March 29, 2009

3BT #12

Three beautiful things, back-from-vacation-and-trying-(unsuccessfully)-to-
not-freak-out-about-the-fact-that-I-can't-get-my-work-computer-to-turn-on edition:
  1. That first, perfect bite of pizza. It is somehow the only moment when the ratio of crust to sauce to cheese to topping is just right.

  2. A baby leaning in, full-body, for a hug, stretching their arms out as if certain they can wrap them around you if they only open wide enough.

  3. The first early blossoms on the cherry trees, white and pink against a still-grey sky. They surprise me every spring.

March 23, 2009

You're With Stupid

I just won a contest at Mocha Momma! For being the stupidest of the many stupid commenters. Really. Todd was not shocked--he often tells me that he doesn't know how someone so smart can have so little common sense. (I choose to focus on the fact that he thinks I'm smart.) I knew my bumbling would pay off sometime. Ha!

In a bit of an adopto-land coincidence, I also recommend following that link to read the story of the Mocha Momma's (placed) daughter's new tattoo. Tears, people. Tears.


I've been busy at the PNR review blog, but remiss in blurbing here: I suffered through a licensed-product stage show just to see my son have the time of his life, enjoyed but was troubled by a novel most everyone else loved, and was charmed by a new children's book.


This post has me thinking about "stupid". It's a hot topic among parents around here--whether or not they allow their kids to use it, just how bad it is, if its use is inevitable, etc. We've been successful so far with replacing it with 'silly' at our house, but the boy is still young and fairly uncorrupted.

What's your approach to the S-word? Do you maintain a stupid-free household?

March 22, 2009

With Wonder

Yesterday the four of us drove down to Ms B's town for Firefly's second first birthday celebration. The second celebration of her first birthday, that is. Beth wanted to include some of the important people in her life in Firefly's birthday party, and for all sorts of reasons it didn't work out to do it all at one time. So Beth came up for our family party in February and we headed to her neck of the woods today. (In a car with a very antsy toddler and a tired baby who couldn't fall asleep. Oy.)

I sort of thought of it as the party with Firefly's birth family, only really the only one there technically part of her birth family was Ms B. Ms B is distanced from her own family, and the couple whose home the party was at have become Beth's surrogate parents in many respects. Two of their adult children came, along with their spouses and a baby granddaughter. Some family friends also stopped by, a married couple who are full of fascinating stories. This is the group who surrounded Beth and held her up in all sorts of practical and emotional ways during her pregnancy and after placement. They were there when Firefly was born and when Ms B entrusted her to us. We've seen some combination of them most every time we've gotten together with Ms B.

Ms B didn't feel like Firefly needed any more presents (a woman after my own heart). So she and the mom friend made a keepsake box together and she asked everyone write out a blessing or prayer for Firefly to put in it. So she had that box of blessings to give to her, as well as a journal that she had filled out for Firefly about her memories of the pregnancy and this past year. We ate and talked and played with the kids. People showered affection and attention on Firefly and they showered them on Puppy. (I am so grateful for the way they've always embraced Puppy as equally as they do Firefly.) It was familiar and comfortable.

Lately some people I've come to know through their blogs have been writing lovely posts about open adoption. They are at the beginning of their journeys and full of heartfelt wonder at this process which brings former strangers together with such a sudden, surprising intimacy. Their posts make me smile for them, and also chuckle a little at myself and the days when I could wax sentimental about the beauty of open adoption. Don't get me wrong, I am as committed to openness as I ever was. It's a commitment that has been reaffirmed many times as we've faced some bumps with members of the kids' birth families. What we've experienced in the past four years has made it stronger, more realistic, more durable. Like the complex love of a longtime married couple compared to the pure excitement of newlyweds. Equally good, but different. (And we realize we're still early on in our own journeys.) Reading those posts, part of me sighed for those early, heady days when openness was mostly an abstraction.

Yet gathered yesterday, I looked around at these people who are making themselves family to Firefly, not even because of any biological ties to her, but because of their love for Beth. I saw their embrace of us as part of that community. I watched as my daughter was literally surrounded by people holding out blessing for her, people who were there only because of what open adoption makes possible. And a little bit of that wonder returned.

