As I mentioned yesterday, I’m speaking at the University of Pittsburgh tomorrow afternoon. The conference, Encountering New Worlds of Adoption, actually started yesterday. However, due to a complicated pregnancy, I’ll only be heading into Pittsburgh for my panel on Saturday afternoon. It helps when you’re originally from the area, know how to get where you’re going and have family to meet you at x-location and take your child back to The Farm. (Yes, after our panel, the Husband and I are heading back to The Farm to spend time with my parents. It just seems like a lovely fall day to me!)
Again, I’m still a bundle of nerves. Of course, those nerves were put to the test last night! We have been moving my home office downstairs into our basement. (It’s not a dungeon; the front half of the basement, where my new office is, walks out into our front yard.) Once the carpet was installed on Wednesday, we got to work taking things out of the new baby’s soon-to-be nursery and moving things downstairs. We finally get my two-desk work station set up, plug in all of the computer cables and turn it on.
And nothing. Happens.
I about fell over! After a minor panic attack and a consumed Milky Way bar, my Husband was able to get her up and running. The cause of the panic? My paper was still on the hard drive. (I know. I should know better.) Thankfully, all is well.
I’m kind of bummed that this new baby is following in the footsteps of his older siblings and giving me a run for my money during this pregnancy. If I was complication free, there are quite a few panels that I’d like to sit and listen to during the course of the conference. Let me just name off a few!
“Who is Allowed to Mother? Welfare, Class, the State, and the Family.” Now doesn’t that sound absolutely interesting? Quite frankly, one specific paper in the panel speaks loudly to me. “Lessons from their Silence: Twentieth Century Relinquishment and ‘Expert’ Discourse” would be vastly interesting, wouldn’t it? I imagine it being along the lines of The Girls Who Went Away. Of course, I hope the secrecy that still exists in the open adoption system (which was started last century). Even still, knowing that others will be hearing about the generations upon generations that were forced to stay silent gives me hope for the future.
“Legal, Ethical, and Psychological Approaches to New Family Structures” is another paper title that trips my interest. It’s no secret that I’m interested in fully ethical (and, of course, then legal) adoptions! Having been caught up in the web of a highly unethical agency, I push for proper ethics whenever I’m teaching someone something about the ins and outs of adoption. I’m most intrigued by the “psychological approaches” mentioned in the title. Alas, I guess I might not know. (Unless someone on my panel goes and tells me what was said!)
This one, “Adoptive Parents’ Language,” sounds initially dull until you read the titles of some of the papers being presented within its time slot. Most interesting of the four presentations, at least in terms of title, is this little gem: “Meant to be Ours: The Uses of Fate in the Narratives of Adoptive Parents.” I wonder what will be said. I know what I would say. I’m bummed that I’ll be missing what others are saying. What do you say? (And you all know that I love to talk about language and adoption! I’m such a word-nerd.)
There are also quite a few different panels on adoption and race, a subject that interests me for personal reasons as well as others. I know how I feel about issues concerning race in adoption. I know how those on my panel feel about those same things. I even know how quite a few of my readers and other members of the forums feel about the topic. I just like hearing how others view these things. I love to learn. (I’m somewhat nerdy in that respect.)
All in all, I’m really kind of bummed out that I’ll be missing some great topics. At the same time, I’m super stoked to be speaking on a topic that I care about with three other mothers who are super awesome as well. I can only hope that the negative comments, on my waddling or birth parents in general, are kept to a relative minimum. (I mean, have you ever ticked off a 32 week, 6 day pregnant mama? Don’t. I’m just warning you.)
Oh, I’m silly! For those wondering, our entire panel is entitled “Adoptive and First Mothers Blog Their Way through New Family Structures” and my specific paper is entitled “First Mothers Find a Voice.” I bet we’ve tripped up quite a few people by using the term first mother. I’m so interested to see the outcome. (And we’re planting my Husband with a question just in case no one has any because we have explained our topics so well. Or something to that nature.) If you’re interested, our panel speaks at 1:30 in the Cathedral of Learning (!) in room 349. I know we have some Pittsburgh readers and a few other long-distance travelers attending because they’ve been in contact. I’d love to meet with you afterwards. Just don’t rub the belly, okay?
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