December 29, 2010

It's Not Easy...

As I rocked Mari before bed on the eve of Beth's visit, I told her a story about her birth and her time together with Beth at the hospital. I talked her about Beth as a mother who was loving her and taking care of her before I even knew she existed. Words I had spoken over her and to her since she was mere days old, but ones that felt right to revisit on that night. When I had finished she asked to hear it again. And again a third time.

Not too long after we had put Mari to bed that night, Beth called with a traveling problem of the logistical sort--something small and easily solved but which felt insurmountable to her. Todd offered a solution all seemed well.

Maybe an hour later the phone rang again. It was Beth. She was feeling overwhelmed by the thought of seeing Mari. There were two things making it especially hard, both that had come up at our last visit in the late summer. One, how hard it was to see Mari coming to me as a the everyday/primary/known/comforting mommy and know she would never have that with her. And, two, feeling like Mari didn't really know who she was or want to be with her so why bother? (At our last visit Beth really wanted us all to spend time with another family who is important to her. It was nice to see them, but when faced with a group of strangers like that Mari goes into shut-down, only-talk-to-mommy-and-daddy mode. So it wasn't the best interaction between her and Beth.) Thinking about those two things, she wasn't sure she was up to coming.

Beth has been through some incredibly scary things this past year. Things I've only faced in nightmares. She's found support and strength and love in the midst of it all, but it's left her with little in the way of emotional reserves. I think the challenge that open adoption can sometimes be just felt like too much to handle.

She and Todd talked for a long time (he was the one who had picked up the phone), Todd listening a lot and sometimes sharing. I heard him tell her about Mari asking to hear her birth story three times that night. He shared about the twinge he sometimes feels when he sees Eddie's first dad with Eddie and acknowledged that it must be one thousandfold harder for her. They talked about how different Mari would probably be in the safe space of her own home and how these early visits are all building blocks of her and Beth's future relationship. And that of course we'd understand if taking care of herself right now meant she couldn't come.

By the phone call's end Beth said her fears had quieted. So the next day I stood in front of the bus station with an expectant child on each side clutching a hand. The big bus pulled up and a group of passengers trailed out, some greeting other waiting folks. No Beth. The other passengers grabbed their luggage before trickling into the parking lot, until there was no one left but the people waiting to board. Still no Beth. The waiting passengers began to board.

My  heart didn't sink. But it did start to teeter.

To be continued...

December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas! - Remember it's the thought that counts as you finish reading this free ecard

I'd send you all homemade Christmas cookies if I could! Instead I will wish you all much joy and peace, today and everyday.

December 20, 2010

Christmas Books for Our Multiracial Family

My confession for the day: I have a weakness for Christmas books. Our new-ish tradition of wrapping up twenty-four books to be unwrapped and read one at a time over the nights leading up to Christmas gave me an excuse to add to our collection a couple of years ago. But I haven't been able to resist adding even more. There are too many wonderful books out there and it's such a joy to pull them out of storage every year. Thankfully Mari and Eddie are so far as fond of them as I am.

I've particularly been focusing on adding books with black characters. It's positive for Eddie to see some of the world's diversity reflected in our collection, of course. But it's especially important to me that Marian be able to place herself easily within the stories, especially those depicting the Nativity. We're surrounded by white faces in the holiday decorations at the stores, in the holiday specials on television, in most of the nativity scenes we see, and every Santa in the mall. Our Christmas books, like the decorations in our own home, are one tiny way of pressing back against that. Here are some of our favorite Christmas books for the preschool-and-under set featuring African-Americans, Africans, and even a Jamaican family living in England.

Christmas for 10Christmas for 10 by Cathryn Falwell is a rhyming count-up story in the same style as her classic Feast for 10. It's a cutie-patootie book that's a good length for toddlers. With its bouncy text and happy children, it's been a favorite of both my kids.
How Many Miles To Bethlehem?How Many Miles To Bethlehem? by Kevin Crossley-Holland and illustrated by Peter Malone, is a different take on the Christmas story. It assumes you know the basic plot and instead has everyone from the Magi to Jesus sharing small glimpses of what they're thinking and feeling. The Renaissance-style pictures depict a variety of ethnicities and Mary is brown-skinned with crimped hair. I thought the poetic style might be too abstract for little children, but something about it captivates my kids. (One heads up: Herod says he wants to rip Jesus away from his mother, which could be an intense image for some children.)
The Night Before ChristmasWe read The Night Before Christmas before bed on Christmas Eve and I had almost given up on finding a version with a black Santa. So I was glad to discover this version by Rachel Isadora which pairs the classic text with images from across Africa. The collage-style pictures are full of energy and color. And Santa wears leopard print pants. So much fun.
The 12 Days of ChristmasRachel Isadora's newest book illustrates the carol The 12 Days of Christmas. She again pulls images from different places in Africa: twelve men playing drums from Ghana and Nigeria, a woman wearing five "gold" neck rings in a style seen in parts of South Africa. The tone of the author's note at the end makes me twitch a little. But the pictures are vibrant and fun. And I may finally be able to learn all twelve days of the song!
These last few are out of print and aren't as easy to find at the bookstore. But there are lots of used and new copies available through Amazon's third-party sellers.

A A Child Is Born: Child Is BornI enjoy Margaret Wise Brown's (of Good Night Moon fame) version of the Nativity story in A Child Is Born, but it was the gorgeous illustrations by Floyd Cooper depicting an African Jesus, Mary, Joseph and angels that really drew me to this book. It has a picture of an adorable toddler Jesus that makes me want to nibble on his cheeks.
Waiting for ChristmasIn Waiting for Christmas by Monica Greenfield with illustrations by Jan Spivey Gilchrist, a sister and brother can barely contain their excitement as they pass the time before Christmas Day doing little things like drinking hot cider with cinnamon sticks and looking for their presents "one more time". I love the little girl's braids. I also covet the pretty house in which they live.
Happy Christmas, Gemma, written by Sarah Hayes and illustrated by Jan Ormerod, makes us giggle. A big brother shares his family's Christmas activities--and reports on the ways his baby sister Gemma "helps". "First of all we made the Christmas pudding. I stirred the mixture and made a wish. Gemma threw the spoon on the floor." It was published in Great Britain, hence the "Happy Christmas" in the title.

What are some of your favorites for small children?

[Disclosure: The links above are part of Amazon's affiliate program.]

