Mid-summer musings

It's hard to believe July is almost over. I'm sitting here anxiously looking at the mammoth stack of books to read and articles to outline for my preliminary exams this fall. Somehow a few months ago it seemed doable and now it just seems ridiculous. So much for the idea of having a relaxing summer to study!!

To give folks an update on what I've been up to – I'm now about halfway through my doctoral program. I've been really fortunate to be employed at the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare at the University of Minnesota – (to see what I've been working on, click here). As part of this research assistant position, I am really focusing on the other end of child welfare from my usual position – the adoption side. Instead, I've been working on research that deals with the front end – child protection. I was able to go to Washington DC for a Children's Bureau grantee's meeting and meet with other states and jurisdictions doing similar work in improving child protection systems around the United States. It's really been deeply thought provoking for me and a much needed step away in some respects from adoption since for many years it felt I lived and breathed and worked adoption 24/7.

I'm developing my dissertation research idea as well. The most difficult part is that I want to do it all – I have SO many questions that haven't been answered by research yet, and there are days I just wish several million dollars would drop in my lap so I could fund independent research projects! But since I'm just a mortal graduate student, I have to make do with trying to narrow down a few dozen ideas into just one project. To begin with, anyway!

There are many days I wonder what to do with this blog. I am pulled in two different directions on this one. On the one hand, I feel I don't have anything to say anymore on this blog. Not that I don't think about adoption all the time, or have things to say about the books and articles and media stories – I do – but I just don't desire blogging about it any more. And there are lots of other adoptees who are blogging up a storm, and I read those blogs when I can, and I see that a lot of adoptive parents are reading them, and that is a wonderful thing.

I also sometimes feel like sometimes blogs just have an expiration date. And maybe in some ways Harlow's Monkey is past its prime. Should I be stepping aside so others have the focus now? It's been a good run, and while I have learned a lot and most importantly, met a lot of awesome people through this adventure, it might be time to just slowly fade away.

I knew it was time to think about ending the blog when instead of wanting to write a long post about some book I read or article I saw, I wrote out a title and then couldn't figure out how to write what I wanted to say. I'm typically not one of those folks who has a hard time blogging! I have a collection of a half-dozen "titles" with nothing of substance under them, and no desire to continue on.

I can't imagine shutting down for good; rather I'm looking at this as a permanent, temporary "retreat" where, from time to time, I may dust out the cobwebs out and show up for a while. I've tried blog breaks before, and I have even secretly used those breaks to test out whether I was going to quit altogether. But I don't want this site to disappear. I want to keep the resources up, because I'm amazed at how often people tell me they appreciate the resources. And I also want to leave open the possibility that some day I might want to start up again.

For the rest of the summer I'll be hard at work, and reading a ton, and trying to find some better family/work balance which has been nearly impossible the past 2 years.

Thanks to all my loyal readers over the past 4+ years! And until next time,

Jae Ran

An art installation in Korea

I am one of 200,000.*

From one of the artists behind this piece:

The art installation we’ve been working on the past month is to illustrate the relationship between the number 1 and 200,000. We lose sense of the impact of our actions when we allow ourselves to look at only the number right in front of us. The reality is that 200,000 is almost unfathomable. This is an attempt at showing what one looks like, 200,000 times. One adoptee at a time, processed in the perpetual motion machine that is international adoption.

This was installed last month, but the video has just been uploaded to YouTube. For more information about the story behind the art, click here.

*I participated in this art installation by sending my photo to be included.