FORWARD: I felt the infant’s sharp teeth dig into my shoulder. Startled by the pain, my hands flew up and the little bundle I had been holding fell to the ground. I stared as the blanket wriggled and a rabbit peeked out and hopped away.
That was the odd, recurring dream I had my freshman year of college. Once I figured out what it meant I never had the dream again. I realized, through the dream, that I was telling myself to lead an unexpected life. (The idea of living in a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence had always made me feel trapped.) I had no idea what my future would be but I knew I wanted it to be an adventure.
A few years after college I married a man that proposed to me 127 times before I said “yes”. He actually asked me to marry him before we even had our first date. The proposals came in long, beautifully written letters that made me cry, in cartoons he drew that made me laugh and taped to the chest of an inflatable gorilla. Ron proposed in a fish store in Atlanta; during the sunset performance of the opera, La Boheme, in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and over a candlelit dinner he cooked at his house. His proposals were all as unique and creative as he is. Thank goodness he was persistent!
Over the next 25 years Ron and I worked together every day in the business we started together. We founded the school we wish we could have gone to, Miami Ad School. The school trains young people for careers in advertising and design. The single school we started with six students in Miami now has branches in 16 cities in ten countries. Our graduates have been very successful. If you’ve watched a Super Bowl since the mid 90s you’ve seen their commercials because a few spots, usually the funniest ones, are done by our graduates.
Ron and I traveled all over the US, Europe and Latin America. We met with the presidents of companies, spoke at big conferences and became friends with fascinating people. Somewhere in the middle of all that we realized our life together was so special we needed to share it with a child. Most people want to adopt a baby but we decided to adopt an older girl. Older children are not likely to be adopted and often face a bleak life. Becoming adoptive parents began the most remarkable chapter of our lives.
My adopted son, Andry, and I wrote most of these stories at a coffee shop on Saturday mornings. He titled the collection MY LIFE BEFORE: a Memoir of a Family Created Through Adoption.
Here is a little more of our story:
…more of our story coming soon.