Friday, June 30, 2006


Tomorrow is my anniversary.
Not my wedding anniversary, nor my work anniversary, or my " 'Star Trek - The Next Generation' premiered 20 years ago" anniversary. (that comes in September). Nope, its even more important than that.
I was adopted 40 years ago, on July 1, 1966.
I have always known that I was adopted. It was never a secret. I have never "not known" that I was adopted. My parents always explained that my birth parents were unable to take care of me and they wanted me to be adopted and raised by parents who could love me.
And I was.
My sister and brother were adopted, too. Barbara was adopted at 8 months old and Mark when he was only two months old. There is not a shared drop of blood between us yet here we are.
Except, I have to tell you that the word around our house was "chosen", not adopted. My parents chose me, which sounds much more special than "adopted". Or, maybe not. It could just be that my parents instilled the word "chosen" with so much love that I have always counted it as meaning more to me than just saying adopted. Either way, its a unique feeling.
My parents even had little songs for us that they sang to reinforce this feeling of "special" and "chosen". And while it was probably some lesson taught to them by the social worker involved with our family ("The Special Lady" who came to visit once in awhile) it still did the trick. I can still remember my parents singing this to me long before I even started kindergarten. It went like this:
Andy Panda. Andy Panda,
You're a chosen little boy.
How we love our Andy Panda
He's a special little boy.
I'm sure this loses something in the written translation but there it is. I got verklempt just typing it.
Now where was I? Oh, right - adoption day.
My mother explained that after the adoption process was complete (a two + year process) my parents were asked to "select" their child. Apparantly there were ten babies, all chosen to match up with my parents heritage, who were "available for adoption" and my parents were asked to choose their first child from this group.
Now, I was a goofy looking child. I was cross-eyed and had "creative" hair that went wherever it wanted to.
I've seen the pictures. Believe me, it's true. Goofy goofy goofy looking child. How they choose me I figured that I would never know.
So one anniversary I finally asked my Mom, "If I was so silly looking then how come you choose me?" And my mother smiled and said, "We choose the baby that needed the most love."
According to Mom, it was a hot Friday morning and the beginning of the long 4th of July weekend. My parents and maternal grandparents drove into Boston, picked me up, walked across Boston Common with me in their arms (Mom and Nana fought about who would get to hold me) and they spent the next 4 days welcoming the new addition to the family.
On that day, my grandparents gave me a teddy bear that I took to immediately. That bear meant the world to me when I was a kid. "Teddy" put up with alot of abuse, too. His eyes are gone, so is his nose and he's been barfed on a few times but still "Teddy" soldiered on. "Teddy" is still in my sea chest at home, right on top of my "Baby Book".
So, anyway, our anniversay day was always acknowledged in our house (usually with our favorite dinner) but it was only on every 5th year that a really big deal was made of it. On the 5th year (and every 5 years afterwards) my parents would buy a rum cake from Montillio's and do it up in style. Yet, this was always an intimate affair - just my immediate family - but that was all that was required. It was a special day, to be shared only by those who had all been brought together because we were chosen to be there.
So tomorrow, 40 years later, I remember once again that July 1st is a special day.
It is the day that I was chosen.
And 40 years later that is still an amazing feeling.


Blogger Cynthia said...

And you're still goofy looking. :-)

I enjoyed reading this very much; very tender and moving. It's nice to see this side of you. Every time I caught a glimpse of it when we were younger, it ran for cover.

I'd pay good money to see a picture of you as a kid with that teddy. Any chance one of your siblings would take a bribe?

6:51 PM, June 30, 2006  
Blogger Summer Ryan Doyle said...

Lovely story, Andy. I'm thrilled that you were chosen by such an amazing family. :)

9:43 AM, July 11, 2006  

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