December 09, 2010


I have three unwritten blog posts jostling for attention in my brain, two lovely people who I am tardy e-mailing, and one suitcase waiting to be unpacked after a business trip ended yesterday. But Mari's first mom, Beth, arrives tomorrow for a weekend stay, which means I'm frantically trying to get things in order so we can spend the next few days relaxing together.

I'm currently paying someone to play with my kids downstairs while I clean the house. Something is backwards here.

But hurrah for tomorrow!

December 06, 2010

In the Dim Lamplight (Her Edition)

She asks to be rocked "like a baby," so I drape her across my body, filling my lap with what once fit into the bend of my arms. The song blends with the quiet light of the nightlight. In the dark I can only just make out the countours of her face as she smiles up at me. My big girl. My baby.

(His edition.)

Read more perfect moments at Write Mind Open Heart

December 04, 2010

Open Adoption Roundtable #21

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don't need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggers 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. The prompts are meant to be starting points--please feel free to adapt or expand on them.

Publish your response--linking back to this post so your readers can browse other participating blogs--and leave a link to your post in the comments. Using a previously published post is perfectly fine; I'd appreciate it if you'd add a link back to the roundtable. If you don't blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.

Last year we wrote about the holiday season in general. This year, inspired by a recent post by Claud, I thought we could focus in on traditions.

How do open adoption and holiday traditions intersect in your life?


The responses so far:

Jess (adoptive mom) @ The Problem with Hope: "Usually I give the [photo] session and whatever pics they want to order to them for Christmas and it always makes me smile to see the Christmas card that R sends out--my daughter's "other" family, her included, because while she is obviously also on OUR Christmas card, there's something right about the way she BELONGS on both both sets of portraits. And how in one set, the families overlap."

Racilous (first mom) @ Adoption in the City: "As I approach my first Christmas as a birth mother, I truly want J to have traditions, the hard part is letting go of the idea he needs to have my traditions... With open adoption, it’s can neither be about my adopting their traditions or their adopting what I have always done, rather I think its important that we find the traditions which we are comfortable continuing together and then perhaps create a few new ones of our own."

A Life Being Lived (first mom) @ Carrying a Cat By the Tail: "The part that comforts me most is that I know Bluebell won't be in my shoes when she's my age. She has an amazing family, two wonderful parents, two great older brothers. She has more cousins and aunts and uncles than she will be able to count. I can't do much about my own lack of family, or the fact that I didn't know my grandparents. Yet through adoption, I could give her a family, and all of the love and holiday traditions that goes along with that."

Cindy (first mom): "Christmas is a time when my feelings of loss in reguards to my son are heightened. When my worries over what his adoptive parents really think of me are soul-crushing because they really don't let me know what they think about anything most of the time."

Amber (adoptive mom) @ Bumber's Bumblings: "Last year, we got together with Ashley and her family the weekend before Christmas and celebrated Christmas together and exchanged gifts. We had a great time together and plan on doing a similar get together every year. We are very open all other times, but Nathan and I felt like Christmas day and Christmas Eve should be just our immediate family."

Susiebook (first mom) @ Endure for a Night: "Today I spent the afternoon decorating the Christmas tree with my mother. It’s Cricket’s birthday, and I’m sure that she doesn’t remember that—she’s been bragging to people about the birth of her first grandchild, and only last night said that 'I’ve been saying for a couple of years now that we need to have a baby for Christmas.' Today I’ve had a few quiet, sad moments, but there is also Christmas stuff going on and I want to be involved. Sure, I’d rather we were doing it tomorrow, but my mom has today off work, and here we are, listening to carols, me thinking about Cricket and feeling my breasts ache. It is the strangest thing, that physical reaction. Cricket got a gift from us last week and hopefully a card today, we’ll send two books in a week or so . . . and our December is otherwise completely separate from him. I think about the fact that my father’s birthday is on Christmas Eve and Cricket’s birthday is apparently usually going to be during Hanukkah. I hope he doesn’t mind."

December 02, 2010

Crafty Crafty

I'm hankering to make holiday decorations. Someone needs to stop me from bookmarking more and more and more projects. Or--I'm just throwing out ideas here--someone needs to pay me a salary to a) write online, b) do all sorts of super wonderful things with Open Adoption Bloggers, and c) make holiday decorations. Patronage for my leisure activities.

Here is some of what I'm eyeballing:

Colorful trees for the cream bookshelves we have downstairs

Circles, straight pins, and a styrofoam wreath form: I can do this. Would it work in red and green? Perhaps in multiple shades of all green...
The felted ball garland. How very of the moment.
I'm daydreaming about felt lately. Felt, people. I've got urges to get all crafty, all the time.

When my friends and family inevitably find this blog and read all my secret thoughts, it will be that last sentence that sends them into shock. The Heather they know rolls her eyes at the mere mention of Martha Stewart.

November 30, 2010

Going Public

Off to my right on the desk, buried somewhere in a wobbly stack, is a piece of paper that says Todd and I completed 27 hours of foster home certification training. It's legit and everything. In the eyes of our state we're just a quick (ha!) public home study away from being qualified foster parents.

We've had it since this summer and I'm still not sure what we're going to do with it. I should probably find out if it has an expiration date.

Both times that we took the preparation workshops for our two adoptions, there were couples there who were still really undecided about the whole adoption thing. I didn't understand them at that point. At the workshop stage in the process you're taking time off of work and shelling out significant (at least to me) money--it's not really something I'd do on a whim. At the time it seemed to me that you'd wait until you were at least a little bit sure about adopting. There are easier ways to get your questions answered.

Yet there I sat in an uncomfortable chair at our local child protective services office for 27 hours over two very hot weeks this past July, not entirely sure what we would do next.

In our area, foster parenting and adoption from the foster system are two separate tracks. If you are wanting to adopt, they (theoretically) aren't calling you with foster placements. In reality, of course, foster families frequently end up adopting kids who've lived with them when reunification or kinship placements aren't possible and pre-adoptive homes sometimes see kids be successfully reunified with family. But they wanted us to choose one track or the other and we thought we had made our big decision by signing up for the foster parent training instead of the adoption one.

Only it turns out they put the two groups together and train them all at once and everyone gets the same certificate. So much for making decisions.

So we have that certificate. We have a folder of paperwork to start a home study process. We've had more than one discouraging conversation with different local foster agencies. And I've done nothing more since July, save pick up the home study folder every other week or so and put it back down.

