Saturday, December 31, 2005

Is Adoption a Human Rights Issue?

Take a look at this article from The Korea Times on domestic adoption and the large number of children who find themselves in legal limbo.

No ‘Home Sweet Home’ for Adoptees

Thursday, December 29, 2005

APs - Prepare to be offended - Par Deux

Harsh, funny, and it does a good job of skewing a lot of the adoption triad PC language. Get past the obvious and you'll see a lot of poignant truth.

(And I always cringe at the "Born in the wrong tummy", "Meant to be" crap. I have no idea what is meant to be. For me or any of my children, bio and adopted. I just know what is and that we all have to find a way of dealing with 'what is', whatever that may be, best we can.)

Bastardly Toy Box

Sunday, December 25, 2005

It's Time for a Change

I've been a small business owner for almost 19 years but never afford to pay for health insurance for myself or my staff. (I always depended on my spouse for coverage.)

Today, while my spouse continues to look for enhanced work opportunities, he works at a job that's important, but doesn't pay particularly well - but it offers federal benefits.

So he, like so many others, basically works for the benefits. And that frankly, sucks. I think many of us would start new businesses, go for the gold and gusto, etc. if we knew we wouldn't put ourselves and families at risk of losing the all-important health insurance.

And G-d help you if you have a break in coverage.

I think it's time for a change. Check out the link below and add your boice. It's time for sanity in health care coverage.

Access to Health: An American Values Initiative
We believe access to affordable healthcare is a right - not a privilege.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

My baby turns 7

Today my youngest child turns age 7. We had a Sleepover Princess Party for her and a few friends. A first sleepover for all concerned, all went well except for one little girl who at 2:30am decided she didn't like our cat glaring at her. So she and I slept in my little one's room, me in the captain's bed and little friend in her sleeping bag.

I slept awful and awoke to strawberry-banana pancakes, made by hubby, with a raging headache. At almost 51, I'm getting way too old for this #$#%^$%!@.

Or maybe not :=)

Our tradition for our adopted son and daughter is to light an extra candle on their birthday cake in honor of their birth mothers. We light a candle and make a wish and a prayer for their good health. Daughter was too excited to really focus on this with so many gifts to unwrap but I do, and will continue, to try and make real this "shadow" mother in her life.

She is so very real to me. At 4am listening in the dark to the measured breathing of the child not mine in a little pink bedroom, I think about this woman and what brought her to make such a wrenching decision. I think about how different (and not different) daughter's life would have been raised in Korea by her birth parents and/or birth mother.

And I grieve for all, even if daughter herself does not appear to grieve.

Daughter, however, still doesn't seem much interested in any of it. (In contrast to my son who is VERY interested in his Korean parents and wants to know so much more.) She is content in her present. I don't expect it will always be that way, and I'm gearing myself for her particular set of questions, but for now, she is who she is.

Wishing all of you a happy, healthy and peaceful Christmas and Chanukkah. (Another week of gifts ... oh joy!)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Celebrity Adoption - Korea Style

Two related articles about a celebrity couple in Korea adopting a baby girl

Article 1

Article 2

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Wretched Excess for 13 year olds

Saw this article in The Washington Post Style Section Today. The wild, over-the-top of Bar and Bat Mitzvah receptions in NYC.

13 and Counting: In N.Y., Bar and Bat Mitzvah Parties Add Up to Lavish, Theatrical Events

And where is G-d in all this tumult? Hiding for sure. Throwing up? Definitely.

In contrast to my co-religionists in the north, we had an extremely modest afternoon luncheon at our home to celebrate our eldest daughter's Bat Mitzvah. Her dad and I were married in that house and it struck me that a reception there, before we moved, made poetic sense. We had about 50 people, and hired a DJ so the kids could dance outside on the deck. The house was shining clean and filled with flowers, the landscaping perfect, the food was great, served well, and family and friends ate, drank and laughed.

It really was perfect. And while not cheap, we didn't sacrifice our retirement nest egg for a 13-year old's party.

