Category Archives: Adoptive parenting

7 Questions Adopted Children May Ask

The summer edition of Pathway 2 Family is out. Articles include “What is Infertility?” and “Open Embryo Adoption: Radical or Common Sense?” Click the cover to read for free.

snowflakes on open adoptionMy colleague Dawn Davenport of Creating A Family has an article that discusses research on the emotional health on donor-conceived children.

And I wrote one that addresses the seven core issues of adoption, framed by seven common questions adopted children are likely to wonder about, maybe even out loud. Excerpt: Continue reading 7 Questions Adopted Children May Ask

So Many Emotions About My Son’s Adoption Reunion

Letter Writer: I  came across your post “He Wants to Live with His Birth Mother. Now what?”  — because I’m living it.

I am an adoptive mother of three.  My son, now 23 , graduated from college this past May.  Throughout his upbringing his father and I would talk about adoption from time to time and always told him (and the other kids, too) if they ever wanted to search for their birth parents we encourage and support and will help in anyway possible.

None of our kids ever took an interest, until earlier this year when my son was in his senior year of college. It seemed from out of nowhere, but all of a sudden he wanted to reach out to his birth mother.  I knew her last name and the state she last lived in. With that information, voilà,  he found her on Facebook.

My son met with a counselor who specialized in adoption search and reunion and we met with them to navigate the process.  My son asked for my help, asked if I could message her  through Facebook.  At first I was hesitant but after composing what I thought was a thoughtful , acceptable letter, the message was sent.

That was February of 2016.  We held our breath. Will she open the message, will she be open to corresponding, will she reject him? What will happen???

Fast forward a few months. We flew her and her entire family to his college town to attend his graduation this spring. They stayed for a week. Four weeks later my son decided to move to another state and live with them.

So this has been a whirlwind. It has been such an array of emotions. I am so grateful his biological family accepted him and immediately loved him and were open and kind and appreciative towards us.

On my bad days I feel like….. what. just. happened.

mixed emotions of adoption reunion

Continue reading So Many Emotions About My Son’s Adoption Reunion

My Daughter is Hurting in Our Open Adoption. Help?

Question: My teenage daughter is struggling with rejection and misunderstandings from her birth family. I don’t know how to help.

“Sara” will be 16 soon and for the last year she has struggled with depression and anxiety.  She spent a week in the hospital after having a breakdown.  We are in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) together and she’s made great strides, working hard to learn new ways to deal with big emotions.

We have an open adoption with her birth family.  Her birth mother, “Tara,” chose us to be her parents and we kept in touch with her the first 3 years by phone and letters.  We told Tara we were open to whatever she felt comfortable with. When Sara was 3, Tara came to meet her.  The beginning of this relationship was hard, because there really are no rules and we did not know anyone else in the same situation. So we all opened ourselves up to each other the best way we could.

Over time, we got to know the whole family, including Sara’s older brother, “Jacob,” who is 2 years older, and who has a different birth father.

When Sara was 7, Tara told us she was pregnant with twins and that she’d parent them (they all live with her father).  We struggled to find a way to share this news with Sara.  My husband and I thought that the way we reacted to the news would be the way Sara would react.  We told her that she was going to be a big sister, and they were twins! She was very excited and couldn’t wait to meet her new siblings. We all knew that there could be problems for Sara later on, maybe that she would struggle with them all being a family with her the only one not raised by Tara.

We have developed a close relationship, seeing Tara and the three children fairly often, sharing holidays and birthdays.  We have taken Jacob on trips with us (the twins were too young), including camping.  There were always some issues between Sara and Jacob, because they did not grow up in the same household, but we weathered those times, knowing that siblings  sometimes don’t get along.  But they always had a lot of fun and so did we.

core issues in adoption

Credit: derived from “Dew on Water” by photophilde [CC-BY-2.0]

Continue reading My Daughter is Hurting in Our Open Adoption. Help?

Trying to Wrap My Head Around This

Question: Lori, I am trying to wrap my head around this. How do we live out Both/And from a foster care adoption perspective? Our kids were taken from their birth parents for good reason. We have all the info, the original birth certificates, case files, all of that. But no contact with birth parents. And we have been advised not to for safety reasons (the caseworker made a point of me seeing one of the parents via a one way mirror so I would know if I ever ran into him to run the other way).

I want to give our kids this wholeness. The best we have been able to do is some contact with a paternal grandmother for one child. And we know the adoptive parents of the other child’s older siblings, but we have no control over contact. So far the other adoptive parents shy away from it because it is so upsetting for their kids. No matter what we do these folks will not be a part of their lives in the every day.

How can we have openness in our situation and not split our babies? —Jenny

openness in foster adoption

Continue reading Trying to Wrap My Head Around This