Posts Tagged ‘adoption blogs’

Signing off for now

Monday, August 27th, 2012


Greetings Friends:

I’m suspending this blog, for at least the next few months.

Everything’s fine! I just feel a need to step away for a while.

You can still find me blogging occasionally at Adoption Under One Roof, and posting links on my public Facebook page, Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir.

As always, thank you for reading.

~ Jessica


Ballerina adopted from Sierra Leone, with a birth family reunion sub-theme

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

As the daughter of a former Rockette who owned a dance studio—my mother—I must post a link to this Associated Press article about an amazing 17-year-old ballerina, Michaela DePrince, who was adopted as a child to a family in the U.S. from an orphanage in Sierra Leone, and is set to debut in her first full-length professional ballet. The primary focus of the article is compelling enough, but if you read through to the last paragraphs, you’ll discover another reason why I’m posting about it now.

Michaela DePrince was little more than a toddler when she saw her first ballerina — an image in a magazine page blown against the gate of the orphanage where she ended up during Sierra Leone’s civil war. It showed an American ballet dancer posed on tip toe.

“All I remember is she looked really, really happy,” Michaela told The Associated Press this week. She wished “to become this exact person.”

From the misery of the orphanage “I saw hope in it. And I ripped the page out and I stuck it in my underwear because I didn’t have any place to put it.”

Now Michaela’s the one inspiring young Africans: She escaped war and suffers a skin pigmentation disorder that had her labeled “the devil’s child” at the orphanage. She’s an African dancer in the world of ballet that sees few leading black females. She was adopted and raised to become a ballerina in the U.S. — a country where she believed everyone walked around on tippy toes.


“I lost both my parents, so I was there (the orphanage) for about a year and I wasn’t treated very well because I had vitiligo,” [Michaela] said Monday. “We were ranked as numbers and number 27 was the least favorite and that was my number, so I got the least amount of food, the least amount of clothes and what not.”


Michaela said the war and her time in the orphanage affected her for years.

“It took a long time to get it out of my memory. But my mom helped me a lot and I wrote a lot of stuff down so I could recover from it,” she said. “Dance helped me a lot. I had a lot of nightmares.”

[Adoptive mom Elaine] DePrince and her husband Charles have adopted nine children, and had two biological sons. Two of Michaela’s brothers died before she was born, and a third died when she was young. Their deaths were a result of HIV contracted from a manufactured plasma product that was used to treat the hemorrhages associated with hemophilia.

[Elaine] DePrince said the family has worked hard to develop all their children’s dreams.

Now for the part I mentioned in the first paragraph:

“She says she would have not had this dream come true if she had not become Michaela DePrince” by adoption, [Elaine] DePrince said, adding that none of the three girls adopted from Sierra Leone have expressed interest in finding their biological family.

The last half of the last sentence–”none of the three girls adopted from Sierra Leone have expressed interest in finding their biological family”–speaks to recent discussions that have ensued at the other blog where I write, Adoption Under One Roof, about connecting with birth family. Micheala DePrince is an example of a person adopted from an orphanage who currently expresses no interest in reconnecting with her biological family. Is she truly not interested? Or is she afraid to express her interest, fearful she may hurt her adoptive mother?

I don’t know the answer to that question.

But once again, I’m reminded how important it is to avoid generalizing about the subject of reunion, to treat each situation as unique, and to consider all points of view.

You can read the entire article here.

(I cross-posted this blog at Adoption Under One Roof.)


Over at “Adoption Under One Roof”

Thursday, July 12th, 2012



Over at the Adoption Under One Roof blog, an interesting exchange followed the book review I cross-posted for Aminta Arrington’s new book, Home is a Roof Over a Pig. “John”–a retired airline pilot and single adoptive father of six sons, five who joined his family from foster care–questioned why I would want to go to Guatemala in the first place, much less establish contact with my daughter’s birth mother. In a comment titled “posterior backwards,” John wrote:

Guatemala? I used to have layovers there as an airline pilot. Street kids were seen as non-persons. No one cared about them, and it was acceptable to shoot them if they dared to steal anything. Every shop had an armed security person with a big gun and a bad attitude. Almost all folks carried a gun. Poor people were in about the same category.

Did your daughters come from a wealthy family? If not, returning them to their wonderful roots means that they accept that they are nothing, and no-one cares about them. It also means accepting that they will have no future. How is this wonderful? Guatemala is not a wonderful place for a child to grow up in, neither are parts of china.

Lets do reality, not goodie two shoes. A strange book with a strange premise, Mom and Dad work hard to become indistinct and not to be themselves and provide the unique views and opportunities that only they can provide. 

To which I responded:

I may not have stated this clearly, but as I read it, Aminta Arrington’s intention is to allow her daughter to feel comfortable and familiar with the Chinese side of her heritage.

When my family visits Guatemala, our intention is the same. For us, this makes sense. Our children were born in Guatemala; Guatemala is in their DNA. Re: your statement that our kids must “accept that they are nothing, and no-one cares about them”: That hasn’t been our experience.

My fellow blogger, Lisa S, then addressed a blog post to John’s comment, in which she wrote:

Reading John’s comment touched on a sensitive subject that I roll over in my mind everyday. Through an intermediary, we have had regular contact with my daughter Ella’s birthmother. I send her photos about once a year and she gets updates frequently through our intermediary.

The birth mother is very eager to meet Ella and frequently asks when am I going to bring Ella to meet her. I have put off this trip because I am conflicted on the subject. I have discussed my conundrum with many people, some professionals, and with experienced people such as our new blogger/owner Jessica, who has experience in this area. That being said, I am still highly reticent about a reunion between my daughter and her birthmother and here is why: …


Lisa enumerates her reasons why she hesitates to go back, to which I post my response.

The entire discussion reminds me that visiting Guatemala, searching for birth family, and choosing whether or not to maintain contact are important issues for many adoptive families. The discussion also confirms that joining Adoption Under One Roof was the right decision for me. The best horizons are ones that are expanded.





Double dipping

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

As readers of this blog may be aware, I recently joined another, bigger blog, Adoption Under One Roof. The move was motivated by my desire to step away from my Mamalita blog, due primarily to my guilt at not keeping it up. Even when I wasn’t writing blogs, I felt I should be writing blogs. After I wrote a blog, I thought, “Could I edit this better? And does anybody really care?”

Then my mother weighed in. “What do you mean you’re at a new blog? It took me six months to get mamalitathebook on my Favorites. Do I have to take my computer into the shop to add this one? How will I keep up with news of the kids?”

So here I am. Instead of feeling guilty that I’m shortchanging one blog, I now feel guilty that I’m shortchanging two. Leave it to me to make a choice guaranteed to double my anxiety.

Or so I would have thought. Because, for reasons I don’t understand, being accountable to two blogs energizes me to want to write more for both. Or maybe it’s that I just realize that people do care–okay, one person, my mother.

What I haven’t yet figured out is how to make readers of one website aware of recent postings on the other. Example: Yesterday I posted a blog at Adoption Under One Roof that I think you might like. It’s called Tween, and is about Olivia, and her current status as one.  Here’s the first paragraph:

Overnight, my 10-year-old daughter, Olivia, is suddenly a ‘tween. The child who allowed me to shop for her clothes, dutifully wearing the boxy t-shirts and sneakers I purchased, now insists on fitted tops with her leggings, the better to go with her black flats. No backpack for this girl, either. Olivia insists on a “tote.” Tubes of lip gloss fill the bathroom shelves—neutral colors, but still—and her collection of hair ornaments has reached double digits. Her fingers and toes glitter with a rainbow of sparkly polish. I’ve never seen a person wear a scarf with such panache.



Joining another blog site, “Adoption Under One Roof”

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

For years, before we adopted our children, I worked in offices. And while the work itself interested, invigorated, and enlightened me, what I miss most is the hubbub of the place: the conversations across cubicle walls, the heart-to-hearts over sandwiches, the personalities, the dramas, the excited recitations of weekend plans, and later, on Monday, the recap.

So when a friend and fellow adoptive mom, Lisa S, invited me to join her and the other bloggers at Adoption Under One Roof, I accepted immediately. True, I remain a solitary writer at my dining room table, alone with a cup of coffee and my laptop, but somewhere out there, at different dining room tables, drinking their own cups of coffee, sit the other contributors–my colleagues.

I love the idea of that.

My plan is to keep up while I contribute to Adoption Under One Roof. We’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, here’s the link to my very first post.

Who said “Life is change”? Onward. ~