Even in our small, relatively working class former congregation, having the reception at home, as opposed to an outside venue, was, shall we say, unusual.

But hey, that's always been part of my abundant charm.


PBS documentary -- Tuesday, December 13 -- 10PM
Tonight at 10PM, PBS will show the documentary Seoul Train.

In the riveting documentary SEOUL TRAIN, filmmakers Jim Butterworth, Lisa Sleeth and Aaron Lubarsky expose the life-and-death struggle faced by North Koreans who attempt to flee their homeland through China, a country that does not recognize their legal status as refugees.

File under: Sure Why Not, It's About Time

This is something long overdue. Contact your US Congressional Rep and let 'em know.

HR 487: Korean American Day January 13!

FYI, on Tuesday afternoon the House will take up a measure (H.Res. 487) "supporting the goals and ideals of Korean American Day". The resolution was introduced by Tom Davis and has 54 cosponsors.

H.Res. 487 is being considered under "suspension of the rules",
which is an expedited procedure reserved for noncontroversial
measures. A 2/3 vote is required for passage and no amendments are

The Senate also has a similar measure (S. Res. 283), introduced by
Sens. George Allen and Dick Durbin. It has yet to be brought up in
committee or on the Senate floor.

Here's the text of the House resolution:

1st Session
H. RES. 487
Supporting the goals and ideals of Korean American Day.
October 7, 2005
Mr. TOM DAVIS of Virginia (for himself, Mr. RANGEL, Mr. CAPUANO, and
Mr. ROYCE) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to
the Committee on Government Reform
Supporting the goals and ideals of Korean American Day.

Whereas the influence of Korean Americans may be observed in all
facets of American life, including entrepreneurship, the arts, and

Whereas on January 13, 1903, 102 pioneer Korean immigrants arrived
in the United States initiating the first chapter of Korean
immigration to America;

Whereas ! the centennial year of 2003 marked an important milestone
in the history of Korean immigration;

Whereas Korean Americans, like other groups of immigrants that came
to the United States before them, have settled and thrived in the
United States through strong family ties, community support, and
hard work;

Whereas Korean Americans have made significant contributions to the
economic vitality of the United States and the global marketplace;

Whereas Korean Americans have invigorated businesses, churches, and
academic communities in the United States;

Whereas Korean Americans have made enormous contributions to the
military strength of the United States;

Whereas today, at least 4,000 Korean Americans serve in the Armed
Forces of the United States, with approximately 25 percent of them
currently serving in Iraq; and

Whereas the Centennial Committees of Korean Immigration and Kore! an
Americans have designated January 13 of each year as `Korean
American Day' to commemorate the first step of the long and
prosperous journey of Korean Americans in the United States: Now,
therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
(1) supports the goals and ideals of a Korean American Day;
(2) urges all Americans to observe Korean American Day so as to have
a greater appreciation of the invaluable contributions Korean
Americans have made to United States; and
(3) honors and recognizes the 103rd anniversary of the arrival of
the first Korean immigrants to the United States.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Tom Teska - Funny Comic, Angry KAD

I have a thing for comics. (I spent about a year doing stand-up about a million years ago. And yes, I know Jerry Seinfeld. We went to Parkside Junior High School in Massapequa NY. I have the graduation program to prove it, too. Thanks for saving it, Grandma.)

Tom Teska is a very funny guy. He's also an adult Korean adoptee. Here's a sample from his blog. Prepare to be offended. Then read the rest of the blog. Some great stuff.

Tom Teska - South Korea Needs Babies

Korea Single Moms, Divorced or Widowed, and Their Kids - Tough Going

When we wonder why unmarried women in Korea still consider adoption as a viable option, here's another look as to why

Single mothers work, shop, help with homework, and are often challenged by the numerous demands of family life. In the eyes of their children they are often heroes, but in South Korea, single parents are treated with disdain

Saturday, November 26, 2005

More birthfamily musings

As I was giving my son his usual nighttime routine - hugs, go get water, drink water, toss cup into trash for 2 points, more hugs - he wanted to know if his birth parents thought about him.

