November 25, 2019
EP. 191 — Foster To Adopt
A parent talks about her family’s journey with foster care, adoption & a really long walk in Spain.
This episode is brought to you by Aura Frames (www.auraframes.com/stories), Native Deodorant (www.nativedeodorant.com code: BEAUTIFUL), and Morgan & Morgan (www.forthepeople.com/stories).
191 — Foster To Adopt
[00:00:53] CHRIS: Hello to everybody who would walk 500 miles and everybody who would walk 500 more. It’s Beautiful/Anonymous. One hour. One phone call. No names. No holds barred.
[00:01:07] THEME SONG: I’d rather go one-on-one. I think it’ll be more fun. And you’ll get to know me, and I’ll get to know you.
[00:01:18] CHRIS: Hi everybody, Chris Gethard here, welcome to Beautiful Anonymous. Quick reminder: Beautiful Follow-Ups is up and running! We like to do a batch of these every year, it’s the second year we’re doing it. They’ve been going great, and we’re hearing from some old callers, old people you’ve been wondering about it who priorly, priorly, that’s not a word. People who previously called the show. Now we get to catch up with them, yet again. Use the code ‘stories’, you get a month of Stitcher Premium for free. Last week we talked to that guy who wrote 18000 songs. Remember him from way back in the day? How many songs has he written now? You’ll have to tune in to find out! And then this week, the upcoming Friday, three days from now, “House Burned Down”. Remember that the girl whose house had just burned down when she called and she had a really lovable donkey named Cedric? Calls back! Get to figure out where things are at, and how Cedric is doing. So make sure you check out those Beautiful Follow-ups. This week’s call makes me feel good. Gonna go ahead and say that. And not good like I’m patting myself on the back like it went really well. Good, like it was a reminder about an area of the world that we we often, I think, have stereotypes in our head as as not good. It’s the foster care system. This is a foster parent. Tells us the ins and outs of how they’ve navigated it, some of the things they’ve seen (both personally and by participating in the system as a whole). And, you know, I’d say this in the course of the call, it’s one of those parts of the world that we often only hear about it when bad things happen, when people fail. Sensationalize. And it was so refreshing to me to hear about someone who has tried to work with in that system in all the right ways. Who’s reminding us, a lot of these things that we hear about as bad, those are the outliers. And what’s at the core of it, are a lot, a lot of people who are well-intentioned and trying to help. It was an eye opening to me. I hope it is just as inspiring to you. Enjoy the call.
[00:02:15] PHONE ROBOT: Thank you for calling Beautiful Anonymous a beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host.
[00:03:26] CHRIS: Hello?
[00:03:28] CALLER: No kidding. (laughs) Hello. How you doing?
[00:03:33] CHRIS: Pretty good. How about you?
[00:03:35] CALLER: Well, this is… I mean, I’m actually doing really good, right now. It’s been a crazy couple of months, but really exciting news. Late breaking news. Yesterday, we got news that we got an adoption date for our foster son.
[00:03:55] CHRIS: Oh, wow.
[00:03:57] CALLER: I know, isn’t that crazy!
[00:03:59] CHRIS: Congrats.
[00:04:01] CALLER: Yeah, he’s… It’s huge! It’s really, really huge. He’s been with us since he was just a couple of months old. He’s been in foster care his whole life and he’s almost 18 months old now. So on his adoption date, I did the math yesterday, he will have been in foster care for five hundred and ninety eight days.
[00:04:24] CHRIS: Wow. And you said you’ve had him since he was almost a newborn?
[00:04:30] CALLER: Yes. Yeah. He was with one foster family before us. But it became kind of clear that his case was going towards adoption and that family already had just a mega-ton of children. And so they they had made the decision for their family that they had enough children, much as they loved him. And they were wonderful foster parents to him. But they wanted him to be with the family that would be able to adopt him. And my wife and I have been foster parents for three years now… or two years. Two and half years. It feel like seven years, nineteen? It’s been a long time. You know, this is how we wanted to grow our family, and create our family. It wasn’t always the plan, but it became the plan. So when they called – I’m an attorney – I was actually in court and I got the call from the foster care lady, and she was like, “we’ve got a baby boy!”. And she was supposed to call my wife first because she’s a little more thoughtful and calculating in her decision making process. But she couldn’t get through to my wife, so she called me. And I was like, “I think we’re probably going to say yes…”. And then it wasn’t a rush, since he was with a good family. So we had time to talk it over and see are we ready to have one that’s probably going to stay? And we said, yes.
[00:06:02] CHRIS: Wow. That’s huge. Let me ask, just cause I’m a little confused. So he’s with a different family right now? I thought you had initially said…
[00:06:09] CALLER: No, no, no, no.
[00:06:11] CHRIS: Got it. He’s been with you…
[00:06:12] CALLER: He’s been with us. Yeah. So the first couple months of his life, he was with Foster Family One. Foster Family One was like, “we have enough kids. He needs to go to the family that’s going to adopt him”. And so then they transferred him over to our care. And we’ve been his foster parents for about 15, or 16 months.
[00:06:33] CHRIS: Got it. And now once you adopt, he’ll become a permanent member of your family.
[00:06:40] CALLER: That’s right. Oh, I’m gonna cry. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s, ummm, (caller begins tearing up) OK. Yeah. Yeah. We don’t have any other kids. You know, This is how we’re making our family. Yeah, he’s gonna be a little member of our family. Sorry. It’s really quite something – a thing to process. You know, when you’re a foster parent, there’s always the understanding that they can go home. And our first two kids, our first kid went home, second kid went to a different adoptive family. And you always know that it’s not permanent until the adoption papers are signed, until you have an adoption date. And that we were pretty sure we were going to be able to adopt him. But it wasn’t – like we didn’t have an adoption date until yesterday.
[00:07:36] CHRIS: So you got this news yesterday?!
[00:07:39] CALLER: Yeah! Yeah. It’s been really wild.
[00:07:43] CHRIS: Wow, that’s huge.
[00:07:46] CALLER: Yeah. My parents are going to be grandparents. My brothers are going to be uncles. (laughs)
[00:07:52] CHRIS: Wow.
[00:07:46] CALLER: It’s. It’s crazy. Very, very intense. And this is all happening at the same time… do you know what the Camino de Santiago is?
