Saturday, March 20, 2010

march madness

This post has nothing to do with NCAA basketball. Because I don't know much about NCAA basketball. Although if I was of the betting sort, I'd bet that UNC and Duke will be in the Final Four.

Nope. This post has to do with two stories I've heard this past week that have actually kept me awake at night. These two stories bring a whole new meaning to what I consider MADness.


The first story I heard was on the radio, as I was driving to Los Angeles, about a woman named Donna Simpson. Donna is a 42-year old mother, who is on a quest to become the world's fattest woman. To achieve this hefty goal, she is consuming more than 12,000 calories a day. And to offset the cost of her $750.00 weekly food bill, she has started a website where people can make donations. Apparently, she has raised a significant sum of money from men who pay to watch her eat food.

Donna currently weighs 600 pounds.

But she needs to gain at least another 400 pounds to break the world record.

When I initially heard this story, I was sad. But when I then heard that Donna has a three-year-old child, I was enraged. Clearly, there is a significant mental illness here. But what bothers me the most is how many people are encouraging this woman.

What kind of example is she setting for her child? How can she adequately care for her toddler when she can't walk more than 20 feet? And how can people financially subsidize her, to keep up this self destructive pattern? Shouldn't people INSTEAD be supporting her to lead a successful life, and in doing so - she will teach her child to do the same?

And so on, and so on?

Donna was quoted as saying, "I love eating and people love watching me eat. It makes people happy and I'm not harming anyone."

Clearly Donna doesn't understand the irreparable harm she is causing to herself. Nor does she understand the irreparable harm this is causing to her daughter. Unless I missed the memo, since when is it a good idea to send the message to your child that it is acceptable to critically abuse your body... for attention?

I fully recognize that obesity is a real problem and millions of people struggle with their weight. But Donna is doing all of this intentionally. Perhaps she doesn't realize that the human body is not designed to weigh 1,000 pounds? Or perhaps she doesn't know that joints and organs cannot handle that quantity of mass over a sustained period of time, without failing?

Regardless, unless someone can step in and convince this woman that what she is doing is deadly wrong, and then, teach her how to nurture herself, there is no doubt in my mind, very soon she will eat herself to death and her young daughter will be left without a mother.

Last week, the talented MamaDB left me a link to this video. Whether or not you have children, if you are at all concerned about your own health, you should take 22 minutes and watch this. It's really that good.

I really wish I could get it to Donna Simpson.

Although, sadly, I'm fairly certain it wouldn't matter.


When Charlie was visiting his Dad last week in Arizona, he happened to pick up a magazine article about the gendercide in China. Now, I've long known that China has a "One Child Limit" birth policy which means that each couple is allowed to only have one child. But what I didn't realize, was that since most families desire to have a baby boy, more than 50 million (that's 50,000,000) baby girls have been killed.

Charlie recounted to me a story that he read in The Economist.

Essentially, a journalist was visiting a pheasant family in China. The mother was giving birth in the next room and the journalist ran in seconds after the baby was born. She heard the father mutter, "Useless thing!" and then something caught her eye. When she looked down, she saw a tiny foot sticking out of a water filled slop bucket that had been placed on the floor. She thought it was an accident and the infant had been dropped, but when she ran to rescue the child, she was held back and told that there is no use for baby girls.

Never before have I ever heard a more horrifying story. When Charlie told me, I started yelling and screaming and crying and my arms were thrashing about as I told my husband what I'd like to do to that Chinese father. USELESS? I'll show YOU useless.


And then my heart absolutely broke for the Chinese mother. To carry a life within you for nine months. To feel it grow. To feel it move. To see your body change and prepare for birth. To go through birth. The excruciating, anguish filled experience, which at the end - is supposed to yield you the most wonderful of all heavenly prizes. But instead, you watch your precious baby thrown head first in to a pail of dirty water to drown.

Simply because she is a girl.

The same useless gender as you.

I do not care what the politics are surrounding this. Numbers don't lie and right now, the natural ratio of boys to girls is significantly off kilter in a number of countries. Which leads all experts to believe that baby girls are being killed and neglected, en masse.

