One Day Means Forever: Interview with Willie Garson

There are currently 107,000 children in foster care.

One in five of those children will never be adopted.

In honor and recognition of November as National Adoption Month, and on behalf of all children waiting for a family, I am thrilled to introduce to you Willie Garson.

“Willie Garson stars as Mozzie in the new USA Network original series White Collar. The talented Garson is rarely at a loss for work, appearing in over 250 TV episodes of a wide variety of programming, and over 70 feature films. His unorthodox bald and bespectacled look won over fans on Sex and the City, where he played Carrie’s gay best friend, Stanford Blatch. He is also well-known as Henry Coffield on NYPD Blue and recently re-teamed with HBO and David Milch on John From Cincinnati.

“Born and raised in New Jersey, he started training at The Actors Institute in New York when he was only 13, before majoring in theater and psychology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. After graduation, Garson found his love for acting outweighed his psychology studies and landed guest roles on Cheers, Family Ties, thirtysomething and L.A. Law. He has stayed busy playing several recurring characters in a wide array of TV projects, such as Just Shoot Me, Spin City, Ally McBeal, The Practice, Stargate SG-1, Star Trek: Voyager, The X-Files, Medium and Pushing Daisies.

“On the big screen, Garson has collaborated with the Farrelly Brothers in their films Kingpin, There’s Something about Mary and Fever Pitch. Garson has appeared in the quirky ensemble comedies Soapdish, Mars Attacks and Being John Malkovich, and is often used by such varied directors as Michael Bay, Mike Nichols and Spike Jonze.

“At home on the stage as much as he is on television and in film, Garson continues to perform with various bicoastal theater companies in NY and LA, and was a member Naked Angels, The Manhattan Theater Club, the Roundabout Theater and the Geffen Playhouse. He’s also involved in community and charity organizations – from Big Brothers to Young Artists United. He has read to first graders weekly through the Screen Actor’s Guild “Bookpals” program, and is involved with AMFAR, Aspen Youth Experience, LA’s Alliance for Children’s Rights and Camp Joslin Diabetes Center in Massachusetts.

“Garson, who adopted his now 10-year-old son, Nathen, from Los Angeles County foster care in 2010, is the national spokesperson for National Adoption Day 2011. National Adoption Day is one day in a year-round effort to raise awareness of the 107,000 children in foster care waiting for permanent and loving families that was held on Nov. 19, 2011.

“Aside from acting on TV and the big screen, Garson also found success as a celebrity poker player. In 2003, “Evil Willie” (a nickname given to Garson by Don Cheadle for his fierce card playing) won the very first episode of Texas Hold ‘Em on Bravo’s Celebrity Poker Showdown,”and continues to play in tournaments worldwide and through the World Poker Tour. Garson now resides in Los Angeles and New York.”  (Willie Garson: Official Biography)

THE INTERVIEW

It is truly a privilege to partner with Willie Garson and present to you his perspectives on adoption and parenting his ten-year-old son Nathen.

SH:  As a fellow adoptive parent, I know you understand the profundity of adoption. How do you explain the significance of your journey to others?

WGEveryone can give a child a loving home. The day Nathen and I become a family was the best day of my life. Every day I am thankful that he is my son.

SH:  National Adoption Day and, indeed, National Adoption Month, are important markers to help raise awareness among the general population. However, as an adoptive parent, you know that every day is “National Adoption Day.”  How do you help to spread adoption awareness every day throughout the year?

WGAs you know, National Adoption Day is one day during the year that celebrates and recognizes the efforts of adoption advocates and families throughout the entire year. Every day, truly is that special ‘one day’ for many families. I am proud to share my family’s story with others and encourage them to consider adoption from foster care. 

We spread awareness by example, and certainly I am lucky enough to be in the media almost daily, so I do all I can to mention it and discuss it. My TV network, USA, even let me write and direct some PSAs with Nathen and my cast on ‘WHITE COLLAR,” and USA Network was wonderful about airing them, as well as our great cast and crew for donating their time. You can see them on YouTube or at USA.com.

Also, considering submitting a video for the National Adoption Day Coalition’s ‘One Day Project’, and encourage people to consider adoption from foster care.

SH: When our oldest son’s adoption was finalized, the attorney, after the ten-minute session in the courtroom, asked if, after everything we had been through, the short time “to make it official” seemed “anticlimactic.”  Can you describe the importance of finalization in the adoption process and what it meant to you and your son?

WG: From the beginning to end, it took only 20 months for us to finalize Nathen’s adoption. But this process was so short compared to the magnitude of the parental responsibility you are taking on – it is forever. That ‘one day’ was the best day of our lives. Nathen was very worth the wait.

SH:  People will sometimes ask us when we plan to tell our children we adopted them. Our response is always the same—“They will always have known.”  Your son is older than my three and the circumstances surrounding his adoption are most assuredly different. What types of questions are you hearing these days from him, and what advice do you have for parents as they attempt to answer their children’s questions about their adoptions?

WG: BE HONEST….always, to yourself and more importantly, your child. We talk about his parents all the time, with truthful answers, never angry, just ‘they were not in a position to care for you, but that never meant they didn’t love you.’ I think that covers even the most difficult cases because it’s probably true.

SH: My oldest son asked me once why we adopted him.  We told him we adopted him because he was our son.  At first he didn’t quite get it—thinking that he wasn’t our son until we adopted him; but then he did understand.  Can you describe the first time you met your son and that moment when you realized he was your son?

WG: I met Nathen at an L.A. adoption fair in Oct. 2008. Instantly I knew he was, “my kid.” Nathen was legally available for adoption. From the beginning to end, it took only 20 months for us to finalize his adoption.

SH: What would you like readers to know about the challenges and rewards of adopting through the foster care system?

WG: The rewards are many, the challenges are many. I imagine the same as ANY parenting. Adoptive parents have a leg up, I feel, emotionally, because the truth is that you chose THIS child, and who wouldn’t like to know THAT about themselves?

SH: I truly feel that children are our wisest teachers.  What has your son taught you—about adoption, about yourself, about life?

WGNathen has taught me the greatest thing ever, and the Beatles said it best, ‘All you need is Love.’  It sounds so corny but it’s true–we love each other so hard that it hurts sometimes, and that comes directly from him. He also is anxiety-free, which he is working on teaching me; he knows, better than me, that things CAN work out okay.

 **********************************************************

Please take a moment and click on the link below and listen to the voices of children who were adopted as well as adoptive parents speak about the significance of adoption and the One Day Project.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCI-sgf2SVY

THE GIVEAWAY

One lucky reader will win an autographed picture of Willie Garson!

To enter, leave a comment on this post.  To enter more than once, leave a comment indicating where or how you shared this post with others–on your Facebook page, Twitter, your own blog, through email.  Each comment and each share earns you one entry in the drawing.  There is a limit of five entries (your first comment and up to four shares) per person.  Remember: You must leave an initial comment and then a separate comment for each share.  Also, comments must appear here, on the blog My Three Sons, to qualify as official entries. 

In the spirit of spreading awareness about adoption, National Adoption Month, the National Adoption Coalition, and the One Day Project, PLEASE encourage everyone you know to share this post as well.   Every child waiting to be adopted should be adopted–and the surest path to making that happen is through increasing awareness.  You can do your part by making as many people as you can aware of the plight of our–all of our–children. 

Comments will be open through the rest of November (National Adoption Month)–that is, through Wednesday, 30 November 2011 at 11:59 PM EST. 

The winner will be drawn and notified on Thursday, 1 December 2011; and the winner will be announced on My Three Sons on Friday, 2 December 2011. 

A FINAL THOUGHT

When I first envisioned interviewing Willie Garson, I will admit that as a huge fan of his work as an actor, I was more than just a little “star-struck.”  However, the more I learned about his journey to parenthood, the more those initial feelings were replaced by nothing less than pure connection.  The words he offers in his interview could very well have been my own; the photographs he shared for this feature could have been taken at Providence Family Court or our own livingroom.  We are all connected–whether through adoption, biology, or shared experience–and once again I am reminded of one of the most profound commentaries on adoption I have ever read:   

“It has been said that adoption is more like a marriage than a birth: two (or more) individuals, each with their own unique mix of needs, patterns, and genetic history, coming together with love, hope, and commitment for a joint future. You become a family not because you share the same genes, but because you share love for each other.”–Joan McNamara, Adoptive Parent

The Beatles did say it best–“All you need is love.”  Thank you, Mr. Garson, for sharing your journey, your thoughts, and your life with my readers–and thank you for all your work on behalf of children.

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110 thoughts on “One Day Means Forever: Interview with Willie Garson

  1. Willie Garson is an inspiration and such a great person. Kudos to him for adopting and loving a child.
    I’d love to be entered into the contest.

  2. Awesome interview. It is refreshing to hear such positive reactions from adoptive parents in a day and age when you typically hear the negative. I truly believe both of you – God chose YOU to be your child’s parent, even though someone else was used to bring them into the world.

    God Bless you all!
    ~Lisa

  3. As prospective adoptive parents, we were touched beyond words by this beautiful interview. Thank you, Samantha! You are such a gifted writer and an extraordinary mother.

  4. This is one of the only blogs I read regularly Samantha. I have to say the articles (and now interview) are relevant to all parents and people in the helping professions. Your questions here are spot on and I can’t wait to read what is next!

  5. I believe these lovely children were put on this earth to be chosen by or to choose the parents with whom they have blessed. Their lives are going to be guided by Mr. Garson and Sam and Don. How wonderful for all involved. I am honored to know you!

  6. What a GREAT article Samantha! You continue to impress me with your stories! I LOVE reading them, thanks for sharing them with us!!

  7. Great interview, I just love your vision and insight on things we all take for granted…can’t wait to see what you and the boys have to say about Turkey Day….

  8. I love that Mr. Garson said his son is teaching him that things CAN work out okay. I believe children teach us the most important things in life. Great interview.

  9. Great interview! This was a very enlightening article. I love the quote about choosing the child – that would make any foster child feel like a star. I wish it for all the foster children out there!
    Well done!

  10. I salute you Samantha for sharing your loving experiences and for providing hope and inspiration to parents across the country. The interview is priceless and puts the whole process in perspective. Your sons are lucky yo have such a loving mom. Keep up the good work. And keep us informed.

  11. As an adoptive mother of 4 boys…..I love reading and learning everything I can to educate myself. In turn all these beautiful words always give me a new perspective on the journey itself. I encourage our boys to lead our way-letting them know we support and nourish every question and thought to the best of our abilities. Go Samantha-we need your words and WISDOM!

  12. What a wonderfully well written tale during a very important time of year. There are many adoptions within my family – and each tells a different story. It is an amazing ride, and well worth it. Thanks for taking a moment to promote adoption.

  13. Great interview, Sam! It made me smile and tear up to read about Willie Garson’s adoption. It is great for current adoptive parents and those considering adoptions (and those that are neither) to read this article! I love reading about what the boys are up to, but I’m always entertained by anything you write!

  14. Great interview Samantha. As your children grow to understand the importance of adoption they will have wonderful moments like this to look back on and smile.

  15. Great article! This is the only blog that I follow–enjoying each story as much as the last. I loved this interview and the mutual enthusiasm you have for adoption. You are a wonderful interviewer and a wonderful mom. Keep it up!

  16. This was a great interview. It really has opened my eyes to new possibilities. Being an openly gay man I hope to be able to build a family of my own with my partner. I hope to one day participate in the National Adoption Day by adopting a child. Thank you so much for your hard work to bring light to these issues. I hope to be able to share this with all of my other friends who are planning or thinking about adopting children.