[00:08:03] CHRIS: No…
[00:08:05] CALLER: Okay. So it’s a crazy thing. It’s this ancient pilgrimage that goes from the lower part of France all the way across Spain. And it’s a walk. People walk this almost 500 miles. And my wife, earlier this year, came to me and said, “Hey, honey, I’d really like to walk to the Camino. And this is really important to me. And, you know, being a mom, it’s been really challenging…” And, you know, she’s the best mom in the world. But, you know, it’s it’s an adjustment to become a mom, and she wanted to do this walk. And I was like “wait, isn’t that like 500 miles?”. And it is… it’s like 480 miles. She walked across the top of Spain, and she came back a completely different person. It’s been very strange. I mean, so we’ve been together for six and a half years. We both are very, you know, complicated, interesting people, I think, as a general rule. But, she’s been a stay at home Mom. While we’ve been foster parents, she’s been a stay at home mom. And, you know, she she went to a very fancy college and she’s really, really brilliant. And she’s got this incredibly amazing, complex brain. And she’s just incredible. And then, you know, being a stay at home mom, you know, it’s a lot of monotony and repetition and there’s a lot of crying. And, you know, I think she had a hard time with it. You know, it’s weird to call… It’s not really postpartum because, you know, they’re foster kids. But she had a challenging time with… I’m sorry, my computer’s dinging at me… She had a hard time with the with becoming a mom – as a person, as a part of her identity. And also look, I’m an attorney, so I have a career, I go to court, I do fancy things. And, you know, I try really hard to help people. And, you know, I think she felt, I think she felt stagnant. And so she did this thing where she walked. You know, you just get your little walking sticks and your little backpack, and you carry your stuff with you, and you just go. And I think it did some really… it worked… I mean, I’ve never seen my wife like this before. She’s self actualized. You know, it really helped her become herself. And I mean, don’t get me wrong. She also came back so hot. (laughs)
[00:10:55] CHRIS: (laughs)
[00:10:55] CALLER: (laughs) We joke that, like, she now has a thigh gap, which I didn’t even think I would ever use those words in a sentence, but now I kind of have to. I mean, she looks so incredibly fantastic. She’s not almost 40, but she’s moving in that direction…
[00:11:17] CHRIS: Mhmmmm.
[00:11:17] CALLER: And uhh,
[00:11:18] CHRIS: Nothing wrong with that! 40 is the new 30! There’s nothing wrong with 40.
[00:11:21] CALLER: No! Uh! That’s what I heard, that’s what I heard. And I’m a little bit younger, so I get to make the jokes with her. Poor girl.
[00:11:29] CHRIS: And I’m a little older, so I get to be defensive.
[00:11:33] CALLER: How old are you? I don’t remember.
[00:11:35] CHRIS: Thirty nine and a half. Here we go.
[00:11:37] CALLER: OK. That’s beautiful, man. You’re doing the countdown. That’s beautiful! I mean, but you have a brand new baby. So, I mean, that’s got to make you feel nice and young.
[00:11:48] CHRIS: Are you kidding?! Makes me feel older than I ever felt. Older and more tired than I’ve ever been, and I look in the mirror and I’m like, oh, he’s seven months old and I’ve aged six years in seven months. I see all the lines on my face now. I’m like, that literally wasn’t the case a year ago. Any hoots… I mean, I threw my back out. I threw my back out last week. That’s such an old man thing to say. (whining voice) I threw my back out. I’m such an old man anyway. It’s not about me. It’s not about me. I did want to ask…
[00:12:17] CALLER: No, no. I mean, we can totally talk about your son, by the way, he’s so cute! I mean, and I do agree with the general consensus that he does, indeed, look like you – very, very cute child. I follow your wife on Instagram, she posts all the cute pics, man. She’s got a good jam going there.
[00:12:34] CHRIS: Thank you so much. I mean, I am a little worried, now, that we’re going to inundate my wife with callers who are just stalking our baby. I am very trepidation, I rarely post pictures of him, and when I do, I turn off the comments because people get a little intense.
[00:12:52] CALLER: Oh, I’m sure. No, that’s totally fair. But I will tell you, so he’s 7 months old right now…
[00:12:56] CHRIS: Yeah, and he is cute. Thank you for saying it, he’s real cute.
[00:13:00] CALLER: No, of course. Yeah, mine’s real cute, too. But I was going to say 7 month old is a really, like, that’s where it really starts. I mean, for the first few months are really hard. So we foster infants. That’s our jam. So we’ve actually been stuck in… like our First Baby was like four months to nine months with us. And then Second Baby was newborn to almost four months. And then this baby we’ve had, you know, since he was three months to 18 months. So the time period you have right now, we’ve been there. It’s like this is where it really just starts. Like it’s like fireworks every day. And it just gets better and better and better. And they start sleeping better and their personalities really just start to pop. This is where it really starts to get good. You really are over the hump. Like I know there’s going to be sleep progression and other stuff that comes. But you’re really getting into the good stuff now.
[00:13:55] CHRIS: We can feel it. And he laughs so hard and he makes us laugh so hard. And it’s like, it moves so fast. It’s a little scary. Like just last week, we were like, oh, he’s starting to try to crawl. And now he can like, he can’t crawl, but you put a toy across the room and he’ll just scooch his way – he’ll just drag himself over to it. I’m like, oh, he’s mobile. Four days ago, he wasn’t.
[00:14:17] CALLER: Yeah!
[00:14:18] CHRIS: Okay.
[00:14:19] CALLER: Yeah. No. It is where it gets scary, though.
[00:14:22] CHRIS: Yes. We got to baby proof this bad boy. Now let me ask you a couple of things. One. As far as the walk your wife went on, based on the name and the location in the world, this sounds like it might be a religious thing.
[00:14:38] CALLER: It is! Very good question. It’s a Catholic traditional pilgrimage. There’s actually been tons of movies and books about it. Oh, my God. My wife’s going to kill me. I couldn’t remember the name of the famous one. I think it’s called “The Way”… Someone on Facebook will tell you, don’t worry.
[00:14:59] CHRIS: (laughs)
[00:15:00] CALLER: With Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez, those two are related, right?
[00:15:07] CHRIS: What?! Yeah. Father and son.
[00:15:10] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s that. So I. Oh it’s all coming back to me. The plot of the movie is: A son goes to walk the Camino and dies like on the first day. And so then the dad picks up his mantle and walks the Camino for his son. And the dad is Martin Sheen.
[00:15:32] CHRIS: So Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez, I had no idea.
[00:15:38] CALLER: Yes. No. Good, good, good. No good flicks. Nice, nice Saturday night watch. But then you might want to walk the Camino and then you have to negotiate all kinds of things with your wife. So I’m just saying, it can get complicated, they might disappear for 41 days. Yes, but yes. So my wife is a lapsed Catholic. She was raised Catholic. But her and Jesus are don’t have like the personal relationship thing. But what she did find… she didn’t find God, she didn’t find Jesus while walking. But she did find herself. Absolutely. But she also found God in nature, God as nature, you know, kind of like a Spinoza sort of thing. God as nature and really just I think a lot of people have really profound experiences. I mean, there’s a saying, I’m not going to remember it because this is all very overwhelming, but there’s a saying about how you can’t walk 100 miles and be the same person. And what I’ve discovered is that that is very true. Very, very true.