To add to the heartache, a mother is genetically predisposed to care for and nurture her newborn. It is hard wired in to her biology to keep that child from harm. I know this, from firsthand experience. So when she cannot? When she is bound and forced to watch her baby die? Or when she sees her husband take that child and either abandon it, or sell it off to anyone who will take her, where it is highly likely she will live out the rest of her days as a sex slave?

It very seldom happens, but words escape me.

For a long time now, Charlie and I have been mulling over international adoption. Or rather, I have been mulling over international adoption and urging my husband to please consider the positive impact we might be able to have on a child. Up until this week he has repeatedly said, "You a crazy woman. Go 'way."

But this week, after he read this horrific article, he is at least open to the possibility.

Can we save the world? Heck no. But we might be able to save one.

(Or six.)

(Shhh! Don't tell Charlie I wrote that.)

So if anyone out there has any advice to share on what is involved in an international adoption, please do tell. We're listening.


  1. I don't know a ton about international adoption, but have learned a lot from reading another blog:

    I think she has links to other families who have adopted internationally and many detailed posts on the Chinese 'one child policy' and orphanages in China. And she seems like a very nice woman and I'm sure would point you in the direction of other information.

  2. First, that fat woman should have her child taken away from her, then someone should have her committed.

    Secondly, yes, this has been going on in China for decades. I read that in some places, there is such a glut of men, they are having to bring women in from other countries just to marry them.

    I have no advice, but I could totally see you guys adopting.

  3. I would recommend that you adopt an international special needs child. Most of the "missing" baby girls are being aborted in utero rather than being given up for adoption or killed after birth. And unfortunately, there are healthy baby girls that are stolen from their parents to "sell" to adoption agencies. How would you know if the healthy baby girl you adopted was willingly put up for adoption or threatened/stolen from her parents? But there are many special needs children that are legitimately given up for adoption... and sadly, there is not much of a "demand" for them overseas in rich nations.

  4. I haveno words for the horror of babies being murdered. No words.

    Regarding international adoption, I think your best bet would be to find some adoption support groups online and join up. You will hear firsthand stories, the good and the bad. You will have other moms (and dads) to ask questions. Just like you would probably encourage a mama who is pregnant with triplets to join a parents of multiples group while she is still pregnant, you can get more information and support now, while you are still in the consideration stage.

    Our best friends have adopted each of their their three beautiful children. It's been a long road for them, but I know they wouldn't trade it for the world. God bless.

  5. Oy, that story about the birth and the bucket. That's not likely to leave my head for a long while. I'll be very interested to see what sort of information you get on the international adoptions.

    I've been working on a post on the Jamie Oliver clip for a while. I should just post it. There have been some BIG changes in this household this week. REVOLUTION!

    And thanks for the sweet words about our Moo. Once again, cancer sucks.

    peace out,

  6. There are so many scary things about the gendercide, including what all those boys will do when they can't marry and their culture (really, all cultures) are centered around married families.

    Right now though, young mothers are committing suicide at high rates, and the article speculates that it's because of the trauma of aborting their daughters. So tragic.

  7. Think about it carefully. Part of your research should involve looking up Reactive Attachment Disorder, since there's a very real chance that any child you would adopt would have this.

    Some blogs of interest might be:

    They've both done international adoptions as well.

  8. My family is going down that road right now and there are just so many things you need to be prepared for. Tonnes of paperwork, obstacles, even just doing enough research to choose the right country as every country has totally different requirements for adoptive families. And be prepared to wait. It's going to take a long time.

    I'm actually a little surprised at this story about China, although I don't know how recently it happened. Because now that China has overturned it's one child policy there are many less children being put up for adoption. We had always been under the impression that China had an unlimited supply of baby girls but the waiting lists are now like 6 years for a Chinese child. That terrible attitude towards girls is so offensive but I believe it is at least starting to change. But I can agree that it is absolutely heartbreaking.

    People get very worked up about the amount of paperwork involved in adoption. So many friends and family have been outraged, saying we are a good family and we shouldn't need to do so much to adopt a child who has no one. I think the biggest misconception is that we are doing a country a favour by taking a needy child off their hands. And while the need of the child isn't in question, I have come to realize it is very hard for countries to give their children to citizens of other countries. And while we are looking for a child, they are looking for a whole family and community for that child. It is a big job and they take it seriously and it is the ultimate in arrogance for me to question the way they choose to find families, even if it seems strange to me. People do not give up their children for adoption lightly and countries do not give away their children lightly.

