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