[00:16:50] CHRIS: That’s so cool.
[00:16:52] CALLER: Yeah! Very, very interesting. I mean, you know a lot of people when… because we have a kid, you know, and I’m an attorney. So there were some practical considerations. People were like “What’re you doing, like letting your wife go for 40 something days, who’s going to look after the kid? But it’s going to be so hard, blah blah blah.” And we actually got like a fair amount of flak for, you know, making this commitment to to let her do this, and I think it was really… I mean the last month since she got back, it’s been very hard. While, we’re, you know, adjusting to the new versions of ourselves and being like, oh, look, you’re very different now. Like, what is our what does this mean for, like, who we are and how we interact with each other? But I still… even though it was hard, like being a temporary single mom and still having to also go pretend to be an attorney. No, no, I really am an attorney, I swear. That was all very tricky. But, you know, it also showed like I could be a single parent. I can take care of this kid by myself. I can continue and maintain a life and I can take care of myself. Like my wife, you know, she’s a homemaker, so there were some concerns that I might starve to death, but I did not! I did not starve. And the baby didn’t starve either! We all are in good health. And I would actually say that it is a good thing to facilitate if, like if your partner wants to do something wild and crazy and without you, that allowing that to happen and facilitating that and encouraging that can actually be this incredible experience that I mean fucks your whole – sorry Sally – screws your whole axis up.
[00:18:47] CHRIS: (laughs)
[00:18:48] CALLER: But, you know, it definitely turned the world upside down. But also was so beautiful and just seeing the light in my wife’s eyes. I mean, this is kind of a weird thing to say. I’m sorry if I’m talking too much. I’m nervous.
[00:19:02] CHRIS: That’s okay, it’s a talk-based podcast.
[00:19:05] CALLER: I guess that’s true.
[00:19:07] CHRIS: Somebody has got to talk.
[00:19:12] CALLER: Yeah, I mean, just seeing… I was like watching her come alive, you know, and even watching just as she was posting on Facebook and you know, she’s meeting people from around the world and she’s really like a generally very shy person. She’s not super outgoing, even though she’s quite friendly. She’s introverted and, you know, just watching her come out of her shell and just like a sense of confidence. Just she was imbued with it, and it was just like there was a light coming out of her. I know that sounds crazy. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s just the truth. She just. Actualized. She felt actualized, it was a transformation. And, that was… I mean, I’ve never experienced anything in my life to watch someone, especially someone you’ve known for so long. And we were friends before we dated. And, you know, so watching her over these years and then just in such a short period of time… Become herself. She found her way. And she’s, you know, she’s still finding her way. We’re finding our way. We’re calling it Marriage 2.0. (giggle)
[00:20:22] CHRIS: That’s really cool. What a little unexpected tangent. When we started talking about foster care… Can I ask you more questions about about being a foster parent?
[00:20:35] CALLER: Hell yeah!
[00:20:37] CHRIS: OK. First off…
[00:20:38] CALLER: Whatever you want to know!
[00:20:40] CHRIS: Well, first off, what inspired you to get into it?
[00:20:43] CALLER: So, we knew we wanted to have kids… We are of the gay. So there were some certain materials that were lacking… And like, we actually went out and we picked a sperm donor. And, you know, my wife’s a little older than me, so she was going to carry. So, we have some we have some product on ice, but we decided… Well no, no, no. I should give credit where credit’s due. My wife came to me one day and she was like, “I thought about it, and I have decided I don’t want to carry a child. I just can’t stop thinking about all these… The world is so messed up.” And she, you know, both of us had complicated childhoods and hers was particularly complicated and traumatic in ways that just, you know, would keep you up at night. And so she thought about the child that she was and how if someone had stepped in to protect her when she was a child, how that could have made such a huge difference to everything that she became and all the things that she went through. And so she said that she wanted for us to foster and that instead of her caring child… We would foster and then potentially adopt from the foster care system. And I’m gonna be completely honest, I was a little skeptical at first. The first person I ever had a really serious relationship with, was adopted. And I saw how traumatic that had been for her, the attachment issues that she had. And I wasn’t anti-adoption, I just… I don’t know. I was scared, but I was like “OK. Well, I’ll look up the foster care recruitment class and see what that’s about. We can go and we’ll check it out.” And so we went. And at the end of it, I was like, “Oh, we’re doing this. Like, we’re definitely doing this!” And she was like, “hell yeah.” And we took all the classes, and we did the thing, and off we went…
[00:22:47] CHRIS: [music transition] Let’s go ahead and pause there. As we hear about what it was like setting off on this journey and we will continue the journey when we get back. But first of all, we’ve got ads before that. The ads support the show and they help us bring the show out into the world. Holidays are coming up, maybe you’ll hear one of these things, I want to see what that’s all about. Use the promo code, help the show. Be right back after this…
[00:22:39] [AD BREAK]
[00:26:03] CHRIS: [music transition] Thanks again to all of our advertisers. Now let’s get back to this interesting conversation.
[00:26:10] CALLER: We took all the classes and we did the thing, and off we went…
[00:26:17] CHRIS: Now, you’ve said you’ve fostered three kids so far…?
[00:26:22] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean, we’re considered newbies in the multifaceted, multidimensional foster parent world. But yeah. Three babies.
[00:26:34] CHRIS: And let me ask you, they’ve all been infants?
[00:26:38] CALLER: Yes. Yes. I mean, you know, youngish. Our first baby was four months old when she came to us. Second baby was a newborn – we got her directly from the NICU. And our third baby, I kinda explained his whole interesting dynamic. Yeah, babies.
[00:26:57] CHRIS: Now, let me ask. OK. Might be some sensitive questions, and especially if they apply to your own son. Feel free to just say, yeah, let’s keep that private. Because there’s certain things I wouldn’t talk about my son in public. So I get that.
[00:27:08] CALLER: Yeah, no, for sure.
[00:27:10] CHRIS: OK. And I’m sure, you know, there’s also… the foster care system is something you hear a lot about, but I’m very interested to hear about it from inside. So one thing that I’m a little surprised by, my understanding is that with foster care… And I want to be sensitive and I don’t want to disparage or stereotype in any way, but in general,
[00:27:33] CALLER: Don’t worry, don’t worry, it’s okay!
[00:27:33] CHRIS: Well, what you hear from the outside is generally that foster care places kids who have been removed from their living circumstances.