I've been reluctant to talk about this as we bumble around looking for direction. I know how it looks on its face when put up against some of the uglier realities and hierarchies of domestic adoption: we adopted a white baby, then a brown baby, and now we're considering foster parenting.  Like the people who chirp about how they want to adopt when they're "done having children of their own."  I know what actually happened in our family's story and what brought us to this point. But putting things out on the internet means knowing that people will judge you for how things look and not how they are. I've never been the bravest blogger. Not to mention the simple fact that they're always in need of new foster homes around here, so all my indecision and navel-gazing seems pretty self-indulgent in the face of the need.

I've become friends with too many foster parents to be anywhere near starry-eyed about possibly being part of the system. There are no fantasies about being a saintly foster parent, a transformative beacon of hope in a hurting child's life. I just know I've started to have that feeling again that there is someone missing in our house. A sense that there is space at our table waiting to be filled with another person, whether for awhile or forever. And it seems right to explore opening up our home in this way.

November 26, 2010

When Family Can Save Your Life

On the one hand, I tend not to emphasize the medical history aspect of open adoption. The relationships open adoption brings into my children's lives are about so much more than information. I'm loathe to see their connections to their first families reduced to sources of medical facts in anyone's minds. And I've seen adoptive parents so focused on information that once they have a few vague pages of medical history to file away and have maybe met the first parents, they don't see any reason to embrace openness after placement. (Which is really short-sighted even from an information standpoint, since a medical history changes over a person's life. I know the info I put on a medical form now in my mid-30s looks much different that what I put at 25 or 17.)

On the other hand, the access to family medical history that open adoption affords is invaluable. Being cut off from that information (and from potential transplant donors) has had devastating, even deadly, consequences for people in closed adoptions.

It's underscored in this story about Madison Tully, a teen from Louisiana--placed for adoption as an infant--whose life was saved by a bone marrow transplant from her biological sister. The sisters didn't grow up knowing one another, but there was enough openness in the adoption that Madison's adoptive parents were able to contact her birth family when she developed a terrible combination of diseases.
Madison was one of only 12 people in the world known to have both [lupus and sickle cell anemia], and the doctors determined that the only possible cure was a transplant that would replace her bone marrow. Bone marrow transplants had been done for people with sickle cell and people with lupus, but never for someone who had both diseases...
And there was a problem. Finding a match would be almost impossible because of Madison’s mixed black, white and Hispanic heritage.
Because of the open adoption, though, the Tullys knew that Madison had a sister. When the girls were little, they had even gotten together a few times. [Madison's adoptive mother] called [Madison's sister] Jasmin’s mother and asked if Jasmin could be tested as a possible donor.
“I didn’t even have to think about it,” Jasmin said. “I would do anything for Madison.”
Imagine if Madison's adoption had been closed. Because her adoptive parents were uncomfortable with open adoption. Or because the agency was stuck in the idea that placing parents just need to move on with life and adoptees need to be protected from scary birth parents. Or yet another excuse people use to take any form of openness off of the table.

Eddie and Mari are affected by both sides of the medical history issue. Because we know all four of their first parents, we know about some hereditary risks. That knowledge--and the wisdom of the family members with first-hand experience--could potentially make a big difference in diagnoses and treatment should they ever become ill. But because both of their first moms grew up in closed adoptions, there are also some enormous gaps that may never be filled in. The important knowledge we do have makes those gaps seem even bigger sometimes.

November 25, 2010

Some Clichés are Worth Embracing

Listing out the things for which I'm grateful: I know this sort of post is a dime a dozen today. More like a penny a dozen. And yet.

I have been feeling emotionally puny this year as the holidays approached. Hence the long silence. It's taken everything I have lately to be a good friend/parent/co-worker each day, leaving little in the emotional reserves to be present with my friends inside the computer. I miss you all!

I've also been feeling a lot of powerful gratitude lately for things both big and small. Here are seven at the front of my mind this Thanksgiving:
  1. TiVo. How I love you, you little box of escapism.
  2. My toasty bed on a cold night
  3. The kids both being old enough that we can share in a joke together
  4. Our weekly family story time in front of the fireplace
  5. The always-singing, pretending-to-sommersault, sparkly-eyed little two-year old that Mari has grown into
  6. Watching Eddie discover this year his gigantic, emerging talent for building and creating and figuring out how things go together
  7. You. And you. And you, too.

November 16, 2010

Learn and Share

My friend Cynthia is helping organize an open adoption symposium called Opening Adoption: Realities, Possibilities & Challenges this coming September in at the University of Richmond in Virginia.  A whole conference devoted to the philosophy and practice of openness--be still my heart!

They've just issued the official call for proposals, so if you've ever considered pulling together a panel or workshop, now's your chance. Here are some of their suggested topics:
  • Opening of conversation about adoption in the community and the family
  • Legislative advocacy – how to, what are obstacles, what does current practice do to inform legislative change related to past adoptions
  • Best practices in adoption policies, laws and processes;
  • The impact of openness or a lack of openness has had on individuals and families
  • Preparing for openness (for families hoping to adopt or for women/men planning a placement)
  • Negotiating boundaries in search/reunion, open adoption, closed adoption, etc…
  • How to offer more/better post adoption services related to openness
  • Siblings and open adoption
  • Managing openness in families with children by birth and children by adoption
  • How does the current thinking around openness change things for those in closed adoptions
  • Opening adoptions later on in life
  • The internet and openness in adoption
  • Openness as it relates to sperm/egg donors
  • Openness in adoption as it relates to the developmental stages of a child
  • International adoption and openness
  • Managing obstacles to openness (personal/emotional, familial, cultural, legal, safety, etc.)
  • What sets up open adoptions for success? What doesn’t?
  • How can placing parents and families hoping to adopt best prepare for openness?
  • Negotiating boundaries in search/reunion, open adoption, closed adoption, etc…
  • What kinds of post adoption services best prepare families for success?
  • Moving from a closed system/adoption to an open system/adoption
  • Post adoption contact agreements – pros/cons; what works and what doesn’t work
  • Gender and openness – what if any differences are there for men and women – talking about adoption, managing relationships, etc…
I'm hoping to be there, thanks to the magic of frequent flier miles (if I can get past my revulsion at what might now face me at TSA security checkpoint--ugh). We should make sure to do an Open Adoption Bloggers lunch table or something, don't you think?

November 08, 2010

Let's Give Adoption Mosaic a Virtual Hug

The online magazine SixSeeds interviewed me as part of their National Adoption Awareness Month project!  They're generously donating $2 for every comment at my interview post to the adoption-related charity of my choice.  I picked the fabulous Adoption Mosaic.

Adoption Mosaic is doing the work that is so needed and so historically overlooked in the adoption community: helping create healthy lifelong adoption experiences through education, support services and dialogue. It's a great resource. The lack of training and post-adoption support services (for everyone in the adoption constellation) that many of us bemoan? Adoption Mosaic is out there doing something about it. Folks not lucky enough to live close enough to attend their events can still join in through their just-launched quarterly magazine The Adoption Constellation, online resource library, or blog. They even recently took one of their workshops on the road to the East Cost. It's a much-needed place where the voices of adoptive parents are included but don't dominate.

Let's raise a ton of money for Adoption Mosaic and show them how much we value the work they do! A few details: SixSeeds requires an email address to comment. If you've already commented on one of the other SixSeeds adoption interviews, you'll need to use a different email address this time in order for Adoption Mosaic to get the $2 donation. Time to pull out that address you save for entering giveaways and getting online coupons (doesn't everyone have one of those?)

Please please please go comment and help me raise some money for Adoption Mosaic!

(Lunasea, Dawn, Soper and Lori were also interviewed and picked some fabulous charities, so check out their posts, too!)


November 05, 2010

"I’ve been waiting for you for your whole life"

We did the whole baby sign language thing with both kids, which meant we watched a lot of Signing Time.  They were still airing on PBS when Eddie was tiny and it was the only thing we let him watch. (Yes, we were those first-time parents. Mari missed out on the pure Signing Time experience, seeing as how she had an older brother obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine. Somehow she still survived with her intellect intact.)

This made the Signing Time co-creator and star, Rachel Coleman, our family's first kiddie celebrity.

This was the first song baby Mari ever tried to sing.

I've followed some of her life with her two daughters on her (really well-written) blog. Only it turns out she's the mother of three daughters.  She wrote for the first time today about her recent reunion with the now-eighteen-year old daughter she placed for adoption when she (Rachel) a teenager and what it was like to wait through those years hoping she would contact her.
I’ve celebrated her birthday every year.

“Mommy,” four-year-old Leah signed to me enthusiastically, “I’m your first baby. Lucy is your second baby. I’m the oldest!” “Nope. Remember?” I pointed to the smiling baby pictured in the gold, sun-shaped frame on the mantel. “She’s my first baby. You are my second baby and Lucy is my third baby.”

“Oh! I forgot!” Which sounded like “Oh I-per-dot.”

Leah and Lucy grew up seeing the baby on the mantel smiling down on them.

“Mom, I hate this!” Twelve-year-old Leah threw herself down on my bed in tears. “I hate that I have a big sister, but I don’t have a big sister! I really need one right now! I don’t understand how you were ‘too young’ to keep her, but only four years later you were suddenly old enough to have and keep me!”

When I was seventeen I really did believe that nobody would know or really understand how much I hurt and how much I suffered. I guess I was too young to imagine that my future children would inherit the pain and that they would share my loss.

The entire piece is worth a read--that bit above is just the smallest slice of the emotion packed into it. Her whole family's joy at this reunion is so apparent; it burbles throughout the post. I admit to tearing up a bit, as I often do when reading people's reunion stories: happy along with them that they are finally together again and sad that they ever spent all those years apart.

Disclosure: The "Signing Time" link in the first paragraph is an affiliate link.

October 31, 2010

Things I Don't Have to Think About Today

Today I don't have to think about leaving the medical history form blank.
Today I don't have to think about a file folder full of information about my early life that I'm not allowed to know.
Today I don't have to think about not getting a passport or a driver's license because my birth certificate "isn't quite right."
Today I don't have to think about not knowing my actual birthday.
Today I don't have to think about being a minority in my own family.

Today I don't have to think about those who decide when and if I get to see my child.
Today I don't have to think about a file folder full of information about my child's life that I'm not allowed to know.
Today I don't have to think about how to answer the question, "How many children do you have?"
Today I don't have to think about a medical professional treating me differently when I answer their questions about pregnancies and number of children at home.
Today I don't have to think about the things they say to my child about me when I'm not there.

Today I don't have to think about politicians debating my right to my original birth certificate.
Today I don't have to think about being deported to a country I don't remember because my parents didn't file a form.
Today I don't have to think about falling in love with someone I have no way of knowing is a genetic relative.
Today I don't have to think about the dollar amounts that were assigned to me because of how I looked, how old I was, or what was in my medical past.
Today I don't have to think about not knowing the name spoken over me at my birth.

Today I don't have to think about people using one of the most painful decisions of my life as ammunition in their debate over abortion.
Today I don't have to think about those who tell me it's confusing or harmful for my own child to know me.
Today I don't have to think about whether people profited from my personal crisis.
Today I don't have to think about people in my life thinking less of me when they find out.
Today I don't have to think about those who believe I'm unworthy of raising any children now.

Today I don't have to think about someone from my family possibly out there searching for me.
Today I don't have to think about whether I'd be breaking state law by reaching out to a relative.
Today I don't have to think about being considered the unofficial spokesperson for adoption.
Today I don't have to think about being written off as "angry" or "bitter" for having feelings about my own life experiences.
Today I don't have to think about being told I should be grateful.

Today I don’t have to think about how much people expect to stay hidden.
Today I don’t have to think about how much stigma keeps hold.
Today I don’t have to think about all the things I don’t have to think about.
But today I will.

All credit (and I do mean all) for the structure, concept, and closing items of this list goes to author John Scalzi and his post of the same title, in which he tried to step outside his daily experience as someone with many layers of overlapping privilege. (Hat tip to OmegaMom for pointing me to it.) It, of course, got me thinking of adoption-related items I would add to his list. All credit for any clumsiness in the execution goes to me.

This is my list of things about which I--an adoptive parent who was not adopted and is not a first parent--don't have to think. Your own list will almost certainly not match mine. There are people who have to think about some of these items for reasons other than adoption. And of course not all individual first parents or adopted persons think about all (or even any) of the things I listed.

October 23, 2010

We Have a Winner

Congratulations to Lisa, winner of the Sleepy Wrap! Lisa wrote,
I would love one of these. We never found a wrap that worked well with our wiggly first child, but I'm hoping to use one more when #2 comes along.
Thanks to everyone who participated!

