About Red’s Wrap

Jan and Bear on Train

For the longest time I wanted to be a mother. It took a while to happen and then I was a mother four times over. I wanted to be a big shot and that also took a long time to happen and only if one defines big shot as someone who occasionally makes important things happen. I’ve done that. Not every day but enough to have a list of proud moments. I’m not in charge of much. Just myself. In my non-blogging life, I’m a community planning consultant. I work on troublesome issues like poverty, mental illness, and homelessness. My work plays huge in my life because so much of it involves social justice and trying to do what’s right. If I have something to be thankful for professionally, it’s that my early career started in a very down and dirty anti-poverty agency. It’s who I am more than anything probably.

Except my family.

So. I have four kids. One was born after a couple of years of intense worry about infertility. After she was born, the infertility became absolute and when my husband and I reached that intersection, we turned toward adoption. Over the course of eight years, we adopted three children from Nicaragua. Raising all four children was both joyous and harrowing. But this is the experience of most parents. I’m not unique. Being someone’s mother is no picnic. Well, it is, but not every day. Some days are nightmares relived for decades.

I also have a long marriage. A second one but the longer one. Thirty-four years. My marriage is an anchor buried in 100 feet of solid rock. And is also endlessly entertaining and often very funny. So I write about it. Who wouldn’t?

I don’t do recipes or advice or constant angst here. I just tell about my life as a person, a mother, a woman who believes in equal rights for everyone on earth, someone who is occasionally funny, a writer who resists the overwrought and the hopeless but sometimes lives in that town. I don’t blog about my day. I blog about what my day meant.

So to sum it up? If I could wear a hat every day, everywhere, I would. I don’t own enough hats. It’s a goal. To own more hats.

And to write on this blog in a beautiful way.

40 Comments on “About Red’s Wrap

  1. Pingback: Whaz Up?!? Thank God 2021 Ended and We’re Still Here – The Psy of Life

  2. I don’t know about the rest of your hats, but you wear the one in the upper left-hand corner photo like a champion.

  3. Hi there! As someone who often thinks about adopting children one day, I am interested to see what it was like for you to go through that journey three times over. Looking forward to reading more of your blog! Following!

  4. Just popped in to read your About page only to discover that I have some things in common with you too. I’m an ‘older woman’ who sometimes feels like she’s just two. My two children are adopted from overseas after a 15 year journey of grappling with infertility. They’re now grown up. So many comments you make in this post I can add a tick to. I’m so glad I found your blog!

  5. Loved reading more about you. Such a beautiful long. I will be around reading your experiences and sharing mine 🙂

  6. I am privileged to call Jan a friend. A distant and infrequent connection, but friend nonetheless. This blog is just one way she shares her brilliance and bravery. She knows that life is about small powerful moments and shares them with humor and deep (and occasionally brutal) honesty. You will find yourself and those you love here. You will also find your best self, the you see glimpses of and you aspire to be more often.

    She inspires my work and now my writing. Thank you!

    • Julie,

      I can barely think of a way to say thank you. It’s huge to me that you would think well of me and my writing and it’s very motivating to know that you are reading my blog. It makes me want to do a better job, every day, every post. Thanks for that.

    • Thank you! I can’t come up with good answers to the questions. But thank you for doing this. It did lead me to follow your blog. So that’s pretty cool. 🙂

  7. I love blogs by women who are not afraid to speak out. I hope that mine is one of those, too. I am a new follower (found you through Blogging 201), do feel invited to stop by too, and hopefully follow my blog back.

  8. You just ‘double peaked’ my interest, being a mom of adoptees. I hope to do so in the future, once I get myself a little bit together. And I like what you say your blog is about, not about your day but about what it means. 🙂 Interesting…

  9. Jan, sent you an email (the gmail address associated with your Gravitar) yesterday but not sure how often you check. When you get a moment, will you take a look and let me know your thoughts? Many thanks, Betsy.