[00:27:40] CALLER: Yes. So something happened… so I mean, the primary way that infants come into foster care is if there is a drug test that’s administered at birth or the child and the child… yes.
[00:27:56] CHRIS: Yes, that makes about those. I was wondering how a baby that young can be removed that quickly. But I guess if there’s a preexisting problem along those lines, that makes a lot of sense.
[00:28:10] CALLER: Mhmm, mhmm.
[00:28:09] CHRIS: And then again, asking sensitively… When you adopt via foster care, are you working with the birth mother who then works with you on the traditional adoption? Or is it sometimes a situation where the foster care system says, “We’re sorry, but this situation isn’t improving, so this baby can’t return…” and after a certain amount of time, we open that up to adoption? How does that work? Cause my brother just adopted through regular means and it was, it was so beautiful to watch.
[00:28:41] CALLER: Oh, that’s awesome. Congratulations.
[00:28:43] CHRIS: Yeah, my nephew is so cool and so funny and so laid back. And, (laughs) I love my brother to do that. But he’s the first to tell you he’s not cool and laid back. He’s cool and a real goofy weirdo. And it’s so cool to see this kid… Anyway, I know that through that process, you know, there’s a lot of… the birth parents and the birth mother, in particular, are really hands-on involved. I’m wondering how that dynamic is in the foster care world?
[00:29:12] CALLER: So… for our current kiddo, his parents… they’re just not able to take care for him. They’re really lovely people. I mean, and just so… they have… I can’t say enough nice things about our kiddos, birth parents. They’re just incredible people like this. The weight of what’s happening to them is not lost on me. It’s hard. But they met us very early on, you know, because their visits at first and we liked them. They liked us and we liked them, and they were given an opportunity to try and fight to to get the kiddo back. I have a name I call him on social media, so I’m trying not to use the name I use for him on social media or his actual name.
[00:30:08] CHRIS: Right. And we can always bleep that if you slip.
[00:30:11] CALLER: Oh, sure. If I slip up. Yeah. So we’ll call him The Kiddo. So The Kiddo’s parents did have an opportunity to try and get him back and they did not try. They knew… their dad thought about it. You know, at first that was kind of his plan was he was going to fight to get him back. But it became apparent pretty quickly that he was not capable based on his life circumstances of pulling it together enough to care for The Kiddo. Mom has a lot of issues, but just such a wonderful human being – an actual heart of gold. And it is really beautiful because I see that in my soon-to-be-son. Like, I see her and him and him and her. And dad, too. So they had a chance and they didn’t pursue it. And actually there was a hearing eventually to terminate their parental rights. And mom stood up and said, “I don’t want this to go on anymore. You know, these are his moms and he needs to be with them. Can they adopt him today?” And the judge was like, “um, um, thank you. That’s not how it works exactly.” But she’s like, (yelling) “I want it done today!” So, we’re still working on it. But, yeah, no, so they’re supportive. Our other two kids… the first kiddo’s mom did everything she had to do – like she was on it. She passed every drug test. She took every clash – she never missed a visit. She just worked and worked and worked and fought and fought and fought. And it’s actually kind of an unusual story to have someone do it so well. I’m an attorney, I have clients who do not do as well, I have lots of clients who don’t do as well as she did. And… she did it. And they sent baby home. And she’s doing great. You know, she hasn’t gone back into foster care. She’s… God, she’s got to be almost three now. Oh, man, that’s crazy. She’s doing fantastic! It was like an actual success story. And that was our first kid we had. Our second baby… the parents are… they’re just… they’re young. And dad had a ton of kids who are all adopted out. He’s well-known… He’s a little notorious in our area… And mom, she’s already lost kids to foster care and they didn’t try. So they were bypassed for services. And the kid moved directly into a path of adoption.
[00:32:50] CHRIS: So you fostered yet that kid for a period of time and then… You weren’t ready for adoption at that point? or you hadn’t decided? or, you know.
[00:33:00] CALLER: No… So it’s a little complicated. Do you know ICWA is?
[00:33:04] CHRIS: ICWA… I can’t say I do.
[00:33:06] CALLER: Or also called I C W A, but that’s the Indian Child Welfare Act. So if a child is Native American in this country, there is a federal law that protects those children and ensures that they are placed with, for permanency – for the purpose of permanency, with a Native American family. So that was the situation.
[00:33:29] CHRIS: Ah. And that makes sense to maintain some sort of tradition.
[00:33:35] CALLER: No, it’s beautiful. It’s great.
[00:33:36] CHRIS: Yeah, that makes.
[00:33:37] CALLER: And that baby is officially adopted at this point and is placed with two siblings and is in a family that speaks the language. I’m not going to specify which tribe it is, but they speak the tribal language and is in a community that’s part of that. And again, another success story just. We’ve been so… I’m not a huge fan of the word “blessed”. But we have been so blessed like not everyone has a go-around like this. A lot of people have a lot of… I mean, it’s always hard to send a child out of your home to someone else’s home – even if they’re going back to a great circumstance or going to their adoptive home. That part’s very hard, and heartbreaking. But, we’ve been so lucky. These kids, it’s all just been little miracles…
[00:34:31] CHRIS: That’s incredible!
[00:34:32] CALLER: Such an amazing experience. It’s been crazy, man. Chris, I can’t explain to you. Like, I just… I’m going to get on a little soapbox. I know I’ve been talking too much, but like on my soapbox: Good people, If you’re out there, think about doing this. It’s so incredible. These kids are amazing. Yeah, there’s going to be challenges. Yeah. There’s going to be things about it that are weird. Sometimes the system is completely unfair and sometimes mistakes are made by people who are in power. But these kids, they need good people. So if you are a good person… If you’re an asshole or a child molester, please stay the fuck away from the foster care system. We’ve had enough of you. But if you’re a good person and you want to help children, this is a incredible way of doing it. The goal is reunification. The goal is to get these kids back into the home that they came from. Sometimes that’s not possible. And that’s where, you know, for our kid, that’s why we’re adopting him, is because it’s not possible for him to go home. But if you can help that happen and people are like, “Oh, well I get too attached…” Yeah. Yeah, you do, totally. You fall in love with these children. They are little amazing creatures. They’re just… They’re people. They’re little tiny, tiny people who need you. So that soapbox… Think about doing foster care. It’s amazing, especially if you are…. just think about doing it, people. It’s amazing.
[00:36:03] CHRIS: I have to say, hearing that… It’s very inspiring… Because you know, what it makes me think of… I’ll get on a soapbox for a second, too, if that’s okay.
[00:36:15] CALLER: Yes!
