Dan Savage reads his own Modern Love essay about his son's birth mother--and her troubling path.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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The from the New York Times and W B were Boston. This is modern love, the stories of love loss and redemption. I'm your host magnetar puberty, the nationally syndicated sex, columnist and podcaster Dan Savage is well known for giving advice on any and all relationship issues, but in his modern love essay. He asked the complicated questions this week Dan, Savage reads: his own essay DJ's homeless, Mommy, Was no guarantee that doing an open adoption would get us a baby any faster than doing a closed or foreign adoption
at our agency warned us that as a gay male couple, we might be in for a long wait. This point was driven home when both birth mothers, who spoke at the two day, open adoption seminar, we were required to attend, said that finding good christian homes for their babies was their first concern. Hmm, but we decided to go ahead and try to do an open adoption. Anyway, if we became parents, we wanted our child's biological parents to be a part of his life as it turns out. We didn't have to wait long a few weeks after our paperwork was done. We got a call from the agency, a nineteen year old, homeless, street kid homeless by choice and seven months pregnant by accident had selected us from the ages.
the agency's pool of screened parent wannabes. The day we met her, the agency suggested all three of us go out for lunch. Well, four of us. If you can't wish or german shepherd or five, if you got the baby, she was carrying, we were bursting with touchy feely questions, but she was weary only interested in the fax. She knew who the father was, but not where he was, and she couldn't bring this baby up on the streets by her that left adoption and she was willing to jump through the agency's hoops, which included weekly counseling sessions and a few meetings with us, because she wanted to do an opened option. Two, we were with her when DJ was born and we were in her hospital
two days later, when it was time for her to give him up before we could take TJ home. We literally had to take him from his mother's arms as she sat sobbing in her bed. I was thirty three when we about to DJ, and I thought I knew what a broken heart looked liked, how it fell, but I didn't know anything. You know what a broken heart looks like like a sobbing teenager adding handing over a two day old infant. She can't take care of to a couple. She hopes can ask a couple hoping to adopt what they want most in the world and they'll tell you there's only one thing on her if they want a healthy baby, but many couples want something more: they want their child's biological parents to disappear. So there will never be any question about who their child's real
and saw the biological parents showing up on their doorstep. Lawyers in tow demanding their kid back is the nightmare of all adoptive parents endlessly disgusted adoption chat rooms and during adoption, seminars. but it seemed to us that all adopted kids eventually want to know why they were adopted. Sooner or later they start asking questions. Didn't they love me? Why do they throw me away in the cases? Are closed adoptions? There's not a lot. The adopted parents can say fact. Is they don't know the answers we did like most homeless street kids, our son's mother works and National Circuit Portland lender yeah in the summer, Denver Minneapolis Chicago in New York. In the late summer, when we fall Phoenix, Vegas or less Angeles in the winter and spring. Then she check the rides, the rails back up to Portland, where she's from and starts all over again for the first few years of
adopted DJ his mother made a point of coming up to Seattle during the summer, so we could all get together when you I'm in Seattle. She kept in touch by phone All were usually short too, Ask how we were we ask of the same than we put dj on the phone she didn't gosh. He didn't know what to say, but it was important to dj that his mother called. When did it was three his mother stop calling regularly and visiting when she did one time a new boyfriend died of alcohol poisoning. They were sleeping on a sidewalk in New Orleans and when she woke up, he was at another time she called after her next boyfriend started using heroin again soon the calls stopped and we began to worry about whether she was alive or dead after six months with no contact. I started calling hospitals and morgues when, due to his fourth birthday, came and went without a call. I was convinced that something had happened to her on the road or in
that something had happened to her on the road or in a train yard. Somewhere she had to be dad. I was tearing down the wallpaper in an extra bedroom, one nine shortly after DJ turned for his best friend, a boy named Haven had spent the night and after havens, mother picked him up. Did. You drag the chair into the room and watched as I pulled wallpaper down and strips. even has a mommy. He suddenly said, and I have a mommy- that's right responded you I came out of my mommy's tummy I play with my mommy in the park. Then he looked at me and asked: when will I see When will I see my mommy again this summer? I said hoping it wasn't a lie. It was April and we haven't heard from teachers mothers since last September, we'll see her in the park. Just like last summer? We didn't see her in the summer or in the fall or spring. I wasn't sure what to tell DJ. We knew that she hadn't thrown him away and that she loved
