#30b ‘That’ Adoption Poem


November 30th, 2010

I’m just going to say it: I hate this poem.

LEGACY OF AN ADOPTED CHILD

ONCE THERE WERE TWO WOMEN
WHO NEVER KNEW EACH OTHER
ONE YOU DO NOT REMEMBER
THE OTHER YOU CALL MOTHER.

TWO DIFFERENT LIVES SHAPED
TO MAKE YOURS ONE
ONE BECAME YOUR GUIDING STAR
THE OTHER BECAME YOUR SUN.

THE FIRST GAVE YOU LIFE
THE SECOND TAUGHT YOU TO LIVE IN IT
THE FIRST GAVE YOU A NEED FOR LOVE
THE SECOND WAS THERE TO GIVE IT.

ONE GAVE YOU A NATIONALITY
THE OTHER GAVE YOU A NAME
ONE GAVE YOU THE SEED OF TALENT
THE OTHER GAVE YOU AN AIM.

ONE GAVE YOU EMOTIONS
THE OTHER CALMED YOUR FEARS
ONE SAW YOUR FIRST SWEET SMILE
THE OTHER DRIED YOUR TEARS.

ONE GAVE YOU UP-
IT WAS ALL THAT SHE COULD DO,
THE OTHER PRAYED FOR A CHILD, GOD LED
HER STRAIGHT TO YOU…

AND NOW YOU ASK ME THROUGHT YOUR TEARS,
THE AGE OL QUESTIONS THROUGH THE YEARS;
HEREDITY OR ENVIRONMENT-WHICH ARE YOU THE PRODUCT OF?
NEITHER MY DARLING- NEITHER
JUST TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF LOVE.

ANONYMOUS

There are three things that just grate me the wrong way.

1) One you don’t remember, one you call mother. Do a survey of people who were adopted, especially people who were adopted after the age of 2. How many of them do you think don’t remember their mother? I know this poem was probably written with an infant adoption in mind, but even still, in many (if not most) adoptions today, a child’s birth mother plays a significant role in the child’s life. There is still a connection in some way – pictures, phone calls, maybe even visits. The child’s parents talk about birth family.

Children remember their mothers.

2) One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name. Both of my children have the names they were given at birth. Yes, we added names but we were not the first to name them. And we aren’t the exception to the rule.

3) In general, the dismissal of birth parents. Maybe I’m being oversensitive, but to me the tone of this poem is that adoptive parents are just this much better than birth parents.

NaBloPoMo Post #21: ABC and their Crappy New Reality Show


November 20th, 2009

ABC is getting set to premere a new “reality” show called Find My Family. A show that will allow viewers to watch as adoptees and birth family find each other.

Great.

Before people jump to the conclusion that I am against search for birth family. I’m not. I believe in open adoption and keeping the connection to a child’s birth family is extremely important.

What bothers me is the tagline and language used to sell this show. The tag-line reads:

Some people have spent their whole lives searching for the one thing that matters most… Their wish will now come true. Let’s find your family.

“Let’s find your family”? Are you kidding me? As an adoptive parent, that’s just a slap in the face. Like I somehow don’t count as family. I feel like they are saying, “Let’s find your real family.”

Just like any reality show, it’s a good guess to say the show will focus on the most extreme examples. And now I wonder, what assumptions will the general public be making about my family? Are people going to start assuming they know Milo’s wants and desires? Do they feel they understand the questions he may have or the personal feelings he has surrounding his adoption?

This is a good perspective on the damage a show like this can cause:

For years, the adoptive community has sought to rectify the past vilification of birth-parents as people who gave away their children. Birth parents are now widely recognized as the First Parents of children, deserving of love, respect, and understanding. It is in no one’s best interest to turn the tables and begin to portray adoptive families as second-class, or less-than’ a family created biologically. This new series is a step back for everyone. (RainbowKids.com)

And yes, the show does use terms like “gave away” and people who “are adopted” (Milo was adopted, not is adopted. It happened once, just like birth. Lexi was born, not is born.) And let’s face it because the show will be filled with drama, raw emotions, heavy editing and extreme circumstances, it will take a while before it’s canceled.

Should Parenting Be Discussed?


January 22nd, 2009

I recently had a conversation regarding whether or not parenting is a topic that is open for discussion. I’m of the opinion that parenting is a topic that should be discussed (and among several of my friends it’s one of our most exhaustive subjects) but I know others feel that it is a topic not open for discussion.

I should clarify when I say ‘parenting’ I’m referring to all aspects of parenting – from the abstract styles of parenting (what do you think of this style parenting vs. that style) to the specific (we do _____ with Lexi because….I noticed you do ______with little Stanly. Does that work well for you? Why did you decide to do that?)

I tend to lean towards the philosophy of “It Takes A Village” when it comes to parenting my child. I want to know what others do and why they do it. I also appreciate it when people ask me why we do things with our kids the way we do. Often times those are tough questions to answer but having to answer them makes me re-evaluate what I’m doing as a parent and decide if it’s something I should keep doing or if changes need to be made.

