• Grandma Mary

    Dear Jax, It’s Gotcha Day, little dude. We adopted you eleven years ago today. I love this day, but this year’s celebration is bittersweet. Your grandmother died on Friday night. Your dad’s mom, Grandma Mary. This year’s Gotcha Day will be a little less inflatable water slide and a little more holding space for your grandma today. You’re grieving. This isn’t an obituary – you’ll be much better at that, kiddo – but what I will remember about your grandmother was how accepting she was. From day one, eleven years ago, she accepted you completely and without hesitation, exactly as…

  • relief-by-rebecca-masterson

    Relief

    Johnny made it to his Army base on Monday. Other moms are messaging me tips to survive boot camp, linking me to Facebook groups, introducing me to people who can show me the ropes. It’s lovely, but I’m in a different sort of situation. “Hi Martha with your #ArmyStrongMama tank top, thank you for the hug. But I’m actually losing my shit because this kid almost broke me and I didn’t realize the stress of it all until he got on that plane.” Smile and nod, people. Smile and nod. It was two and a half years ago that I…

  • maybe-this-time-rebecca-masterson

    Maybe This Time

    A day or two ago, Jax had an appointment with a psychiatrist. Jax has never met this man before, but I have, and I like him a lot. He regurgitates mountains of stuff from memory, has a Harvard degree, and is smart, smart, smart. All good stuff when you’re a mom seeking advice for your child, but I like him because he’s a helper and he takes it very seriously. Jax has been hanging out in, what he calls, the “dark mind.” This isn’t new, but it’s not something we ignore. We’ve seen psychs before, but they have deferred to…

  • brothers-by-rebecca-masterson

    Brothers

    Johnny, I’ve been down at the Capitol this past week fighting for a bill that would expedite the adoption of older kids. I’m pretty invested in it because you and I went through this. We had nine months to make your adoption happen, and had I not already had a giant home study to adopt Jax, you’d have aged out of foster care even though I was jumping up and down on the sidelines, begging to bring you into my family. It defied common sense so, cue the patriotic music, we drafted a law that would fix this. There is…

  • nobody-said-it-was-easy-by-rebecca-masterson

    Nobody Said It Was Easy.

    And I quote: “And after fourteen years of foster care, Johnny was getting all As and Bs in school, happily helping around the house, had checking and savings accounts, and looking for his first job – all within just a few months of being adopted into a family. ” Johnny, I’ve written a version of this success story a hundred times since you’ve moved in. And it’s been true on single every single occasion that I’ve written it. Your progress is front and center, it’s unbelievable actually, and I have to remind myself that you are the same kid who…

  • Dear Person Who Hurt My Child.

    I’ve spent the last few days outlining an open letter to the person who hurt Jax. A real doozy of a piece, cleverly called “Dear Person Who Hurt My Child.” I was going to write and publish it this morning, throw it all out there and let the internet lovelies react to an adult who intentionally hurt a kid with autism and cognitive delays and who spent his first three years of life in an orphanage. It would have been shared and liked and tweeted. What do I need the burden of our criminal system for when I have this?…

  • Not the Best Witness

    The adult who hurt my son will not be charged. I’m a lawyer. I get it. There are no witnesses, no physical evidence, and Jax …well, Jax isn’t the best witness.  At 13, Jax still believes that Noelle the Naughty Elf stole my car keys and tried to take my SUV for a spin. He tells the same joke over and over (and over), processes every single thought he has out loud, and is lost in most conversations that aren’t about airplanes. He doesn’t understand nuance, social cues, or consequences. Jax is a child. Jax will always be a child. This makes…

  • When the Flashing Lights Fail.

    I am a Helicopter Mom. No shame here, no self-deprecating humor, there is really no other option for this child tornado of mine. Maybe helicopter isn’t the right word, I think I’m more like the car with the flashing lights that travels behind the Wide Load truck on the freeway. You know when some brave soul picks their flipping house up, places it on a truck, and moves it across country? The other drivers can see the trailer coming with a freaking house on it, it’s unexpected and a tad out of the ordinary, but there is always a car…

  • Some rules are meant to be broken.

    Michael was born on the floor of a bus station. He was abandoned, withdrawing from drugs and in pain. He spent three weeks in the NICU, and was discharged weighing only 5 lbs. Since the launch of Generation Justice, I have read hundreds of these stories, maybe thousands. But this one is different. This one I saw first-hand. When Michael was discharged from the NICU, the agency called my friend, Darcy, and asked her if she could open her home to another drug-exposed infant. This would be her 7th foster child. Darcy was in baby mode, a blur of positive,…

  • “They don’t need another backpack, Mom.”

    I was coming out of an Ace Hardware the other day – feeling super handy, I might add – and on the way to my car, I saw a woman standing by a table raising money. It was a legit 100-gazillion degrees in Phoenix and I was entirely prepared to do the polite smile good-for-you-but-I’m-not-stopping head nod when I saw the sign on her table read “Help Arizona’s Foster Kids.” Ay. I mean I have a teen foster kid, I work for a non-profit that aims to reform the entire foster sh-bang so clearly, I had to stop. The lady…