"I know you're never far from your birth mom's thoughts, kiddo, and I know she's not far from yours. Plenty of room to love all your moms (including the transitional foster mom before he joined us.)

"How old would she be now?"

"Around 30 or so."

"She still couldn't raise me?"

"No, honey. She was a young, scared single woman when she had you. Korea makes it very hard for unmarried moms to raise their babies. But she'll always be a mom to you because you carry a piece of her inside you always. But I'm the lucky mom because I got to raise you and watch you grow every day. When we visit Korea in a few years we'll check out your file and see what else we can find out."

"We won't know Korean."

"We'll get a translator to help us."

-- I focused on his birthmom because we have more information. At this point, I'm not sure if birthdad ever knew about the pregnancy. More and more it looks like many time the adoptive parents get a sanitized version of the family history; the harder stuff remains in the file. At age 8 I'm not ready to reveal that part of "I don't know" regarding birth dad.

But I know for sure that no woman who ever gives birth ever stops thinking about her baby. I always want to be honest in the information I have and what my best guesses are, just delivered in an age-appropriate fashion.

During teacher conference, she remarked how relaxed and comfortable my son is in his own skin. Sociable and helpful, friendly and sensitive to others -- she never would have know he was the new boy in school. She also noted his insatiable need to know about people - how they were when children, their favorite shows, foods, etc.

There's no question this "need to know" is reflected in his own musings about who he is.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A biological cause of behavior?

Very interesting article about a recent study of bio vs. adopted children who spent their earliest years in institutional care

A biological cause of behavior?

Very provocative findings.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Finding a place in 2 worlds

Saw this article:

As more Jews adopt, perceptions of Jewish identity change

Strikes me that both families profiled are having trouble finding balance. My 8 year-old describes himself as a Korean-American Jew - so which comes first? The noun or the double modifier?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Race Matters - and a whole lot more.

Yahoo news has a report this morning regarding bullying in schools,
specifically targeting Asians--a distressing read to start the week

Asian Youths Suffer Harassment in Schools

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Been hectic!

It's been a hectic few weeks... report cards tomorrow, teacher conferences the following week (oh boy, can't wait for those!), and getting AdoptShoppe fully in gear for the holidays. (Visit when you get a chance. Several new children's books have been added and we just got in our Chinese Baby Shoes Shadowboxes - we're down to just 16 left to sell - very popular last year.)

We went to a bat mitzvah this past weekend, last kid of the original group of 4 who started Torah for Tots when they were all age 3. (Can't believe how fast 10 years goes by.)

Our former rabbi asked us if we made the right choice leaving our old community for the new. My reply? Yes, and every day when I open the Metro section of the Washington Post, I'm convinced even more. We went by our old house. Lawn is overgrown, ankle deep in leaves, dead flowers in the hanging baskets. So much love went into that house for 15 years. Sad to sit it looking shabby when it postively glowed 6 months ago.

Uh oh, I'm getting nostalgic. Sorry.

Monday, October 24, 2005

But my kids are native English speakers!

Wow, what an exciting day. Today, I get notices regarding my first grader and third graders - from the ESOL coordinator!!! Seems like my kids' teachers assumed since the children are adopted, they don't speak English as a first language.

The fact that my kids language arts skills were never in question before didn't enter into the equation.


Of course, I informed the ESOL coordinator that it would have been better to have the teacher or herself speak with me personally to find out why my 3rd grader is a creative speller or forgets to make capital letters at the beginning of a sentence sometimes ... or why my first grader (barely first grade) still doesn't know all of her punctuation. Or maybe their former county school system, albeit not at the quality where we're at now, didn't stress this in previous grades.

I told the ESOL teacher my kids didn't qualify and shouldn't take up spaces for kids who really need the enrishment. My son needs to learn how to spell better, so he will. My daughter will need to write more clearly, so we'll practice together.

And next time, I told her, call me before you send any notes home.

