Dead Things, Part 4.

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Author: Kara Adamo.

I thought it was over.

It had been years. I was sure we had moved past this. I was older…wiser.

I had written 3 Dead Things installments. I had done my part.

I even left…fled through the night and wound up landing 5,000 miles from home so I could recuperate. High up in the mountains, the Dead Things stories were but a memory…a faint shadow in the back of my mind.

So firm was my belief in these delusions that I managed to convince myself to float back down to my swamp and get on with life. I had a clear head. I could press forward with reckless abandon.

And then, just when I had brewed some tea and sunk myself down into my chair, I made a horrible, derailing mistake.

I went online.

Dearly Missed, Long-Lost Readers, it is my most unfortunate and regretful displeasure to present to you…

Dead Things, Part 4. 

When I was a toddler, my parents decided I was lonely.

I say it this way because I am fairly certain that all toddlers talk to themselves and that my parents were merely casting their desire for a second-born on to their unknowing daughter in a fervent attempt at rationalizing a possible replacement. Or maybe they just were in a phase where they liked babies.

Or they wanted a backup.

Either way, I ended up with a little sister I lovingly call Rickie.

Wonderful as this is, when Rickie was born some of the adults in my life realized how traumatic such an ordeal would be for a three year old. As such, I was given a gift. It was a stuffed lamb that I cleverly named Lamba.

Lamba was a boy—my male twin, to be exact—and he had his own voice in a weird accent nobody has ever heard before or since.

Lamba is the toy I clutched as I slept.

Rickie had a butterfly blanket.

I know many other children who had dolls or teddy bears that served very much the same purpose. They are inanimate best friends that comfort you as you slip off to that weird little dream land every night.

