October 31, 2007
The rules are simple: post every day in November on the honor system - no cheating, back-dating, forward-dating, or other funny stuff.
I'm looking forward to going back through the last couple of months of posts to find ideas in your comments. And if you're interesting in joining in, maybe we can tag-team - that is, share some ideas and post about them together. Maybe same topics on the same days, or reactions on following days. Judy has already given me an idea from a lovely post she wrote about her son's birthday. Who has more?
I'm warming up my synapses, exercising my fingers on the keyboard, and am ready to roll! It seems pretty easy, but I wonder what tune I'll be singing on December 1st!
October 30, 2007
Updating to add: Have you heard about the open records postcard campaign? One Voice, No Secrects, Origins-USA, and RegDay are co-sponsoring this initiative to send postcards urging open records to our legislators. Information, FAQs, sample postcards and more are here. Many thanks to Maryreunited for the heads up!
Also, as always, thought-provoking reading at Jane's blog.
Anyone out there still think assimilation into the mainstream (white) culture is the way to raise a child of a different culture or race? Well, here's your wake-up call: Happy Halloween! by 소펔유.
And while I'm linking to Jane, here's a great article she received from Rick Boas - thanks to you both: Increased Number of Unwed Mothers Raising the Child on their Own
Apropos of nothing - have you found Goodreads yet? If so, be sure to let me know where your lists are (mine is here, work in progress)! If not, check it out!
October 29, 2007
Third Dad and I celebrated our 33rd anniversary on October 19. Time flies when you're trying to train a husband! We celebrated over burgers at Roy Rogers - we were both too tired to go out anywhere fancy - but the conversation was four-star.
One of my college roomates, who now lives in Newport Beach, CA, came to stay on the 21st. Another of our group of friends joined us for dinner. Great fun, lots of laughs - and way too much wine and cheesecake.
The Boy came home this past Friday for a performance at his high school, and then he, Third Dad and I drove him back for family weekend. We took our time driving down, did a little shopping on the way, stopped for lunch, etc. Once we got there, The Boy took us to the downtown mall, a several-block-long pedestrian zone with great shops, restaurants, and trees. We ate dinner outdoors at one of the local pubs, and then went to a production that The Boy had worked on (excellent!). Third Dad and I spent the night, and had brunch with him in his cafeteria the next day before heading back.
It's funny - leaving The Boy was much harder this time than it was when I dropped him off in August. I don't really know how to explain it except that there was a finality to our departure that hadn't sunk in yet the first time. It's good to know, though, that he's enjoying himself, and doing well. But I have really been missing him.
The Girl's homecoming dance was this weekend, so she spent it at a friend's house and we missed seeing her in the gorgeous dress she and I bought earlier in October.
With November around the corner, the NaNoWriMo buttons are popping up all over. To everyone joining in - go for it!! I've got no novel in me, that's for sure, but I'm making a commitment to writing more, because I need the discipline. Here's what I'm going to do:
- Post something every day. I'm going to concentrate on adoption, which is the whole point of this blog, but am also going to try to personalize things a bit more. To me, writing blog posts is much like writing essays, and as I read back through my past posts, I see that I often write in a way that discourages conversation, which I crave. Yes, CRAVE, people!! I just find it hard to be conversational in this medium, although if you've met me you know my verbal communication doesn't suffer from the same malady. So - a post a day in November to try to find a writing voice that matches the speaking one.
- Write for the Korean Focus newsletter. I feel I've abandoned KF over the past couple of months, and want to focus my energy there for a time. We have a big event coming up in February, plus I've got ideas for a couple of small programs.
- Write two posts for Anti-Racist Parent. I have failed as an ARP columnist, to be sure, and I simply must improve. Period. So I'll submit two posts in November, and after that will do my very best to submit at least one each month.
- Time allowing, organize my notes for a book project that has been in my head and in various states of disarray for six years. The project is one that my friend MG and I started in early 2001 after returning from Korea, and one that I've found it increasingly difficult to complete now that she's gone. It's just time to jumpstart the project again, which I'll be doing in November, or December if time gets away from me.
Oh - I'm taking Korean again, and have finally learned enough verb tenses to make conversational practice a reality. I actually put a sentence together today, but don't ask me to do it again.
And I'm toying with the idea of going back to school, perhaps for another master's, or maybe even a (gulp) Ph.D. Not right away, but in a year or so, when The Girl is out of high school. I want to study sociology, or public policy, or both. Am I crazy? Someone tell me why this is a bad idea.
Important PSA: Order CDs from the Ethics and Accountability Conference here!
What else? I'm sure if I were caught up on what's been happening online there would be more, but this will have to do!
October 24, 2007
October 23, 2007
I loved working with my good friends Mark Hagland and Terra Trevor on our article Six Things Your Adopted Child is Thinking . . . But Will Never Tell You. You can read the article online here - we're on page 46 (also on page 46 in the print version).
The Girl was one twelve girls who offered their thoughts in the Global Girls - Global Generation Teen Tips column created by Jennifer Bao-Yu Jue-Stueck. It's only in the print version, however - page 50. The Girl had an article in the last Pact newsletter, too. It's good to see her share her thoughts with the world.
October 22, 2007
The conference sessions focused on specific issues, but this one let the attendees cut loose a bit. They were given four broad questions about the future of adoption (like What is your vision for adoption in the year 2020?), and were asked to come up with ideas for two of them.
The responses confirmed what I think we all know: that trying to fix adoption by straightening out the details won't work. Getting to truly ethical adoption will take a clean sweep, a paradigm shift. It will take starting from a place of truth, not one of secrecy and lies.
The suggestions that came out of the town hall session were broad-brush solutions. Focus on the preservation of families and turn to adoption only as a last resort. Remove adoption fees and for-profit agencies. Provide better pre-adoption preparation and post-adoption support. Create uniform laws at the Federal level. Open adoptee records and keep them open.
Adoption is proof that the the devil is indeed in the details. Adoption laws have become a conflicting hodge-podge that serve adoptive parents above all, even at the cost of the rights of the very children they adopt. The endless tinkering has led to practices that defy logic. It's insane, and I was heartened to see that the attendees of this conference weren't buying any of it.
Well, most of the attendees, I should say, for there were a few that clearly had a different view than the majority. What is particularly frustrating to me is that there are some who simply cannot let go of the notion that ethical adoption = anti-adoption. It does not.
The ideas that came out of that closing session are worthy dreams, and believe me we all left fired up to make them a reality. But now, a week later, the sobering reality has returned that there are still plenty of people who just don't get it. Many of them belong to powerful adoption organizations and lobbies that have cultivated the ears of lawmakers. And many others provide the fuel, the dollars, that keep the machine oiled.
And they, of course, are the adoptive parents. As I've said many times, it would be hypocritical of me to criticize any person's desire or decision to adopt. But I think I can encourage those who are considering adoption to do so with humility and accountability. Infertility, if that is what brings us to adoption, gives us no right to another's child. Finalizing an adoption gives us no right to dismiss the connections between a child and a family.
Ethics and accountability were the themes of this conference - powerful words to guide us. For adoptive parents, I would add humility, for with that we can recognize the role we play in perpetuating unethical adoption practices, and help turn the tide against them.
October 20, 2007
October 10, 2007
Just a few days to go to the Adoption Ethics and Accountability Conference.
I’ve been living and breathing this conference for the past three months. When I saw the first announcement, I knew I’d be attending, but I didn’t think I’d be as deeply involved as I am. In July I was asked to help coordinate the speaker logistics, which has been a huge undertaking given the number of speakers that are participating. I then got involved with the Meet the Bloggers session. And finally, I was asked to join the panel Supporting Adoptive Families for the Long Haul: Post-adoption Services. I’m B-string, replacing Beth Hall, who had to drop out, but am excited all the same. I’ll be coming to this panel not as a blogger, but as an adoptive mother and co-founder of a grassroots organization for adoptive families with Korean children – Korean Focus.
A group of close friends and I started Korean Focus in 1996, in response to our adoption agency’s unwillingness to allow us to conduct certain programs and bring in certain speakers under their auspices. The journey from that tiny group to Korean Focus as it exists today – chapters in Northern Maryland, Cincinnati, Seattle, and Indianapolis – and hundreds of member families across the country – hasn’t been an easy one. Tiny volunteer-driven groups like KF tend to be ignored and discounted as amateurs; and agencies are sometimes unwilling to let their families know we exist. And so we struggle to find members and volunteers, who are our lifeblood.
Yet when I look at what groups like Korean Focus have accomplished, I have to be impressed. Yes, I take a lot of personal pride in what KF has done over the past eleven years – our DC Metro chapter has a large array of programs behind us, including one of the DC area’s largest Lunar New Year celebrations, an annual event. And I see our chapters doing the same kinds of activities in their communities, too.
Plus look at what the Korean adoptee organizations have accomplished. Local groups across the country have raised awareness about the Korean adoptee experience, and have created programs and services that serve the adoptee population and adoptive families alike. They've taken their commitment to Korea, too, and have led the fight for fairness for Korean mothers. It’s nothing short of incredible.
All of which gives you an idea of what I’ll be talking about in this session on October 16.
But I’m interesting in hearing what YOU would want to discuss if you were there. Here’s the session overview – take a look. And if you can’t be there, let me know in a comment what YOU would ask if you were there.
Supporting Adoptive Families for the Long Haul: Post-adoption Services
- What are the principal needs of adoptive families after adoption?
- What are professionals’ obligations for the provision of post-adoption services?
- What are professionals’ obligations when adoptions disrupt or children need mental health, residential or other services outside their adoptive homes?
Dr. Jeanne Howard
Ellen Singer, LCSW-C