Table of Contents
A Single Mother Celebrates the Birth of a Vegan Blog
by Christine Leahy
I remember a culinary creation I made as a kid, an interesting sandwich with grated carrots, dill, strawberry jam, and whole wheat bread. In retrospect, it sounds pretty disgusting, but remembering it makes me want to pat my younger self on the back for my sense of curiosity. I would like my own daughter, now two, to share my delight in being creative, whether in cooking or some other medium.
That carrot and jam sandwich has been followed by many other original recipes, some of which, I like to think, have been much more successful. In my twenties as I became a vegetarian with a fondness for vegan cooking, I decided that I’d like to create enough recipes for a vegan cookbook, a long term project for someone with a job and many other interests. Then I decided to become an SMC. My daughter Siobhan was born when I was thirty-one, and I figured the cookbook project would become an even longer term goal. After all, it sometimes takes what can seem like forever to finish even one recipe, cooking it from start to finish many times with subtle variations, over weeks or months until it’s perfected. So, with motherhood, the cookbook was shelved.
Until it occurred to me that I could have my cake and eat it too. If I started a blog, I could share my recipes with the world one at a time, instead of waiting for the big reveal once I had a cookbook’s worth. I emailed recipes to people all the time anyway. A curried lentil dish that my daughter started eating when she was still getting used to solids was requested by some of my mom friends! And I realized that my constraints in the kitchen could actually be helpful in shaping my recipes. Not everyone is a single mom, but lots of people are short on time and money and need healthy and tasty meals. Of course not everyone is vegan, either (not even me – I’m still just a vegetarian who eats mostly vegan), but everyone can benefit from eating vegan food. If you’re a meat eater, you can reduce your carbon footprint by eating one less meat meal a week. If you’re a vegetarian and find that all your favorite recipes involve cheese, vegan food is a way to branch out. No matter what their dietary philosophy, everyone can benefit from eating more plant-based foods.
One of my goals with my blog is to offer a lot of recipes that are complete meals. You always need something for dinner (and leftovers for lunch at work for a couple of days) much more often than you need an interesting appetizer for a potluck. So my first post on A Single Mom Cooks Vegan singlemomcooksvegan.wordpress.com) was one of my household’s standbys: jerk tofu with roasted summer vegetables. The meal follows my basic guiding principles: a protein source (the tofu), with a starch (roasted corn) and some vegetables. It uses seasonal ingredients and includes healthy fats. Throwing all the veggies in the oven with the tofu means no extra pots to wash. The inspiration for jerk tofu came from a local restaurant I used to go to in my Brooklyn neighborhood, a place called Veggie Castle that served vegan Caribbean food and was housed in an old White Castle building (sadly, now gone). Jerk is a traditional Caribbean marinade, usually used for meats, that incorporates allspice, thyme, and hot peppers (I omit the peppers in this recipe to make it toddler friendly) Roasted tofu is a great finger food for my two year old. I have been pleased to hear from friends who are readers of the blog that this dish has become a staple in their households as well.
As much as I appreciate a square meal, I also have a sweet tooth. So I’ve also been posting plenty of recipes for baked goods. Recent selections include applesauce, chocolate cupcakes, and banana apricot chocolate chip bread. I try to make my treats as healthy as possible, by using wholewheat flour instead of white, or agave nectar instead of sugar.
While many of my readers are friends, it is tremendous fun when I get comments from other food bloggers who I have never met. The other day at a friend’s house I was introduced to a woman who was excited to meet me because she had made one of my recipes: a warm salad of steamed kale in a simple garlic and olive oil dressing, topped with roasted butternut squash, chick peas and rosemary.
Blogging is a medium that works well with the trial and error nature of cooking. You get immediate feedback from your readers and can post different versions of something as a recipe evolves. My blog is still a work in progress. I don’t have the money to upgrade my camera for higher-quality photo and I don’t have the time to promote the blog the way I’d like. But I am still hoping that the recipes I am posting on my blog will make their way into my very own cookbook one day. And my blog gives me a reason to celebrate. It is proof that while becoming an SMC does mean a lot less time for yourself, there are still ways to be creative and keep your eye on some of your pre-baby goals. Now, if I could only finish that novel . . .
