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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Adoption Nation Date

This weekend the Husband and I enjoyed a date night without the Tongginator.


Okay, so it wasn't really a date night. More like a dinner with 15 other couples who have or will adopt from China. All listening to an adoption speaker. Who had a slideshow. And statistics.

But it was STILL a night without the Tongginator.

So it was sort of like a date.

Regardless, we had a wonderful time listening to the speaker... none other than Adam Pertman, author of Adoption Nation as well as the Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.

In other words, a Really Big Name Speaker.


I know some of you are asking yourselves at this point, "why the heck did Adam Pertman come all the way from Massachusetts to Maryland to speak to just 15 couples?!?!? Who IS this Tonggu Momma? Is she, like, totally important?"

I'll get to the first question in a bit. You either know the answer to the second question or you don't. As to the third question, the short true answer is... nope, not at all important.

Back to the first question, which will totally explain my lack of importance: when the teenage daughter of a Maryland FCC family just happens to date a boy who happens to be the nephew of Adam Pertman and Adam Pertman just happens to agree to speak one night at a very small gathering because he just happens to have already planned a visit to his twin brother that weekend... well, you get the picture.

Our little group received a sneak peak at some adoption research results the institute will publish sometime before the end of this year. The initiative, entitled "Beyond Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identity Formation in Adoption" contains some in-depth information about how adult transracial adoptees (TRAs) view their life experiences, especially as it pertains to race and adoption. My little psychology-majoring self felt very, very happy. I wish I could share the results with you, but that wouldn't be fair, since I'm not smart enough to explain the ins and outs of it all.

Oh, and because I didn't do any of the work.

But I will tell you that this research - the first of its kind - might really shape how adoptive parents view parenting their adopted children. A lot of stuff is stuff we already KNOW, but perhaps don't do enough about. Some of the results surprised me. And most of it validated my recent post Seeing Color, which helps me feel a lot better, since I felt I walked out on a limb with that post. Turns out that I did walk out on a limb, but it's a sturdy one, with a lot of weight behind it.

And when I said that this study is the first of its kind, I mean that the researchers asked adult adoptees their views on race, adoption and their identity formation... ADULT adoptees... WITHOUT their adoptive parents present. The majority of these TRAs were born in South Korea and Vietnam, so they are Asian-Americans just like our little Tongginator.

It's good stuff.

I'm very excited to see more analysis of the results. I'm very excited that YOU will be able to see it, too. Don't worry that you might miss the results because as soon as the institute officially publishes it, I shall be sure to inform y'all of said fact. I'm THAT excited about it.

Oh, and the teenage daughter of the FCC family who just happened to date a boy who happens to be the nephew of Adam Pertman? She broke up with the nephew earlier this month.

But at least we still got to hear Adam Pertman speak.

Teenage soaps. Gotta love 'em.


happygeek said...

It's amazing what we consider dates once we have kids.
However, it sounds like a very good evening. Glad you got to hear it.

Mom to 5...Daughter of the King said...

Lots of times, our 'dates' consist of dinner and trips to the grocery! anything is a vacation without the kiddos. Have I told you I have a neice and a nephew adopted from Korea? they are in their late 20s and early 30s. A valuable resource when we looked into adoption.

Rebecca said...

OK I am SUPER excited about this research, and I went and read your Seeing Color post, and girlfriend, we have to TALK. This is something that has been on my heart ever since we began our adoption process. It is so interesting to me that people think it is more PC (or more spiritual) to be colorblind. Well, why would God create color if we were supposed to be colorblind?? Why not acknowledge race and celebrate what makes us unique and different from one another??

I have an acquaintance who was adopted from Korea as a baby; she is now in her 30's and we have talked a lot lately about this. I've also talked about it with some parents of children who are adopted from Ethiopia. The fine line is, how DO you celebrate race and color. It is easy to throw around words like "celebrate diversity" but in real life and everyday conversation, what does that look like? That is what I'm still figuring out. :)

Thanks for posting this; I am SO excited about the research and yes, please let us know when it's published!!!

Tonggu Momma Husband said...

OK ... I'm taking this as a firm nudge to plan a legit date night ... check back in two weeks and let's see what we've been able to accomplish.

Did I just use the word "accomplish" in association with taking my wife on a date?

Oh boy do we have some catching up to do!

Peanut said...

I can't even remember the last time we went out without the kids... maybe our anniversary in May? We definitely need to work on that!
That sounds like very exciting research! I'm so glad for you that what you already felt in your heart, and were putting into practice, is now being confirmed by research. Love it when that happens!!

