July 29, 2011


Well, look at this: assuming you're actually reading these words, I figured out how to post from my iPod. We may be back in business during this road trip, folks.

(Guess which blogger and her adorable, round-cheeked toddler brought scones to our campground this morning? So fun to see her. San Gabriel Valley, we're headed your way!)

July 28, 2011

If a Blogger Has No Internet, Does She Exist?

I've grabbed a few precious minutes of internet access from a coffee shop to say hello. My family has been on the road yet again. We were out camping earlier in the month, came home for a few days before heading to our annual lake trip with friends, then popped home for two frantic days of packing before leaving for a three-week road trip around California (with BlogHer in the middle of that! Whoo!). I realized last night that we've spent more nights in sleeping bags than in our beds in July.

We've been without internet access on all these trips and, despite my best intentions, I haven't been able to write up scheduled posts on  top of all the packing and unpacking and trying to catch up at work. (Someday I will leave on a family trip without having pulled an all-nighter getting ready. Someday.) So please accept my apologies for how quiet it's been around here. I hope you are enjoying your summers as much as we are!

July 19, 2011

Open Adoption Roundtable #28

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It's designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don't need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggers to participate or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you're thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table.

This round is a smidge different--time for some cross-blog pollination! Lori of Write Mind Open Heart, an adoptive parent in two open adoptions, has up at her blog a set of eleven questions about open adoption which were posed to her by JoAnne, an adult adoptee in a closed adoption. There are some questions there about the role adoption professionals played arranging contact in your adoptions and how you understand the legal weight of any open adoption agreements you may have.

Here is how to participate in this roundtable:
  1. Head over to Write Mind Open Heart to see the eleven questions.
  2. Write up your answers and add your blog to the linky at WMOH by August 31
  3. Come back here and add a link to your post in the comments of this post. I'll create a list here as well, so that the responses can be archived along with our other roundtable topics. (This step is not required, but extra exposure never hurts!)
The responses:

July 18, 2011

BlogHer Voices of the Year & Me

We came home from last week's camping trip (reluctantly--it was really wonderful, despite the nightly rain) to the usual post-vacation mountains of laundry, mountains of gear to put away, and mountains of unread emails. But hidden in the middle of that mountain of messages was one that still has me a bit astonished and smiling.

For a few years now, the big BlogHer conference has had a "community keynote" instead of a single keynote speaker, highlighting the talent within our blogging community. This year ninety bloggers were selected as "Voices of the Year" and fifteen of will those read their posts aloud at the community keynote address at the BlogHer conference next month.

So the news I still can't quite believe? I was included as an honoree in the BlogHer 2011 Voices of the Year in the Niche category for my post "Thirteen Ways of Looking at 'Our Birthmother'". Reading through the other selected posts, I'm so honored to be included alongside some of my favorite bloggers. Especially for a post that captures in some small way what so many of us are, I think, trying to express about openness in adoption: that it is about expanding the very ways we talk about and define "family".

A huge thank you to BlogHer and to the two judges in my category. I can't wait to hear the community keynote selections in person at the conference in a few weeks!

July 16, 2011

Saturday Fluff: Where Else?

I thought this was going to be the first time I wrote about poop, thus filling in a another square on my MommyBloggerTM Bingo Card. But it turns out I got right to the poop talk back in 2007 when the blog was but a baby.

Moving on to our story!

Several weeks ago Mari had a seemingly unending string of poopy diapers. (She has since been potty-trained, hallelujah.)

One afternoon, while changing the seventh dirty diaper of the day, I asked rhetorically, "Mari! Where did all this poop come from?"

"Home Depot," she answered immediately.

July 14, 2011

Where I'm From

I am from curly maple polished to a shine,
from Saltwater Sandals and Popsicles with two sticks. 
I am from striped curtains on sliding windows. 
(Thin and lemony, bubbling over my bed in the summer breeze.)
I am from the overlapping ferns of a forest floor,
the hollow of a towering rhododendron--
a hidden cove of tangled branches.

I am from Christmas oranges and hazel eyes,
from Mary and Edward and the man still unknown. 
I am from the nose-in-a-books
and the one-more-degrees. 
From we don't believe that and respect those who do. 
I am from Sunday waffles and comic strips.
From one dusty Bible high on the shelf
and the sacred roar of a wind-swept beach.

I'm from Wakefield and stout Eastern stock,
casseroles and coffee taken black. 
From the matriarch keeping secrets at the baptismal font,
the patriarchs pushed--and running--from their kin. 
I am from stories collecting to a single pool,
the only children of only children,
trunks of mothballs and untethered memories
waiting for me to add my things.