I Never Planned on Being a Single Mother of Two – Part 2
by Ellen Keller (continued from the fall issue)
It was so different with Emily. I feel like I missed out on all of the joy of being pregnant with her. I didn’t get to put a nursery together since I only had two small bedrooms. She was in a packn-play in my room until her second birthday, not the girlie nursery that I envisioned. Even now it makes me sad. I was happy to have this new baby but felt more alone than I did before. It was a lot different going through a pregnancy without a husband/partner when I was artificially inseminated than it was going through it knowing that I had loved this man so much.
The first year was the most difficult (so far). My mom took care of Emily because I couldn’t afford to have two in daycare. I had to replace many baby items because I had gotten rid of the ones I had in preparation of moving. I needed baby girl clothes since all I had was boy stuff – the costs were overwhelming— although I became a pro at Craigslist and eBay! I took “A” to court for child support and to gain sole custody of my daughter. Ironically, one of the main factors in my decision to use an anonymous donor with Ryan was to avoid ever needing to go to court and fight with someone over parenting rights which is exactly what I had to do. The stress of a court battle, seeing “A” again after so many months and under these circumstances combined with the lack of sleep and exhaustion of taking care of a newborn and a two year old was really wearing on me. Thankfully, my doctor extended my maternity leave to four months instead of the allotted six weeks. As I write this, I’m a little surprised I got through all of that; perhaps I’m stronger than I give myself credit for!
Fast-forward two years, I have the most beautiful little girl and I cannot imagine our family or my life, without her. She is just an unending source of amusement and joy for me. Watching the sibling relationship between Ryan and Emily has been amazing! There is no better feeling than listening to one child make the other child belly laugh or watching them hug each other and say “I love you”! I am so grateful that they have each other. And, as much as I adore my son, a mother has a different kind of bond with her daughter.
“A” and I were able to get back to an amicable place and have even become “friends” again. He has not taken Emily by himself and there is no set schedule. He visits with both kids and treats them equally. This is not healthy for me emotionally but for now it works for the children. Emily recently started calling him by name because we have never said anything to them about him being her father. To this day, he has not told his other children, his mother, siblings, or any of his friends about Emily.
Recently, Ryan has started asking questions, such as, when am I going to get married, does he have a dad, telling me that “A” should have a sleep over when he visits them. I know that I have some interesting and likely tough times ahead. I have talked to a child psychologist about our “situation” and how to properly discuss why Ryan doesn’t have a dad while Emily does. She agreed that they are too young to begin understanding the concept of what it all means. For now, she suggested something that I found brilliant…begin using the phrase “you don’t tell another person’s story.” That will hopefully shift some of the responsibility on to him rather than it being all on me.
Eventually, I will have to deal with the fact that Emily has half siblings that don’t know about her and to protect her from any issues that stem from that knowledge. I was prepared for what I would tell Ryan about his conception when I started down the SMC path but that response doesn’t begin to cover our family story anymore. I’ll continue to seek the help of family, friends, and professionals to determine the best path to take to ensure that my two children remain happy, friendly, and the amazing individuals that they are. Every day I thank God for giving me everything I didn’t know I wanted.
SMC now has a blog! It can be found at: http://singlemothersbychoice.blogspot.com/
The posts are from members, me and interested others, so if there’s something you’d like to post, send it to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know how you want it to besigned, or if you want it to be anonymous.The blog is public and availableto beread by anyone, so keep that in mind. No particular length is required. And remember that we also would loveto get newsletter articles from our members for the newsletter, which is aimed at our membership, rather than the general public.
Celebrating Different Not Less
by Robyn Steiner
A long time ago, I dreamt of a house with a big backyard, a playground and a pool, a husband, three children and a dog. I dreamt of big celebrations for holidays at which I would pull a freshly roasted chicken from the oven and everyone would take comfort in the home cooking smells wafting through the house. When the husband failed to materialize, the rest of the dream didn’t change. I just modified it a little. And most of it has come true. I have beautiful two-year-old twin girls, Amanda and Jordyn. I have a big house with a big backyard and a playground (no pool), and we have a dog. But our celebrations are very different than what I originally imagined.
After a very long struggle with fertility and several miscarriages, I finally became pregnant and found out I was having twin girls. I was ecstatic. I had always wanted twins and was thrilled they were girls. My mother has a twin brother and my sister has twin boys, so twin girls seemed to complete this family full of twins perfectly. I started to dream about my twin girls playing together, doing each other’s hair, sharing clothes, and being best friends throughout their lives.
