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425th Friday Blog Roundup

The Russian adoption ban has obviously gotten a lot of posts in our community in the last few days, but I really want to highlight an op-ed that appeared in the Chicago Tribune this week.  Hopefully you’ll be able to read “To Russia, With Love” (because it seems to keep appearing and disappearing behind a paywall).  It is not about Americans adopting insomuch as it is about the inverse; that a problem exists that needs addressing and shutting off solutions is not solving the problem.

I started crying near the beginning:

Since the news of the ban on intercountry adoption of Russian orphans by American citizens, there have been many stories about Russian adoptees who grew up to be Eagle Scouts, National Merit Scholars and even a Paralympian. Now that Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law banning the adoption of Russian orphans by American families, I’d like to share a different kind of a story, one that I assume is much more common. Mine is a story about lost mittens and sticky kisses and bicycle tires that seem to always need air. Nothing spectacular. Nothing newsworthy. Just the everyday life of an ordinary 5-year-old. But perhaps, given the circumstances of his early life, the life we have together is nothing short of extraordinary.

It’s all any of us want: to raise a child so that another human being can learn how to hug and pet a dog and sing a song and send more love into this world.  To replicate not ourselves but our hearts: our goodness (which is not to say that we don’t inadvertently also replicate our badness as humans; we shouldn’t be pollyannaish about this).  I know Toby, and she’s a good person.  And good people can teach goodness.  I am glad she wrote about the ordinary, which, as we know, is sometimes just in its mere existence extraordinary.


The 2012 Creme de la Creme is up.  Obviously.  Since it’s after January 1st.  I really enjoyed writing it this year, and I’m sad that I’m not continuing to update it for a month, but I have to say that it’s a huge weight off my chest to have the whole thing up and done at the beginning of the month.  I will definitely do it again like this next year, so look for the list opening in October 2013 if you missed it this time.


And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

Donating Hope has a great post about a conversation that took her by surprise.  It’s a tiny, quiet, unexpected moment that made me smile.

The Road Less Travelled has a moving post from New Year’s Eve.  Life is barreling by, moving at warp speed, and then suddenly, a moment is captured in a snapshot.  A game of tag around a car, which started out as laughter as she observed turned to tears as she realized “So much that we’ve missed out on.”  It’s a moment that takes the reader’s breath away.

Hope Floats Among the Cherry Blossoms has a reflection on her former self during a conversation, the one who was prepared to take the world by storm and was giddily plotting out a new life with her then-husband.  It’s a bittersweet reminder of how much we don’t know of what lies ahead at times, but it’s also a measure of her quiet strength.  I especially love these lines: “I know I am in a place of transition once again.  I just need to be patient.  It is okay to grieve what was lost, honor it and put it down again.”

Lastly, FrozenOJ’s Concentrated Life has a post about a failed cycle (as well as looking ahead to the next one) that manages to capture that internal monologue that runs through every treatment cycle.  The symptoms that get your hopes up and picking yourself up once they’re dashed, navigating a vacation and treatments (as well as laughing over the idea of relaxing on a vacation when infertility is nipping at your heels), the idea of taking off a cycle and all the problems that brings.  The post winds and turns like a conversation inside one’s head.

The roundup to the Roundup: Chicago Tribune op-ed about the closing of Russia’s international adoption program.  The Creme de la Creme is up.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between December 28th and January 4th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.


1 Tiara { 01.04.13 at 11:25 am }

I haven’t been able to get this post out of my head: http://asinglejourney-michaela.blogspot.ca/2013/01/for-what-its-worthpart-ii.html

Thought provoking & heartbreaking.

2 Lacie { 01.04.13 at 12:06 pm }

Great posts, Mel. Thanks for sharing. I particularly connected with the post from The Road Less Travelled. Anyone who has experienced infertility or loss can relate to how isolating witnessing the joys of parenting from the sidelines can be. Very touching.