Friends, be prepared for a raft of assumptions about your family and your children. Be prepared to be your children's strongest advocates. Even in the best school systems, you will indeed be called to battle stereotypes, assumptions, what have you based on your children's race and adoptedness.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Adopt a Staffer? Honey, I Don't Think So...

My oldest child's middle school has an "Adopt A Staff Person" program. I probably don't need to tell you what I think about that. So of course, I whipped on back a quick reply as to why it was an inappropriate use of the term.

I heard back today. Here's a snippet from the committee chair's reply.


Yikes. My response:

As a marketing writer and a mom to 3 children, 2 of whom were adopted from Korea and attend the elementary school next door, I know that the term adoption can be used in many contexts. It doesn't mean, however, that we can't change our terminology. Ethnic groups are an example of how terminology can evolve to something more sensitive, culturally aware. I believe adoption terms can and should also evolve. Especially when its easy to use "sponsorship" or "support" instead of adoption when used to describe programs such as yours. It's also far more accurate.

I would venture that there are numerous adoptive families -- as well as those students who are also adoptees -- who would applaud this small change in terminology. It might also encourage increased participation by even more families. Myself and our family included.

Words are powerful tools. They can hurt and heal. Encourage and discourage. Uplift and debase. But rarely are they neutral. I'd ask that the PTA and appropriate committees consider how they can do the better, the more inclusive, and even the more accurate thing by revising your program's name accordingly.

Again, I appreciate your consideration and the time you took to respond to my concerns.

And so it goes...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Triplet of Adoption Articles

This was mentioned on one of the many adoption listgroups I belong to. All the articles are extremely well-written and thought-provoking.

Do check out the one on Korean Adoptees and the one on Yunona, which represents one of the worst adoption "bottom-feeders" out there. You can read that for yourself, too.

From American RadioWorks

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Unwed Mom Stats from Korea

As reported by The Korea Times...

Six Become Mothers Out of Wedlock a Day

I liked the fact that domestic adoption within Korea is increasing. But clearly, over 70% of these single moms are, for whatever reason, deciding to make their children available for adoption rather than parent themselves.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Jewish Tao

In honor of the High Holidays, some examples of Jewish Tao (I didn't write these, but I do think they're clever.)

The Torah says,"Love thy neighbor as thyself."
The Buddha says there is no "self."
So, maybe you are off the hook.


Be here now.
Be someplace else later.
Call your mother


There is no escaping karma.
In a previous life, you never called,
you never wrote, you never visited.
And whose fault was that?

Feel free to pass them along to your favorite philosopher.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Wishes for a sweet, happy, and peaceful New Year!

On Rosh Hashanah, we celebrate the birthday of the world. It's a time of personal reflection, repentence, and renewal. I wish you all a joyous, healthy New Year and that G-d write us all in the Book of Life for yet another year.Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Who knew it could be so easy?

From the NY Times. You don't have to be Jewish to well, look for hope in all kinds of places...

Fertile Blessings Indeed

I prefer my blessings come from live saints, but hey, what do I know?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Article from "Inside China"

You will be discomforted by this article and there's a lot of context that the author simply misses, but try to read between the lines and get a sense of what the Chinese folks themselves really feel.

INSIDE CHINA: CHINESE TAKEAWAYSDay 1 .. the American child adoption factory
From Anton Antonowicz In Guangzhou, China
BREAKFAST ends at the White Swan Hotel and it is time for a group photograph. There are 21 adults, all beaming. And 11 baby girls, all Chinese.

Instant families courtesy of the White Swan Express.


Friday, September 23, 2005

Want to help fund an adoption film?

Looks like this could be worth your while and support:

What is the Adoption Project?

Adoption: An American Revolution is a major multimedia project that will explore how transformations taking place in adoption today are having far-reaching effects on all our public and private lives.

The centerpiece of the project will be a two-hour documentary special for national public broadcasting. The documentary will feature a rich tapestry of original stories, illuminating the joys, the challenges and the impact of adoption.

The television broadcast will be linked to an ambitious adoption education effort, with innovative adoption-related materials for public libraries and schools, a new Web site with adoption resources, and more.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Poignant Article by Dan Savage

From the NY Times this past week

DJ's Homeless Mommy

Thoughtful, incisive, painful and real.

