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Susan Ito trying to do it all: reading writing mothering spousing daughtering working living

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Partying in the Sandwich Generation

I recently looked at some amazing photos of my friend Christine's crawfish boil party - and I thought, I used to have parties like that. Maybe 5 couples, plus a baby. Very manageable, everyone sitting at one table, a good conversation. But that kind of party seems way in the past, or off in the future.

Now we have two daughters - a preteen and teen - and my mother. And a lot of our friends have kids, although not all of them. I'm sad that some of our friends have gone by the wayside because they happened to have boys and we happened to have girls. It's not like we're avoiding them - but after our kids got past preschool, they were less eager to hang out with younger kids, or boys. They would do it, but it just wasn't as EASY. So we started making friends, or trying to, with the parents of their friends. But often we didn't have anything in common with, or particularly like the parents of their friends. When we have gatherings now, we have to have someone for everyone to feel happy to hang out with, or someone ends up feeling left out.

Yesterday we had a BBQ party which seemed to work out well. It was a lot of people. We had a friend of mine from my adoption work, a couple of my writing friends, some parents-of-kids'-friends, some old-time friends (ie, before marriage, before kids) some relatives (ranging from 8 to 80), a huge cohort of my older girl's crew team buddies. It was a giant mishmash of people. It wasn't intimate, and I didn't get to talk to nearly as many people for nearly as much time as I would've liked. We certainly didn't all sit together; we were scattered all over the house and beyond. We had some good food. We talked.

One day our family is going to shrink down again, and I guess that will be the the time for all the small parties we can stand.

Blog Book Tour: The Vanishing Point

I was lucky enough to read Mary Sharratt's new novel, The Vanishing Point, when it was in manuscript. I was blown away by it then, but to re-read it as a book, and such a gorgeous book! was an amazing pleasure. I took it along to the beach at Santa Cruz this weekend, and gobbled it down while my daughter and her friends were whizzing around on roller coasters. (her 12th birthday celebration)

I love this book. It's historically fascinating. It's sexy (very!). It's feministy. It's mysterious and suspenseful and compelling. The sentences are luscious. And it's a true page-turner. I found myself gasping out loud at many of the book's surprising and twisty turns. It's the story of two sisters in the New World, separated by circumstance and mystery, so different from each other and yet bound by an intense love and loyalty to each other. Here's an excerpt from a review in Minnesota Magazine.
Mary Sharratt's new novel, The Vanishing Point, is a page-turner, a mystery, a quietly feminist tale, and a richly researched historical novel with ever-unfolding plot twists. An author's note indicates that Sharratt, who also wrote Summit Avenue and The Real Minerva, spent 10 years researching the medicine and mores of the 17th century, and her expertise is evident. Her hand is sure as she guides us through the story, sprinking confident and casual references to birth control (did you know that honey kills sperm?), and healing herbs, and the Diggers and Levelers, English rebel groups who sought an end to feudal ways.

The Vanishing Point is also an examination of love, loyalty, and betrayal.
The Vanishing Point is such an impeccably researched book. Since I am also allegedly writing a historical novel, it made me realize that I have a lot of work yet to do. It really awed and inspired me to get back to my own book, and to take the care that Mary did with hers. I was fascinated by the Afterword in the book, which described Mary's research and writing process, and illuminated the question that drove her to write the book.

What would happen to a late-seventeenth-century woman who was determined to carve out her own destiny and who demanded the same liberties, both social and sexual, as a man?