  17. Great article (not that that is out of character for you)! I found it SUPER informative and interesting! I learned a lot. I hope you get to do more great stuff like this because I will MOST DEFINITELY be reading all the way!

    Keep Writing!

  18. Great interview about an inspiring subject. Looking forward to the next interview and of course, the next installment of My Three Sons!!

  19. I have been very blessed with my niece and nephew who too were adopted when they were just babies. From the beginning, their parents were open and honest. Danielle and Carl couldn’t be more loved by our family, unfortunately, they lost their mother to cancer when they were younger, but her love, guidance, dedication, and example have instilled in them the importance of family. Today, Danielle is in the doctorate program at Mt. Holyoke and Carl is at Western New England College. We couldn’t be more proud of the two of them.

    Samantha, you have inspired me from the moment I met you. You are truly an inspiration for people who are looking to adopt children. You are also one beautiful mother, whom I am so proud to call friend. Thank you for sharing this wonderful article.

  20. Samantha. I always enjoy reading your blog and introducing it to other mothers. I have told you before “you inspire me so much” You have given everyone of your readers so much joy! Thank you so very much for getting personal and sharing this emotional ride of life with everyone, You are not only a teacher at school,you are a teacher in life! Beautiful interview.
    Thanks again,!

  21. I plan, when I get married some day, to adopt a child, but I want to adopt in the states because even though there are so many kids that need to be adopted in other countries, I think that orphans in the states are overlooked. Thanks for this article! It was very informative and enjoyable as well. Very inspiring!

  22. Such an inspirational story! I totally agree with everything I read in this article, especially about children being our “wisest teachers.” As an educator, I find that I am constantly learning from my students. I advocate for all parents out there…with adopted children or with biological children, and I look forward to becoming a parent one day! Excellent work 🙂

  23. This really is a fantastic interview. I think it demonstrates the love and appreciation that adoptive parents have for their children. There is something so beautiful about finding that child that has been destined for you all along. Truly touching!

  24. What a touching story. Hoping that more and more people will be inspired to follow in your footsteps. Watching the boys (your) grow up,Sam, it gives such a great example. Children can grow under the heart or in it, they are a gift to us. Keep spreading the word.

  25. As an adoptive parent, I love reading your blog and loved this interview. Whatever our adoption story, the thread is the same, that we have found our child and that is miraculous! Thank you for all you do to make people aware of the wonder of forming our families through adoption.

  26. Great interview!! Most children have some level of anxiety, my own four included. That Nathen’s dad sees Nathen as anxiety free after all he’s been through speaks volumes about the safe, nurturing environment Willie provides for his child. Thanks for sharing!

  27. Samantha, you have always inspired me. You are truly an inspiration for people. Who has always tried to bring out the best in people.You are also one great Mom. I am so proud to call you my friend since childhood. Thank you for sharing this wonderful article with me.
    Sean

  28. Mary Jane MacLean
    Samantha,
    I remember being so impressed with you as a teacher….Now as a Mom you blow me away! Great interview..as a Mom with 1 adopted and 3 biological children I feel so fortunate…They are all terrific adults now with children of their own.

  29. You are such an inspiration, Sam. You educate about adoption with authenticity and humor. Even though we had a bio child when pursuing adoption, we still plan to adopt in the future. Your blog is something I read often to be reminded of all the truthful, yet wonderful parts of parenting an adopted child.

  30. What a great interview, so inspiring to any adoptive parents. I love your blog, the highlight of my day! As a grandmother of three grandsons I love to see how much your sons are just like my grandsons in so many ways, Same experiences, sometimes same reactions!! Keep up the good work.

  31. I just posted this interview on my Facebook for my 200+ friends to enjoy!!! I know they will enjoy reading this as much as I did. Truly amazing and inspiring!!

  32. Although this story was written for parents who adopt their children, the message is a clear inspiration for all of us, who take on the challenge and rewards of raising children to be loving, kind, and curious individuals. Thanks for bringing out the best aspect of parenting.

