thursday 13

(kept forgetting to do these; it’s back now)

This week: 13 things you’re really into right now.

  1. My parish (*that’s my church’s parlance for small groups/home groups/community groups/whatever your church calls that) introduced me to a board game called Jokers and Marbles and I’m obsessed enough that I’m thinking about getting my own board so we can have tournaments. It’s pretty much just Sorry!, but…better somehow?
  2. I deleted all social media except for Instagram from my phone, and turned off access to Safari, and it’s GREAT. (It’s slightly annoying when someone texts me a link and I can’t open it, but other than that it’s been really good for my brain.)
  3. The Daily Liturgy Podcast–as a very audio-oriented person, I have found it really helpful.
  4. So we got new vending machines at work and they have Topo Chico in the plastic bottles in them, and I’ve been getting the Touch of Grapefruit flavor pretty much every day–I think I may be the only person buying them, but I’m so glad that they’re there. (We also have plastic bottle recycling at work, so I feel less bad about my habit.)
  5. A new podcast called No Chill Enneagram and it’s fantastic, y’all. Maybe not the place to go if you want to learn about the Enneagram–that’s what The Road Back to You is for–but if you’re deep down the rabbit hole and you want to stop weirding out the people around you, this pod is for you.
  6. I went to sleep before 9 o’clock the other night and it was GREAT.
  7. So Lin-Manuel Miranda (plus a couple of other folks from the Hamilton creative team) are doing a limited series about Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon and I am HERE FOR IT.
  8. LMM is also going to direct a movie of the musical Tick, Tick…BOOM. My friend Hannah and I were musing that either Jonathan Groff or Jeremy Jordan is probably going to end up playing the lead, but maybe Santino Fontana from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend might? Or it’ll probably get cast with some upstart unknown guy? Either way, I really hope it’ll be good.
  9. The trivia quiz website Sporcle now has a showdown mode that lets you play against another person live, which is like crack for me. (There is a reason I went on Jeopardy and that is because it combines trivia with competition.)
  10. I switched a while back from the Apple Podcasts app (which is straight garbage, don’t @ me) to an app called Overcast, which is wonderful and free and I recommend it to you all.
  11. Another good thing for my brain: I don’t let my phone in my room (I charge it in my bathroom), and I’ve started using a little battery-operated alarm clock from Ikea. It’s actually really nice and easier for me to turn off my thoughts at night.
  12. Linda Holmes, who is a culture writer for NPR and host of the excellent podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, recently got a dog named Brian. I love this because a) I love dogs with people names and b) Linda started an Instagram account for pics of Brian called primodogcontent, and I adore it. This is a particularly good recent post.
  13. Finally: This weekend the Revoice conference is happening and I’m really grateful for its presence and the witness of its organizers; they’ve received a great deal of criticism from both the right and the left, as is unfortunately to be expected, but they’re holding to their convictions and are carrying on. I have some friends who are there and I’m so stoked for them; I’m also looking forward to any audio that gets posted from it.

5 things I want to tell everyone who wants to adopt

Or, “the talk I would give at adoption conferences if anyone actually thought to ask an adult adoptee.” SPEAKING OF:

1. Adult adoptees exist; come ask us stuff.

It’s not as though you’re adopting the first generation of adoptees, or even international adoptees. Many of us are your peers, or even your elders. We all have different experiences, we all have different opinions and emotions regarding our own adoptions and adoption in general, and we all have different stories to tell. Come talk to us! We might tell you things that are difficult to hear, but it is in the long run probably a helpful thing for you to do.

2. Your child has a family that is not your family.

One of the best things my mom and dad did for me was that in our house, we always spoke honorably of my birth family, and they were always people I was to be grateful to. The Book, after all, tells us to honor our father and our mother, and it just happens that I have more than one set to do that for.

I know in a lot of cases that this can be hard. Abusive parents or parents who abandoned their children shouldn’t have their sins whitewashed or ignored, nor should you not do everything you can to protect your kid, body and soul. (Do the right thing for abuse victims!)

But where you can, affirm the image of God in their birth family and teach them to honor them in healthy ways. Your kid has a family that is not yours, and acknowledging that is to acknowledge their voice and place in this world.

3. Every adopted child has been experienced trauma.

Even those of us who were adopted at a few days or months old experienced trauma by being separated from our biological parents–not that we consciously remember it, but our brains and bodies do. (Check the research.) Older kids have experienced even more–the deaths of their families, abuse, neglect, hunger, lack of love, etc. The list goes on. Read up about trauma in early childhood and how it affects the brains and development of kids. Read about reactive detachment disorder. Don’t look away from the fact that adopted people suffer from depression and die from suicide at a higher rate than the rest of the population. Be ready. You might get lucky and your kid might be fine. But maybe not.

4. Specifically for people who plan on adopting a person of a different race: Your privilege will not protect your child from racism.

First of all, recognize that you are putting your child in a strange position: They will neither be fully part of your race and culture, nor of the one they came from. (There is a term for this; we are transracial or third-culture, depending on who you ask.)

Secondly, people who talk to your child out in the world will not always know you. People do not, for example, know my white parents; they only see my Asianness and therefore feel free to ask me stupid questions or tell me stupid things that they think are compliments: “Your English is so good!” “No, where are you really from?” Or, to my white parents when I was less than a year old: “Does she speak Korean?” (“She’s a baby; she doesn’t speak anything yet.”) And so on and so forth.

The racism I’ve experienced, though, is pretty mild compared to the racism my friends’ black and brown children have experienced or will experience in their lives in America, and that sucks. Be aware of this. If your child is the first person of color that will eat dinner in your house, fix that immediately. (And also maybe ask yourself why that is.) Get to know people that look like your kid, and let your kid get to know them, too.

5. Remember that adoption exists as a result of the Fall.

Don’t get me wrong: Adoption is a great thing and I’m glad that it exists. But remember that if the world wasn’t broken, we wouldn’t need adoption–no parent would die or abuse or neglect their children, and no one would be in a position when they couldn’t raise their child. My birth parents wouldn’t have had me when they weren’t married, and they also wouldn’t have been in a position where my birth would have upended their whole lives. As you adopt, advocate for things that will make it easier for families to stay together, whatever that looks like.

thursday 13

This week: 13 favorite fictional characters.

  1. Captain America.
  2. Jo March.
  3. Donna Noble.
  4. Meg Murry.
  5. Swede Land (from Peace Like A River).
  6. Scout Finch.
  7. Janie (from Their Eyes Were Watching God).
  8. Samwise Gamgee.
  9. God help me, but Sherlock (the Benedict Cumberbatch version).
  10. Harriet Vane.
  11. Pretty much all of the characters in the Inspector Gamache series, but I have a soft spot for Gabri and Olivier.
  12. Oh gosh, Darius on Atlanta. (Or maybe I just love Lakeith Stanfield, I dunno.)
  13. BB-8. 😀