August 30, 2009

Open Adoption Roundtable #6

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It's designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don't need to be part of the Open Adoption Bloggers list to participate, or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you're thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table.

Publish your response during the next two weeks--linking back here so we can all find one other--and leave a link to your post in the comments. If you don't blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.

Since the topic has been stirred up a bit and I've seen posts popping out here and there:

Write about names/naming and open adoption.

You're all smart, creative cookies, so I'll leave the prompt at that. If you want to use a previously written post, just edit it to include a link to the roundtable.


First mom Ginger at Puzzle Pieces: "I was terrified that insisting on the naming issue, or even giving my opinion on the naming issue would chase away the parents I wanted...and so with much regret, I gave that up."

Adoptive mom Debbie B at Always and Forever Family: "I still get a bit teary eyed when I think about our daughter having both her mother's middle names. I hope that it will feel like a bond to both of us one day for Isabel."

Adoptive mom Tracey at Grace Comes by Hearing: "Richard and I had chosen a boy's name long before Samuel was ever even thought of."

Adoptive mom M de P at Reservado Para Futura Mamá: "I think back now and part of me wonders whether or not there should be more counseling around naming - for both adoptive parents and first parents....It's not that I feel she may have felt pressure give us that option, but I just wonder if she had had more time to think about it, talk to someone about it, would she have preferred something else??"

First mom KatjaMichelle at Therapy is Expensive: "Maybe he will grow up and resent that for a few days he had another name. Maybe he will confirm that it was selfish on my part to name him. Maybe he’ll enjoy that for a few days he shared a name with this first father and grandfather. I didn’t know the right thing then, and I don’t know it now."

Adoptive mom Spyderkl at Evil Mommy: "When I told my sister about School Girl’s original name, her reaction was, 'My God! You don’t even get to give her a name?' I’m guessing that would have been mild in comparison to the reaction of…others."

Adoptive mom Dawn of This Woman's Work at Anti-Racist Parent: "I wanted our daughter to know that we welcomed her, the child she was before she met us. Changing her name seemed like a symbol of wanting to change her." (The comments to that post are worth a read, too.)

First mom SJ at From the Mind of a Bmom: "I didn't want to become attached even more to my child by giving him a name and I justified that stance by saying it wasn't my child anyway. Now I look back and wish that I had taken a little more interest in the subject so one day I can tell Cory that I participated in giving him his name."

Prospective adoptive parent A at A+A Adopt a Baby: "Our child's first mother may want to give her baby something that will stay with him or her forever, like a name."

Adoptive mom Karen at Clio: "There is really only one thing I can think of to write about this topic: we ran our name ideas by both couples and seriously considered their input."

Adoptive mom CubanaYogini: "Even though I encouraged D to choose her own name, I have to confess that at the time, I was grateful that she declined."

First mom Britney at Beauty For Ashes: "Since it would be an open adoption, I started introducing him as C right after birth… at least publicly. In our quiet moments alone, he was Michael."

Adoptive mom Lavender Luz at Drama 2B Mama: "'How would you feel,' Rob tip-toed, 'if we chose another name? Would you like us to keep "David" in some way?'”

Adoptive mom Chantel: "[I] wanted him 1) to have the name his first mommy chose with love and 2) to be able to go by it any time his chooses as he grows up."

Adoptive mom Luna at Life From Here: "One thing was clear. We would not discuss names with anyone but K. No one."

Adoptive mom Meg at Momosapien: "With the reading, learning and understanding we have now, almost 3 years after adopting our daughter, I think we would have made a different choice about naming. I think we would have kept her first name as LaTasha, setting aside our ideas about gender in favor of her first mom’s ideas about race."

Adoptive mom Okiemunchkinsmom at But, Aren't You Afraid?: "[B]ecause we had witnessed how much a child in foster care looses we knew that their name is sometimes all they have when they move to a new home, and often the only thing they have left from their first mom/parents. Sometimes it's the only thing that stays constant in their lives as they move around. We couldn't take that wasn't ours to take."

Adoptee and adoptive mom Andy at Today's the Day!: "The one thread of information that I had growing up in my own closed adoption was my pre-adoption name. Colleen. It has always been important to me, a small connection to who I may have been."

Adoptee and first mom Valerie at From Another Mother: "Looking back, I certainly wouldn't change his name just to suit what I liked and preferred at the time. I think they did try to include us--but in the end, he is their son, and it was their decision to make." Read also her thoughts on the name her own birth parents gave to her.

Prospective adoptive parent DrSpouse at What Am I?: "I'm not comfortable with the 'did you give the birth family a say' question - perhaps it would be more honest to say to a child when they are older 'your name before was X and your name now is Y'; acknowledging that the birth family did name them (if they did)."

First mom Thanksgivingmom at I Should Really Be Working: "Looking back on this moment, I will be shocked, saddened, and annoyed that I wasn’t even strong enough to ask what my daughter had been named. That I just called her, 'the baby.'”

First mom Leigh at Sturdy Yet Fragile: "I am not sure if, had I elected a fully open adoption, things would have been different, but participating in the selection of naming my daughter wasn't offered to me. This doesn't really bother me, even now, many years later."

Prospective adoptive parent Jacksmom at Hoping for Another Little One: "A lot of my coworkers and friends have said, 'Well, it will be your child, you should get to name them.' For us, it's just not that simple."

Adoptive mom Snickie at The Tales of Snickie, Honey, Bear and Puddles: "We really did not have a name chosen at all, until two weeks after the ultrasound we received a frantic phone call. The birth mother had gone into premature labor, they needed to do an emergency cesarean but she was refusing to let them take the baby because she didn't have a name."

Prospective adoptive parent Karlinda: "I can’t imagine the two of us, plus the expectant mother, and possible the expectant father, being able to agree on a first name before the nine months are up! They have to have some input into the name though. If this child is to belong to all of us, then their name needs to come from all of us."

Adoptive mom Jess at The Problem With Hope: "In a long line of compromises and having things be hard building a family, our daughter's name was easy and magical."

Prospective adoptive parent Bon at I Can Haz Bebe?: "Since I am not pregnant, and we are adopting, this is one of those things I've had to give up and let go of."

Adoptive mom Cynthia at In the Night Kitchen: "I love too that we got away with this hippie name--we might have caught some slack if we came up with it on our own, but who’s going to front us on that now? Just try, people."

Adoptive mom Camille at Adventures in Mommyland: "I know in the online adoption world it is not PC to say that anything about adoption was 'meant to be'. But even when D & I talked about it later we talked about how we felt this charge & sense of... I don't know."

First mom Brown at Coming Clean: Confessions of a Secret Birthmom: "She would never know who Ann Jones was, none of us would, since it was the path not taken. Almost like she would have two separate identities in two separate families. The significance of that was not lost on me."

Adoptive mom Robyn at the open adoption blog: "I’ve known since I was 8 that I’d be having a baby girl named Cassandra one day. If my potential daughter’s potential birthmother hated the name Cassandra, would I change it? No."

Adoptive mom Tammy at You Just Never Know Where Hope Might Take Ya: "We chose to name our kiddos with three names, one for each of their families... first, Hubby's, mine."

Adoptive mom Heather at Production, Not Reproduction: "It never felt like she was trying to take something away from us. It felt like she was asking for something on behalf of Firefly. For continuity, for wholeness in her child's name. Recognition that this baby would be coming to us with an identity already in place."

August 28, 2009

Rushing Around

We barely had time to send Ray off before turning around to get ready for Beth, Firefly's first mom. She's coming in for a quick visit, just staying one night. I want to write about our time together; I've been thinking a lot about discomfort and parenting and open adoption. (Todd actually wrote more about Ray's visit than I have, if you're interested.) Note to self: schedule debriefing/blogging/fill-up-the-introvert's-energy-tank time in between visits next time.

