January 30, 2012

Open Adoption Roundtable #34

This roundtable prompt comes from a first mom in an open adoption who no longer blogs but wanted to hear what others had to say on the topic.

She was thinking about her reasons for placing her daughter and how she handles sharing (or not) that information with the people in her life. She realized that her daughter's adoptive parents were often asked that same question by people (i.e. why she chose to place) and she wondered how they answered. This started her thinking about how others handle that choice of what to share and whom to share it with, especially when they are asked to speak on behalf of another party in their open adoptions.

It is likely that we've all had that experience at some time: someone asking us to speak to the choices or feelings of others in our adoption constellation. Perhaps it is someone asking a first parent how their child feels about being in an open adoption. Or someone asking an adoptee why their adoptive parents chose to adopt. You get the idea.

How do you handle such questions when they are asked of you? How would you want the other parties in your open adoption to handle those questions when they are about you?

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. 

Write a response at your blog--linking back here so your readers can browse other participating blogs--and share your post in the comments here. Using a previously published post is 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.


The responses (so far):

Jenna (first mom) @ The Chronicles of Munchkin Land

Racilous (first mom) @ Adoption in the City

Archane (adoptive mom) @  The Spinning Goth

I Am (first dad) in comments

Geochick (adoptive mom) @ An Engineer Becomes a Mom

Robyn C (adoptive mom) @ The Chittister Children

Other Mother (first mom) @ Dear Sweetheart (auto-play music)

Dena (adoptive mom) @ Red Velvet Wisdom

Meg McK (adoptive mom) @ God Will Fill This Nest

Cindy (first mom) in comments

Cat (adoptive mom) @ Cat's Litterbox

Lynn (adoptive mom) @ Open Hearts Open Minds

Alissabeth (adoptive mom) @ Not a Visitor

Susiebook (first mom) @ Endure for a Night

I Was Anne (adoptive mom) @ Tears of/and Joy

CB (adult adoptee) in comments

Danielle (first mom) @ Another Version of Mother

Venessa (adoptive mom) @ A Journey of Love

Kareydk (adoptive mom) @ Karen's Adoption Journey

Meghann (adoptive mom) @ Everyday Miracles

Mrs R (adoptive mom) @ The R House

Jenna (adoptive mom) @ sparklejenna

January 19, 2012

Roundtable Suggestions

I have a new open adoption roundtable set up for next week. This next prompt was suggested by a first mom blogger (she's since shuttered her blog, else I'd link to her) and I'd love to have more community-suggested prompts. I'm sure you have some better ideas than mine!

What topics would you like to write about? Read about? You can peek at the list of prior topics for a look at what we've done in the past.

January 17, 2012

Adoption Book Tour: "Found" by Jennifer Lauck

Today I am participating in an adoption book tour of Found by Jennifer Lauck, organized by Lori at The Open Adoption Examiner. Found is a companion to Ms Lauck's earlier memoirs (the acclaimed BlackbirdStill Waters, and Show Me the Way), re-telling some of the same events then continuing on through her reunion with her first mother and, more broadly, her search for wholeness, peace, and identity. It's a raw and powerful story about her memory of loss (loss piled on loss, in this case: losing her family of origin due to closed adoption, losing her adoptive family to death, losing trust and safety when she is betrayed and abused by those who are supposed to take care of her) and the many ways (Tibetian Buddhism, motherhood, reunion) she found restoration.

As part of the tour, I was sent a few questions to answer. To continue to the next leg of this book tour, please visit the main list at The Open Adoption Examiner.

January 10, 2012

Best of Open Adoption Blogs 2011

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Best of Open Adoption Blogs 2011

The Best of Open Adoption Blogs list celebrates the best of online writing about openness in adoption from 2011, as selected by the blogging community. Bloggers could contribute posts they wrote as well as posts written by others. Submissions will be added to the list through January 31, so if your favorite isn't listed, be sure to add it.

The submissions are listed in the order in which they were received--no "best of the best" or rankings here.

