Saturday, November 2, 2013

Advocating for Change: Sometimes it's the Little Things


I treasure my adoptionland friends, both those I've met in person and those I only know online.  They're my go-to people when difficult feelings arise and are fantastic resources for information in a variety of areas related to adoption.  Sometimes though when I compare myself to others who blog extensively, engage in high-level activism, or are professionally involved in areas related to adoption, I feel incredibly insignificant.  This is a little blog with a handful of readers.  Though I write at Lost Daughters, my postings there are few.  Sometimes I feel like I don't quite measure up to those whom I see as doing the real work.

Water ripple
by alegri / 4freephotos.com

As I said in an earlier post, I tend try to bring about change in relational ways.  And maybe that's OK.  Yesterday morning I had a two new friends over for coffee, only to discover as we talked that one of them works for a local adoption agency.  The other has an interest in helping vulnerable children, and had considered volunteering with the Safe Families program. As the conversation turned to adoption, I quietly slipped from my chair at the kitchen table and walked toward my basement, pretending I needed to speak with my son.

What I really did was sit down on my basement steps, hold my head in shaking hands, and pray.

Before my guests had arrived, I had browsed Facebook.  As expected, some friends had made Happy Adoption Month! posts.  I understand that they love their children, but it simply didn't feel good seeing adoption blithely celebrated when there is so much about it that either brings me grief or needs reform, especially when the celebration will be going on for an entire month. Their posts left me feeling a little jumpy. I felt blindsided and not prepared emotionally for the situation I was in.

I didn't want to be rude or hurtful, but I also wasn't up to sitting through the conversation I thought was coming -- one filled with fluffy industry-speak designed to separate moms and babies in the name of "making dreams come true", entirely devoid of anything more than a cursory glance at deeper issues. But friends, God is good, and was not the conversation that was had.

Instead, we engaged in frank talk about adoptee rights, coercive practices, and the potential impact of the bills just passed in Michigan's House of Representatives, should they become law. We talked of Safe Haven laws and of the recent law suit filed by the State of Illinois against a large California agency. We spoke of the importance of preserving families and the lack of resources for struggling parents, and of how to balance the desire to see families stay together with the painful realities of the complicated issues which sometimes make that a difficult option. Though my friend who works in the industry and I did not see entirely eye-to-eye in every aspect, I was encouraged and even surprised by the number of things we did agree on.

And there were shared tears among the three of us, not quite shed, but still visible signs of empathy and compassion.  Each person stepped away from that table with sober recognition of the weight of the issues associated with adoption.

Will the conversation result in change?  I think so.  How could it not?  Even a tiny, seemilngly insignificant drop of water creates a ripple effect.

I'm also currently coming alongside a young friend experiencing uncertainty about her pregnancy due to her circumstances.  I can't make her decision for her, nor should I, but I can offer my love and encouragement, I can provide her with possible resources, and I can arm her with critical information.  It might not be glamorous or garner a great deal of attention, but its important to her and to her baby.  It could be life changing.

 And that's enough for me.



photo by tibchrisvia PhotoRee




The Starfish

There was an old writer that used to go to the beach in the mornings and walk, sometimes for hours, in search of inspiration for his writing. On one such occasion he was taking his walk and as he looked down the beach he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. 

The old man smiled to himself at the vision of someone dancing with the sunrise and continued on his way, curiosity having got the better of him. As he came closer he saw that it was a young man and he was not dancing at all. He was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean. 

As the old man got closer he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?" 

The young man paused and replied, "Throwing starfish into the ocean." 

"I can see that, but WHY?" "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in they'll die." 

The boy stated this so matter-of-factly that the old man was taken aback at first, wondering if there was some logic he was missing. He said quietly, "young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and thousands of starfish all along it? You can't possibly make a difference!" 

The young man listened politely then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves. 

He turned to the old man with a smile and said, "it made a difference for that one." 
Based on "The Star Thrower" by Loren Eiseley



Thursday, October 31, 2013

Looking Toward National Adoption Awareness Month

November, National Adoption Awareness Month, is nearly upon us. For many adoptees and parents, the propaganda associated with November's adoption focus is far more menacing than October's gruesome Halloween displays.

