October 29, 2009

An Adoption Photo

Football has always been something Ray and Todd shared in common. They were both coaching high school teams the year Puppy was born; I remember Ray coming back to the hospital room late one night after a game (which he and Todd promptly spent the good part of an hour dissecting play by play). Every phone call between them eventually turns to football.

Puppy recognized this commonality early on. Not surprising, given that it's nearly impossible to miss. I think it's important to him as a way he can connect with his two dads at the same time. Footballs and football teams and football shirts and football love are something the three of them can share, an overlapping space all of them can comfortably occupy.  They throw the ball around in some fashion every time we get together.  He can pick out Ray and Todd's favorite teams on the television and roots for them by color.

This picture is from Ray's visit in August. Football was a major theme of the visit. The three of them tossed a ball around in the yard more than once and went to one of Todd's practices together. On this evening, a pajama-ed Puppy had toddled over to where Ray and Todd were talking with this helmet in his hands. I love the symmetry in Ray and Todd as they gaze at Puppy, they way they share the same tilt of the head, the same proud smiles.

I treasure this picture because it reminds me that, as bittersweet as it sometimes is, open adoption makes this sort of overlap possible and real. It's not just us telling Puppy that his birth dad likes football, too. It's him experiencing that for himself, seeing the similarities and differences between his fathers, watching them enjoy each other as peers.

(I'm password protecting the picture because I'm shy like that, but just contact me for the secret code if you don't have it already.)

See other entries in the latest GIMH Adoption Carnival here...

October 28, 2009

EnviroMom Meatless Supper Club: Autumn in a Squash Bowl

I feel like a big cheater this week. First I took a perfectly good recipe that called for tofu and made it with chicken instead. And now I'm giving you a favorite recipe for stuffed acorn squash that's only meatless because I swapped in a fake meat substitute (in this case, faux sausage).

I'm not sure how I feel about things masquerading as meats. We eat them semi-regularly: Morningstar "chicken" nuggets, Boca burgers and such. They're almost always lower in fat and calories than the real thing. And the enviromental impact of growing items like soybeans and mushrooms  is smaller than growing a cow or pig. But then you factor in all the processing and added ingredients...and they always come in so much packaging...like I said, I'm torn.

(While we're on the subject of cheating, I do have a quick tip for faking spaghetti with meat sauce. You can swap out the ground beef for bulgur--1 cup dry bulgur for every 1 pound of meat. Add 1 cup boiling water--or beef stock for more flavor--to 1 cup bulgur, cover and let sit for several minutes. Very similar texture but more fiber, less fat, less money. It works in soups, too.)

Enough guilt. Back to the stuffed squash. I love this meal. The combination of the squash, sausage, cranberries, apples and pecans just captures autumn perfectly. It's pretty enough to serve to guests (it looks more impressive in real life than in my picture) and not very hard to make. And it's a dinner recipe made with maple syrup. How can it go wrong?

The results: Everyone ate it! Whoo! I fully expected the four-year old to turn up his nose, but he was chowing down. Maybe it was the novelty of the little squash bowl? I wasn't about to question it. Four year olds--who can understand them?

The verdict: The change to the faux sausage in this recipe is one we'll keep. It's healthier without the pork and it didn't change the favor or texture of the dish at all.

Recipe below the jump, plus more meatless meals at EnviroMom...

October 25, 2009

Little Church

Today was a Little Church day, a Sunday we worshiped at the AME Zion church in town. We've been alternating weeks between that congregation and (what used to be) our usual church since mid-summer.  Puppy dubbed them Big Church and Little Church based on the size of their buildings, but I'll bet most adults observing the two would think of them as "white church" and "black church."

There is an imbalance right now in our involvement between the two churches, since we've got a couple years' head start at Big Church. But our goal, in the near-term at least, is to be equally invested at them both. It's important to us that the kids see us parents giving and receiving instead of merely attending--especially at Little Church, so they can know that we're there because it's important to us, too, and not just for Firefly's sake. It's been slow-going. Todd joined a men's breakfast one weekend and bonded with a couple guys in that way he has. He has helped out in kids' church. We went to the big annual church picnic, where I got to know the family of a little girl Firefly's age and Todd somehow managed to inspire a giant game of football. We've started to learn people's names and have conversations that go beyond banal pleasantries--small things, but ones that feel like a big deal when you're getting to know a new community. Todd and I attended a fundraiser on Saturday for a local group researching the history of African-American pioneers in our state. We'd been to their events before, but this was the first time we've walked in and been able to greet people we knew. It feels like our baby steps venturing out are beginning to pay off in small ways.

There is a certain self-consciousness walking into a black church that first time as white parents with a black child in your arms, at least for me. It's easy to convince myself that everyone is looking at us and thinking that we're only there because of Firefly. But that was more or less true in the beginning, so I figured I might as well own it. And the members have been nothing but welcoming of our whole family. Not that I expected them to not be rude, but it really is a particularly warm congregation. (I've visited umpteen churches in my day, so I've got some basis for comparison.) Smaller churches often are.

We received an extra dose of that warmth today after the service. A woman came down the aisle as we were working to gather our things and hungry children. I apologized for the lot of us blocking her way and moved aside. "Oh, no," she said. "I actually came to talk to you."

She looked like she was in her mid- to late-forties. "I'm biracial," she continued, after we exchanged names. "My mom raised three of us biracial kids on her own. I've seen you here a few times now and I wanted to ask if you had any questions about how to do [Firefly's] hair. I know how hard it was for my mom."

She did a quick look and touch appraisal of Firefly's curls and deemed them well-tended (whoo). She quizzed me on a few of the basics of care and combing, I think mostly to make sure I wasn't torturing poor Firefly. We laughed about the total paradigm shift it is for women with fine, straight hair like mine (and her mom's) to deliberately work oil into hair.

We talked briefly about some of the tensions she felt growing up and what it's been like for her to live in our predominately white city. "Please, if there is ever any piece of advice or comment you'd like to say to us, feel free to just put it out there," I told her. "We won't be offended. We need people to tell us what we're doing wrong."

"I don't think it's a matter of right and wrong," she answered. "Maybe better and worse. What's most important is that love is underneath it all. I've watched you and it seems like you've got that part right. I just wanted to let you know I'm here. I've thought a lot about my experience growing up biracial and I feel like it's my mission to do something with that."

What a gift, you know? This woman saw Firefly and felt a kinship, and wanted to love on her by offering up her own experience and making sure we had our basic act together. She certainly didn't have to do that, but she chose to, and that means so much to me.

There is no grand point to this post, and I hope it doesn't come across like I'm patting us on the back. Lord knows we haven't earned the right to do that yet. These are teeny tiny steps we're taking, but ones that feel increasingly right.

October 21, 2009

Enviromom Meatless Supper Club: Pad Thai

I had a hard time deciding what to post this week, because we actually lucked out with a string of tasty vegetarian dinners. (I think my family got a little tired of me taking pictures of our food.) So I'm going with the one that was a surprise to us and saving my all-time favorite autumn meal for next time.

When I came across this pad thai recipe awhile back, I was reluctant to try it. Pad thai conjures up memories of fun late night food runs with roommates and relaxed meals out with my husband during the childless days of our marriage. I didn't want to ruin those associations with some bad homemade attempt. But the point of this EnviroMom project for me was to try new vegetarian recipes, so we plunged ahead.

The results: My husband and I were both pleasantly surprised by how good it was. The sauce was flavorful without being too powerful, with just the right tang from the lemon lime juice. The eggs and peanuts made it a filling meal. It probably took about 30-40 minutes to prepare, from start to finish.

The four-year old flat out refused to eat it. We tried calling it Peanut Noodles, but no dice. He's just determined not to like anything new right now. The one-year old, on the other hand, liked it so much it was almost disturbing. She kept stuffing noodles into her mouth and frantically signing, "More, more, more, please, please, more!"

The verdict: Definite keeper. I'm already craving it again.

Recipe below the jump, plus more meatless meal ideas at EnviroMom...

