Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Writing Workshop in the Works!

OK, Folks, I'm trying again: I need at least five people to sign up for this class in order for it to run, and I'd really like it to run!

So, If you live in the Philadelphia area, please consider signing up--I'd love to meet you.

Voices of Adoption Writing Workshop

taught by Andrea Ross

Class meets three times: Sunday afternoons from 2-4 pm; February 22, March 1, and March 8

This course is for anyone touched by adoption who wishes to explore his or her stories through creative writing. In a relaxed and supportive environment, the instructor will guide students through writing prompts, sharing of work, giving and receiving of constructive feedback, and discussion of the writing process and adoption-related topics. This writing-intensive course will draw inspiration from various authors and will culminate in the production of an optional class anthology.

Course fee: $44, plus $5 materials fee payable to the instructor

Register through Mount Airy Learning Tree: (215) 843-6333, mtairylearningtree.org

More about Bellybuttons

This morning before he got dressed for school, my son snuggled up with me on the living room couch in his polarfleece jammies. The room was darkish and my husband was off in the kitchen eating breakfast, and my son and I had the most lovely, intimate conversation:

HIM, patting my belly: Mommy, was this my home before I was born?

ME: Yes, it was.

HIM: And you fed me through here? (unzips his jammies and points to his bellybutton).

ME: Yep.

HIM: I didn't have a mouth, so I needed to eat through my bellybutton.

ME: Well, you did have a mouth, but you ate through your bellybutton.

HIM: What would happen when salad tried to go through there? It would get stuck.

ME: Umm...

HIM: Or tomatoes? I hate tomatoes, so when a tomato went through there I spat it right out.

ME: Umm...

HIM: But mashed potatoes would fit through; they would just slide right into my bellybutton.

ME: I guess so...

HIM: I love you, mommy.

ME: I love you, too, sweetie. Now go change into your school clothes.

He's the best. And I know I've posted about bellybuttons before, but dang, this connection I have with my little son is so very rewarding.

I don't know why he's so obsessed with his bellybutton, but I know why I am, and I feel so very lucky to have been able to carry him in my body and give birth to him so that I can have conversations such as this one.

I'm just a little nervous about what other people are going to think when he starts telling them that he spits tomatoes out of his navel. Oh well. It won't be any worse than what they think when he tells them that before he was a boy, he was a fish (the results of my attempts to explain evolutionary biology to him), or when he tells them that after he dies he's going to turn into a plant (the results of my efforts to explain decomposition to him).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Finished Running

Well, I finished reading Ann Patchett's Run a few days ago. I really enjoyed it, but I did wonder what Ann Patchett's relationship to adoption is. In the interview with Patchett at the back of my book, she says nothing about adoption, but emphasizes that in all her books she writes about people who don't know each other being thrown together in a situation, which would definitely describe the setting of both Patchett's Bel Canto and the maternity home situation in her Patron Saint of Liars. Still, I can't help wondering what her fascination with adoption is...

Did anyone sleuth anything out about this?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I just started reading Ann Patchett's Run. It's about a white family who adopts two African-American boys after having one biological son. I am hooked, but I'm only on page 80 or so. Thus far, it's about the unplanned reunion with the boys' birthmother when they are 20 and 21 years old.

Have you read it? What do you think?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Who We Become

Check out this article in the New York Times. In it, the author Ellen Ullman ends by saying "Knowing every single ancestor...will never solve the deeper mystery, which of course is the dreadful question of who we become."

Is it always a dreadful question?
(Does she mean dreadful as in
in causing great dread, fear, or terror? Or does she mean dreadful as
. in inspiring awe or reverence?)

If she means the former, I disagree; if she means the latter, well ok then.

Moving on:

Yes, we humans all want to know who we are going to become as we grow into ourselves, and adoptees tend to be especially curious about this, as we often have been deprived of information about our ancestors.

I believe I'm a result of both nature and nurture: I'm very much like my adoptive parents in that I'm a college professor and so were they; my politics are very lefty and so are theirs. On the other hand, I have this obsessive need for wilderness and wide open spaces, and they're not exactly mountaineers. However, when I met my birthfather last summer, I saw in him what appears to be the origins of my outdoorsiness: we went hiking together and he pointed out to me various birds and plant species; he told me there's nowhere he'd rather be than outside; and he collects rocks (ask my husband how he feels about having moved my childhood rock collection from state to state for the last decade). I haven't found as much in common with my birthmother, which is sad to me. But I do kind of look like her. One thing I share with my birthmother is a deep sadness. I sense that her life, even her personality, was profoundly impacted by the circumstances surrounding my birth. I think she has been very hard on herself as a result of the shame of being an unwed mother in the 1960s, and of giving me up for adoption. She doesn't like to talk about it, but I got a lot of good information from the book The Girls Who Went Away, and I highly recommend that book to anyone who's interested in this topic.

So, what did you think of Ullman's article? What do you think about nature v. nurture? Have you read The Girls Who Went Away?