Firefly woke up itchy and miserable. I fear it may be my fault; I handed her some pesto-covered green beans yesterday at dinner, forgetting about the cheese in the pesto. All she wants to do is ride around in the Babyhawk, gnawing on a watermelon rind. (Puppy liked rinds at that age, too. So strange.) I'm hoping she pulls through before Beth gets here, or this will be one for my open adoption fail column. "That kid you traveled to see? I totally made her sick."

August 25, 2009


Puppy's first dad, Ray, arrived on Sunday night and leaves late tomorrow. It has been a very laid-back, easy-going visit thus far.

I don't know what, if anything, from these few days Puppy will remember years from now. But I watch him soaking up Ray's affection like a little sponge and I know it's worth it. Puppy is definitely beginning to develop an air of ownership of the relationship, a sense that Ray is "his."

We haven't been together in person with Ray all that many times since Puppy's placement, especially after we moved away. I can count the visits on one hand. But I know this visit wouldn't be so comfortable if Ray hadn't already stayed with us before, right before Firefly was born. And Puppy wouldn't have warmed up to him so quickly during that stay if he didn't remember him from our evening together the prior summer. And that evening wouldn't have been so enjoyable if we adults hadn't gotten to know each other better one summer day a year earlier, before Puppy was even a year old. And that early visit wouldn't have been as fruitful if we hadn't through that first awkward gathering when Puppy was just two months old.

It all builds upon itself, piece by piece. I know things will get harder down the road, as Puppy hits different ages and Ray's life (and ours) continues to change. But I have to believe this beginning, this foundation will still be there, underneath it all, carrying us in some small way.

August 24, 2009

Quick Addition to Naaaames

I have so enjoyed reading the stories left in the comments of the names post! If any of you adoptive parents want to submit your experience in to the magazine, just email with "Choosing a Name" in the subject line. Include your name, phone number, and your child's name, age and country of birth. They're looking for short blurbs, exactly the kind you'd leave in comments.

It would be fun to see one of your stories printed. Plus your emails would back up my point to them that adoptive parents who opt not to re-name aren't freaky outliers. Heh.

August 21, 2009

Names Names Naaaames

Every so often Adoptive Families magazine solicits comments for articles they have in the works. They recently sent out this request for a piece on naming adopted children:
Choosing a Name: Naming your child is a complex decision for all parents--and for adoptive parents there may be even more considerations. Tell us about your child's name and how you made this important decision. Did you pick a name you've always liked? Did you name him or her after a family member? Did you ask the birthparents for input? If international, did you "Americanize" the name, or keep the given name as a middle name? If you adopted an older child, did you let the child choose?
Notice anything missing?

Like maybe keeping the name the child already has?

Obviously I'd be a big old hypocrite if I said adoptive parents are wrong to rename. I don't think it's as simple as never/always. But I do think the usual discussion about this issue is incredibly lopsided toward our interests. It's awfully telling that this set of questions (a) pretty much assumes the adoptive parents are going to do the naming and (b) cheerfully hands all the authority* to them. ("Did you ask the birthparents for input? ...[D]id you let the child choose?")

This was my response (hey, they asked):
It's odd that the set of "Choosing a Name" questions gives no nod to adoptive parents who opt not to name their children. A child's given name can be a powerful connection to their pre-adoption life and identity. Given the many families who maintain this continuity by not changing names--or who name a child in partnership with the birth parents in open domestic adoptions--I'm surprised this viewpoint wasn't represented. It is often assumed that adoptive parents will change their child's name, but I would hope any AF piece would help us think about naming in adoption in new ways and include a wide range of options.
Maybe they'll reprint Dawn's essay on not changing her daughter's name and get everyone all riled up again.

* I'm not talking about the legal authority to name/rename an adopted child; that's never in question. This is about our moral authority to re-name someone, which is much murkier to me, especially in a multi-party situation like adoption.

August 19, 2009

Odds and Ends

Tonight, Firefly is laughing in her bucket swing in the backyard. Puppy is excitedly gearing up for his birth dad's visit. ("When Ray is here and we eat dinner, he will sit here next to me. You and Mama will sit over there, across from us.") Todd announced that he is finally shaving off the Summer Beard Experiment.

