May 9, 2010

For mothers

My wish for mothers, as each wants and needs: Rest, peace, reunion, joy, strength, and justice.

Thinking of you all.

Added later: Please read Cassi's post on "birthmothers' day. She asks us to imagine if a special day were set aside to celebrate adoptive mothers, rather than a day for the women who bore our children. It will give you a taste of what it must feel like to be dismissed and relegated to the fringes of your own child's life. Read and think.

May 8, 2010

Very belated thank-you for a Beautiful Blogger Award

Back in March - yes, March, fortunately of this year - Cavatica, a lovely blogger and someone who has had the guts to keep reading here while I've been working through my employment and adoption demons, gave me the honor of being mentioned in her list of Beautiful Bloggers. It's entirely undeserved, given the number of pure rants you can find here. And it's completely appreciated.

The rules are:

1. Pass it on to 15 more Beautiful Bloggers.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.

Today I'm taking a break from adoption blogging to thank the following people whose blogs give me a break from adoption-land. Some are adoptees, first parents, adoptive parents, but these blogs don't focus on it. Others have no connection to adoption at all.

Enjoy! And Cavatica, thank you, and forgive me for the delay!

The Chucklehut - Dan's writing is how I want to write when I grow up. He makes me laugh, he makes me smile. I love this blog!

River, Blood and Corn - Terra Trevor (whom you also know from In Writing Motherhood and her book Pushing up the Sky) edits this wonderful blog, which features writings by Terra and guests.

Evolution - Unique in every way. You guess who it belongs to. I'm not linking to the author's identity yet, but will when this blog's equally unique owner says it's OK.

Sheltersky - Kyungmee's photo blog is loaded with her amazing photography, which combines real and dreamed into unique results.

Musings - Musings is one of Yoli's blogs, and you can rely on it to pique your interest and your conscience.

My Exurbia - Grace shares photos of her world here, but they're anything but everyday.

a wrung sponge - Andi's poetry is the perfect respite from a crazy world

Green Fertility - My infertility days are long behind me, but there's a lot more than fertility on this blog by Marie Myung-Ok Lee.

SToNZ - Susan's blog is a wonderful amalgam of pictures of her incredible jewelry (which I love), info about the latest events in my home town (Cleveland), and snippets from her life (like Grandma Belle's stuffed cabbage recipe). Love it!

atlantic beachlife - Jeannie is "a northern girl who doesn't miss winters loves beachlife in Atlantic Beach, Florida." Love the beach - love the blog!

Busboys And Poets - From the Busboys and Poets website: "Busboys and Poets is a restaurant, bookstore, fair trade market and gathering place where people can discuss issues of social justice and peace." Who wouldn't love a blog from a place like that?

Quiskaeya - A brand-new find. Mom in a multi-racial family who writes about her experiences, and much more.

Kiss My Kimchi - Korean culture with an edge.

Life in Seoul - Wish I was there.

Wu Feng Road - Jeanne-Ming paints portraits of her friends and neighbors from Taiwan so she won't forget their faces.

And now, seven things about me:

1. I'm horribly insecure. Horribly. I crave confirmation that I'm not a complete idiot, but so far the jury's out.
2. I speak fluent German.
3. I'm a logical, linear thinker, the worst kind of person to be blogging, I think. But what can you do?
4. I have no artistic ability whatsoever, except for a little musical talent that manifested itself in piano-playing as a kid and tap-dancing as an adult.
5. I hate bugs.
6. I cannot open a bag of chips without eating most, if not all of it. We do not buy chips in large bags anymore for that reason. Ditto cookies, I just don't buy them at all.
7. I wouldn't trade my life for a million bucks.

May 6, 2010

Top 10 Myths about Immigration

With thanks to Jen of attemptedmother, an article we all need to print and keep in our wallets so we're ready to rebutt statements to the contrary: Top 10 Myths About Immigration. Thanks for the tip, Jen!

May 3, 2010

"The Expensive Birthmother"

I really don't like this article: The Expensive Birthmother

I don't like it for a lot of reasons that I think you'll figure out when you read it. But most of all I don't like it because of this:
The agency, Adoption By Choice (ABC), currently is working with a birthmother who has not yet found adoptive parents for her baby. Dr. Shephard is providing prenatal care to this birthmother, and he gave my mom the phone number for ABC Agency.
The author, a prospective adoptive parent, clearly sees the mother of her future child as as different kind of woman and mother. She has her own special category. She's and "other."

The motives of the author are, in my opinion, appropriate. She understands the connection between support expenses and fraud, but she's missing a key point, I think, which is that pretty much any pre-natal support can lead to fraud, even when it's within "published guidelines," whatever the heck they may be.

I also think she's missing the deeper story about the mother-in-question's situation. It's possible that this woman is trying to game the adoption system. I don't believe that's a common occurrence, but I believe it's possible and happens. But do I believe that women actually think frequent pregnancy and placement of a child for adoption is a way to make a living? No, I don't. And it bothers me that this article gives that impression. I suspect that this woman has layers of issues going on, and her decision to place this child and the others she has placed is tangled up in all of them.

This article says a lot to me about what's wrong with adoption. The author thinks by deciding not to pursue this particular adoption, she's taking the moral high road. She says it makes her feel like she would be buying a baby. But all of us who have paid fees to adopt our children contribute to that potential. It is inherent in the current adoption process, which makes each and every one of us responsible for calling it out when we see the potential.

The author of this article did that, which is good. But she didn't acknowledge that inherent risk, which leads her readers to the conclusion that paying for pre-natal expenses is OK. I personally think if we could eliminate that from the adoption process, ethical adoption would become possible a whole lot faster.

May 2, 2010

How to be the perfect parent

If there's a theme to the emails I get from fellow adoptive parents, it's how to be a good adoptive parent. The specifics may differ, but the goal is always the same. People want to know what to do to be the very best parent for their child.

All you have to do is count the number of parenting blogs to see how many parents come to the internet to find advice on this. There's been a bit of discussion on this in adoption blogland recently, about the number of adoptive parents following blogs that paint an incessantly happy picture of adoptive parenting. It doesn't surprise me at all, actually. The internet makes it possible for us to seek out the advice we want, rather than the advice we need. People are likely to gravitate to the kind that fills that need.

But no life is perfect, and I sincerely doubt if the lives of the "happy bloggers" are as problem-free as their blogs would lead you to believe. Everyone faces hard times, and the real test of parenting is how you face them. So if you're getting your parenting advice from the internet, especially from sources that paint a similar picture or offer similar advice for every problem, you need to step away pretty frequently and take the pulse of the here-and-now. Ultimately, we have to make parenting decisions on our own. If we rely too much on the advice of others, we may very well miss the solution that's best for our child.

Now that our nest is pretty much empty, I can reflect a little on my own parenting style, and if it was the best for my kids. Gosh knows when I look back at some of the things I and Third Dad did along the way, I shake my head. Some I would change, and some I wouldn't - and some remain challenges today. Even with the nest empty, I'm still learning how to be a better parent than I was, and I'll probably keep learning until the day I die.

The point that you don't have to be a perfect parent to raise solid kids. You do, however, have to give them your heart, entirely. When you do that, you'll learn - from them, an no one else - what they most need to survive and thrive in the world. Each child will tell you something else, each will demand a different kind of love. The ultimate task for parents is to figure out exactly what kind of love each of our children needs, and give it without hesitation or measure.

Even then, the title "perfect parent" is likely to allude you, because there is really no such thing. Just listen to your children, respect them and their individual needs, and be their parent, all the time and through every joy and challenge. This, more than any particular parenting style or method, should be the aspiration of everyone who wants to be the best parent they can.