Category Archives: Guest Post

2012 Adoption Blogger Interview Project

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012In conjunction with National Adoption Awareness Month, today is Interview Project day for more than 50 pairs of adoption bloggers. I therefore introduce to you to my partner-in-project, Becky from Scared to be Happy, Happy to be Scared.

Becky and her co-blogger (and husband) Rick have been writing to their future child, Little One, for nearly a year. They explain the name they chose for their blog: it’s because adoption is a pretty scary experience, and as we’re finding out it is not for the faint of heart. But we’re so excited to be starting our journey and we’re hoping for a happy ending.

Becky makes her own soap (I’ve always wanted to learn how to do that) and Rick is a computer whiz but not-so-much a laundry whiz. Their adoption site is RickandBeckyWanttoAdopt.com and they also have a Facebook Page.

Here is my interview with Becky (and hers with me).

When did you start blogging and why?

I started blogging on January 13th, 2012, the day we found out about our match with the first expectant Mom. Until that time, we had seriously considered adoption but never acted on it (mainly out of fear of failure, I think), until this match fell out of the sky an into our laps. We knew right away that this was the path we were meant to be on, that adoption was our destination. I had so many emotions and feelings flying around in my head, I had to put them all down and release them in order to think straight again. The only way I knew how to do that was to write to this baby, this person who was so concrete, made of flesh and bone, and yet was so unreal to us. From then on, I wanted it to be a real life account of this journey, the good and the bad. I want LO (Little One, as we’ve been calling our future baby) to have this history with us, partly because we cannot have the history of gestation and birth, but also so they realize just how much they were wanted and loved by not just us but everyone in their lives- long before they were born.

What is your favorite post and why?

I think my favorite post is the one right after we found out the first expectant Mom had decided to parent. The emotions were so raw and real, and it showed such a strength in us that we didn’t even know existed. I literally put the phone down from receiving those fateful words, “she’s parenting the baby,” and I immediately put my fingertips on the keys and started writing. It was that type of writing where you’re just letting go, and until you go back and reread it you don’t even remember what you said in the moment. It’s one of those rare posts that is a small window into our souls at that exact point in time with no filter. I also like it because one day LO will be able to look back at that post and realize that we never, ever gave up, even through the hellish parts. That we never stopped believing in them and ourselves, that we put faith and trust in our family and choices. It also proved to ourselves that that exact moment that this really was how we wanted to build our family, and that particular situation had to exist to be the fire under us to get the ball rolling in the direction it needed to go. When I’m having a rough week, I will still go back and reread that post and find strength again.

I also like this post, where I work out some assumptions and thoughts about openness in adoption.

What does openness mean to you? What do you envision as being your ideal adoption situation, regarding openness?

To us, openness is, well, open ended. I’ve realized through talks with other families in open adoptions that it’s difficult to define openness because it can often be fluid, waxing and waning because of life getting in the way. However, in our ideal adoption situation we would want complete openness. Ideally we’d like to have a close friend relationship with the people who brought our child into this world. Without them, we wouldn’t get the opportunity to live out our dreams and parent. I know in the waiting game I am constantly worried about where our future child is- if they are safe, if they are on earth yet, where they are- and they aren’t even concrete yet. I cannot imagine the pain of a first mother wondering the what’s where’s and why’s after carrying that soul within her body for nine months. I don’t think it’s fair at all, especially to the child, to sever that relationship because of our insecurities. In an ideal world we would have our future child’s first parents at birthday parties, graduations and weddings. We’d talk to them like equals and friends. Our children would have the opportunity to know their full history with both them and us, and be comfortable in knowing them because they see how comfortable we are knowing them. I know that not every open adoption turns out that way, but I also know that a lot do and I hope we’re in the latter group.

Besides adoption and family-building, what are you all about? What are your interests, hobbies, passions?