From the beginning my babies were different from each other. Baby A, who stayed low down, was pretty quiet and not very active. Baby B stayed much higher and very busy, always moving and kicking and squirming. She used to give the ultrasound technicians a hard time because she would move so much that they couldn’t always get accurate measurements. I felt a type of kinship with Baby B, she was feisty just like me. I felt very protective of Baby A, she seemed much more fragile. Soon, what I thought I knew about my babies would change!
When they were born, Baby A, Amanda, was immediately whisked to the NICU because she was breathing too quickly, and I didn’t get to see her for about 10 hours. Baby B, Jordyn, stayed in the delivery room while I was stitched up, and was with me from that moment on. From day one, there was something about Jordyn that made me bond differently with her than I did with Amanda. Jordyn, born two minutes after Amanda, has always been very much the baby. She always wanted to be held more, and has always been less independent than Amanda.
In the first six months, Jordyn hit all her milestones first. In the second six months, they hit most of their milestones at the same time. For example, Amanda took two or three steps first, the day before they turned one. But she kept taking the same two or three steps for about 2 months. Jordyn didn’t take any steps until fourteen months, but once she took one step, she walked. So, they both became walkers at the same time. They just went about it differently. Around that time, they both had a couple of words. Jordyn said hi, mama, and Daisy (the dogs name). She also sometimes said NeNe (the nanny). Amanda had about the same number of words. But I started to notice differences in their responses. Amanda turned when you called her name, Jordyn didn’t. Amanda wanted to play with me, Jordyn always played on her own. I noticed, but I didn’t really think too much about it.
At fourteen months, my pediatrician started to wonder if Jordyn might have some hearing loss. She was no longer speaking the three words that she originally had, but was babbling a lot. To sum up a very long ordeal, Jordyn had a hearing test that showed she had hearing loss and would need hearing aids. Ultimately, after several more tests and seeing several specialists, she got tubes in her ears and has absolutely zero hearing loss at this time. We also saw a developmental psychologist, who did many tests over several weeks and determined that at nineteen months of age Jordyn was very mildly autistic.
I never planned on my daughters going to school before they were three. Now, Jordyn goes three full days a week (Amanda goes to a neighborhood school three mornings a week, because I felt like she was being left out….I could write another whole article about the guilt that comes with having one special needs child and one non special needs child!) Jordyn has a speech pathologist who comes to our house weekly. She goes to occupational therapy weekly. And we have a privat therapist who works with her nine hours a week within her normal routine at home. Jordyn became a full time job, just in time for me to go back to work after an extended maternity leave. I ask one therapist to take her to her occupational therapy, because otherwise I just cannot fit it into the week.
Having a special needs child definitely was not part of my dream, but the dream has changed. I actually have way more celebrations in my life than I ever imagined. This past Monday, I celebrated the five paper balloons my daughter got sent home in her backpack. Each one of those balloons represented something my daughter did during the past month that was worthy of special mention. One of her balloons was for building a tower with blocks. One was for joining morning circle spontaneously. A third was for sitting for a whole story on a teacher’s lap. These have become not only our new milestones but also our new celebrations. The day my daughters first said “mama” when they were 13 months old was nice but no big deal. The day, at twenty-six months, that my daughter said “mama” brought me to tears. I applaud my daughter for waving bye-bye. I cheer when she says “mama.” I am ecstatic when she comes to me, looks me in the eye, and puts her arms up for me to lift her. I jump for joy when she responds to her sister’s requests to play. I praise her when she doesn’t let her sister steal a toy from her. I congratulate her when she gives me a hug. I am joyful when she interacts with me in an appropriate way. And I am optimistic when she looks at me, smiles, and seems to know and understand that I am mommy.
My daughter is what they call “optimal outcome.” She is making incredible progress. In fact, she is a different child than the one I first dropped off at school in May. I am hopeful that she is going to continue to progress and will have every opportunity to have a successful and enjoyable life. Do we struggle? Sure, just like every other family. Do I have resentments? Absolutely. Do I get angry, jealous, bitter, etc? Definitely. I went through a stage where I could not even read the SMC message boards. I had such a hard time reading about what seemed to me people’s petty, small struggles, without asking myself if they realized how easy they had it. And ultimately I began to understand what Temple Grandin means when she says that living with autism makes her life different, not less. I stopped being bitter and angry.