This book is beautifully designed; the chapter heading fonts, in Colonial script, were enough to make me swoon and dive into each section. And it is part of a new trend of releasing new books straight into paperback. I think this is a good thing. Much as I love the feel and smell of a hardcover book, I often say I will "wait until paperback" and then never end up buying a book. People don't have to wait this time. It's affordable, and more than worth its price.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Other Side of the Mailbox

I'm very happy to announce that as of this week, I am one of the new Fiction Editors at Literary Mama.
I have long been a huge fan of theirs, and I love the group of women who have established this fantastic site. Along with Suzanne Kamata, I will be reading short stories by mothers, about the wild, complex, intense experience of parenting. Here are the general Literary Mama guidelines:

Literary Mama seeks:
  • Short fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction (please see specific guidelines by genre below).
  • Writing rooted in/inspired by the experience of motherhood.
  • Submissions written by writers of all ages who are also self-identified mothers: biological, non-biological, step, transgendered, foster, grand, or adoptive.
  • We prefer previously unpublished work. We will consider reprints, however, if you have the rights and the work is not currently available online.
  • Authors retain rights. Please credit us if your work is republished.
  • Standard response time from 3-12 weeks. Manuscripts are read year round except for June and December.
  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed, as long as you notify us if accepted elsewhere.
  • Electronic submissions only. Please send submissions to the appropriate departmental editors (see genre guidelines below). Include a brief cover letter.
  • What we tend to like:

  • Revelation so stark that it hurts. Pathos can reveal, but so can humor and joy.
  • Superior craft (clarity, concrete details, strong narrative development).
  • Ambiguity, complexity, depth, thoughtfulness, delicacy, humor, irreverence, lyricism, sincerity; the elegant and the raw.
  • And more about our specific department:
    Editors: Susan Ito and Suzanne Kamata, fiction@literarymama.com

    The fiction department seeks short fiction of less than 6,000 words. We love:

  • Stories with strong narrative structure, great characters, interesting settings, beautiful language, complicated themes.
  • Fiction that reflects the full experience -- the hard parts and the joyous.
  • Fiction at a flat-out, heart-racing run.
  • Fiction that meanders slowly and irrevocably.
  • Please send submissions in the text of an email along with a brief cover letter. Please put "Fiction Submission from Your Name" in the subject heading. (we get an insane amount of spam) We report in 3-8 weeks.

    I hope to be reading some of your work! If you write poetry or creative nonfiction, visit here and scroll down to those sections.

    Musical Connections

    Ever since I wrote about my youthful "hobby" of going to concerts, I've been going to more concerts, and buying more tickets to concerts. I saw KT Tunstall at the Fillmore, and have bought tickets for Bruce Springsteen and Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris this summer.

    Last night, I took my daughter and her friend to the Freight & Salvage for the first time. It was so much fun. She had turned me onto an adorable folky group called The Weepies, whom she'd heard while watching Gray's Anatomy.

    My husband and I have been listening to folkish music since before she was born. When she was little-little, she liked it, but then as she started developing her own musical "taste" (okay, I shouldn't be sarcastic) and gravitated toward N'Sync and the Backstreet Boys (she was only in 5th grade, I can't really hold it against her), she started mocking our musical preferences and running from the room holding her ears every time we put on a CD.

    So imagine my surprise when she starts actually listening to, and liking, "our" music. And how she is turning us on to music that we all like. She was excited to see that Laurie Lewis is coming up at the Freight, and we might all go together. Our daughter, excited about a fiddler! Ha!

    Maybe it really did imprint on her when she was little, when we took her to the Strawberry Music Festival when she was two. It's just nice to have something like this to share. I never would've dreamed it.

    And one of these days, I really, really, really want to learn how to play the banjo. My secret dream.

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    It's A Girl! Blog Book Tour

    The blog book tour for Andi Buchanan's pink book, It's A Girl, stops here at ReadingWritingLiving today.

    I have to admit having a lot of mixed feelings about this book. The biggest feeling is frustration and regret that I don't have a piece in it. I have two girls. I'm a writer. I had multiple deadline extensions, and a warm invitation from the editor to submit something. I tried. I really did. But I could not, for the life of me, pull anything together for the final-final-final deadline. When we received our copy of It's A Boy, my daughters were excited to see my name in the table of contents, and they eagerly asked when It's A Girl would be released. I had to sheepishly tell them that I wouldn't have a piece in the companion book.