As adults, we generally lose our necessity for these objects. They become cherished knickknacks on our shelves or are hidden away in trunks and attics.
We learn to clutch our pillows—or perhaps a pet. Eventually, we find other adults with which to co-sleep. Cuddling becomes the adult version of clutching a teddy bear.
If you are an adult who still clutches their teddy bear, please don’t tell me. It is better that I never know. I like my delusions, remember?
But even if you are—for arguments sake—one of those strange grown people that still requires that little bit of comfort to ward off the boogie man…my assumption is that this toy or blanket or whatever has, in some corner or other, a tag bearing a name brand.
Or it is something that your auntie sewed you…or at least it is full of plush and polyester.
My assumption, dear friends—and forgive me if I am assuming without cause—is that your object of choice is not full of the rotting, decomposing organs of your former husband.
In Belgium, there lives a woman whose choice was exactly that. For a year.
We do not know her name, but we do know his. Marcel H. was 79 years old when he died of what is thought to have been an asthma attack. His wife, stricken with grief, chose not to say anything to anybody.
Instead, she cuddled this slowly mummifying corpse until her rent was late enough times in a row for authorities to wonder what was going on.
Naturally, this poses a few questions for me.
1. Why Did Nobody Report the Smell?
I am no pathologist. I have delved into many different studies in my time, but that one never made the list. I am a big baby with a weak stomach and I could never psychologically handle the idea of dissecting frogs in biology.
But I do know that things smell when they start to rot. Despite the smell emitting from this flesh covered insect trap, neighbors never reported anything strange. I would like to know why.
Was their place already that bad? Could they have been possible contesters for the show Hoarders? Did he smell that bad before he died?
I imagine cracking a window would not have cut it. Perhaps she owns a thousand scented candles that she burns all at the same time. I know that those little wax cones work really well for my shoe closet. Maybe that did the trick.
2. Was He More Pleasant to Sleep Next to Post-Mortem?
People have strange sleeping habits. My sister used to kick like a jackrabbit in her sleep when we were kids. It was astounding. She would jolt her legs back and thump like a character in Bambi until the wee hours of the morning.
She may still do it. I refuse to find out. I am a bruiser.
Then there is my best friend, Kelli. Kelli is a terrifying sleepwalker. She lives an entire second life completely unconscious. You will wake up and she will just be staring at you from glossed over eyes, just murmuring to herself in her sleep. Stephen King should really look into making a character based on it. Frightening stuff.
I think I drool.
No—that’s incorrect. I know I drool. I am not a salivating Labrador or anything like that, but I definitely give most toddlers a run for their pacifiers.
Which is strange, given my thing about spit, but that is neither here nor there.
Perhaps Marcel was a wretched snorer like my grandfather or my great aunt. Maybe the neighbors never reported anything because they were so overwhelmed by the sudden quiet that they merely counted their lucky stars-er-sheep and called it a night.
Perhaps he was one of those people that talks in their sleep. Nothing is more terrifying, if you think about it. There you are, reading a book, and then suddenly the person next to you starts babbling about unicorns and spaghetti monsters. It does not matter if they have done it for years. It’s spooky every single time.
So maybe she simply relished in the fact that, finally, he had shut up.
But of all of the things people do when they sleep…kicking, sleep walking, drooling, talking, snoring, etc…one thing seems to be relatively consistent.
Usually, they are breathing.
3. Did You Ever Worry About Pissing Off His Ghost?
As an adamant nonbeliever, I am not necessarily suggesting that this could actually happen. But, as an adamant nonbeliever in any certainty beyond the lack of someone’s pulse meaning death, I am also not tossing the idea aside completely.
As we have already established, I clearly know nothing.
While there has been a separation of Church and State in Belgium since the drafting of their constitution in 1831, there is still a predominate sway toward a life of faith. 71.51% of the population considers themselves Christian. In fact, aside from a mere 22.31% that claims either atheism or agnosticism, everyone else seems to believe in some sort of after life.
It seems logical that this little 70-something year old woman probably falls in that category.
I never knew Marcel, but I know that if my significant other was clingy enough to clutch my stagnant, smelly, rigid corpse every night, I would have a few choice words for him.
Then again, I am not always a huge fan of extended cuddle time, anyway. At first, sure, but throughout the night I am likely to kick myself free. Eventually, I get claustrophobic.
Anyway,
Since this is my fourth issue of the Dead Things saga, I guess I now have to be on the alert. Evidently, I had not heard it all…and I probably still haven’t.
So I have decided that we, as a group, need to set a series of ground rules. For those of you who will not understand my references, I will be turning each of these rules into hyperlinks to the corresponding Dead Things story. We shall call this list The Dead People Rules.
  • Dead People Rule Number 1.
  • We do not eat dead people. We are not cannibals. If they are cremated it does not mean that they are well-done. Under no circumstances is another person, dead or alive, to be literally consumed by a loved one or stranger. You are not a vulture. Go to the supermarket.
  • Dead People Rule Number 2.
  • We do not ride around with dead people. They are dead. Let them rest. This is not a real-live remake of Weekend at Bernie’s. And leave their credit card alone. It is still stealing. Let the government take care of that. They hate competition, anyway.
  • Dead People Rule Number 3.
  • We do not wear dead people. This includes Buffalo Bill psychopaths as well as the unfathomably creepy people who pay money to turn their loved ones into jewelry. I do not care how well those earrings set off your eyes and your outfit. If it used to gasp, do not add a clasp.
  • Dead People Rule Number 4.
  • We do not sleep next to dead people. I am freaked out by seeing a corpse in a casket. I cannot imagine viewing one as a teddy bear.  Plus, as I hinted earlier, within a week it starts to mummify and bugs start crawling around inside. The only time that is ever cool is in the old 1990s cult classic, Beetlejuice. I do not care how many awesome pairs of striped tights you own; you will never be Lydia Deetz.
  • Dead People Rule Number 5.
  • Necrophilia. I will not blog about it. Just don’t do it.
So I hope that five is enough for now, but at this point I have learned my lesson. I realize now that having my guard down is a fool’s mistake.
So, dear ones, until next time…
Sweet dreams.
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My US Government Final

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My responses during my final exam for my US Government class

Author: Kara Adamo

Advantages of Incumbents vs. Challengers

Congressional incumbents tend to have more money to work with during elections because the house tends to reelect over 90% of its members. Because of this, corporations tend to throw more money at incumbents and their campaigns because they have a higher statistical likelihood of winning. It is an investment game. Those incumbents—reelected and in their debts—are more likely to push agendas that are favorable to said corporations.