I just read this post from Kelle Hampton and it really hit home for me. It’s a post on how she deals with negative comments on her blog and on Instagram and it was something that I needed to read. She is so wise.


3 a { 01.04.13 at 12:13 pm }

It seems like Russia’s program was highly flawed, but what does that matter to children who had the potential to find homes? I hope there will be improvements and they will reopen someday.

4 suzanne { 01.04.13 at 12:52 pm }

to get around the article block, just copy the web address into google and then click on the link when it pops up. No account needed.

5 Kathy { 01.04.13 at 2:23 pm }

I too hit a road block on my phone last night trying to read that article and will try again this afternoon. I can only imagine how difficult this whole thing is for so many involved both in Russia and other countries with families hoping to adopt.

I also look forward to checking out the other posts you highlighted.

I keep thinking about this post: http://jjiraffe.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/altruism-the-hard-truth-about-helping/

and how jjraffe shared:

“I watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” this year, as I do every Christmas Eve. Each time I view it there’s a different issue that speaks to me and this year it was George’s spectacular burnout from doing too much for the good of Bedford Falls. I found an AV Club article called “It’s a Wonderful Life Shows the Unending Cost of Being Good” which discusses this topic in detail.”

One of the premises of the article is that George and his situation will never change, i.e. he will never fix the banister in their home that is broken and will never get out of Bedford Falls, but he will also never stop be good ole George Bailey and somehow that will be enough for him and his loved ones, even if he never gets to pursue some of his hopes and dreams.

Being my all-time favorite movie and having a lot of George Bailey in me, that has been haunting me a bit. Go read the post and join the discussion about “Altruism: The Hard Truth About Helping.”

6 FrozenOJ { 01.04.13 at 9:50 pm }

Thanks so much for highlighting one of my posts! I feel like a “real blogger” now. =D

7 Cristy { 01.04.13 at 11:41 pm }

Congratulations on finishing the Creme de la creme list! Quite a collection of bests and I’m looking forward to reading each post.

Thank you also for pointing out the op-ed post. The Russian ban on adoption is complete BS, but it’s rare to hear the viewpoints of those effected who are just like you and me.

My pick for second helpings.

8 Esperanza { 01.05.13 at 2:25 am }

For next week. A hauntingly beautiful post. http://submerged.blogspot.com/2013/01/cycle-21-cd-23ish.html

9 Chickenpig { 01.05.13 at 7:05 pm }

Every time I see It’s a Wonderful Life now I always think “Why the Hell doesn’t Mary fix the damned bannister?” Having a husband who is a bit of a George Bailey himself, I have given up waiting for him to finish his projects. I got tools from my brother for Christmas, and I’ve got my eye on some projects around here 🙂

10 Ladyblogalot { 01.05.13 at 8:48 pm }

When I was a kid, I thought that the US Secretary of State was just that. A secretary. She answers all of America’s phone calls, and does all of its paperwork and filing, and sits at a really big desk and lots of people go to see her. Now I know that it’s not like that; but now I also know that if America did have its own secretary then it would totally be you. you did such an awesome job with this year’s list, and with your wrap-ups too, seriously, lady, you are the engine that keeps the bloggign community putting along! yay you!

11 jjiraffe { 01.05.13 at 8:49 pm }

Thanks Kathy! 🙂

I am going to go ahead and third the nomination for this post because it is so incredibly powerful: the strongest, most illustrative post about the destruction infertility causes that I’ve ever read. http://submerged.blogspot.com/2013/01/cycle-21-cd-23ish.html?m=0

12 Jamie { 01.05.13 at 11:05 pm }

Thank you for adding my post to the Roundup this week! It is an honor. I look forward to reading more posts from yourself and others in the community.

13 dspence { 01.07.13 at 9:23 am }

Thank you, Mel!!

14 loribeth { 01.07.13 at 10:56 am }

Thank you for the shoutout, Mel! : )

I am slowly catching up on some blog reading & hope to have a second helping suggestion soon. ; )

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