Sunday, March 27, 2011

a girl like me - race matters

A powerful video. My heart broke at the end of the "doll test" from the 1940's. There is much work to be done.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

i'm a bad OA roundtable blogger

Heather from Production Not Reproduction sent out an email notice regarding a new Open Adoption Roundtable topic.

This time the topic was: How have you seen open adoption portrayed on television? What did you think? What, if anything, would you like to see? Read more here.

We don't have a TV. An intentional decision made after T joined our lives. D and I have a beautiful iMac with a screen bigger than our TV so we download shows and watch only what we want to watch. Therefore I am not privy to general TV viewing --- and actually am really out of touch with world issues! Also, we only subscribed to basic cable which meant that we weren't able to watch any of the special channels where one would be exposed to some of the adoption related shows I've heard of. So no contribution to the roundtable from me.

Previous OA Roundtable topics that I've missed are:

"Open adoption is about information sharing." Share your reaction to that statement. How well does it match up with your experience of open adoption? If you disagree, how would you finish the phrase, "Open adoption is about..."? Read more here.

Write about siblings and open adoption. Read more here.

How do open adoption and holiday traditions intersect in your life? Read more here.

One year ago many of us answered the question, "How will you be proactive in the area of open adoption in 2010?" If you participated in the January 2010 discussion, revisit your post and give us the one-year-later update. Read more here.

I've been hesitant to participate in further OA Roundtable topics because let's face it...we do not have an open adoption. Ours was always semi-open and now since J put a hold on her file at the agency we have no contact what so ever. And yet, I'm having a hard time changing my "about me" profile. My hope and desire for the future is openness but perhaps I need to come down from that cloud and be more honest with myself about what this adoption currently looks like.

Monday, March 14, 2011

i always wanted to...

What do I say when someone with biological kids says to me..."I always wanted to adopt."

My brain still measures slight shock at this statement and my mouth never seems to form the right words to respond. I just haven't the foggiest idea of what to say.

The way this statement is said it implies..."I always wanted to cut my hair short." "I always wanted to get one of those bags." "I always wanted to go there on vacation." Although the implication is present, I assume the user of such language when referring to adoption doesn't mean to suggest that our child is an accessory, which is why I am having such a hard time figuring out how to respond.

When D and I thought about planning a family we did not think about adoption first. Let's just be honest about this. Adoption is not second rate but it was a choice made after trying to have children using what mother nature gave us. In the end, adoption worked for our family and we are so blessed to have T in our lives. 

Adoption was a selfish choice for us. We wanted a family badly enough that we would ask another woman to place her baby in our arms. We are not saints, we did not "save" him...we just wanted a child. The emotional experience of J giving us the privilege to raise her son is not one to take lightly.

Some families with bio kids choose to adopt overseas from orphanage situations. Even though these kids need families, the reason for adoption should not be to help or save these children or as a way to live out ones faith. Yes, families in these third world countries are living in extreme poverty and often cannot care for their kids. However, instead of adoption which impacts one child, how about using the $30,000+ to develop communities and help families stay together and help kids stay in their country of birth.

So when someone makes the "I always wanted" statement I wonder why. And maybe this is the question I should ask. 

I love how our family came together but it was not a "wouldn't that be nice" sort of decision. It wasn't about offering a home to a child in need. It wasn't because we have a faith. We were selfish. Our decision was all about us and our needs and wants. We wanted a family...not to add to a family.

It was just last week during a play group that a mom - who I did not know and had never spoken with - told me that she always wanted to adopt a child while she was holding her baby girl. In all honesty, my first thought was, you have a beautiful daughter, enjoy her. There are many other families who are unable to hold a baby...realize the blessing that you have and let that be enough.

Monday, March 7, 2011

church shopping

I hesitate using the "church shopping" title given its negative connotations and very individualistic approach. However, let's call a spade a spade as that is exactly what D and I have been doing.

For a variety of reasons we took a year off of going to church. The break was important for us but it's now time to go back. Since we were not going to go back to our previous church we had an opportunity to look around. Get a sense of what's out there beyond our own denomination. The driving force in our hunt for a new church was diversity. Within minutes of entering a service I knew if we would be coming back or not. If one scan of the gathering resulted in a sea of white faces we would not be returning.

We tried a number of churches recommended to us because of potential diversity. One even had a pastor from Jamaica. But overwhelmingly the chairs were filled with white people. Honestly, I was ready to give up.

I must mention here that there are a number of churches filled with refugee and recent immigrant families. I work with newcomers in our city and love the many opportunities I have to interact and serve this population. When looking for a new church I am being selfish. Newcomer families experience many barriers when in a new country, immediate needs that I am well aware of. In looking for a church we are searching for us, for our needs. Selfish I know. Some parts of being a transracial family require this. There are times when we need to put T and our family first.

We are hoping to invest in and develop relationships with black families who have a certain sense of stability and are able to invest in our lives.

I had all but given up hope in our quest for a diverse church, when as a last resort I asked some questions to a women I was only trying to make conversation with. I thought why not ask...but I know what the answer will be as this community area appears quite white. I was slightly shocked (I'm sure my face showed it) when she told me that there was diversity in the church which included some black families with kids around T's age as well as a Hispanic population.

So we tried it out.

I did the scan...and smiled.

The church is still largely white but there are a number of black young adults, families, and older adults. More than any other church we've attended.

We've now been attending this church for a month and this last week noticed another black family with a boy who looks to be just a bit younger than T. I get little goose bumps thinking about potential opportunities to get to know these families. 

I think we found our church. This search was less about the preaching, singing, programs, community area and more about creating opportunities for T and our family. Now the harder part begins...working to intentionally get to know these families and hopefully develop relationships in the future.