which was easily treated but which caused severe diarrhea), and when he was released from the hospital he came through the front door of our house here in Madison on his first birthday, September 1, 2006. He survived a great deal in Ethiopia when he was a baby, including rickets caused by his being malnourished. Felix had to be adopted in both Ethiopia and the United States, and while we had already adopted him in Ethiopia before leaving there, he came to the United States on a green card. On November 22, 2006, three months after Felix’s arrival in the United States the three of us – Jim, Felix, and I – went before a judge here in Madison WI. The judge (who by the way was just the cutest judge, an older man who said his favorite part of his job was sharing in adoption days with families and who even had a big box of teddy bears and pulled one out and gave it to Felix with the biggest, kindest smile on his face, truly one of the sweetest and more beautiful moments of our lives) happily granted the adoption and issued a United States birth certificate. I was 41 years old, and it was the happiest day of my life. So, Felix became a U.S. citizen on November 22, 2006, the day we adopted him here in the U.S., but we later applied for and received his U.S. Proof of United States citizenship certificate, as well.

Everything about Felix’s journey to the United States and his becoming a U.S. citizen has been done legally, and yet – at the tender age of 10 – he still feels the burden and fear, because of Trump’s current presence in the political landscape of our country, of being afraid to be an immigrant in this country. His father and I know he is secure, but because of the fear Trump is stirring up in kids such as mine, our child really does not seem to believe he would get to stay in the country were Trump to become president. Felix’s dad James and I realize how very fortunate we are to have the luxury of knowing we’ve got the documents to prove Felix’s citizenship, and we also have the luxury of being able to tell our child that we filled out absolutely every necessary piece of paperwork and paid absolutely every necessary administrative fee (of which there were a lot – immigration is profoundly expensive because every time one files even the most minor of forms with Homeland Security there is invariably a hefty fee attached to the filing of said form), and yet still Felix – being a child who like most strong-willed, independent children treats the knowledge of his own parents skeptically and wonders and questions if they aren’t wrong about things – is genuinely frightened.

Think how I – as his mother who, like his birthmother, loves him beyond words – feel about the fact that, on top of the many anxieties and fears a black boy faces in our society, my son – who survived profound instability in his early life, including not having enough to eat and being in an orphanage for several months of his young life – cannot feel safe and secure in his own country. He is an American citizen. He should not have to worry about being kicked out of his country, but Trump’s rhetoric is full of messages that suggest to my son that he should in fact worry about that. As parents of a black boy (who, by the way, is exceptionally tall for his age and who is often mistaken for a teenager), Felix’s dad Jim and I know that our beloved son’s welfare in this racist country is constantly at risk, so before Trump even arrived front and center on our country’s current political stage, Jim and I were already far along in teaching Felix to guard himself against racist attacks and unconscious racism that can lead, without the perpetrator’s even intending to be racist, to fear-based actions against him simply because he’s black. So, it’s a double whammy now: our boy has to be on guard in this country because he’s black, and – because of Trump – he now feels he has to be on guard because he’s an immigrant. Let’s take our brown-skinned people, immigrants or not, and talk about them as criminals and as threats against our country in an attempt to criminalize their existence in this country. That’s the Trump way, and my son feels it, and it is deeply harmful. It is threatening to my son physically, psychologically and emotionally.

So, anything you can do to help Hillary Rodham Clinton get elected we deeply appreciate. We want to help with that in any way we can. Please use and share any part of our story you would like. We are open people, and I have not shared with you anything we would mind your sharing with others. And please, by all means, if you have any questions about our story, please let me know. We want to do whatever we can to see Hillary Rodham Clinton elected and to help make this country a safer place for our child – and for other children, too. Felix has asked me to tell you his story – in hopes that it will help. Thank you.

( open starter )

“You can’t tell anyone about this.” Santana snapped, as she grabbed their arm and pulled them over to the lockers. It was a confusing time for her, now that she realised that she liked girls as well as boys. She didn’t want anyone finding out. She couldn’t have anyone knowing. It would ruin her reputation for one. She knew people would have a field day when they found that out. Her family would most likely disown her. It was never a part of her plan, and she was trying her best to deal with it. “I don’t even know what this is, but you don’t breathe a word, okay?”

If any of my followers follow any religion I’d like to ask you to pray for my family. We found out today that my grandad has colon cancer and I’m really taking this hard so please keep me in your thoughts

One thing I’m really loving about Criminal Minds is how often the characters refer to each other as family - loudly and overtly. Usually when you get action shows (as well as ‘masculine’ characters - the muscled, FBI shoot-‘em-first-ask-questions-later type) the only reference to love that you get is subtext, or at the most a declaration when someone is dying/presumed dead. But Criminal Minds says ‘screw you’ to all that. Penelope says “I love you” to the team all the time. They constantly say it back. Rossi admits freely that he’s more “married” to them than any of his ex-wives and Hotch is as protective as any Papa. Reid has had a HUGE amount of character development in terms of becoming comfortable around everyone, JJ shouts loud and clear that she doesn’t want to leave, the team becomes Emily’s literal family when Doyle is looking for someone to target. And Morgan, the most ‘masculine’ and presumably ‘stoic’ of the lot is throwing out “I love you”s left and right. 

For ‘just a cop show,’ Criminal Minds helps to counter a lot of stereotypes. There’s a ton I could say about it. But by far my favorite thing is that they let the found family actually acknowledge that they’re a found family. They’re proud

And that’s super refreshing. 

AUs for some found families
  • “wellp we’re the only kids of our religion at this boarding school, guess i know who i’m going to meet with on holy days all year” au
  • “you’re the grizzled old mechanic i’m kinda scared of who’s been keeping my car running and you found out i’m living in my car and oh shit you offered me the couch at your place? and you made me breakfast? how do i even pay you back, can i work for you?” au
  • “this is the sixth school i’ve moved to in the last year and my parents figure my attitude problem is hopeless but shit you teach the only subject i actually care about and you do it in a really engaging way and can i come study in your classroom at lunch cause if i’m ever gonna catch up i need the extra time” au
  • “you’re the only one who noticed i was being bullied on the bus and you’ve been sitting next to me every day since, can i buy you lunch or something since you’re my new bodyguard” au
  • “we met mourning neighboring headstones in this graveyard so we bonded initially over our losses but now it turns out you work in the field I’ve always wanted to get into, i’d love to intern/apprentice for you” au
  • “you come in and order the same thing at my diner every night after 1am and i’ve been overhearing your angry phone calls, tonight’s meal is on the house and you can tell me everything, i’ll hold your hand” au
  • “i tell one obnoxious bully to leave a couple smaller kids alone and now the little ones are following me around bringing me flowers and smooth rocks they find, i guess these are my little siblings now” au
  • “i have a terrible relationship with my parents and i guess your parent has been through that and they’re being really understanding and helpful, i’m staying on your couch for a bit while i deal with the situation, and wow you’re a great kid let’s be bffs” au

On the Run - Jailbreak - Back to the Barn

Steven learning things about his Gem Moms that they were afraid of telling him or that they may not have wanted him to know at all, and accepting and loving them no matter what. Inspired in part by this post.



This is the best summary of Leverage I’ve ever seen and this video deserves more views.


{ ‘Sacred Twenty Eight’ } part I - part II - part III

In the early 1930s, a ‘Pure-Blood Directory’ was published anonymously in Britain, which listed the twenty-eight truly pure-blood families, as judged by the unknown authority who had written the book (widely believed to be Cantankerus Nott ), with ‘the aim of helping such families maintain the purity of their bloodlines’. The so-called ‘Sacred Twenty-Eight’ comprised the families of…