I don’t think a person can tell someone how to raise their family. But I think discussing parenting and even offering advice on the topic can be beneficial. And if advice is going to be given it has to be received as well. It’s a package deal. It also needs to be done carefully. Don’t give me advice on how to handle a temper tantrum when I’m wrestling a screaming and kicking 3-year-old into her coat and carrying her out the door. But when we are hanging out and things are peaceful feel free to bring up that time you saw me wresting her into her coat and tell me about when you had to do the same thing and how you handled it.

Personally, I learn best from watching others and hearing their experiences than I do from reading all kinds of parenting books and articles. What about the rest of you? How often do you discuss parenting with others? How personal do you get when you discuss it?


September 4th, 2008

Limor, Kevin and Jaime all posted their results. I was feeling left out.

You are a

Social Liberal
(75% permissive)

and an…

Economic Liberal
(13% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Socialist



Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid.com: Free Online Dating
Also : The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Is this surprising to anyone? It wasn’t to me. I think it has a lot to do with my sense of fairness and my “what’s mine is yours” mentality. When I told Kevin my results, he laughed and called me a communist. In all seriousness, if there were a way for communism to work (without it turning complete corrupt) I’d be all for it. Although, maybe communism isn’t quite the right word. What I like is community. I like the idea of living in community with others. Benefiting from each others’ resources and talents. Helping people who need it without worrying about what I am gaining in return. I’ve seen it work on small scales. I’d like to see it work in a large scale.

(By the way, these are the results from round 2 of the test. This one I took without Lexi’s “help”. And I came down even stronger in the socialist camp.)

Market Place Money: Feminine Mistake


August 31st, 2008

Leslie Bennetts is the author of the book The Feminine Mistake and says “says women who opt out of the workforce — or never join it in the first place — are putting their financial lives at enormous risk.”

You can read the whole interview here but here are a few quotes that I found intriguing.

Regarding financial planning:

All the investment advisers and financial planners that I talked to said that women have a tremendous tendency to leave these things to men. They may pay the household bills, but they don’t really involve themselves with the larger financial planning of the family.

Regarding becoming a widow:

The average age of widowhood in America is only 55. (according to the AARP)

Regarding the long-term planning and risks of being a stay at home mom;

I am not saying it’s not a valid choice to stay home with your children; I’m saying it’s an extremely dangerous choice and one that works out very badly for many women and their kids. In my book, I say was it really worth it to be home when your second child lost his fourth tooth if something happens to your husband and you end up losing your home entirely? I’ve talked to so many women who find themselves suddenly without a breadwinner and a lot of the adverse consequences of divorce in the society are really a result of the economic impact. Women’s standard of living plummets by 38 percent in cases of divorce, whereas men’s standard of living goes up by 26 percent. But it’s the women and the children who suffer. So I’m not criticizing the inherent worth or value of the decision to be home with your children, but I am saying it’s a very risky choice.

Before I get angry comments from all my stay at home mom friends, let me just say this: I am jealous of your ability to stay at home with your kids. But for me, being a working mom is not a choice because a) we need the income, b) staying at home is not in my nature (trust me, Lexi and I would kill each other if summer break lasted longer than 3 months), and c) while my family always comes first, I love my job and would feel like I was missing something if I wasn’t teaching.

I do agree with what she is saying about women needing to learn about their family finances and being prepared if something were to happen. Just something to think about.

Olympics


August 13th, 2008

While I am a huge fan of the Olympics there are a few things that really bug me about the games. And I’m not talking the specifics of the Olympics being in China and the craziness that goes with that. I’m talking about the games and the athletes themselves.

(In no particular order):

1. It bothers me that when an athlete from country A doesn’t make the team they get citizenship in country B and play for them – case in point – the women’s volleyball team playing for Georgia is actually from Brazil. (I’m not bothered by people who have dual citizenship, it’s the people who just petition a country to be able to play.)

2. Professional athletes participating. I do not like the basketball players, hockey players, tennis players, etc. that get paid millions to play their sport and then they take a spot on the Olympic team as well. I know that the athletes all consider themselves professionals in their sport (and they should) but it sort of takes the fun out of it when USA brings in all pro basketball players, calls them The Dream Team and stomps everyone else.

3. Why does Michael Phelps get to swim in about 1000 races? Just pick one or two strokes, focus on them and let more people have a shot at participating in the games. You don’t need to swim every race.


August 11th, 2008

I copied this directly from Leah’s blog. Leah is the mother of Angela, who has Down Syndrome. Leah titled her blog post: If you love my kid, you won’t go! And although I probably wouldn’t have gone to this movie anyway, I do love Angela so I put this up on my blog as well.

I bet you’ve seen the trailers for the new movie opening this week “Tropic Thunder”, the new Ben Stiller movie. I’ll bet you thought the trailers were hilarious. I’ll bet you DON’T know what’s really in this movie!