We also know that she wasn't calling and could be dad. I was convinced she was dead dead or alive we weren't sure how to handle the issue with DJ, which two by four to hit him with that is mother was in all likelihood dead or that she was out there somewhere, but didn't care enough to come by or call. Soon he would be asking more complicated questions. What if he wanted to know why his mother didn't love him enough to take care of herself, so she could live long enough to be there for him. be, therefore her. So she could tell him herself how much she loved him when he was old enough to remember her and to know what love means. My partner and I discussed these issues late at night when data was in bed thankful for each day that passed without having the issue of his missing mother. We knew we wouldn't be able to avoid or finesse it after another summer arrived in Seattle. As the weeks ticked away. We admitted that those close to adoptions, we'd frowned upon, were starting to look pretty good. Instead of being a mystery.
Instead of being a mystery, his mother was a mass of distressing specifics and instead of dealing with his birth parents, specifics out say a teen or twenty one. As many adopted children do, he would have to deal with them at age, four or five. He was already beginning to deal with them The last time she visited. When did she was three. He wanted to know why his mother smelled so terrible. We were taken aback and answered without thinking it through. We explained that since she doesn't have a home, she is unable to bathe often nor washer, We realized we screwed up even before DJ, started to freak what could be more terrifying to a child than the idea of not having a home
telling him that his mother chose to live on the streets, that, for her the streets were a home, didn't cut it four months, DJ insisted that his mother was just going to have to come and live with us. We had about whom we had a washing machine. She could sleep in the guest bedroom when grandma came to visit, she could sleep in his bed and he would sleep on the floor. We did hear from teaches mother again, fourteen months after she disappeared when she called from Portland. She wasn't dead, she'd lost track of time and didn't make it up to Seattle before it got too cold and wet, and whenever she thought about calling it was too late or she was too drunk. When she told me she reached the point where she got sick when she didn't drink. I just
suggested that maybe it was time to get off the streets, stop drinking and using drugs and to think about her future. I could hear her role in her eyes. She chosen us over all the straight couple. She said, because we didn't look old enough to be her parents and she didn't want us to start acting like her parents. Now she would get off the streets when she was ready. She wasn't angry and you didn't raise your voice. She just wanted to make sure we understood each other. Dj was happy to hear from his mother and the fourteen months without a collar visit were forgotten. We went down to Portland to see her she apologized dj in person. We took some pictures and she promised not to disappear again. We didn't hear from her for another year this time when she called she wasn't drunk. She was imprisoned, charged with the salt she'd been in prison before, for short stretches, picked up on big rinsing
interest passing charges, but this time was different. She needed our help or her dog did her. Boyfriend's and travelling companions were always vanishing, but her dog wish was the one constant presence in her life having a large dog complicates hitchhiking and hopping trains, but did his mother is a petite woman and her dog offer her protection and love late. One night in New Orleans she told us from a noisy common room in the jail she
into an argument with another homeless person he lunged at her and wish bit him. She was calling she said, because it didn't look as if she would get out of prison before the pound put wish down. She was distraught. We had to help her save wish to bagged. She was crying the first time. I heard your cry since that day in the hospital six years before five weeks and one thousand six hundred dollars later we manage that only to say wish, but also to get DJ mother out and the charges dropped. When we talked on the phone, I urge you to move on to someplace else. I found out three months later that she'd taken my advice. She, calling from jail in Virginia, where she'd been arrested for trespassing at a train yard. She was calling this time, though, to say loaded each eye. I've heard some people say that choosing to live on the street is a kind of slow motion suicide. Having now
it seems to court danger. I've lost track of the number of her friends and boyfriends, who died of overdoses, alcohol, poisoning and hypothermia. As DJ gets older he's getting a more accurate picture of his mother, but so far it doesn't seem to be an issue for him. He loves her a photo of a family reunion. doesn't seem to be an issue for him. He loves her. A photo of family reunion we attended is incomplete. He insisted because his mother wasn't in it. He wants to see her even if she smiles, he says we're looking forward to seeing her too, but I'm tired. Now for the May, God rip off my fingers before I die. I'm starting to get anxious for the slow MO suicide to end whatever that end looks like I'd, prefer that it end with DJ's mother off the street. And with each as mother off the streets and in an apartment somewhere putting her life together, but as she older. That resolution is getting harder to picture a lot of people who self destruct I'll think twice about destroying their children.
