Our latest interviewee in the open adoption blogger series is Harriet, author of See Theo Run. She describes her blog as her "space to muse and explore the intricacies of our open adoption and life as a mixed race family." I've appreciated the thoughtfulness of Harriet's writing and her ongoing efforts to understand what it means to be an adoptive parent in an open adoption. The photos of her adorable, rambunctious son certainly don't hurt, either! Read on to learn more about Harriet and her blog.
Tell us about yourself and your connection to open adoption.
How much time do you have? Ha ha. My husband Mark and I adopted our son, Theo, now two-and-a-half, at birth in an open adoption. We met his birthparents via an agency two months before he was born and have had an ongoing, in-person relationship ever since. We have met all sides of Theo’s birthfamily right up to grandparents. Our relationship has been both wonderful and emotionally challenging. On the upside, I feel privileged to know Theo’s biological family; I’ve gotten to know them as people as well as learning about their Jamaican heritage. On the downside, adoption has taken all of us to some dark places. Despite this, I would characterize our relationship as authentic and caring. I should add that we are a tri-cultural Canadian family: I’m white, my husband is Filipino, my son is Jamaican, and we live in multicultural Vancouver.
What has been the most unexpected or surprising aspect of open adoption so far?
The most difficult aspect has been accepting on a deep core level that our son has two families. I didn’t anticipate that I would feel so much sadness and pain around that fact. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t love my son any more, and I can’t imagine our lives any other way but I feel like I can never wholly claim my son as my own (I’m sure Khalil Gibran would say that no one can). And yet, I know how incredible our situation is. His birthfamily love and care about him and are available to him if he has questions down the road but I’ve just found it difficult to be an adult and learn to share. That said, I can already feel a shift happening, and I think if asked this question in two years or five years, my answer will probably be quite different.
How did you start blogging?
I wanted to get our story down on paper so to speak. There were too many funny and poignant moments, and I didn’t want them to evaporate. So initially, it was strictly documentation. Since then, the blog has morphed into a combination of multiracial open adoption exploration, run-of-the-mill mom blog, and love letter to my son.
What influence has the blogging/online world has on your family's adoption?
I’ve met a lot of adoptive parents, birthmoms and adoptees from all over Canada and the US. We’ve exchanged stories online and chatted via Twitter and email about our adoptions. I’ve even met six families in my city via my blog. The problem is now I want to meet all of my American blogger friends!
If you could go back to the beginning of your adoption experience and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?
I’d remind myself that everything shifts and changes over time, that my child’s birthfamily’s journey is not mine, that I have my own path to travel, and that everything will be fine.
Share a few favorites with us:
Favorite post: I like this one because it’s short, upbeat and has nothing to do with open adoption
Favorite movie: Most recently Midnight in Paris. I love a good quirky indie film.
Favorite non-adoption blog/online diversion: I love hanging out on Twitter and just chatting. Of late, I’ve also whiled many a moment away re-pinning beautiful homes, rooms, food and clothing on Pinterest (make it stop!)
Favorite thing to do in my free time: Anything outside. A walk in the woods or along the beach followed by brunch with family or a big group of girlfriends.
Thank you to Harriet 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: