Friday, January 1, 2010

the fruits of insomnia

I am an insomniac. My parents tell me I was even a terrible sleeper as a newborn. They would resort to driving me around in their car at night to get me to fall asleep. My dad would drive as my mom rocked me in her arms as they drove around the neighborhood. My mom still tells me that she’s surprised they had more children after me.

Other than chronic fatigue, my insomnia doesn’t really affect me that much except I tend to think about things I might not typically think about during normal daylight hours. To my credit, I’ve only made one late-night shopping network purchase and that turned out to be a very useful velcro’d headset that turned a phone into a hands-free device, which back in the early 90’s, was a rare and beautiful thing.

During an especially persistent sleepless spell in December of 2008, I discovered 2 minute videos from the Humane Society on the On-Demand Channel. In the wee hours I would watch video after video of dogs that we needed to rescue from a life behind bars. And that’s how we ended up with Abby – the best yellow lab in the whole world. A year later, I’m tempted to watch my favorite dog-on-demand channel again…I think Abby needs a younger brother or sister…

So last night I made my first ever cheesecake (one of my NY resolutions is to try new recipes of foods that have previously frightened me – cheesecake, soufflĂ©, and fillo dough to name a few.) The problem is I started making this around 9pm and it takes 2 hours of baking – I obviously failed to read the bake times before I started the process. We had already decided we would celebrate New Years Eve on Eastern Standard Time, but my cheesecake foiled that plan.

After Tony went to bed, I summoned my insomnia while I waited for my cheesecake to do its thing. This year instead of shopping for dogs to rescue, I shopped for children. I realize that sounds shocking. That’s because it is.

Last year as I shopped for dogs, I would go through a list and narrow down the characteristics we were looking for in a dog. Breed, size, sex, color, age, special needs.

Last night I looked at websites about foster child adoption in Utah. And once again, I read a list of characteristics to narrow down the type of child we would consider. The first section was easy. Race - any, gender - any, age - 0 to 18, sibling group – yes. How many? Let’s say 4 max (yikes!).

Then I had to choose the special needs we would consider. Which would we consider: a mild, moderate or severe emotional/behavioral need? What about a physical, developmental or learning special need? Then they asked yes or no questions.

Sexually Abused: Yes or No
Drug Exposed: Yes or No
ADHD: Yes or No

And so on. I went through the process several times and came up with a list of 5 different children. All of them beautiful and deserving of a loving home. But I found the process jarring and disturbing….and helpful. I suppose the part that disturbs me is that I selected NO on considering a sexually abused or an ADHD child.

I could write about all the reasons why this is reasonable and justifiable. After all, we did the same thing when shopping for Abby. But what if they had a category for shedding hair? If I had selected mild instead of severe, maybe we never would have found Abby. And look how much I love her in spite of dog hair and having to vacuum everyday. But I’m just going to leave the child categorization at this. It disturbs me.

But who knows. The fruits of 2009’s insomnia brought Abby into our life. Maybe we’ll see a child join our family in 2010. Maybe this child will be categorized in the mild, medium or severe category, and maybe we will love him and think he’s the best kid in the world.

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