October 20, 2009

Open Adoption Roundtable #8

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.

One common thread running through the last batch of roundtable posts was that, even though balancing privacy concerns can be challenging, we keep blogging about adoption because the connections we make are worth the challenges.

Blogging at its best is a conversation. An interaction between writers and readers who comment or even just mull over a post long after reading it. A paper journal gives you privacy, but it can never challenge your ideas or give you insight into another perspective. It never offers support in a difficult moment. Blogging--or rather, the people reading and writing those blogs--can.

There are people inside my computer--strangers--whose words have made a difference in my family's adoptions. That probably sounds nutty to those outside the blog world, but it's true. And I bet the same is true for many of you. In this round, I thought it would be interesting to recognize some of those people. Because I bet a lot of those folks don't even realize the effect they've had on us.

Write about a blogger (or bloggers) who influenced your real-life open adoption, and how. It might be someone who became an offline friend who supports and challenges you. Or a writer who makes you uncomfortable, but gets you thinking. Maybe a blogger who doesn't even know you are reading. Tell us about them and how they've affected you.


Adoptive mom Jenn Mc says Thanksgivingmom made her more aware of her own actions toward her child's birth mom.

Prospective adoptive parent Prabha at Baby Steps to a Baby Dream tells how stumbling onto Clio in an internet search completely changed her mind about open adoption.

Prospective adoptive parent Thorn at Mother Issues describes how an encounter with Dawn's family changed her partner's view of her decades-old adoption.

Adoptive mom Spyderkl at Evil Mommy shares how her friendship with Barb of Cigarettes and Coffee helped her keep the door open, even when it seemed like no one walked through it.

Adoptive mom Cynthia at In the Night Kitchen recalls turning to the internet to help her get over her fears--and finding This Woman's Work.

Adoptive mom Rredhead at the Adoption.com Open Adoption Blog rounds up her favorite first mom and adoptive mom blogs, plus two group blogs.

First mom Ginger of Puzzle Pieces finds parallels between her oldest daughter and Madison, insight into the adoption process at Hoping for Another Little One and Parenthood Path, and an example of the sort of cooperation open adoption requires at The Great Surro Adventure.

First mom Amstel of Amstel Life shares some of her favorite positive adoption blogs, while noting that it's the writers opposed to adoption who have forced her to really come to terms with the "what ifs."

First mom Leigh at Sturdy Yet Fragile tells how blogs like Weebles Wobblog and Parenthood Path allowed her to see adoptive parents as people and take a chance with her daughter's adoptive parents.

First mom Thanksgivingmom of I Should Really Be Working shares how the words and support of Coco at Mommyhood and Life help her make sense of her own situation.

Adoptive mom and adopted adult Andy at Today's the Day! says writers like M de P, Thanksgivingmom, Jenna and Dawn have helped her cope with the limbo of her family's lopsided adoptions.

First mom and adopted adult Valerie of From Another Mother is inspired by the advocacy of The R House.

Adoptive mom Barely Sane at Infertility Licks says the blogs of first moms like Brown, Thanksgivingmom and Valerie showed her new, practical ways to communicate with her daughter's first family.

Prospective adoptive parent Amy of  Beanie Baby Blog says blogs like Heart Cries, Infertility Licks and Amstel Life have her rethinking their thus far conservative approach to open adoption..

First mom Susiebook at Endure for a Night appreciates the insight This Woman's Work gives her into adoptive parents, credits I Should Really Be Working with grounding her in the midst of her grief, and sees herself in The Happiest Sad.

Prospective adoptive parent Jacksmom at Hoping for Another Little One appreciates Ginger's honest appraisals of her very different open adoptions, my stories of thinking through adoption in our home, and being able to share in the growth of Luna's open adoption relationship from its beginnings.

Adoptive mom Lassie at Eggs Benedict Arnold shares how vital it has been for her to face up to the hard truths found in Not Mother.

Adopted adult Anonadoptee at The Adopted Feminist envisions being one of the first to have grown up in an open adoption to use her experience to support others--and generously opens herself up to questions.

Adoptive parent Sharon at What Else Do We Need? writes about the importance of finding a kindred spirit in Dawn.

Adoptive parent Momosapien joins the (well-deserved) Dawn love train, noting how much she's learned about creating space for conflicting emotions.

October 19, 2009

Settle an Argument

A question for you, based on a recent conversation in which someone may or may not have been accused of being a curmudgeon:

Let's imagine there is a blog you enjoy that's built around a certain topic or theme. That topic is what drew you to the blog in the first place--you loved the recipes with their gorgeous photos, say, or reading about what it's like to live in a wee log cabin on a mountaintop.

Now the blogger, whether from boredom or distraction, is veering off topic. The recipe blogger writes about politics and her new kitten. The log cabin dweller offers movie reviews.

A blogger can write about whatever she likes in her own space, of course. But how do you react as a reader? Are you annoyed or bored by the shift? Do you keep happily reading?

Feel free to explain your vote in the comments.

ETA: Forgot to mention that the actual question at hand was is it better to post frequently and give visitors fresh content, even if it's off-topic, or post infrequently but have a clear theme.

October 18, 2009

A Chicken in Every Pot!

Six reasons I'm voting for This Woman's Work over at The Bump's Best Adoption Blog contest:
  1. Dawn started writing about adoption in 2002. In blog years, she's way overdue for a Lifetime Achievement Award.

  2. She gives of her own time and money to run Open Adoption Support, so that those of us in open adoptions can have a safe place to give and receive help.

  3. Her writing kicks ass.

  4. If she's named the overall best blog, she'll donate the $1,000 prize to Ethica, an independent group doing great advocacy work on behalf adoptees, children in care, first parents and adoptive families. They're a rare jewel in the adoption world.

  5. For once I'd like to see this sort of messy adoption narrative get mainstream recognition (and The Bump practically defines "mainstream").  I don't think she knows this, but waaay back in the day, reading Dawn's blog made me really defensive. I was wholly invested in the idea that there was a Right Way to do adoption that could make it positive for everyone involved, and that there were black-and-white distinctions between birth parents and adoptive parents and their place in an adopted child's life. Everything I heard from Agency #1 or was reading reinforced that. But here was this adoptive mom who was totally my kind of people in her parenting and politics and feminism, with an adoption that looked a lot like ours on its face. And she was arguing that there is actually a whole lot of grey--advocating for openness while pointing out that it doesn't make everything better, pushing at the boundaries of my ideas about everything from naming to sharing motherhood to revocation periods. It took awhile sitting with those thoughts--and experiencing the reality of our own family's adoption--but eventually my own ideas became more nuanced and flexible. And I really think I'm a better adoptive parent and open adoption participant for it (although heaven knows I still have a ways to go). I can't help but wish that voices like hers were out in the mainstream where I could have stumbled easily across them in the vey beginning.

  6. If she wins, adoption blog trolls will disappear.*
So, please vote (many, many times) before 11:59 PM EST Monday!

* What? You've never heard an impossible campaign promise before?

October 15, 2009

If Only


This is parenting in a nutshell, isn't it? Bearing witness to the hard and to the good in our children's lives and not being able to do a damned thing but be present with them in the middle of it.

Back when we were hashing out the details of our open adoption agreement with Beth, I was thinking a lot about things I wished we had done differently in our first adoption. I got fixated on this idea that the agreement needed to somehow reflect the fact that child centered open adoption is a two-way street. (Which morphs into a multi-lane intersection as the child grows up.) I didn't want the agreement to only be about protecting Beth's rights to visitation and communication, as important as those things were. I wanted her commitment to stay in Firefly's life written down the same way as our promises.

Todd and I decided that, worst case scenario, we hoped Firefly would at least hear from Beth on her birthday and at Christmas. Nothing like that was in the agency's standard agreement template, so we asked them to add it. And there it now sits, in sparse legal-ish language, right after our promise to let Firefly to send and receive communication from Beth: "Beth agrees to provide the child with a letter at least two times a year."

