Is “Mother” Jewelry Insensitive?

A while ago, there was a debate on a listserv for parents who’d adopted from Korea. It was triggered by an advertisement for jewelry with the Korean letters spelling “omani”. Many adoptive mothers embrace wearing the jewelry as a part of honoring their Korean-American children’s birth culture. But one writer, after wearing the jewelry for years, imagined herself meeting her child’s birthmother while she was wearing the “umma” bracelet. Would the jewelry cause pain to the birth mother? Would it seem to be a usurpation of a role as Korean mother that the adoptive mother was not? Heated debate ensued … Continue reading

The Many Languages of Mother

In my last blog, I mentioned conversations that have been flying around the blogosphere this spring. I suppose it’s not surprising that in May our thoughts turn to mothers. A heated conversation has arisen among the international adoption community over referring to yourself as “mother” in the language of the child’s birth country. Adoption catalogs carry catalogs with jewelry, shirts, tote bags, etc. which have the word Mother, and sometimes Father or Grandmother or Grandfather, in the languages of the various countries which send the most adoptees to the U.S. Since my daughters are Korean, I’ll use the Korean word … Continue reading