For my part, I will see if I can get it together to post a little more during the month, but it's doubtful that I will be able to post daily. While I often think about adoption and various associated issues, other areas of my life need to take priority. I do feel drawn to offer my efforts to adoption reform in the form of influencing both policy and attitudes, but for now much of that is being done behind the scenes conversationally, rather that here at my blog. Don't think that my desire for change has lessened just because you don't see me here often.

This November, take some time to read. Take time to understand. Be willing to listen to those who challenge the industry narrative. And then, add your voice. Together, we really can make positive changes.

To get started, be sure to check out Musings of the Lame's  30 Days of Adoption Activism!  I'm personally looking forward to reading Claudia's Day 2 post, and hope you will pay particular attention.

November is also a month where we typically focus on gratitude. This year, I'm grateful to be in a better place emotionally than I was last year. I am a full year into reunion rather than a few months. I am stronger. I am more healed and more whole.  

I can look National Adoption Awareness Month in face and know that while I may flinch, I will still 
stand. 









Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Adoption Truth Responds to Attorney in Veronica Brown Case

After commenting on a news article, my friend Cassi at Adoption Truth received a facebook communication from Lori Alvino McGill, attorney for Christy Maldonado in Adoptive Couple vs. Baby Veronica case.  You can read Cassi's response here.  I am once again grateful for Cassi's strength, and her powerful voice.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Media Failures in Cherokee Adoption Case

It's good to see that at least some people realize how unbalanced and scewed reporting of the "Baby Veronica" case has been.  My heart continues to go out to Veronica, and I pray that somehow she will be allowed to remain with her own family.

Media Failures Lead to Flawed Understandings in Cherokee Adoption Case, by Michael Corcoran, Truthout

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lost Daughters Welcome Baby Veronica to the Tribe


I want to thank my friends at Lost Daughters for their recent  round table discussion, in which they expressed their thoughts on the "Baby Veronica" case.  They are bright, articulate women whose words are worth reading.

Like my LD sisters, I am bereft over the decision to separate Veronica from her father. I wasn't able to participate in the round table because I was having my own adoption meltdown at the time. Yes, adoption is forever! : /. 

I can hardly express my outrage over this situation. I'm shocked. I'm saddened. I'm horrified. As many others at LD mentioned, I have had to stay away from reading too much about the case recently. I followed it with interest for quite some time, and even read the court transcript. I truly believed Dusten Brown would be awarded custody of his daughter. Any other outcome was unthinkable. However, the most recent decisions have caused such heaviness of heart that I have had to take a step back. 

As a mother of sons, I find the situation terrifying, and rightly so. The laws pertaining to the rights of fathers in many states are abysmal. I will be searching out the laws in my state and adding the information to the discussions I have with my sons as they mature. 

I can only imagine the lifetime impact this will have on Veronica, and welcome her as a fellow lost daughter with a grieving heart.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Adoption is Forever, Even on Vacation

I'm sitting by a pool in a town well known for its low key, fun loving atmosphere. I have the entire pool and garden area to myself right now, not counting the black and white kitty who is lounging on a shady step.  My flip flops have been tossed carelessly to the ground, and there's one more beer in my ice bucket.  This is the good stuff.

There's just one little problem.  I said I was alone, but really I'm not.  Adoption is right here with me.

I just listened to a phone message, and am fairly sure a sibling I just recently met is going to be moving pretty far away.  Where we each live now, there's a bit of a drive, but it's close enough that we still have the opportunity to connect and build a relationship. The possible move, which I had heard about earlier and may now be becoming a reality, would make that a lot more difficult.  If we had grown up knowing each other, this wouldn't be such a big deal. But we didn't. The society that thought children born to unmarried parents would be better off being given to other people and stripped of any knowledge of our biological families or siblings saw to that via the adoption machine.

So, I a few minutes ago I sat here in this beautiful little spot and didn't even bother to wipe away my tears.  The kitty didnt seem to mind, and I was glad not to have to pretend that everything was OK.  I already do that enough where adoption is concerned.

There are blogs and t-shirts and happy adoptive parents all informing me that ADOPTION IS FOREVER!!

Trust me, I don't need any reminders.