Monday, September 12, 2005

This could be about any of our Korean-born sons and daughters

Although international adoption has brought me two blessings of the most wonderful kind, I have remained ambivalent about Korea's general domestic social welfare response to poverty and single parenthood. It's changing, but change is slow.

Check out this article from

Korean-born in U.S. return to a home they never knew
Many locate lost families, others work to change international adoption policy

Note the thread about racial isolation.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Now that she's almost 7...

My youngest daughter will be 7 in December. She's now at the age where she's beginning to understand that to be with her adoptive family ** now ** there is birth family who was unable to take care of her and keep her ** then **.

Last night, as she was getting ready to close her eyes and we spent a few quiet moments in the dark together, she heard my son say he saw another shooting star. (We live close to an airport. I think he sees planes, but that's another story.)

Daughter says, "I think Brother made a wish about his birth mom." "Really," I replied. "What kind of wish do you think he made?" But she didn't respond. Then she looked at me and started to say, "Why didn't my birth mom keep ..." and then she immediately rephrased, "Why couldn't my birth mom take care of me?"

We spoke about the reasons why a birth mom couldn't take care of a little baby and why sometimes a different family is needed. I also mentioned that it's okay to love your birth mom and your "lucky" mom (that's me) all together. She never has to make a choice. There's plenty love enough to go around.

That was good enough to sleep on.

It was interesting to me to watch her process the information and change "why didn't she keep me" to "why couldn't she take care of me".

Maybe I'm doing a little something right, at least for now.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

More than a week past the horror

I won't go on and on about the past week ... the stupidity, the ineptitude, the pissing contests between the feds/state/local governments. Much has already been written.

But hey, when Barbara Bush thinks dem po' black folks are doing better living in the Astrodome than in their own homes, I just have to let you see this blog entry from The Nation.

And for a timeline of the criminal stupidity, here's how wikipedia details it.

What's race and even more importantly economic class got to do with it? Just everything.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

When there are no words...

There have been, are, and will be many rivers of blog entries on the devastation of New Orleans and the other Gulf Coast areas.

I, however, can only weep and wonder why G-d stepped out for his smoke break at precisely the wrong time.

I watch the pictures and every child is my child, every parent is me, and as I watch the hungry and haunted move throughout the flood-swollen streets I think how thin our veneer of civilization. In a moment, the richest amongst us and the poorest are reduced to the same squalor and devastation. To my thinking, this is a picture of how the world could end if we're not a whole lot smarter.

I am profoundly sad but since I have the means, I've given my share to the Red Cross to aid in the clean-up and recovery. I urge you to do the same, whether it's the Red Cross or another organization.

If you have a roof over your head tonite, clean water to drink and enough food to eat, trot on over to and send 'em what you can. If nothing else, we can restore a little of the gloss to the veneer.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Adopt a staff member?

This will be a short one ... kids just started school today and I have writer's cramp from filling out tens of forms. But one little item caught my eye.

On one of numerous sheets, there was notice of an Adopt A Staff Member at the kids' elementary school. The idea is to adopt a staff member and send them little gifts, cards, etc for their morale. (Hey, I'd like some more of that kinda thing, too. Who wouldn't.)

But the use of adopt in this case, of course, didn't set well with me. So I filled out the form with an arrow for the reader to see my remarks on the back. I explained that as an adoptive mom the use of adopt/adoption in this case was offensive. I'll be happy to sponsor, support, hug and kiss a staff member if they so choose, but please don't use adoption in this context.

I signed it with my email and phone #. I'm sure when it's read I'll go straight to the PIA Parent List with a gold star by my name.

Ask me if I care. Really, ask me. Puh-leeeeeeze.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Slowly pulling my life back together

Well, with excrutiating slowness, life is beginning to resemble some form of normalcy ... I'm getting my Washington Post in the morning, have cable again (with the nifty digital on-demand thing), and after wanting to hit my head repeatedly on the wall waiting for Verizon to install my DSL only to be told they don't know when they can because the central office is full, I got a cable modem.

