MAMA ON THE GO—Even Snarky teens have to start somewhere

I’m a mom

The crazed look in my eye at the supermarket easily gives me away. I answer to the name “Lauren’s mom” or “Kenya’s mom.” My personal style can be described as laundry hamper chic and my hair is in a constant state of “about to be washed.”

In June 2000, I walked into a dusty downtown Miami office building and met my daughter for the first time. November is National Adoption Month, so I wanted to talk about what it’s like to meet your kid some place other than the screaming end of your hoo-ha. Sometimes she’s waiting in a foster home or group home. The way I see it, that’s much better than, uh, you know.

I’d been brooding over the idea of adoption, honestly, since I was 17. Weeks before high school graduation, when I told my mom the plan, she laughed her mom laugh and said, “You’ll change your mind, Sherri Denise.” Nope. I never did.

So I became a single, working mom.

I was a full time journalist living in South Florida who’d tired of chasing bozos and non-committal baby-daddy prospects. It was time to go a different route.

Then my dad was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 1998, and with mom already gone, I knew my concept of family would change forever.

Back to the baby girl.

She was, I thought, smaller than a 27-month-old baby should be. A 24-pound bundle of chocolate brown beautifulness who, at first sight, broke my heart wide open.

“Here she is,” announced an eager young social worker. “My Misha-Misha.”

It took all of my be-cool training—that’s a lie, I’ve never had be cool training, but it would have come in handy—not to rush over, sweep her Misha-Misha into my arms and run out of the building screaming, “Mine! Mine! Mine!”

However, weeks of parenting training taught me the importance of putting the child first. I didn’t think it would bode well for our long-term relationship if she saw me whisked away to the Quiet Room. So I smiled at her clinging to the social worker. Offered her my bag of corn chips. She took them and gave me a look that said, “You might not be a loser after all.”

That was almost eighteen years ago, and I’m still a sucker for that look. I live for that snarky look. ‘Cause, you know, she’s still my baby.

If you’ve got questions about adoption, visit adopt.org, and find out what’s standing between you and your future snarky teenager.

Oh, yeah. I’ve got another adopted kid. Her name’s Kenya. We’ll talk about her on soon. For now, if you’ve got questions about becoming a parent, check out adopt.com or call the National Adoption Center, 215-875-0324.

Coming Friday …The Top 5 misconceptions about State adoptions.

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