The reason reelection is so likely is that on the whole people are more comfortable with what they are used to than with mystery. It’s almost like having a home-field advantage. Also, a previously elected congressman usually represents the predominant ideology of their district. The challenger, then, tends to represent the minority.

 

Steps in How a Bill Becomes a Law

The process of making a bill into a law is a long, logistical nightmare that one could argue is entirely counterproductive and encourages stagnancy in our legislative system.

Bills may be introduced in either the House or the Senate—with the exception, of course, for bills regarding financial matters. Those must be introduced in the House only.

First, members of congress draft a bill. This can also be done by outside groups, but for the most part it is handled by the executive branch. Then, the bill is introduced in the House of Representatives. The speaker of the house sends it to a committee, where it more than likely will die off. If it manages to make it through, it goes to Rules Committee where debate rules are decided upon and its scheduled debate time is set. Once the house begins to debate the bill, amendments may be added and then it goes to a vote. In the event that it passes, it is sent to the Senate.

When a bill is introduced by a Senator, it is sent to a committee and the whole process repeats itself. If the committee votes for the bill, it goes to the Senate floor and is called up by the floor leader who decides when the Senate will consider it. Then something called floor action occurs, where the bill is further debated and amendments are added again. If the senate passes it, it goes back to the house where a conference committee determines whether or not the changes are acceptable. They then work out a compromise with the Senate.

Both houses work together to work out a compromise and both must approve of all of the changes made during the conference committee. Then, after the bill has been beaten around until it is unrecognizable, it is sent to the president who has the ability to sign or veto the bill. If signed, the bill becomes law.

If the president decides to veto the bill, but the house and the senate want to override that veto, they are able to do so with a 2/3 vote.

And we wonder why it takes so long for them to do anything.

 

The Modern Institutional Presidency

Article 2 of the Constitution provides a list of limited formal powers for the president of the United States. It gives the president the power to appoint—with Senate approval—executive department heads, federal judges, and ambassadors. The president has the ability to negotiate treatise and to recognize ambassadors from other countries and remains the top civilian commander of all US forces. While Congress retains the authority to actually declare war, the president is given carte blanche in times of emergency.

These days, the presence of the White House Office and the Executive Office of the Presidency muddles things a bit.  Stifled under layers of bureaucracy, presidents rely on their gatekeeper, the White House Chief of Staff, to keep them in touch with everything.

There is also a media component now that was not necessarily a factor before. While there may be inherent limitations in the offices, there are conflicting public expectations to contend with, as well. Presidents must sell themselves as common Joe’s while simultaneously proving that they are above that very commonality that makes them relatable. They must juggle pragmatism with vision while thwarting attempts by both sides to throw off their policy initiatives. And even if they manage that, the media can and will spin it in another way to enhance ratings.

 

Executive Orders & Executive Privilege

Presidents are able to issue executive orders in order to avoid public debate and opposition because they do not require congressional approval. They generally related to administrative matters and have recently been used to carry out legislative policies and programs. Kennedy, for instance, used an executive order to eliminate racial discrimination in federally funded housing.

They are often used to enforce civil rights and impose sanctions and they are immediately treated as law. They also do not have to cite existing constitutional legislation to show authority thanks to written support in things like the Vestiture Clause, which states that “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”

Executive Privilege allows the president and other high-ranking officials to withhold information from congress. It is because of this that executive orders are sometimes pushed in the interest of time constraints and necessity.

 

Judicial Review

Judicial Review is the doctrine that enables the courts to annul legislation they deem unconstitutional. It differs from Judicial Restraint in that it involves their own interpretation of laws and usually their emotions and political agenda factor in. Judicial Restrain, theoretically, involves practice solely based in written law and existing legislation. The ability to deem one of those laws unconstitutional is taken out of the equation. The law is there and so it must be followed. Judicial Activism, on the other hand, involves judicial practices almost exclusively based in political agendas and emotion-based rulings. This becomes controversial in that it can be considered almost undemocratic. It almost gives judges the ability to overturn the will of the people by making laws instead of interpreting them. Still, some people believe that it is a required avenue in many cases because it promotes engaging conversations and progressive concepts like social liberties.