Of course, the first one was defective. Got a new one and wow, I'm back in business. (You can't do business in a dial-up environment anymore. Don't even try.)

My house, however, is still a mess.

Kids are registered for school (after providing sheets and sheets of proof and documentation that yes, we live here. Really.) which starts on Monday. Thursday am orientation for my middle schooler. Friday afternoon orientation for my youngest 2.

Tonite we go to Staples for supplies and eat pizza.

Lots of adoption/racial things floating around my head as of late. I'll be back in a few days to discuss.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Longest week of my life

Finally, finally, finally ... after 3 trucks and 2x a day (sometimes 3x a day) trips between the old place and the new -- we're home in our new place. Phones are screwed up and my DSL won't be installed until Thursday evening.

This dial-up thing bites.

Met one neighbor. Quiet, loves his garden, and has a daughter the same age as my eldest so she has someone to walk to the bus stop with (in the very least, we'll know where the bus stop is.)

After 25 years of knowing where everything was in my previous community, exploring again is exciting and nerve wracking.

Be back in a few days.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Moving Day!

Well, tomorrow is the day ... the big move with the big burly guys and the 2 big trucks. Said good-bye to the ladies at the post office, said goodbye to our Rabbi, and said goodbye to the owners of our favorite Chinese restaurant.

I'll be back in a few days (if Verizon gets our promised phone service up and running. Was supposed to be today, but ... ) and let you know how it goes. (We haven't met any of our neighbors yet, but we hear there are several kids close to our kids' ages.

Here's hoping so.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Did you know that Steve Jobs was adopted? Me either...

Here's an excerpt from his commencement address at Stanford University. Note the information about his birth mother and the circumstances of his adoption.

(excerpted from Steve Jobs' commencement speech, June
2005 at Stanford University):

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months,
but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months
or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a
young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to
put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I
should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was
all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his
wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the
last minute that they really wanted a girl.

So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in
the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected
baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course."

My biological mother later found out that my mother had
never graduated from college and that my father had never
graduated from high school.

She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only
relented a few months later when my parents promised that
I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively
chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford,
and all of my working-class parents' savings were being
spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't
see the value in it.

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no
idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And
here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved
their entire life.

So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work
out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back
it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute
I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes
that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the
ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic.

I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in
friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢
deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles
across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a
week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of
what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and
intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me
give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best
calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the
campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was
beautifully hand-ornamented with calligraphy.

Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the
normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to
learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif
typefaces, about varying the amount of space between
different letter combinations, about what makes great
typography great.

It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a
way that science can't capture, and I found it

None of this had even a hope of any practical application
in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing
the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And
we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first
computer with beautiful typography.

If I had never dropped in on that single course in
college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces
or proportionally spaced fonts.

And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no
personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped
out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy
class, and personal computers might not have the
wonderful typography that they do.

Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking
forward when I was in college. But it was very, very
clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you
can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to
trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.
You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life,
karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and
it has made all the difference in my life.



Sunday, July 31, 2005

It's a girl thing -- or maybe not

My youngest kids, son and daughter, go to a local Tae Kwan Do (karate) school. They both started as "no belts" through an after-school program. School instruction is lead by a young man, mid 20s is my guess, who I'm guessing is a Korean-born native. (Very slight accent which I always notice since so many in my own family were foreign born and speak with accents.) He is an excellent instructor overall and my kids adore him.

Son has really taken to the program. He loves it and is good at it. He's strong and a little bit lumbering, but he's a thoughtful fighter. Daughter likes to do what brother does, so while she lacks the passion, she makes up for it in determination. She is petite but powerful and can do boy push-ups like nobody's business. She's also quite elegant as she moves through her forms and she's not afraid to mix it up while sparring.

They recently tested for their second "stripe or tip" on their while belts, last stop on their way to yellow belt status. Both were fully geared up for testing. My son was ready, wasn't sure about daughter.

