Thursday, August 12, 2010

Spreading Sunshine

I figured it's an appropriate time to spread some sunshine since I'm trying to soak up the last few weeks of summer before it slips away.  (Plus, if I don't force myself to sit down and finish this post RIGHT NOW it may never happen!)

As promised, here's a little more about the blogs that received the Sunshine Award from me last month:

Popp Life-  What I admire about Maggie, the foster mother and author of Popp Life, is that she shares the good, the bad, and the ugly that come with being a foster parent so that others can better understand the process.  Even when things aren't so rosy [she and her husband are currently coping with the heartache of a disrupted placement, for example] she is able to maintain a positive attitude and keep things in perspective.  I might add that Maggie is a former caseworker which would certainly be beneficial to seeing both sides of the story.

I was particularly touched when Maggie shared a post about comforting her foster children who were upset about being in foster care.  She reassured them that they were more than "foster kids" in her eyes and in God's eyes.  It's evident that she and her husband are able to separate the actions of the children they foster from the children as a whole- What a great skill! 

Maggie and her husband are willing to open up their home to older children and sibling groups (something my husband and I have yet been brave enough to do!) and they don't let lack of space keep them from taking placements.  Kudos, Brian and Maggie! 

The Happiest Sad- Jill is one of the most articulate birth mothers I know of.  She's also smart enough to know that you shouldn't end your sentences with a preposition (but I'm sure she'll excuse my previous sentence anyway).  Jill has been chronicling her personal story on her blog mostly for her birthdaughter "Roo", and "to make sense of things", and to let others know that birthmothers have their baby's best interest in mind when they make the difficult decision to place.

I love that she uses humor in the midst of such serious topics.  For example, regarding people's judgments and ignorance about her decicion to place her baby for adoption, she says:
"Excuse me, but I didn’t give her away. I didn’t put up an ad on Craigslist, “I’m giving away my baby, does anyone want her?” I placed her for adoption, but I certainly didn’t and wouldn’t ever give her away. I gave her a family"
Another educational post about grief after placing is here.

I also have to commend Jill for her exhaustive list of couples waiting to adopt which she updates and organizes by State.  

One last bit of interesting information about Jill- she is also currently hoping to adopt . . . (a husband, that is).

Feigning Fertility- Ashley became a mother for the first time through the miracle of adoption and she became a mother for the second time (fairly  recently) through the miracle of assisted reproductive technology.  Ashley is extremely open with her experiences and she can be hysterically funny with her bluntness.   For example, the sidebar/intro to her blog reads what you can expect from her blog:

"the thoughts and experiences of a blunt woman who has found the blessing of motherhood through adoption and fertlity treatments. Different process, same basic feeling of sitting in a room with your nether-regions exposed for all the world to evaluate".  Hilarious.

Ashley did a great job answering the question "Can you love an adopted child as much as a biological child?" in this post and she explored the topic of adoptees connecting with their biological families in this post.

I love what Ashley had to say about mothers in this post:
"Motherhood is an action. Sure, it can be the actual giving birth and raising of a child but what life has taught me is that what makes a mother isn't the child looking like you or genetics. It's how you love that child.
Time has taught me that just because your arms don't hold a child doesn't mean you're not a mother. Even if you've held the child in your arms and don't right now, you're still their mother because your heart is full of love for them.
So if your arms were empty yesterday my heart goes out to you. You are a mother because your love for your child makes you one."
Stare If you MustFelicia had me at the clever title of her blog.  As a mother of seven children-two of whom were adopted through the foster care system and one adopted internationally, Felicia has surely had her share of stares, judgments, or ignorant comments about her large, transracial family. 

Speaking of which, I loved what she had to say regarding race in this post:

"I really don't care if folks stare at us either, I know that for the most part they are curious.  I don't mind if they ask questions either.  What I do mind is when they choose to say negative things to us in front of my children.

Yes, that has happened. We have been accused of taking our children from their culture and how they won't be raised right. Well, I'm not sure what my children's specific culture would be, my little ones are black, Puerto Rican and white. I hope she doesn't want me to raise them to be in jail like their dad. Honestly, I think of them as Americans.

Ah, but I am not naive. I know that there are things that they need to learn as black children in America. I know that they will have difficulties  and will be judged based on their skin tone.  They need to be prepared for that.

Sometimes it is hard because I don't see skin tone, I see my children. I wish that the rest of the world did too."