    Why not? As I read through the wonderful, provocative essays in It's A Girl, I noted that most of the writers had daughters who were a lot younger than my preteen and teenager. I wrote a lot more about mine when they were smaller, but seemed to pretty much stop when the older was about seven or eight. Things started getting a lot more complicated, and it was hard - no - impossible - to write about them when we were in the midst of living our entangled, messy, rollercoastery lives. During the period that submissions were being considered for It's A Girl, my older daughter was a high school freshman, and I was feeling more conflicted and insecure as a parent than any time since the day she was born. My writing tongue was tied.

    I feel like we're a bit more out of the woods now (rushing madly to knock on wood), but it's still hard to write about them. They're intensely private people now, and I don't feel like I could write anything meaningful that they would really want me to share with the world; but I wouldn't want to write anything superficial. So the book has come out, and I'm not in it, and I feel sad about that, but that's the irony of it: it was a lot easier to write about a ghostly boy-who-never-lived, than two flesh and blood girls.

    Having said all that, let me get to the writers who DID submit their essays to this book. Given where I am in my mothering process, I have to admit that I gravitated strongly to the essays written by mothers of older daughters (preteen and beyond). I appreciated the reflections about little girls, but that feels like a far-off planet I used to live on, but won't be visiting again anytime soon. I was fascinated and very interested in the writers who were able to do what I couldn't.

    Ann Douglas' essay, "The Food Rules," is powerful and chilling, about her own and then her daughter's struggles with food. This sentence made my stomach cramp and my eyes fill with tears:
    Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised on that late June evening during my daughter's eighth grade year when I was looking in her closet and I came across a jumbo -sized candy container filled with vomit.
    Let me tell you, that got my attention way more than musings about the pros and cons of Barbie. But a lot of the essays were poignant struggles over the messages about beauty that we absorb, that we carry ourselves, and pass on to our daughters. Joyce Maynard's piece, "The World's Most Beautiful Baby- Take Two," about her obsession with her daughter's beauty, and her dismay when she grew a "Frida Kahlo mustache" is brutal-honest in its self reflection.
    Here is the worst shame for me: That when my daughter wasn't beautiful - and sometimes she wasn't - I grieved the loss of her beauty more than I grieved the appearance of lines on my own face, or my graying hair...
    Of course I was transfixed by Jennifer Lauck's essay, "Links," because she writes so beautifully about being adopted, and what it means to give birth to a baby girl after losing the connection to her own first mother. It choked me up.
    Perhaps she is dead.
    Perhaps she forgot.
    Perhaps she never wants to remember.
    I gave up thinking about her at all. You can't live your life staring at the telephone.
    I also loved Gayle Brandeis' story of her daughter embracing Buddhism, ("Zen Mind, Daughter's Mind"). I barely understood much of the terminology in Leslie Leyland Fields' "Passing It On," about her teenaged daughter being the only woman doing commercial salmon fishing on a boat in Alaska (what's a tender? what's a skiff? I wondered, in awe), but it made me feel excited and impressed.
    I pray for her what she has not dared: the courage to be weak, the courage to ask for help, to cry when she needs to, to bleed when she must, to work beside men as a woman.
    I guess this is the kind of writing that inspires me the most now, about navigating that difficult passage of seeing a daughter grow up and become her own person.

    But there's something in this book for everyone, whether you've just given birth to a girl last week, or yours is well on the way to growing up. It's a rich, poignant mix, and a great addition to the world of family literature.

    Monday, May 15, 2006

    A Good Report Card

    I was really happy today because I got a very good report card from my doctor. (actually from the lab; I don't see the doctor until Wednesday) For the past year, I have been fretting about my health; last year at this time I had some crummy cholesterol counts and was inching towards diabetes with high blood glucose. I lost some weight and got an iPod for Mother's Day 2005, which helped me with my daily walks-in-the-park. So my cholesterols improved a little but the blood glucose only went down by the tiniest fraction. I was getting bummed out and seeing needles in my future.

    This fall was hard; I went to beautiful Blue Mountain, where I got almost no exercise due to daily rain or snow. I ate too many warm cookies from the oven. I gained more weight. By the time the holidays passed and January rolled around, I was feeling discouraged, totally out of shape and like Jabba the Hut.

