Confession No. 125 – For the love of a child

‘Mom, I’m glad I’m not adopted,’ the little boy said out of the blue.

‘Really,’ she responded. ‘Why do you say that?’

‘Because, if I was adopted you wouldn’t love me as much.’

It had been more than five years since the boy made the transition into his new family. He was about a year old when Child Protective Services placed him with his foster family.

He doesn’t remember the days of crawling around a small government-subsidized apartment as his biological mother and her guests — many of whom she didn’t know — lay sleeping on floors and couches. Though it was one of his earliest sensory experiences, he can’t identify marijuana smoke. Nor has he imagined that drinking straws are also used to inhale the poisonous vapors of scorched methamphetamine.

And he doesn’t recall the hours in court, where attorneys and social workers made their cases on his behalf.

‘Well, you know we love you more than anything,’ the mom said.

‘I know,’ the little boy responded, ‘because I’m not adopted.’

His young memory is instead crowded with Disney characters and Sunday dinners; a cruise ship that he refers to as the boat; a stuffed duck that was his Linus blanket; and pizza bites. Enough pizza bites to float a cruise ship.

The boy’s parents never considered having another child. In fact, they were done with diapers, well baby doctor visits and school supply lists that included sleeping mats. All of their high-chairs and strollers had been given away or sold at a garage sale. They were ready for vacations and some weekends alone.

But they saw an injustice.

He deserved better than to be left alone, or to witness his mother trade favors for drugs. Every child does. This boy, however, was one of the fortunate ones. For certain, his biological mother loved him. But her stronger bond was with her lifestyle. And he’d become a novelty.

‘You know, many people who put their children up for adoption love them very much,’ the mom explained. ‘And the people who adopt them really want them in their family.’

‘I’m just glad I’m not adopted,’ he responded. ‘And I’m glad you and dad love me more than an adopted son.’

In time, the boy will begin asking questions. His parents – Catherine and I – will offer him answers. We will be forthcoming and matter-of-fact. That will include letting him know that life happens and that he is our grandson, but really our son.

We will also tell him that we love him with all of our hearts. Forever. And I suspect that he’ll believe us.

Want to receive notifications of my Confessions in your email? Just click here. I’d also love for you to join me on Facebook (click the ‘like’ button), Pinterest and Google+. — Special thanks to Megan E. Hawkins at The Underground Writer  for editing this piece.

I know it’s difficult for many people to believe right now, but spring is just around the corner. Why not fool yourself for at least one meal and eat as if the azaleas are in full bloom?

I’ve always been irritated at the widespread loose use of the word aioli. I know, this topic is better suited for my weekly Food Snob Chronicles, but I want to let you know that — albeit close — the ‘aioli’ in the below recipe is still not the real deal. (Aioli contains three ingredients: egg yolk, garlic and olive oil.)  Still, this version is delicious. I was inspired by about a dozen different sources on this one, but Rick Bayless was my first go-to source in my search for measurements and flavor combos. Enjoy and no worries … You’ll be grilling your lobster tail in no time.

Lobster w/ Chile Lime Aioli

Eat like it's summer time. Lobster w/ Chile Lime Aioli.

Eat like it’s summer time. Lobster w/ Chile Lime Aioli.

4 – Lobster tails (about 5-7 oz. each)

2 TB – Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 – Egg yolk
Juice and rind from 1 small Lime
1/2 – Canned Chipotle en Adobo, seeded & finely chopped
1/4 cup – Mayonnaise
3 TB – Extra virgin olive oil

Prepare aioli
Combine all ingredients and process in blender until combined. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

Prepare lobster tails
Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut the top of each tail lengthwise until almost reaching the tail. Now, work your thumb or first two fingers between the bottom of the shell and the meat. Work your fingers toward the tail until all meat is separated from the bottom. Turn tail back over and gently pull out meat, leaving it attached at the tail. Remove vein, if necessary, then rinse well, making sure to wash away any bits of shell. Place meat atop the split shell.

Adjust oven shelf so that it sits about 8-10 inches from broiler element. Preheat the broiler (to high).

Brush lobster meat lightly with olive oil and place in oven for 5 minutes. Remove tails from oven. Lower oven temperature to 450F. Spoon aioli over lobster tails, dividing it evenly. Place tails back in oven and allow to cook for another 3-5 minutes, until aioli is nicely browned.




  1. “…that is he is our grandson, but really our son.” Those few words are so powerful, that any comment I leave seems inadequate. Thank you for this essay.

  2. What a beautiful story, especially when you tell us that he is your grandson, but really our son…. My in-laws did this for one of their grandchildren as well. The love they showed their grandson/son was wonderful and so giving. Thank you for sharing this with us. Again, a beautiful story and three beautiful loves.

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you for your kind words Jill. If you feel like this little essay might help someone, please pass it along. That includes people (like my former self) who judge the whole grandparent/parent thing.

  3. We, too, have a much younger son – the son of our oldest son, dead when the baby was seven months old. And though he can remember (at age 3!) when we went to the judge and finalized his adoption, still the only home he has known has been with my husband and me (we have been his guardian since he was two days old). The heartbreak of losing my oldest son; the joy of our youngest. I never thought I would spend my entire adult life raising children, but am so very thankful to have this magnificent boy in my life. Blessings to you and to your wife, and much love to your son.

    • adamjholland says:

      Blessings to you and yours too, Deanne. The thought of losing one of our children is … well, it’s unthinkable. That y’all maintained the strength to start all over (raising a child) is amazing.

  4. Tonight while I was driving home from work, I was thinking about dinner… struggling because I was so tired and couldn’t think a thing to fix that was interesting and quick. I quickly thought that maybe I can sneak by the house, look at the recipes from your blog and find inspiration there. That led me to think of this blog post. I just wanted to say that I feel badly for you two, that your daughter has made choices that have led to this. While you have your grandson/son with you and can do your best to mold his life in a far more positive way, it has to be hard to know that if all things were right, he would have the mom that bore him into this world.
    So I guess all I really wanted to say was that I am thinking and praying for the two/three/four of you that maybe, in time, this can be really wonderfully resolved with good things for all involved.

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you, Jill. I’ve had that thought many times — that it’s not supposed to be this way. Still, I’m glad (for him) that it is. It is our prayer that his mother find some peace within herself and start down the long road to sobriety. Perhaps. Some day.

  5. So beautifully written and you and your wife are beautiful people for offering so much to this boy. People like you can make a difference in other’s lives, one child at a time. Thanks for writing this inspiring post.

    • adamjholland says:

      We are only offering him what every child deserves. Still, thank you for your very kind words. I sincerely hope we are making a difference, because footprints are all we can leave on this earth.

  6. Beautiful story. Your words that are the most poignant are these, “she loved her son but her stronger bond was with her lifestyle”. I’m so glad you could see that and embrace it too. Your son will be forever grateful for the gift you and your wife gave him. I suspect your daughter already does.

    • adamjholland says:

      I’m not so sure that our daughter is grateful — yet. Living a life that is anything but sober can have that effect on a person. Thank you for reading and for your kind words.

  7. What a tender story, Adam. As a CASA volunteer I have been surrounded by cases like this. It is so much easier when there is family involved that can love and care for the child. I am sure you did like many of us would in this tough situation-but I also know that many couldn’t or wouldn’t. You are a blessing. And by saving one life you have saved 100 more.

  8. Nice! What a beautiful post. How wonderful that your grandson has been given your home and your family life……and that lobster! 🙂 Looks great Adam.

  9. Beautiful story and hope you guys are having a great time!

  10. Amidst all the chaos, conflict and moral corruption of our modern society, stories like yours emerge that forbid me to give up on the goodness of people. God bless you and your wife Adam. I pray for peace and grace for your daughter.

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you, Jackie. I’d bet that most people would do the same thing. (And many have.) Again, thank you. 🙂

  11. In the two years we’ve been friends, and I’ve read your blog, and despite that I knew the “rest of the story” from word one, this was the first time you have made me cry. Well done, my friend…well done.

  12. Hello Adam, this is Mr. Mom Chef – Christiane had to work this morning. I got on the computer and started one of those click this link, that led to this link, which led to that link and here I landed. I don’t even know what to “say” here. You and your wife are amazing people. I’m sorry this was even a situation you had to navigate. On a much lighter note your comment above about him asking questions one day brought back a memory with Sophie. The two of us were in the car alone and she started asking adoption questions. I froze in near terror and began silently praying to God “please PLEASE not while I’m alone.” I was saved by some picture on a telephone pole. So glad that day for very short attention spans.

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Doug. We’ve been applauded many times for our path, but the truth is most people would do the same thing. I’m glad you ended up here. Nice to meet you.

  13. Susan V says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart wrenching/ warming story. It is wonderful that you & your wife are raising your “youngest” son. You are both very special. The story you have told is especially poignant because this Sunday is Father’s Day. It takes more to be a “Father” than just being a sperm donor.
    God Bless you & your lovely wife. My thoughts & prayers are with the three of you as well as your daughter. I pray she finds the path to sobriety and comes back to you safe and sound.
    :::: Gentle hugs :::::::


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