Life is good.

There are some new pictures up at the not-so-secret blog, for those of you who are interested. (Just email me if you'd like access.)

They're from a Celebrating Adoption session we did with a local photographer. Celebrating Adoption is a national network of photography studios that will do one free portrait session for families who have recently adopted. I learned about the program too late to take advantage of it after Puppy's adoption, so I was glad we got the chance this time around. (I wish it would celebrate domestic first parents as part of adoption, too, since everyone likes great pictures with their kids. But it is what it is.) The kids look fantastic and the husband is quite handsome. I'm trying to go easy on myself because I had barely gotten off my post-op bedrest when they were taken and was still hurting a good part of every day and, shows.

What are you all up to in these dog days of summer? Puppy starts preschool in some shockingly short amount of time that I can't be bothered to calculate right now. He is decidedly nonchalant about the whole thing, which amuses me to no end. Firefly is rocking eighteen months and throwing opinions around right and left. Everything is so FUN! Except when it is so horribly SAD! And she must EXPRESS HERSELF AT ALL TIMES! LOUDLY! Todd is practically wriggling with happiness about returning to coaching football for the first time since Puppy was born. I'm trying to eat every peach and tomato I can get my hands on, because when they are in season around here they are stupendous.

Like I said, life is good.

August 15, 2009

Open Adoption Roundtable #5

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It's designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don't need to be part of the Open Adoption Bloggers list to participate, or even have a traditional open adoption. If you're thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table.

Publish your response during the next two weeks--linking back here so we can all find one other--and leave a link to your post in the comments. If you don't blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.

I had a roundtable question all ready to go, one that was a little more topical, a little less personal than some of the other ones. But I'm feeling all sorts of introspective today. And I'm going to drag invite the rest of you there with me.

I've been chewing on a recent post by Dawn of This Woman's Work about how openness has come to define the very core of what it means to mother her daughter. Go read it, if you haven't yet. It has me mulling over the ways openness has challenged, shaped and guided how I think of family and identity--ultimately changing how I see myself. For me, that has been one of the most gratifying and the most challenging thing about open adoption.

How has open adoption changed you? In what ways are you different because the presence of open adoption in your life?

I also want to invite anyone who practices openness but is unable to have contact to participate. (You are always welcome, but people have said they hesitate and I just wanted to make it explicit.) Contact definitely puts a different spin on things, but it's the "why" of open adoption that is often so transformative. And anyone can embrace the "why," even if contact is ruled out by circumstances or other people's choices.


Jess of The Problem With Hope shares how open adoption taught her kindness, compassion and acceptance.

Ginger at Puzzle Pieces says adoption changed not only how she interacted with other adults, but also with the daughter she was parenting.

Spyderkl at Evil Mommy shares how open adoption upended the meaning of "our daughter"--for the better.

Valerie of From Another Mother tells how openness--in her own adoption and in her son's--blurred the lines of "family" and let her pour out her love.

Thanksgivingmom at I Should Really Be Working talks honestly about the insecurity and worry that have accompanied open adoption for her.

Luna at life from here tells how openness has made her more honest, present and empowered as an adoptive mother.

KatjaMichelle of Therapy is Expensive shares how her experience placing her son forever changed the way she approaches decisions.

Karlinda realizes that open adoption is teaching her to let go, even as they are waiting to adopt.

Rredhead at the domestic infant adoption blog tells how she's become more aware of the perspectives of different birth families and adoptees.

Cindy.psbm says adoption may not have changed her at all.

M de P of Reservado Para Futura Mamá shares how open adoption put to the test who she thought herself to be.

Andi of The Many Faces of KJ says open adoption made her see how interconnected we are in this life.

Lavender Luz at Weebles Wobblog shares how open adoption forced her to think with her heart and not just her head

Jenna of The Chronicles of Munchkin Land says the process of making open adoption work has brought changes both good and bad: more compassion, but less trust.