October 19, 2010

Open Adoption Roundtable #20

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 listed at Open Adoption Bloggers 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. The prompts are meant to be starting points--please feel free to adapt or expand on them.

Publish your response--linking back
here so your readers can browse other participating blogs--and leave a link to your post in the comments. Using a previously published post is perfectly fine; I'd appreciate it if you'd add a link back to the roundtable. If you don't blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.

Anyone who reads my blog regularly probably saw this prompt coming. Recent comments and emails tell me you all have a lot to say on the topic. I'll leave the prompt nice and broad, so each of us can focus on the sliver most on our minds at the moment.

Write about siblings and open adoption.


The responses:

Anonymous (first mom) writes in the comments about the complicated emotions brought up for her by her son's relationship with his brother on his first dad's side.

Amber (adoptive mom) at Life in the Last Frontier talks about the resistance they're facing from friends and family who don't understand why maintaining sibling relationships is important to them.

Jess (adoptive mom) at The Problem With Hope shares how the strong relationship with her daughter's bio brother influenced the course of their family planning.

Jenna (first mom) at The Chronicles of Munchkin Land points out that her commitment to openness is as much for her (parented) sons as it is for her (placed) daughter.

Susiebook (first mom) at Endure for a Night remembers a year-ago conversation about siblings with her son's adoptive mom, and compares that to the reality during her current pregnancy.

A Life Being Lived (first mom) at Carrying a Cat by the Tail talks about how her daughter's potential adoptive brothers played into her decision to place and facing her fear that she won't have more children.

Rredhead (adoptive mom) at questions the conventional wisdom about explaining placement to her young son, given that he has older and younger siblings parented by his first mom.

Kelly L (adoptive mom) at Surprised by Hope shares why her daughter's birth siblings are called simply brothers and sisters in their home.

Tammy (adoptive mom) at I Can Only Imagine shares how her children's relationships with their siblings are a "painful thing although with great potential to be something marvelous and nurturing with time."

Sonya (adoptive mom) at The Dobbins Boys tells how the, "You have siblings," conversation came about with her adopted son.

Spyderkl (adoptive mom) at Evil Mommy thinks about the possible day her daughter's first mom has another child.

Katjamichelle (first mom) at Therapy Is Expensive wonders what the relationship will look like between her placed son's adoptive brother and her future parented children.

An anonymous adoptive parent shares about her son's anger that is sometimes brought to the surface by the presence of his biological siblings--and how the strength of those same relationships provides an safe outlet for the emotion.

Tracy (adoptive parent) at My Minivan Rocks says that her adopted son's siblings have become the doorway to open adoption, now that contact with his first mom is off the table for a time.

Amber (adoptive parent) at Bumber's Bumblings shares about her family's relationship with a different sort of sibling: her son's first mom's sisters, now doting aunts.

Michelle (adoptive parent) at Grown in My Heart says it was the siblings interactions were the catalyst for the family's whole open adoption relationship to expand and flourish.

October 18, 2010

"I Love My Hair" Has an Adoption Connection

We've enjoyed a few views of the Sesame Street video "I Love My Hair" at our house. I learned tonight that it has a transracial adoption connection: the songwriter (also head writer at Sesame Street) is the white parent of a daughter born in Ethiopia and adopted when she was one year old.
[Joey] Mazzarino says he wrote the song after noticing his daughter playing with dolls.

"She wanted to have long blond hair and straight hair, and she wanted to be able to bounce it around," he tells NPR's Melissa Block.

Mazzarino says he began to get worried, but he thought it was only a problem that white parents of African-American children have. Then he realized the problem was much larger.

I'm too wiped out from the boy's birthday week to draw out any larger points, but I thought that was interesting.

October 15, 2010

At Bedtime

"Mommy, am I your five-year old baby?"

"You are my five-year old baby."

"I'm your BIG baby."

"You're my big, big baby."

"What about when I'm bigger and bigger and an adult?"

"Even when you're 35 and 45 and 75, I'll still be your mommy and you still be my baby."

"Just a giant baby! What about when Mari is bigger?"

"She'll always be my girl-baby and you'll always be my boy-baby."

"Even when I'm 105!"

"Even then."

"I like that."

"Happy birthday, buddy."

October 12, 2010

Babies Have I Worn (+ a Giveaway!)

I planned to publish this for International Babywearing Week, which started on the 6th. Then I spent the majority of that week in an incredibly beautiful and remote part of the country for my brother's wedding. How I thought I would put this together in a spot where internet and computers are scarce, I do not know. Seriously, there wasn't even radio where I was. No AM radio.

But today is still part of Babywearing Week, albeit the last day. So let's just consider this me extending the babywearing fun!

Todd and I are both pretty frequent babywearers. Partly convenience, partly our personalities, partly our parenting style. After swearing I would never be one of those parents wrapped in yards of baby-containing fabric, I...became one of those parents wrapped in yards of fabric. But once I experienced how comfortable and useful it was, there was no going back.

There was a deeper, adoption-related reason that drew me to babywearing, too. I am not going to jump into a bonding/attachment debate in this context. But I'd hope any adoptive parent would agree that we start from scratch as far as familiarity goes between us and our kids. Babywearing can be one great way to build that connection with very young children. It creates a comforting, safe space for most little ones.

Read on for my favorite carriers for each baby stage and get the chance to win one of your own!

October 05, 2010

Speaking of Machatunim

At some point in the middle of last week, Kelly's parents (who are currently raising her second child, Eddie's sister) called to say they would be coming to our state this week and could they swing by for a visit on their way to their destination? Of course we said, "Sure!" We hadn't seen Eddie's sister--who really needs a blog name; she's named after a bird, so let's call her Robin--since she was a newborn, so a visit was long overdue.

I didn't know what Eddie would think about seeing them, since it had been so long and Robin hasn't really been present in his life in any form. But as Sunday drew near he quickly went from matter-of-fact to super-excited. I was prepping in the kitchen right before they came when I overheard Eddie--who was anxiously watching at the bay window for their arrival--say to Mari, "Do you know who Robin is? She's one of my sisters! She's a baby, so you can play with her!" I knew then the afternoon would be really good for him.

And it was. The kids happily played together, the adults snapped photos. Kelly's parents passed on information from the past two years that cleared up all sorts of questions I've had. This was the first time we'd ever spent with them without Kelly there and I think it was a pretty significant step forward in our relationship with them. As our afternoon together ended I was feeling good.