  10. Pingback: Young at heart? Why not OLD at heart! | A SILVER VOICE FROM IRELAND

  11. Thank you for blogging about aging. We have so few realistic or positive role models when it comes to being ok with growing older. I do not want to be Helen Mirren, famous for being older and still attractive. And neither do I want to be the stereotypical little old lady. I just want to keep being me. I want to be ok with my face and body. I want to continue to count. But our value and visibility fade as we grow older, or so it seems to me. I realize I become more invisible with each passing year. And it’s such a piss off. Today I read an article in my husbands mens health magazine about how to talk to old people. Like they are some seperate foreign species from the young people targeted by this magazine. The first piece of advice was to not be patronizing… Which I found patronizing. The whole article seemed akin to saying “be nice to the old people, they’ll be so grateful you paid them any attention. And it will prove what a great person you are for bothering with them”

    Why is it our culture perpetuates this misconception that you will never be like “them”… Those old people. You are far too young and amazing and beautiful… You’re important, you matter…. Until one day you don’t. You realize you’re no longer young enough. Someone else has taken your place. And even though you’re only in your 40’s and you still have a long life ahead of you, you suddenly are inconsequential. And there’s no one to tell you any different or to show you the way forward. Damn it pisses me off!

    So I’m glad to see you and your blog. You’re passionate, beautiful, and defy labels. You aren’t young, you aren’t old. Youre more than all that. You’re you. And it’s inspiring.

    • Probably until just recently, I had the same sort of attitude about old people – like they were a different species. Then I realized that I was pretty much talking about my age peers so if I think they’re a different species, what does that say about me? It’s very challenging to wrestle through. Thank you so much for your reflections and your kind words.

    • No longer young enough in your 40s? I suggest doing away with thinking of life in terms of age – you did write “you aren’t young, you aren’t old”, right? and if you really have to worry about ageing, put if off to when you hit your 70s 🙂

  12. Hi — Just came across this as I was browsing for something else. Very interesting! My youngest was adopted from Rolando Carazo — but not until 2009. She was there for a few years before that. We are not at all connected to others who adopted from there, and so I just wondered if you do know other families whose children lived there, and particularly around 2006 – 2009. I also wondered if you might have any photos. We really have none from before the day we met her, and I am always hoping to stumble across some.

    • We have a group of families here in Milwaukee who adopted from Rolando Carazo in the 80’s and 90’s. Our kids are adults now and many have children of their own. We still get together every year for a 3 Kings celebration. I also am in contact with a woman in Texas who has two boys from Rolando Carazo, including one just adopted this year. Her older son lived at RC around the time you indicate or prior. I know she would be glad to be in contact. If you want to share your email address with me privately at jwilberg2000@gmail.com, I can connect the two of you.

      • Dear miss Wilberg,

        A few years ago we have got contact with you concerning our adoption in Rolando Carazo.
        We have adopted in 1993 a girl of 6 years named Yosseling Lisette Bermudez and also my friend got a girl from there one year later Ivania.
        You have sent us in that time a fotograph and my daugther and the other girl where in the picture.
        Please do you have other foto’s between march 1993 and november 1993 taken en Rolando Crazo?
        We are living en Belgium.
        mailadress: debusschere.j@gmail .com
        For the moment i have no Facebook.
        I should be very greatfull if you could send me some foto’s.

        Kind regards,

        Mother of yosseling..Jacqueline

      • Hello. It’s nice to hear from you. I’m sorry but all of the other photos I have are just of my daughter. A friend of ours who visited the orphanage took photos of her for us. So there was the one group shot but the rest were just of her. Best regards, Jan

  13. I read your response to 101 Books “How to not write controversial topics” post and came over to your blog and I’m hooked. WordPress exposes me to so much good writing and humbles me to realize how much I have to learn…which really, is a good thing. I’m looking forward to going back and reading your older posts, but alas, I have to go to work now. Wonderful writing! Oh, and thanks for the follow!

  14. I just love your last sentence, “…my blog isn’t about my day. It’s about what my day meant.” I think it reveals more about the writer when the writing reflects what is learned rather than just what was done.

  15. Pingback: Interview with Jan Wilberg | AmyBeth Inverness

  16. I got so involved in reading your stories, I burnt the rice! I really like the way you write.
    We are off to Nicaragua a week from today–wish you all could be there.

    • Kathy if you see this contact me, Bayardo and I are planning a trip for December and can use any tips you can give us

  17. Hi! Great blog you have! I am with Wisconsin Public Television and we are doing a storytelling project on adoption. Our goal is to give Wisconsin residents an opportunity to share their stories and experiences with adoption. I was wondering if you would be interested in participating? I know this is short notice but I will be in Milwaukee this Friday (the 18) interviewing a few families. Would you be interested and able to meet for an interview at that time.

    Please contact me if you are at all interested or have any questions for me concerning this storytelling project!

    Thank you,
    Mary Duke
    Wisconsin Public Television
    Engage Wisconsin

Leave a Reply