Apples to Oranges: Who Constitutes “Our Own”?

January 22nd, 2010

Apples to Oranges: Who Constitutes "Our Own"?Today, my facebook friends' list is overflowing with commentary regarding the catastrophic tragedy in Haiti. While everyone is more than sympathetic, I have to admit that while I've managed to refrain from getting into huge debates I have been unable to keep my commenting to a minimum. The status updates start off quite innocuously with a discussion about the U.S.'s financial contribution to Haiti. This is not a political blog, and I have no interest in discussing that specific tenant of said topic in this forum. However, more often than not (on my friends' status updates) the topic changes immediately to anti-adoption sentiment. Not anti-adoption in general, mind you--anti-international adoption. Naturally, there are no broad claims… [more]

Chuckle, or a punch in the face?

November 14th, 2007

Back in high school, I had a good friend whose mother when miffed would, for the fifty-millionth time, say, "You know that you're just a placenta, don't you? When you were born, the doctor threw away the baby and wrapped the afterbirth up for me to take home." My father would tell anyone who asked my full name, actually Sandra Noreen, that it was Sandra No Weenie, "Because she doesn't have one." I wrapped my son's fifth birthday presents and set them all out in plain view a day in advance with the express intent of torturing him with anticipation. A quick Internet search just provided such cruelties doled out by parents onto the innocent heads of their adorable children as: If you fall out of the tree and break your legs, don't come… [more]

For Newbies: Why speak out?

July 10th, 2007

shineshell/©2007SHBenoiton Or: Why it occasionally looks like Sandra goes out of her way to annoy some people. If you're approaching the international adoption world from somewhere out there where it all seems reasonable, clear-cut and simple, sooner or later you are bound to come up against brick walls intentionally built to make the process sound either impossible, immoral, unethical, or otherwise a generally bad idea. As an adoptive parent, an advocate for children and for adoption, and a blogger for, it is my responsibility to point out the chinks in that wall, and also the reasons behind the hasty and shoddy construction. As surprising as it can seem to those new to adoption, there is a small, but vocal and determined contingent who would very much… [more]

I need help, too

May 21st, 2007

Jan Baker's post, "Help Needed to Understand" had me realizing this morning that despite all the to-ing and fro-ing she and I did a while back, understanding between birth parents and adoptive parents in general is apparently still a very long way off. It does seem that the more we learn about adoption, the more there is to learn. For my case, I've only recently come across accusations that international adoptive parents are racists, and just yesterday learned that a birth parent equates us with the devil in a book she wrote denouncing adoption. Perhaps someone can explain why birth parents lean strongly toward a tendency to point fingers at adoptive parents as if we are responsible… [more]

Between the devil and the deep blue sea … and that’s putting it gently, part 2

March 10th, 2007

Continued from here ... It is, very thankfully, beyond the scope of my rather prodigious imagination to anywhere near fully grasp the suffering that must go with the first flow of HIV-contaminated mother's milk. What can presenting that nipple feel like to a mother who understands exactly what it is she is offering? Where does the concept of the lesser of two evils right itself enough for anyone to find peace enough for milk to drop and the wherewithal to continue to bring that baby to the breast time after time after time? To shuffle, still bleeding and sore, from giving birth to walking away from a brand new baby, with nothing but a hope that someone will find the child and care… [more]

Between the devil and the deep blue sea … and that’s putting it gently

March 10th, 2007

Thanks to Holly Richardson, I now know that breastfeeding is recommended for HIV positive women in many parts of the world. As Dr Hoosen Coovadia, a pediatrician in South Africa's University of KwaZulu-Natal, told the 14th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, instructing HIV-infected mothers in developing nations to breast-feed would result in about 300,000 children becoming infected with HIV, but would save 1.5 million from dying of other diseases. On one level, I can absorb and understand this information; it makes sense when you look at the numbers. On another, every fiber of my being struggles to reject it as being just too horrible a Catch-22 to lend credence to with comprehension. I know I'm not alone as an internationally adoptive… [more]

FYI: Research project asks for Asian-born adopted kids

February 1st, 2007

I'm just passing this along ... "Ethnic Socialization of Children Adopted from Asia" Children, aged 14-26 who are adopted from one of the Asian countries and living in the United States are invited to participate in a research study conducted by Jayashree Mohanty, Ph.D. Candidate from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work. For those children between the ages of 14-17, I would also like to invite their parents to participate in this research study. The purpose of this dissertation study is to understand the ways in which adoptive parents prepare their children for understanding their identities and how such preparation affects adoptees' well-being. Both children and parents fill out a web questionnaire. The findings will prove useful to understanding what types of cultural activities parents provide that are helpful to their children. Participation… [more]

Blank Slates: A Guest Perspective

January 16th, 2007

Today's blog is brought to you by Lanny Hertzberg, a Professor of Anthropology who is visiting us here on his way to a cool teaching gig in Italy. I find his take interesting from many angles, not least of which is that it comes without the filters the adoption community installs once adoption becomes a focus. LHertzberg/SH Benoiton My wife and I have been guests now at Sandra and Mark’s for the past week. We have gotten to see them and their children in this island paradise. While my wife Jane is very familiar with Sandra’s blog, I am not. In the course of our conversations, several topics have come up that have apparently been quite controversial on Sandra’s blog, but with which I was… [more]

Spanning the Divide, Conclusion

September 8th, 2006

This is the last post in the series, continued from here ... Although birth parents and adoptive parents come at adoption from different directions, there can be a few places where paths cross. Agencies can be where the concerns meet, and both partners in this dance may be unhappy with the tune played by the professionals ... since the end result is supposed to be one partner ending up with an armful of love and the other walking away empty handed, it is in the interest of the piper to keep the steps simple and the dance going as long as possible. On the one hand, they do no business without children. On the other, someone needs to want the kids… [more]

Spanning the Divide, Part 7

September 7th, 2006

Continued from here ... I was thinking it would sound strange to Jan that the crisis pregnancies of my teen years figured very little in my negative reactions to what I was perceiving as slights from the birth mom brigade, but now that I'm writing it down ... and having a much better grip on what's the same and what's different ... it seems likely that it will make sense to her that this is the case. After all, my bio kids are just my kids, and even with all the baggage that goes hand in glove with being a mom for thirty-seven years, for better and for worse, the load I carry is light in comparison to a burden… [more]