Our fifth interviewee in the open adoption blogger series is Barb, otherwise known as Sideshow Barb. Another member of our blogging community suggested I interview Barb and I thought it was a fabulous idea--if there's a writer you'd like to get to know better, please drop me a line!
Some of you may know Barb from her shuttered adoption blog, Cigarettes & Coffee. She recently resurrected many of her Cigarettes & Coffee posts at Sideshow Barb. I've long appreciated the powerful honesty of Barb's writing on topics from adoption to secondary infertility to mental illness. As well as the occasional hilarious swipe at her cat. Read on to learn more about Barb and her blog.
Tell us about yourself and your connection to open adoption.
I am a birth/first mom, placing my son at birth when I was 25 (1998). I went through an agency, picked the family from a profile, saw a 10 minute video of them, then met them twice before I delivered. This all happened over the span of a few months. I was about 5.5 months pregnant when I considered adoption for the first time, at the urging of a family member.
What has been the most unexpected or surprising aspect of open adoption so far?
Honestly? The lies, the dangling carrots, the years without contact. How "openness" can change dramatically over time, much like how relationships can dramatically change on the head of a pin.
How did you start blogging?
I started blogging because one of my ex-boyfriend's girlfriends blogged, and I thought, "Oh hell, I can do this". I didn't start out to be an Adoption Blogger, and to be honest, I never thought anybody would ever read it. I went a handful of months with maybe one follower, a morose man about my age at the time who shared a lot of similar musical interests. I knew nothing about blogs, traffic, linking, etc... I put a lot out there initially in 2005 that I wish I could take back because I didn't know any better!
What influence has the blogging/online world had on your adoption experience?
To say that blogging has changed my world is an understatement. The support I've received, people I've met... kept me from flinging myself off the deep end when things have been really terrible in my AdoptionLand. I live in the sticks, and without blogging/the internet, I would have been incredibly alone with what twists and turns occurred. Reading other birth/firstmom blogs gave me a sense of comfort, that I wasn't going through this alone in the world. And discovering how different other people's experiences are: either through adoption attorneys, bad agencies, the Baby Scoop Era, types of openness, open adoptions that actually work. There was a time when I was sucking up information like a sponge. Surprising to me, most of my support came from Adoptive Moms. It's still that way today.
If you could go back to the beginning of your adoption experience and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?
Parent. This mess is very temporary. This "solution" is very permanent.
Share a few of your favorites with us:
Favorite post - I honestly don't have a favorite. If they made it through this last bit of chopping (40 posts), they all mean something special.
Favorite book - The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving
Favorite non-adoption blog/online diversion - Making terrible magnets and selling them on ETSY (Ed. note - The magnets are awesome--here's the shop link.)
Favorite thing to do in your free time - Hang with my very awesome husband, watching movies or playing Scrabble
Favorite movie - Three way tie: The Godfather, The Blues Brothers, Blazing Saddles
Favorite meal - Plain Goldfish crackers. Is that a meal? Oh, coffee. That adds a beverage. My mom makes a great grilled cheese. It's nothing "special", really. It's just because she makes it for me if I happen to be there.
Thank you to Barb taking the time to answer my questions! 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: