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


barb said...

just one of the reasons why i adore you.

mysteries of the library lobby indeed.

P said...

Love this! Letter to New Adoptive Parents = right on the mark.

Limbo Mama said...

So great...and so true!

Megan said...

Now I want to see the new, shiny blog. I'm petty that way.

Excellent post.

Michelle said...

Adoptive parents have got to stop attacking and pointing fingers at other adoptive parents. Everyone starts the process in a different place with different experiences and backgrounds. It creates a very negative atmosphere and it's very off-putting. It could discourage adoptive parents from coming back and learning information that can be useful for their families and their children.

cynthia said...

love it so very much.

Heather said...

@Michelle - This isn't about just being in different starting places, though, is it?

I'm a huge believer in the value of sharing our personal experience--it's the basic principle behind the OA blogroll and roundtable. But our experiences alone don't make us experts. I know it's a check I have to put on myself. When we style ourselves as educators or experts on open adoption *in general* without putting in the time to educate ourselves we run the risk of spreading misinformation that will influence other's decisions. I think as APs we do need to call each other out on that.

I'd hope someone reading this who has slipped into the "I'm an expert!" trap (and let's face it, a lot of us have at some point) wouldn't feel anything more than maybe a little temporarily sheepish. Not attacked. And be motivated to learn more about the history of U.S. adoption and open adoption, in addition to the personal insights we get from one another's blogs. It's fascinating stuff!

Kristin said...

I, now, feel sheepish.

I suspect that anyone who has been to an adoption agency orientation, read some adoption-focused blogs, and is actually a parent in an open adoption probably IS more expert about it than 99% of Americans. For many, open adoption may still indeed be a new-fangled, fringe concept.

While I take your point (I believe), and I will think twice before calling myself an open adoption advocate, in my opinion there is a lot I can do to educate interested others based solely on my personal and very brief experience with adoption.

As to the peaches and giner - hallelujah!

Heather said...

@Kristen: "[I]n my opinion there is a lot I can do to educate interested others based solely on my personal and very brief experience with adoption."

I totally agree! Completely! My point is more that we're responsible for having at least some sense of how our personal experience fits into the broader history of open adoption. Context, that's all.

I probably should have left the advocate thing out. Of course I hope people advocate for openness in adoption! I just found a certain irony in calling oneself an advocate while actually putting forward an idea of open adoption as unknown, untried, and very new. When in reality the first kids to grow up in open adoptions are now adults. Deciding we know everything and drawing conclusions about OA in general based on just our personal story. I really doubt any of the small band of wonderful readers here would do things like that. The examples I was thinking of were really over the top. You're probably all fabulous advocates for OA!

I think in trying to be somewhat vague I didn't do the best job of making my point.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for saying what I was thinking...on all points.
About the brochures...I feel that way about the 'pop-up' internet adds on group blog adoption sites.
It bugs me as a birthmom to have to look at large pictures of pregnant teenagers or happy couples staring down at a blue-eyed baby or even the ones with just the blue-eyed baby claiming that the baby 'could be yours' at just a click.
I mean, often the content of the articles is good and valuable. Why do these big ads have to 'pop-up' while I'm trying to read it.
It's like that library brochure is internet stalking


Hilary said...

Although I can't really be part of the adoption conversation much any more, I still love reading your posts. Thanks.

susiebook said...

Thanks--so many thanks--for any guerrilla actions you may or may not have conducted at the library.

Deb said...

I never noticed the Legos but then we're not overrun with them yet.

I would LOVE to see this blog that considers themselves the pioneers of open adoption. What a great agency for making them feel that way, wow! Almost as good as my mom telling me that adoption is a new thing that wasn't around when she was younger.

harriet glynn said...

Hmmm ... interesting. I worked in adoption for 7 years, then we adopted locally in an open adoption, and I feel like the biggest newbie of all time. I generally use the term explore when I refer to adoption. That said, I do try to "educate" but perhaps that's the wrong word, maybe share would be better people who have limited knowledge around adoption because there are A LOT of misconceptions (ha poor choice of words!) out there. Love those little lego guys.

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