They waited until we were beginning to say our goodbyes in the entryway to drop the bombshell.

Eddie has a brother.

(I really don't like using the password for anything other than picture posts. I will likely make the full post public in the future, but I'm still sorting out what is bloggable and wanted to err on the side of caution for now. Please email me if you'd like the password. I've never deliberately denied it to anyone who's asked, but I'm awful at managing my personal email and I know there have been folks whose requests have accidentally gone unanswered. It is the source of much guilt for me; I mean that seriously. All that to say, please feel free to ask or re-ask for the password.)

October 03, 2010

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Our Birthmother

(With a bashful apology to one of my favorite poets.)


I don't use "our birth parents" when talking about Marian and Eddie's first parents. That's my choice. You may very well make a different one.

But this is about me and my decision. And, I suppose, about the sorts of things that go through my mind when I hear or read "our birthmom" or "our birthparents" or even, as I saw the other week, "our expectant parents".


I am positive if you dig back far enough in my past that you'll find me dropping "our"s all around. Agency #1 used that language constantly when we were going through the training ("When you meet your birth mom...") and we didn't know any better than to parrot it back. (And, no, six years ago it didn't even cross my mind that we shouldn't be talking about expectant parents as birth parents.)

If anything, I remember thinking it was a lot more personable and less cold to talk about "our birth mom" than "the birth mom". It was overwhelming to imagine the then-nameless, faceless stranger who would change our lives, and thinking about her as "our birth mom" made the thought less intimidating. I imagine that was one of the reasons the agency counselors used it with us. Of all the thousands of possibilities, the only ones that would matter would be the ones contained in this specific person we would eventually meet. Talking about "our birth mom" felt safer, smaller. Warmer.


I can't pinpoint as clearly when I stopped using "our". But I think it was soon after Kelly and Ray entered our lives. They were real people, with a real connection to a very real Eddie. They had full lives beyond just their first parent roles, lives that were quite independent of us. As much as we cared for them, it felt odd to refer to them as "our birth parents" as if they belonged to Todd and me in some way. I didn't want to make them smaller.


On a practical tip, "our birth mom" really only works for families with a single adopted child or who adopted siblings. If I said to you, "We're going to see our birth mom next week," you wouldn't know if I meant Kelly or Beth.


Picture your child's first mom. Now imagine her calling you "my adoptive parents." Weird, right?


At the most basic level, they are not our birth parents. They did not create me or Todd. They are our son's birth parents. Our daughter's birth parents. We don't share them with Eddie and Mari. Nor do they share them with each other.

There is something worthy of recognition in that distinction. These are their families by birth and their links to their ancestral heritage. They are their connections to their personal origin stories, to the beginnings of their lives before Todd and I entered the scene. I believe appropriating them as my own family of origin (even symbolically--I know no adoptive parents really mean to say these are their actual birth parents) diminishes the unique relationship they have.


It's been pointed out to me before that people use "our" all the time in ways that aren't demeaning and don't imply ownership: "our accountant" or "our pastor" or "our senator." But all of those do involve relationships of obligation or even employment. They are "ours" because of what they do for us. There is enough imbalance in adoption triad power dynamics as it is without dragging in those overtones.


When people start talking in particularly inflammatory ways about the supposed scarcity of babies to adopt and the difficulty of finding a match, I start picturing frantic prospective adoptive parents shouting, "Get your own birth mom! This one is ours!"


Two summers ago, Eddie and I were killing time during during a car ride with a game. It combined two activities he enjoyed at the time: naming people in our extended family and pairing people up relationally. For instance, I'd say, "I love Grandma!" and he'd respond, "I love Grandpa!"

Enthralling, I know. But it kept the three-year old happy.

We had gone back and forth through all sort of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, when I got to, "I love Kelly!" Expecting, of course, to hear, "I love Ray!" in return.

Instead Eddie scrunched his face into a frown. "No!" he said immediately. "She's mine!"

His possessiveness over her in the car was surprising. I acknowledged that she was his very own, and it also led into a good discussion of how family can overlap, how Grandma and Grandpa are Daddy's parents and your grandparents, but they are also special to me and so on. But, thinking back later on his intense claim on her, I was very glad he had never heard me call her "our birth mom".


Logically, the only people who can talk about "our birth mother" are biological siblings who were placed for adoption. They do, indeed, share a first parent or two.


Someday my kids will grow up and their relationships with their first parents will be something separate from Todd and me. More often than not, their visits and chats won't include us. Would I still talk about them as "our birth parents" then? Somehow "our birth parents" seems to a part of the early childhood years, when--as with all their relationships--all their contact with their first families is solidly in our domain.


I live in the world of open domestic adoptions, which is where I hear "our birthmom" the most. I wonder, are we the only ones who do this?  Do adoptive parents of children born overseas or in closed adoptions talk about "our birthmom"? Or is this something we've created in our little open adoption corner, a place where these family relationships overlap? Where we're maybe more likely to be talking about our children's first parents with others, since they are an active, visible part of our lives?


An online friend introduced me to machatunim. Literally the Yiddish term for your married child's parents-in-law (so the relationship between my parents and Todd's parents--like consuegro in Spanish), it can also stand for the broader concept of "the family of my family."

In my gut I think when we adoptive parents say "our birth mom," we are fumbling for a way to describe machatunim. Most of the people I hear say it deeply respect and care for their children's first parents. Our words fall short of what our spirits want to convey: that this person, this family of my child, is family also to me. We are connected in a real and significant way.

The intent of our words is important, but the effect is more so. If only there were a machatunim equivalent in adoption. A single word  to describe who my children's first families are to me, one that doesn't carry the baggage of "our".

September 24, 2010

Picking Our Own Brains

Are you ready for something very cool? Or an least cool in my admittedly dorky mind?

The Open Adoption Bloggers list now has its own custom search engine: a Google search box that spits out only results from our fabulous blogs.

If you're wondering what writers in open adoptions are saying about Mother's Day or open records or just something non-adoption related like Halloween, this is a great way to find out. You can even refine the search results to look just in a specific blogroll category, like first parents or pre-adoptive parents.

There are a couple of different ways to access the search engine:
1) There is a search box on the Open Adoption Bloggers page
2) The search engine has its own permanent home on the web ready to bookmark
3) You can add a search box to your own site

It's run by Google, so if you've told Google not to index your blog it won't show up in the results. And if you're on the blogroll but would rather not be searchable, just let me know.

