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Adoption a Good Way to Build a...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Adoption a Good Way to Build a Family

At 5:45 in the morning, I thought to myself, "Why do I bother to set my alarm?" You see, we have a 22-month-old son who wakes up about 45 minutes earlier than what we think is a civilized time to rise. We quickly give in when our 5 1/2 -year-old daughter chimes in.

At 7:30, I decide to feed our little alarm clock breakfast (in case there might be a moment when he has no energy).

I place him on my lap at the table, hoping he will eat peacefully while I scan The Sun. I stop scanning when I find the column by Patrick Ercolano, "The Adoption Option" (June 10).

As I read the piece, I become acutely aware of my little bundle on my lap picking the raisins off his toast with one hand and lightly holding my arm with his other hand.

What a moment! I am sitting there quietly nodding with everything Mr. Ercolano is saying and feeling wonderful. As I finish reading the article, I look at my son and he rests his head on my shoulder.

I am in heaven. Then he is down in a flash, ready to explore the world with his sticky hands. You learn to savor those tender moments, as short as they are.

Why am I writing this? Because our son is adopted from Korea and our 5 1/2 -year-old is our biological daughter.

After a few years of trying, we finally gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Nothing can describe the feeling of a human life growing inside you. When she was two years old, we decided to try to have another child. Things didn't go well, and I began to question having a second child.

Then it dawned on me. We can adopt. We went through all the soul-searching that Mr. Ercolano mentioned.

Can we love an adopted child as much as our biological child? How about a child from another country? How will our families and friends react? We, too, agreed that we would go ahead and start the process.

Though we did have to do a lot of soul-searching and paperwork, the process wasn't that bad.

And when my husband got off the plane from Korea (via Detroit) with our son on Jan. 14, 1994, the hassles melted away. (By the way, my husband reported that his 24-hour "delivery" went very well without much pain.)

Our son became legally ours on Jan. 13, 1995, and will soon be a U.S. citizen.

There is no doubt that he is a vital member of our family. Our daughter adores him, and he lights up when he sees her. People do come up to us and say, "What a lucky child he is," and "What a wonderful thing you did."

My response is that we are the lucky ones, and this is definitely the way to build a family.

Andrea H. Smith

Baltimore

Not Anti-Semitic

As a Jew, I would like to respond to the June 21 article, "Jew complains to cardinal over homily heard at mass."

My Catholic family and I are active members of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen parish. Never have I encountered any anti-Semitism at the cathedral, whether in the sermons, in the education my children have received at the school or in my interaction with the priests or parishioners.

Quite the contrary, I have been welcomed and encouraged to be part of the parish and school activities. My beliefs as a Jew have never been questioned or contradicted.

I find it most unfortunate that Penny Catzen apparently did not speak directly and immediately to the Rev. Heinrich J. Losemann Jr., associate pastor at the cathedral, about her concerns.

Had she done so, I feel confident that she would have found him, as I have, most sensitive and receptive to those concerns. Rarely in my life have I met someone so kind and decent. I therefore must rebut the image of Father Losemann which was implied in your article.

Richard J. Peyton

Towson

WJHU Drivel

What follows are some thoughts upon the recent passing of midday classical music on WJHU-FM.

The real incentive for listening to WJHU-FM since 1986 has been its intelligent and informative programming. Also, the public has had the privilege of enjoying such excellent announcers as Lisa Simeone and Bill Spencer. Sadly, that has been denied us by what seems to be a feckless managerial decision.

I have always thought that the usual listener to WJHU-FM tuned in to classical music during the workday to enjoy the soothing and supportive quality programming. Now what we are left with are talk shows that discuss support groups for necrophiliacs or the coming beer crisis in Folkestone, England. Who cares to waste time listening to this drivel? There's more than enough of it on every other station.

I guess the thinking behind this decision was that if you broaden your audience, then you will be in a better position to weather the upcoming loss of federal funds. Wrong. WJHU's audience is not Joe Six Pack and Joe Six Pack will not tune into WJHU . . . just too highbrow. It would make more sense in the long run to keep midday classical music.

Finally, given the often inane and naive comments made by Dennis Kita during fund-raising, WJHU-FM would be better

served to dump its general manager.

Douglas Skeen

Baltimore

School Anxiety

I am writing in response to Susan Reimer's column June 4. I read her regularly and especially enjoyed her visit to my son's school, Hillcrest Elementary, earlier this year.

Her column addresses some of the anxiety parents face when they send their children to middle school, particularly the observation that the learning is so heavily oriented toward group activities rather than the basics of reading.

She draws an analogy between middle school and occupational therapy, to the effect that the purpose is to keep people busy and hope that something productive will result.

As a mother of a middle school son, and an occupational therapist by profession, I responded to her comments from two different perspectives. The analogy is a good one, but could use further explanation.

Middle school teachers and occupational therapists both apply the belief that people learn through doing, and the goal of activity is to guide individuals toward competence.

We both need to evaluate the activities we select in light of that goal and modify them as needed. Providing an environment that is conducive to growth and enhancement of self-esteem is a continual challenge to both.

I thank Susan Reimer for this and many other columns which articulate the struggles parents face in our most difficult and important role. I hope my comments have been enlightening and thought-provoking, as her columns are for me.

Pat Brokos

Baltimore

Helping Haiti

You reported June 18 that Haiti's President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is resisting U.S. efforts to double the size of that nation's police force.

Given the history of our training efforts in Latin America and more particularly Honduras/Guatemala/Nicaragua, he is being smart.

We helped restore democracy in Haiti. Now it is time to just plain butt out.

If Haiti wants help, let it ask. Otherwise, we should mind our own business and tend to more pressing issues at home.

Richard L. Lelonek

Baltimore

Only One Life

Recently, Capt. Scott O'Grady was shot down from his warplane over Bosnia in the on-going Operation Deny Flight, in which hundreds of our servicemen have participated over the last few years.

Captain O'Grady's dramatic rescue has literally given a psychological shot in the arm not only to American airmen and troops (I confess, I'm one of them), but it appears to have equally affected the public morale, if the media attention is any indication.

Dining at the White House is another accolade in the growing list that this young man would himself tell you he does not want. He simply stated that he was just doing his job.

Sometimes, when a daughter gets married or a grown-up has a birthday, the party thrown is not exactly in accord with the wishes of the one for whom it's intended. I think one can see the point I'm trying to make, but I'd like to take it one step further.

What does it say about our society? We love our war heroes, our darlings in arms. We always have and always will. But when you can strip away the emotional dressing of the subject and look at the rescue in a simpler light, you see that we only managed to save one life.

Were we to grasp the true nature of ourselves, all brothers in a wonderfully diverse humanity, we could accept and "save" that languid figure of a human, flashing on our TV screens from time to time, who is starving to death in squalor somewhere in the Third World.

Just think of the celebration we could have if we rescued 14 million people a year from starvation.

Ronald J. Smith

Baltimore

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