August 13, 2009

Puppy's Goodbyes

The lovely mama2roo asks ...
"Puppy does have an unusually strong reaction to people leaving. Or really to anything going away." I'd like to hear more about this as it echoes in my ears as I think about Woob. I want to know I'm not imagining things or making things up.
I'm not sure how to describe it other than to say when we have special visitors, he gets terribly sad when they leave. Almost distraught. He buries his head in our legs and sobs like his heart is breaking. Sometimes it lingers for a day or two as him being a little "off." You can see a lot of it going on in this old post written after one of Ray's visits.

My brother was in town for just one day the other week as part of a business trip. He and Puppy always have a great time together--Justin is incredible with kids and Puppy oozes affection right back. We had dinner together and they played and played. When we left Puppy did his usual falling apart at the thought that Uncle Justin was going back to New York. It was the first time my brother had witnessed it. It shook him up so much he brought it up with my mom the next day on the phone. "He was so sad," he said.

It's not separation anxiety. He's fine leaving us when he needs to, has no problems transitioning at the babysitter's house or at the church nursery or what have you. He's always been a bit of an explorer. This is about people coming to him and then leaving. And it's not just people. We pulled out a small bush in our yard that he's never so much as glanced at and suddenly he's crying, "I always loved that bush." That sort of thing.

The common thread is always someone or something going away and him being very sad about that loss of presence. It's also very important for him to know people miss him. He often asks if I missed him after he's been at the babysitter's or even when he and Todd just go off to run an errand.

Here I'm tempted to speculate about what's going on for him, but I'll refrain. Sudden mood swings are completely normal for an almost-four year old. It's the outsized nature of the swings when it comes to saying goodbye to certain people that has my antennae pinging. I could certainly imagine reasons for why that happens, but I'm not imagining that it happens. Is it about adoption? Maybe. Maybe not. I don't really buy into the idea that adoption can be separated out from the rest of his identity--it is part and parcel of who he is. I'm clinging to Dr. Pavao's notion that adoption is always going to add a certain complexity as Puppy works through the usual developmental stages--and that that complexity is healthy and normal. Adoption isn't something our kids work through separately from everything else that is going on for them cognitively and emotionally. They do it in bits and pieces and always in tandem with whatever else is going on in their amazing growing minds.

So we sit with him while he cries. We acknowledge his feelings. We emphasize the permanency of things that are permanent. We talk a lot about loved ones who live far away, trying to establish for him that those bonds still exist even when we can't be together. We model missing people and trusting that we will see them again just by talking about our own emotions in front of him. We don't "make it about adoption," and yet we do, because we include his birth parents in the constellation of loved ones who come and go; we acknowledge that they aren't present and let him be sad about that when he is. For now, it's all we know to do.

August 09, 2009

Somehow I Doubt This One Will Catch On

This one is for those of you collecting data points of what kids call their birth/first/natural/bio parents in open adoptions.

Todd was giving Puppy the run down of the next few weeks at our house. We've got a long visit this week from a bunch of Todd's family (blurgh) and then several days with Ray, Puppy's birth dad (yay).

"I'm excited that Ray is coming to stay with us," Todd said to Puppy.

Puppy considered the news, then gave a little nod. "Ray is my old dad," he announced.

Todd said, "Sure, why not?" and--his mind perhaps automatically jumping back to when Ray made him the new dad--told Puppy a little "I remember when" story of the night Puppy was born. He got to the part where everyone is passing baby Puppy around like a slow, snuggly game of hot potato. And Puppy laughed and laughed.

August 05, 2009

More About #3

More than you ever wanted to know about what passes for family planning in this house:
  • Two feels good to us. The thought of three kids makes Todd nervous about spreading ourselves too thin emotionally. Three makes me feel a little tired, but not nervous.
  • Four freaks me out. I blame Lisa V.
  • If both kids were black or both kids were white, we'd probably be done.
  • But they aren't.
  • And the more we get to know Firefly (although we were already inclined to think this) the more convinced we are she would do better being in a minority of two in the house and not a minority of one.

  • Unless I'm missing something, the only way Todd and I can add an African-American child to our family is through some type of adoption.
  • But we can't really afford to adopt privately again, at least not through an agency worth its salt. Not without raiding emergency savings.

