December 31, 2011

The Top Ten of 2011

It's time to look back at the ten most popular posts from 2011. I left out Open Adoption Bloggers projects (roundtable prompts, blogger interviews, interview project, etc.), since people visit those posts for the sake of finding writing by someone other than me!

1. So You Want to Throw a Lego Party - The most popular post this year--by order of magnitude--had nothing to do with adoption or my life. It was all about Eddie's Lego-themed birthday party. Maybe I should scrap this adoption stuff and do a lifestyle blog? Or at least write up the nature-themed birthday party we did this fall?

"My personal rules for young kid parties are: keep it small (you get to invite as many friends as you are old, so Eddie invited five), inexpensive, and busy. Keep those shorties occupied!"

2. It Came in a Rush - I revisited the day we learned about Eddie's little brother and his adoption.

"'You know she had another one?' It was tossed out my direction by Kelly's mother as she and Kelly's father prepared to leave our home last fall, more of a statement than a question."

3. A Question for You: Talking Agencies - A great discussion in the comments about whether and why we name names--or not--when talking online about adoption professionals.

"I say over and again that finding a high-quality, ethical, experienced agency is essential. And bloggers writing openly about their agency experiences would be a great way to circulate that first-hand information to help people make informed decisions. In the context of a blog, you have a better sense of the writer's values and principles and can measure them against your own. It would get the word out, for better or worse, about smaller regional agencies that tend to get overshadowed in search results by the bigger agencies. Yet I know I'm not contributing to the conversation, because I've never named the agencies we've used outright."

4. Answering Two Questions About Open Adoption - Trying to answer some sincere questions about what open adoption is really like posed by someone who hadn't experienced it first hand.

"Even if the adoptions were completely closed, their first parents would still exist. My children were born to one set of parents and are being raised by another. There are and will be layers to their emotions about that. That part is adoption, not open adoption. Open adoption makes tangible what is true; it turns existence into presence. If anything, at this young age, I think knowing their first families as real people has hastened their understanding of adoption."

5. Shared Sight - A sweet moment from a weekend visit with Mari's first mom that I wanted to try to capture.

"This is the unique possibility of open adoption, at least one manifestation of it: that we had the joy of being with someone who enjoys this little girl just as much. Someone who sees her through the same adoring eyes."

6. Our Day with Ray - Another sweet open adoption moment from a windy summer day spent with Eddie's first dad at the beach while we were on vacation. It's more difficult denouement was recorded here.

"I watched them for a long time like that, Eddie between his two fathers, finding his comfort and happiness in the space between them as he needed it. Contained in that moment, it felt simple. Relaxed. Right."

7. I'm Thinking of You - My annual Mother's Day message. I wish this post weren't popular, because I know all to well the sadness that makes it resonate for people and want to pass it along to their friends (a lot of the visits were from Facebook).

"And I spent enough time on the outside of both--and have enough people I care about still there--to not be convinced that the sadness the days bring up for so many is really worth it when it's all said and done."

8. Anyone But You - Another post in which I inflict my inner processing about Eddie's brother on you! Between taking in the news that he existed, talking about it with Eddie in different ways over the course of the year, finally speaking openly with Kelly about him this summer, then reaching out to his adoptive parents and meeting them this fall, it's been on my mind a lot this past year. Thank you for listening.

"And that is what tears me up inside when I think about BabyBrother's adoption, what I'm still searching for a way to process: that if I had done something differently, said something differently, been someone different during the five years we knew Kelly before BabyBrother was born, that Eddie would have one of his biological siblings here with him, a brother in more ways than one. But she didn't want him with us."

9. Expanding the Family - Answering that perennial question about whether or not we'd like to have a third child. I'm guessing we'll be answering this one until (a) our family grows to five or (b) the two we have finally leave for college.

"The truth? If adoption were just about what Todd and I wanted, I would love to adopt another child. Like, yesterday. But it's not all about us and adopting isn't a neutral act, so we're stuck between a whole lot of conflicting values and logistics."

10. Why I Do This - In the middle of NaBloPoMo I start to piece toghether why it means so much to me to invest time in online relationships and projects.

"I wonder myself sometimes if I'll look back and wish I had chosen differently."

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