    Wow, and this is turning into a hugely long comment. Being right in the middle of it is making it a big thing for me. The other major thing it seems to me I need to prepare for is attachment issues. We'd all like to think that an adopted child would just come home and love us instantly (and us, them). But it usually takes time, sometimes a lot of time, for that attachment to grow. That is something you would learn about through a homestudy and your own research but definitely you should go in with your eyes open. Best of luck!

  9. I have a friend who's done 2 international adoptions from Libera, and 2 domestic. She's a stay at home mom to her new brood of 4 now. As some part-time employment, she's been working on being an adoption "Doula" helping with paperwork, and guiding through all the red-tape. I'm sure she'd have tons of guidance for you.

    Her blog is

    If you can't find her there for some reason (she's sporadically posting lately), send me an email and I"ll be sure to connect you two!

  10. I want to bring a little girl home from China SO BAD. They have a road in China where they just go and throw baby girls. Government officials come and gather up babies, taking them to a orphanage where they are really understaffed. They have thousands waiting for adoption, but the country makes the process very hard. It's just so sad.

    Marla @

  11. Well I'm glad you're not the betting sort... seeing as UNC isn't in the tournament, that wouldn't have gone too well for you :O) lol.

    As for international adoption. I can't say much on the process from a personal viewpoint because I haven't been through that myself, but I have a cousin who was adopted from Korea (she's in my profile photo with me actually) and several friends/coworkers who've adopted from other countries, China being one. I can tell you this, that for each family the process was long (usually a couple years) and sometimes stressful (home studies and loads of paperwork), but I know that if I asked them today they would all answer the same, which would be that they wouldn't have traded the experience for anything in the world. All of them have come through the process with amazing children and a different outlook on life. And it is because of them that I someday hope to adopt as well.

    Good luck in whatever you decide!

  12. Not many countries are open anymore - I think China now has something like a 4 or 5 year wait. Sorry.... Consider domestic....?

  13. Thanks for the info, everybody. I'll definitely be looking in to this more.

    Rachel, HA! That's hilarious UNC isn't even in the tournament. I thought that it was a general rule the final four always included one of those two schools!!

  14. A friend's daughter recently adopted a little girl from India (they also have 3 bio kids) and they have a very thoughtful blog -

    I would particularly recommend their post on responding to people criticizing them for adopting from another country instead of the US.

    Also - a friend of mine wrote a fabulous workbook on international adoption (she adopted her daughter from the Ukraine when she was 6). It has a section on the rules and restrictions for different countires

  15. Such heartbreaking stories.
    As for International Adoption, I can't answer any questions as we adopted domestically however, the ladies over on Carolyn's Adoption Board are a wealth of knowledge. We would love to see you there.

    Carolyn's Boards

  16. My cousin is adopting for this very same reason. Here's a blog that she started that states a few things about adoption from China. Not sure if it'd help you but thought you might like to read some of it!

  17. Maybe you'll find something on this site:

    BTW, I am a long-time reader of your blog and cheerleader of yours from up the coast in OC. I actually prayed for you and Charlie the other night wondering if there would be a #5 child in your family. For real.

  18. I'm not a mom and much to old to become one but that post brought such unbelievable pain to by heart that it made me cry.

  19. Adoption is a long and hard process. We were in the process of adopting from China when they starting up the rules. It's now almost impossible & as someone else said can take at least 4 to 5 years. We're now over the age limit & I have taken antidepressants in the past (due my own infertility struggles) so that would eliminate me now.

    We also were in the process of 2 private, local, adoptions that both fell through at the last minute. Each felt like another miscarrage. FOr our own mental health we felt like we needed to move on.

    In the end we feel blessed to have our ds (who took us 15 years to have & pay for :) )

    Good luck in your journey ~ there's been lots of great advice here & you & Charlie are great parents so any child would be blessed to join your family. t

  20. Gendercide, and gender-related child abandonment, are precisely why my parents adopted my sister (instead of a brother) in Bangladesh. I don't know any specific stories from South Asia, but I do know that the gender ratio in the population indicates that thousands of females are missing.

    International adoption isn't easy, or cheap, but I think it's worth it. Consider contacting Save the Children USA to see if they can put you in touch with child welfare NGOs in your target country.