Friday, September 6, 2013

Open Adoption & School

The current Open Adoption Bloggers prompt is as follows:
Write about open adoption and school.
Grant Cochrane at
My answer to this one will be concise. The main thing I want to share is that I have frequent conversations with Erica (my daughter's biological mother) about our daughter's academic life. Erica is able to provide me with important insights because her learning style is similar to that of our daughter. If our adoption lacked the level of openness that makes our conversations possible, I firmly believe that I would be less effective at guiding and supporting my daughter in school.

Erica's potential to be a resource in this way wasn't something I consciously considered when I started down the path of open adoption, but it has definitely been one of the benefits. 

For more responses to this prompt, please click here and then scroll down to the comment section.


  1. Love this - and love the relationship you have with your daughter's birthmom :)

  2. Yes, children do not come from cabbage patches! They have a past, a history, DNA, heritage, lineage. And, yes, all the love in the world does not cure or solve everything. Some things require medical history that most adoptees are deprived.

    It would show your appreciation if you tried to make a conscious effort to change your language to: "I would be less effective at guiding and supporting *OUR* daughter in school." She is the reason you have your daughter; she is helping you and your daughter by being a resource of her genetic medical information. Your language should reflect the partnership of nurture and nature that is going in to grow this child.

    You might also ask your daughter's mother if she is comfortable with you referring to her as your daughter's "biological" mother. Some moms are and some prefer original or first mother or just mother, which is what she is. you are your daughter's Mom and she is her Mother, by definition the female who conceived and gave birth to you.

  3. Thank you for your comment Mirah. I do usually refer to the daughter of Erica and myself as "our daughter." (Actually, the first time I met her I consciously went even further than that. The first words I ever said to her were "YOU have a beautiful daughter." Please note also that I used "our daughter" twice earlier in the post above! For the third occurrence I made a conscious decision to vary from my usual formula. In that sentence I was imagining myself holding a different attitude, and having a different relationship, than the one that I actually have, so I decided that "my" was the better choice in the context of that one sentence. I really did hesitate and think about it. Like you, I am someone who thinks a lot about the significance of words and language, and I do this from two points of view: adoptee and adoptive mother. I consider both Erica and my mother to be mothers - 100%. Adoption did not undo their motherhood in anyway; it simply added another element to the experience of family for both my daughter and myself. That said, I have two mothers and I am one of two mothers. For clarity's sake (especially when writing), it is often useful or necessary to specify which mother is being referenced. (Frequent readers of the blog will already know, but I don't assume that every reader knows the back story.) For the purpose of distinction, I often refer to myself (and the mother who raised me) as the "adoptive mother." I often use "first mother" and "original mother" for Erica and the mother who gave birth to me (and remained my mother in spite or our separation), but from a writer's point of view those terms can be problematic as they sometimes lack clarity for reader's beyond the adoption community. Nevertheless, I probably choose them most often. Sometimes though I want to emphasize the biological relationship -- the DNA, the inherited traits, etc. -- and then I am sometimes drawn, as in this case, to "biological."


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