Category Archives: Community

Smell the fresh ink?

My latest column is up over at AFTH, and as usual, the link to it remains nestled in my sidebar. But in the interest of saving you a click or two, here’s what I had to say in :

Changing Leaves, Changing Minds

Some use the start of the new year as reason for reflection, as motivation for listing lofty resolutions dependent on powerful will. Me? I do this long before Dick Clark begins his countdown.

Maybe it’s the childhood ritual of beginning school, fresh-faced and ready for a new start, or maybe it’s because November brings with it both efforts to give thanks and raise adoption awareness. Either way, as the crisp autumn air nips at my toes, I’m contemplating what I — both an adoptive mother and wife to an adoptee — can do better.

This year not only will I continue to respect these roles of adoption in my life personally — which includes a commitment to my daughter’s first mother that she’s needed in our lives — but I will transform everyday situations into teachable moments that matter.

When discussing our open adoption, if folks mention Maeve’s first mother “taking her back,” insisting on co-parenting and existing only to confuse Maeve, I will, without waffling, dispel the untruths and undo the damage of Lifetime movies.

When asked about Maeve’s “real” mother “giving up” her child and whether she has “moved on,” I will explain we are both real mothers, that there’s nothing in her adoption choice resembling giving up on her daughter, and I will remind them that filling someone else’s arms with your child isn’t the same as losing a favorite stuffed toy.

I will applaud television networks and programs portraying adoption and its triad in an accurate and positive light. I will just as fervently contact those making adoption jokes or depicting birth parents as anything less than they are. When represented accurately, adoption’s mystery diminishes and our children benefit.

I’ll write municipalities I’ve long lectured in my mind, explaining that adopting a road is nothing like adopting a child. I will demonstrate not only how “sponsor” suits their needs just fine, but how their use of “adopt” makes my job of raising a healthy, well-adapted adult that much harder as I need to explain the difference between cleaning dirty roads and forever loving a child.

This Nov. 17, not only will I ensure adoption-related books are read in my daughter’s daycare and our library, I will volunteer to read them myself. And then I’ll encourage their use year-round, not just because a calendar dictates it.

I will make all these everyday moments really matter.

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Filed under Adoption, Adoption Ethics, Birth parents, Children, Children's books, Community, Discussing Adoption, Latest AFTH column, Maeve, Making a difference, NaBloPoMo, Open Adoption, Parenting, Promises

Hot off the press

It seems folks over at my agency haven’t tired of me yet as they’ve just published my latest column on open-adoption parenting in their newsletter and on their website.

If a look-see strikes your fancy, ride the fresh link that’s nestled nicely in my sidebar and head to Page 10 and 11. And if I’ve got a faithful reader among you, someone might notice I’ve touched on the topic before here. It’s such an interesting one I think another tickle is worth it. After all, how often do you become a mom and meet one of the most important people who will ever enter your life — all in the same week? Not very often. I’m just sayin’.

And — even though I may regret this — on your way pause at Page 5 for a photo of Maeve and Moi during the agency’s recent adoption picnic. We were trying so hard to make the pinwheel whirl I never noticed the photographer noticing us. (The regret part is I rarely love the photographed me. But the moment captured with Maeve was so pure that I’m willing to close my eyes and hold my nose. Ya know, take one for the team.)

Just because you’re already following direction so well, I’ve got one more task for you. For those of you situated somewhere in Joisey, look here for details about an upcoming fun family event for all members of the adoption triad being held by CHATS, my local adoption group. (I’d asked for a bit of publicity in my agency’s newsletter, and darned if they didn’t oblige.) Hope to see you there!

Happy reading — and come on back if you’ve got something to say!

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Filed under Adoption, Adoption Websites, Birth parents, Children, Community, Family, For fun, Latest AFTH column, Maeve, mamagigi, Open Adoption, Parental surrenders, Parenting, The Call, Writing

The Hunt (for the slide)

Enjoyed an Easter Egg Hunt in the park this morning with friends. This was Maeve’s first — and guess how many my little bunny found? Drum roll please … wait for it … here it comes … One!

In her defense, there were three gazillion children and some parents were picking up eggs and tossing them in their children’s direction so they could fill their baskets first. Hello? Not us, we just sent her off on her way, sure she would make us proud. Oh — and see that pink egg just a few baby steps ahead of her? Yeah, that’s not the one she found.

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And, as soon as it was over — about 55.237 seconds after it began — she dropped her basket and bee-lined it for the swirly slide. This, even after we popped open her plastic egg and found three little chocolates inside. Chocolates, I tell you. The girl needs to get her priorities in order.

All in all, I’d say we’re sliding into the chilly weekend quite nicely. Hope you are too.

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Filed under Adoption, Children, Community, Family, For fun, Friends, Love, Maeve, Parenting

Paid adoption leave: Baby step forward

As I discussed in detail here, and then again here, New Jersey Senate bill S-2249 provides 12 weeks’ paid leave to care for newly adopted children. Well, folks, the bill has cleared a Senate committee and now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.

This is more than a decade in the making. Bills like this have come and gone (into oblivion), and have never made it this far before. Now is the time to again voice your support in providing all families — no matter how they are formed — the invaluable adjustment and bonding time they deserve. This is about embracing families and making their health and happiness a social priority.

Although New Jersey and federal laws already allow 12 weeks’ unpaid leave, many families cannot afford that option — especially after handling adoption costs. So adoptive parents have their children placed into their arms only to have to leave them so they can hurry back to work to pay the bills rather than risk further financial hardship. Bonding be damned. (Silly mamagigi, these tricks are only for people who give birth to their children.)

Perhaps the times, they are a changin’?

Under the bill, workers on leave would receive a weekly amount similar to what they’d get for a temporary disability — it would come from the state’s temporary disability fund workers already pay into. That’s the same fund that assists working parents who physically delivered their children into the world, allowing them paid time off. The bill would require all employees pay a tax up to $94 annually to support the program.

The bill’s future is uncertain — especially because the state’s powerful Business and Industry Association opposes the plan. So continue to contact your legislator (and the committee chairmen below) to voice support of the bill — and all families.

And those of you reading but not residing in the Garden State, your e-mailing Committee chairman Bernard Kenny and co-chairman Sharpe James to give your nod to the notion itself wouldn’t hurt either. Parents everywhere should be heard. The larger the group, the louder the voice, the blurrier the state lines, the more unified the message nationwide. (Then, send your legislators a note too!)

If passed, New Jersey would become the second state, after California, to offer paid family leave. Two down, 48 to go.

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Filed under Adoption, Adoption leave, Children, Community, Family, Legislation, Making a difference, Parenting

World Aids Day

In honor of World Aids Day on Dec. 1, one of my all-time favorite bloggers, Karen at chookooloonks, has pledged to send $1 for every person that logs onto her blog (and posts in the comments section) to the Cyril Ross nursery for children with AIDS.

I can’t say I’m surprised at this generous gesture on her part. Since I’ve been religiously reading her blog —  close to a year or so — she has, without even trying, made it painfully clear how committed she is to sharing love and spreading peace — all the while generously sharing a glimpse into the world she shares with her daughter Alex and husband Marcus through her beautiful photography, her humor and her genuine, thought-provoking posts. As she often says, “Love and light, people. Love and light.”

I found her blog through Adoptive Families magazine — where she was featured — and have been a member of her faithful flock ever since. Of course, that was all by way of lurking — until yesterday when I finally posted a comment (and forced her to cough up a buck on my behalf for the AIDS nursery!). And then I emailed everyone I know. And I see them getting on board and it’s fabulous. Let’s keep spreading the love.

Here’s the deal: Whether you’ve stumbled into this space by mistake or you’re here on purpose, kindly head on over to chookooloonks and post — it’s another dollar Karen will send to this important cause. It’s … that … simple. Here are the rules: Post your name (or “anonymous” if you prefer), your city or region, state and country. That’s it.

Last time I checked, it was about 300 people, or $300. And one of the folks posting pledged to match Karen’s ultimate contribution. So that would put the tally at $600.

That’s just so far. Because Karen’s offer is good through the end of Sunday (12/3). That’s right, at midnight, the wallet closes. So, go ahead. Click over there now. Empty her wallet! Ready, Set, Go!

In memory of my cousin Kenneth.

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Filed under AIDS, Charity, Children, Community, Love, Promises