Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My First Post at Lost Daughters

Lost Daughters Blog
I've been tossing a few things around in my mind lately. I'm excited to come on board as a contributor at Lost Daughters, and as I’ve thought about what I might post there versus here on my own blog, I’ve found myself mulling over the title “Lost Daughters.” I like the title, a lot. It’s evocative and appropriate. And ultimately, the question I’ve settled on for myself at the moment is not “What makes me a lost daughter,” but “Who is the lost daughter?”  Read more at Lost Daughters

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Adoptees and their Parents: Some Thoughts

So, I've been speculating recently about what it would be like to be an adoptee today in a semi-open adoption. I know I'm adopted. I know a few things about my biological family. Maybe I've seen a picture, or several. Maybe I've received a handful of letters or cards over the years. But how much do I really understand about my original mother's restricted presence in my life? Do I understand that the limits of her involvement have been primarily established by the adoption agency and the adoptive parents? Do I know that she thinks of me and misses me every day? Maybe she has been given guidelines ... things she can and cannot say in her letters. But do I understand this? Or is there a part of me that experiences her distance as rejection?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Five for Friday: 5 Ways We Weathered the Storm of Sibling Rivalry

I wrote a few weeks ago about my personal challenges during the difficult transitional period when Ashley first entered our family as a pre-adoptive foster placement, and I briefly touched on some of the sibling issues we were facing. I'd like to focus more on the sibling side of the equation in this post, highlighting a few of the things my husband and I did to deal with the intense rage and jealousy that our two daughters initially experienced in response to each other.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Yes, Everyone Has One

... but not everyone has the original.

From a 1960s adoption book. Headline: "Everyone has a Birth Certificate. It proves ..."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Recognizable

I look like my adoptive family, especially my adoptive mother -- enough to pass for biological and even enough that when I tell people who know us that I am adopted they sometimes don't believe me at first. But I don't look like my adoptive mom in the way that two of my female cousins look like her. They've got that thing going on where they look identical in pictures taken at certain ages.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Into Thin Air: The Amazing Disappearing Adoptee

My original mother reminded me recently that she still hasn't seen a baby picture of me. I've dug out my "All About You" adoption book and will scan a couple of photos for her soon. For most of my life I was "the hole in her heart" or "the ghost child," but, until I reemerged in her life 30+ years after my birth in the form of a letter and a newspaper clipping, she had not one visual image on which to hang her thoughts of me.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Two New Adoption-Related Support Forums

Erica and I have create two new support forums in conjunction with our organization Ashley's Moms:

firstparentsupport - for parents who have lost or relinquished custody of children to state care and/or adoption

fosteradoptsupport - for foster or foster-adoptive parents, especially those maintaining open adoption relationships with original families

Please click on the links above to join either group. You do not have to be a first, foster, or adoptive parent to participate in these forums, but please remember that the primary purpose of the groups is to provide support and understanding to those who are.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Five For Friday: Love and Loss (More Posts by First Mothers)

In pre-adoption counselling, mothers who are considering placing a child for adoption are sometimes told that they will "get over it" and move on. Not so surprisingly, many mothers who relinquish find that moving on is not a simple matter. The following posts are not easy to read, but they are an important part of the adoption story.

Those Hands
Grief Remains
Missing Him
Pretender
The Scars of Motherhood

Monday, May 14, 2012

We Are "That Family"

Our party for Mother's Day brunch consisted of three adults, two tweens, a very active toddler, and a baby. There was a naturally a lot of movement at our table as we shuffled around to accommodate the various needs and preferences of the young ones. On my way back from one of my trips to the buffet table, I heard an older gentleman at the table next to us say, with what I choose to interpret as a hint of good-natured amusement in his voice, "That family is out of control. They are all over the place."

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers' Day!

No, that's not a typo in my title. :-)

Erica, Rebecca, and Ashley, Mothers' Day Brunch, 2012


Friday, May 11, 2012

Five for Friday: 5 Ways I'm an "Angry Adoptee"

When adult adoptees speak critically of the institution of adoption or candidly share the negative aspects of our own experience of being adopted, we are sometimes labeled "angry." To many of us this comes across as dismissive. Amanda of Declassified Adoptee and the folks at Land of Gazillion Adoptees have teamed up to give adoptees a place to reclaim the "angry adoptee" label by focusing on the many legitimate reasons we have to be angry. Please visit the facebook page that they have created for this purpose.

Following up on my photo post from yesterday, here are 5 more ways I'm an "angry adoptee":

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Adoption Is a Social Justice Issue

Punctuation

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My 11-Year-Old Wants to Dye Her Hair Purple, and I'm Probably Going to Let Her

As adoptee who didn't meet any of my immediate biological relatives until I was an adult, I am perhaps more fascinated than the average person with the ways that biological relatives take after each other. Some things are more expected than others. For example, it doesn't seem all that surprising to me that my biological mother, brother, and I each make our living using writing as one of our primary tools of the trade, or that (as I recently learned) my biological father and I participated in the exact same sports in high school, but who would have expected that a habit of turning a hand a certain way when talking (as my birth mother and I both do) would be a genetic trait? Or licking salt off pretzels (and leaving the pretzel) as my daughter Ashley and her biological mother both do?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Adoptees Who Aren't Pulled to Explore Adoption Issues

I think about adoption issue a lot. And obviously I write about them a lot, too. For me, exploring my identity as an adopted person, unpacking adoption loss, and reconnecting with my biological family was an important part of finding my way. But not all adoptees are like me. I am passionate about sharing my story, but it's also important for me to keep in mind that every adoptee's experience of adoption is different.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Five for Friday: Five Things I Did to Get Through Post-Adoption Depression

I wrote the other day about my struggle with post-adoption depression. Today I'd like to share more about the specific things I did to cope:
1. I got meds
When I finally got myself out of bed that day, I made some phone calls. The first call was to my general practitioner. I had to answer the expected questions. Was I in danger of harming myself? No. Of harming others? No.
As low as I was, I knew I’d make it through because I’d formed a plan, and part of that planned involved the assistance of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications. Tom Cruise might not approve of my decision, but, well, luckily for me, Tom Cruise doesn't run my life. I knew it was the right call for me.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Day I Couldn't Get Out of Bed: Post-Adoption Depression

I woke up that morning paralyzed by fear and dread. It had been just under two months since my then foster daughter had moved into our house -- two intense months that had turned my life upside down. Two months of her almost-daily meltdowns: I'd been physically attacked; I'd been called a "f**king b**ch." I'd watched my biological daughter transform from a happy, open child, excited about getting a new sister, to an angry, cornered animal who believed her life had been ruined by the intrusion of this new, dangerous influence. Numerous times I'd had to pull the car over when I was driving to stop these girls (nine and ten years old) from physically harming each other.
(Image Copyright 123RF Stock Photos)
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