I first read one of these exercises--from this template based on "Where I'm From" by George Ella Lyons--over two years ago and always wanted to try my hand at one. Susan's recent lovely version prodded me into finally giving it a go. If you write one of your own, please do let me know. I love reading them.

July 13, 2011

Meet Barb of Sideshow Barb

Our fifth interviewee in the open adoption blogger series is Barb, otherwise known as Sideshow Barb. Another member of our blogging community suggested I interview Barb and I thought it was a fabulous idea--if there's a writer you'd like to get to know better, please drop me a line!

Some of you may know Barb from her shuttered adoption blog, Cigarettes & Coffee. She recently resurrected many of her Cigarettes & Coffee posts at Sideshow Barb. I've long appreciated the powerful honesty of Barb's writing on topics from adoption to secondary infertility to mental illness. As well as the occasional hilarious swipe at her cat. Read on to learn more about Barb and her blog.

July 12, 2011

Out of Office

Hello, friends. We're headed out camping for the rest of this week. For the next several days I will be outside without internet (gasp) and with much cool, damp weather (boo). But also with banana cookies (yay) and the very fun family (more yay).

I've got some posts scheduled while I'm gone, including a new open adoption blogger interview. So stick around and I'll see you in a few days!

July 09, 2011

Saturday Fluff: Judge Me, Not Yourself

If any of you parents out there ever get down on yourselves over the fact that anything other than organic-healthy-homemade-from-scratch-grass-fed-fair-trade-local-in-season-Michael-Pollan-approved-Martha-Stewart-photo-spread-worthy foods ever pass your children's lips, I offer you the gift of the picture above. Behold our drawer--yes, drawer--dedicated to McDonald's Happy Meal toys.

July 08, 2011

Portland Meetup Tomorrow

Just a quick reminder that the Portland-area blogger/reader/commenter meet-up is this Saturday, July 9. Join us at 2:00 p.m. at Old Wives Tales. Family members and friends are more than welcome.

I don't want to out any bloggers' location, but some very cool people have emailed to say they're coming. If you're reading this and in the area, you should come, too!

July 07, 2011

Open Adoption Roundtable #27

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It's designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don't need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggers to participate or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you're thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table. The prompts are meant to be starting points--please feel free to adapt or expand on them.

Write a response at your blog--linking back here so your readers can browse other participating blogs--and link to your post in the comments here. Using a previously published post is fine; I'd appreciate it if you'd add a link back to the roundtable. If you don't blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.

I'm still thinking quite a bit about memories and the different ways we preserve them for the generations following us. I thought we'd try a memory-oriented prompt for this round. Feel free to interpret "first meeting" and make a connection to your adoption experience however you'd like.

Write about a first meeting.


The responses, so far:

July 05, 2011

In the News

Just wanted to quickly point you toward two adoption-related bits of news:

First, last week the governor of Rhode Island signed a law that restores the right of adopted adults to access their original birth certificates. Such great news! When it takes effect next year there will be seven states with unsealed records (Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island). A huge congratulations to Access Rhode Island and everyone else who worked to make this happen.

I have a personal connection to Rhode Island so I tried to do my teeny-tiny part by writing to legislators to let them know I was an adoptive parent who supported unconditional access. I can't think of any reason every adoptive parent shouldn't be supporting open access efforts. Even if your family's adoption is open or you adopted internationally, the ripple effects of such discrimination and the stigmas it reinforces affect your kids, too.

Second, the Motherlode blog at the New York Times ran essays by two adopted teens who were featured in a recent piece on first parents and adoptees reuniting on Facebook. I wanted to recommend the essays and also the comments section, especially when one of the adoptive mothers pushes back against commenters who are hung up on her daughter using "real mom" to describe her first mom in one line of her essay. Here's a little bit of what she wrote:
This essay is one isolated piece of writing in the string of a lifetime of exchanges, heart to heart conversations, tears, joy, challenges, and success. The words "real mom" if that is what you were referring to can sting outside of the truth of the relationship that she and I feel and live with. ... 
If as moms or dads adoptive or biological we get stuck on any particular word or issue with our child sometimes we become just that--stuck. It can immoblize the relationship from moving forward. And so, if the word "real" mom used in the context of a college freshman english essay becomes the defining moment of our relationship and overtakes the love, intimacy, and deep communication that we have (and again--here are days that we are teen daughter and mother arguing over staying out late, rules, curfews, habits, messy room, choice of clothing friends, etc.. etc..) Don't put a wedge in your relationship with your chlid [sic]-- help them process and know that you'll all come out the other end better and stronger in your love for it.
I totally want to be friends with this woman!
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