It’s been 12 years since my wife and I adopted two kids who had been in the state foster care system – a sibling pair, then aged 5 and 7, who we were told had gone though a lot. Now, our daughter, 19, has a baby of her own, and our son, 17, is beginning to gain mastery over some social challenges.
There’s a lot to celebrate, and a lot to recognize as the good fortune of different kinds of cosmic accident and cultural privilege. There’s also lots to worry about. I don’t want to violate our kids’ privacy, so I have to be vague. They’re both amazing, resilient people who have a shot at good lives as adults, and I can’t say whether or not I would be in as good a shape as they both are had I gone through the things they went through as small children, and even throughout their growing-up years with us.
So yes, there’s a lot to be thankful for and to celebrate. And there’s a lot of grief, and fear, and sadness. Some of it is the state of our country. Living in the fog of Trump is so toxic that it leaves me feeling nothing but despair and sadness, not just because of him and his corrupt and entitled entourage, but because something close to half the citizens of this country want what he wants. It’s bumping up against that reality that leaves me feeling despondent and helpless. And seeing this rightwing neo-fascist nationalistic garbage ascendant in so many countries has got me feeling sad and hopeless.
I want to make a difference, but often I don’t know how. And it gets me terribly, terribly down.
I fear my neighbors, many of my relatives, and entire subcultures of the country.