As it turns out, Beth is the type who not only never fails to have a present at appropriate points for Firefly, but brings one for Puppy, too. Even so, that one stupid sentence relieves me of a lot of worry. Not that we'd ever actually haul Beth into mediation if she missed a few birthday cards. But at least I'd be able to say, "Hey, you promised."

I suppose it's obvious why I'm thinking about that tonight.

October 14, 2009

EnviroMom Meatless Supper Club: Ridiculously Healthy Crockpot Burritos

The weather turned deliciously cool this week  I'm wearing my fleece, watching the leaves change color and breaking out the crockpot again. Love it.

This week we pulled out an old favorite, a black bean/barley/corn/tomato burrito mix made in the slow cooker. Low-fat, full of protein and fiber, and nicely flavorful. It makes a ton of food, so you can serve a crowd on the cheap or put half in the freezer for another week.And it only takes about ten minutes to put it all in the crockpot. (It cooks for around four hours.) Totally my kind of meal.

The results: My husband, daughter and I all gobbled it up. It has a wee hint of spice, so I wondered if the toddler would like it, but it didn't phase her at all. (She ate her burrito deconstructed, with the tortilla on the side.) My son decided the burrito mix was too jumbled up for his tastes this time (sigh) and filled his tortilla with cheese and sour cream. Frankly, at this point I 'm considering that a success with him. His tastes are terribly fickle lately, but as long as he's polite about it, I'm letting it go. Serenity now, etc.

The verdict: Total winner.

Recipe after the jump, plus check out more meatless dinner ideas over at EnviroMom...

October 13, 2009

Waiting, Watching, Hoping

There is just one link left in the paper chain hanging in Puppy's bedroom. We've taken a link off every night for over eighty nights, counting down the days until his birthday. We made the chain nearly three months ago to try to channel some of the constant birthday talk that was already coming from the little guy. This birthday is a Very Big Deal. The source of much planning and enthusiasm. He could barely stay in bed tonight, so wriggly with excitement was he at the thought that his birthday was only one more day away.

Meanwhile I am busy prepping decorations and designing cakes. Wrapping presents and planning parties. And holding my breath to see if this year his first parents will remember him.

"Remember him" isn't the right phrase to use, I know. I shouldn't question that. Of course they will think of him on Wednesday; I'm sure they could never forget him any day, much less his birthday. But when a birthday or holiday passes with no card or gift or phone call, forgetting is how it seems to come across to Puppy, a little boy for whom it's so very important to know that people miss him.

Some years either Kelly or Ray will call but not the other. One year Kelly was here in person. Once there was an unwrapped box, delivered two months late, with an unsigned card and its envelope tossed in the bottom. Christmas has been even more spotty.

Part of me understands, or tries to. People can be busy.  First parents have told me that birthdays and holidays can be difficult, as painful emotions and events are revisited. Maybe they think he is too young to care, although we've said as explicitly as we can that acknowledging his birthday seems to be more significant to him than anything aside from visits. But another part of me, the protective parental part, struggles when faced with a crestfallen child who sees all his other far-away relatives reaching out to him on birthdays and at Christmas, and notices who is missing. Notices and asks why. Asks me, who has no good answers.

I know not every child notices the way Puppy does, or as young as he started to. Firefly is closing in on her second birthday and couldn't care less about gifts or who they are from (she chooses to see everything in the world as hers for the taking). But not Puppy. As soon as he began speaking, he could tell you who gave him a certain item. He remembers long after I've forgotten something was even a gift. He thrills at mail addressed to him. He keeps his birthday cards in a special cabinet and looks through them from time to time.

We're only on our fourth birthday. I keep telling myself that. There is time for new patterns, for these few years to just be a blip. I'm trying to be hopeful. I'm trying really hard. And also thinking about how I'll talk with him this year if nothing comes.

October 09, 2009


My own contribution to the privacy roundtable (insert usual disclaimer that these are boundaries I've set for myself personally and not commentary on choices anyone else has made)...

As far as I know, no one I talk to face-to-face--save Todd and online friends I've met in person--knows about this blog. (If you do, please tell me.) I told Kelly and Beth about it a long time ago, without specifics, and both more or less shrugged. One is barely online at all, much less reading blogs. The other is part of a social group that regularly spills its secrets all over the internet, so she didn't really care. I've nicknamed some people and stayed vague about our location to keep away anyone Google-ing our family.

Even though I hide my blog away, I've always written with the assumption that everyone I know will one day read it. Realistically, I know it's highly improbable that everyone will read it. But the fact is that one day someone--probably one of the people I most hope won't--will stumble across it somehow. So I choose to write as if everyone will.

That influences my writing pretty significantly. I've had the experience of discovering blog posts written about me. It stung, and it changed my relationship with the author. To me, there is no sort of public writing worth harming relationships. Especially not relationships with the children's families of origin. I can't quite imagine explaining to them one day that we're estranged from their first family because of a blog.

First, I try not to write about any issue, disappointment or frustration unless the other person is already aware of it. I don't want someone to be completely blindsided.

Second, I try to portray people as generously as I can. I'm keenly aware that I've got a monopoly on this space. It's important to me to write about my children's first families, because I want them to be real people to all of you. So I give folks the benefit of the doubt and then some. Sometimes when I know I've got a lot of emotion surrounding a particular person or interaction, I'll ask Todd to read a post before I publish it, to make sure I'm not being unfair.

Third, I do my best to speak about my kids and their first families, not for them. I try not to make assumptions about what they're thinking, and qualify my words when I do. I use the kids' own words when I'm writing about them processing their adoptions. I don't get into quicksand areas like why Puppy and Firefly were placed. And if I can make my point without using a detail from their lives, then I leave out that bit of information. No one reading here needs to know, for example, the play-by-play of Puppy or Firefly's births. I can write about what those days were like for me without including those things.

Finally, I keep many adoption-related moments, both big and small, happy and difficult, to myself.  The kids are still too little to remember much of this time of their lives. The first time I tell them certain stories, I don't want to know that I shared them with the internet first. Nor do I want them to feel, years from now, that I put the entirety of their adoption stories out for public consumption.

All this means that there are many things I don't share, both good and bad. Right now there is more that you don't know about our open adoptions than you do, simply because I haven't found ways to write about them that feel fair. There are gaping holes on this blog from this past year, especially. Things that have been happening with Firefly's birth father. The effects of Puppy's sister's birth and everything that led up to it. Changes in our relationship with Kelly.

This semi-private space gives me an outlet and means of emotional support in our adoptions that I wouldn't have otherwise. That has been so, so important to me. But assuming it will not always be private means it has not been as catharic or helpful (or interesting) as it possibly could be. That's often deeply frustrating. So many times I've wanted to come here and shake my fist, work through a sadness, or seek advice. I envy people with the guts to write openly and honestly about their lives, with full knowledge of family and friends.  But, for now, that is not me. I can always become more open. It is hard to go the opposite way.

October 07, 2009

EnviroMom Meatless Supper Club: A Vegan Risotto

I love risotto. Creamy, cheesy rice--what's not to like? Unless you have a dairy allergic kid, in which case it's off the menu. So I was intrigued by this meatless, dairy-free risotto recipe that promised all the creaminess without the cheese. It was from a Moosewood Collective cookbook that has rarely steered me wrong. (If I ever make a life list, eating at the Moosewood Restaurant will be on it.)

The results: It took about 30 minutes to make, from start to finish. We ate this meal twice, once fresh and once as leftovers, with a garden salad. Both times my husband and I agreed that we liked the dish--both flavor and texture--but it wasn't super filling. Our toddler thought it was great. Our preschooler took one bite and decided he didn't like it. The taste was pretty mild, so I don't think there would be anything I could change in the recipe to make it more palatable. He's just in a phase where he doesn't like his foods all jumbled up together.

The verdict: I'll keep this one in mind for when I need something fairly quick and easy, but it probably won't go into regular rotation. At least not as a main dish.  Tasty, but not satisfying enough to be the star of the meal.