[00:36:18] CHRIS: Well, you know, there’s issues that people wind up really caring about. And for me, you know, through my work, mental health became something that was very important to me and also very associated with me. And when I started speaking up about it, one of the things I noticed was that, look, the last thing I’m going to do is… I don’t think that news is fake news. I don’t want to be misconstrued as that. I think that’s ludicrous. (indirect quote, slight mocking tone) “The press is the enemy of the people.” Absolutely not. I don’t believe that. I will say that news is very often a business and they need clicks, and that’s part of the game.
[00:36:55] CALLER: Sure.
[00:36:57] CHRIS: And a lot of times of mental health comes up… It drives me nuts because it’s like whenever there’s one of these mass shootings you see in the news quite often, (indirect quote) “Oh, that person was on Prozac. That person was on Zoloft.” And it’s like, oh, that’s a talking point to get clicks. And there’s people using that for their own agenda. All this stuff. I feel like there must be some similar frustrations because I’m realizing as you talk about this experience, I feel like the stories that you hear about foster care in the mainstream news are very often the sensationalized disasters… Like you hear, very often I feel like…
[00:37:31] CALLER: One hundred percent ture.
[00:37:33] CHRIS: Yeah. It must drive you nuts, because, you know… The classic one, is when you hear like, “oh, this family was…” Cause I believe, I don’t know if this is true everywhere, but some places at least you get like a stipend from the government. And you hear like, “These people adopted 17 kids to just clean up on the government stipends and then weren’t actually taking care of the kids, and everybody was living in squalor…” Those are the stories I’ve generally read, as you speak about it.
[00:37:57] CALLER: Yeah, well, I know. I know. I mean, it does drive me nuts, but it also… those stories are real. There are people who are in desperate situations who get into foster care for the wrong reason and hurt children. And that’s part of why I’m a foster parent, is because I want to be a good home. I want to be a place where a kid can just be a kid and be happy and healthy and develop healthy attachments… and not forming healthy attachments is one of the most devastating thing that can happen to a person’s psyche. And these kids, like, they need to be held. They need to see a smiling face every day. You know, that’s why the good people have to do it. That’s why the people who aren’t assholes and aren’t in it for the wrong reasons need to think about doing it. I think a lot of good people think that it will be too hard. And so they don’t do it. But… Yeah. So it’s complicated, and the system is not perfect. There are all kinds of things that can go wrong in foster care. We’re friends with a lot of other foster parents. There’s a little community where we live and, you know, we’ve seen things go terribly wrong. And I, you know, I do family law and criminal defense law, and I have also seen those cases where a foster parent, someone who is entrusted with the care and responsibility for a little person, just… did despicable things. So again… Good people do it! Good people do it! Like, we need you. I think… oh God… This is going to be embarrassing if I get this wrong, I think it’s 450,000 children in foster care across the United States.
[00:39:52] CHRIS: Wow.
[00:39:52] CALLER: It’s a lot… It’s a lot of kids. So. Yeah. I mean, yeah. No, I know that there’s definitely a reputation out there, but the good folk got to find their way to foster care.
[00:40:05] CHRIS: Well it’s really great to hear because… It makes you realize… In the same way that when you… When you read about… Like with the issue I brought up, you read about these, you know, the one that drove me the most nuts… It was like, and I hate to get… But that guy in Colorado, who dressed up as the Joker and shot people in the movie theatre… Everything became about his treatment and his medication, you know, and I remember going so nuts and going… So many people out here are gonna think that this stuff is bad. But I can promise you that one of the people, and I won’t say the most, but one of the people who is bleeding the most, mentally and emotionally, from this… was this guy shrink. I have to assume. Yeah, because he got in the trenches and he tried. And, I feel like, when a high profile, sensationalized story like that comes up, you can just feel, oh, there’s potentially hundreds of thousands of people who are reading this. Who have no idea that that’s an outlier and that there’s millions of people everyday who are helped by this process… In the same way, that when you read about when the ball gets dropped in foster care, I would have to imagine like… You know, you read about people who manipulate the system for cash or who, you know, fail the kids or the government agencies who don’t check in on stuff thoroughly and it leads to tragedy. But you have to imagine that there is someone far enough up the chain of that government agency who the buck stops with them and they realize that ultimately they were the beginning of the process falling apart. And I would have to imagine it kills them on the inside – if they’re a good hearted person and got into this for the right reasons. So. Point being, my eyes are being opened right now. Like, oh, I’ve read the disaster stories and they have had an effect and they have imprinted upon me my impression of the system. But like you said, 450,000 kids. And I know you were remembering off the top of your head, so there might be adjustment there. Either way, the large majority of those cases…
[00:42:17] CALLER: (unheard mumbling)
[00:42:17] CHRIS: What’s that? I
[00:42:19] CALLER: I said Jared can fact check.
[00:42:21] CHRIS: Yes, we can. We can fact check that, for sure. But, my point being. Right. This is a system that the large majority are good hearted people trying to help kids who are in distress. And I would imagine, kids who, very often, are trying to push through hard circumstances to find some sense of stability. And it’s very, very easy to forget that when a lot of what you wind up reading is the dark side, or the failings, of the system.
[00:42:53] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. Isn’t that human nature, though? We’re just, we’re drawn to that stuff. A moth to a flame. “Oh, life is so dark and depressing, we should all just give up.” But, you know, there is such… just like there’s beautiful stories in foster care. There’s beautiful stories of people overcoming mental illness. I think I know of a prime example. I don’t know if you can think of anyone whose name rhymes with Smish Smeshard.
[00:43:20] CHRIS: I wouldn’t say I’ve overcome mental illness… (laughs). I wouldn’t… Say that…
[00:43:24] CALLER: Well, you haven’t let it take over your life to the point where you’re not a functional human being. You’ve created a functional relationship. You have a career. You have a child. You… I mean, everyone struggles every day when you have mental illness. But… You… You’re fighting and you’re… I feel like that’s, in a way, thats a kind of overcoming.
[00:43:49] CHRIS: Yeah. I mean, I’ve certainly tried… Well, It’s funny. I don’t know. What an interesting thing to think about… Overcoming, kind of feels like you closed the chapter, but what I’d like to think I’ve done is live publicly in a way that shows… I don’t know that I’m going to beat this thing, but, just because I can’t beat it doesn’t mean it’s going to stop me. I don’t know if that’s overcoming.
[00:44:14] CALLER: Yeah…
[00:44:14] CHRIS: All this being said, I very much am thankful for your kind words. But, literally, directly before I came to this studio, I saw a shrink who asked me how I was doing, and I said, “I’m actually feeling a lot better lately…” She said, “Really? Because you look visibly sad.” And I was like, “Whoa, because I feel a lot better. So if I’m looking sad, that tells you where the starting point has been lately… Which is, not to get too personal, another very hard thing to reconcile. How can I be at this phase of life where I am so joyous and so happy and I have this son who every day fills me with a sense of wonder and positivity. And yet, simultaneous to that, a doctor tells me I look visibly sad. Those things can co-exist and that’s a new thing that I’m figuring out.
