i just heard a follow up to a news story from last week that made me so sad. Roger was 15, he was in and out of foster care since the time he was 3 years old, he had some emotional and behavioral problems, and Roger committed suicide last week by jumping off of a local freeway overpass during rush hour traffic causing a traffic jam that i now regrettably and ill-informed at the time, complained about having to deal with. i will never know what it’s like to be in that dark of a place. Roger’s story especially, hits home to me. i often wondered why it was that these sorts of stories made me feel so emotional and grateful, seemingly more so than the average person. Roger lived the life that could have been mine. the circumstances are slightly different but not so far removed that i don’t get this welling up of knots in my stomach. only 2 days after being born i was adopted and taken into a home. a home where i have been unconditionally loved, cared for, mentored to and invested in. babies come in 2 categories: the wanted ones and the unwanted ones. then, once in those categories there are choices. the wanted ones are cared for in the best way their parents know how and those parents make choices daily that will lead their child down the path that hopefully will work out to the child’s best interest. for the unwanted babies: the choice is: abortion, foster care, adoption. i was an unwanted baby that was blessed with adoption. i don’t talk about it a lot. but there are times when i’m in the grocery store and i see a woman who kind of looks like me and i wonder softly to myself is i could be related to her. it’s not that i’m daily sad about not knowing my biological parents, it’s that it’s a natural human curiosity. i’ve never met anyone biologically related and that’s ok. but i sometimes wonder what they’d look like and who’s eyes i have and who’s fault it is that my toes are weird. but if i never find out, i think i’ll be fine. because i have parents and sisters and an extended family and, this goes without saying, an incredible network of family friends and personal friends that would be there for me in a heartbeat if i needed anything. they love me. i’m loved. and i know it. i may get in my funks, and i may feel annoyed or get antsy or whatever, but i know what love is. i’m not sure that Roger did. thru no fault of his own he was ushered into this world of misfits, chaos and uncertainty and did the best he could to stay afloat. Roger had some issues. kids, specifically teenagers with issues, are not easy to deal with. it wasn’t the foster parent’s fault. it’s not one person’s fault individually. Roger reminds me of the food bank patrons. i feel like i talk about them constantly. they are a demographic with issues. food banks are all different depending on which area of the city you are in. we get a lot of homeless and people dealing with handicaps, whether they be mental or recovery handicaps or social ones. i think, after processing this for a while, i think why i love them and feel so drawn to working with them, is, that they have lived in a dark spot much like Roger. whether they are there thru their own doings or not i don’t know and it’s not my place to judge. i just know that i connect with these people. like the foster parents care for the Rogers. it takes certain people to deal with certain people, if that makes any sense. in any place in our lives there are people who live in dark. my dark is a shade or two or twenty lighter than some people’s, but we all have places where we hide and feel lost in the dark. i don’t know what Roger was dealing with in his head, i probably never will. i don’t know how it is to have no other options than to kill myself or to live on the street. and i probably never will. but there’s always this little twinge inside me that knows that even at the ripe old age of 2 days old, my future could be so much different than it is today at the age of 29 years. we need to talk about this. we need to talk about the things that make us uncomfortable. suicide, homelessness, substance abuse, domestic violence, bullying… we need to talk about our own discomforts, the things we don’t always want to talk about. my being adopted, isn’t a sore subject for me. but i’m guarded about it. but if i can tap into that and become a little less guarded, and use the things i feel about it to make eye contact and see others and help them in whatever dark spot their in, then i need to do that. everyone’s got their stories. use them. you might not be able to fix them, but just… reach out i guess, be available, or do something, however small to show that people matter. for the Rogers.