New Year’s Updates and Reflections

I managed to survive the first semester of a doctoral program, and only vowed to quit twice (just kidding, I loved almost every minute of it)! I have to admit one of the refreshing parts of being in graduate school is the time I have to focus on learning. I love to learn new things. I also really enjoy being in an atmosphere where, believe it or not, I do not talk about adoption all the time. While the majority of my assignments do have an adoption theme (since I am already working out possible ideas for my future dissertation), I am not surrounded by other adoptees or adoptive parents or adoption workers. And for the past 5 years I think that has been my whole life.

In addition to taking a break from blogging here, I have also made the decision to take a break from being an "adoption professional" for a little while. I quit my part time job in early December, and turned down three requests for speaking even though it was tough to say no (especially since I did all these last year).

I think I just really needed a break from adoption. Nothing personal against adoptive parents, but I was feeling so pushed and pulled in all directions. And while I don't want to make too big of a deal about this, one thing I really get frustrated about is that somehow I'm now expected to continue to "give back" to the adoption world – to professionals, to adoptive parents, and to the "future generation of adoptees" – but at the end of the day, I'm just a person with a family and friends and although I've certainly done well turning lemons into lemonade, it got to the point where I wondered why I was doing all this.

What I learned was that I had a choice. I had no choice about being adopted, but I had and still have the choice to figure out good boundary setting and to say no if I felt like I needed to say no.

Not to be too dramatic or anything, but spending all my time on adoptive parents and other people's adopted children was leaving me with very little time for my own children and family. So, I've been working on correcting that imbalance. I may even be able to blog now, more often, now that I've eliminated a few extra things from my schedule.

I'm not a resolution kind of person, but I do love the New Years as a time to reflect and to re-organize and re-prioritize. So, this New Year's has been an awesome one for me. I even have had time to work on me more, picking up some old projects I've not had time for (like knitting, I've been a fiend and finished several projects over the break), spending a lot more time with my kids, exercising, eating healthier. I even put my super-sized schedule on a diet! I feel refreshed and ready to go for the next semester. I hope everyone out there, if you're still checking in on this fairly dusty blog, has had a happy new year. A new quote for my next year: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." — Plato

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

7 thoughts

  1. Happy resolution season. It’s that time of year. I’m so glad you’ve made time for you. Plato was pretty much right. I’m glad you’re kind.

  2. I’m an AP, and I get sick of other adoptive parents, too, so I totally understand!
    Your contributions the the adoption landscape, especially through this blog, are incredible, and I know I speak for many folks when I say I am very grateful for all your thoughtful writings. I’ve learned a lot from you, and it’s my hope that my kids will benefit.
    Thanks, and best of luck.

  3. So good to read!! I’m glad school’s going well. And right on to setting those boundaries.
    To ditto Ms. Four, I often get sick of APs, too. Heck, most of the time I’m sick of myself!
    Happy New Year, good luck with continuing studies and new endeavors!

  4. I’m glad your first semester went well. Congrats on that! I also have so appreciated all you’ve shared here, and all I’ve learned from you. At the same time, I am right at the front of the line of supporters for you drawing your own boundaries and only continuing in adoption as you have the interest and energy. Yes, you have a lot to contribute, but you are under no obligation to do so. Be free! (Love the Plato quote, what a true statement!)

  5. I’m happy to hear that you are making choices with your time and energy that prioritize what you need for a balanced life. Any chance you’d post a picture of one of your knitting projects — I’m imagining scarves and wondering which colors you picked. The quote from Plato resonated with me. Thanks for sharing it!

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