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Childhood exposure to domestic violence

On my drive home from work today, I heard this story about the impact on children of witnessing domestic violence. I appreciated that this Minnesota Public Radio Youth Radio Series story was written and reported by a youth who lived the experience. So often we get the Interviewer, who relies on the “Expert Opinion” with a little bit of a personal story to provide the emotional content. For this story the opposite happened, the story was told first-hand; the reporter interviewed the Expert and reflected on the expert’s opinion and how it related to her own experience. I appreciate when the person affected is considered an authority in their own right.

I also appreciate that Ms. McMurray chose to interview an expert I know and respect, my advisor Jeff Edelson, Director of the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse (MINCAVA). The story is important and Ms. McMurray did a thoughtful, and I’m sure difficult, job sharing how witnessing domestic violence as a child has impacted her life. Being a “poster child” for an issue can be a cathartic and healing endeavor; it can also be exploitative and filled with pressure. I hope that for Ms. McMurray, it was the former. I hope that when she tells her story, she is allowed to control how much she shares and to whom she shares. Young people who are asked to speak about their experiences with trauma or violence are easily exploited by adults for a “cause.” Ms. McMurray has a strong voice of her own, and I appreciate that she was willing to share it so publicly.


You can listen to the story through the player here, http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/02/28/valencia-mcmurray-youth-radio-domestic-violence
or for the transcript and audio, click here for the Youth Radio website.

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What are sick days for?

Why, to update the blog, of course.

My partner is out of town this week, which of course meant that the kids and I would end up getting sick. Isn’t that the way it always is? So sitting here in bed with my laptop (because a grad student is never far away from a laptop and work), working on an article I’m writing with a colleague and a very overdue freelance project, I thought I would pop in and at least pretend to update the blog.

I have been thinking about lots of things lately, and intending to blog about them. Instead, I’ve been finding myself posting links on twitter or my facebook page just to remind myself that I intend to blog about these news stories. Some of the many things I’ve been thinking about:

  • I saw “The King’s Speech” last weekend and it made me think about childhood abuse and disabilities.
  • Why adoptive parents who adopted children internationally did not get their children’s citizenship resolved (here, here and here), resulting in adult adoptees whose citizenship is now being questioned if they get into legal trouble and are being deported to their country of birth (despite not having citizenship there either, since citizenship is terminated upon being adopted to the receiving country). This guide from Ethica is aimed towards internationally adopted individuals. I am glad to have my citizenship papers in a secured place.
  • A news story from the UK in which the government is attempting to eliminate consideration of a child’s race and/or ethnicity regarding adoptive placements that sounds similar to the MultiEthnic Placement Act/InterEthnic Provisions here in the U.S. and what that means for the child who will be placed transracially.
  • The use of “advertising” children for adoption, as this blogger discusses. What do the youth themselves think about it? Well, several I have worked with have told me they felt like they were being sold.
  • Adopted persons who adopt

In my mind, I have a thoughtful, lengthy post for each of these items and more….in reality, this list will have to suffice for now!

Happy Lunar New Year and social media

To all who celebrate the Lunar New Year (and a reminder that it’s not just the Chinese who celebrate this date, there are many other Asian ethnic groups that celebrate the Lunar New Year) – Happy year of the Rabbit!

And also, a notice that I have an open facebook page where I link to news stories about child welfare and adoption.