A Letter to the Jane Benning Fans

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For those who were previously following the story The Playroom written under my alias, Jane Benning, I am writing to inform you that,  a.) yes, I will be revisiting the tales and more chapters will in fact be published, and b.) they will be posted under a new WordPress blog dedicated to exactly that. This way, if you subscribe, you will not be bothered by my other posts of different natures. The new blog will be dedicated specifically to those chapters and stories.   My apologies for the break from writing. I have been swamped this summer with going back to school and a number of other things. The semester ends this week, though, and so I hope to return to the tales of Madelyn and Mary Isler and the mysterious train conductor, Captain Ben O’Maley.

 

Here is a link to the new blog site:

The Twisted Tales of Jane Benning

 

I thank you for your interest and hope you enjoy what is to come.

Jane Benning

Frescos at the Villa of Mysteries: Panel 4.

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My final paper for my humanities class this semester

Author: Kara Adamo.

 August 24, 79 AD.

 Cradled against the enchanting shade of Mt. Versuvius, the city of Pompeii woke to the stretch of warm sunrays sparkling against the Sarnus River. They swept across the city and touched on the impressive villas; they glowed against the temples and amphitheaters, and gleaned against shop fronts.

 

The city began to wake up. The streets began to fill with the chattering sounds of Greek, Germanic, Latin and Hebrew (Freeman). The ships that bobbed along the river were loaded up with jugs of wine for export.

 

At noon, a rumbling shook the walls; the beautiful women painted on tapestries and frescos danced with the movement.

 

A pillowing cloud of gray sprang from the top of Mt. Versuvius (Sigurdsson). The city streets became peppered with ash and pumice at a rate of six inches per hour.

 

This continued through the night until finally, the next morning, a surge of gasses, rock and lapillus shot towards the city (Sigurdsson).

 

And in an instant, it was gone.

 

For years, it was hidden.

 

Swept beneath a carpet of earth and pumice, the city of Pompeii lay dormant beneath the surface (Nappo). Its inhabitants and the city they knew remained encased: frozen in time beneath a world that had long forgotten them. The streets down which they walked, the temples where they said their prayers and the tables at which they took their meals were forever isolated…preserved and intact…beneath the lava that engulfed them and swallowed them whole.

 

In 1755, a preliminary excavation took route with the intention of uncovering Pompeii and the neighboring cities that were lost in the eruption. The attempt was futile, however, but a second excavation in 1814 at least managed to uncover the south wall of the amphitheater (Jashemski).

 

By 1909, however, techniques and tools had much improved. Successful excavations led archeologists and scholars to reconstruct, figuratively, what life would have been like in Pompeii before its end nearly 2,000 years ago (Seaford).

 

A fascination with the Villa of Mysteries began to take route when Amedeo Maiuri (Nappo) uncovered what is now referred to as The Initiation Chamber (Jackson). Perfectly preserved despite the trauma of the eruption and the two thousand years that followed, this room remains brilliantly painted with many thematic frescoes. The meaning behind these wonders taunts scholars the world over—forever shrouded in visual conceit, the actual intention may forever remain a mystery.

 

The currant thesis, however, views these frescoes as a chronological representation of a marriage ritual to the god, Dionysus. (McDonald).

 

For the purposes of this paper, we will look to one of the many scenes throughout the room: the fourth panel.

 

Here, the Silenus looks disapprovingly at the initiate in the third panel. He holds a silver bowl. Behind him, a young satyr gazes into it. It is speculated that he is staring at a reflection of himself in the future after he has died: symbolizing the act of coming to terms with one’s own death (Jackason). Given the supposed context of the panel, one could imagine that, in this case, it is the death of childhood and innocence. This is a rite of passage within the Cult of Dionysus: a form of divination during the course of growing up (Seaford).

 

It is also assumed that the bowl contains Kykeon, a drink used during participation in Orphic-Dionysian mysteries (Jackson).