[00:45:06] CHRIS: [music transition] Sorry about that everybody. Went off on a tangent there… Thanks to call for bearing with me. Listen, when we get back and focus back up. We’re going to hear more about what it’s like to be part of this world from the callers perspective, and not just mine. In the meantime, advertisements. Check them out. We’ll be right back.
[00:45:30] [AD BREAK]
[00:47:00] CHRIS: [music transition] Thanks, again, to all of our sponsors. Now, let’s finish off this conversation.
[00:47:06] CHRIS: Simultaneous to that, a doctor tells me I look visibly sad. Those things can co-exist and that’s a new thing that I’m figuring out.
[00:47:17] CALLER: You know, and I can really relate to what you’re saying. Like, I feel it in my core. So, when my wife came back from Spain, It kind of spun me out a little bit, to watch her be so happy and healthy. And, you know, so I was kind of reflecting off of her and going like “Oh God. I’m chunky now.” Like, I work too much and I don’t move at all. And I just, you know, all these things that I thought I was happy about, I suddenly realized like, oh, God, like “I’m actually not doing as well as I thought I was.” But then I saw this phrase I was looking for… Oh, it’s a little embarrassing. But I was looking for a book to read that would help me with this process. And I found this book called “First, We Make the Beast Beautiful”. And to be completely honest, all I’ve really taken from the book so far is the title. Like, I started reading the book and it’s good, but the title, I think about that every day now. First, we make the beast beautiful. Because there’s something in most of us, I think, at this point in this messy world, I think there’s something in all of us that is… Monstrous. And foreign, and it feels like it’s taking over and can be hurting us. But it’s part of us, right. It is us in a way. And so the idea of making that beast beautiful – again, a little embarrassing. But what I picture, and I felt a lot lately, like there is a lion on my chest. Like, inside me, there’s just this like roaring, angry, feral beast. And when I think about making the beast beautiful, I just kind of imagine it physically shrinking down and becoming like a little purring cat. And something about that phrase has just been so comforting to me. So, I don’t know if that helps you at all, but I hope that you can, you know, in this time where there are some struggles. And, you know, having a seven month old, even though it’s beautiful, is challenging. And I know life is complicated, but I hope that making the beast beautiful is something that I hope it helps you a little bit like how it helped me.
[00:49:28] CHRIS: Well, it really does. It really does. And like I said, I feel like my whole life, in this particular sphere, has been this constant, over and over again, realization of…
Yeah it’s OK, it’s OK to feel this way… And you’ll get dragged back into it, and you’ll find your way out of it, and your life’s circumstances will change. And then you’ll feel like, oh, am I an ingrate for having things so easy and still feeling this way? Nope. It’s OK. You’re allowed to feel it. Everybody’s feeling it. There’s people feeling, all the time. Anyway. Anyway… How does a… Let me ask you this about the foster care system. Because, it’s also interesting, you said you work in family law. So you, kind of, see it from multiple sides. Having participated in it…
[00:50:20] CALLER: I know. Isn’t it crazy?
[00:50:20] CHRIS: Yeah. You have such a vast amount of perspective. How does… Becoming a father… Let me think about how to phrase this… Okay. My brother. Very, very strenuous process to get all the paperwork together. Real vetting process. And then after all of the kind of infrastructure is in place, I think he was on a waiting list of over two years… What’s the vetting process of foster care? And again, not to immediately condemn the sensationalized stories and then go back to them… But the concern with them is, is the foster care system one where there’s as much oversight as they should be? Because that’s what the sensationalized stories indicate, is that there’s not. So what’s the process like of becoming someone who’s allowed to participate in this?
[00:51:14] CALLER: So, it’s kind of a complicated process, but it’s arduous. But you can get it done. So first you take an intro class to just get the basics. Then you have, I think… I mean, and I do believe that varies from state to state. I’m in a big state and in this big state the rules are, I think, are pretty stringent. So there’s… I think it’s twenty five hours of basic training and then there’s another 20 hours (don’t quote me on the numbers) of, you know, specialized for the age group you want to do. So if you want to do infants versus older kids. And then you have background checks, of course. And that’s a, you know, FBI full background check. You can’t… There’s all kinds of bars. So if you have convictions for domestic felony, domestic violence, any kind of sexual assault, any kind of anything like that, even recent felonies, I think can be a bar. And then you have to… Oh my God, it’s been a couple of years… So then you have a home inspection. So they come to your house. They open your cupboards, you lock up all your medicines with a lock, you have to lock up your alcohol. So our first inspection, they came in and they’re like, “Oh, this is great. Look at your cute crib you’ve got. Oh, wonderful. What a nice baby room. Good job. Good job.” And then they went to test the water temperature because that’s an important thing if you have a baby. And I think the maximum that can be is one hundred and twenty degrees. And ours was like two hundred and ten degrees. They were like, “This is a problem. You need to fix this.” And we were like, “Our bad. We will not burn any babies. I promise.” So then we had to have another inspection when they came back to check the water the different day. And then they do, I think it’s called a home study, that is the last part, which is a very intensive conversation that you have. You sit down with a social worker for hours and you go over everything that happened to you in your life. Like what were your parents like? What were your siblings like? What was their parenting style like? What do you know about parenting? Have you ever experienced domestic violence? Have you ever perpetuated domestic violence? Have you ever taken medication? Have you ever been in therapy? If you were in therapy, how did it help you? Are you still in therapy? If you have medications, you need to get a doctor saying like “Good job. You’re doing great”. And all the way through up to like what your parenting skills are, like, what kind of things… How you want to raise the children in your home. What your religious background is. Your whole philosophy around the foster care system and parenting. I mean, hours long. And so they did. They met with me and then they met with my wife and then they met with both of us together. And then they put together, like, a book. It’s like 50 pages. So in my house right now, there is, somewhere in a folder, there is a short book that describes every horrible thing and wonderful thing that has happened to me in my life. And same with my wife and it’s all compressed into this book. Great blackmail.
[00:54:37] CHRIS: Woah, that’s a weird book.
[00:54:37] CALLER: Yeah, it is. It is. I opened it once, you know, about a year into foster care. And I started reading and I was like, “Oh, no, nevermind. Let’s put that back. We don’t need to look at that.”
[00:54:49] CHRIS: What were you saying about blackmail? I cut you off.
[00:54:52] CALLER: Oh, I’m saying it would be good blackmail material, if someone had it.