  33. Wow. I plan on sharing this with one of my best friends and his wife. They are also adoptive parents. I believe that they will enjoy reading this as much as I did.

  34. I loved this article! I didn’t know that Willie Garson was an adoptive parent and it was so nice to see how much love there is between Garson and his son Nathen. Reading this interview, and your blog posts, has made me think a lot about adoption and how rewarding it can be. Your family is so close and so are Willie and Nathen and it was wonderful to see that. I hope there are more articles like this. 🙂

  35. I love this interview. It is inspiring to hear Willie Garson express his love for his son Nathen. He is right…”All you need is LOVE.” So simple, but true! Parenting is a gift and an awesome responsibility and I believe Willie has embraced it with open arms. Nathen is fortunate to have a dad like WIllie. I loved the video clip about “One Day” as well. It certainly opened my eyes to how rewarding it is to adopt a child. Just think…this is an opportunity to shine light on a child’s life and bring forth postive change. Hats off to Willie and to you, Samantha, for shining light in your kids’ lives. You all are blessed with awesome kids!

  36. Great interview. It really read like it was two friends having a conversation about something they have in common…not forced or phony. thank you!

  37. Gena

    This was a great interview done by a wonderful and loving teacher, wife and mom. The best part is that we all get to learn about beautiful families created by such loving and giving people.

  38. Love the article! My family has been touched with adoption and the interview really resonated with me and I will be sure to forward it to my parents.

  39. Another wonderful article, Samantha. As always, your endeavor to promote the joys of adoption and your efforts on behalf of adoptive families everywhere are admirable. Keep it up!

  40. Great analysis/interview on an under-reported subject. I’m going to have to forward this to one of my good friends in DC who was adopted (she recently reconnected with her “birth mother).

  41. My partner and I just finalized our second adoption yesterday. Both of our boys are 6 years old. One of them, Judson, has cerebral palsy and has brought so much joy to our lives, as well as our other son Marcus. What a blessing it is to have these two wonderful little lives in our lives.

  42. Great questions, and I love that your parenting experiences and perspectives have so much in common. I’m looking forward to more interviews!

  43. The interview reminds one that no matter who you are and how you become a parent a child changes your life. He was fortunate to have you tell his story. You go girl!

  44. Samantha,

    Loved the interview with Willie Garson – watched him for years in ‘Sex and the City’ and now in ‘White Collar.

    It was touching to watch a ‘celebrity’ tell his story of adoption – just an everyday dad.

    Nice job ……………and as I always say ‘You go girl’!

    Aunt Janice

  45. When my younger son (adopted at 2 years, 8 months with his older 4 year old brother) met his best friend in 1st grade, he told me, “Joe’s adopted too!”. I told him that no ,Joe was a biological child (although Joe’s mom is adopted). My son responded that he had been sure that Joe was adopted because he was a such a great guy and so nice. I found myself explaining that biological kids can be nice too.

  46. Your facts that start off the article are a little off. There are about 465K kids in Foster care. About 117K of them are available for adoption. For every 2 Children adopted in the US one child ages out of the system. The majority of the kids available for adoption are 5 or Under at 42%.

    Most single men have a very difficult time adopting from Foster Care system. He was able cause he has money and influence. Only 2% of adoptions go to single men from Foster care. I have been trying for ten years now and I am a social worker who taught parenting classes for two states and a university system. I have one son adopted through a private adoption however they are very expensive and can fail. I spent all the money on my second son and three days before he was to come live with us the parents pulled out. So now I am back at trying Foster care kids. But if you look at the statistics there is something really wrong there.

    Social Workers only place the toughest kids to place in photolistings, about 10%. All of the approved families compete for theat 10%, the toughest kids… Where do all the other kids go? I hope it’s not like Spain where they are selling them!

    • Thank you, Bill, for sharing your thoughts. I wish you well as we have “been there” (two adoptions that never happened). My best to you.

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