 

That the utilization of Dionysian images was so prominent comes as no surprise. The Villa itself was situated beside—and possibly attached to—a vineyard and the prominent export in Pompeii was wine (Freeman). What does come as a small surprise is the unabashed, shameless adherence to a cult that deviated from the state religion of the time.

 

And so, these magnificent frescoes and their heretical tribute to a cult long-lost but fully encased in the rich cultural influences of their time, remain a mystery to us. They remain, perhaps, the most direct of connections to our past and the intrinsic qualities that have stood the test of time (Nappo): the qualities that make us human and define who we are during the course of our lives.

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

Sigurdsson, H. et al.   “The Eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79.”  National Geographic Research. 1, 3.  1985, pp.  332-387.

 

Freeman, Charles. “Egypt Greece and Rome: Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean.” Oxford University Press. 1996.

 

Nappo, Dr Salvatore Ciro. “Pompeii: Its Discovery and Preservation.” www.bbc.co.uk. 2011: n. page. Web. 28 Jul. 2013.

 

Jashemski, Wilhelmina.  “Excavations in the Foro Boario at Pompeii: A Preliminary Report.”  American Journal of Archaeology.  72, 1 (Jan. 1968), 69-73.

 

Seaford, R.A.S. “The Mysteries of Dionysos at Pompeii.” Pegasus: Classical Essays from the University of Exeter. 1981: 52-67. Print.

 

MacDonald, Elaine Rosemary. “The Frescoes in the Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii.” Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg (2010).

 

Jackson, James W.. “Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii.” http://www.art-and-archaeology.com/. Old Stones. Web. 28 Jul 2013.

 

Political Ideology and Categorization

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Another discussion response for my US Government class…

 

My whole life, I have had issues with categorization. In general, I dislike it. It puts us into these preconceived, perfectly wrapped little boxes that do individuality no justice. The idea that there are definitive lines between right and wrong seems so limited and idealistic to me. I understand the idea of structured beliefs up to a point. It allows you to congregate and work towards centralized goals…but the strict adherence to specific beliefs on the part of the whole group seems unrealistic. This is true of religions, of political parties…even of PTA groups at elementary schools.

If you were to focus on political parties, the problems are inherent because you are crossing a vast spectrum of completely unique individuals whose social construction of reality are so different from one another that it is shocking they manage to agree on anything. It is virtually impossible to encompass an individuals entire belief system and simultaneously cater to the wills of individuals across the union.

While the Nolan Chart may be comprehensive, it still fails to cover the extraordinary differences in expectations.

People do not have carbon-copy, pre-constructed little minds. I might be socially liberal and economically conservative, but the person next to me might be both socially and economically conservative. You might get both of our votes for your economic ideals, but if you try to infringe on my rights to marry another woman or to make choices about my own body, you’ll lose me.

This is the same across the board.

Then you have confliction in the very foundations of these political parties. Liberals say they want social freedom and then wire-tap and buy our information from Verizon. Conservatives swear they want smaller-government and scream at the liberals for the issues with the NSA and the like, but eight years ago they were all gung-ho about the Patriot Act. When the ideology-based platform of your party changes with the seasons, the likelihood of creating a loyal voter-base decreases.

A more moderate party is great, but then things can become even more ambiguous.

The innate problem, as I said, is that ideological labels paint people into categories.

Then you have the bandwagon enthusiasts who seem to get caught up in media propaganda—this goes either way, depending on the channel or paper you read most—and who listen to their peers and family instead of paying attention to the issues at hand.

As with religious affiliation, it stops becoming about what you believe and about what you think is right. It becomes saying your father or mother or teacher or grandparent has been wrong all this time…that you actually take issue with what they base their reality on. It is a testament to how people feel about those influential figures in their lives, but it is still complicated. Telling myself that I think something is so much easier than telling myself that my father is too economically liberal.  It becomes about him at that point.

This has only been perpetuated by social media circles. Memes are a brilliant marketing tool. They are short, witty, enraging, and to the point. If enough of your friends push things like that, you tend to side with them.