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

Sounds like it would have been very interesting...

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Sadly, we would have considered this a date night too!

Sounds like it was a very interesting evening with some exciting research...I can't wait until it is officially published!

Love that TD or TMH chimed in up there:)


Aunt LoLo said...

Way to get it right, Mama. :-)

McEwens said...

Glad you got the night out!! I hope you are soon posting about your upcoming visit to china to get your newist daughter!

Stefanie said...

It actually sounds like a really fun 'date night'... a lot better than dinner and a movie! Don't know that my hubby would agree, though ;)
Looking forward to hearing about the results of his research. We adoptive parents need all the insight we can get!

CC said...

Great post! I really liked Adoption Nation. I bought it on a whim (had never heard of it) at a discount book store for like $2 before we even started the process. Afterwards I wished I had bought 10 more to give out! I'll have to remember to read this book when it eventually gets to our library!

BTW, just signed The Flash up for Tae Kwon Do starting this Sat. Hope it instills a wee little bit of his birth culture (and that he likes it!)

Michelle said...

My husband sometimes have date nights to go see a guest speaker or hear a particular topic at church, so I can relate. I look forward to reading the research when it is published!

prechrswife said...

Sounds like an interesting evening. Can't wait to see the research results.

delucchi family said...

Great post once again!!
You guys in America are so lucky as the Adoption community are so much better catered for thah here in the UK. We are def the minority here. I would LOVE to come to some adoption talks and learn more.
God Bless

Jen said...

Great blog! I am an American of Chinese descent (my parents were foreign born), married to an American of European descent. We have two small kids. Our respective families didn't emigrate all that many years apart from each other, but it's true that my husband has been able to sideline his ethnicity to a much greater degree than I have. (For instance, people don't ask where he's from.) Race and color have much to do with that.

I have a very strong American identity and confess to being indifferent to my Chinese heritage. This is a personal choice, of course, and one that was probably fostered by my parents, who didn't really give two figs about cultural heritage while we were growing up. Yet there was comfort, I think, in knowing that there were other people like me (my sister, my parents), that they looked like me, and that this was where I came from.

My sister and cousin (both of Chinese descent) have each married Asian men who were raised in white families. Although both men show little desire in exploring their Asian heritage, it's interesting that, in their choice of spouses, they were drawn to women who shared their ethnicity.

We have friends who have adopted a girl from China. We've talked in general about the adoption, but I've never wanted to initiate any sort of conversation about race or identity or adoption, although I'm very happy to talk about such issues. I don't know how they plan (or do not plan) to instill a racial identity into their young daughter. What would be your advice on how to be a good friend on these issues to these adoptive parents?

It's funny because, as I said above, I'm not someone who is all that focused on my heritage. And I've tended to question the need of those who feel compelled to search for their "identity." But reading your blog and those of other transracial adoptees has made me realize that my racial identity is something in which I am secure and which I take for granted... and which, therefore, I can ignore at will. I know that you are trying to give your daughter that same confidence, so that, should she some day choose to explore her Chinese heritage, it's not out of some fundamental sense of loss or yearning for something that was long repressed.

All the best to your family!

Michelle said...

Well, that sounds like a wonderful date! I am very excited to learn more about this! I missed the post you reference "Seeing Color"...but just read it...wow! I will write you later..

Briana's Mom said...

I just read the comment your hubby wrote - LOL! Looks like you are going on a "legit" date soon. Woohoo!! :D

Can't wait to read all the research!

Heather of the EO said...

That was totally a date.

A cool one too.

I think you got to go cause you have a famous blog. :)

Janet said...

Woo hoo for those kinds of dates AND "legit" dates! Sounds like an interesting study!

Sharie said...

Well nuts! I'm going to have to drop out of grad school so I can read all of the great books on my list! (Just Kidding)

I'm pumped as my sister is taking Amelia tomorrow night. My date is with my laptop and researching the ethics of construction companies...OH BOY!

Kristin said...

We are in a brave new world... our oldest is now responsible enough to "sit" for his brother and sister... we are going out to dinner like mad!

Also, cool beans on Adam Pertman... shame about the nephew.

Jill said...

I just went back to your "seeing colors" post and I was amazed! As a parent about to do something where I don't' have a mentor, or someone to seek for guidance (like my China adoption), I bookmarked this post for the future. Thank you!!