Spoken Word/Music Video: ‘Better Off, Better Smile’ [John Raible Online]
This project originated out of a need to counter the tired, predictable arguments that are often used to dismiss candid and critical (a.k.a. “angry”) adoptee voices. A prime dismissal is arguing that adoptees should quit whining, since we are “better off” by being adopted than we would be in other imagined scenarios.
This piece offers an alternative view. Having being forced to endure racist conditions within our adoptive “host” communities as children—even among good families who loved us, and among well-intentioned neighbors whose unexamined privilege often led them to participate in the racialization that was happening to us—many adoptees later begin, in adulthood, to make connections between adoption’s Before and After. That is, the Before of the oppressive conditions that led to the need for adoption, and the After effects of growing up in overwhelmingly white, psychologically unhealthy, and racist social environments.
Friendship 101 [Mama C and the Boys]
To add to the list of things I never thought much about before becoming a parent, is the importance and skills involved in helping my children establish and maintain friendships. With kindergarten looming on Sam’s social horizon, I have been checking in with him lately on what he is comfortable with, and where he might like some help. (Preschool is great for teaching Sam how to negotiate the intricacies of friendships he already has, so we’re all about how to make new and lasting ones.) Luckily, Sammy has a natural facility in this arena. My job seems to be more of one of helping him practice.
Only the Lonely [CocoaMamas.com]
Time magazine recently ran an interesting article on “Onlies” or “Only Children” also known as children without siblings. The point of the article was to debunk the long-standing myths of “single children [being] perceived as spoiled, selfish, solitary misfits”. The article caught my attention because I was raised an only child and my son is being raised in an interesting situation where he can be the “only” child 80% of the time.
Here is an interesting trend of note:
“The recession has dramatically reshaped women’s childbearing desires,” says Larry Finer, the director of domestic policy at the Guttmacher Institute, a leading reproductive-health-research organization. The institute found that 64% of women polled said that with the economy the way it is, they couldn’t afford to have a baby now. Forty-four percent said they plan to reduce or delay their childbearing — again, because of the economy. This happens during financial meltdowns: the Great Depression saw single-child families spike at 23%. Since the early ’60s, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, single-child families have almost doubled in number, to about 1 in 5 — and that’s from before the markets crashed.
Confident Black Girls [My Brown Baby]
I get why my mother did what she did. When you’re overworked and way underpaid, and you’re of a generation that thinks kids are to be controlled, rather than reasoned with; and you’re afraid of having to deal with the cascade of hormone-driven adolescent problems that come with being the mom of a girl child, you search for silence. Demand it, even. Talking about tween stuff like periods and first kisses and confidence and beauty wasn’t an option for her, because speaking about it somehow condoned and encouraged a flurry of inappropriate behavior—invited her daughter to be difficult.
As a writer, it’s always good to read words of other writers–to get ideas on delivery, to develop a sense of rhythm, and to see different perspectives. I’ve mostly been reading literary fiction, so I decided to take a break by checking out the YA (Young Adult) literary scene. My library has pamphlets that recommend books by providing a short synopsis of each book, and when I read the synopsis for Someone Like Summer by M.E. Kerr, I decided to give it a shot because of the interesting storyline: a rich White girl from the Hamptons falls in love with an undocumented Latino day laborer.