I’m a huge nerd, and a DIY-er to a fault. I’m addicted to trying new crafts and I love art. I’ve gotten pretty good at soap and jewelry making over the past year (it’s a good way to help keep busy during this waiting game) and I’ll try just about any craft at least once. Usually I fail miserably, but that is part of the fun. Rick and I are also big into nature. We love to go hiking and camping with our family and our two dogs, our lab Sammy Davis Junior Junior and our cockapoo Ella Fitzgeraldine. I also love to cook, but only if someone else is doing the dishes!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Two things. One, I’ve found through our journey that the adoption community as a whole is sorely lacking in resources and support to those who are doing an independent (or private) adoption. We chose this route for many reasons, including being able to manage cost and marketing (again with the DIY-er attitude) and the ability to form a close relationship with the expectant parents without a third party. A lot of people think that this means no support for the expectant Mom, and that is a big misconception. We’re huge supporters of emotional counseling and separate legal counseling for the expectant parents. With independent adoptions, I don’t think a lot of people choose this route simply because they didn’t know it was an option. I encourage all people looking into adoption to consider private/independent adoption when looking at resources and agencies. That is not at all to say that agencies are evil or should be avoided, but they are a different experience — one that we might have one day — but it’s important to know there are many options available. Just like in anything in life, research, research, research, then find what fits best with your life.

Secondly, we are still looking for our future child. A lot of independent adoptions take place within the adoption community. For example, you may have already adopted and feel your family is complete, but a friend comes to you with word about a situation. Maybe it’s not the right situation for you, but it could be for us. Please pass that information along. Our information can be found at www.rickandbeckywanttoadopt.com, our blog: www.scaredtobehappyhappytobescared.wordpress.com, or our facebook page: www.facebook.com/rickandbeckywanttoadopt . The power of a loud mouth is astounding (I should know, I have one!) so if you get the opportunity to tell someone about our journey and the fact that we’re still looking, we’d greatly appreciate it.

Third (oops, I snuck another one in there!) I’d like to thank you for being an awesome interview partner! I’ve been a big fan for a long time, so I’m  so excited I got the opportunity to interview you as well!

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Likewise, Becky. Thanks for partnering with me on the Adoption Interview Project for 2012.

To read interviews from other pairs of adoption bloggers, visit The Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012.

Because I just got taller

I had a biennial physical this week. Everything was great and one vital statistic was better than great: I am a half-inch taller than I used to be.

I attribute it to yoga. A steady yoga practice can put space into one’s spine to counter the compression that comes over time. I began practicing yoga more than 5 years ago and now I’m aiming for 6’2″ before I die, so that’s a lot of yoga (and a lot of years! I’m clever like that).

In honor of this half-inch, I share with you today a guest post by mom and yogini Kim Shand, a yoga teacher who writes about finding the calm within the storm that is parenting. Her grown-up secret? Balasana — the pose of the child.

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Rethink yogaI’ve been a mother for 23 years. My husband and I have raised two children to the point to adulthood, if not complete independence. We navigated pee-wee soccer, teen acne, and way too many prom nights. We survived the transition when they left for college. We endured the roller coaster ride toward degrees. We are now waist deep in the ”kids are back home” adventure.

When your children are babies you feel the excitement and the trepidation of not knowing what’s ahead of you. Having conquered the unknown, I had a perception of myself as an experienced parent. Now, with two 20-somethings in the house full-time, I am once again facing down the ravine of unknown territory. As I enter this new phase of post-parenting parenting, I find myself once again leaning heavily on the lessons of my yoga practice to find the calm within the storm.

Child’s pose is always an option. It used to be that time outs were a useful tool for the children, giving them time to calm down and choose a better course of action. Now they are an appropriate tool for me. ON the mat child’s pose is an opportunity to pull back from the intensity of the practice and check in. OFF the mat, a mental child’s pose steps you back and take a few deep breaths.