Section I: Recognizing Our Own Writing

A modest proposal. I mean, question. by Lia of Lia - Not Juno

Christmas and Adoption by of Mandy W. of FourAgainstTwo

Family is Family by Socialwrkr24/7 of Socialwrkr24/7: Eyes Opened Wider

(my) love bites by Alissa of Not A Visitor

My Sister Lives in Texas by Dana of Life Unexpected

The Fun Side of Waiting by David of Seeking Fatherhood

What I Get to Do by Robyn C of The Chittister Family

I'm Just as Scared of You as You are of Me by Racilous of Adoption in the City

Processing Adoption: Conversation with my son (part 2) by Lori Lavender Luz of Write Mind Open Heart

Not What I Expected-Everything I Ever Wanted by Julie Corby of The Eyes of My Eyes are Opened

Dear Adoptive Parent... by Cynthia Christensen of Wife, Mother, Birth Mother, Author, Homeschooler

It's Not Easy Being Green by Monika of Monika's Musings

Open Adoption Roundtable #30: The First Time by Sheeps Eating Me of Sheeps Eating Me

Bile by Barb Sobel of Sideshow Barb

Are You an Attuned Adoptive Parent? by Rebecca Hawkes of Love Is Not a Pie

Did I Get the Call? by Cindy Rasmussen of Recipe for a Family

What Kind of Mother Gives Up Her Kids by Jenna Hatfield of The Chronicles of Munchkin Land

A Plea for Adoptive Parents by Lindsay Smith of On Loan From Heaven

Open Adoption Roundtable: Write About a First Meeting by Amber of Bumber's Bumblings

Why We're Adopting by Lindsay of Fortunes Full

Adoption Doesn't End by Heather Schade of Production, Not Reproduction

How I (Almost) Shied Away From Openness (And Not Why You Think) by Luna of Life from Here: Musings from the Edge

Birth Mothers by Amber of Life in the Last Frontier

RAD, Trauma, and Attachment by Carol Lozier of In My Child's World

The Things I Didn't Know by Danielle of Another Version of Mother

My Plan A by Whitney of On a Journey to Adopt

Birthmother, J by Tiffany of Finding K: A journal of love through infertility, cancer, and open adoption

Thoughts on Open Adoption by Camille of Embracing the Odyssey

Section II: Recognizing Great Writing by Others

Up the Duff by Susie Book of Endure for a Night
Writes Lia, "This post was insane. I've always loved Susiebook's blog and stumbled onto it when we were roughly the same amount pregnant - me with my first son, who I eventually placed, and her with her second son, who she parented after placing her first 18 months prior. I love her insights into parenting in a complicated situation--missing Cricket, loving Joey, and dealing with a less-than-ideal open adoption relationship. 'Up The Duff' was the announcement of Susie's third pregnancy (second child to be parented) and was just so goddamn INTERESTING. It's like a really well-written TV show, where the main characters know what the 'correct' thing to do is and yet somehow still manage not to do it because it's HARD. (And it IS so very very hard.) Seeing how Susie dealt with disclosing her pregnancy to her family and then to Cricket's adoptive moms was fucking fascinating and relatable, and I spilled my coffee the first time I read this post."

Goodbyes by Jenna Hatfield of The Chronicles of Munchkin Land
Writes Mandy W., "I know this was a hard moment for Jenna, but it shows how amazing an open adoption relationship can be. It can be very difficult, but it is so worthwhile for all involved.  I find her to be an inspiration in how hard she works to have a relationship with her first child."

Positive Stuff about Jacket's Mom by Rebecca of Fosterhood NYC
Writes Socialwrkr24/7, "I cheated a bit as this isn't so much a post about Open Adoption--it's kind of the reverse actually. Rebecca was a foster parent to 'Jacket' for 18 months and then she returned home to her mother. Jacket's mom has some pretty serious and difficult limitations--and their relationship was NOT ideal when Jacket was in Rebecca's care. But out of Rebecca's desperation to stay involved in Jacket's life, an amazing (albeit sometimes insane) relationship has formed. Despite much self-doubt and continuous redefining of the boundaries, Rebecca's 'whatever it takes' attitude is something to be admired. Whenever I read her blog, I can't help but wonder and wish that more adoptive parents could open themselves up to what could be possible if they decided to do whatever it takes to keep their child's first parents in their lives. Its not an easy road Rebecca has chosen--but I know she will never regret it."

Oh, the Legality of it All by Thanksgivingmom of I Should Really be Working
Writes Alissa, "I love TG's willingness to call out fear in adoptive parents and the various ways we can be tempted to deal with those fears that are unfair to first parents (and by extension our children). This post is about the double standard in terms of who has legal rights to participation in a child's life and who really matters."

Unpleasant Truths by I Am of Statistically Impossible
Writes Dana, "I Am is the only birth father blog that I have come across and he writes real, raw and from the heart material.  I think his perspective is crucial in trying to gain a full picture of open adoption.  I think this post has great meaning and I love the question, 'Why do you want to parent?'"

