National Adoption Month and Being Thankful


November is National Adoption Month. This year, the theme is foster care adoption and older child adoption. I do not have any personal experience with foster care adoption or older child adoption. That is probably why I didn’t feel really connected to adoption awareness month this year. I was also extra busy with the life thing right now. I did, however, think a lot about what adoption has meant to me this past year, and how far I have come with adoption in its complex glory. I decided to write about all of the ways I am thankful that my life has been touched by adoption.

  1. The ‘Wait’: It’s not a secret that we are hoping to grow our family again through adoption. Part of the reason this blog has been neglected is because my time has been spent figuring out ways to get the word out that we are ready for our second child. I have stretched myself, gotten so far out of my comfort zone, and challenged everything I thought I had learned during years of infertility and our adoption journey the first time.

    I had thought that I had finally figured it out. Adoption was the answer to building our family so I had thought that growing our family would be easier the second time. I had felt kind of guilty about it too. I fought so hard to become Knox’s mother. I pushed myself, the people around me, and I challenged everything that I thought was true. I wanted to be 100% that I had done everything in my power to create a life he would be proud of.

    With #2, I felt like I was following the motions in the beginning. Call the agency, update the home study, the physicals, the fingerprints, make the book, write the letter, and get the online profile active. Then, after all the work, get the baby.  Guess what? It hasn’t happened, not just for us, but no one in the pool of families ready to adopt have been chosen.

    I never wanted to create this blog and this site. I am very private. I have a super hard time talking about things that make me feel vulnerable. The ‘wait’ is what has forced me out of my comfort zone. I have a unique and special story that needs to be shared. I didn’t realize it until the ‘wait’. My second child is giving me courage. Our second child has already taught me so much about my strength as a mother.

    By having to wait, I have found how immensely strong I can be. I have found my voice. My journey to Knox taught me about faith and perseverance, among countless other things. My journey to our number 2 is teaching me to find my voice and to realize my responsibility to my community. In the ways that I previously felt guilty, I now feel empowered. Like each pregnancy is special, each adoption journey is special. I love a child growing in my heart and I am doing everything I can to be the best possible mother I can be for them.

  2. I am thankful for this site. I understand that I have a lot to learn and I am capable of doing hard things. It is a skill that I value about myself. It’s because of that skill and being very stubborn that I figured out the personal work I needed to do to create this space. 3 years ago, I couldn’t talk about infertility. I got blotchy talking about adoption. Now, I’m writing about my feelings about adoption to 4 million people on adoption.com. I feel valuable in my journey to motherhood.
  3. I am thankful for all of the families waiting to adopt on this site. I was very nervous to reach out and ask if you wanted to be included. I really felt vulnerable expressing all of my dreams to change the world of adoption to you. Thank you for agreeing to be included. Thank you to everyone who answered my emails. Thank you so much more to everyone who wrote a post to contribute to this site and our community.

I know this is hard. The holiday season is not going to be easy if your waiting. I am challenging you to acknowledge how different and amazing you are because adoption is hard. What are you thankful for this holiday season?

 


Appropriate Adoption Language and Kung Fu Panda


I have never seen Kung Fu Panda. I have no experience with closed adoption. I do know what it feels like when people or T.V. uses inappropriate adoption language. This is an excerpt  from the article posted to Adoption.com. Please read the entire thing. It is really eye opening. We typically talk about adoption language in the context of strangers in the grocery story or well meaning friends and family. This hits on the importance for all members of the adoption triad to learn and practice appropriate adoption language.

So, while watching Kung Fu Panda III recently, a couple of moments in the movie really hit me hard. When the two pandas realize they are father and son, there’s a tender moment between them. Almost immediately Po’s biological father runs to Mr. Ping (Po’s dad) and grabs him in a tight bear hug (no pun intended!) and says, “Thank you for taking care of him for me.” Sounds sweet, right? Yeah. The sentiment really is sweet. But for a parent to hear that (at least for this parent writing this article) it feels like an immediate demotion from parent to babysitter. I know that when those words were said to me there was only the purest intent. But the words still stung. I didn’t “take care” of my son. I parented him. That means I gave him my heart, my time, my resources, my love, my whole self. I would have given my life for him if that was required. No – I didn’t “take care of him” for someone else. I did it for him.

Here is another ‘Real’ tear jerker.

 

 


What is Open Adoption? And What is it Like?


Open adoption is a type of adoption in which birth and adoptive families have some form of initial and/or ongoing contact. Contact may begin with a meeting between an expectant mother and potential adoptive parents. Sometimes, an expectant parent may choose the adoptive family based on such a meeting or other communication. After placement, birth mothers and/or fathers and members of their extended families may interact in various ways with the adoptive parents, as well as with the adopted child or youth.

Communication may happen through letters, emails, social media exchanges, telephone calls, or visits. While some families may exchange brief notes and photos, others may spend more time together and celebrate birthdays or holidays together. The type and frequency of contact will be decided by the people involved and can range from several times a month to every few years. Contact often changes as a child ages or as family members’ needs and wishes change.

Most domestic adoption these days have some degree of openness. (more information on types of adoption)

Michelle and her family are hoping to grow again through adoption. Below is her experience with open adoption.

Each relationship and each adoption is different.

 

Our adoption is open, but to this point we haven’t had much of a relationship with our son’s birth mother.  Our son was an immediate placement and we met his mother briefly in the hospital room.  In the hospital we riddled each other with questions and exchanged contact information. We had one lunch meeting before the adoption was finalized, but otherwise we have communicated through emailed updates.  Her responses have been sporadic, which could be for any number of reasons.  We don’t judge that or make assumptions.  We have made sure to make it known that the door is always open for contact and communication.

 

It is not about me, my husband or even the wonderful mother who placed with us…. it is about our son and whatever is best for him.  To me that is our job, to support and empower him to grow into the man he wants to be.

To learn more about Michelle and her family click here.