So they both tested. Son did fine, tho he fell during one of his forms. He got his tip. Daughter didn't know her student creed or the order of the forms but did fine through everything else. I didn't think she'd get her tip (and she didn't), but what interested me was the instructor's response.

He was much more encouraging of my son through the testing process than my daughter, even with the fall. When daughter tested, he seemed more strict, less accommodating. His approach to her a bit harsher when she failed to pass. All subtle, but both hubby and I noticed it. (Daughter is also a crier and although he had her back to me, I knew we were in for the full waterworks when I watched her nod her head and pull her hair a bit furiously while being talked to. Instructor looked uncomfortable with her tears and didn't look at her again for the remaining session.)

So I wondered what I was actually watching. Did I see a bit of that Asian/Korean cultural thing about the value of girls being less than boys? I see it a lot at our local Chinese restaurant where we've known the owners since they opened. They continue to fawn over son, call him by name and while friendly, it's not the same over daughter. (And I can't think of a time they have called her by name.) It was all very subtle, but I saw it clear as day. (And if my hubby saw it, it was a neon sign.)

I'm also thinking about our move to a new part of Maryland which, as one its features, has a larger Asian-American population, especially Korean. I think about the KA community and their reaction to my KADs (Korean adoptees) (and not only KADs, but Jewish KADs.) In this world, my children's adopted-ness will most likely take first seat to their Asian-ness.

To paraphrase Barbie, "This adoptive parenting stuff is hard." The subtle interplay of race, culture, circumstances of birth, family status, gender roles, faith - which leads and when. And I can only guide, I can't protect - especially as my children get older.

Potty-training was easier.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Update on Bethany

Looks like Bethany in MS has changed their minds. Catholics ARE Christians. (I don't know about you, but I'm relieved.)


Seriously, tho, do we really need these artificial impediments to keep qualified men and women from adopting children who sorely need loving homes? But don't get me started. I may start to question even more ...

Snappy Comebacks & Related Comments

Wonderful collection of adoption, language, stupid questions, and snappy comebacks collected by another adoptive mom with attitude. (Disclaimer, you'll see "Roberta's List of 14 Nosy Questions" as one of the links.

Snappy Comebacks to Stupid Questions and more

This is a keeper. I'd bookmark it for your personal collection.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Palm-type Gear for Parents

I don't have a Palm, Blackberry or any of the numerous things folks tote around, but here's a nice link to a bunch of very useful parent/kid organizer programs.

Baby/Parent Medical Organizer and Related Software for Your Palm

Saturday, July 23, 2005

AsianWeek Article - Nastily Hilarious: ‘The Kims of Comedy’

Interesting article about 3 Korean-American comics working today, one of whom was adopted.

Nastily Hilarious: ‘The Kims of Comedy’

Having done stand-up comedy - (yes, I really did, albeit briefly in my early 20s), I understand that comedy can be used aggressively to challenge assumptions, stereotypes, and simply to shock (think Margaret Cho, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, and George Carlin, who is still on angry, angry dude). Comedy has also been a way for minorities to get their point across to the mainstream majority in a safer, less threatening fashion. Sorta like ethnic restaurants. First we'll get you used to our food. Then we'll make you laugh. And when you least expect it, we'll move in next door and marry your children.

There is a method to the laughter, n'est pas? (Someone please correct my french. I only had 2 years of it in high school.)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

One door closes...

So yesterday we settled on our current house. This has been an arduous process (settlement was several days late), so by the time it actually came (with only a few hours notice), hubby and I were simply going through the motions. Title company gave us a bottle of champagne, but I'm not quite ready to celebrate just yet. 3 weeks ahead of changing phones, closing this, opening that is a little overwhelming right now.

Perhaps I'll have some pithy adoption-related tidbit for you tomorrow. In the meantime, feel free to talk amongst yourselves :=) No topic. Think of it as "adult swim" time.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Testing Toys

I'll be testing blogger toys over the next few days. Check out the little tag board thingie in the right column.

Meant to be?

