Happy New Year to all my readers. I hope you and yours are healthy, safe and with the ones you love today.
I’m feeling very reflective of this past year. So much has happened in my own personal life and much of that is due to this blog and all the faithful (and new) readers.
I started this blog in March of 2006 as a way to write regularly about the issues I’m interested in, and to have a community with other adoptee bloggers I’d been reading regularly. What a gift it has been to find a group of blogging friends, adoptees who I share so much with and who have graciously shared their lives with me. I thank them all: Ji In, Soon Young, Sume, Sarah, MeeHee, HW, Jaye, Lisa, Susan and Paula. And I want to thank all the other adoptee bloggers out there who do what you do – continue to ask important questions, share your lives with all of us. It helps us all to have your voices there, your voices matter – they matter so very much. Thanks to all the domestic adoptee bloggers whom I regularly read (though I don’t comment much) and the first mother and adoptive parent blogs too. I have learned so much from all of them and their experiences have informed my views in numerous ways.
From the beginning I knew that adoptive parents were reading and although they were not the audience to whom I was initially writing, they became the most vocal in the comment box. And so I changed and reconfigured Harlow’s Monkey. I took out some of the more personal content. I began writing with a more analytic tone and became less conversational. I added more links to news articles. I became, in some ways, much more critical.
There are many times these past few months that I have considered closing the blog. It’s not for the same reasons I considered closing it before – people have been pretty well-behaved around these parts. I have pretty much accepted that adoptive parents are now the majority of my readers – I had always hoped it would be an adoptee readership. I have struggled at times with how to continue on. Do I try and be more friendly in my tone in order to have more acceptance among certain "groups?" Or do I eliminate all personal commentary and just link to articles and research about adoption without interjecting my own take on things? How do I balance all the things I want to write, while trying to keep in mind all the different places my readers are at in their own lives?
I guess the answer to all these things is, I don’t know.
I strive to learn more about all the different aspects of adoption through as many channels as possible. There are some who think that blogs by adult adoptees are myopic and naval-gazing and serve no purpose than to whine or pontificate about a single subject as if there were nothing else in our lives. But I hope that the readers of Harlow’s Monkey understands that for many of us bloggers, we have full lives outside of the blog world – just as you readers do. It’s just that most of us don’t have a community of friends or family members we can talk to about adoption. We began writing to share our experiences with each other. So it’s frustrating when commenters/readers assume that all of our concerns begin and end with adoption.
I think a lot about why I chose to have this blog be only about adoption and child welfare. One of the criticisms I’ve heard about my blog is that it’s kind of cold and clinical. That I’m not sharing enough of myself, or that I’m not open to more dialogs about the issues I bring up. And that is a valid critique. I don’t share all that much on this blog. In some ways that has been a liability because people may think I’m cold or rigid or inflexible. Some people (ie The New York Times, and other media) have solicited around adoptee bloggers but only want those with dramatic, personal experiences or stories to share – or want emotional posts, not educational or policy/political posts.
But I don’t think that everyone has the right to know everything about my personal life. And I try not to share too much about my adoptive parents, for many reasons. I think their experiences are theirs to have and to share at their own discretion, not mine. Also, I don’t want adoptive parents taking a microscope to my parents and making all kinds of assumptions about them. How they did this, or didn’t do that, and how some readers (current adoptive parents) are going to be so different.
I also want to state that my experiences growing up in a family with the adoptive parents I have informs, but does not dictate, my thoughts and feelings about adoption today. I do not "work out" any issues I might have with my parents through the passive-aggressive mode of a blog. My work and my research greatly affects the content I choose to blog about.
I guess we’ll just see where this blog goes as 2008 comes.
If everything goes well, 2008 will bring big changes around these parts. This will be the year I turn 40, the year I’ll have a child enter high school, the year (fingers crossed) I begin a doctoral program.
If I have half the blessings of 2007, I’ll be one happy girl.
I just want to end by giving a big thanks to everyone who has emailed me privately, to share your thoughts about the blog or about some of the issues I’ve raised, or to share a news story you thought others would be interested in.
Happy New Years!