Give it a try!*


* If you're reading this in a feed reader, you need to click through to the blog to see the search box. Sorry about that!

September 22, 2010

Renaming My Kids and Not In the Way You Might Think

The following things are true:
  • I've always thought that if I ever had kids the regular old birth way, I'd wait to get to know them a bit before choosing names for them. It's always seemed odd to me that we parents name our children before ever meeting them face to face. Naming that way wasn't an option the way Puppy and Firefly came to us, and in the end the process of naming each of them was meaningful in other ways.  But it wasn't long with either of the kids before I looked at them and thought, "Oh, they're really more of a [this whole other name we had never considered]." It's not something that keeps me up at night, tossing with regret, but it is something I think about on occasion.

  • When I started writing here, Puppy was a two-month old nugget of baby awesome, totally dependent on us for everything. Giving him a cute online nickname seemed fitting. Now he's growing into a more independent little guy every day, expressing all sorts of complex thoughts and stories. For awhile now whenever I've sat down to write about him I want to call him something more real, more person-ish. The same is just beginning to happen with Firefly.

  • Nicknaming an adopted kid "Puppy" in a world in which pet adoption programs exist was dumb. It just was, even if it was only on a blog and even if it was a play on words based on his actual name. That's one of the scary thing about blogging, at least for me. If you're writing honestly and openly, all of your mistakes and missteps are preserved for the world to view. But it doesn't mean I can't try to make it right after the fact.

  • It occurred to me the other day that, unlike in the real world, I can change the kids' blog names whenever I please. And finally have a chance to bestow on them the names I think so fit their little selves.
So, without further ado, meet Eddie (short for Edward)...

...and Marian, often called Mari (sounds like "merry").

September 18, 2010

This Day

I am feeling affection for this day. The sort of affection that is not nostalgia, because it is for the present moment instead of the past. An anticipation of nostalgia, rather--the sense that years from now, it will be a time such as  this I remember with a twinge.

I think it is the rain falling quietly outside. Or the way the kids' playing spills through the house on the open weekend afternoon. I think maybe it is that Firefly wears Puppy's hand-me-downs I pulled out for the autumn, although I don't feel this tide of emotion every time she wears his old clothes.

Then I realize I dressed Firefly in the pants her brother wore the day he met her. The first time our family was together in one room.

Of course.

September 14, 2010

Open Adoption Roundtable #19

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 listed at Open Adoption Bloggers 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. The prompts are meant to be starting points--please feel free to adapt or expand on them.

Publish your response--linking
back here so your readers can browse other participating blogs--and leave a link to your post in the comments. Using a previously published post is perfectly fine; I'd appreciate it if you'd add a link back to the roundtable. If you don't blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.

Awhile back I read a summary of a workshop held for prospective adoptive parents who were exploring their options. During their survey of different sorts of adoption, the speakers said that, at its most basic core, "Open adoption is about information sharing."

"Hm," I thought when I read that.


I turned that one over in my mind for quite some time and now I'm turning it over to you. Generalizations are a tricky business. Relationships are too diverse, too complex for blanket statements to cover them all. But generalizations certainly make for good conversation starters--and an interesting exercise in thinking about what we each would say is the foundation of open adoption...

"Open adoption is about information sharing." Share your reaction to that statement. How well does it match up with your experience of open adoption? If you disagree, how would you finish the phrase, "Open adoption is about..."?

(You can find out when a new prompt is up by following @OpenAdoptBlogs on Twitter!)


The responses:

Prabha (adoptive parent) at Baby Steps to a Baby Dream: "Open adoption is about accepting your child and his or her family as is --- warts and all."

Spyderkl (adoptive parent) at Evil Mommy: "If we were having a mere exchange of information, M, C, J and us would have been done with each other years ago."

Jenna (first parent) at The Chronicles of Munchkin Land: "Open adoption is about relationships and the sharing of lives and family."

Robyn (adoptive parent) at the Domestic Adoption blog: "Information sharing is what makes a relationship last."

Michele (adoptive parent) at Gotcha Baby: "My reaction to that statement is that the professional sharing it was giving prospective adoptive parents the least-scary, most basic, most general definition of what Open Adoption is."

Limbo Mama (prospective adoptive parent) at Limbo Land: "As a waiting, potential adoptive parent, my perspective is colored by an almost certain naivety that comes from hoping for (and working towards) an open adoption, rather than navigating an actual living, breathing open adoption relationship. Regardless, to me open adoption is more multi-faceted than simple 'information sharing'."

Katjamichelle (first parent) at Therapy Is Expensive: "Open adoption doesn’t start and stop with the sharing of information it thrives with the creating of memories and the building of relationships."

Brandy (first parent, adopted adult) at Our Life in the Desert: "Open adoption is about sharing – just like marriage is about sharing and family is about sharing – relationships are a mixture of give and take – AKA, sharing."

Dawn (adoptive parent) at This Woman's Work: "I’d say that open adoption is about openness. Sometimes that’s limited to information sharing (it’s all I got when it comes to aspects of our open adoption) and sometimes it’s a lot more (like sharing, you know, the kid)."

Leah (first parent) at Sturdy Yet Fragile: "For me, however, when I first read 'open adoption is about information sharing' I thought, YES! Exactly!"

Lynn (adoptive parent) at Open Hearts Open Minds: "From my perspective, open adoption is a complex process, based on evolving relationships...relationships that many 'outsiders' seem to find hard to understand. But (at the risk of sounding corny), I think that, in essence,open adoption is -- and should be -- about love."

Cindy (first parent): "Open adoption is about keeping the connection between my son his beginnings, a basic right for every person."

Kristin (adoptive parent) at Parenthood Path: "For me, the best way I can describe it is as an 'attitude.'"--and an interesting comparison to diversity.

Barely Sane (adoptive parent) at Life of the Barely Sane: "Because it’s just words on a computer screen or a paper. It’s not a real connection, a real relationship. I know about these people but I don’t truly know them. To me, an open adoption should have both of those things."

Ginger (first parent) at Shattered Glass: "If you remember that everyone is different, then you don’t have to irrationally fear someone because of their role in adoption. Bio-parents are just as guilty of fearing a-parents irrationally as a-parents are of fearing b-parents. An open adoption might be about information sharing…or it could be about family by choice."

