De-Lurker Day

Although I keep track of referrals, and I can see from typepad and other tracking programs that this blog has an international readership, I'm often curious who reads the blog and how you found out about Harlow's Monkey.

A few blogs I read regularly have a "de-lurk" day – I've never done one.

Here's your chance (and mine) to see who is reading.

Please let me know 1) if you are an adoptee, adoptive parent, adoption professional, social worker, etc. etc., 2) how you found out about the blog, and 3) feedback on things you would like me to address more specifically and/or other format issues.

I don't have as much time as I'd like to write longer original posts, which is why I link to other articles and blogs so often. However, if you have an issue you'd really like to see addressed, leave that in the comments too. It will help me when I'm trying to figure out what to write. Also, I changed the format of the blog, taking out some of the links on the sidebars and posting them on pages accessed by the navigation bar at the top of the blog. I moved some of those back, but I'm always concerned about the blog being user-friendly and un-cluttered (Mr. HM has greatly influenced me on usability design). If you have comments on the accessibility of the content, leave that feedback too.

What No One Told Me About Adoption

Grown In My Heart hosted a blog carnival this past weekend called What No One Told Me About Adoption.

Interestingly, several years ago I wrote a piece for a project that was never published, an anthology of creative writing by Asian/Pacific Island women living in the Midwest. I titled my piece, Things They Never Tell You When You're An Orphan In Korea.

When I wrote this piece I had just started coming to terms with realizing the impact adoption had had on my life. The mask I'd been wearing as one of those "happy, well-adjusted" adoptees crumbled. I had not yet gone back to college, I had not yet become a social worker. I had just returned from my first trip to Korea, a trip that did not go well. I had not yet found "my people," those adoptees with whom I could really understand, who "got me." I felt I was being honest with myself but was conflicted because my feelings were not being recognized or validated in the books I read about adoption or in the volunteer work I was doing with adoption agencies. I was definitely a work in progress.

Reading the blog carnival made me go back and look at what I'd written a very long time ago now. And while I no longer necessarily agree with everything I wrote back then, there are definitely some nuggets that still resonate. I'm posting an excerpt of that piece today. Although I won't post the whole thing (there are some very private and personal things I included that I wouldn't want made public, like where I lived and my birthdate), I wanted to give you readers a small glimpse into the Me I Was Back Then. Those of you who are adoptive parents might want to keep in mind that I was in my late 20s-early 30s during this period. If you had asked me even a few years earlier I would have told you that everything was fine, that I had no negative feelings about adoption ever, that adoption was always a wonderful thing. Of course, that wasn't entirely true.

The point is not that there is a right way or wrong way to feel about adoption, the point is that every person who is adopted has a right to own their feelings, either way. And, things change. Having children changed things for me. Going to Korea changed me. Reading and educating myself about adoption changed me. Working and volunteering with adopted children changed me. Working at adoption agencies with prospective and adoptive parents changed me. 

However an adopted person thinks or feels about adoption comes from their own experiences. Adoptive parents and adoption professionals will never know what an adoptee will think or feel about their adoption experience. What I do know is that whether you personally agree or disagree with an adopted person's opinion about adoption it is not your place to tell someone that how they view their experience is wrong. You can support, you can empathize, you can offer other perspectives. But remember that those other perspectives are just that – other perspectives. Your perspective as someone who is not adopted is not better or more correct than the adoptee's perspective.

In my experience the more you try and tell an adoptee how they are supposed to feel, the more likely they will stop telling you how they feel altogether.

Continue reading

Adoption and facebook etiquette

From Feministe blog come this post about an adoptive parent's response to seeing her daughter's photo on the first mother's Facebook page.

Eve and her two mothers.

Jay writes,

No one taught me Facebook etiquette when I was growing up, and no one
taught me how to build a relationship with my daughter’s birthmother.
One of these things is more important than the other, but both require
common sense, clarity of purpose and generosity of soul. Here’s hoping
I can find all three when I need them.

Friday links

  • From WHAS News 11: Adoptive parent tries to light her teenage daughter on fire
  • The Daily Mail : An adoptee finds his family through facebook.
  • From The Times of India: Lost in Delhi, adopted in US – Girl hunts for her family
  • As someone from one of my list-serves said, whatever Madonna wants, Madonna gets. From Fox News: Madonna's adoption of Mercy James is approved
  • Links to a web site and facebook page for Columbian adoptees
  • A story from The Globe and Mail about a Canadian couple who dissolve their adoption of their Guatemalan born children due to post-adoption depression.



Blogging is always a tricky endeavor, trying to balance writing in a
way that engages readers into caring about what you are writing about
and to a large degree (even if unacknowledged) yourself as the writer.
Yet, there is always the possibility of going too far, divulging too
much personal information about yourself, your family members, and
others. Yet without those personal details and touches, it's easy to
become too much of an automaton and readers won't and don't connect
with that.

Continue reading

Interview with John Raible

John Raible has an incredible series of thought-provoking posts. You can read them at the links below:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

John is one of my favorite peoples. He's been a shining example for me. I remember the first time I saw "Struggle for Identity" and I was blown away by the way he seemed to articulate so much of my own feelings and thoughts about adoption. If you don't have the chance to see Struggle for Identity, you can still benefit from his blog. Go read it!!

Friday links

One adoptee discusses the reasons behind her decision to legally change her name at 8 Asians blog in "Say My Name."

Ethica's call to help Mercy James, the Malawian girl that Madonna is trying to adopt. Read their statement here.

Another media piece about Hollywood's fascination with "black babies." From ABC News. My friend, Robert O'Connor, is quoted in the article. Also, Roland Martin from CNN commentary asks, "Why aren't celebrities adopting U.S. kids?"

Carmen Van Kerchove from Racialicious and New Demographic blogs about Madonna and race at CNN Blogs (disclosure, she cites me).

Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival will take place at the Japanese American National
Museum, 369 East 1st Street, June 12-13, 2009, in downtown Los Angeles.

In the Obama age, this free public event celebrates storytelling of
the Mixed experience and multiracial and multicultural families
including families of transracial adoption and interracial and cultural

More information about the festival is here.


Stats counter is my friend

It's always so interesting to see who is linking to my blog, which posts, and for what reasons. According to some, I'm "angry adoptee" whose critiques of adoption -themed picture books for children is invalid because apparently I'm someone "who doesn't have a lot of experience reading books to little kids."

I think my own two children (I mean, chicks and bears) might disagree with that.

3/1 ETA: It seems the so-called "feminists" over at Feminist need to read Rickie Solinger's Beggars and Choosers. Some of them still think reproductive "choice" means priviliging their own while stomping on others.