The Mouths of Babes – Fun Size

25 02 2011

Adopter’s Rights

I was talking to a friend of mine over the weekend.  She works for a MAJOR health care company – one of the biggest in the world.  One of her co-workers is about to go to Ethiopia to pick up the TWO, two-year-olds she has adopted.  When she comes back to the States her company will be giving her TWO WEEKS off from work.  That is right – technically 10 working days.  The Family Medical Leave Act requires employers of companies with greater than 50 employees to guarantee an employee’s job for a minimum of 12 weeks if she gives birth.  (Don’t have to pay her, just can’t fire her.)  But Adoption does NOT fall under FMLA – disgusting.  Another of her coworkers is in a same-sex marriage.  Her partner is about to have a baby.  She will be adopting the baby (because, you know, same-sex marriage isn’t REALLY marriage in this country.)  Therefore she will also ONLY get TWO WEEKS off of work.  And I am pretty sure I remember correctly – this company offers 12-weeks paternity leave.  Equality?  Not.

The Mouths of Babes… Say You’re One of Them, A Review

Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan is apparently part of the Oprah Book Club.  I think I first heard about it from reading blogs of APs.  Recently I wrote about how a book can effect my mood (in this post).  And if you have read this book, you can imagine what kind of mood I have been in.

Beautifully written, this book is a collection of five short-stories all set in different African countries, all told through the eyes of the children, each more horrific than the previous.  Okay, I admit I read them out of order to try to ease the pain and I didn’t even finish “Fattening for Gabon” because I simply couldn’t.

I don’t understand literature that is this dark.  I do not know where to go with the hopelessness and confusion it evokes in me.

Last fall, I posted here about a strange conversation I had with a Haitian adoptee. He told me he didn’t like African people and I wondered what the family had been watching on TV.  Well, I think I figured it out.  They have been reading, Say You’re One of Them.

Thanks, Grandpa

My kids LOVE to wash their hands.  Little Dude WANTS to use the potty standing up.  Our family was in desperate need of a good, step stool.  I tried to buy one online, but my crazy shopping issues set in (ah, perfectionism you are genetic).  I just could NOT choose the perfect one, for the perfect price, from the perfect place.  Then I thought, maybe my Dad would build them one.

My father is a work-a-holic.  My father is a perfectionist.  My father is retired.  My father seems bored.  So a couple of weeks ago I assigned him a project:    Build the kids a step stool that will allow them to wash their hands.

While my mother worked the computer, I sent them links to the ones I liked on-line – all good, but none PERFECT.  My father looked at the pages as my mother clicked on the links.  He proclaimed that nothing he made me would look like “those” with disdain in his voice for both 1kea and all things particle board.

Yesterday the step stool arrived.  It is beautiful.  The kids are thrilled, so am I.  Thanks, Dad.  I made a video of the kids opening the box the step stool came in, me convincing them that the popping paper wasn’t actually the gift and them climbing it for the first time.  The video only includes one kid falling off, two fights negotiation sessions and four times of me begging, demanding, cajoling, reminding them to “make better choices.”  Someday I will figure out how to post a video on this blog, for now a few horribly lit pics.

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13 responses

25 02 2011
Shonda

So, maybe I’m wrong, but I thought adoption did fall under FMLA? http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/fmla.htm Dept of labor mentions it, but not sure if they are the governing authority. Anyhow, if I were that mama, I’d be researching it for sure. But, she is adopting two 2 y/o’s, so maybe she should be researching Valium and Prozac … nevermind, that’s me (who has one 2 y/o and one almost 2 y/o)!

25 02 2011
Lori

I’m so glad you wrote that about Say You’re One of Them. My father-in-law gave us this book last year, and I read one story and then couldn’t read the rest. The book sits there on our shelf taunting me. I’m in no hurry to pick it up.

26 02 2011
il panettiere...

random, but…

how did I miss that our little guys are so close in age? 2 next month….

