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
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