Tell us about yourself and your connection to open adoption.
Our adoption journey started in March of 2006 when I was diagnosed with type I diabetes. Pregnancy can be complicated and dangerous with type I for both the mom and the baby, so my husband and I chose adoption. We were placed with our first child, Andriella, in November of 2008. Our adoption with her biological mother was semi-open for some time (pictures, letters, and e-mails), but evolved into a more open adoption which included visits. In the summer of 2010, we started our second homestudy, figuring it would probably be a year (give or take) before we'd be placed. Surprise! The DAY our homestudy was completed, we were chosen to adopt another baby girl. Our second daughter's biological parents wanted a completely open adoption. Visits, phone calls, pictures and letters, and texts started immediately.
We chose open adoption because adoption, much like having a biological family, isn't all about us. Most parents want to make choices that will benefit their children. We know that our children will have questions that only their biological parents can answer. Our family is transracial (we are white, our kids are black), and we believe that our children will need positive same-race role models in their lives which their biological parents can provide. Finally, we feel that our children's biological parents and siblings are an extention of our family, and we are blessed to have communication with them.
What has been the most unexpected or surprising aspect of open adoption so far?
That it didn't come or remain a neat little open-adoption package. Open adoption can be complicated, emotional, and ever-changing, much like any good relationship. There are awkward moments and unique circumstances that crop up. As a family we have to decide how to deal with those moments and circumstances. Open adoption keeps us on our toes!
In the future, my hope is to adopt from the foster care system. I know that an open adoption will likely not be a part of that. I'm trying to figure out how my kids will deal with some of them having open adoptions while others will not.
How did you start blogging?
I started blogging about diabetes four years ago---before blogging was very popular. After adopting Ella, I started my adoption blog, White Sugar, Brown Sugar. Now I focus most of my efforts on my adoption blog and freelance writing for health and adoption publications.
What influence has the blogging/online world had on your adoption experience?
I love learning new adoption-focused information from my friends on Facebook and my blog readers. I take what I learn and share it with others. I believe adoptive families are at their best (as parents and adoption educators) when they are empowered and educated. Facebook and other social networking avenues allow information to be shared immediately, so new adoption information comes to parents in a timely manner. It's exciting!
If you could go back to the beginning of your adoption experience and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?
Chill, girl. Adoption isn't going to follow your timeline. It's not going to be perfect. But in the eye of the storm, there is beauty waiting to be discovered.
Pick a few of your favorites from the list below to share with us:
Favorite post from your blog - The entry is called "Adoption #2." It makes me laugh!
Favorite book - The Bible.
Favorite non-adoption blog/online diversion - Facebook.
Favorite thing to do in your free time - Bake healthy cookies with my toddler.
Favorite movie - The Office DVDs. I love the awkward moments and dynamic characters.
Favorite meal - Veggie pizza followed by a chocolate dessert.
Thank you to Rachel for sharing with us! Be sure to go visit her blog for more of her life and writing. You can also check out the earlier open adoption blogger interviews: