I’ve always wanted to have kids. And that desire has never wavered, even during the days in California when gay and lesbians were prevented from adopting. I knew, intrinsically, that I was meant to be a dad, and often found myself contemplating what parenting might be like. I gave much thought as to how I wanted to raise my children, the example I would set, and the values I wanted to impart.
In truth, the life that I wanted to give them was only slightly different from the one I was then living — just better. I wanted my children to eat better, to exercise more, and to live life more fully than I had, without fear. I wanted them to never doubt my love. I wanted them to discover their own potential and embrace themselves, whomever that led them to be. And once I did have kids and began parenting, I found that I was surprisingly successful in achieving most of these goals.
Today, we eat healthy. largely vegetarian, and most of what we buy is organic and all-natural. We exercise regularly, attend church, volunteer, talk about the issues of the day, and discuss ways in which we can not only improve ourselves, but how we can help make this world a better place.
Still, there have been challenges.
Our eldest son, Mason, was diagnosed at an early age with a condition that, if not treated immediately, could have left him with stunted growth. We took him to specialists, ruled out possible causes, and did every test under the sun. His endocrinologist recommended an unproven, off-label drug for him, which we easily agreed to. It was the only option available and, happily, still seems to be working.
For our younger son, Marcus, the road has been much tougher. We first met him at age 2, and he’d already been through more hardships than most people experience in a lifetime. While initially sullen and withdrawn, once placed in our home, Marcus opened up, evolving into a sweet, active, and chatty boy. We were aware of how challenging his hyperactivity could be, but given his checked-out demeanor when we first met him, all we could focus on was how much better he seemed. Once in school, however, this manic inability to focus became an issue.
It also seemed that, once set off emotionally, Marcus could not be stopped. While most parents find ways to combat a temper tantrum, with Marcus, it was more like a temper tornado. He simply could not control or calm himself, and it was scary to see how helpless he felt. (more…)