March 20, 2009

Three Nothings and a Something

First, doesn't it seem this month like everyone is too busy to blog/taking a break from online stuff/missing from Twitter? You guys, I think we finally broke the internet.

Second, yesterday morning we visited a preschool we're considering for Puppy in next year. A wonderful time was had by all and Puppy returned brimming with excitement about the school. Yesterday afternoon, Puppy peed his pants twice (super unusual for him at this stage), then climbed into Firefly's highchair and asked me to feed him Cheerios and baby food. It's like I'm living inside a freaking child development textbook. Independence--exciting--yay! Independence--scary--regress!

Third, Firefly invented her own sign for "yes." It is, hilariously, the same as the actual sign for "head," which we hadn't taught her yet. Which means we have a lot of conversations that go something like, "Firefly, would you like some more food?" "Head, head, head, head, head!"

Fourth, there was a lot of blog buzz this week about a provocative post by a first mother at a popular progressive blog: Breaking the Silence: On Living Pro-lifers' Choice for Women (language NSFW, depending on where you work). If you read it earlier, it's worth going back to read the author's addendum in which she talks about the response to her piece. (For the record, I do want to acknowledge that there exist people who identify as pro-life, but who are also strong advocates for adoption reform, including many wonderful commenters and readers here. That in no way invalidates her points; I just wanted to put it out there.)

The piece reminded me again of just how apt the mantra "the personal is political" is in adoption, specifically voluntary relinquishment and infant adoption. And here I'm not talking about the way it is sometimes waved as prop in abortion rights debates (and both sides of that debate oversimplify adoption). The experiences we have as triad members, which on their face seem so personal, so private, are often instances of broader inequality, of sexism and racism, classism and pronatalism. They tell us something about the ways we collectively assign worth. Our decisions (and options) are informed by everything from the economy to workplace structure to the status of reproductive freedom to social stigmas. Adoption is a feminist issue, it's a matter of reproductive choice, and it's tied up in broader issues of social justice and equality. The writer of that post isn't just a woman struggling with her personal history, she's a pinpoint example of how myriad social issues intersect in adoption. Each of us is.

I think framing ethical adoption as a justice issue changes the way we talk about it and expands who can join the conversation. It forces the point that anyone who claims to care about social justice needs to care about the way we practice adoption. We all have a vested interest, even those not directly involved in an adoption. Often ethical adoption--especially open adoption--is approached as a matter of compassion, with the argument that the players involved deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and as little unneccesary pain as possible. Which, yes, absolutely. I am all for compassionate adoption practices. But keeping the conversation at that individual level--even if it brings about certain needed reforms--doesn't help us address the larger social issues that surround every reliquishment and placement, whether or not we realize it.

Whether we like it or not, the choices we make along the way--especially as adoptive parents--are in some ways political statements. Not blue or red statements, but statements about the definition of family, about the value of single parenting, about the extent to which one's personal moral values should be made universal. It's not that politics should dictate our choices, nor that everyone must make the same choices. It's that we need to see how our individual choices feed into and reflect the larger social landscape. Not everyone who adopts is going to agree with me about that. But I'd argue that once we've put ourselves into the web of interpersonal transactions adoption requires--no matter how many steps removed we may be--we're either reinforcing or challenging the way things are.

March 16, 2009

Someone Send Help!

My life! It's eating me alive!

But it's kind of awesome. Things are good, man. I'll be back soon, I promise promise promise.

Also, could someone please explain cute raincoats without hoods? What is the point?

March 07, 2009

I've Read Too Many Infertility Blogs

I know these are supposed to be wee spring flowers or cheerful balloons floating to the sky or something*...

...but all I see are good luck charms to wear for an IUI. Swim, little sperm, swim!

And now I'm imagining an entire line of assisted reproductive technology jewelry. For those days you just don't know what to wear to the RE's office.

I'll write something for reals soon, promise. Things have been crazy around here.

* The artist's other pieces are actually quite striking and decidedly non-spermy. I'm thinking about buying some.

March 03, 2009

I Was a Campfire Girl

So I'm not selling anyone out to tell you about these...

Baking Bites is now my favorite cooking site ever, for no other reason than that they developed recipes for all the best Girl Scout cookies. Do you realize what this means? I can have Girl Scout cookies any time I want. Only without the hydrogenated fat.
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