Wednesday, February 04, 2009

hi prospective adoptive parents!

So, it seems that most of the rest of the visits to the wide tent these days are folks searching about how to write a "Dear Birthmother Letter."  Welcome, and congratulations on your decision to adopt!  Let me recommend two must-read sites for prospective adoptive parents:

Open Adoption Support, a great place for all members of the adoption triad to meet and share in a safe environment.  This site was designed and is managed by Dawn, who blogs at This Woman's Work (see my review of Dawn's blog here).  Dawn is one of the most thoughtful commentators on open adoption and domestic adoption ethics.  You'll learn a lot from her, more than just how to write a "Dear Birthmother Letter."  Run, don't walk! 

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

hello lesbian la leche league leaders (or LA's, or pissed-off ex-LA's ....)!!

Traffic on this blog is pretty minimal, but I've been noticing that most of the visits lately come from some variation of the search "lesbian la leche league leader."  I am a retired LLL leader, and a lesbian, and if you'd like to be in touch about my experience of becoming a leader (in a word: awful), leave me a comment on this post and I'll be in touch with you.  Courage my dears!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Year, A New Blog

I have a new blog, called my goodly heritage, at  It is mostly dedicated to book reviews, links and an occasional essay.  Come on over and check it out!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"dear birthmother letter"

two of our closest friends are in the process of adopting a child, and i'm looking for some advice about how to help them.

k & p are wonderful people and have a two year old biological daughter. they do not have any fertility issues, but want to grow their family through transracial adoption (they will be adopting an african american child; they and their daughter are white), and are as well equipped as anyone i know to do that thoughtfully and ethically. they are very interested in having the adoption as open as possible, and while i don't think they have thought through all the ethical issues in adoption, i know they are very much open to and trying to have a very ethical adoption. (i know that may be a contradiction in terms; i just mean as much as adoption can be ethical, they would like theirs to be, even if they don't know all of what that means yet.)

they are working with a regional open adoption agency which requires that they create a profile with a "dear birthmother letter" on one side and photos of them and their family on the other.
i've read the first draft of their letter, and it feels pretty typical. they have included all of the things that the agency has told them are important: their thoughts about open and transracial adoption, descriptions of their family, their community, their jobs, interests, etc. the first paragraph is fairly typical: "we admire your courage in making this difficult decision ... we desire openness but want to honor your needs ... if you place with us your child will always know you loved him/her and made this difficult decision out of love..." (this is my paraphrase; i don't have the letter in front of me.)

i have a couple of things i'm wondering and would love guidance from you, especially those of you involved in adoption reform and/or ethical open adoptions:
  • i find that it's very hard to share your own insights into anything you've learned through experience with someone who hasn't yet experienced it. sometimes the only way you can really learn something is through experiencing it. one of the things i've learned as a la leche league leader is to give information, rather than advice, to hold judgement, and to try to empower women to make their own good choices. more and more i'm learning that's a good way to approach life (the older i get, the more i find that being a righteous know-it-all has a way of coming back to bite you in the butt!) so i guess i'm wondering what you all think is the "bottom line" of ethical adoption, the stuff you would always be blunt and up-front about with prospective adoptive friends (as opposed to the nuances that folks might need to learn for themselves). i guess another way of saying this is, what do you wish a trusted friend had said to you as you embarked on your first adoption, and what would you not have been able to hear, because you needed to learn it yourself?
  • k & p's agency calls k & p's profile a "dear birthmother letter" and probably every other profile in the book will begin "dear birthmother." if you were k & p, what would you do in this situation? how would you advise them if you were their friend?
  • what about that ubiquitous "courageous, noble birthmother" paragraph at the beginning of the letter? how would/have you handled that?

thanks internets! i hope you're share your thoughts.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

so, micah has weaned...

