Friday, September 28, 2012


Context is everything

"Adoption is the right choice for some people. It isn't all evil."

Taken by itself, the above statement is one with which I do not disagree. I understand that each adoptive situation has its own unique set of circumstances, and in some of those circumstances adoption may be the best available option, though not necessarily a painless one. 

So why was I triggered when I read the statement earlier this morning? Why did feelings ranging from anger to despondency flush through my body?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ashley Shares a Song with Me

During the period when my daughter Ashley was first living in our house as an 8-year-old foster child, I often had the lyrics of a Sheryl Crow song in my head, but with a twist. In my version the word "man" became "mom," and the line came out as "Are you strong enough to be my mom?" In the early phase of things, when my daughter was in fact throwing punches in the air and showing me that she didn't care (as I struggled with depression and anxiety related to her placement with us), I wasn't sure if I was strong enough. But thankfully I found the strength within me and through the support of my husband and others.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Before I Knew Them: Growing Up Adopted

I have often been asked, "When did you find out that you were adopted"? I usually answer, "I always knew," though of course that isn't really true. I didn't always know, but adoption was part of the conversation from such a young age that I don't remember not knowing. My adoptive parents introduced the topic in child-friendly language from an early age and my understanding grew over time.

I was essentially told that my original parents had loved me but were young and unable to care for me. It was a satisfying enough explanation, but vague. My a-parents told me that they couldn't tell me anything more about my biological family because that was all they knew themselves, which was also more or less accurate, though they neglected to tell me until many years later that they did in fact know my first mother's name.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Beauty of Adoption

I'm trying to stay off the Internet this week in order to get caught up on some paperwork and other general life-management matters (which I haven't been handling so well lately), but I find I can't resist the occasional urge to peek at my blog reader and facebook. So far I've encountered two heart-breaking stories of soul-crushing first mother grief, and several stories of adult adoptees who are seriously struggling with a variety of adoption-related issues. This is not atypical. I read such stories every week.

Somewhere in the United States an adoption worker is telling a young expectant mother that she should do the "selfless" thing and give her baby a better life than she can provide, and that adoption is a beautiful thing that benefits all involved.

Need I say more?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Five for Friday: Teen Parents

I was born to, and then separated from, teen parents. My first mom was kicked out of high school two weeks before graduation for "showing," and she was required to turn in her National Honors Society pin. Here are five articles that I encourage you to read on the subject of teen pregnancy and young parents.

1) What’s Wrong with Blaming Teen Parents?
2) Quilting is not Geometry: Pregnant and Parenting Teens Deserve an Education Free from Discrimination
3) Teen Moms Look for Support, But Find Only Shame
4) The Truth About Teen Parenting
5)  How to Live Through the Discovery that Your Teenager is Pregnant

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Open Adoption Roundtable #40: Reasons for Choosing Open Adoption

Hooray! Here's the new Open Adoption Roundtable prompt:
What were your reasons for choosing open adoption? (Or, for adoptees, what are your reasons for continuing to invest in your relationships with your first family?)
And here's my reply:

I love the two parts of this question. As someone who is both an adoptee in reunion and an adoptive parent in an open adoption, not only do both parts speak to me but the two are intertwined. I maintain a relationship with my first family for one simple reason: they are my family. The threads that bind me to them remain unbroken in spite of the many years that we were separated. When I found them, I recognized them as my people, and they acknowledged me in return. I know this isn't the experience of all adoptees, but it was my experience. Given that I was raised to believe that my adoptive family was my "real" family and that nuture would prevail over nature, it was surprising (and yet somehow not) to discover not only how similar I am to my biological family, but also how bonded and connected I am to them. I ended up with four parents, and they are all "real." My relationship with my biological family doesn't detract from my relationship with my adoptive one, but it does add something significant to my life.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Alcoholism and my Adoption

I never met my biological maternal grandfather; he died before I reunited with my original family. I've long been aware of the role of my grandmother in my adoption but I'd never, until recently, considered the role of my grandfather.

On our recent road trip, my bmom and I talked nonstop for days. She was in the midst of writing a series of poems about alcohol, and perhaps as a result of this my grandfather's alcoholism, and his wife's habitual response to it, was a thread woven through our conversation.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Does an Adoptee's Experience of Reunion Influence His/Her Views on Adoption?

I have a question for other adoptees who have had contact with the biological family in adulthood. Do you think that your experience of reunion has influenced the way you view the institution of adoption as a whole, and if so, how?
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