[00:54:56] CHRIS: Here’s an awkward question, if I can. If I may.
[00:54:59] CALLER: Get it. Please do.
[00:55:00] CHRIS: Something I wonder if they check into, that’s interesting to me because it’s the type of thing that might feel unnecessary, but also might feel problematic. Do they check into your financial standing?
[00:55:17] CALLER: They do. They do. Yeah, they… So, they want to know that you aren’t going to be dependent on the children in order to care for them. So they want a pay stub, and kind of like an “income and expense declaration.” Like, “this is how much money is going in. This is how much money is going out.” It wasn’t, like, super in depth. They didn’t look at bank statements or anything like that. But they did verify my income.
[00:55:42] CHRIS: That’s one of those ones that I, I was sitting there in my head going; “Well, of course, they have to make sure you’re financially stable.” But also, is this a system, that, if you are, you know, just to be frank, like… if you’re poor, do you get to participate? You know, which is kind of a problem.
[00:56:02] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. You know, I mean, I… There’s a whole range of socio-economic status’ represented in foster care. And, you know, I think they just don’t want you depending on that income. I think if you meet the base, if you can meet your basic needs, which I know in these days is not always that easy. But if you can meet your basic needs and I think you can safely say that, you know, that that won’t be the bar to being a foster parent.
[00:56:32] CHRIS: So, If you can put a roof over your head and you can put food on a kid’s plate and you can provide a loving home. They’re going to be happy to have you, at the end of the day.
[00:56:43] CALLER: Yeah. As long as you meet all the other various requirements. Then, yes. Yes.
[00:56:50] CHRIS: Now, you often hear that foster kids… And who knows? This could very much be another stereotype that’s worth calling out… You very often hear that foster kids might be prone to behavioral issues. Now, I know you’ve adopted babies, or fostered babies – which I would imagine their personalities are still developing. So less of an issue. But do you find that to be a true thing based on your experience being around this system and other people? and also in family law?
[00:57:18] CALLER: Oh, very interesting. So I would say for our babies…. So there’s all kinds of issues. I mean, I’m going to speak more generally, not so much about our specific kids. But, you know, there are things that happen to the human brain when it’s exposed in utero to very serious drugs. And that can certainly cause all kinds of problems. And, you know, the science is still… we don’t really know all of the long term consequences of in utero drug use when drug babies are drug exposed. But it certainly has seemed to be that there are… So, you know, meth. There’s math, a very popular drug. Lots of babies born meth exposed. This is terrible… Can I tell you a little foster care joke? It’s a very dark.
[00:58:11] CHRIS: (laughing) I mean, if there’s anybody who likes a dark joke, it’s this guy.
[00:58:18] CALLER: So… In my experience and in the experience of the people I know… meth makes babies smart. And so we joke…
[00:58:28] CHRIS: Smart?!
[00:58:28] CALLER: Yes, but I don’t I don’t know. I’m not… I’m an attorney, not a scientist. But, we joke that that should be on the foster care recruitment poster: “Don’t worry, meth makes baby smart.” But, yeah, in our experience, you know, there’s a lot of babies who are exposed to meth that are, you know, oddly precocious and wonderful. And just, you know, very exciting, interesting little human beings. But also, the other thing that happens, quite frequently, is a lot of meth exposed babies develop kind of like ADD/ADHD like symptoms. It’s not ADD, it’s not ADHD, but it’s it seems to be a consequence of being exposed to drugs in utero. So that’s something that, you know, can, of course, create behavioral problems. Then, of course, there’s the other side of things, which is the attachment disorders. So even babies who are taken from their birth parents with… you know, never even held by their birth parents, they can have attachment issues. It does something really, you know, fundamental to a baby’s brain and to a child’s brain, no matter when the child is separated from their parents – to lose an attachment. So, attachment disorders are quite common and those can be, I mean, at the extreme, there’s something called reactive attachment disorder. And that can be absolutely devastating that you might have heard about that from the stories about the Russian children who lived in the orphanages and then were adopted by American families and then chase their parents around with their adopted…
[01:00:07] CHRIS: Right. This American Life did an amazing episode about that exact situation.
[01:00:13] CALLER: Yeah, I’ve heard… I’m also a big fan. Yeah. So that can happen too. Reactive attachment disorder. And then, of course, there’s a whole spectrum. So it can be minor attachment issues all the way up to, you know, this rejection of the new parent in the form of reactive attachment disorder. And then some kids are perfectly fine! Some kids come out of it unscathed. They’re either just genetically lucky, just circumstantially lucky. You know, there is some evidence that, again, I’m not a scientist, but there does seem to be some anecdotal evidence that having a stable family life after the separation, after the trauma, (whether it’s the trauma of drug exposure or physical abuse or whatever abuse they suffered), that if they go into a stable home and they’re loved and they’re cared for and they receive, you know, their needs are consistently met. Some kids are totally and completely fine. It just depends. It just depends.
[01:01:25] CHRIS: Wow. Eye opening. We only have about…
[01:01:30] CALLER: (laughs)
[01:01:31] CHRIS: …six minutes left.
[01:01:33] CALLER: Oh, wow. Wow. Really?
[01:01:35] CHRIS: I wonder… How do you feel about the fact… I mean, people might hear this and there might be someone out there who’s going, “You know, I never. I’ve always wanted to adopt and I never thought about it that way, maybe I’ll become a foster parent.” I can see… I bet that might happen. I bet someone might get a… Someone maybe who is on the edge of it and actually dives in because of this.
[01:01:58] CALLER: I hope so. I really do. I mean, it is hard. I’m not going to lie. You do cry. Like you do see things you should not see. And you see children who have been affected by things that they should not have been affected by. I’m not going say which one of our children, but one of our children had drug withdrawal at birth. And that was so hard to watch. You know, a baby that’s going on methadone. You know, that is unbelievably hard to watch and, you know, can’t straighten your body out for weeks. That’s… hard. That’s really hard. But. Then. There are these just little people. They’re just wonderful, magical, little people who just… I mean, think of your kid, you know, if, God forbid, everything went to hell in a handbasket and you needed someone out there to care for your children. Oh, there’s been a disaster. Everyone you know, and love is gone. They can’t take care of your son. But don’t you want there to be people out there who are good and what you just want to help? And I do think that there are a ton of people who have everything it takes to be a foster parent who just are too scared or… You know, they just…
I think it’s probably just mostly fear. They’re just too scared to get involved, and to try it. But I mean, you don’t have to do it forever. You know, my wife and I just actually decided recently that I think we’re gonna call it after we adopt our son. We’re going to close our license, at least for a while. But you know how to do it forever. You could help a few kids and make a difference in a few kids lives and then, you know, go on with your life. If that’s what you calling ends up being. That’s totally legit. Totally fine. But just if you have the power and the ability to do so, I hope that people will do it. I mean, just to go… If I use my last three minutes on talking about how amazing my soon-to-be-son is, like I will have served the people well. But my son is… My soon-to-be-son is the most incredible, funny, smart. Oh, he’s so smart. He’s wicked. But he’s so smart. He is adorable. He’s got… we’re not allowed to cut his hair. One of the rules.