Process, maybe DJ's mother knew she was going to self destruct and wanted to make sure her child wouldn't get hurt, so she left him somewhere, safe with parents. She chose for him, even though it broke her heart to give him away, because she knew that if you were close, she would hurt him too. Sometimes I wonder if this answer will be good enough for dj when he asks why his mother couldn't hold it together, just enough to stay in the world for him, I kind of doubt it Dan Savage Reading, his own modern love, essay, DJ's, homeless, mommy. We asked the question that Everyone is wondering about. Where is dj there. I release you on George Climb, where the hosts of guilt for change and new pod gas from ex censure the pandemic. Has radically transformed the way we do business and now is the time to forge a new path ahead. So what
The world's most innovative leaders think about navigating change. What strategies are working for them on built for change will learn what Accenture is discovered about, how businesses can rise to these challenges and fine success subscribed to build for change now. So you don't miss an episode. I love following my boyfriend and I often play following me together by together, I mean sitting next to each other playing into really and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed and who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate, HU. I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words. Then I was getting nervous at it to my parents or something like. me and my dad. We like a sponge together, and I wish to point out that it said
ack I'm same as earth's sky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee I'm same is risky. The digital possess editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at annoying times not come flash games more after the break living proof, product safety Just ask Tyler from New York. I have probably been able to save about thirty minutes. Quickly? So if I shower one morning and not the next, I cannot go to work like that, so it allows are one morning and not the next. I cannot go to work like that. So allows me
sleep in an extra thirty minutes. I just got out to put the dry shampoo in my hair and off I go, which is amazing use the code at living proof, dot com for a free travel size, dry shampoo, with their twenty dollar order. Steve woman, I'm Cheryl strain and were the coasts of deer sugar, radio, a pod cast from W B. You are for the lost, lonely and heart sick. Take your questions, no matter how deep and dark and offer radically empathic advice subscribe to dear cigar radio on Itunes. Are your favorite Peggy S out we're back its modern love, the pod guest? I magnetic robotic the first time and is still figuring out whether he wants to go to college. In the meantime, he is working in a Seattle. Coffee shop, As for his mom did, his mom is alive and well, Well, I'm living in Portland Oregon part time and in a rural area the rest of the time
Mom is alive and well and living in Portland Oregon part time and in a rural area the rest of the time she does. Seasonal labour and she's good she's on her feet, she's housed and we talk on the phone occasionally and she and D J speak but does Dan have any birthday and things this out, but does Dan have any regrets about. Keeping this adoption open There were certainly issues we had to confront. we are in his life. Then perhaps parents in closed adoption might have had to confront those same issues but diseases happy to know his mom and we are happy to know her and happy to have her be in our lives in any small way that she is, and he I think, benefits
They're not being any mysteries and knocking any unanswered questions out there, even if it was difficult to answer some of his questions only on when he didn't quite understand the volume of occasions of choices that his mom had made. So would Dan recommend open adoption to future parents? All adoptions are hard. All childhoods are hard all parenting, involve struggle, I would hate for anyone to list to that I say or to read it, which was written at a moment of such kind of confusion and despair and conclude that they shouldn't do the kind of adoption that we did. I think that open adoption is really related in the ESA Carmax gives you the freedom to shop. However, you, like you, can shop for a car online and on the lot, once you find the right car you can buy. However, you want buy online and get home delivery in select markets or buyout.