Ultimately, the construction and utilization of indocrinated political ideology is inevitable, but it falls short of realism. In some ways, it’s great because it allows people a basic foundation…a framework within which to develop their own opinions and a way to network with like-minded people. The problem, however, is that it deals in extremity. It fails to acknowledge the fact that there are mitigating circumstances to every situation and that many times political decisions have latent fuctions that leave their followers (and especially their critics) ill-at-ease. Then hypocracy and switching back and forth come into play and it opens the flood gates for confusion. 

The funny thing is, despite everyone knowing all of this, many people dislike moderate political candidates. John McCain received an overwhelming amount of disapproval from his own party members because he was not conservative enough. We dislike the radicals, but they are who we vote for. It’s insane.

Online Education vs. Conventional Curriculums

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Last semester, a girlfriend of mine needed help writing a paper on the differences between online education vs. conventional curriculum.

I thought about it for a moment or two and then came up with this. I figured I may as well post it on here. It is not fully complete, as it was merely something to get her started, but I thought I made a decent, albeit quick, analysis.

Here it is…

Years ago, when somebody delved into the college realm, their expectations were simple. They would rise early in the morning, scarf down some Ramen, and inhale a cup of coffee on their way to whatever lecture hall or laboratory they were scheduled to sit in on. They would lug their books, ignore their social lives, and try with every ounce of their being, to study during their lunch breaks at their part-time jobs. Their lives were placed on the back-burner, and their time was heavily structured.

While saying you attend college still conjures the same imagery, the fact is we live in a digital age. Like so many other things in life, you can now personalize your college experience. You can make the commute to campus or you can stay at home, in your pajamas, and take classes online. Many classes are even offered as hybrid-courses, offering bits of both and catering to both the traditional method and the perhaps more pragmatic online options. The effectiveness of the approach, of course, relies mainly on the student in question.

In each situation, two things come into play…the location and the communication between the student and the instructor. In both scenarios, feedback is intrinsic and your dedication makes-or-breaks you. When you sit in a physical classroom, you have the luxury of instant feedback and physical textbooks to reference during audible discussions. Help is immediate and hands-on assignments are there to aid kinetic learners. In the digital realm, these things become less available. E-mails take the place of physical presence and hands-on-activities are limited. The response time can vary. Plus, if a student gets booted offline during a timed and scheduled exam, they can run into problems in terms of completion and whether or not they pass. The exams also have to be conducive to their operating system—if the program does not open on a mac, then mac-users must find a windows computer, for example.

On the other hand, the scheduling issues regarding campus-learning are alleviated by the more pragmatic and realistic online alternatives. The flexibility allows mothers, full-time employees, older people, disabled people, and simply young people with other things going with the ability to conveniently continue their education. So, if your job requires you to be available during the day, you can take that same class at night instead of waiting for a better opening simply because of a time-slot issue. This also helps when scheduling classes because they will not conflict with one another.

Another convenience is that, since you are working from your own computer, it is possible to wear whatever you want and maintain your own individuality without the stigmas attached that may affect your relationship with your teacher. They are blinded to your race or walk of life and see only your mind and the effort you are willing to put into the class. It levels the playing field a bit and opens the door to a more honest discussion.

Same-Sex Adoption vs. The State

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This was my second paper for my US Government class. I got an A.

Adoptions by Gay Couples Rise, Despite Barriers

Author: Kara M. Adamo.

In an effort to dissuade the United States from slipping into a totalitarian, fully-federal rule that might undermine the confederates of the time, specific duties and jurisdictions were given to the state and federal governments. The concept worked, for the most part, and up until the 1930s, our government maintained a mainly state-run system. The federal government stepped in during moments of crisis and when it came to general order. There was an infrastructure…a framework within which each state would work and create its own policies. It was a union of states…and given the smaller population of that union and isolated nature of the country at the time, the model worked.

So then you can fast-track into the fall of the economy in the 30s and the subsequent war that followed. It was than that unions developed, well, within the union. The framework tightened and companies that took advantage of so many people in the form of basic sweat shops were held accountable.