The Potty Jar by Bobby of Those Two Daddies
Writes David, "Really fun, down to earth post that made me laugh and laugh."

The Future of the Adoption Tax Credit by Dawn Davenport of Creating a Family
Writes Robyn C, "It's not sexy or emotional, but the Adoption Tax Credit is not well understood. I like this post because it's informative and useful."

No One Said I *Had* To Search/Reunite by Mei-Ling of Exile of Xingnan
Nominated by AmFam

Love Is Not a Pie by Rebecca Hawkes of Love Is Not a Pie
Writes Racilous, "First, I love reading what Rebecca has to say.  I think she her posts are always well thought out, respectful of all in the world of adoption, but they also challenge me to think how I approach adoption.  I can honestly say that although I read many blogs of both adoptive parents and adoptees, it's not that common that I find one that I'm always excited to read, yet this blog represents both those parts of the triad and I can't wait when I see a new one in my reader.

When I was looking for a post I found more than one of Rebecca's that I truly enjoyed, but this one in particular I think is an amazing explanation of how openness can work for our kids.  I honestly cannot believe it was her first blog post, but what a way to kick off a blog and show your voice to the world."

Why I Do This, Part 3 by Heather Schade of Production, Not Reproduction
Writes Lori Lavender Luz, "Heather explains why she stays up late at night building an open adoption community. 'I don't think any one of us has all the answers. I think precious few among us deserves any "adoption expert" label (I'm certainly not one of them). But all of us put together? We can be a life-changing resource for each other.' I have learned so much from the people in this sector of the blogosphere, and I'm grateful to Heather for getting us together once in awhile around her table."

Love Universal by Rebekah of Give All to Love
Writes Julie Corby, "I always hate when people say, 'All you need is love' in regards to adoption. This post talks about love and adoption in a way that I really responded to."

It Is What You Make Of It by Kelsey Stewart of A Birth Mother Voice
Writes Cynthia Christensen, "I grow consistently frustrated with the anti-adoption, haters world that is predominantly made up of people 'stuck' in their own negative thought patterns. And Kelsey is raw and honest all the time about this."

Adoption Guilt by Harriet Fancott of See Theo Run
Writes Monika, "I just plain loved this post. I love Harriet's writing anyway, and this one was so emotional and thought-provoking (if you read the post and see my comment on it, you can actually see how thought-provoking it was for me.  Also, I wrote a post on my own blog inspired by this post and my comment)!"

Open Adoption Roundtable #31 by Rebecca Hawkes of Love Is Not a Pie
Writes Sheeps Eating Me, "Rebecca tackles the question of fear in open adoption by talking about the myth of the hateful birthmother monster--and she includes those who have lost their children to foster care. This is a story that is hardly ever told, but she addresses it clearly from the perspective of adoptive parents' fear in open adoption. This was something I badly needed to read at the time she wrote it, and it's haunted me since."

A Kid-Shaped Hole by Sheeps Eating Me
Writes Barb Sobel, "She understands and has always made an effort to be in contact with the birthparents for the sake of her kids.  Because SHE WANTS TO.  Because it's important to her. I've read this blogger for 6 years now, through various blogs and I'm so proud of her."

Long rambling post that fell out of my fingers by Tiruba Tuba of Tubaville
Writes Rebecca Hawkes, "I chose this post because it shows that adoptions can be open even when the conditions for openness are less than ideal. I also love the way the author describes her own transformation over the years. And I was touched by the simple beauty (and truth) of the the sentence 'There can never be too many people who love a child.'"

It shouldn't be this way... by Becky Fawcett of An Infertile Blonde
Writes Cindy Rasmussen, "I agree with her wholeheartedly and I am inspired that she is taking action to help other families. Bravo!"

The Only Choice by Danielle of Another Version of Mother
Writes Jenna Hatfield, "Not only is it well-written, but the more we understand about that pre-placement process that birth parents go through... the better."

Open Adoption and the Man Who Makes Mine Bearable by Lisa Anne of Living Through Today
Writes Lindsay Smith, "Lisa's perspective on open adoption has opened my eyes to the ugly side of adoptive parents not upholding their end of their agreement and promises to a birth mom... Lisa is a birth mom and I think this post sheds some light on a birth mom's heart."