[01:04:27] CHRIS: Really?
[01:04:29] CALLER: He’s got this like little baby… Yeah. What was going on?
[01:04:30] CHRIS: Whats…?
[01:04:31] CALLER: Because hair’s tied into a lot of little culture – uh, little culture. That sounds wrong. It’s tied into a lot of cultures like, you know, in Judaism, they don’t cut hair until, you know, the more strict sects don’t cut hair until I think three. Native Americans hair is very important. So there’s a rule, I don’t know if this is in every state, but where you’re not allowed to cut the hair without permission from either the birth parents or the higher ups. So our kid has long… we have the baby curly mullet. It’s really quite adorable. And, you know, he’s almost 18 months. He’s hit every developmental milestone. And he’s so musical, like we got him like one of those little baby ukuleles and helps you sit there and strum it. Somehow… He has a little baby piano. He somehow knows… I remember being a kid and like sticking out my little pointer fingers on both hands, like, “ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.” No, my kid is like spreading his fingers out. Keeps pressing keys with little different fingers… like magic! Like, how does he know how to do that? You know, He’s just a magical, perfect, wonderful, sweet, gentle, tiny, tiny human. He’s very small. He’s a little bit ridiculously small… But he is perfect! And there are so many of those kids out there. So many. So many. So, yes, soapbox. Foster care is a wild journey. But yeah,
[01:06:03] CHRIS: That is so beautiful. And I hate to follow it up with sort of a grim question, but just to think of the reality of it… What happens to kids who can’t find placement? Are they living in… Are orphanages still a thing or…?
[01:06:21] CALLER: So there’s group homes. There’s group homes. So… which I mean, I think that’s probably mostly just a fancy term for orphanage. A modern term for it and some group homes are really great, but… it’s not great. I think we should be trying to get those kids into family situations, wherever possible. You know, some kids have a lot of mental health issues or developmental issues that make that impossible. And that is really… God it’s awful. But… yes. Again, another reason for foster parents! We can close some of those group homes down and get more kids into loving families.
[01:07:01] CHRIS: Well, we got less than a minute left. And I just want to say, God forbid I ever wind up in a circumstance where I can’t care for my boy. And I mean, I will pray, heart and soul, it never happens because he is the coolest, funniest kid. But I will say, that should that day come, I hope that he is raised by a same sex couple where one of the partners has recently discovered their spirituality through walking 500 miles through Europe. There’s worse ways my kid… Worse circumstances my kid could wind up in, for sure.
[01:07:37] CALLER: (laughing) Well, thank you. And, you know, I really wish you all the best of luck. You know, it’s so nice to be able to talk to you because, you know, I listen to your podcast every week. I didn’t like the wrestling one… God bless you, but oh my God. Wrestling. Really? That’s your thing. It’s OK. I forgive you.
[01:07:54] CHRIS: (laughing) Your son is going to love wrestling! Your son’s going to grow-up and he’s going to love wrestling! You just cursed yourself. Your son’s going to love wrestling. Hacksaw Jim Duggan will be his ultimate role model in life.
[01:08:07] CALLER: I didn’t listen to the whole episode, so I don’t know who that is, but, yes, I’m sure that’s true now. I’ve cursed myself. But you do something incredible.
[01:08:14] CHRIS: (self-deprecatingly) Oh.
[01:08:17] CALLER: Yes, you do. No, you do. No. I hope you take a moment and just like give yourself some props. Because even when you’re personally struggling, the things that you’re doing for the people – and you don’t owe it to anyone! Like, you don’t have to keep doing this, if you don’t want to. If it becomes too hard at some point, I hope that you take the time to take care of yourself. Because you deserve that. But you are a beautiful human being, who’s doing something beautiful, and bringing something beautiful to the world. And I just, you know, thank you. I really… You’ve helped me over the last few years. Listening to your podcast, it’s been, just a comfort, you know, to hear gentle conversations between wonderful people of all the broad spectrum of humanity. It’s been so fantastic, so I’m grateful for you.
[01:09:01] CHRIS: Very flattering and very nice. We hit an hour and then you started complimenting me, so I have not cut it off. I thank you for that. But honestly, at the end of the day, I talk to people on the phone and… You help kids. So you’re the one doing something really beautiful. And I thank you for it and for all the insight and I wish you well and congrats on the adoption.
[01:09:23] CALLER: Thank you so much, Chris, It was really lovely chatting with you.
[01:09:23] [Bell rings] [Music interlude]
[01:09:36] CHRIS: Caller, I just want to reiterate what I said at the end of the call there. Thank you. Thanks for getting in there. Thanks for helping kids. Thanks for trying your hardest. Congrats on your adoption. Thanks for letting us all know what this system’s really like. Because I legitimately do think it’s going to… It changed my perspective on it. And I bet it’ll happen with some other people, too. Thank you so much. Thank you to Jared O’Connell in the booth. For the very last time, thank you, Harry Nelson. Well, you… This guy’s all checked out, he’s out there texting. (grumpy mumbling) He’s three quarters of the way out the door anyway. Thank you, Shell Shag for the intro music, you guys are the best! Can’t wait to see play at the Beautiful Anonymous Convention in May. Most of all, thank you guys for listening and supporting the show. If you really want to support go to Apple Podcast, rate, review, subscribe, it helps so much when you do. We’ll see you next time.
[01:10:30] THEME SONG: Kiss me. Face-to-face.
[01:10:41] CHRIS: Next time on Beautiful Anonymous. The people in the trenches. Caring for our kids. Teaching the next generation, the public school teachers. Where are they at these days?
[01:10:55] MUSIC: (tape recorder sounds)
[01:10:54] CHRIS: It affects your personal life, like you said, your friends. You don’t get to interact with them… Your dating life, I’m sure. And all that. And they basically pay you a salary that’s like a high five and an Applebee’s gift certificate. How do you feel about this?
[01:11:10] CALLER: And then they’re like everybody gets excited when you can wear jeans on Friday. “Oh, we get to wear jeans tomorrow!” Oh, my God. I will say also. You don’t even know until you experience it. You don’t even know.
[01:11:34] CHRIS: That’s next time on Beautiful Anonymous.
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