Mine entries express pickup at Carmax and no matter how you buy your car comes with a thirty day. Money back guarantee up to fifteen hundred miles, learn more We may have happened again. You can. I have one friend who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words. Then I would get nervous I sent to my parents or something like individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you've completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed, see, K, P, o t jack. Friend, who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate I'm same is risky the digital positive for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at an why times, dot com, flash games. It presents more
challenges for the parents? The complications are really for the parents, but taking those on and overcoming them is again in the best interest of the child, and so I encourage everyone is thinking about adoption to seriously consider open adoption and not to be dissuaded by my essay Dan Savage on his essay. Poor challenges for the parents. The complications are really for the parents, but taking those on and overcoming them is again in the best interests of the child and so on, prevent suicide among Lgbtq Youth, with his husband, Terry Miller, and in twenty ten. You can hear him on his own call in advice, podcast, the savage love cast, listen on Itunes or at savage love, cast dot com in thirty seconds will hear from the other Dan. Daniel Jones, editor of modern love for the New York Times, don't go anywhere.
With his husband, Terry Miller, in two thousand and ten, you can hear him each week on his own call in advice: podcast, the savage love cast, listen on Itunes or at Savage love cast, but calm in thirty seconds will hear from the other Dan Daniel Jones. prove underwear that replaces tampons pads on light days and is the perfect backup on heavy days and yeah. They actually work reasonable their design to absorb the equivalent of two tampons. They ve got built in technology that wicks moisture face bacteria and keeps your comfortable all day long. What's crazy? Is it Modern love is supported by thinks a period proof underwear did, go to tampons and pads on light she, and is the perfect backup on heavy Reusable they're, designed to absorb the equivalent of two tampons they've, got built in technology, that wicks moisture fights bacteria and keeps it. Daniel Jones is editor of the modern love column for the New York Times, and he says this
They up an element of underwear, curious that might have been to she unknown. We saw the t h, I n x dot com and get five dollars off with the code modern and in this essay Dan is again in love column for the New York Times, and he says this essay opened up an element of Dan Savage's life. Savage's life that he's very forthcoming about I don't know what is the right way to handle this and the ultimate truth, which comes at the end, is. I just need this to end in some way and wow. What a statement is such a powerful statement of frustration, and how do we deal with this? he's very forthcoming about I think I don't know what is the right way to handle this, and the
the ultimate truth which comes at the end? Is I just need this to end in some way and wow what a statement? Mr such a powerful statement of frustration, and how do we deal with this love for this boy and what First night in the birth sweet, when the birth mother had been moved to oppose partum room to give us all privacy. I stared at this miraculous little girl. Now: we've featured several stories about adoption on the podcast each one told from a different perspective like this one read by actor, Gaby Hoffmann that first night in the birth suite when the birth mother had been moved to a postpartum room. To give us. Will link you to all of our adoption episodes on our website w B, you are dot org, splash, modern law, making. Tweak your modern love binge week, well worth it
Love is a production of the New York Times and W B you are Boston, NPR station, its produced, directed and edited by just Albert John Perotti and Emory Sivertson? The idea for the modern podcast was conceived by LISA Tobin. Iris Adler is our executive producer. Daniel Jones is if your modern love binge week. It's well worth it. Modern love is a production of the New York Times and WB. You are Boston's NPR station, it's produced, directed and edited by Jessica, Alpert, John Pilate and Amery Stevenson. The idea for the modern love podcast was conceived by LISA Tobin. Iris Adler, as our executive producer. Daniel Jones, is the editor of modern love for the New York Times and adviser to the show music for the podcast, courtesy of a.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-16.