  • Especially since we kind of need to move for our family's sake to somewhere Firefly's circles of influence will be a little more flush with people who look like her.
  • Moving takes money, especially given that right now our house is worth a bit less than what we paid for it.
  • And moving away from here means moving away from Beth, who can't really travel.
  • It's an impossible choice, really.

  • We'd need to buy a bigger car if we had three kids. Or find a crazy narrow carseat.
  • Which is ridiculously mundane, almost embarrassing to put next to these other considerations.
  • But it's just one more thing on the list.
  • You'd be surprised how much we talk about it.

  • Although even if we could afford to adopt privately again, I don't know if we're up for it. It's just so...much.

  • There is always adopting from the state system, which would solve the cost issue.
  • But that seems like a pretty poor reason to adopt from foster care.
  • Although it's not the only reason we're considering it.
  • I'm kind of over the squishy newborn thing.
  • But people whose opinions I respect raised some valid concerns about being a foster/fost-adopt parent while also raising young children who were adopted at birth and still sorting out what adoption means.
  • Puppy does have an unusually strong reaction to people leaving. Or really to anything going away.

  • I'm turning 35 in January.
  • Apparently at the stroke of midnight on my 35th birthday my eggs will spontaneously combust or take up knitting or something. I don't know.
  • I think most of 35-year fertility deadline hype is overblown and mildly offensive. I put as much stock in the 35-year deadline as I do in the supposedly universal 28-day cycle. It's not like we're robots.
  • But it does press the pregnancy button a little bit, the THIRTY-FIVE.
  • Right now I have nothing more than a very mild curiosity about what a Heather/Todd combo would be like. I've felt that way for a long time.
  • But sometimes when I can't sleep I wonder if one day sixty-year old me will regret that we never tried to conceive.
  • Although if I'm sitting around moping at sixty instead of partying my empty-nest booty off and traveling the world with my hot husband (that would still be you, T), I suppose I'll have bigger problems.

  • Not to mention the last thing we need is another whitey in the house. And any bio kid of ours is coming out white.
  • I mean, really, if I could magically give birth to a little brown baby, all of our problems would be solved.
  • Except the car thing.
  • And the moving thing.

  • Which brings us back to not knowing what to do.

August 03, 2009

I Blame "Juno"

It’s not like we haven’t seen this before.

The near-constant reruns of Adoption Stories often showcase domestic adoption from the prospective adoptive parents’ point of view. Just the other month, the MTV series 16 and Pregnant featured a young couple who placed their child in an semi-closed adoption. Even Dr. Phil recently got into the business of pressuring encouraging a teen mom to place.

But the WE tv network blows them all out of the water with Adoption Diaries, a new regular series premiering this fall focusing on domestic open adoption. Not the years upon years of relationship between birth and adoptive families that is the heart and guts of open adoption. But the brutally emotional period of pre-birth matching and placement.

On their website, WE tv explains the show will showcase “the matching process between couples who, having struggled with infertility,* turn to adoption and the brave, expecting mothers** whose difficult and selfless decision to place their children for adoption makes it all possible.”

If you’ve already framed the show as the story of brave, selfless women "gifting life" to helpless infertile couples, then you have a problem. Right out of the gate there is a troubling imbalance, in which the only happy ending is the baby going home with the more-deserving adoptive parents--and opting to parent means a mother is cowardly and selfish. The script is pre-written and you'd better know your role.

Think about being cast as "the birthmother" in an Adoption Diaries episode. Imagine cameras trailing you as you deliberate over which couple to choose. As you prepare not only to give birth, but to say goodbye to your beloved child soon after. While you hold your baby for the first time and the enormity of what you're considering hits you in a completely new way. During those precious few days you have together with them.

Now imagine that you realize—for whatever reason—that adoption isn’t the right decision after all. You're breaking from the script of the show. Not only will you have to face disappointing the hopeful adoptive parents, but millions of viewers (including people you know) will watch you do it.***

Could you choose to raise your baby in that situation?

