Love in June

            The little boy with the sandy shade of fluff atop his head claimed to me that he was Cupid. He couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7 years old, yet there he stood on my blue and orange flowered welcome mat, cheap downy angel wings strapped to his back and a yellow plastic nerf bow clutched between his pudgy fingers. He stared with deep puddles of eyes that couldn’t possibly be a natural shade of blue. In all the moments of the day, from first light to twilight, I had never seen a sky lay down a blue so blue as this child’s eyes. Across each rosy check a far too generous dappling of dark freckles and his nose moist with the warm goo found within the dark caverns of his nostrils. Though I am sure he explored those caverns all too often.

            The wide grin just below the goo caves revealed a huge gap between his teeth where he had lost the front two. Through the gap I could see his fat, pink tongue. My mind ran over words to make him say that contained S’s then laugh when he couldn’t manage the S sound properly. Mississippi was always good.

            Then his grin vanished and he stuck a pudgy hand under my nose, or rather, as close to it as he could reach. “Two dollar’th plea’th.” Was this kid kidding? A quick scan around the neighborhood revealed nothing unusual. A couple houses down, nosey Mrs. Dumas (pronounced Doo-Moss) peered at us through the cream colored blinds guarding the window. She held a phone tightly, probably reporting me to the police as some kiddie porn ring leader.

            I ignored her and politely asked the boy to repeat himself. He thrust his hand further under my nose, this time standing on tip-toes, as if he thought he might find something in my nostrils. His fingers smelled like peanut butter. Dark dirt planted firmly under each nail, at least, I hoped it was dirt when one finger hit my lip smearing my chapstick across my chin.

            “Two dollar’th plea’th.” Yes, the boy had asked me for money. I asked what the money was being spent on and he said, in a tone that suggested I was some kind of idiot that he was Cupid, again. A quick mental check confirmed that it was not February, nor was it October for that matter. It was the middle of June. The boy wasn’t leaving without his two dollars. I laid the money heavily into the greedy center of his palm, reluctantly.

            The toothless grin reappeared. “Thank’th lady!”

                In one swift, if slightly crooked motion, a bright, neon yellow nerf dart whizzed towards my face. It hit my lip with a moosh, causing more chaptstick to smear.

                Across the way Mrs. Dumas lifted the phone again. Thankfully, the police in the area know Mrs. Dumas and that she had them on speed dial.

                “Now, you will fall in love!” the boy yelled, bending to retrieve the dart from the welcome mat.

                I had to admit, it was sort of cute. I asked who he thought I was going to fall in love with, with my best you-can-tell-aunt-Rose smile. A few jelly beans fell from his pocket.

                “Bea’th me lady. That’th your problem.” He popped a red jelly bean between the gap in his teeth. He trotted down the driveway and towards the next house. I heard him say, “Hi, I’m Cupid. Two dollar’th plea’th!”

Striking Stranger

We have crossed a bridge and entered the parking lot of the trail head. I’m not entirely sure where we are. The sort of place where folks to get their daily fresh-air fix. Not just open window or stepping out their front door, this was where the air is really fresh.
I descend from the cab of the truck into the sunlight. There are times when I know I’ve taken the good days for granted. Cooped up in my room with the window open in a vain attempt to recall the scent of nature bathed in warm sunlight. I suppose there are a lot of things I take for granted.
A waterfall falls ever so sure and strong from somewhere above. My parents coo into the heat of the day how beautiful the place is. I wish I could see it, but each digital picture I take will prove that I really can’t. The desperation to capture one beautiful moment in time and take it away with me, but somehow the moments evade the frame as I wander aimlessly snapping away.
An old man bends heavily over his walking stick, beginning a vain attempt up the mountain. I suppress the urge to laugh. What does this old guy think he’s doing? He is wearing what looks like a pair of hospital slippers. He inches his way forward, desperation weighing on each brow. His hair looks as though it hasn’t felt the stroke of a comb in ages. His eyes gaze upwards towards the top of the falls. What could possibly be so important that he feels the need to best the mountain?
My mind plays over some random, romantic scene. A somewhat younger and spunkier version of the old man, smiling. Eagerly dragging and equally young girl up this hill by hand ignoring her protests and questions. As he reaches the very top of the hill the crease in her brow softens as she steps into view of the dancing, plunging waterfall; the lush valley beyond; and the velvety sunset resting easily atop the tree-line. Maybe she comments on how beautiful it is. Maybe he comments on how beautiful she is. And his grip tightens on her hand as he slowly descends to one knee, producing a small box from his pocket…
And it had been happily ever after for years, until the day she left him alone with only his precious memories… And maybe just this morning he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease…
And two young aides in white rush to this old man’s side not sure how he had managed to wander away from the group. They steer him about and lead him back down the trail past my parents
and I…


The word “abandoned” gets thrown around in this film quite a bit. And for some, that might be their idea of what adoption is. But that is also viewing the concept single mindedly and without empathy. You can’t always know all the reasons and factors that drive a woman to give up her child. There was a period in China when it was against the law to have more than one child. Sometimes a mother simply doesn’t have to means to provide a healthy upbringing for her child. Hell, Superman’s birth parents gave him up because their planet was exploding. You can’t look at a baby and assume you know.
This film doesn’t punch you in the feels so much as nudge you in the heart strings. There is no denying who the characters are or what their motivations are. They are all so deeply real. Down to the young mother who puts her newborn baby in a church baby box. Such things implying this is not an unusual occurrance. The baby is taken and then the adventure is on to find this baby a home.
It is ironic to me that “adoption” carries such warm and hopeful feelings with it. Where as “human trafficking” carries so much negativity. But they are the same thing in these cases. And that is a tragedy. That people can authentically want children to have a stable home, and yet be criminalized for it.
This movie was more than that though. Awkward journey around the country to find loving parents for this child. In the process, redefining what it means to be family.