Sunday, April 18, 2010


Julie and I are (only three weeks in to the waiting) are feeling very well taken care of by Barker. We have been matched with and met with two mentor families who are incredibly helpful, open and nice; we have attended our first (possibly of many) waiting parents group; and just recently attended The Barker Foundation's annual conference.

The conference was just full of great information and people. The keynote was given by Collins Tuohy, sister of Michael Oher (if you're not familiar with either of these names, see The Blind Side). While her delivery was a tad tone deaf at times (she twice referred to "Orientals"), her message was basically a good one - don't think, just go out and help. Now this talk was also a tad awkward for this audience because her message was all about adopting a child to do a good deed. Admirable as that is, it is not the reason Julie and I (or I suspect many adoptive parents) are adopting. We are adopting because we want to be parents, not because we want to be saints.

The closing speaker was Scott Simon (he of NPR Weekend Edition Saturday fame) who was, as you might imagine, a fantastic speaker. He and his wife have adopted two girls from China and he has a book coming out this summer called Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other: In Praise of Adoption. He was an articulate and funny speaker who hit all the right notes about adoption and parenting.

In between these two speakers was an afternoon of breakout sessions that covered topics like transracial adoptions, blended families (families with birth and adopted children), and open adoptions. These sessions were extremely helpful but really reinforced that my education about adoption is just beginning.

I often wonder if I will be able to keep all this in mind while dealing with everyday parenting. There can be so many levels to parenting an adopted child that it seems like it can be overwhelming to keep it all in mind. Though I suppose all parents feel like this and most do great so I'm sure I will get there. The mountain always looks more daunting at the bottom.


  1. We had so many people tell us (and continue to tell us) that M is so lucky that we adopted her. Most times we just tell them that we are the lucky ones, not the other way around. But many times I want to say so much more. Like you, we didn't set out to adopt because it was a good deed. In fact, I would sometimes joke and say there isn't a single philanthropic bone in my body. The reason we adopted is purely selfish, because we wanted to be parents. On another level it chafes me when people say how we're doing a good thing and how we've saved M. We didn't choose her, we were "matched" -as is the term used in the int'l adoption world. To say that she's lucky to have us as parents implies that we choose from a pool, we had nothing to do with it, and I suspect it's similar in the domestic adoption world in that adoptive parents don't choose, it's the other way around. So if one were really to talk about luck, it's the APs who are "lucky".

    I don't know if you guys are reading adopted adults blogs or not. Harlow's Monkey is great, for one. Sometimes as an AP it's hard to read, and many critics have called such bloggers as adopted ingrates, etc. Sure, sometimes these posts can sting, sometimes they can hark bitter sounding words. But it's important, no imperative, that APs hear the other side if we want to be the best APs possible. There are plenty of adopted people who have great family support, but there are those who also felt isolated or different. We won't know until we hear it all. So I think it's great that as APs you guys are going to these workshops, but I also think it's important to get a broad perspective and read or hear from the other side -the wide range of feelings out there.

    Another thing, one of the things I've come to learn is that adoption is not always the factor when issues come up during parenting. Some of the things that adopted bloggers write about are regular things that most people experience sometime during their life -especially during adolescence, especially transnational or blended adoptions -I say that only because as a Chi-Am female, I remember going through an identity crisis in high school and college and it had more to do with straddling two cultures. Of course, add that with adoption and it makes it more acute. Anyway, just a thought.

  2. holy smokes, sorry it's so long, should have just written you an email. Apologies.