Open Mike

Questions, topics and comments wanted - from YOU!

I like comments. Selfishly, I like knowing that someone has taken the time to surf in, read what I've written, and add their thoughts. I like comments from people I know, from people I'm getting to know, and from people who prefer to add their thoughts anonymously. For me, comments are the best thing about blogging because they're a lot like conversation, and I certainly like that.

But as much as I like comments about things I've written, I like comments about specific issues better. This, I think, is the real beauty of internet communication - it allows people from all over the world to come together and talk about whatever interests them. I've seen first hand, too, how this kind of communication leads to face-to-face communication and change.

So I got this idea: to open up a post every so often titled "Open Mike" focusing on an adoption or race/culture issue, and then hear back in the comments from as many people as possible. I'll use this post as home base for the list of issues and the links back to their open mike posts.

I'd love to hear from first family members, adopted people, adoptive family members, those involved professionally with adoption, multiracial or multicultural families and individuals - anyone for whom these issues are important. They might be ideas for positive change, or questions about things you don't understand, or perhaps requests for comment on things you find challenging - relationships between adoptees and first parents, for example; or the challenges of parenting multicultural kids.

Let's give it a try. But first we need some issues - and for that I need your help. Add a comment here (anonymously is perfectly fine) with anything you'd like to talk and hear about, or email me if you prefer. We'll go from there.

And please feel free to spread the word.

Topics You've Submitted (linked to their Open Mike posts) - click here for all the Open Mikes to date.


Carrie & Allan said…
How about the need (or the lack thereof) of special needs adoption from Korea? With all the talk of the program shutting down (which I agree is the right thing to do), how will this affect the waiting children of Korea? Speaking from personal experience, my son was a special needs child and I do think that SN adoptions should still be an option for IA and then slowly fazed out. Or am I just trying to rationalize my decision? This is something I think about a great deal. My husband and I did our very best to have the most ethical adoption possible. While I won't get into my son's private information, I do think we did the best we could. If we decide to adopt again, it will again be a SN adoption from Korea (if the program is still open), as we want to honor our child(ren)'s heritage as much as possible. We do not feel equipped enough to do justice to two different cultures (other than our own). I guess that is another discussion; adopting from more than one country.
Carrie & Allan said…
Just thought of another (sorry for the inundation of comments!); my husband wants to hear more opinions on only having one child. I am content with my son being our only, but Allan really prefers two. He doesn't think it is fair to Benton to be an only, especially as a transracially adopted child.
MomSquared said…
Carrie (or Allen?), I really wish I could get to your blog because I have been enjoying your comments, but the link is not working for me.

Thirdmom, sorry to intrude!
Margie said…
No apology necessary - and Carrie, I also tried to reach you without success. Thanks for your ideas!
weigook saram said…
I also like comment dialogue, even dissent. Fifteen people saying "I agree" is kind of boring IMO.

I am not a part of the adoption triad, and that's why I don't comment very much on adoption blogs. My sister is a birthmom, and I am aunt to the daughter she relinquished. I'm interested in open adoption and how the relationships unfold over time.

I'm also the white mother of a half-Korean daughter, so I'm interested in those issues as well. It's not the same as TRA, of course, but there are certain concerns I share with white adoptive parents in transracial adoptions. How do I teach my daughter about race? How do I keep her connected to her Korean-ness?
Margie said…
Weigook, you are part of the adoption experience. It touches so many people beyond the mothers, fathers and children directly involved - siblings, aunts (like you), uncles, cousins, grandparents, and so many more. I think your perspective is important for that reason - you can share what the impact has been to your extended family members.

And I agree - the issue of race and how we keep our children connected is something TRA families and non-adoptive multicultural families share.

Carrie & Allan said…
I actually don't have a blog on blogger (yet). I just have the registered name so I can comment on people's blog who require an account. I have thought of starting one, but honestly my son requires a great deal of my time at the moment. For now, I'll just throw in my two cents when I can! :)

MomEtc. said…
I think this is a great idea and I'd certainly participate and offer my opinions. I'm sure I'll have questions, too....although I'm kind of new at this and my questions may be rather simple!
AmericanFamily said…
I would like to hear your comments on #4. We feel like we are pioneers trying to figure this stuff out and I would love to hear from someone with more experience.
The Goos Family said…
Maybe this is not the medium for it but discussing books and the issues it addresses and raises? I just recently finished the Language of Blood by Jane Jeyong Trenka and would love to hear what others thought and took away or question from the book or the book Beyond Good Intentions.
Anonymous said…
This is a great idea. I have been reading a book about transracial adoption written by African American adoptees (raised by white parents.)* There is a passage that has been whirling around in my head and I would love to hear others' thoughts (especially TRA's and aparents of children who are a bit older).

The adoptee writes, "when parents adopt a child of another race, they walk a fine line in deciding how best to raise the child. And I wonder if it can be done successfully, that is, without the child experiencing a lot of pain. If you raise the child like s/he is your own, you run the risk of having the child feel alienated from his/her black (or Asian, Latina) side.But if you raise the child as if she is different--raising her as a black child taking her to black cultural events--then the child can't help but to feel that her parents see her as being different." (When all she wants to be is the same as everyone else.)

* Name of book is "In their Own Voices, Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Own Stories"
MomSquared said…
I like number 8. I would really like to see the thoughts about this.

Our kids are half Filipino...our adopted son will be full Vietnamese. My husband is an immigrant. He thinks our kids will be American - all of them, and that he doesn't want to single out our Vietnamese child as being different. "Hey little boy, you're different from us!" is how he phrases the message he doesn't want to send.

But I've also learned by now that the prevailing wisdom is to give the child a connection to his or her heritage. I can see what my husband is saying, though. And, hey, he's the racial minority here.

So what are tri-racial families to do?
MomSquared said…
Oh! oh! Also, Suz has a voting thing on her blog about guardianship vs. adoption. I would like to hear more about that.
Margie said…
More good ones, I'll get them on the list - and thanks!
Tara said…
Hi, there. As a mom of 2 adopted kids, a 10 yr old daughter from China and an 8 yr old son from foster care USA, I truly hope I don't offend people with my comments. Because they're meant in the spirit of open discussion.

Our daughter has more problems with the birth parent abandonment issue than culture exposure. She also has more problems with new sibling issues than Chinese culture things. I think culture stuff is over emphasized.

It's not that it shouldn't be done, but every China adoption group I see emphasizes culture stuff and similar things to a huge degree. All sorts of China activities and China playgroups and China history, and chinese language, etc. I think because it's kind of easy to do, psychologically. There is much less about adoption issues, attachment issues, abandonment issues, or adjustment issues as our kids grow up. It's not that these things aren't out there, it's just the proportionate emphasis.

As for getting another sibling, I don't think anyone considering it should go by rules of thumb or what friends experiences have been. That sort of information should be considered, but only as part of the "equation".

I've met 2 families who said that if their 2nd daughter from China was their 1st, they wouldn't have adopted another. The mellow, easy one came first. I've also met a family who agonized over a 2nd sibling after a tough 1st adoption, and the second one was a great, easy kid.

Also, consider a boy. Years ago, our adoption agency lady said that adopting families overwhelmingly preferred a girl over a boy, esp for foreign adoptions. My observations say that's true. But why? Oh, individuals will have their compelling arguments, but why do so many still have those arguments for only girls?

A little boy can give just as much joy to a family as a girl can.

I also have a prejudice for 2 child families having the daughter 1st. Just personal bias, mind you. Most people want the son to be older.

Anyway, just my personal thoughts.


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