Saturday, August 21, 2010

Adoption Fusion on holiday

...and just when I was getting back into the swing of blogging again, I going to take a brief vacation.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I'm starting a new job, moving, leaving my family behind (temporarily)...there's a lot on my mind. What better way to start it all off than a vacation with family.

Never fear, I shall return with a new post in September. I promise.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Growing up in a family

I just read an interesting blog post, originally posted on July 21, 2010.  It appears on Both Ends Burning, an organization run by Craig Juntunen, which bears the same name as his book. Their mission is stated here:

Both Ends Burning is a campaign to reform the current system of intercountry adoption so that more orphaned children can grow up in loving, caring homes. Our goal is to make intercountry adoption more affordable and less bureaucratic. Both ends of the adoption spectrum are troubled: Orphaned children need loving homes, and willing families face undue barriers to adopting them.
One statement in this post resonated with me:
There is no greater basic human right than a child’s right to grow up in a family.
Never before have I heard such a succinct expression of the heart of adoption. It its purest form, this is what adoption is all about.  In my trolling of the internet, I have read of some exceptions to this experience (adoptees who were misplaced into abusive families, child trafficking, etc.), but I applaud Both Ends Burning's campaign to bring adoption back to its essence: giving a child the right to live in a family. They work tirelessly to make intercountry adoptions more affordable and less bureaucratic. They are not quick to scoop up children who are orphaned (or appear to be orphaned) in times of national crisis and ship them overseas. If possible, the birthfamilies should be located and birthfamilies hopefully will be willing and able to take care of the child(ren). If not, orphanage stays should be minimal.

Isn't this what adoption is all about?

Perhaps I am too idealist and optimistic. But I do believe that everyone has the right to experience the unconditional, foundational (sometimes too-close-for-comfort-and-get-under-your-skin) love that comes from being part of a family.

Readers, do you agree with me? Or are my ideals too high and unattainable?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Potentially annoying questions...

Older Brother, Me, Younger sister

As I read people's experiences through NYTimes articles, blogs and other sources, I can always find a "rant". Here's mine: annoying questions.

For me, my annoying questions relate to my adoption. However, I'm noticing others who rant about these questions, particularly when people don't "match." It is not necessarily limited to race or skin colors, but can also happen between family members who do not resemble each other physically (eyes, nose, etc.).

For example, when I introduce someone to my sister, occasionally, we are on the receiving end of what I have termed "The Tennis Match Gaze." The person first looks at me, then at my sister, then back to if it were a Serena Williams/Maria Sharapova volley at the U.S. Open, incredulous that we are actually sisters in the same family. If we have pity on the person, I will quickly explain "I'm adopted"...but not always. If I wait long enough, the annoying question will inevitably come: "That's your sister?" Why can't we be taken at face value (no pun intended)? Just because our hair colors, eye colors and skin tones don't "match," it doesn't mean we're NOT family. I mean, don't we live in the 21st Century? Why do we cling to an old-fashioned view of what it means to be family?

I'm not trying to be mean and nasty here. Most people are genuinely curious and just don't seem to know how to phrase their question. But I think as the recipient of these questions over a period of thirty to forty years, they can tend to wear you down...and sometimes make me want to shut down.

So, here are some of common questions, potentially annoying. If you're interested, click on the linked questions to read articles/blogs that speak to these questions:

Is that your baby/child? a.k.a. Are you the nanny?
Are those your kids?
What are you? (for those who have an unusual "ethnic" look)
Is that your mother/sister/brother?
Where did you come from?
Any history of (insert medical condition here) in your family? - this one is particularly annoying for me if I have to keep repeating it to the SAME physician each time I visit. Can you keep the fact that I'm adopted and have no access to this information on record, please? Thanks.

Readers, what are questions that annoy you? Please share.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Adoption Stories on PBS and elsewhere

Recently, I was able to find a moment to relax with my kids in front of the T.V. I admit it, THEY were in control of the programming. However, during one commercial break when I happened to wrestle the remote control away from their tight little grip, I quickly flipped to our local PBS station. There I was: smack in the middle of a documentary about international/transracial adoption. Oh, what a serendipitous find! Albeit a short glimpse, I was mesmerized by the story of a Korean American woman who was visiting her birth family.  Soon afterwards, and following protests from my kids, I had to relinquish the T.V. and return to their program (America's Got Talent or something like that).

I discovered today that the program I had stumbled upon was PBS's P.O.V. and the film: First Person Plural. In fact, PBS is running an "Adoption Stories" series starting August 31, 2010.

Watch the full episode. See more POV.

After doing a bit of research, I realized that there are SO many wonderful documentaries about adoption that I'd like to see. In addition to the three documentaries above, here's a few more I'd like to see:

Adopted by Barb Lee
Living on the Fault Line: where race and family meet by Jeff Farber. Actually, I own it and recommend it.
DMC: My Adoption Journey by Rick Sasson. The story of Darryl McDaniels. Follow weblink to view online.

Readers, any other adoption documentaries that you have seen, enjoyed, or wish you could see? Please share.

My Next Adventure

Dear Readers (that is, if I have any left after such a long blog silence),

Let me start by thanking you for your patience through my grand pauses, to use music terminology.

The reason I have been silent is because I have been going through an intensive job search from June until now. As anyone who has searched for a job knows, it is an all-consuming process.

I am happy to state that my job search is now complete and I will be heading to Massachusetts to start working at Deerfield Academy later this month. It's a very exciting time, and while I do not expect to be any less busy, I do expect that I will have the discipline to be able to continue to blog here on Adoption Fusion.