Today, thanks to the deficiencies of the bus station, I missed my bus to my homeschooling gig. I was so cross I got my fare back, went to the railway station and took a train and then a taxicab to my pupils. I had done quite a lot of preparation for a new writing student, and I was darned if I was going to delay my lesson plan. I arrived in time for lunch, after which I had my first lesson with this new pupil. It went very well. Then I had a lesson with my veteran students, which also went very well.
It is great fun to visit a household of happy, well-behaved children. Well-behaved, in this context, means disciplined enough to have relatively good table manners and amiable enough not to strike or mock each other (much) or talk back to their parents (often). Even in such well-regulated households there are always elements of spontaneity. Someone loses a diaper, for example, or writes a sudden poem, or needs me to see their new fish, or has an observation about the National Hockey League to share.
I am always grateful to be welcomed into the household of such families. Needless to say, space is often at a premium and children in large families share rooms. It was a shock, then, to discover this week that in Scotland, a couple is not allowed to adopt more than one child unless each child gets his own room. My informant hopes to adopt two children, but the plans have been delayed until this second bedroom can be assured. This makes me think that two lonely or frightened children are going parentless because bunkbeds are considered insufficient for their needs.
Really, one of the cruellest sentences in the English language must be, "You can always adopt." No, you can't. You might not have enough bedrooms, for a start. But if you're lucky, you are or become the kind of person who gets invited to be a family friend.