I used to dream about the celebrations my family would have. Well, we have celebrations, lots of them. Everyday of the week we have something to celebrate. And you know what? It’s a whole lot more exciting than roasted chicken!
by Sharon Robinson
My journey to TTC was a long one. I thought I would share it with other SMCs in a gesture of camaraderie and understanding. Sometimes, TTC can be so lonely. I’ve hardly told anyone (four people, including my Mom, a niece who saw my injectables on the bathroom sink, and two friends who have no plans to ever have children). They are supportive, but they can’t possible understand what it’s like to want this so badly and to be so scared to move ahead and to be willing to do anything to make it happen and to wonder what I’m going to do once I have a baby, all at the same time.
I had fibroid surgery back in 1998 or 99. At the time, I was in my very early thirties. I remember the doctor asking prior to the surgery if I planned to have children. (Dr. speak for “do we have to save your uterus?”) I said yes, of course. Luckily, the fibroid was on a stalk, little or no damage was done and I had normal, relatively pain free periods for the first time that I could remember!
Fast-forward a couple years. I remember mentioning (but can’t remember the context or to whom I was speaking) that if I were not married by thirty-six I would have children on my own. At the time, I hadn’t heard of Single Motherhood by Choice, and really, I was all talk. My thirty-sixth birthday came and went. I was worried about how I would pay for a child; how I could do it on my own; how others would look at single motherhood; and many other rational and irrational fears. I decided to wait.
The year after I turned forty I discovered SMC.org. I don’t know what I was searching for or how it turned up on the web, but there it was. I was fascinated. I read the introductory blurb and I was like, OMG that’s me! I filed it in my favorites, but it would be a few months before I filled out the application to join the organization. I immediately joined the Thinking, TTC, Community, Preg, and Adoption groups and devoured the archived posts.
I became an official TTCer at the age of 41. It was so hard moving forward on my own. I had my first appointment with an RE in February but couldn’t decide on a donor. I changed my diet. I was taking my vitamins. I was exercising. I was at the perfect weight. I was going to acupuncture every week. I finally picked the ’perfect’ donor. I was going to get pregnant on the first try. I made myself jump in the deep end that April; I had a medicated IUI (with Femara). My clinic didn’t do blood tests until day sixteen following IUI. If, by then, aunt flo hadn’t made an appearance, I was to go in for a test. Well, I didn’t get my period. I got the blood test. And it was negative.
At that point, I reasoned, what are the chances it will happen on the first try. I wasn’t too worried. I had purchased six vials after all. After three more tries, I really began to worry (a bit belatedly) about my age. I know lots of younger people take months if not years to get pregnant. I have since been kicking myself for holding out so long. I have friends who are younger than I who are still looking for Mr. Right. They really want kids but have the same fears about going it alone. I have encouraged them to move ahead, but they are just not ready to take this step. I can’t blame them. I was there. But I had nobody to tell me how hard it would be. I only hope they don’t change their minds after it’s too late.
For my fifth cycle I moved to injectable meds. On that cycle, I had lots of eggs, and lots of discomfort (bloating and severe ovulation-type pain). Around day eight or so of my two-week-wait, my breasts began to hurt. And I had a little spotting that I was convinced was implantation bleeding. Alas, it later turned into a period and once again, I had a BFN. (Big fat negative is a good translation of this acronym. I have another not so nice one that I’ll keep to myself.) Then I got a cyst. So I had to skip a month. Then I had to go out of town. So I had to skip another month. I used my last vial just to get it over with before moving on to a new donor (because obviously, my now forty-two year old eggs couldn’t be at fault) and IVF.
At forty-two years and two months, I had my first IVF. I responded well to the meds, I got ten eggs. Five fertilized. Four were normal. Three grew and were implanted. Nothing wrong with this donor. And, again, two-weeks later BFN. I took several months off (which was hard considering my already advanced maternal age). And watched the list while other 42 and 43 year old SMCs got pregnant. Now, I am in my waiting month for my second IVF. Somehow, I’ve read, your odds of conceiving improve over the first three IVFs. If it hasn’t worked by then, you may want to consider alternatives. I don’t really understand — I am not a statistician. But I am not ready to give up on a biological child just yet.
Discover Card is having a promotion right now. Put $2,000 on your card each month from now through November and get $500 cash back. If only I could spread out my IVF and prescription fees, it would be no problem. I am trying to keep a positive attitude. I can remember specifically the frustrated posts of women over the past couple of years on the SMC lists who were in my position who now have their precious little ones or who are far enough along that it is a reality and not just a dream. I thank them for sharing their experiences and giving me hope for the future.
BE AN SMC CONTACT PERSON IN YOUR AREA
The primary purpose of the CP is to welcome new members of SMC and to let them know what is happening on the local level. You may also want to contact current members and start organizing a local chapter meeting. As the CP, you could contact the local members and start to run local meetings or set up an organizational meeting for the local members where the roles and responsibilities of a local chapter are distributed amongst those who are interested in having an active chapter. If you’re interested, contact the SMC office at email@example.com.
BE AN SMC CONTACT PERSON IN YOUR AREA
Andrea Derby is the new CP for Forest Hills, New York. She can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212)288-6689.
Diana Fletschner is the new CP for Seattle, Washington. She can be
reached at email@example.com or (206)632-1106.
Kari Richardson is the new CP for Bellvue, Washington. She can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (425)644-7208.
Abigail Wolfson is the new CP for Brooklyn, New York. She can
be reached at email@example.com or (917)538-8754.
Gina Torre is the new CP for Clinton, NY. She can be
reached at (315) 724-6146 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SAVE THE DATE!
SMC will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year.
A special event will be held in NYC the weekend of Oct. 15-16, 2011.
More details to come in the New Year.
Dear Ms. Essie
I am finding that my daughter is growing and changing as she enters Kindergarten and is dealing with a new group of kids/rules/teachers etc. She is finding more independence and pushing the boundaries a bit. I’m rolling with that but there is something that I am struggling with these days. She is naturally a very happy/joyful/funny/silly kid and she is getting SILLIER…Now this is somewhat tough for me because I tend to be more “serious” in a way but also I appreciate adult humor more than six year old humor, so while I do consider myself funny and fun, it is more as an adult and I am not like a big kid or a kid at heart type of person!!! Now I kind of wish I was more like that, so I am open to growing and being that (truth be told I never was a “kid” even as a kid. Grew up pretty quickly so to speak based on childhood experiences). So I want to find a way to allow her to be silly and be a kid and find a way to enjoy it and laugh with it, but also find a balance with “now is not the time to be silly” (i.e. at dinner, I don’t think it is the time).
Ms. Essie, who is rather serious herself turned to some of the members of the School Age list for advice on how to be, well, sillier.
I guess I must fall into the more naturally silly category because we are pretty silly a whole lot of the time! One of our ongoing things is that we are the goofball family and I’m Mama Goofball and he is Baby Goofball. I definitely use humor and silliness to get him out of bad moods and to try to get him to do the things I want to do—like turning even basic things into a race with imaginary very silly rewards at the end.
I think an important argument for engaging in kid humor now with your kids now is that it allows them to continue to share humor, as they get older. Carly’s humor has grown and developed with her, and we often see the same humor in things. We have started to enjoy some of the same things now, and it’s fun. I’m not the deepest silly person, but I would dip my toe into the silly pool frequently. Still do when I’m around younger kids. I kind of miss those silly years.
Driving in the car is a great time for silliness. We tell jokes and make up silly songs and stories. That might be a good starting point, actually, because you can do this for what you know is a short drive and there is a natural ending point. For me, that’s the main downside, that my son sometimes doesn’t know when to stop and I do definitely run out of silliness before he does (his supply is pretty endless—proven by the fact that the minute we walked into his before/after center this morning, the director told him a goofy joke she had been saving especially for him!) So sometimes, my contribution is just letting him go and agreeing that yes that is SOOOO silly, without really actively participating.
So I guess my overall advice is to make an effort to incorporate more but just do it in little bits and pieces. A minute here and a minute there can start to make a difference.
[In the book Playful Parenting] the author did have some good examples of how to incorporate more humor into things. It was really very helpful (although I could have used even more examples). When I could remember, it was great for defusing a lot of situations or reminding me that life is not all getting to work, picking up toys (now socks,clothes, backpack, etc.), getting places on time (well, I still think that’s important…)
One thing that I found is that when I’m exhausted (which is most all the time long commute, activities for Carly most every night, including Fridays, and both days on weekends. I live in my car) being silly energizes me. I may not have the energy to initiate it, but if something hits my funny bone, I’m good for much longer than usual. As others have pointed out, it doesn’t take a lot of time to escape into silliness. In fact, it’s more fun when it’s interjected into ordinary things.
