Archive for March, 2008

The Personal is Political Part II

Saturday, March 29th, 2008 by janice

Yeah, what she said…

If my fellow AP and PAP bloggers have not yet run across Anti Racist Parent, it is well worth checking out. Actually, even if you are not the parent or prospective parent of a child of color, please check it out. As I mentioned in my previous post, defeating racism is not just for POC any more.

Many blessings,

Janice

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The Personal is Political

Monday, March 24th, 2008 by janice

OK, if you have not already seen The Speech, you really should take the time to check it out. It is long, but damn! I mean, just, damn!

Many, many other people have made much more eloquent and moving commentaries on the speech so here are a few I really liked:

From Crooked Timber “Obama seemed to me to be challenging America to be great, which is a very different and much riskier thing, as well as something I find much more compelling and attractive.”

From The NY Times “What is evident, though, is that he not only cleared the air over a particular controversy — he raised the discussion to a higher plane.”

From Mother Jones “Obama was not condemning anyone. His key to post-racial transformation? End the blame game. In the end, he argued, black-and-white matters less—or should matter less—than issues of class and economic power…”

And my absolute favorite response, from Kung Fu Monkey

As we’ve seen, this speech hasn’t shut down the fear-mongering and the “Swiftboating” that is coming from his political enemies (and unfortunately one has to include the Clintons and their Democratic supporters in the camp) but I do believe that he has raised the level of the discussion. At least he’s spoken intelligently and with great courage about a topic that is still very much alive and well in this country, despite what folks on both sides of the political fence would like to think.

Obviously this issue is more than academic or theoretical to us, both because of my own background and because we hope to be the parents of a child of another race some day. We know that we will become a conspicuous family at that point, with the responsibility both to protect our child from and educate her about the realities of racism in the US.

Actually, I believe this is the responsibility of all parents, whether white, black, brown, mixed race etc. Racism doesn’t end unless we we acknowledge that it exists and still has a major influence in America. Only then can we work to solve the problem.

I have come to adulthood in an America that is better than the one my parents grew up in. It is my sincerest wish to hand over to our children an America that is better than we found it. I hope to bring our daughter into an America that will be kinder to her than it was to me and my siblings.

This is the ideal that Obama sees and speaks about: that America is not perfect but we can make a change for the better. And it is because of this ideal that I support Obama.

So, getting off my little soap box now. More another time I am sure.

Blessings all,

Janice

PS: yes I know I’ve come to the show a little late but as the issue isn’t going away I still think it’s relevant. Read, think then ACT!

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The Contraction of IA Programs

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008 by janice

In response to Pale Rider’s comments to the last posting, a not-so-quick word on the current trend of slow downs in what have been the most popular sending countries in International Adoption.

Just a caveat: I am not an expert on South Korea. We did research the Korean IA program before choosing China but only far enough to realize we did not meet their requirements. I’m also not an expert on Russia, Guatemala, Ethiopia or most of the other sending countries although we have looked at most of them. I’ve tried to be as accurate as possible but much of this is based on what I’ve found on the Internet, and of course the Internets are never wrong, right? 😉 At any rate, don’t take any of this as the final word on the subject.

South Korea has had a long history of IA to the US and other countries, dating back to the end of the Korean Conflict. I believe it is the longest running IA program to the US. Certainly for a decades it was the most popular program for US PAPs. But starting in the late 80s and early 90s, Korean began scaling back its IA program. As of 2006 it was still 4th among the sending countries but that was relatively small compared to the top 3 sending countries, China, Russia and Guatemala.

There are a couple of reasons. One had to do with the negative press that South Korea received in the Western press during the ’88 Olympics. The people of South Korea were quite upset by the amount and severity of the negative coverage of their country in what was supposed to be a major source of positive PR for the rising nation. I’ve never actually been able to find the quote, so the tale may be an apocryphal, but it is “commonly known” in the IA world that a US sportscaster made an on-air comment that South Korea’s largest export was its children. Whether this story is true or not, the Media in general definately brought negative attention to the South Korean IA program.

South Korean officials were also becoming increasingly aware that some of the original reasons for IA (orphans due to the Conflict and extreme poverty) were no longer valid in a nation that was becoming increasingly quite rich. So Korean officials tightened the requirements for international PAPs and attempted to increase domestic adoption. Unfortunately there are strong cultural barriers to domestic adoption in South Korea. But there has been a great deal of work to change attitudes and to some extent it is working. Their stated goal is to close IA altogether, although that doesn’t appear to be imminent. Domestic adoptions still do not keep up with the number of children in need of families and probably won’t in this generation.

Still, South Korea is at the forefront of what appears to be a trend in the largest sending countries, China, Russia, South Korea and Guatemala. For the most part the trend is due to the rising economic strength of those countries. Both China and Russia have had recent major overhauls of their adoption systems and have worked toward increasing domestic adoptions. Both can now afford to be far more picky about the people they allow to adopt from abroad. The Hague convention on IA is also playing a part in this as it emphasizes domestic over international adoption as well.

