Tuesday, November 30, 2010

PostSecrets from inside the Adoption Triad

I swear my roommate finds as many (if not more) references to adoption in media/movies/news than I do.

A Post Secret, one of many I've seen from an adoptee, adoptive parent, birth mom:

But then a rebuttal from another secret-poster:

Please oh please don't believe all adopted kids feel this way. I need you...Please look for us. I'm looking for you.

Postsecret seems a perfect fit for sending your secret, scary, confusing feelings about adoption--the things you're too scared to say aloud--as they are anonymous. It's congruent with the culture of closed adoption itself, what with all the name changing and grief and secrets. But when I read a Postsecret from someone touched by adoption it makes me sad because I fear that person is alone with his/her feelings and may not have any other way to explore them. That's a very isolating place to be.

Zara Phillips Again

Check out this video showcasing the creative advocacy work by talented adoptee Ms. Phillips (her music video with DMC at the end). The American edition of her book is coming out early next year.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Remember Betty Jean Lifton

Last Friday the adoption world lost a longtime friend and advocate, Betty Jean Lifton. She wrote Twice Born: Memoirs of an Adopted Daughter in 1975, which detailed her experience growing up adopted in an era that enforced extreme secrecy when it came to adoption. It was one of the first major books published about the adoptee's emotional experience. It also admonished the practices of closed adoption at a time when nobody wanted to hear it. She wrote many other books about adoption, dealing with grief, searching, and more. But not only did she write important books, but they were good books of high literary quality too. I admire her as a writer as well as an open records advocate. She also helped countless folks as an adoption therapist.

She will be missed by many.

Find the full obit from the New York Times here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

National Adoption Month and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

It's November and National Adoption Month, when adoption gets more attention in the media and adoption agencies around the country increase their advertising (and partly why I haven't posted as much this month--everybody else is doing my work right now!)

Take a commercial from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption from their "I'm Just a Kid" campaign. It's true that you don't hear much from DT about the problems of foster care or the complications of, for example, cross-racial or cross-cultural adoption, but there's one thing you've got to hand it to them for: they keep their ads focused on the kids. Because THAT is what adoption should be about. (No "here's how you can complete your family while rescuing someone" bent.) You don't see a lot of adoptive parents or huge smiling families in their commercials. This one shows all different kinds of kids at all ages and mostly Black who are waiting for homes. An accurate portrayal, from what I know.

Some adoption people out there are gonna hate on me for being so kind to the Dave Thomas Foundation, but I think it's valuable to take a moment and recognize the good of what's happening out there too.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sesame Street I Love My Hair

"Don't need a trip to the beauty shop, 'cause I love what I've got on top...I love my hair, I love my hair," sings the new little Muppet girl.

White adoptive father of an African-born girl and Sesame Street writer Joey Mazzarino co-created this song and character in response to his daughter who one day declared: "I want my hair long and blond like Barbie or a princess." (AP)

The Youtube video quickly gained more than a million hits.

Mazzarino didn't realize that by exploring this he was entering into a long history of discussion and debate about AA women's hair.

I too have a Dad who didn't understand why his little curly headed girl cried for long, straight blond hair. In fact, I first heard about this story from my father, who got choked up reading an article about it. That darn blond beauty standard is so embedded! Hard to pinpoint where or how it enters the conscience. It has a lot to do with images, advertisements, television, etc., I think. (I've written an essay on this very topic, which will be published in an anthology called Other Tongues later this year.)

As always happens, viewer comments on the video and others produced in response are filled with fightin words. People get very defensive about hair. Girls who relax their hair do not like to be accused of trying to be White, of being mired in a slavery past. It's just hair, they say, and they've got a point. At the same time though, I think it's important to confront it and provide positive images of Black women with natural hair, especially for adopted Black girls who won't see reflections of themselves in their parents or perhaps even in their surrounding community.

Kudos to this proactive dad!