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