I agree with someone else that you can let the kid humor v. lack of respect argument go. Save it for a later age, and a more appropriate time. Kids can have potty humor and still grow up to be respectful kids, teens, adults. A lot of adult humor is disrespectful as well. That’s what makes it funny!
Well, I think that’s incredibly dedicated of you that you want to try to enjoy this with Ireland! This was not a stage I was able to appreciate much, either. I finally got a big knock-knock joke book for Katie (it actually had a variety of kids’ jokes in it, not just knock knock), and this was something I was able to tolerate. But mostly I tried to suggest to her that friends her age could appreciate her silliness in a way that I couldn’t — the phrase “I’m just your boring old mom who asks you if you’ve brushed your teeth yet this morning” springs to my memory in this regard.
I don’t know if you can plan silliness. The best that I can do is laugh at their incredibly stupid knock-knock jokes and riddles. Sterling started with them a couple of years ago and I hoped that they would be a phase, but we are still going strong and now Ridley has her own completely mangled versions! I even have given the kids books of riddles, puns and wordplay, a gift for which they have punished me by making me listen to them all the time.
I also am sometimes the silliest when I am the angriest. When I feel like things are escalating out of control in the house, I sometimes make a deliberate decision to be goofy and swing us in another direction. I realize that I can either blow my top or go another way entirely and hopefully get to a better place for all of us.
A few thoughts…first of all I think you’re dooming yourself to fail if you think of being silly as something you have to “plan” into your day! Though I understand that it doesn’t come naturally and you have to work on it, but there is plenty of opportunity to be silly and have fun even while doing your regular necessary daily activities. (note, the same is not necessarily true of being “LOUD” and silly, but you can be silly without being loud!)….
When you are preparing dinner, for example, you can be silly. You can dance around the kitchen and sing silly songs about what you’re doing. Maybe you’re at the stove getting ready to put something on to cook and you realize that you need something from the other side of the room. Instead of just going “oops I forgot he butter” you can over-dramatize it, “OH MY GOD!!! I FORGOT THE BUTTER!” gasp, dramatic rolling of eyes, put back of hand to forehead, pretend to sob, dash across the room, wrench fridge door open, “Oh sweet butter, can you ever forgive me!” And this will really only add a few seconds on to a task that you were doing anyway– but so much more fun than just plain old “Oh I need butter” and walk across the room and get it.
I’ve always thought of myself as a serious person, but I have no trouble being spontaneously silly with Ary. When I do goofy things with him, I feel like I’m channeling my father, who was a professor and quite the intellectual, but also funny and playful with my brothers and me. (My mom was far more serious.)
Similarly, maybe when you set the table, you might put a plate on your daughter’s chair or a cup upside-down on your head, for example. “Okay, I’m done setting the table!” Maybe when Ireland sits down to dinner, instead of putting food on her plate, you might put the saltshaker or a potholder. “Here ya go honey, eat up!” Again, these are ideas that don’t take up much time out of your evening, and are endlessly adaptable, and endlessly entertaining to kids (mine, at least).
Editor’s Note: In this feature, the wit and wisdom of our very smart and very together SMC—Ms. Essie Emcee—is tapped to answer some of the questions SMCs face. Other sources of extraordinary wisdom can be found on the SMC listserve groups. If you have a question you’d like Ms. Essie to answer, email email@example.com or mail it to Box 1642, Gracie Square Station, NYC 10028.
What's the Buzz
A Review of Unlocking the Heart of Adoption (Sheila Ganz, 2005)
Unlocking the Heart of Adoption is a deeply personal film. Using her own story of giving up a child for adoption director Sheila Ganz explores the history of adoption in the United States, a history that has until quite recently been one of secrecy. Traditionally conceived as a series of talking-head interviews with birth parents, people who were adopted, and adoptive parents interspersed with filmed historical photographs and footage of the filmmaker as she creates a sculpture in honor of her own experience of loss and healing, the film presents a variety of points of view. The film proposes that it is the secrecy about adoption—adoptees without access to their original birth certificates, birth mothers and fathers with no way of contacting children they gave up for adoption—that is the source of much of the pain for everyone involved.