Ben Stiller and his team put a lot of thought into this movie, trying to be very careful to not cross the lines on racial humor. They wouldn’t want to offend anyone of color or other nationalities in fear of loosing a lot of money in the movie.

But people who are intellectually disabled are fair game in the world of Hollywood. The word “retard” is the whole sub-plot for the movie. The term “Going full retard” has been coined and it’s been announced there will soon be a line of t-shirts appearing in your local stores with the term plastered across the front. If you take every time the word “retard” is used in the movie and replace it with the “n” word, or any other racial slur, the movie would be banned in the U.S!

And that, my friends and family, is what Angela has to look forward to when school starts. (Last year it was Napolean Dynamite pens that talked, with one of the phrases being “you retard!” which, after complaints, were quickly pulled off the shelves and banned by schools across the country.)

Yes, the movie is rated R, so young kids shouldn’t be seeing it. But they will. And their teen siblings and parents who DO see it will be coming home repeating what they think is a funny phrase, and kids will be coming to school with it. They’ll love the t-shirts as well.

I don’t understand how in the world it’s ok to to belittle this population of people, but if they were using the “N” word, or any other racial slur, it would be all over the news! Our countries schools have a zero tolerance policy against racial harassment, and you won’t hear certain words thrown around the hallways of your child’s school. But you WILL hear “retard” on a regular basis.

I know there are plenty of you who feel I’m overreacting. Well, apparently I’m with the 3 million other families in the country who are FURIOUS this film has been allowed to be produced the way it has. You can expect to see national and local protests about this film, as those of us who are overreacting demand that our children, brothers, sisters, cousins, and loved ones get the same respect that everyone else in the country gets, including illegal immigrants. That they aren’t set up for yet MORE harassment by teens who think it’s funny to mock our children because Hollywood has encouraged them to do so.

I hear the word by friends and family members all the time. I hear the “short bus” jokes. Most of the time I’ll call someone on the carpet about it, but sometimes I won’t. Sometimes I just get tired of constantly having to defend my child against the people who are supposed to care. Their lame responses of “I wasn’t meaning HER, it was just a joke!” Well, HELLO!!! Who do you MEAN then? Who are you comparing yourself or others to when you toss those words around? And my personal favorite “It just slipped out”. Funny…words that aren’t part of my every day vocabulary don’t “just slip out”!

My child, and millions like her, are intellectually disabled (that’s the proper term, by the way…”retarded” is going out the window because it’s become such a hateful slang term. School districts aren’t even putting it on their paperwork anymore!) Just as people of color don’t have a choice of what color skin they were born with, children with intellectual disabilities don’t have a choice but to ride “the short bus”, and so they become the brunt of your jokes. I’ve watched people who’s own children ride “the short bus” make the same jokes, without even realizing (or caring) that it’s at the expense of his/her own children. “Oh, but they think it’s funny too!” Do they really? Or are they laughing along while inside they squirm with discomfort?

These people don’t have a choice to have the medical term “Mental retardation” plastered all over their medical records. Those with syndromes such as Down Syndrome can’t even hide behind a “normal” appearance. It’s plastered on their face, leaving them open to hateful ridicule by their peers, and yes, even their family members.

So, if you’ve seen the trailers, and thought, “That looks like a fun movie to see!” Please don’t. My child…your grandchild, your niece, your cousin, your friend…. and those like her, deserve the respect more then Ben Stiller and his team deserve a few bucks!

Sirens


August 3rd, 2008

Dakota county likes their storm sirens. A lot. If it rains, if their is flooding, a chance of flooding, thunderstorms, if it’s storming in Iowa, if it’s windy, if it’s anything but 70 degrees and sunny, the sirens go off.

It’s the city that cried wolf.

Two Things


July 21st, 2008

1. Last night we watched Juno, again. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you are missing out my friend. We also bought the soundtrack, which if you don’t like the movie, the soundtrack alone is a good enough reason to watch it.

2. This year is the summer Olympics. The games start on August 8. I love watching the Olympics. The summer Olympics especially. Gymnastics, swimming, diving, track & field, all good. I’m also excited to watch it with Lexi. I think she’ll enjoy watching the games, especially the gymnastics and maybe even some of the diving.

I am NOT a “non-mom”.


May 9th, 2008

Apparently NBC considers mothers who have adopted “non-moms“.

Please feel free to let NBC and their sponsers know how you feel about this. I did.

Update: See the comment from Rebecca B. Apparently they have re-worded the title of “non-moms” to “adopting moms” which isn’t much better in my opinion. I won’t introduce my child as my “adopted child” and I don’t expect him/her to introduce me as their “adopting mom”. Do the moms have to have a category? Can’t they just be moms?

Update #2: Apparently the adoptive community made a pretty big stink about this. I know that nearly everyone on the forum I participate in registered a complaint and it by Friday it was posted on about 20 different blogs but I guess we were a big enough voice to prompt a blog entry on E!’s website. Feels good to know that speaking up can still make a difference.