Friday, May 31, 2013

Blogaholics Anonymous - Soccer Tryouts Edition

Crazy time of year around here. School ends, and soccer tryouts happen.

I think every family has to find their thing -- the thing they do to relax and spend time together. For us, it's soccer. Mike coaches. . . the girls and Wenxin play. . . Nathan and I watch their games and sit in the shade reading during practices.

The weather here is beautiful year around, and the fields attract tons of families with kids of all ages. We make friends and hang out together. It's our family's thing.

So here's this week's Blogaholics Anonymous. As you can see, I've been reading up on youth sports.

10 Types of Youth Sports Parents - Cracked us up! Mike and I laughed our heads off this morning as we read this blog by a sports dad. If you've ever had a kid in youth sports, you'll be able to relate.

10 (More) Types of Sports Parents - More of the same!

Should Women Play Sports?  Until recently, I had no idea that there were people who consider it unbiblical for Christian women to train as competitive athletes. I pretty much disagree with everything in this article, but considering my love for listening to all points of view, I thought I'd post it here. I find his choice of photos especially interesting. For the record, I believe a Christian woman can be a strong, competitive athlete and still be godly and feminine. That's where I stand.

Sharing at Ni Hao Ya'll and WFMW.

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Older Child Adoption from the Child's Point of View

"Wenxin, suppose you had a chance to talk with a Chinese boy who was about to be adopted. Suppose you had a translator to help you. What would you tell that boy about adoption? What would you want him to know?"

Quiet. . . He's thinking. . . carefully choosing his words.

Finally, the answer comes -- in a voice from the backseat that sounds innocent and small.

"I would tell him that the new parents might be mean, or they might be nice. There's really no way to know."

And that was that.

It's not exactly what I thought he would say.

Is it just me, or does this blow anyone else away?

Shared at Wild & Precious and at  Emily's blog.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Respectful Conversation about Adoption

Courtesy of Bangert & Dahlquist

Adoption assumptions and adoption myths can kill respectful conversation, and often, they're just plain hurtful.

Don't assume. Ask sincerely. Have respect. 

That's pretty good advice for discussing just about anything, but it's especially true for a topic as emotionally loaded as adoption.

Have you ever felt misunderstood or hurt by someone's assumptions about your adoption? Would love to hear from adopted adults, first moms, and adoptive parents on this one.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hot, Tired, Happy . . . Blogaholics Anonymous

It's been a hot one today - A day for sunscreen and a cooler full of Gatorade! Both Katherine and Wenxin played in soccer finals, and both teams brought home second place trophies. We are hot, tired, and happy.

Remember, I'm a blog addict, an information junkie. I read decorating blogs, home organization blogs, adoption blogs, political blogs -- anything that makes me learn or think or laugh or grow. Here are a few posts I've enjoyed lately.

Examining Adoption Ethics: Part One - Jen Hatmaker isn't one to dodge hard topics. Here, speaking as an adoptive parent, she tackles the issue of corruption in international adoption. A must read.

12 Things Your Daughter Needs You to Say - If you are raising daughters in a Christian home, you want to listen to what Emily Freeman has to say. She's becoming one of my go-to authors for insight on parenting my preteen girls.

The Lost Daughters Discuss The Child Catchers by Kathryn Joyce - Part One of a Series - If you've been around here long, you know that I value listening to adult adoptees. Here, a group of adult adoptees discusses the Christian adoption / orphan care movement. What makes this discussion especially lively is that one of the adult adoptees is a Christian pastor.

The Lost Daughters Discuss The Child Catchers by Kathryn Joyce - Part Two of a Series -  Here, the same group discusses domestic adoption ethics.

We've Got Spirit! Check out my blue nails!

Ni Hao Yall

Friday, May 3, 2013

Make Adoption Better: Build the Nest!

A couple of my recent posts have been about problems in the adoption world. Well, during the month of May, you can help make adoption better by shopping with a purpose. A bunch of online sellers have come together to support the work of The Sparrow Fund, and I've already started browsing.

Here are a few of my favorite finds so far. 

