Cassandra and the bird seed

When Cassandra came to live with us she was 21 months old. Boys and Girls Aid told us they couldn’t find an interracial daughter in the Portland metro area and would have to look on the east coast. My first wife and I had three kids and wanted a fourth child. Because of Interracial dialogues in our church, we wanted her to be interracial.

When she came to our house she was so beautiful. After dealing with twin boys and their diapers we were happy to have a girl out of diapers. She was located in a forgotten foster home along with another little girl. She had been there all her life. We named her Cassandra Louise in the hope that we could call her Casey Lou. Well the Casey part took. We called her Casey.

Among her habits new to us was an interest in doing house work. If we (my wife) were folding clothes, Casey would pick them up and put them away. If we had finished dinner, Casey would help clear the table. If the dishes were done she would put them away.

It wasn’t that we didn’t want her to do these things. We were pleased she had these habits that our other children didn’t have. Or even that I didn’t have. We were concerned that she felt obligated to somehow pay for her board or that she had accrued these habits under duress in her previous home. Or we just wanted her to want to play and not worry about cleaning or house work. We did nothing to discourage her or make her feel she was doing something wrong. We thought she was a little OCD about it.

The success of this adoption was under some criticism. Should an interracial child be raised in a white home? B&G had asked if we were ready for head turning and attention when we walked into a restaurant for example. We said since we had twins that already happened. They asked what we would do if people thought my wife was having an affair since we had one interracial child and three white children. We rebuffed this concern as unimportant.

Ebony magazine interview us for an article on white parents adopting black children. We belonged to a group of other white parents adopting other black children. We were ready for anything.

Except the obsession with house cleaning. We were not ready for that. We had no idea how or if we should do something about it. It was an anomaly and we just watched it take place.

Until we got the frogs. The frogs were beanbag frogs, long ones, anatomically correct frogs. Anatomically correct for people that is. The female had boobs and a hair patch between her hind legs. The male had a soft cloth penis and balls. The special parts were not usually obvious because as they sat on the shelf their private parts were obscured.

Casey love them and carried one or the other around the house with her. Until one of them sprang a leak. These bean bags were filled with birdseed. Casey’s frog leaked birdseed all over the living room carpet (carpet squares actually that we had taped together to make a carpet.) And so Casey’s need to clean kicked in. She went around the living room picking up birdseed piece by piece. As she went, and bent, and picked up, her frog was still leaking and dropping more birdseed behind her. Picking up the birdseed was never going to end.

I’m not sure how this ended, whether we put the frogs away and got out the vacuum, or Casey put the frogs up and ignored the birdseed on the floor, or what…But I do recall that her housecleaning was over.

Casey told my second wife that she had brown eyes. Before this only she and the miniature dachshund Cleo had brown eyes. Life was changing for her.


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