Guatemala, which in 2006 surpassed Russia as a sending country, is a whole other can of worms. I won’t go too deeply into the reasons why IA in Guatemala is rapidly contracting but the fact that the State Department requires not one but TWO DNA tests on the child and her putative birth mother is indicative of serious ethical problems in the program. I hope that the government of Guatemala can address these issues in a timely manner to the benefit of the children. But unfortunately a lot of children and PAPs have been caught up in political and ethical issues beyond their control and many families are facing an uncertain future.

On the other hand, Ethiopia is rapidly growing its IA program. It was the 5th largest sending country in 2006 and I suspect climbed higher in 2007. I believe it will continue to be a very popular program although it will probably only surpass the current top sending countries as a product of those countries wind down their IA programs.

Vietnam was a popular country in 2007 but the issues they are having now with questionable paperwork and potential ethics violations, as well as the impending expiration of the bilateral agreement that reopened adoptions to the US, it is likely to close that program down again.

There are a few scattered smaller programs such as Kazakhstan which are becoming popular, and some countries which had closed their program, like Ukraine, are coming back. However, as the number of people looking overseas to adopt increases, this decrease in the number of available children – hopefully a positive thing for them – definately adds another level of difficulty to an already lengthy and complex process.

Anyway, I don’t have a grand wrap up or a conclusion on this matter. I think each country has every right to make whatever rules and plans for its IA that they feel is right. At any rate, in the larger scheme of things, we should see the trend in the traditionally largest sending countries as a positive sign for their children. At least, I hope it is true that more orphans are finding families in-country and that those left in the orphanages are getting better treatment.

Time will tell.

Blessings,

Janice

Update – I discovered from another source that in 2007, domestic adoption within South Korean outnumbered international adoptions from that country for the first time. This is wonderful to hear.

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Minutiae

Monday, March 10th, 2008 by janice

Some non-adoption related updates of our life.

I had jury duty just after we got back from Estrella War and ended up being there for 3 days! I didn’t make it onto the jury but was in the pool for a big trial so I got to sit there and listen to the same 20 questions over and over again. Did I mention it was 3 days? But at least I made $34.76.

Sheesh!

It’s a good thing my employer pays for jury duty. I really think it ought to be made mandatory for employers to pay their employees for serving jury duty. Either that or the counties need to start paying way more than $15 a day for people to serve. I’ll have more politically charged commentary on this experience if I can ever get what I want to say about it to sound far more intelligent than a 5th grade social studies book.

Last weekend (not the one just past be the one previous) we finally had some catch up time with the West Coast Ts. Went wine tasting with the T-2 and Aaron and then we met T-4 for dinner at Brooks. It was really nice to catch up. Although I wish we’d had more time with T-4. Silly uncles coming into town! I never really forget why I love the Ts but it is nice to get a real life reminder. Sorry you missed it, T1. I wonder if we can convince everyone to go out to CT for the next baby blessing. 😉

I’ve been sick with the creeping crud for days now. Missed a bunch of work – although “missed” is not really the right word (hee) – and essentially didn’t leave the couch for 3 days. It sux to have asthma because even a small cold turns into a big deal. It also sux to have a job in which you basically get exposed to every single illness going around. If I didn’t get my flu shot every year I’d be ill even more often. Finally back at work and of course I am being punished for having been gone. Although I guess it’s always nice to be truly needed at work.

This coming weekend is Darach’s big weekend event . Darren is feast-0-crating again. Going to be a great weekend for food. A member of our chosen family who shall remain nameless but it begins with Kelvin (LOL!) is turning a big round number on Sunday. Happy birthday, dear!

On the bio family front, my newest second cousin, Esther Lieske Rebekka, was born on March 4th. Congrats to proud papa Ezra and mama Marieke. Also to Esther’s Oma, Opa and Omi!

Here’s the obligatory pic:

esther4-3-08-018.jpg

Paul has a fairly good shot at a job as a peer counselor with Goodwill Industries in New York. Please send good energy and prayers his way. I think this would be a good thing for him.

Many blessings all!

Janice

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Finally into 2006

Friday, March 7th, 2008 by janice

Quick China adoption update. Sorry, there’s nothing that great to post but here’s our latest information.

The most recent round of referrals started showing up on the 3rd. The CCAA has finally broken into the 2006 LIDs, referring through January 4th. By the calendar this is 8 days but unfortunately because of the New Year’s holiday it’s more like 5 days.

So, still slightly depressing.

Just a reminder, our LID is 4-25-2006. Now this may seem like it is really close but it really isn’t. That is roughly 111 LIDs between the last round of referrals and our LID. In the last 6 months, they have averaged about 6.5 days per month of referrals. So, if they continue at the same pace, that’s roughly 17 more months of waiting. Plus or minus. I’m guessing closer to 18 months.

We are still considering whether to try a concurrent adoption from Country A. We have to have one year between the completion of one adoption and the referral from China. Agency A is saying they believe the whole adoption from Country A will take about a year (depending on how much on the ball we get.) We have the option of putting our dossier on hold for up to 6 months, plus the estimated 18 months yet to wait, it is just possible that we can still complete a concurrent adoption before China comes through. However, things really do have to fall into line for this to work out, so we are still weighing the options. Waiting for some information from our placing agency before we make a final decision.

Have an agency picked if we decide to go through with the concurrent.

We’ll keep you updated.

Blessings all!

Janice

(Edited for clarity – sorry ’bout that folks.)

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