Ladies and Lunch

Name a handful of women you’d like to have lunch with. Not as a group, but one at a time. Like your own Charlie Rose session. With food. Catered, of course.

Let’s make this about women with some celebrity. Otherwise, we’d just put each other on the list :-).

Aimee Mann: I love her lyrics, narratives, melodies and harmonies. And I have done so since her big-hair days of ‘Til Tuesday.

America Ferrara: I probably just love her Ugly Betty character, but I’d like to see if she is as grounded and content with herself as Betty is.

Condoleezza Rice: While I admire her for her intelligence, determination, and talent, I would love to talk with her once she leaves her current job to see if I could get the inside scoop. And find out if she has any regrets. And I’d like to play a piano duet with her.

Carol Burnett: she and Gilda Radner make me laugh. Hysterically. I’d love to sit across a table from both of them. I’d like to ask each how she reconciles joy and sorrow.

Sarah Jessica Parker: What can I say? The Sex and the City marketing blitz has gripped me, like millions of others. There is just something magnetic about SJP. I’d like to try to find out what it is. I wonder, though, if I could handle the pressure of dressing for the occasion.

I’m sure there are more, and the list could be completely different on another day. But I’ll stand by these until the next time.

So if you’re looking for a post idea in the near future, write up your own Ladies & Lunch. And leave your link in the comments below. I’ll keep a running list of players at the bottom of this post.
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Do you have a favorite something you rave about? A lemon you’d like to warn others to avoid? Write up a review for All Thumbs. And see what Chicklet and I have to say on everything foot fashion to phones.

Adoption Utopia…what’s it to you?

Adoption Utopia. What’s that like?

If you’re an adoptive parent (or if you will be), Adoption Utopia might look one way.

If you have placed a child, Adoption Utopia might look another way.

And if you are a person who was adopted, Adoption Utopia might look completely different from the other two.

Worlds apart?

It’s a feat to balance sometimes competing needs and rights among the people involved in an adoption triad.

The scope for my answers includes only adoptions where first parents make a conscious decision to place their child, NOT when the decision is made for them by a child welfare agency.

Of course, others with a different experience may weigh in with a different scope (thanks, Joanne!)

Here are my thoughts to some questions I wonder about — I invite you to share your viewpoint, too.

1. What responsibilities do adoptive parents* have for their children’s first parents*, both before and after relinquishment?

Adopting parents accurately portray themselves and what degree of openness they can commit to. Once they commit, it is only ethical that they abide by their agreement, whether or not it is a formal, written contract.

Adoptive parents use only respectful terms when talking with the child about his first parents. This is not only morally right toward the first parents, but necessary for the child to know that his origins are worthy. Denigrating the first parents denigrates the child.

2. What responsibilities should the adoption system have for placing parents?
In Adoption Utopia, expectant parents considering adoption get neutral counseling about both parenting and adoption options. Good adoption agencies provide this, and adopting parents should use one that does (there is enlightened self-interest for doing so: birth parents who don’t feel victimized by The System are more likely to heal and move forward, which is better for all involved, especially the child. “Stuck” is not good.)

Adoption is only ethical if the first parents place with full information and no coercion. All resources for the parenting option are presented.

3. And how does the “best interest of the child” fit in with these responsibilities?
Granted, it’s too early for me to tell yet since my children are still young. But one of the reasons I decided not to put a divide between me and my children’s first moms was so that Tessa and Reed would never feel like they had to choose sides. There is no choice to make if we are all on the same side.

I hear from people adopted in the 1960s that they would never search for their birth parents because of the sense of disloyalty to the parents who raised them. Why would I want to inflict such a burden on my child, saying, in essence, “If you want to satisfy your natural curiosity about your medical history and genetic makeup, circumstances around your birth and relinquishment, and to know how it feels to be around people who look like you and have similar mannerisms — in order to get answers you’re going to have to betray me.”

My children can be true to themselves without being disloyal to me.

So we keep in touch with Crystal and Michele. When open adoption was just a theory to me, this was a calculated move FOR my children. But in reality, I have gained a very close friend in Crystal — someone whose friendship I genuinely enjoy. Channels are open to Michele, if and when she would like a renewed relationship with us.

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In Adoption Utopia, every woman in an unplanned pregnancy for whom parenting is not a viable option would find the people who long to parent a child. They would be truthful with each other and be true to their word. The child that unites them would suffer only from having too many people love him/her.

What is your Adoption Utopia like? What responsibilities would you like to see?