    Then my wonderful, fantastic friend Melanie gave me the best New Year's gift: a free ticket for a kickboxing class at some place called DJ's Martial Arts. I kind of laughed at this. Kickboxing? ME?!?!? Yea right. But then another friend, Christine, said she was going to give it a go, and even though I was terrified, I mean TERRIFIED, I decided to go.

    The class was hard. It was super sweaty, grungey, painful and intense. But it was unbelievably fun. The instructor, Doug Jones (DJ himself!) was an absolute hoot. And I could tell that even though he was goofing around like crazy, that he took what he was doing seriously.

    I loved the class. It was so funny because I have belonged to a lot of fancy shmancy gyms: gyms where each treadmill had its own personalized DVD player, and they'd cue it up to the place you last stopped watching; gyms with amazing views of the Bay; gyms that cost an arm and a leg. But those were, at their essence, cold places with people who didn't care whether I weighed 400 pounds or 115. They were just punching their timeclock and looking at themselves in their mirrors.

    DJ's place is different. It is funky. It is as real as can be. It is hot and the exercise mats are grubby and the music is loud and Motowny and thumps through your bones. But the best thing is Doug, who has got to be the World's Most Encouraging Trainer, ever. He trained the guys in The Matrix movies and a ton of other Hollywoody things. He could train a gerbil to think it was an Arabian horse. After about six kickboxing classes, I was thoroughly hooked and asked if I could sign up for personal training.

    I have never had a teacher like this teacher. I love having a teacher, whom I know really and truly cares about how I am doing; and he is always pushing, pushing, pushing. Last week I climbed 15 flights of 100 stairs. (at once) I chugged up this steep concrete incline-hill thing, 15x. I ran around the track at the bottom of my hill four times. Until now, I had never really "believed" in endorphins. Exercise has always been a tedious, awful, punishing thing to me. But no more. I believe! I believe! After a session with Doug, I am flying and bouncy and happy for hours. And: this week, I bought some new clothes on Mother's Day, and did not cry in the dressing room.

    Today I got my first report card. It made me so happy. I am no longer borderline anything: diabetes or heart attack or any of those bad things. I am squarely, solidly in NORMAL range.


    Mother's Day: Not a Simple Holiday

    I can't think of any holiday that is more fraught than Mother's Day, from the perspective of being both a mother and a daughter. This was one of those high-octane weekends, when I felt like I was bursting at the seams as a mom. Tearing my hair out with frustration one moment, and melting with tenderness the next. And back and forth, again and again. Friday night was a sleepover that began with "Can A. spend the night?" and morphed quickly into five teenaged crew-team members giggling and shrieking, pizza and movies until 2am, when they all had to get up at 5:00 for their 6am Saturday practice.

    Saturday was a bit surreal, and very sweet. A few weeks ago I blogged about my baby-longing, and the foster mom who had come to my house toting the Very Adorable Baby. Well, she just happened to read my blog, and emailed me asking if I wanted to fulfill some of that longing by spending some time with that VAB. Wow. (I think this may also have something to do with my iPod fortune telling, when I asked my iPod if I would have more children, and it responded with Ferron's song, "O Baby.")

    So on Saturday morning I went to her house to gather up the 9-month old bundle of total cuteness, plus his diaper bag, bottle, carseat (identical to the ones my girls used, 10+ years ago) and stroller. All the gear! I had sort of forgotten. First we trundled off to Whole Foods to get snack for my younger daughter's soccer game. Unbelievable, the amount of attention that he/we received. I had forgotten about that too. It doesn't hurt that he is too cute and sweet for words, with eyelashes about half a mile long, and offering a smile to anyone in a 20-foot radius. Then we went to the soccer game, where he crawled around on the grass and a small team of girls and I valiantly prevented him from ingesting goose poop. More adoring attention, but it was also becoming clear how unflaggingly vigilant one must be. Like, I knew that very well a decade ago, but it had faded from my reality.