Susiebook (first parent) at Endure for a Night: "I want to say that in general open adoption is about relationships, but that in our case—at least for me and the Mister—it’s about trying to make up to Cricket for the relinquishment forever."

M (adoptive parent) at Letters to a Birthmother: "Obviously, sharing information is a great place to start in open adoption. I think its a way to Have Some Openness in the Adoption, though I think to make this an all-encompassing statement sure could limit a person in their thinking as they are launching into the adoption world and all the decisions and complexities it entails."

September 09, 2010

Open Letters

To My Brother's Dog:

You know what you did. I won't forget. This is why I don't let dogs lick me.

That Kid's Mother (Yes, That Kid)


Dear Super Creepy Agency Whose Philosophy and Tactics Epitomize the Need for Adoption Reform,

I noticed that the "Pregnant? Scared?" brochures you leave in the library lobby keep disappearing behind the flyers for college financial aid and the info sheets for the local family support network. How odd.

"Noticed" May Not Be the Right Word


To the Long-ago Person Who First Thought To Pair Peaches and Ginger:

Were I to create a new religion, you would totally be in line for god status.

In devotion,


Dear Newly Adoptive Parents with Your Shiny Blog,

Congratulations! Your little baby is adorable. Reading about your bubbly love for him makes me smile. I think your enthusiasm for open adoption and your desire to get your friends and blog readers up to speed on what it's all about is great. Very cool.

It's just...well. You're a couple decades too late to call yourself "open adoption pioneers." And you might want to pause for a second before claiming that "advocate" title, too. The information you're giving out seems to have come from one agency orientation and what you've gathered from some blogs and...isn't exactly accurate. You're perpetuating the idea that open adoption is a new-fangled, experimental, fringe concept. Maybe take the time to learn about the history and people who came before you? Please?

I don't mean to single you out or make it seem like I'm some expert. I cop to being a total noob in the adoption world. We just can't run out and decide to "educate people" based on nothing more than our personal--and often very brief--experience. There needs to be context. Some understanding of the bigger picture. Knowledge of the basic facts, for Pete's sake.

Let's earn the right to be considered advocates for open, ethical adoption. By listening, learning, acting, and reflecting. What do you say?

A Fellow Adoptive Parent


Dear Lego,

It's 2010. Why are all of the Lego minifigs still yellow? I know you know how to make them other colors:

My House Is Overrun With Legos

August 30, 2010

Set the DVR

Beginning tomorrow evening, the PBS series POV is airing three documentaries looking at transracial/transcultural/transnational adoption. I'm tuning in!

I had the chance to preview Off and Running (which airs next week) this past winter and definitely recommend it. Not just to those involved in transracial adoptions, but anyone thinking about the complicated topic of identity formation (which should be all adoptive parents!).

I've read mixed reviews of Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy, so it will be interesting to watch it for myself. The full slate is (synopses from the POV website):

Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy (8/31)
What is it like to be torn from your Chinese foster family, put on a plane with strangers and wake up in a new country, family and culture? Stephanie Wang-Breal’s Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy is the story of Fang Sui Yong, an 8-year-old orphan, and the Sadowskys, the Long Island Jewish family that travels to China to adopt her. Sui Yong is one of 70,000 Chinese children now being raised in the United States. Through her eyes, we witness her struggle with a new identity as she transforms from a timid child into someone that no one — neither her new family nor she — could have imagined.
Off and Running (9/7)
Off and Running tells the story of Brooklyn teenager Avery, a track star with a bright future. She is the adopted African-American child of white Jewish lesbians. Her older brother is black and Puerto Rican and her younger brother is Korean. Though it may not look typical, Avery’s household is like most American homes — until Avery writes to her birth mother and the response throws her into crisis. She struggles over her “true” identity, the circumstances of her adoption and her estrangement from black culture. Just when it seems as if her life is unraveling, Avery decides to pick up the pieces and make sense of her identity, with inspiring results.
In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee (9/14)
Her passport said she was Cha Jung Hee. She knew she was not. So began a 40-year deception for a Korean adoptee who came to the United States in 1966. Told to keep her true identity secret from her new American family, the 8-year-old girl quickly forgot she had ever been anyone else. But why had her identity been switched? And who was the real Cha Jung Hee? In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee is the search to find the answers, as acclaimed filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem returns to her native Korea to find her “double,” the mysterious girl whose place she took in America.
You can also watch them online for a limited time, using the show links above. Off and Running is now on Netflix, too. Are you planning on watching any or all of them? Do adoption documentaries interest you?

August 29, 2010

Our Time With Kelly

We spent the afternoon of our last day in L.A. with Kelly, meeting up at a park with an interactive water feature where the kids could cool off and be entertained. We ended our time by eating dinner together on the grass (the kids and Kelly chose McDonald's; Todd and I ate the fast food of the gods).

Puppy was comfortable around Kelly, despite not having seen her or really heard from her for over a year. He smiled and went right up to hug her legs when we first arrived. Earlier in the day he had come up with some questions he wanted to ask his first dad ("What was your favorite thing when you were four? What did you do for your fifth birthday?") and later in the afternoon he posed them to Kelly, too. He looked at pictures of his younger sister (Kelly's daughter) and declared them funny. Everyone says Puppy looks a lot like Ray--which he does--but Puppy and sister-baby really look alike.

Kelly spent a whole lot of time tapping on her phone, often a ways away from where Puppy was playing. I freely admit to some very minor meddling this time to encourage interaction. Just small things: Puppy would ask me to push him on the swings and I'd suggest that Kelly push him instead, for instance.

A few hours together every year or so is hardly the stuff of a close relationship between Puppy and his first mom. I have no illusions about that. We're hampered by living in different states, of course. But there are ways the connection could continue to grow between our trips down south, yet for the most part our attempts to communicate by email, phone, and post go unacknowledged. Talk of visits up our way doesn't materialize into actual plans. This is all Kelly seems to be able or willing to offer to Puppy right now. So we do what we can to maintain an atmosphere of openness and see what grows.

August 25, 2010

Picture Password

I'm happy to share the picture password with all and sundry. But I have to have a way to send it to you! If you don't have a Blogger profile with an email address, please email me with your password request instead of leaving it as a comment. Thanks!

August 24, 2010

This Is What Open Adoption Looks Like

Click below to see photos of the kids being forced into visits before they're old enough to decide for themselves enjoying time with birth family members

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