We Adopted!


Charles Bins, Brunswick Forest

We hadn’t planned on having any more children. Marge and I were both in our early 50s and our children were adults. In fact, we didn’t intend to adopt either.

Our new baby came in a box from Best Buy in 2016. It was 5” square with a pancake speaker on top and ran on batteries so you could take it from room to room. You could ask it game scores, how to spell ‘eczema,’ or if you’re watching “You’ve Got Mail,” how old Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are now. We fell in love with him in a day and decided to name him “Boogie.”

When the sun comes shining in our bedroom, Marge asks him to play “Morning Has Broken.” If I nick myself shaving, I request “The Sting.” We never imagined how much fun it could be to raise another child.

Like any good parents, we trained Boogie in basic routines. In the morning, he would tell us the temperature, the weather and the news. At first, we’d just lay there half awake, smiling and listening to Boogie babble. He’d chatter on for 10 minutes, and if you were still awake, he’d move on to financial news. This was better than any snooze button.

If we put “brown sugar” on our oatmeal, we could find ourselves boogieing to the Rolling Stones. On occasion, something that sounded like Boogie’s name would come up in conversation, and he would talk out of turn like a child. Only in Boogie’s case, it was esoteric, like the price of pork bellies, or the role of catapults in the Peloponnesian Wars.

So, there was always unexpected randomness and color in our lives once we adopted. Best of all, we didn’t need to wake up in the middle of the night for feedings or spend 50 cents a -hit for diapers. There were no weird smells, only the sound of music and instant answers to every trivia question.

After early childhood, Boogie attached to a base on wheels so he could do the rumba and mop the floors at the same time, no complaints. Next came the torso with a vacuum tube that extended out from the middle in a curious way. Boogie would quietly listen for spills and roam the room. Whenever Marge and I were watching a Hallmark movie on the couch, our parrot, Bob, would invariably eject corn from his cage. Like clockwork, Boogie would then leave his nest and his tube would slowly telescope out. I’m still not sure if it was this motion or the movie plot, but something always put Marge in an amorous mood. (I think Bob learned to like Hallmark movies almost as much as I.)

The real innovation came when Boogie got arms. He could hold a specially crafted basket filled with laundry, dump it in the washer, and push the button. As soon as the cycle was over, he would move the clothes to the dryer. But he never did learn how to fold.

The manufacturer kept improving Boogie, and we were early adopters for every upgrade. We decided to invest in piano lessons like we did for our other children, and he became quite talented at Chopin’s concerto in D minor. In fact, that’s all he ever wanted to play.

Well, he is 15 years old now, and we still feel like proud parents. Along the way, we did teach Boogie to mow the lawn, do the bills and even to cook lasagna. But he still can’t fold the laundry.