Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ling Bouvier

I saw a rerun of a Simpsons episode this week dealing with adoption. You can read the synopsis here.

Of course, the Simpsons is not a reputable source of accurate adoption information, so it was no surprise to see that there were a lot of misconceptions about adoption, in general.

I don't expect comedy writers to be responsible for being fair and even-handed on every issue. That's not their job.

So, while it's tempting to blame insensitive writers for perpetuating negative adoption stereotypes, I think its better to consider this a lesson in media literacy.

Whenever I watch a show about any particular issue, I'll assume the aim of the writers was not to inform me...rather, the goal was to entertain me.

Of course, I already muddled through all that media literacy stuff in grad school, but it's always fun to see it applied in real life.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007


This is my dad with one of the newest additions to the family, Benjamin. He's the son of my cousin Jennifer and her husband Jason.

My dad loves kids...a lot. He's always the first uncle in line to hold the newborns, infants, and toddlers.

He's excited about the adoption, as is much of my extended family. At an anniversary celebration this past weekend, Robin and I got a lot of questions and a lot of support. We were happy to get both.

Robin and I have commented over and over again about lucky we are to have a supportive family.


Sunday, July 15, 2007


Robin and I like flying flags in front of our house. Currently, we have the Flemish flag displayed, but in anticipation of the adoption, I bought a Thai flag. We plan on flying it when we have our referral.

It will remain packaged until then.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Love in the Driest Season

On our trip to Alaska (which you can hear more about on Kyle and my personal blogs), I brought along Neely Tucker's family memoir Love in the Driest Season. I really liked this book. Tucker, a journalist, tells the story of their attempts to adopt their daughter from Zimbabwe while he was posted there. He also writes about some of his experiences traveling around Africa to report on conflicts across the continent. While this book is heartbreaking both in its discussion of the lack of resources orphanages to have to care for, or simply just keep children alive, it is also a sad commentary on the political situations in many parts of Africa. It was a book neither Kyle nor I could put down.

The Tucker family had to fight against so much governmental opposition to adopt their daughter, it made us feel very lucky. Read this book if you feel overwhelmed by putting together your dossier, and you'll never complain again!


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I-171H Granted

We got approval of our I-600A (petition to care for an orphan) from US Citizenship & Immigration Services yesterday. This is called form I-171H. As our fingerprinting is only valid for 15 months, and the I-171H is only valid for 18 months, we'll probably have to refile for both of them before our adoption from Thailand is completed. But at least it's one more piece of paper that has fallen into place.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Parenting Class

I never posted anything about my reaction to the adoptive parenting class that we attended in May. I meant to, but never quite got around to it.

I found the class to be very interesting. It's amazing the amount of material they covered in 2 days. Really, it could have been much longer.

The class was small, with only 3 other couples attending. Two were adopting domestically, and one was adopting from Russia. The most interesting parts of the classes were the guest speakers. A birth mom spoke for over an hour and the experience was profoundly moving. She was an amazing speaker and I hope that everyone considering adoption has an opportunity to meet someone like her. She made it clear that while she never had any intention of parenting her daughter, the adoption has been extremely more difficult for her emotionally than she anticipated. Her adoption is an open one, and she sees her daughter on occasion, but only out of a sense of duty to her daughter despite the pain it causes her, "because you should always do what's best for the child, no matter how hard."

The other highlight of the class was much happier. Many families with completed adoptions brought their kiddos and answered questions. The families were of all ages and had adopted kids domestically and from Korea, Russia, and the Philippines. Our favorite couple had adopted a little boy from Korea and arrived home maybe 6 to 9 months ago. They were the only other couple who we felt really similar to. (The 3 other couples in our class were all much older than us and already had bio children, and the visiting families with completed adoptions were also all much older.) They looked to be our age and don't have any other children. It was nice to talk to someone we could really relate to. While the other couples in our class were worried about the adoption side of things, we have the additional worries of how to handle a ~2 year old kid with no parenting experience! We asked them if it was scary to be instant parents of a toddler, and they agreed that it was, but that it passed quickly. They looked very comfortable as a family and I wished we lived closer.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother

I caved and read another unhappy adoption book. I had gotten an armful at the library, and this one just seemed like a quick read. Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother is not a book I would recommend. Jana Wolff is, to her credit, painfully honest about her feelings, but I think she has a lot of unresolved issues and anger about adoption in general. I hope her son doesn't read this book when he grows up. Her son was adopted through an open adoption and the author's thoughts about his birth mother are insulting and hurtful. While some of the other chapters were thought provoking, I couldn't get past the "Dear Birth Mother" letter she "wanted to write" which began "Screw you. Do you think I want to beg a complete stranger for a kid whose own mother doesn't want him?" and ended with "I don't want my kid to be your mistake." (The middle part didn't improve it any.)
Yikes. I cringed big time at this. A child's birth mom will always be a part of them, and such a lack of respect not only reflects the adoptive parent's feelings toward the birth mom, but the child as well, in my opinion. I thought it was very sad to see she felt this way.