    We came home. He had fallen asleep in the car, and thus the question: to move him, and risk waking him up? Would I sit in the car all afternoon? I finally decided to gingerly detach the carseat from the car, and bring sleeping-child-in-carseat into the house. It worked. I realized I was exhausted. We both slept in the guest room, me with one fishy eye half open.

    When he woke up an hour later, the fun began. Lunch! Playtime! Diapers! It was a nonstop babyfest, with little Mister Adorable surrounded by an adoring team of four. My husband found him irresistable. My mother was intrigued. The dogs were totally beside themselves. And the girls were in love. We spent the afternoon offering him toys, airplane rides (you know,the "flying baby" maneuver, which is excellent for the triceps), funny faces, farty sounds and anything else his little heart desired. When his mom came to pick him up in the late afternoon, we were sad. But suddenly realized that now we were free to go to the bathroom.

    That's the thing about babies. They are cuter than cute. This is to distract you from the fact that you cannot peel your eyes away from them for more than three seconds. It's for good reason. His foster mom told me that he might actually be adoptable (I had been hoping this would not be the case, to save me from temptation) and I have been mulling this fact ever since. If we had this baby all the time, our lives would be completely turned upside down. How could I work at my job? How could I write?

    So for now, I think the best thing for us is these weekend gigs. When we can help give his mom some rest, and we can play family-of-a-baby for a few hours or days. I don't think it's in the cards to start all over with a baby. But you never know. I haven't given up on the foster-adopting of older kids, yet, though. Some day.

    So, Mother's Day. Yeah, it's fraught. Yesterday was a rollercoaster of emotion, with one girl alternating between screaming at the top of her lungs, and sobbing, "I'm sorry I'm ruining your Mother's Day!" and feeling like I was going to have to bad-cop the other one, and walking around with a sick sense of dread in my stomach. I emailed an electronic bunch of tulips to my birthmother, feeling as conflicted and ambivalent as I ever have. But I had a nap (best Mother's Day present I can think of) and we all ended up going out for a fancy dinner, where we laughed our heads off, ate some great food, and bathed in overall feelings of love and good will. It felt hard-earned but more than worth it.

    Friday, May 05, 2006

    Musical Fortune Telling

    I told Christine to do this iPod meme, but I hadn't yet done it myself. It seemed like fun. Okay, here goes.
    the iPod Meme

    Instructions: Go to your music player of choice and put it on shuffle. Say the following questions aloud, and press play. Use the song title as the answer to the question. NO CHEATING.

    How does the world see you? "Walking in Memphis" by Marc Cohn

    Will I have a happy life?
    "Cerf-Volant" by Bruno Colais (French song from the soundtrack to "The Chorus" movie) - in other words, I have no idea. Um, it sounds like a happy song.

    What do my friends really think of me?
    "Diamonds and Rust" by Joan Baez (hmm, that's kind of scary)

    What do people secretly think of me?
    "Can't Let Go" by Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

    How can I be happy?
    "Don't Fear the Reaper" from Six Feet Under soundtrack (now that's a good one)

    Will I ever have (more) children?
    "O Baby" by Ferron (!!!!!!!!!) I swear this is what came up!!!!!!!!!!

    What is some good advice for me?
    "Circle Round" by Ferron (this is an extremely beautiful, haunting and short instrumental. It always makes me feel a little weepy. I think it means to slow down and listen to the music)

    How will I be remembered?
    "Perfect Girl" by Sarah McLachlan (yeah right!)

    What is my signature dancing song?
    "Give it To Me Baby" by Rick James (I am laughing my head off. This is from the Funkdamentals CD that my kickboxing teacher loaned me)

    What do I think my current theme song is?
    "Sequence" from the Lily & the Lamb, Anonymous 4 (singing medieval nuns, just perfect)

    What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
    "Walk and Talk like Angels," by Toni Childs (ok, whatever)

    What song will play at my funeral?
    "Some Children See Him," George Winston (winsome piano music)

    What is my day going to be like?
    "Hannah" by Ray LaMontagne (great lyrics: "Celebrate the emptiness in a cold and lonely room...if I lay down this bottle of wine, just be kind to me.")