The cute note cards pictured above would make a great gift for a family preparing for a China adoption!

Whimsical art. Perfect for a child's room or a gallery wall.

These prints were designed by a foster mom to remind herself to be thankful for each day with her foster child. I could see these framed in a kitchen or a breakfast room.

The Sparrow Fund gives grants to families, not to pay for their adoptions, but to help them get the support they need to be successful as adoptive parents. For example, The Sparrow Fund gives grants to families for professional medical reviews of their child's referral information by international adoption specialists. These specialists can help families prepare for the realities of parenting the children they are considering adopting.

You can read more about The Sparrow Fund and the important work they do, here.

To join in the fun, just click the Building the Nest logo below to see all the participating shops. Each business featured is giving 10% of their total sales in the month of May to build the nest at The Sparrow Fund. Let's get shopping, ladies, and to quote one of The Sparrow Fund founders, "Let's make that 10% crazy big!"

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Blogaholics Anonymous

I'm a blog addict, an information junkie. I read decorating blogs, home organization blogs, adoption blogs, political blogs -- anything that makes me learn or think or laugh or grow.  This blog addiction serves me well as I learn to parent my child from the hard places. Most weeks I share my favorites with you here at Death by Great Wall, although this time, I think it's been a while. 

The Heart of Boston - A Christian perspective on the immigrants among us in light of Boston.

Significant Loss and Trauma Related to Adoption: Interview with Bonnie Martin, MEd, CACS, LCPC - a therapist discusses adoption related issues.

The disappearance of childhood and what we can do to get it back - I love this one! A great reminder to give a children the gift of childhood.

Parents: A Word about Instagram - Wisdom about social media and preteens.

what I want you to know about being a birthmom and backing out of the adoption plan - When a birthmom changes her mind, we usually hear about it from the perspective of the heartbroken would-be adoptive parents. This courageous mom shares her side of the story. If you have time, read the comments.

And finally, did you see my last two posts on Orphan Fever? If you missed them, be sure to check out Orphan Fever: Are Christians Naive? and Orphan Fever: Deception and Misunderstanding. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Orphan Fever: Deception and Misunderstanding

Wenxin's Arrival in America Back in 2010

Christians, orphans and international adoption. My post over the weekend about the evangelical orphan care movement generated some good discussion in the comments section.

Kathryn Joyce, author of the Mother Jones article, Orphan Fever: The Evangelical Movement's Adoption Obsession, recently did a radio interview for NPR. The radio interview is actually much kinder to evangelical Christians than the article in Mother Jones.

Ms. Joyce uses examples from Guatemala and Ethiopia to illustrate the deception and misunderstanding that can occur in international adoption, although these are not, by any means, the only countries where problems have been reported.

Most parents who want to give an orphaned child a home would be horrified to discover that their newly adopted child was not abandoned or orphaned, as they'd been told, but had actually been recruited by a child finder. 

Most parents would be shocked to find that their adopted 10-year-old was, in reality, a 14-year-old whose date of birth had been altered to make her more adoptable.

And after sacrificing and spending tens of thousands of dollars to give a child a forever family, who wouldn't be heart-broken to realize that their new child had living relatives in their home country and viewed this not as a permanent arrangement, but as a great opportunity to get an education in America?

Deception and misunderstanding. Although it's not talked about very often, it happens. Well meaning adoptive parents and needy children sometimes fall victim to greed, corruption, and the law of supply and demand in the adoption industry. Cultural misunderstandings abound. Many adoptive parents find out after the fact that the information in their referral paperwork isn't 100% accurate.

By way of contrast, Ms. Jones highlights the country of Rwanda as an example of adoption and orphan care done right. She even gives a shout out to Saddleback Church for their initiatives in Rwanda noting that for Saddleback, orphan care is broader than just international adoption. You can read the entire transcript of the interview here.

I'd love to know what you think. What can prospective adoptive parents do to guard against being deceived in an international adoption? What concerns do you have about international adoption as it stands today?

I have a few thoughts on this issue myself, but I think I'll stop for now and give you a chance to say what's on your mind.

Ni Hao Yall