Recipe below the jump, plus check out the other Supper Club participants' recipes over at EnviroMom...

October 05, 2009

For Your Amusement and Inspiration

I recently discovered that my 96 year old grandmother carries a subscription to Vogue.

This? Is about seven different kinds of awesome. (And I say that as someone who doesn't even like fashion magazines!)

October 03, 2009

Open Adoption Roundtable #7

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.

I don't know how this happened, but it's been over a month since our last roundtable. Yikes! September went by faster than I thought. Let's get back to business, shall we?

This round's topic was suggested by adoptive parent blogger Rebecca: privacy, blogging and open adoption. Figuring out boundaries is difficult when you write about your personal life. Any on-blog mention of family, friends or co-workers risks invading their privacy. Bloggers who write about or post pictures of their children are accused of exploitation. Where is the line between your own experience and other people's personal lives? What information is yours to share and what rightfully belongs to someone else?

Add the overlapping relationships of open adoption to the mix and you've got yourself a potential ethical and personal mess. And yet it's impossible to talk about one's open adoption experience without mentioning the people involved.  Where do you draw the lines--on your blog and in your personal life--and why? What, if anything, don't you tell?


First mom Ginger at Puzzle Pieces: "I write knowing that the world could be reading."

Adoptive mom Spyderkl at Evil Mommy: "The only thing I care about is that nothing happens to my family because of what I’ve written. It’s so much more difficult in an open adoption, when there are other people not actually living with you who are directly affected by what you might say. It’s caused me to want to stop blogging altogether several times."

First mom SJ at From the Mind of a Bmom: "Part of how I cope is letting my moments of grief and times of joy be useful or encouraging to others. If I change the life of only one person by writing about my experiences then this is worth it (I know that is cliche!)."

First mom Valerie at From Another Mother: "I guess that's the measure I hold to, then--the adoptive mother's level of comfort. Because she is his mother, I think she has the right to decide (even implicitly) what level of privacy we'll all hold to."

First mom Thanksgivingmom at I Should Really Be Working: "At the risk of rambling, I wonder if we – on both 'parental' sides of the triad – relinquish some right to 'possess' our stories…"

First mom susie_book at Endure for a Night: "My adult compromise is to say everything–but not to everyone. My blog is a place for me to say everything without hurting anyone, which seems to me like the best of all possible worlds."

Adoptive mom Tracey at Grace Comes By Hearing: "My blog started out as an extension of my journal that I have kept since I was 12."

Adoptive mom Barely Sane at Infertility Licks: "I don't think it's right that folks out in cyberspace get to know all about my life and those that really should be privy to the information are left out."

Prospective adoptive parent A at A+A Adopt a Baby: "...I don't feel the need to be anonymous on the Internet. I find writing here to be an interesting personal discipline and a helpful place to express myself, developing a public life that is authentic, open, and honest without sharing what is actually private."

Prospective adoptive parent Prabha at Baby Steps to a Baby Dream: "To me, the web is unlike the real world. We have to be careful about the footprints we leave for they can live on in perpetuity."

Adoptive mom Shmode at Random Musings of a Frogged Mind: "I can’t.  I can’t seriously post a single thing about her, or our, situation that would in any way harm her."

Adoptive mom Luna at Life From Here: "I feel the need to be authentic in telling my own story, but this must be balanced with the need to protect my family, including Baby J and her family of origin."

Adoptive mom Lavonne at Eyes Wide Open: "To keep everything to ourselves creates more suspicion and mystery about adoption than needed. And as it is, there are already too many adoption related myths that we need to work to debunk."

Adoptive mom Heather at Production, Not Reproduction: "Even though I hide my blog away, I've always written with the assumption that everyone I know will one day read it."

Prospective adoptive parent Linda at Karlinda: "If we continue to write any form of ‘open’ open adoption blog, you may well find you don’t recognise us."

Prospective adoptive parent Thorn at Mother Issues: "So am I blogging from the closet? Are we out here? I guess my answer would be that we’re out as much as we need to be. "
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