Embracing Duality in Adoptive Families by Rebecca Hawkes of Love Is Not a Pie
Writes Amber, "I thought it was a beautiful example of selflessness in adoptive mother. So many times you hear how selfless the First Mom is, but you don't hear that often about Adoptive Parents. I found it inspiring and encouraging for my involvement in open adoption"

Being a Birthmom is Bittersweet by Coley of Living the Bittersweet Life
Writes Maureen Horan Benes, "This post is simple and straight to the heart of the matter. I think about it once in a while, and I can't say that for many blog posts, because I read so many!"

The Bedroom as a Metaphor for the Neglected Inner Sanctuary by Kristen of Rage Against the Minivan
Writes Lindsay, "Because I WISH my side of the bedroom was as clean as hers in the picture..."'

This Is Not An Adoption Blog, and I Am Not an Adoption Specialist by Martha Crawford of What a Shrink Thinks
Writes Heather, "A powerful post about being open, particularly as non-adopted persons, to all that we do not know. Starting from the author's personal experience, it builds to conclusions like these: 'Birth mothers, first mothers, natural mothers, adoptees, adopted persons, adult adoptees, adoptive parents, forever families, adopters – every word becomes an injury, a wounding – language itself becomes impossible and insufficient to describe all of the light and darkness, joys and sorrows, connections and disconnections, contradictions, ambivalence and dissonance. I’ve learned to think of all of the voices in the adoption community, as dissonant as they are, as part of some whole, that I can never grasp.'"

7 Points About the Birth Mom Conversations by Lori Lavender Luz of Write Mind Open Heart
Writes Luna, "Lori's moving series about discussions with her son as he processes his adoption is a rare gem. As always--but particularly with such a sensitive subject--Lori conveys her experience and sage wisdom with insight and compassion. While everyone touched by adoption could benefit from this series, I think it is a must-read for adoptive parents. (I actually love part two best, but that one is already on the list!)"

Courage by Brittany of Que and Brittany's Adoption Journal
Writes Amber, "I love how Brittany writes about the transformation of her heart from aching to be a Mother, to actually being a mother.  I also love that having Brie with her at church made that day mean so much more to her.  This is what open adoption is about!"

Must Read News Article by Rumor Queen of China Adopt Talk
Writes Carol, "I chose this article because it talks about how important it is for many children to find their birth family.  And it gives helpful information for children from China where identifying information is scarce."

Open Adoption Roundtable #31 by Barb Sobel of Sideshow Barb
Writes Danielle, "She presented this idea that was in my head, that I had yet to form into words for one reason or another--the idea that some of my wounds (adoption wise) would always be there. And that I have to figure out there is a good chance that I will never have peace for some of the things that happened. It was a powerful moment for me, brought on by a powerful, yet simple post."

Sometimes by Kayli of Becoming Kayli
Nominated by Whitney

Why I am anti anti-open adoption: a public response to private statements by Lori of Write Mind Open Heart
Writes KatjaMichelle,"When the Best Open Adoption Blogs of 2011 list was announced I couldn't decide on how I'd ever narrow it down to just one.  As I was thinking of all the great posts I'd read over the year this post (actually the first of a two parter so I'm kind of cheating but regardless read it then click through) kept returning to my mind.  It took me a bit to re-find the post, but I'm glad I did.  Go read Lori's words.  No seriously go. read. Lori's words."

Talking more about open adoption by Wendy of Our story: A blog about open adoption
Writes Tiffany, "Because I recall wanting to learn more about the open adoption relationship and how it can work."

What Not to Say to a Birthmother by Red of One More Day
Writes Camille, "This was one of the first blogs I stumbled across when I started looking for resources to better understand a birth mother's point of view. I'd thought a lot about the stupid things people said to me as an adoptive mom, and this post helped me realize that birth moms have to deal with similar ignorance on a daily basis. I appreciate her honesty, compassion, and genuinely good advice. :) "

January 08, 2012


Best of Open Adoption Blogs
The Best of Open Adoption Blogs 2011 arrives on Tuesday!  Hooray! There are thirty-some posts on the list so far and not a single one has been nominated twice. I think that diversity is such a testament to the strength of our loose online community and the resource we are to each other.

The initial deadline was yesterday, but I'll try to squeeze in as many as I can that come in before Tuesday. And, don't forget, I'll still add submissions through the end of January even after the list is posted. So keep them coming! What did you read about open adoption in 2011 that made you pause or nod or cry or laugh?

If you're feeling shy about putting something you've written on the list, remember that you can honor someone else's post without submitting a post of your own (that goes for non-bloggers, too). But I'd also encourage you to take the risk of adding your own post. If you blog because you think you have ideas worth sharing, then this is a chance to share them beyond your site's core readers. If you blog to connect with others, then this is a potential chance to connect with someone you don't yet know. Everyone has said something worth celebrating--and that includes you.