Felicia has also brought up her experiences unique to explaining adoption to children adopted from foster care, the loss of biological siblings of her  foster and adopted children, and  ironically, racism in her Guatemalan daughter.

I appreciate the honesty she pours into her writing about such delicate subjects.  And as if being a mother isn't a big enough job, Felicia is also in the National Guard (She's one mama who actually does wear combat boots!) and she is going back to school to earn a Master's Degree and teaching certificate in Special Education.

Four Kids and Surviving- This is the only other blog (besides Ignore the Crazy) written by someone I actually know IN REAL LIFE!  Shannon and I lived together and worked together as missionary companions for our Church over ten years ago.  We lost touch, but thanks to Facebook and blogging I was able to catch up on her life and I was especially excited to learn that she adopted her three children through foster care. 

After Shannon and her husband tried to have children for five years with no success, Shannon felt inspired to move to another state and become a foster parent.  She and her husband got their first placement- a sibling group of three- just days after they had become licensed and that is how she was led to her children.  Some people do actually find their children through their very first foster placement!  Shannon's story starts here and it's pretty amazing. 

Each Day Brings a New Adventure- This blog is written by someone who is "doubly" affected by adoption: Amanda was not only adopted, but she is also an adoptive mother who has a great appreciation for open adoptions.

Not every account of reuniting with birthparents has a happy ending, but Amanda's account of meeting her birthmother Lori will give you chills- she wrote about it as a guest blogger on the r house in three parts beginning here.  For further reading see "Layers".
Ignore The Crazy-  Rebecca is a former roommate of mine so I may be a little biased in choosing her blog.  She has adopted two African American children who complement her blond-haired, blue eyed girls.  Her youngest daughter was born with Down Syndrome and her adopted children have special needs as well.

One of the most significant things Bek has said about adoption is
"Adoption is loss and trauma. Even when it is "right". It's also ok for my kids to love and miss their other mom-- no matter who she is or what she does. You DONT have to wrap it up in a nice package with a bow. Relationships are messy and weird and useful and fulfilling--even the hard ones."
Rebecca is thankful for open adoptions and although she recognizes the importance of telling her children their adoption stories, she also feels bittersweet about the sad and hard parts that can be part of their adoption story.  See this post to read more.

Andy's Clan-  Although I've never met Sheyann in "real life" I feel like we've been life-long friends.  Sheyann is not afraid to be herself and there is no pretense in her writing which drew me to her blog in the first place.  She and her husband are parents of a darling little boy, Andy; (hence the name of her blog) whom they adopted and they are hoping to adopt again.  Sheyann freely writes about the frustrations surrounding infertility, the adoption process, and preparing to do foster care.  Did I also mention that she is a registered nurse, a photographer, a chef, and she can sew too?  I think I just found me a SISTER WIFE! (A little bit of Mormon humor; and for clarification, No- we no longer practice polygamy)  

Where the Wild Things Are-  Heidi and her husband Tim take an active role in promoting adoption and foster care (Yes, Heidi is the same Heidi  I refered to in my last post).  The Naylors have adopted four children,  the latest of whom came to their family last year as a result of them searching through their state's Heart Gallery of Waiting Children.  I love reading about how each of their children was divinely placed into their family in the Lord's timing, after much waiting.  You can read their story here or full story here.

Adoption is Full of Miracles-  Megan & Shane are such big advocates for adoption that in addition to their "regular" family blog they have kept their adoption website up for the purpose of promoting adoption and highlighting other families who are hoping to adopt.  Change of Heart is a recent post of Megan's which I found particularly poignant and you can read more about their latest upcoming adoption miracle here.

Adoptee Voice- Why don't more men blog?  Peter is a gifted writer who shares his perspectives as a Korean American adoptee and explores issues of international adoption and transracial families.  It was from his blog that I learend that Korean adoptions will be halted in 2012.  Unfortunately, Peter's blog is on hold and understandably so  as he is busy with graduate school and has recently undergone some family tragedies.  The good news is that he is considering making a book out of his experiences with adoption.

In My Life- Kylee is a teenager whose family has fostered over fourteen children, including her two adopted brothers.  Kylee seems far wiser and more mature than her seventeen years as she shares her passions for foster care and orphans.  She  also recently spent some time in Peru at an orphange.  Very commendable.

1 comment:

Penelope said...

Thanks, Mary! I just found kylee last night and LOVE her blog. i'm currently writing a post on how open should an adoption be - since we were asked this question last night. I hope to hear from you!