* normally, parents are parents, without preceding adjectives. But for the sake of this discussion, I use qualifying terms for adoptive parents and first/birthparents.

 

Miss Elaine E

Andy from Today’s the Day is running her own Childhood Trivia contest, a visual one. Pop on over and take a guess.

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The next meet-up for the ColoBloggers is coming up. We are planning to see Sex and the City at a Sunday matinee on June 8, to be followed by — what else? — afternoon cosmos! (Manolo Blahniks not required.)

Please contact me (or other ColoBloggers) for more specific information as theater schedules become available.

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If I am feeling exhausted after this holiday weekend, just think how Mel must feel. In the last few days she:

Looking for new friends? Feeling like you’d like to get more involved? Pop on over to our “hub” for some great ideas, some wonderful resources, and some loving energy that she always has in abundant supply.

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Have you checked out All Thumbs Reviews yet? Chicklet and I steer you toward great shoes, great legs, and great wine — and that’s just the first week. Another entry is coming on Thursday, so bookmark the site and check back in.

So many of you have been so supportive already. We thank you from the bottom of our thumbs.

Book Tour: Water for Elephants

I actually thought Lemonade for the Elephant would be a better title, but maybe that’s why Sara Gruen is a bestselling novelist and I am one of her readers.

This is my 7th book tour with the Barren Bi+ches, but my 1st for a non-IF-related book. I found it much harder to find a focus and more difficult to develop questions. With the other books, I had a sense for what my fellow readers would think in certain situations. But with Water for Elephants, there was no known common ground. No shared focal point. I felt like a chicken let out of the coop onto the big open range.

Or maybe like a camel let out of a train car after a long Joliet-to-Providence run.

What is your favorite circus related memory?
I have only one circus-related memory and it’s not a good one. My parents had taken us to the Greeley Stampede (cross between a circus and a carnival) with my parents one summer when I was about 11. Through the course of the day I ate a few pickles. And later on some cantaloupe.

It was stiflingly hot. After we saw the animals, my sisters and I rode the Tilt-a-Whirl, our favorite ride. Something happened, though, after we got off the ride. Gurgling and burbling, the contents of my stomach were churning about and causing me pain and nausea.

I found a trashcan, topped with rotting-in-the-heat cotton candy, just in time to hurl.

It was decades before I could eat pickles or cantaloupe or cotton candy again.

Are you still with me? The answers get better, I promise. (At least I’ve given you low-hanging fruit [ahem] on which to comment.)

Looking at himself in the mirror, the old Jacob tries “to see beyond the sagging flesh.” But he claims, “It’s no good….I can’t find myself anymore. When did I stop being me?” How would you answer that question for yourself?
I’m not even halfway to Jacob’s age, but already I wonder, at times, where the 19 year-old Lori went. Or the 24 year-old Lori. Or the 37-year old Lori.

But I don’t feel I have ever stopped being me. If anything, I continually become more Me.

It seems like you go through the first part of your life adding to yourself. Trying on. Acquiring.

And the last part of your life is spent shedding. Discerning. And finally, losing. This part of Elder Jacob’s viewpoint brought a little panic to my innards. Like Jacob, I fear losing my stuff, my loves, my well- functioning body, control of my destiny.

Something that struck me about this book in particular was the rich, descriptive way the author handled Jacob as an elderly man. His frustration was so apparent, his physical manifestation so perfectly described, that of all of the elements of this book Jacob the Elderly is what stays with me. You had the sense that Jacob didn’t foresee his latter years being the way they were, and his almost “ride off into the sunset” ending perhaps what he had envisaged for his end. Do you think about what’s at the end of the road someday? When you think about it, what do you see for yourself?
Did you read A Prayer for Owen Meany? (spoiler alert: don’t read this paragraph if you plan to read the book). The premise of being able to see, in a premonition, your own tombstone both fascinates and frightens me. Would YOU want to know the date of your death?

Or the manner?

I once volunteered for Hospice. As part of the training, we had to write about our own death.

It was impossible for me. Try as I might, I could not come up with anything except the super-predictable and bland ending where I die in my sleep.

Let it be so. Let me be the picture of health until then. And let me have helped my children raise their children to adulthood.

Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list here. You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: The Empty Picture Frame by Jenna Nadeau (with author participation because she’s a blogger!)
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Chicklet reveals this season’s must-have shoes for both style and comfort. They are SO must-have that she bought TWO pairs. Make sure to visit the current entry on All Thumbs Reviews.

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Say Goodnight, Dick.