People, the film asserts, want to know who they are and where they come from. The death by suicide of one of Ms. Ganz’s interviewees dramatically suggests what is at stake when adopted children do not have access to their personal histories. Of course, some adoptees do not have a compelling need to meet their birth parents and some birth parents have no desire to meet children they gave up for adoption, but this film makes a strong case for that being a choice and not the default position. Though the production values are uniformly low and the tone quite somber, this film has an important message. Recommended viewing for all prospective adoptive parents as they contemplate how to integrate their child’s story into family life.
SMC is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. In these difficult economic times, we especially need your contributions to ensure that we are able to continue our work. If you would like to contribute to SMC, please send your tax deductible contribution to SMC, Box 1642, New York, NY 10028 if you are paying by check. If you would prefer to pay by credit card, you can do so via PayPal by either going to our renewal page www.singlemothersbychoice.com/renew; scroll down to see the donation section) or by going right to PayPal and using the “send money” feature with the SMC email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) as the designated address. All contributions are tax deductible as permitted by law and all monies received will go to the fund. We will send you an acknowledgement of your contribution upon receipt.
SAVE THE DATE:
SMC will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year. A special event will be held in NYC the weekend of Oct. 15-16, 2011. More details to come in the New Year.
If you have someone new in the house please send the information to email@example.com. Be sure to include all the vital statistics.
Aron Walker writes that Lola Joy Walker was born on 8/26/2010. She arrived 5 weeks, 1 day early, weighed 4 lbs 10 oz, and was 17 ¾” long.
Alison Hunter (Toledo, OH) is proud to announce the birth of her daughter Gracie Marie, born on May 16, 2010. She weighed 8lbs 10oz and was 21 inches long. After 2½ yrs of struggle, she is her momma’s wish come true!
Aurrit Levin is thrilled to announce the arrival of Sami Ruth Levin, born on 17 May 2010, exactly three years and two days after her amazing brother Benjamin Samuel Levin (born 15 May 2007). Sami weighed 2.6 kgs and was 48 cm at birth. I am very blessed with 2 gorgeous, amazing children!
Tricia Howard is thrilled to announce the birth of her daughter, Lola Rose, on August 21, 2010. She weighed 6lbs, 4oz and was 18 inches long. She’s a pretty happy and content baby but when she’s hungry she makes sure everyone within hearing distance knows it! 🙂
Marinela Miclea would like to announce the birth of her youngest son, Olivier Simon, on October 2nd, 2010 at 4:10 AM, 20.5 inches long, weighing 6 lbs. 13 oz., at 36.5 weeks’ gestation via emergency C-section after “Mr. Feisty” punched a hole in his amniotic sac. Big brother Colin Samuel (5/13/08, 20″, 7 lbs. 11.8 oz., same donor) is being gentle and helpful with his little brother, and mom couldn’t be happier with her two sweet boys.
Jill Coté is overjoyed to share the birth of Sophia Grace Coté on August 5th, 2010, 8lbs 3oz. Sophia’s loving grandmother, Gail was there for her arrival and receive first glimpse of her beauty. She is the most wonderful, dear and sweet “Blossom Possum”! Also showered by their love is her family of 6 aunts and uncles, grandmothers, grandfather, 7 cousins and great-grandmother.
Anya Genkina’s daughter, Emma Gabrielle Genkina, was born on July 22, 2010. She weighed 6lbs 3ozs and was 19″ long.
Carson Brady Nock was born on May 3, 2010. He is adorable and super smart already!
Sonja Niemi gave birth to Hannah on September 25, 2010 (at age 39). Hannah was 6 lbs 12 oz and 18 inches long. She is growing like crazy and absolutely perfect!
Marlene Rodriguez announces that Lucas Oziel Rodriguez was born on October 5, 2010. He was conceived via IVF. I had 7 embryos transferred over the last two years and he’s the only one that took!
Kirsten Buckedorf announces the arrival of Keaton Javier! Keaton was born four weeks early at 10:50pm on Thanksgiving, Thursday November 25th, weighing 7 lbs 7.4 oz, measuring 18.5 inches, and in good health. He stayed in my room with me the whole time at the hospital and we were both discharged and came home Sunday afternoon.
Piper York writes: With absolutejoy, I am excited to announce the birth of my son: Matthew Philip York. He was born September 24, 2010 @ 9:54am, weighing 8lbs, 6oz and measuring a very tall 21.5 inches. After a month in the NICU, big sister Samantha and I were very excited to welcome him home.
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