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. 😀

right now (june 2018)

Making: Working on a couple of knitted things for Christmas presents.

Cooking: I don’t know what the deal is, but I’m making a lot of buttered toast lately. And peanut-sesame noodles.

Drinking: Lots of coffee, as per usual, but also iced tea. (The Passion Tango Tea Lemonade from Starbucks is also quite nice, as is the pomme baya flavor of La Croix.)

Reading: I picked up Fleming Rutledge’s The Crucifixion after a couple of months’ hiatus, and I just started Notes From the Tilt-A Whirl by N.D. Wilson and A Swiftly Tilting Planet in Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quintet. Recently finished Edward Lee’s new book Buttermilk Graffiti, which, since it’s about immigration and foodways, feels timely.

Wanting: All those immigrant kids to be reunited with their parents.

Looking: At jeans (at the moment, I don’t actually own any, surprisingly).

Playing: I got introduced to a game called Jokers and Marbles recently and it is pretty excellent.

Deciding: Whether or not to keep YouTube TV after the World Cup is over or if I should just get an antenna instead.

Wishing: That my lighting were better in my living room.

Enjoying: Air conditioning; being nearly halfway done with the summer reading program at work

Waiting: For the weekend (woot woot) and the Families Belong Together rally on Saturday.

Liking: This video of Hugh Jackman and a bunch of other theater people in a workshop for The Greatest Showman, which I still haven’t seen, but am nonetheless enjoying the music to. You’ve probably all seen it, but it’s still great.

Wondering: Whether or not folks are going to show up for my program at work tomorrow…

Loving: This 2013 essay by NPR’s Linda Holmes about creativity and making stuff.

Pondering: Taking a serious social media break. I took Twitter and Facebook off of my phone; I left Instagram on there because I run our account at work and you can’t desktop post to it yet.

Considering: Finishing a couple of projects (see also: my last Thursday 13).

Buying: Alllll of the fruit that’s in season right now.

Watching: Ugly Delicious on Netflix (it is really great, albeit hunger-inducing). Parts Unknown, in honor of the late great Tony Bourdain. The World Cup. Carrying on in my trip through the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Hoping: That it’s not too hot on Saturday during the rally…

Marveling: At the sheer absurdity of this idea and the complete earnestness that birthed it.

Needing: To get up from my couch and go fold and hang my laundry.

Questioning: My own inability to adult properly (but that’s everyone, right?)

Smelling: I need to wash my hair…

Wearing: Blue chinos, black sandals, and a coral-pink shirt. Hair back.

Admiring: The cloud produced by dropping an anvil on about 15 cans of spray paint. (Where does one even get an anvil, anyway?) (It will probably also come as no surprise to many of you that those three gentlemen are youth workers at their churches.)

Giggling: At this fantastic review of Pacific Rim Uprising.

Snacking: Fruit, and chips and salsa.

Hearing: The trains that pass through my neighborhood at 2 in the morning.

compline (6/26/18)

I sit in an apartment with
working lights and air conditioning

and eat food that I made in a well-stocked kitchen
and listen to music I first heard in college

all of which speaks of unspeakable privilege
that most of the world has never imagined

I give some money when I think about it
I type my handful of characters

and pray for children who don’t know where
their mamis and papis are

for people crossing oceans of sand and water
risking death so that they can live

for my compatriots (and for myself)
who would rather be safe and secure
instead of uncomfortable and righteous

and it all just seems so futile
a lifeboat in the sea of broken glass

and the Man of sorrows carries us all on His shoulders

thursday 13

This week: 13 projects you need to do.

  1. I have this art project involving a canvas and some punch-out paper stars that I started months ago and I have yet to finish.
  2. I also need to hang up all my art and get a poster, an art piece, and my diplomas framed so I can hang them.
  3. Staining or  painting my bookshelves. Probably going to go with staining.
  4. Putting together an Ikea cart I got for Christmas in 2016.
  5. Cataloging and putting bookplates in my books, like the nerd that I am.
  6. Organizing all of my office supplies and stationery.
  7. Getting and hanging curtains in my living room window.
  8. Working on a couple of big knitting projects for Christmas presents.
  9. Our local makerspace does sewing classes and I keep meaning to sign up for one, but then forgetting.
  10. Need to make and/or get a few more Christmas decorations. (I don’t have a Christmas tree, for example.)
  11. Figuring out what to put on the bookshelf that my TV is currently sitting on. (I don’t own any DVDs or else I’d stick them there–maybe it’s time to go raid the clearance section at Half-Price Books?)
  12. Setting up a reading nook somewhere in my apartment.
  13. Finding new bedding–I’ve had my current stuff for almost a decade and I think it’s about time for a refresh.

thursday 13

This week: 13 books on your to-read list. (For the record, my to-read list is literally in the hundreds, so I pulled a random selection from it.)

  1. Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  2. Race: A Theological Account by J. Kameron Carter
  3. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
  4. The Sabbath World by Judith Shulevitz
  5. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  6. A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne
  7. The Turner House by Angela Flournoy
  8. This Bloody Mary is the Last Thing I Own by Jonathan Reindell
  9. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  10. You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson
  11. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (I’ve never read this, can you believe it)
  12. Removing the Stain of Racism from the SBC by Dr. Jarvis Williams
  13. The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

sermon sonnet #4: 1 Corinthians 7.

Last Sunday’s sermon can be heard here.

No problem to be solved, no second-class,
Nor empty void to fill at any cost;
No consolation prize, and no free pass
To keep someone from taking up their cross;
Despite the lack of spouse or children, we
Could grow up to be mothers, fathers yet.
And we are no less brothers, sisters–see,
The Father welcomes us as well. Forget
The lie that romance makes you whole again,
Or that your singleness means not being owned;
The most complete, unmarried, holy Man
Laid down His life to make His bride His own.
And so, in singleness or marriage, go
And love and serve His creatures here below.