Adoption Reading Challenge
Jenna is organizing the Adoption Reading Challenge again in 2012. I participated last year and signed up again this year. You don't need to blog or review books online or anything like that. Just commit yourself to reading 3, 6, 12 or 20 books about adoption (half fiction, half non-fiction). It was a great way to push myself to go outside my usual non-fiction, domestic adoption reads last year. There's a Goodreads group, too, where we can swap recommendations and reviews. Come join us!

January 05, 2012


Dear Eddie,

You settled into being six years old a few months ago now. It is, thus far, a slightly taller version of five: the same intent love for Legos; the same need to run and jump and explore; the same fierce desire to snuggle together for books at bedtime. Your blankie is still your most treasured possession.

There is also, in the last two months, a new found fascination with all things football. It is your father's fault; he got in there before I could snag you with an appreciation for something more civilized. We recently interviewed a string of potential babysitters and, after (mostly) patiently listening to them answer our boring, adult questions about things like discipline, you got to ask them your burning question: "What is your favorite football team, college and professional?"

We hired a 49ers fan. I hope you approve. At least you are quickly learning to add by 2s, 3s, 6s, and 7s.

This is the year of kindergarten, the tip of the iceberg of crumpled papers in backpacks, never-ending school concerts, and days governed by the bell. On your first day, I gave you a smooth pebble to carry in your pocket, telling you I had loaded it with kisses and all you needed to do was touch it if you were scared or lonely and needed a reminder of my love. That afternoon I stood with a crowd of other parents, anxiously holding my breath and waiting for school to end. The school was so big and that day you seemed so small. Would you leave holding back tears? Confused? Hating school and begging never to return? Then I saw you coming through the double doors, tiny amid those big kids, wide-eyed but confident. You slipped your hand into mine; as we walked down the sidewalk you looked up me with a soft smile and said, "I only needed to use my rock twice!" My heart soared like a balloon released from its weight.

Sending you to school feels like another big step in the sometimes painful, often joyful process of watching you slowly grow ever more independent. Inevitably more and more of your day will happen away from my eyes. Already I feel out of touch with your social scene in a way I never was before this, gleaning whatever I can about your friendships from the snippets you tell me after school. It's different, but not sad. There is something right about watching you branch out, bright and sure of yourself. Because that's the point of this parenting gig, right? Somehow we hope to help you feel so deeply rooted and loved here that you are able to go out confidently on your own.

Each weekday as we leave for the walk to school, I speak a blessing over you, our own private ritual for transitioning into that part of the day. I love the final lines: "May he bring you home rejoicing at the wonders he has shown you. May he bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors." They capture the heart of what parenting is for me right now, what it will be throughout our lives together--that opening of the arms to send you out in the world and the joyful opening of the arms to welcome you home.


January 01, 2012

New OAB Blogs - December 2011

The open adoption blogs list grows every month and sometimes additions get lost among all the awesomeness. Hopefully these monthly round-ups of the new blogs from the month will help folks connect.

Here are the blogs added in December:

Stretched: One family's story of foster care and adoption

Idiot girls life post adoption: I am a birthmother just trying to find a way to continue life after losing the one that matters most in this world to me. Not all posts are about adoption but they are all true stories based on my life as I try to move forward.

Karen's Adoption Journey: My adoption journey with T, who was adopted internationally, and whose first family we retain a relationship with as best one can from 7,000 miles away -- made even more difficult when there is no postal system in his country and no electricity in his extremely remote village which is not accessible by car and no one in his family is literate -- and other stuff along the way.

Stretched: One family's story of foster care and adoption

A Concrete Way of Love: Matt, Mikki, Mary, and Luke. Matt and Mikki married in 2005, and are the proud adoptive parents of Mary, our precious girl, and Luke, a beautiful little boy born with Prader-Willi Syndrome. This blog chronicles our lives and adventures as a "forever family".

Our New Normal: Our journey through preeclampsia, pregnancy loss and domestic adoption

Seriously?!: My journey through RPL to Domestic Adoption. Currently 'waiting' for that call.

Jake & Stephanie: Jake and I have been together for over 5 years and are hoping for the miracle of adoption. This blog is to get to know the real us and to communicate with you as we help each other along on this amazing journey.

Roztime: Inclusive fostering to open adoption (currently in the fostering stage), of 3 kids aged 2-8.
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