friday lunch

and so on a recent friday
rena’s birth family decided they would like to come over.

and so we said sure, thinking that it’d probably just be the two aunts
who helped rena’s birth mom during labor, helped her decide to
plan an adoption in the first place.

but we were wrong.

while rena’s birth mom was still in jail, and will be for what looks like the next year,
the two aunts came, one of them brought her daughter (whom she adopted 16 years ago
through open adoption) and the daughter brought her best friend (who was also adopted through
open adoption 16 years ago).

it’s weird when two miley cirus look-a-likes want to spend one of the last days of their
summer break coming to your house to eat sandwiches and see what maybe they
were like 15 years ago.

and then rena’s birth mom’s mother came.
and she brought rena’s two half-sisters,
who last had seen her in the hospital the day after
she was born.

and so, we ate sandwiches that i burned on the griddle
and tried to find some shade in the backyard.

all the while, lydia kept saying “rena rose weinshenker”
and calling her “sissie”,
as if to say “she’s MY sister” again and again,
lest rena’s two birth sisters forget it.

i asked rena’s birth grandma why she decided to come
and what it was like driving home from the hospital with the girls,
whom she’s caring for while rena’s birth mom is in jail.

and she said that the girls kept bringing rena up,
wondering how she was doing.

and they also wanted to know if they were going
to be given away next?
which, in essence, they were…by their mother to their grandmother.

and where would they go?
where was rena?
in a dungeon?
in an orphanage?

and she wanted them to see
where rena was.

and so they did.


remember that we didn’t say anything
about leanne’s cancer during the adoption process.
it was bad enough being discriminated against for our religion,
we didn’t want to add prior health history to our list of peccadilloes.

and so when leanne was giving the family a tour of the house,
they all walked past the wall
with the pictures of her bald
and me with the “fuck cancer” hat on.

“that must be a strange way for you to find out,” leanne said.

“oh we knew,” said one of the aunts.

we saw you on the cover of the blood donation magazine:

a strange way to find out.

“we just hope you’re doing well,” said rena’s birth grandma.

and she is.


ps – i’m riding another 100 miles for cancer.
if you care to donate, do it here:

pps – rena is one, and she has the frosting to prove it:


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16 responses to “friday lunch

  1. divrchk

    Yay! Thanks so much for the update. I think about you from time to time, even though I don’t know you IRL. I’m so happy that you’re all doing so well. Rena is adorable. My Mom’s best friend was named Rena and lost her fight (a courageous and painful one) to throat cancer this past June at the young age of 63. She never smoke nor drank.

  2. Jen

    One year old already?? She is beautiful! Thanks for the update…it is nice to know you guys are still out there. :)

  3. I always hold my breath just a bit when I see a post here in my blogfeed, hoping for the best.

    It’s so nice to see your family thriving.

  4. misty appling

    i have checked every day for updates and am so thinkful all is well. i pray for a wonderful future for your and rena,s birth family.

  5. Oh my stars, she is beautiful. Happy birthday, Rena!

  6. Louise

    Thanks – from a stranger and fan in B’more- for the update. Glad you hear everyone is doing well. And thanks to your mention of the “eff cancer” hat, I am sending one to a dear friend who is in a tough battle himself right now.

  7. Louise

    Glad TO hear everyone is doing well. :)

  8. Michele

    You write beautifully and I’m so glad your family is thriving. I’ve been following your posts through the Mothers with Cancer blog. Gmar chatimah tova from Jerusalem.

  9. Priscilla

    What a beauty and what incredible eyes!
    I am so glad to read this update, to see that you all are doing so well.
    You added a young woman’s name, Lydia, who is a friend of my daughter, when you rode last year. I am happy to report she is in her sophomore year of high school and I saw her just the other day, beautiful and healthy.

  10. anne goldberg

    i have read your blog for such a long time and I am so glad that you updated and that all is well…you are a beautiful family and I am so happy for you all!! xo

  11. Laurie

    Thinking of you a few minutes shy of Gratitude Day here on the E. Coast. Sending love and big hugs your way!

  12. elesha

    Ok first up I have just read your whole story from start to finish barring a couple of posts because I just need to get to the end were I could see you had a baby.
    Your writing is just so lovely to read. I have cried my eyes out and laughed out loud. What a life you have led the past 3 years. And as a mother of three …Holy crap I cried when you your little bub gave its life so your beautiful wife could live hers.
    I am so so delighted you found your little Rena and that your life is filled with joy.
    But now I am left with questions. What has happened to Tina and the last pg? and How are you guys in this last few months?
    Please don’t stop blogging you are to good at it.

  13. Well, hello….a late Happy Hanukkah to you & yours.

    Roger is 2 years in remission from the tiny 1/2 centimeter sore that was malignant on the bottom of his tongue. MAKE SURE YOUR DENTIST CHECKS THOROUGHLY for tiny spots in the mouth. That simple little dentist cleaning saved his life–again. Toxic chemicals-rearing their head 40 years after being administered.

    Roger is 40 years in remission from the 2% chance of surviving cancer he had once, back when man first walked on the moon. It’s all like a bad dream now.

    My fibromyalgia is getting better, and our two adopted daughters are healthy and happy. Our 7th grader has a 99 average in Algebra I. I can’t even begin to make sense of her homework. Our 4th grader is thriving in a magnet engineering program.

    Our 7th grader was the youngest violinist ever to make the top orchestra at the University of South Carolina, to wear the crimson cummerbund at the December concert *beams*

    Life is good. Hope you all are all rockin’ it.

  14. Elizheva

    Hi Dan–
    Gal forwarded your blog, as I am now at the entry gate to open adoption– excited and a bit trepidacious. I’ve seen plenty of pictures of the girls at Marla & Eric’s and am excited for your journey to help us on ours. Our home-study is complete & we’re signing with an agency tomorrow :)

    Thank you! And Happy Valentine’s Day & Good health to you all!
    -Elizheva (from Berkeley)

  15. Thinking about you guys, and hoping that silence means all good things.

  16. David Haas

    I have a question about your blog. Please email me at

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