Todd and I adopted two children through open adoption and had pre-birth matches, just like the families on this show will. Both processes were quite smooth, from an industry standpoint. We probably looked like something out of a brochure at placement, with everyone hugging through tears and brimming with love for the tiny babies and each other.

But in the years that followed, both Beth and Kelly have told me that relinquishment was the single most painful experience of their lives--and one of them has known some serious trauma in her life. Different adoptions, different agencies, different women with entirely different life experiences and reasons for placing. Both secure (at least in front of me) about their decision. Yet both with immeasurable grief that they couldn't wholly understand until some time into the adoption. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

A social worker who works with expectant parents considering adoption once told me that no matter what she says or does, her clients think relinquishment won’t be as hard for them as it is for everyone else. But it always is. By the time the women on the show will have reached that point of realization, it will be too late to back out of filming. That an agency would agree to put that experience up for public consumption on a regular basis deeply troubles me.

I understand the appeal of the domestic open adoption process from the producers’ perspective. It’s a process with a built-in storyline full of emotion, tension, and longing. The creation of the new adoptive family and the trusting commitments between them and the first family are incredibly powerful things to witness, not to mention live through. Plus, babies! According to a press release, the agency involved hopes to get the word out about open adoption and clear up misinformation. But doing it in this way is an ethical minefield with the potential to really hurt people. And the misconceptions I run into about open adoption? They're not about the matching process--they're about all those years afterward.

So here is my plea to WE tv: By all means, tell our stories. Let us show you why we are so passionate about open adoption. Let us open a window onto the joy and sadness, love and struggle that are part of it. Let our children share in their own voices about what it’s like to grow up in an open adoption. But please, please keep the cameras away until well after the adoptions are finalized.

* I wonder about the “infertile couples” bit, since the agency in question works with quite a few single folks and same sex couples hoping to adopt. Will they be excluded from the show?

** They call them expecting mothers here, but most everywhere else on the press release and website they're called birthmothers.

*** Or maybe the show won't air because it doesn't have a happy ending and the producers will be angry at you for wasting their time. The producers who probably offered financial compensation in exchange for your participation in the show.

August 02, 2009


Todd and I have been talking here and there about baby child #3. We're rolling around some enormous questions of whether/how/when/why. We've never felt so at a loss for direction before in all the years we've been together. Our decision processes before Puppy and Firefly were pretty easy and painless, so this must be our payback.

I think it dovetails for me with standing on the cusp of middle age. Not that I'm heading into an age-related crisis or anything. It's just that always before there has been a sense of having lots of time on our side--if a move in one direction didn't work out, we could always try something else. It was always about doing Thing A now and Thing B later. That doesn't feel true anymore. Choosing Thing A means letting Thing B fall away forever, or vice versa. Not to mention Things C through H.

It is almost as if the anticipation of regret is pressing in before we've figured out what the choices even are.


It was hot here this week. Hot. Sweltering. We don't have air conditioning. My brain shut down.

Puppy and I found the perfect book to fit the weather: Come On, Rain! by Karen Hesse. I had picked it up earlier in the summer on a whim. It's ten years old, so maybe everyone else already knows about it, but it was new to me.

It's about a sudden rainstorm on a broiling summer day. It so perfectly captures the wiltedness of heat and the energy of youth.

I am completely in love with this book. Some of the language is so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes. In a children's book! The phrases roll around my mouth as I read. Such a joy. (Unlike, say, trudging through the Berenstain Bears.)

Tell me you can read this aloud and not fall in love:
I stare out over rooftops, past chimneys, into the way off distance. And that's when I see it coming, clouds rolling in, gray clouds, bunched and bulging under a purple sky. A creeper of hope circles 'round my bones. "Come on, rain!" I whisper.
And half of the characters, including the little girl narrator, are African-American. So total bonus there.


One of the more depressing things about Twitter is watching my early bird East Coast friends wake up and get online while I am still up battling insomnia. I'd appreciate it if you'd all have the decency to not tweet until after 10:00 a.m. or so. Much obliged.
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