As you may or may not know, I'm the owner of and we sell a variety of adoption gifts and books. As the owner of the store, I have the freedom to merchandise it, to some degree, to my own sensibilities. Hence, you won't find certain popular adoption lifebooks because I don't like the adoption language used.

What you also won't find is merchandise tagged with stuff like, "Meant to Be" because where are the birth parents left in the equation? Some poor Korean girl factory worker falls in love, gets pregnant outside of marriage and makes an adpption plan because her baby is actually meant to be mine?

No, sorry. That doesn't work for me. I don't know that my children, any of them, were meant to be. I had a few miscarriages before my eldest was born. I had lots more after she was born. Had any of those other pregnancies been viable, my family size and make-up would have been different. I don't think I was meant to suffer all those losses. I think I was meant to be open to life's possibilities, the good and the not-so-good.

Back to "meant to be." For those of us who believe in reincarnation (I'm open on the subject, would like to believe it's possible), there is the belief that we tend to travel in familiar groups, the roles simply change. So, your wife in this life could have been a brother or distant uncle in a previous life. Sometimes we orbit close, sometimes not. If this is the case, perhaps our children's birth parents (unknown to us now but maybe not in the long continuum of things) are fellow travelers. We have been connected over many lifetimes and will continue to be over many more.

Now that's something I could put on a t-shirt - Fellow Traveler on Life's Continuum. What do you think?

Saturday, July 16, 2005

From CNN - Bethany Agency in MS won't work with Catholics

Not being Christian, I've always found the "Are Catholics Christians?" puzzling. Looks like Bethany in Mississippi has a specific stand on the question, and they say no, they aren't.

Christian adoption agency snubs Catholics

Friday, July 15, 2005

Article from The Jewish Week - The Color of Inclusion

Not only are we a blended family - biological and adopted children ... not only are we a transracial/multicultural family ... we are also a Jewish family. Wow, now that's a lot of extra stuff, ain't it.

The "look" of the Jewish community is certainly changing - through intermarriage, adoption, etc. I thought you might find this article interesting.

The Color Of Inclusion
West Coast conference brings together Jews of color from across the globe to celebrate diversity.

Debra Nussbaum Cohen - Staff Writer

NYTimes Article - What is cultural identity anyhow?

Not about adoption specifically, but I thought it brought up some interesting points about cultural identity.

ARTS / MUSIC | July 12, 2005
Latin American Singer's Rainbow Coalition of Identities

For music listeners fascinated by questions of cultural identity, Jorge Drexler is the man.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Interview with Cheri Register

Here's a link to an interview with Cheri Register. She's the author of "Are Those Kids Yours" and her new book "Beyond Good Intentions." (These are two must-reads for adoptive parents.)

Read Article Here

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Article from

Article from

Whether Or Not There Are "Issues," Parents Need to Talk With Their Mixed Heritage Kids

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Neither here nor there

I realized it had been a while since I added to the Adoptive Parent section of but with so much on my plate lately, I thought I'd blog at least part of the section because it seemed a little easier, a lot cooler, and I get to play with a new web toy.

As of this writing, we're less than a week from closing on the house we've lived and loved in for 15 years. I was married in this house, rocked 3 babies in this house, and in May we celebrated Hilary's (our first-born) Bat Mitzvah in this house.

But we're moving from the state's second worst public school system to its best and where the Asian-American community is more visible. I've lived in this area for almost 25 years, longer than I lived on LI growing up in Massapequa, and it's a very bittersweet parting.

But for my children, all my children, the time has come for us to make a change. Spence is almost 8 and going into 3rd grade. Piper is 6-1/2 and entering first grade. They're exciting about seeing more Asian kids and living in a brand-new place. Hilary is entering 8th grade and is looking forward to the challenges of a more achievement-oriented middle school compared to where she's been (but she'll sad about the friends she'll be leaving behind. Me, too.)

And so welcome to my blog where over the next days, weeks, and months, I'll be sharing the next phase of our lives together.

The Mom of AdoptKorea Posted by Picasa