Traveler’s Tales: “Divorced with two children”
A Guest Post by Jeanne
When my sons were small, I used to tell people I was divorced with two children. Full stop. End of story.
Of course, people who knew us wondered how I got one Asian child and one pale-skinned red head with only one husband. When I mentioned that Older Son was adopted, that usually satisfied their curiosity.
But then if I happened to mention my years in Japan, and the fact that my ex-husband was Japanese, the cat was usually well out of the bag, and many people would ask me directly at this point … and I didn’t blame them.
Our family story is complicated, but perhaps not much more than most: I married a Japanese man when I was studying in Hawaii (an M.A. in Japanese language from the U of Hawaii). After a few years in Berkeley to get a second master’s in journalism, my husband and I went to Japan, where we adopted the boy I call Older Son. He is now 26 and well on his way to success in all aspects of his life. (Note my maternal pride.)
Fast forward five years, to a divorce (my idea) and my return to the states with Older Son in tow. We settled in Chico, CA, for a year, where I taught journalism and public speaking and Older Son attended a daycare where–for most of his time there–he was the only child who wasn’t white. There were scarcely any kids who weren’t BLOND. I knew this wasn’t going to work for us long-term.
During this time, I met the tall, blond research scientist who was to become the father of Younger Son. This pregnancy was an accident, but I call it a “happy accident”–I had never been pregnant before and I welcomed the pregnancy and sailed through it happily despite my situation as a (by then) unemployed single mother living on my savings from the Tokyo years.
We returned to Seattle, close to my birthplace of Tacoma and the town where I grew up, Hoquiam, WA. And I raised my sons alone. No, it wasn’t easy. But I was an older mother (30 when I adopted Older Son, 35 when I gave birth to Younger Son), and I would do it again.
Next time I’ll elaborate on my life as a single working mother, especially after my diagnosis with breast cancer when my sons were 13 and 8.
In the meantime, here’s my blog: http://assertivecancerpatient.com/