November 14, 2012

2012 Adoption Blogger Interview Project

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012
Welcome to my second-favorite day in November! (Thanksgiving wins that battle.)

In a nutshell, for those who clicked through to this post from elsewhere on the vast internet, the Adoption Blogger Interview Project pairs up bloggers for personal, indidualized interviews. It started two years ago with a group of open adoption bloggers and has grown to involve over 100 bloggers from a variety of adoption experiences.

The writers below spent the last few weeks poring over one another's blogs and coming up with interview questions for each other. Bloggers will be putting up their posts throughout the day, so check back if a link doesn't seem to work yet. I encourage you to leave a comment at each interview you visit, even if just to say thanks for the time they put in to making this project happen.

And now, in no particular order, here are the participants in the 2012 Adoption Blogger Interview Project:

Enjoy! May you learn new things about the bloggers you already know and discover some new favorite reads.

November 06, 2012

Saying It Aloud

One of my children did some occupational therapy this summer, which meant I spent quite awhile sitting in the therapy room examining the odd assortment of posters and notices hanging on the walls. One that I found myself coming back to again and again was a (rather poorly) photocopied list that hung directly across from the bank of chairs. Someone had tried to add some color by going over the typed words with a set of markers, nearly obscuring the text, but I could still just make it out.

"Six critical life messages that every child needs to hear every day,"* read the heading.

It went on:
  • I believe in you
  • I trust you
  • I know you can handle this
  • You are listened to
  • You are cared for
  • You are very important to me
Admittedly, my first vague thought was that all those things were true, so my children probably knew them from my actions. But as the list stared me down each week, I started wondering how often, if ever, I said each of these statements so plainly.  Especially given my personality, which tends to be the sort that believes if you've said something to someone once, there is no need to repeat it again and again.

Knowing I could never recall all six without practice, I decided to pick one to try saying deliberately for a time as a (decidedly non-scientific) experiment. The one that spoke to me the most was "I know you can handle this," especially thinking about Mari. My dear Mari is so capable, but she doesn't believe it yet about herself. She is often hesitant, frequently holding back even when it is an activity she would enjoy. She rarely pushes herself outside of her small comfort zone, physically or emotionally. After Trey arrived, her reluctance to try new experiences combined with a very normal preschooler reaction to having a new sibling and snowballed into an insistence that she couldn't do even the simplest things for herself (like putting on her shoes). Earlier this year it had grown to near-constant cries of, "I can't do it!" and "Help me!"

When moments came up in the day when I'd normally expect her to start resisting, like dropping her off at preschool or asking her to do a task, I'd look her in the eyes and say confidently, "I know you can handle this." I said it a lot. So many times in a day that it started to feel ridiculous.

But it wasn't ridiculous to Mari. Right from the start I noticed that she seemed to move through the "I can't do it" wails a little bit faster. And one sunny afternoon she dangled from the monkey bars in our backyard--a section of the play structure that usually drove her to tears and pleas for rescue--and called out, "Mama! Look at me! Look at me, Mama!" When I told her that I saw her, she shared with an enormous grin, "I can do so many things!"

It it hard to believe something about yourself if you never hear it said aloud.

I've posted these six messages on my office wall behind my desk, where I see them as I work. I'm hoping all six will become a regular part of language I use with the children, that these will become the messages they hear now from me and from their own inner voices in the future.

*A footnote said the list came from
Kids Are Worth It! : Giving Your Child The Gift Of Inner Discipline by Barbara Coloroso.

November 01, 2012

Countdown to Interview Day: 13

We had over 100 bloggers register for this year's Adoption Blogger Interview Project! You can see the list here. There have been a couple of hiccups, which is to be expected when trying to virtually overlap this many strangers. But overall it seems like a really interesting, varied group of writers with some intriguing random pairings.

Thank you to everyone who helped spread the word online. It was a treat for me to read the different posts and blurbs of people describing the project, especially people who talked about their experiences participating in previous years. The winner of the Amazon gift card for helping to publicize is Susan from Susan and Mitch (hope to) adopt!

The interviews show up on November 14--less than two weeks now to wait...
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