I don't know how many stories Scott Simon has told during his long tenure as an NPR commentator and host. I would guess it's in the tens of thousands at this point. But I do imagine that the one he tells in his book Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other is one of the closest to his heart.
The story of how and why he and his wife adopted two girls from China, intertwined with other adoption stories and general discussion of how the public views adoption, it is concise and conversational, written in a voice spiced by Simon's on-air persona. Yet it is also very personal, told almost as if it were a neighborly chat over the fence. Much like the clip that follows:
Simon will speak at 7:30 p.m. Sunday night at Unity Church in Boulder and again on Monday in Colorado Springs. I had the pleasure of talking to Mr. Simon by phone in advance of those dates. Here's some of what he had to say.
Westword: Did you set out writing the book meaning to include other adoption stories? Scott Simon: I began to write out of my own experience, but I then began feeling humble about how little I knew. That's when I called a couple people we knew and asked them about their adoption stories.
WW: What compelled you to write about your experience? SS: I've been a parent for only 6 1/2 years, but I can't pretend not to have learned a lot in that time. I'm blessed to get around country a lot, and I've become aware in those travels that our family is of interest to people. Adoption is a miracle, a flesh and blood miracle that transforms your life, and we felt strongly that maybe we could take some small advantage of that public profile to help open the window of adoption to others.
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WW: What is the public perception of adoption? SS: One of the things we used to complain about was that sense of injustice. There is no such thing as an accidental or forced adoption. Yet people who go through an assisted fertility program to have child never have to go to a single workshop or class. They never have to be grilled by a social worker or worry about cleaning the cat hair off the sofa. There are something like eighteen or nineteen states will offer you financial assistance for in vitro fertilization, but very few will do the same for adoption. But a lot of it stems back to the stories you hear about the worst kind of people, the ones who insert themselves into an adoption and end up doing harm to their children. So, it's all to the good.
WW: Do you think you might write more on the subject in the future? SS; I can't tell you how many stories we get from others over the website. It opens a window or a door for adoption to people, and my wife says the door goes both ways. We're thinking that there must be some way we can maybe share some of those stories.
To top that off, here's Simon being interviewed by his daughter, Elise. NPR: The Next Generation?