My husband and I had taken a long weekend away to reconnect and recharge, leaving our house in the hands of our children who needed to remain on their work schedules. Although I love to travel, I always have a sense of joy in returning home to my own kitchen, my own bed and everything familiar. Walking through the door of our home on a Tuesday afternoon, I fully expected the comfort of the familiar. I was greeted with something I’d never seen before.

yoga child's poseThe kitchen sink was piled with dirty dishes. The smell of rotting food pervaded. The family room had piles of laundry.  For some reason I couldn’t possibly fathom, a soaking wet towel was lying on the wood floor of the kitchen.

It was time for child’s pose.

Maintain a beginner’s (child’s) mind. No matter how long you’ve been practicing, your body is different every time you step onto the mat, and what you need is different. Approaching each yoga pose as though it is your first allows you to stay open to new possibilities without predetermined ideas of what works and what your limits are.

My child’s pose allowed me to call my son at his office and and resist the temptation to launch an assault. I asked what had happened in the house. He explained that there had been a power outage leaving them without electricity for 3 days. They couldn’t run the dishwasher. The ice in the freezer had started to melt, so each morning they put a towel in front of it before leaving for work. They were showering at friends’ houses at night and then changing into work clothes in the family room because it had the most windows and natural light at dawn.

Release your attachment to the outcome: Each time you try a yoga pose you get stronger. Mentally and physically you create change by putting out effort without your ego demanding a specific outcome. It makes no difference if you stick the pose perfectly or struggle and fall. The benefits are always there.

Could my grown children have emptied the ice from the freezer to avoid the flood? Maybe used a bigger towel (or several)? Would I have washed the dishes by hand in the same situation? Was it feasible to neatly fold the clothes they walked out of before putting clean clothes on? It’s all possible.

On the other hand, their effort created a benefit. My vision of an outcome was not their vision. My kids have very distinct personalities all their own, and (hard to believe) not everything about them is a reflection, or indictment, of me. The dishes got washed. The clothes found the laundry room. The wooden floor dried out. Two young adults didn’t end up feeling like they came up short.

Relax with what is: This is simultaneously the most difficult and the most useful single lesson a yoga practice can offer.

Kim Shand is the founder of Rethink Yoga. She travels nationally on a mission to inspire people to take control of their health, how they think, and how they age, through yoga. Kim brings a lighthearted, honest approach that stays relevant to students’ experiences. She motivates her students to find their power, their joy and to be “All In. All the Time.” Follow Kim on Facebook, on Twitter, and on YouTube.

2011 Adoption Bloggers Interview Project

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2011Today is Interview Project day for more than 120 adoption bloggers. I therefore introduce to you to my partner-in-project, Allison of A Few Sprinkles Short of a Sundae.

I had the chance to get to know Allison through her blog and through email. She is a Christian, a wife and a mom — by birth (the usual 9 month gig) and via adoption (638 days from placement to finalization). She and her husband are currently waiting for their second placement through the foster care system. Allison is a writer and photographer who also enjoys speaking about infertility, parenting, and her Christian testimony.

Here is my interview with her (and hers with me).

When did you start blogging and why?

I began blogging the day after I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, so April 21, 2006. It was a way to chronicle what was going on. Over time it developed into more than just what was happening with my family and I eventually closed that blog down. I began my current blog in June 2010 wanting to focus less on how cute my children are and more on issues all mothers – biological and adoptive – face on a daily basis. I also wanted to be a little more anonymous than my previous blog, listing my children by nicknames instead of full names.

What is your favorite post and why?

That is such a hard question! It depends on the topic of discussion. If we’re talking adoption, Fake Kids, Real Mom is a favorite because it addresses those questions all adoptive moms hate. And 638 days is a no-brainer (when we finalized our adoption). I’ll also push The Other Side of Adoption, because it was written by my college roommate who is a birthmother who placed her daughter for adoption.

If we’re talking non-adoption posts, Toddlers vs. Frat Parties is a good one. Allergy Mom to the Rescue is quite funny. And my top-viewed post is Chivalry Isn’t’ Dead.