26 02 2011
Wendy

Adoption absolutely is covered under FMLA if the employee qualifies. Here’s a direct quote from their website: “The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows ”eligible” employees to take off up to 12 work weeks in any 12 month period for the birth or adoption of a child, to care for a family member, or if the employee themselves has serious health condition.” (http://www.employer-employee.com/fmla.html)

I used FMLA when I adopted my younger daughter 5 years ago. If your friend’s company is telling her otherwise and it’s a company with over 50 employees within a 75 mile radius of the worksite, which it sounds like it is, then they are breaking the law. The only thing that might disqualify her is if she hasn’t worked for the company for the required number of months and hours.

I’m pretty sure the same goes for the same-sex couple. If they both work for the same company, they probably can’t both take the 12 weeks of FMLA (FMLA doesn’t even allow that for husbands and wives). They can only take 12 weeks combined. But, if the partner who is not giving birth, is adopting that child and needs to stay home with him/her, I’m pretty sure FMLA covers that individual. She’s adopting a baby. Doesn’t matter if she’s gay or straight. If they are fortunate to live in one of the states that recognizes same sex marriage, all the better.

In both cases, these individuals need to fight for their rights, because by all accounts, it seems as if this company is egregiously breaking the law.

26 02 2011
leigh

Ok, your first paragraph got me all pissed off until I read everyone’s comments and now I think your friend needs to speak up and fight.

Your second paragraph made me want to run and hide and not read that book no matter what.

your third paragraph made me want to get your Dad’s e-mail and shoot him some design specs. That step stool is tres chic.

26 02 2011
Semi-Feral Mama

il pan (your new nickname) – I think the reason I think of your babe as so much older than Little Dude, is I believe you actually had him home with you before we even turned in our original application to our agency – kind of crazy. Which would also be before he was in his first care center. ( I tried to check those dates on your old blog but blogger tortured me and then denied me.) I don’t think about how much I missed of Little Dude’s life very often – but that sure brings it home.

26 02 2011
Semi-Feral Mama

Wendy and Shonda, Thanks for the adoption info, I have forwarded it on to the appropriate person (hopefully).

26 02 2011
Wendy

Hope it helps! It infuriates me when company’s try to give adoptive parents the short end of the stick…especially if they are blantantly breaking the law. Why, oh, why must we fight for the same rights that every other parent has (doubly so for the same sex couple). It sucks.

27 02 2011
Cazadora

Oh my god, I cannot wait to read Say You’re One of Them so I can offcially want to throw myself in front of a moving train. Joke noir, motivation in large part rooted in see: my last post, hopelessness. (which I know you did see, thank you for your comment)… Naw, I really do want to get that book, but I will leave it sitting on the shelf for a while until my psyche has taken full of advantage of the luxury of being able to round its emotional arc once more.

That step stool is fabuloso. Awesome. Your Dad is a rock star.

28 02 2011
claudia

Books like that… I feel guilty for not reading them, but I’m also not quite sure what I would have achieved by doing it. If we were in denial about what’s really going on – that’s one thing. But there’s a big ol’ spectrum between denial and wallowing and I try to avoid the books that are RIGHT at the W end of that spectrum.

Not going to say anything about adoption leave because of the situation in the UK- it would only come across as smug. One year. (Oh, hang on, I just did say it. Sorry. You should all move here).

Um. That stool. Is. Awesome.

28 02 2011
inventingliz

I was pretty sure adoption is covered by FMLA, and now from what your other commenters have posted I know that I was right! And, I’ve also heard of people successfully arguing that their (newly adopted) child has a serious health issue that needs their attention, which is also covered by FMLA.

My mother read Say You’re One of Them, and from what she told me about it, I don’t think I’ll be reading it.

That is definitely one cool stool!

28 02 2011
Shonda

random, but will I ever be able to read the word stool and think of anything other than poo again???

2 03 2011
Scooping it Up

i love that step stool. it is, in fact, perfect. why isn’t my father retired, perfectionist and bored out of his mind???

also, i hope all that FMLA stuff goes in their favor. it helps to yell to the internet sometimes, it yells back in a good way!

I am also glad i am not the only jerk who gets mad at her life and her kids and then afterwards realizes the book she’s reading was making her upset and in fact, nothing is wrong at the moment. (ok, those aren’t your words, i am just hoping i am not alone.)

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