Monday, May 20, 2013

"To help and not hurt"

The Appleton girls in their jammies.
Jen Hatmaker posted the second part of her three-part series on ethical adoption.

Because our family is multi-racial, we are often approached by people who are interested in starting adoptions.  I will be directing them to Jen Hatmaker's "Part 2" in a heartbeat! 

This post contains so much great information about choosing an agency and choosing a country to work with, and it lists "red flags" that may indicate your agency is dealing with corrupt people (or has less-than-stellar practices in place itself).

I have always been so, so grateful for our agency, Dillon International -- and they would get high marks according to the lists in this post.

When we first chose an agency, we asked LOTS of questions about the children in India, why they were typically relinquished, how long Dillon had been working in India, and more.  We also asked for references, and asked about other agencies (and asked those agencies about other agencies' reputations).  Dillon also helps provide care in-country for the children who aren't adopted, which was another sign of their commitment to children.  Asking all those questions make me feel like a nosy, rude person -- but now I'm so glad we asked so many questions and chose Dillon because of it.

We also heard one story that spoke volumes about Dillon's commitment to birth families:  one of their India families had received a referral for a child.  While in the courts, the birth mother came back to the orphanage and was now in a position to parent her child.  The prospective adoptive mother and father were heartbroken, of course -- but they were counseled by Dillon that staying in country and being raised by the birthmother is the ideal situation, of course.

I was so heartened that the orphanage and Dillon were up-front about the return of the birth mother.  They way some anti-adoption folks paint the picture, agencies and orphanages are in it for the money (which makes me think they have no idea what these non-profit employees earn!!) -- but here was an example of both agency and orphanage "losing out" on fees for the best interest of the child.

I pray that any families starting an adoption would be committed, as Jen says, "to help and not hurt."  And ask LOTS of questions -- the children and birth families deserve no less!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Can't wait for part two

This is such a good piece of writing!  Jen Hatmaker says it with grace, intelligence, compassion and a heart for justice: Examining Adoption Ethics, Part One

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Film and novel about Partition

Deepa Mehta
Director Deepa Mehta
For anyone who wants to learn about India, one event looms large in the country's modern history:  Partition.  On the stroke of midnight, the moment between August 14 and 15, 1947, the British rule of India ended at last, and the land was divided between Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan.  Millions of people were displaced and relocated, as lines and boundaries changed in that instant.

Salman Rushdie wrote a novel exploring that time in history called Midnight's Children. Most people, myself included, know about his book The Satanic Verses, which earned him death threats from Muslim fundamentalists -- but Midnight's Children is actually considered his masterpiece.  It follows the life of Saleem (the main character), and others who were born at midnight on August 14, 1947 -- and fleshes out that huge historical event with human faces and experiences.

Now Midnight's Children has been turned into a film by one of my favorite Indian directors, Deepa Mehta.  If you've never seen any of her movies, you're missing some really outstanding films!  She is well-known for her "Elements" trilogy of movies, Fire, Earth, and WaterWater, about a child bride who is widowed and must live in a house of widows for the rest of her life, is my favorite Indian film ever.  Like Salman Rushdie's, Mehta's work has been protested for religious reasons.  When Water was being filmed, Hindu extremists protested and rioted, and some of the film sets were burned.  Ultimately, the film had to be completed in Sri Lanka.

If you'd like to hear more about the film, here's an interview about Midnight's Children that aired on NPR's Morning Edition.  I don't know if it will come to our city's theaters, but I will be looking for it at my library and on Netflix in the future.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Birthday weekend

This weekend about did me in!  We had beautiful weather (finally!), and our weekend looked like this:

Friday night: We celebrated Nathan's 11th birthday with the grandparents and local uncles. We alternate years for our boys to have a big "friend" party, and this year it's Aaron's turn.  Nathan requested an ice cream cake, so it was my first attempt at making one -- and my good friend Go*gle came to the rescue with an easy recipe.  We loved being able to shower Nathan with love and words of affirmation, and had fun looking at pictures of his babyhood and younger years together.

Saturday morning: Peter helped friends paint their house, and we went back in the evening to help clean up (and play at the park across the street from their house).

Saturday afternoon: Grandpa surprised Anya and me with tickets to see The Lion King, which was an amazing show visually -- the most incredible fusion of set and costume design and music I've seen.  The story comes across as much more profound onstage than in the movie too.

Sunday afternoon: Anya had her long-awaited "friend" birthday party!  We had friends over to make bead crafts (tiaras and bracelets), and it was so nice outside that the girls ended up running around the yard, drawing with chalk and playing on our swingset.  Anya's actual birthday is the week of Christmas, so we chose to delay her "friend" party until a less crazy time of year.

Although the weekend ended up being kind of crazy anyway.  :o)  Whew!