Women began working and learning trades in the absence of men who were fighting overseas. So, as a result, when the men returned to a world only resembling the one they remembered, the influx of conflicting states of mind rocked the original foundations from which our country based its society.

Since then, there have been social changes that rock the doctrines many older generations appreciated. We have the civil rights movement, epidemics, numerous wars in which we either won or backed out of, and a number of international policies and relations that have switched, shifted and threatened our nation as a whole. And we have done the same.

In the last twenty years, one of the many things that have managed to rock the boat is the question over gay rights. You have religious people morally conflicted over other people merely wishing to exercise basic human rights, and at the state level, different social groups maintain control over the government.

But when it comes to this particular issue, when you are dealing with not only the legitimacy over a marriage, but the adoption of a child, things get a little messy. It is not just about state acknowledgement and being able to work anywhere you want—it is about whether, across state lines, you are still a family.

The question, then, becomes whether or not the state vs. federal module is still a pragmatic one.

The article retrieved for this paper came from The New York Times. It was published on June 13th, 2011 and was written by Sabrina Tavernise. I chose a previous article for a number of reasons. Namely, and admittedly, it is because the title caught my eye faster than any of the other articles I reviewed from across the nation, including The Washington Post, The Orlando Sentinel, and more recent articles in The Times itself.

The second reason, the one that honestly sold me on it, was that it was published in the past, although the issue itself is still a current one. This was post-proposition 8, and yet I can analyze it with a 2013 point of view…when some policies have changed a bit and at a time when states are exercising the very rights addressed previously. Slowly, gay marriage is becoming a very real, widely acknowledged thing and yet the adoptions addressed in this article are still questioned…still used as arguments against an inevitable change that grants people basic rights.

I found it intriguing, and so I proceeded.

The main conflict between the federal and state levels is addressed in the very first paragraph. The author notes that there is an “uneven legal landscape that can leave their children without the rights and protections extended to children of heterosexual parents.”

There are still two states in which same-sex couples cannot adopt…Utah and Mississippi. In nearly half of the remaining 48, they still face difficulties. This is particularly difficult because same-sex marriage is not legal in those states.

And yet, throughout those remaining 48 states, adoption rates by same-sex couples is skyrocketing.  “The trend line is absolutely straight up,” said Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a nonprofit organization working to change adoption policy and practice. “It’s now a reality on the ground.”

The fact is, while gay singles are permitted to adopt children, many couples are denied those children in favor of heterosexual couples. This is sometimes even in writing, as in the case of Arizona.

Heads of adoption agencies do, however, see a very real need in front of them. “The reality is we really need foster and adoptive parents, and it doesn’t matter what the relationship is,” said Moira Weir, director of the job and family services department in Hamilton County, Ohio. “If they can provide a safe and loving home for a child, isn’t that what we want?”

The argument, of course, is that heterosexual couples provide just as much of a risk or benefit as gay or lesbian couples. And in liberal, typically blue states, that argument is seen as a valid one.  According to the article, “discrimination still remains and that in some conservative states, adoption agencies that serve gay families function like an “underground railroad.” ”

And, despite the fact that they are not protected at the federal level quite yet, “adoptions are happening anyway, even in places where the law does not give both parents full rights. Matt and Ray Lees, a couple in Worthington, Ohio, said they were selected as parents for a 7-month-old, ahead of several heterosexual couples, in part because they had successfully adopted two older children. ”

And yet, in Ohio, homosexual adoption is illegal. This is because, under Ohio law, you have to be married in order to adopt. Matt and Ray Lees found a loop-hole. “They bind their two legally distinct families together with custody agreements. They do not provide full parental rights, however, because like many states, Ohio does not allow second-parent adoptions by unmarried couples unless the first parent renounces his or her right to the child. They have to maintain two family health insurance policies. ”

And this is where it gets structurally and organizationally sticky. If a family is cohesive on one block, a mile away from a state line, and they take a jog, are they no longer a family if they step over the state line? Are the parents no longer parents—and are the children no longer adopted?

This issue becomes an issue, less of legality, and more of family. And that is why it is important—so intrinsically important—that we find some sort of frame work at the federal level.

The original link to the article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/14/us/14adoption.html