    Thursday, May 04, 2006

    What Does Adoption Mean to a Kid Who's Waiting for One?

    I just read this on the Orphan Chronicles and it made me yelp out loud. In their own words,
    Adoption means....

    1. Someone take you to the Nutcracker

    2. Having your own towel

    3. A new T-shirt - one that's not donated or you don't have to share

    4. Eating Oreos, not generic cookies

    5. Being able to open the fridge

    6. Someone calling you when you're away at college

    7. Sitting down after standing up for a really long time

    8. The end of the marathon

    9. Someone to be with at Christmas

    10. Somewhere to go on school breaks

    11. Someone is happy to see you when you come home

    12. Someone providing you with a home, a permanent one.

    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    Feeling Itchy to Plagiarize?

    You might like to enter this contest:

    The TMN “Sloppy Seconds With Opal Mehta” Contest

    The Rules:
    —You are limited to 750 of somebody else’s words; none of those words may be your own.
    —All material must be cited (author, work, page number). This is the only part where you have to be honest; unlike professional publishers, we’re actually going to check.
    —You must plagiarize from a minimum of five different books by as many authors as you wish. The only demand we make is that those books were published at some point, somewhere.
    —You must lift only phrases, whole sentences, or passages. No1 single2-word3 citations4 allowed5.

    All entries must be received by midnight on Friday, May 12, or by the time we check our email on Saturday morning, whichever comes later.

    Entries will be judged on the creative use of their source material as well as the excellence of the finished story. The winner of the TMN “Sloppy Seconds With Opal Mehta” Contest will have his or her story published on The Morning News, and will also receive a TMN T-shirt and mug to remind them of this, the moment ethics in writing died.

    Send all entries to talk@themorningnews.org (paste your story into the body of the email—no attachments, please), and good luck!

    Monday, May 01, 2006

    Adoption in the Blogosphere

    Continuing on with my adoption theme, I wanted to share some links to some unique blogs I've been reading this year.

    Twice the Rice
    : Korean adoptee Ji-In is one of the most eloquent, right-on and funny bloggers out there. Her writing is sharp, excellent, and really a must-read for anyone interested in international adoption. I keep hoping she'll turn some of her blog posts into a book. Here's an excerpt from a recent post about the long journey of changing her legal name.
    My parents had my new name all picked out long before my Northwest Orient flight touched down at O'Hare International. I emerged from the Jetway in line with all the other groggy Korean babies being carried out in matching pastel sweater outfits, and suddenly, I was an American child with a funny Swedish-American name.

    And so this is how it came to pass, that I tried an American classification on for size for nearly 30 years. That's 30 years of insisting to strangers that yes, that was my name, and yes, damnit, those were my actual parents.

    But even I wasn't entirely convinced. Stepping up to claim my name at the doctor's office and FedEx counter makes me feel fraudulent at times. Often, my adoptive name — called out by DMV clerks and neatly pressed receptionists with the assumption that its rightful owner is actually someone much whiter – has the sound of a fugitive's alias. My name incriminates me as a counterfeit American to white people, and as a "banana" to Asians. Sometimes I don't even believe myself.

    Mimi Smartypants (great name) is the adoptive mother of a daughter who was born in China. She's way on the other end of the journey, just at the beginning. She is extremely funny and sharp. She doesn't write a lot about adoption explicitly, but a lot about parenting.

    Someone I sort-of kind-of know has a son about the same age as Nora. Every time I run into this woman, she has a bunch of weirdly anxious questions about the sorts of things Nora is up to lately (is she dry at night? can she draw people?), and I hate answering her because I just know she is comparing our children on some dumb checklist in her head. She also has a tendency to try and score bizarre uber-mommy points by constantly saying how well-adjusted Nora seems to be to preschool and to her nanny, and falls all over herself to say how great it is that we don't have daily tears when I head off to work. Then this woman likes to fake-complain about how her son cries and cries when she drops him off at the babysitter's, and how he is just so attached to her. As if having a big old crybaby of a kid is a normal source of pride.

    Usually I just nod and smile and get the hell away as quickly as I can, but the other day I decided to go ahead and play her retarded game. When she mentioned Little Lord Crybaby for the umpteenth time I sweetly said, "Wow, it's very unusual to have such severe separation anxiety at his age...have you ever tried to find out what's causing it?" And then she got flustered and I said I had to be running along and I felt good for about ten seconds. I would really rather just opt out of the Competitive Mothering games but sometimes you just have to give people a taste of their own medicine. Right?

    Korean Adoptee Bride is writing a pre-wedding blog, but it has a ton of really poignant posts about adoption. She was adopted into a white family, and is marrying a Chinese-American man, and this was about her desire to have a Chinese wedding banquet.
    Months before I got engaged I spent the day with my mom doing errands. In the car ride to her jeweler, I started to offhandedly tell her what a Chinese wedding was like. The conversation led to a huge fight: my mom did not want me to have any sort of non-American cultural wedding. Her explanation was, “You’re not Chinese.” We bickered back and forth, and she stated these reasons:
    • Your relatives (especially the older ones) won’t be able to identify the food, and therefore will not eat it.
    • No one would drive to Boston for my wedding. (It had to be in Boston because that’s where the good, traditional Chinese food is, and the large venues.)
    • No one would pay for parking in Boston, or pay to stay overnight, and no one would go to Chinatown.
    • The overall plan of the way a banquet worked would hugely inconvenience my relatives and all of my parents’ guests; therefore my mom would not invite my extended relatives. In fact, she would prohibit me from inviting them.

    I wanted to give my relatives the benefit of the doubt. A wedding is about the couple, and what the couple wants, needs, and likes. There has to be a certain point where “you”, as the couple, needs to do what you want, what you like. You can’t please everyone.
    My family—parents, and brother who is also a Korean adoptee—have never acknowledged that our family is multiracial, or talked about what being Asian or Korean means to me and my brother. My Korean/Asian identity has always been ignored and shunned. But five years ago I started writing about how damaging it was to me that I was raised as a white person, and how being denied my culture was more destructive to me than the loss of my birth mother. I mourned the loss, and had to start from scratch, learning what it meant to be a minority; an Asian person; a Korean person.

    So when she said to me, “You’re not Chinese,” she was technically right; I’m not. But I’m also not white, which is what her and my father imagine me to be.

    The Birth Project is Lisa Marie Rollins' blog. She's a great poet and playwright, and an African American transracial adoptee.
    she is stark blue
    in her school uniform
    starched and clipped tight
    class picture day
    she is all bubbles,
    sun and fire smiles with glossed
    and combed pigtails
    waiting for the camera man
    to line her up with the other girls

    that day
    she is brown skin turning to fire
    eyes full of thunder
    as he lines her up on the boy side
    a tornado of pain
    a copper heart
    like a cold penny taste.
    And then there's a whole TON of adoption blogs over at AdoptionBlogs.com. There are blogs about foster-adoption, about adopting older kids, about transracial adoption, and open adoptions and adoption searching. I have been reading the foster care and transracial adoption blogs with great interest. But I have very mixed feelings about this whole blog site, as well as its parent blog, Adoption.com.

    My friend Marie Lee was writing their Fertility Blog (a huge issue for many pre-adoptive parents) when she became aware that Adoption.com was being sued for anti-gay discrimination.
    NCLR is suing Adoption.com, the largest adoption-related Internet business in the United States, on behalf Rich and Michael Butler, a same-sex couple who have been together eight years. Rich and Michael attempted to post a profile as potential adoptive parents on one of Adoption.com's websites. A company spokesperson told the Butlers that Adoption.com does not allow gay and lesbian couples to use their services.
    She quit (good for her!) and is now over at GreenFertility.

    Whew. Now I have some major link fatigue. But happy clicking, everyone, and if you know of any great adoption blogs, post them here.