Okay, one more? Please? Sweating Faith is probably one of my favorite posts of all time. Okay. Now I’m done!

You came to adoption via the foster system, and are currently waiting for your second placement through DSS. How did you end up on this path?

It was not my choice, actually. Way back before we had children my husband and I applied with an adoption agency hoping to adopt from Guatemala. They talked us into doing domestic infant adoption. My husband really wanted a newborn and I selflessly gave in to that (I don’t know why – he wasn’t the one getting up in the middle of the night changing poopy diapers or feeding said poop machine). I wound up getting pregnant while waiting for a match, so that was put on hold of course. But when our daughter was just a few months old, I kept seeing billboards for foster care adoptions. I loved the picture; it was two large white eggs with two smaller speckled eggs. Then I heard ads on the radio, and television. I felt like I was being inundated with foster care adoption propaganda. Through prayer I felt like God was leading us in this direction. I resisted – a lot. But after talking to my husband we decided to go to an informational meeting and the rest is history. I was hooked. I wanted to bring home every child I saw.

Does openness fit in with your situation? How are you beginning to answer (or how do you plan to answer) your son’s questions about his placement and his first family?

About three months after we brought our son home we got a devastating call. Biological extended family was suing the state for custody of my son. It’s very long and not my story to tell, but suffice to say “the state” had deemed them inappropriate to raise him, so they sued. We had to counter sue. In that time we, through our attorney, asked if they would be willing to drop their suit if we could have a semi-open arrangement with them. They said no. But when we finally went to court we were told they wanted to “settle.”

So now we have a court order that we have supervised visitation with this portion of the extended biological family. Sadly this is not a family that we can trust in any way, so all visits are supervised by us and nobody but the two people named in the court order are allowed to the visits. We see them four times a year.

The birthparents never made any attempt to seek visitation and even if they did it would be very dangerous for him, which is sad for our son, but I am very happy that when he gets older we can tell him that someone in that family wanted him and loved him, even though they could not care for him.

Right now our son is only 3 and all he knows about his situation is that “adoption means forever.” I have attempted to tell him who the people we have visits with are, but I truly don’t think he understands. We have told him about his first family and how they were unable to care for him so his social worker found a forever family for him, but it all seems to go over his head. But we keep the dialog open so that one day when it does sink in he can ask questions and we will provide what little answer we know.

You are in a position to answer the question many of us can’t: what differences exist between parenting a biological child and parenting a child who came to you via adoption?

There is no difference between parenting a bio child versus an adopted child. I still had to potty train them both. I wipe both noses and kiss both boo-boos. I teach them and I discipline them. On a basic, every day level, both are my children regardless of how they became that way.

Yes, I did miss 10 months of my son’s life, but what are a few months in the span of the (hopefully) 50 years I will parent him?

I was not one of those mothers who fell instantly in love with the child I birthed. It took time. And it took time with the child I adopted, too. When both my children were new to me (as a newborn or as an almost-toddler) I loved them, but it took a few months for me to have that overwhelming in love feeling. Yes, it did take a little longer with our adopted child, but not noticeably longer in my mind.

What, besides your family, what lights you on fire? What are you all about?

What am I all about? Well, my passions outside the three loves of my life (hubby, daughter and son) are writing and talking. I have completed one novel, have two almost done and so many more in my head! I wish I had more time to write. I would also love to break into the public speaking circuit. I aspire to “well-known” status and would love to speak at Christian women’s conferences about things many women struggle with: depression, infertility, marriage, and parenting. I want people to know that they are not alone in their struggles and that if you can find just one small piece of humor in your day it’s all worthwhile. I also love to share my testimony and share the love of Jesus Christ with people. It’s much easier in written form (like my blog) than face-to-face, so I tend to write a lot of it down and post it.

The ability to connect with others is what keeps this world going and even one small connection between two people gives light to this weary world!

Allison had some really incisive questions for me on her blog.

To read interviews from other pairs of adoption bloggers, visit The Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2011.