...and it feels just right. we were both ready, he only needed a tiny nudge from me, and while it feels a teensy bit bitter-sweet, it's a whole lot less so than i expected it to be!

i've been ready for this for most of the fall, but i just wasn't sure whether micah was or not. i had this thought that he really needed to wean -- that our nursing relationship was no longer the beautiful, healthy, nurturning thing it had been for so long, but rather was holding him back in some way. i can't quite put my finger on it, but he seems clearly ready to be moving to a new place (there's been a lot of that totally age-appropriate separating-from-mom stuff that he's doing which is driving me kinda crazy because it's a lot of one step forward two steps back, and the two steps back involve a lot of clinginess on the one hand and lashing out/limit-testing on the other. that, and a lot of night waking. sigh.) my intuition was telling me that our nursing relationship was holding him back in some way. but i wasnt' sure. what if our nursing relationship was actually the thing that was helping him through? what if he really needed his nursies to get through this feeling nurtured and secure?

i had decided i would push a tiny bit over our vacation, and see how it went, but in the end i didn't need to. with all the excitement of christmas -- multiple church services, parties, presents, visiting relatives -- he totally forgot to even ask on christmas eve and christmas day. then we flew to arizona, drove to the desert, and set up camp -- and again, he never asked. on the fifth day, when we went to the library to escape the rain -- he asked once, but i easily put him off. he asked a couple of times when we were backpacking in the desert and he was a little miserable, but again, he was pretty easily put off.

when we returned home, he started asking with a bit more frequency, but it was never very hard to say no, and so i decided we were definitely going to be done. i always offer a cuddle instead, and now he only asks maybe once a week if that.

i decided that if he forgot to ask when things were stressful/exciting/new, and only started asking again when we landed back into our routine ... well then, it seemed to me that this was much more of a habit and less of a coping mechanism. and so there you have it -- we're done!

micah was 15 days when he started nursing, and 3.75 years when he stopped. all together, i was lactating/nursing for 4.25 years. and if i do say so myself, i'm kinda proud of that fact!


Thursday, January 18, 2007

"oh. my. god. my refridgerator was gross!" and other news since last we spoke

my house is almost always messy. it's pretty small -- maybe 1200 square feet and almost no closets -- and we are a family of four (including one adult with packrat tendencies and one really kinetic three year old boy). another of us (not the aforementioned adult, i'll have you know) cares about keeping some semblance of tidiness, but the other three of us care not one whit. what that means is that the house is almost always messy (and one of us is almost always frustrated).

but messy and dirty are two different things. it is my goal that under the mess, things are relatively ... well, if not clean, exactly, at least hygenic. i'm the first to admit that i fall short of this aspiration more often than i like to admit, but on the whole, i feel fairly confident that if you use my bathroom, eat food prepared in my kitchen, or put your baby on the floor to play, you and your baby will not get ill.

or so i thought until i cleaned out the fridge the other day. oh lord. i knew it was bad, and i was prepared for that, but i had no idea. apparently we had been pushing the leftovers back and cramming more in front for a month or more, because i found stuff i barely even remembered. eww.

i'm choosing to view it as symbolic. cathartic. it was a difficult fall. the fridge is now pristine, the tupperware drawer is full again, the condiments are consolidated, and everything in the fridge is edible. things are looking up!

in other news...

last weekend i took the most decadent trip to visit one of my best and oldest friends, jennie, in chicago. jennie actually lives in iowa, with her husband and toddler, but her very generous sister betsy lives in chicago, and we decided to meet for a kid-free weekend. i flew out friday evening, despite ominous weather in the forecast, and returned on monday (mlk day, so julie and the kids were off), without any weather-related incident. in-between, jen and i stayed with betsy in a lovely, 17th floor apartment over-looking the city and the lake. i slept three uninterrupted nights; walked a lot, shopped (with betsy as my personal dresser) and ate without a kid on my lap; and came home each evening to a bottle of good wine and cheesy t.v. jennie (who is blogless, or i would link to her, hint hint) resolved to finish her dissertation before she begins her full-time job this summer (right jen??), and i came up with multiple schemes for what i'm going to do with this next phase of my life. it was bliss. on a plate. we were definitely cracking betsy up with our simple needs ("are you kidding? this couch is the best bed i've ever slept in!") we plan to do it again soon.

finally, can i just say how much it rocks to be working with two la leche league leader applicants who are smart, thoughtful, organized, dedicated, enthusiastic, reliable, way cool and just plain fun to be around? and how lucky am i that one of them is the inimitable jo? i believe that the lovely and astonishingly well put together mia is currently blogless, i would send you her way as well!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

trip pix


new year's resolutions

eat until satisfied, not uncomfortably full

eat more fruits and veggies

run at least three times a week for three miles at a time

train for the broad street run and actually run it

practice yoga at least once a week

spend less time listening to my own voice inside my head trying to figure it all out, and more time listening to what god has in mind for me

go on more dates and overnights with julie