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2013 Adoption Blogger Interview Project

Adoption Blogger Interview Project 2013In conjunction with National Adoption Awareness Month, today is part 2 of the Ad0ption Blogger Interview Project for dozens of pairs of adoption bloggers. Please allow me to introduce to you to my partner this year: Dana from Simple Hoosier Girl.

Dana is a newlywed who recently graduated from college. I suspect that her favorite color is sunny yellow. In 2010, Dana had the opportunity to travel to Russia, a place she’d always felt an affinity for. She feels called to help people who would like to adopt, people who intend to provide a home for children who need one.

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

When did you start blogging and why?
I started blogging in October 2012. At the time, I wanted a way to remember my senior year and planning my wedding. By January, I realized that I was blogging for selfish reasons and wanted to have more purpose to my blog. I have been really passionate about adoption for a while. I knew that I needed to tell the stories of families who have adopted or who are adopting.

Dana of Simple Hoosier GirlWhat is your favorite post and why?
My favorite post about adopting is the Brainerd family. They were so open and receptive and were so much fun. I left meeting with them feeling totally energized and ready to take on the world. My favorite non adoption post would have to be “my seester…the one that is a tidbit older than i am.” Spending time thinking about my sister and the fun times we’ve had in life was so much fun.

What calls you to adoption? How did your trip to Russia form your opinions about adoption?
I’m so passionate about adoption because of my trip to Russia. I saw women in Russia being very responsive to God and opening up their hearts and families to adoption. I thought it was amazing, and I was moved forever. I knew from then on, I couldn’t be silent.

What does openness in adoption mean to you? What do you envision as being an ideal adoption situation, regarding openness?
Openness in adoption means being totally honest to both the child and birth parents. There will always be a bond between child and birth parents. In adoption, there will also be a special bond between child and adopted parents. I think all channels need to be open between child to adopted parent, adopted parents to child, child to birth parents, birth parents to child, birth parents to adopted parents and adopted parents to birth parents.

Besides adoption, what are you all about? What are your interests, hobbies, passions?
I love spending time with family and friends. My weekends and many weeks will consist of time spent with family and friends. We could be doing crafts or baking, but always talking and laughing and crying. Food is usually involved, also coffee, lots and lots of coffee. I love conversations and am such a people person. So most of my free time is spent with other people.

How do you intend to use your blog in the coming year?
I hope to use the blog as a way to fundraise for families. I hope to not only post the stories of families, but to also actively help them with fundraising. I also hope to do more follow-ups with families on the blog. I want to take a more active role in advocacy on the blog and in my actual life.


To read interviews from other pairs of adoption bloggers, visit The Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2013.

If you are new to the Open Adoption Blogger community, I urge you to poke around. You’ll find a wealth of perspectives, thought-provoking columns, helpful resources and more get-to-know-something-new-about-adoption events throughout the year.

Does Open Adoption Get Easier?

Last week I led workshops on openness in adoption in Seattle, Portland and Eugene (OR) for an agency whose values closely align with my own, Open Adoption & Family Services.* The staff members at all three offices were incredibly hospitious (to employ a term Jim Gritter coined about using the hospitality model in adoption), as were Monika and Heather, who generously opened their homes to me and let me hang out with their delightful family members.

The Portland workshop was attended by my bloggy friends Heather, JoAnne, Liz and Lisa. One of the questions that came up from the general audience, a woman who is preparing to adopt, is the question the Open Adoption Bloggers now puts forth to you:

Does open adoption get easier?

It was another participant who gave this insightful answer — in the form of another question: Does marriage get any easier?

Things change and get different. Comparing something at the beginning of a journey to something seemingly similar later down the line is like comparing apples and oranges.

And as someone told me when my kids were little and I was exhausted, wondering if parenting gets any easier, “little people little problems; big people big problems.”

I didn’t really get that notion back then. It had been years since I’d slept through the night. I was with the kids, not yet in school, all day. There was crying, frustration, and boredom (not to mention what the kids were experiencing). When my husband came home from work each evening I often felt like hiding in a closet for awhile just to be alone and regain sanity. The problems from this era did not seem small. They seemed huge and unrelenting.

Now I sometimes sleep through the night. The kids are in school much of the day, much of the year. And still we have issues and angst. Bigger issues and bigger angst with higher stakes. We are constantly negotiating household rules. We are helping the kids navigate school and friendships and relationships with teachers and coaches and each other. We have health concerns, treatment plans with the orthodontist, disagreements about fashion and makeup and high fructose corn syrup, negotiations about shower time, bed time, screen time. We mediate between our kids and with neighbor kids. We teach, we model, we teach more and model more. Are we teaching and modeling all the right things? Will we have covered all the important lessons before they are ready to leave home? In less than a decade?

They will be ready to leave home one day, right? We will raise them to be independent, won’t we?

Hence why I don’t always sleep through the night.

So I can’t say that parenting has gotten easier. I can say that it’s gotten different.

Maybe our open adoptions have gotten not easier but better. When we started we had just one first parent around — Crystal. Since then we have connected with Tessa’s birth father, Joe. After talking with AJ on the phone for a few years, we finally got to meet Reed’s birth father (and his parents, wife and daughter) for the first time when he came to town this summer. And we have hopes in seeing Reed’s first mom in the coming months.

The relationships with the people who created our children are gradually shifting from me as caretaker to Tessa and Reed as the owner-operators. So my role is also changing. Whereas my prime responsibility was at first to maintain a wide-open conduit between our family and our children’s birth parents and make sure there was no corrosion, I am now moving into more of a consultant role. As Tessa and Reed begin to helm their own relationships with Crystal and Joe, with Michele and AJ, I will be on hand to assist as requested, to comfort if needed, and to abide, always to abide.

As John F Kennedy advised, “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger people” (gender neutralization mine).


 Some scenes from my night in Seattle.

Lori Holden leads open adoption workshop

Open Adoption & Family Services adoption workshop

Open adoption agency and workshop with Lori Holden

 Monika and the Seattle staff of Open Adoption & Family Services.

* Check these out on the Open Adoption & Family Services website: