Tag Archives: VIPs

VIPs: Very Important Posts from May 2012

Very Important PostsAkin to law enforcement’s unbroken “chain of custody,” we humans have an innate desire to know our history. ALL of our history, including, as one writer points out, any time between one’s birth parents and one’s adoptive parents.

Amanda had a mother in between her two moms. In her Letter to My Foster Mother, Amanda says:

Dear Foster Mother: Having my adoption documentation and being able to talk to my two other mothers has enabled me to form a complete picture, not reliant on an institution in the middle, of what the first chapter of my life really was.

But it’s not a complete picture; not really.  You’re missing.  The first four-and-a-half-months of my life are missing.

When was my first smile?  When was my first laugh?

An incredible post well worth the click-over.

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It’s not surprising that during the month in which Mother’s Day falls, a second letter to a mother caught my eye.

Terri writes (in a letter written in February but on my radar just recently) A Letter to the Mother I’ve Never Known. In it we are privy to the feelings behind an adoption search and hopeful reunion:

I hope you don’t mind that I’ve been looking for you, wishing and hoping I might answer the questions, finish the puzzle, gain some understanding. The kind women who are helping with my search assure me you would want to be found, that birth mothers often don’t search themselves because they were told they had no right to, or because they fear rejection.

I fervently hope they are right. My letter isn’t intend to hurt you, invade your privacy or stir up trouble. I just desperately want to introduce myself, get to know you.

And me.

As Terri reaches back in time to her birth mother, she includes photos of her growing up years. May Patricia Clark find that post.

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My kids want to see a certain summer blockbuster. I’m glad I read Avengers: Why is Making Fun of Adoption Still A-OK? first. Triona, an adult adoptee, asks about a line in which Loki’s badness is explained  thusly: “He’s adopted.”

Why is this joke acceptable? Why did the audience laugh? Why didn’t they rise up in HULK SMASH anger like I wanted to and scream, “Hey! That’s not funny!”

The line, reportedly the funniest in the whole movie, disturbs me, too. And makes me wonder what are adoptive parents to do — take their kids, not take their kids, talk about the offense beforehand, talk about it afterwards? And say what? Maximize it? Minimize it? Write to the movie studio?

Read Triona’s thoughts about  this textbook example of bad blood. Your thoughts?

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What if, in order to meet someone who was related to you and important to you, you had to go through a disinterested third party.  In Why I Oppose Confidential Intermediaries, Susan enumerates reasons why using an intermediary to make contact within a closed adoption is not only wrong but also ineffective.

My history and my identity belong to me, and these things should never have been taken from me in the first place.  As an adult, I very much disliked placing my personal affairs into the hands of an unknown party whose competence I had no way of judging.

and

It is unfair and unethical for two parties to sign a lifelong, binding contract over a third party who had no say in the matter.

Susan offers six other reasons why the intermediary system is dysfunctional, discriminatory and suspect.

The bad news? The Intermediary was not successful in setting up a meeting with Susan’s birth mother. The good news? Susan was. Of course! She has a vested interest in making it work. An intermediary doesn’t. A fascinating perspective.

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KatjaMichelle had a tweet co-opted by an adoption agency, which used her words for its own purposes, not passing along the deeper, richer texture. She fills you in at The Importance of Context.

I know that twitter isn’t Vegas.

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Be on the lookout for what you consider Very Important Posts during the month of June — I’d love to know your nominations for the next edition of VIPs.

VIPs: Very Important Posts from April 2012

Very Important PostsWe sometimes talk about a person being “full of himself” as if it were a bad thing. But really, who else would a person be full of? Watching a child become full of himself is a beautiful thing to behold, as witnessed by Judy Miller in her post Full. A found videotape led to several reclaimed memories for her son:

We watched those minutes together over and over that afternoon, my son temporarily filling up that place deep inside of him where ambiguous loss dwells, receiving affirmation that he was deeply loved and valued long before his adoption was finalized.

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As an analogy to making sense of the adoption mosaic Rebecca invokes the Buddhist story of the blind men and the elephant in her post The Whole Elephant. There are pieces in addition to our own that make up the bigger, more complicated thing we call Adoption.

The adoption community is like this. We have different experiences and perspectives. We are adoptees who searched and had successful reunions and those who searched and experienced rejection … and we are those who choose not to search. We are adoptive parents who embrace and struggle with the complexity of adoption and those who connect only with joy and contribution. We are birth parents filled with rage and grief and those who are at peace with placement.

There are power in stories, both in the telling and the listening.

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What would you do if your child’s birth parent asked to move in to your home temporarily? Anne writes about such a situation in her post Under One Roof:

So what is it like to like to have your daughter’s first mother live with you for five weeks? In some ways, it was oddly normal. There were many times when it felt no different than having a sister or close friend live with us. There were a lot of laughs. Can’t breathe kind of laughs. It was comfortable. It was really nice. Sometimes it was emotionally draining. Those who live it know that open adoption can be simple and complicated in the very same moment. There were nights when I cried by myself.

Click to read the ways in which the experience changes the bonds among Anne, Fiona and the daughter they both love, Lily, as well as how Anne dealt with the remarks of concerned friends and family members.

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Maggie’s post is from March but it wasn’t brought to my intention until April. In a guest post from her daughter’s birth grandmother, Maggie gives space for Sharon to tell the thought process behind a family choosing to make an adoption plan from the point-of-view of the birth mom’s mom.

From Sharon, mom to Tarah who is birth mom to Georgia: Yes, Tarah could have taken care of a baby.  I was a pediatric nurse and I taught all my daughters baby care.  We loved babies at our house; we are the kind of people that carry everyone’s baby, we beg to babysit, we plan special things just for kids…..we love them.  My girls knew how to change diapers, use bottles and how to rock and pat a fussy baby.  But raising a child was different, they are only a baby for a short time…….and then they’re toddlers and grade school kids, and adolescents, and…….and…..and.

A Birth Family’s Story is from a viewpoint we don’t see very often in the adoption blogosphere.

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Monika muses about a petition going around to make contract agreements in open adoptions legally binding. She and her commenters share their varied opinions on the subject. Monika says in her post Oh, The Legalities,

In my blog post about meeting Jim Gritter the other day, I mentioned that he believes open adoption should be based on hospitality and that he said, “Hospitality is the search for ‘we’ and not ‘I’.”  I agree with him.  Just as in any relationship all parties have to focus on “us” versus “me,” the same is especially true for an open adoption situation.  It’s my personal opinion that making contact agreements legally enforceable does not make certain that people focus on other things but themselves.  In fact I think the opposite is true.  If I’m forced to do something then I’m going to be focused on what I have to do instead of how it might be benefiting the other person/people involved.

There was a surprise to me in Monkia’s post regarding just what entity enforces such a contract agreement. Who do you think it would be? Read to find out.

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Be on the lookout for what you consider Very Important Posts during the month of May — I’d love to know your nominations for the next edition of VIPs.

VIPs: Very Important Posts for March 2012

Very Important PostsBelow is a collection of posts from the past month that made me think long after I read them. Whether you are already acquainted with these writers or not, I encourage you to click over to see if these posts are meaningful to you, too.

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In her post Left Unsaid, Luna of Life From Here addresses the question: where does one person’s story end and the other begin? Some parts of a story are easy to tell: [Telling], her birth story is easy. It’s beautiful and because we were there I can tell her about the love in that room when she entered the world. (Of course I hope Kaye will share her own version with Jaye, one day.)

Other parts, not so much: How to tell about other facets of her story that could have resulted in a very different outcome? What about the reasons Kaye chose to place rather than parent? What about the extended relative who wanted to parent? Or how we had to terminate her biological father’s rights because he didn’t show up. How do you share that information? Do you share it?

This last part caught me. In our efforts to share our stories without infringing on others’ we are left to paint an incomplete picture: It’s not that I want to portray adoption as shiny and perfect by avoiding the negative. Yet I know that leaving out the tough parts could convey a distorted image. Adoption is so complex.

Click to read in its entirety. Luna gives us a reminder that relationships in a post may be more nuanced than they appear.

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Speaking of stories, Harriet at See Theo Run inspired Luna’s post (above)with hers, Talking About Difficult Information: What I learned from the story is that sugarcoating our children’s beginnings does not serve them well in the long run. If you know something about your child’s history that is uncomfortable, at some point, you need to tell them, so they can grieve it, accept it, and move from there.

Not only are adoptive parents responsible for caretaking their child’s story with the outside world, but they must also navigate how to best reveal the story — warts and all — to the child himself. Harriet addresses how to balance revealing the whole truth with a parent’s urge to shield and protect.

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Monika has a list of 10 Things I Love About Open Adoption. Her entries are fine examples of And Thinking — her birth daughter claims and is claimed by her biological parents AND her biographical parents. And Thinking is a step toward healing from the Either/Or Thinking that was so pervasive during the closed adoption era.

Witness #7: Mack will be able to take all of her nature and all of their nurture and combine it.  The best of two worlds, so to speak.

It’s a wonderful list.

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 In Can Love Be Shared? a mom observes her 5 ½ year old daughter figure out the properties of love after a visit with her birth mother:

Here we are, Ally at 5-1/2 years old, living in an open adoption and she is wondering if she can show and share her love with her birthmother, Cristina, and would it be okay with me? I never realized she would be torn … we have our own love for Cristina and a strong relationship that we have developed and didn’t realize that in her way she may feel she has to choose one over the other when we are all together?

It’s a beautiful moment of understanding and open-heartedness between a mom and a daughter.

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Lastly, at the Huffington Post, Lisa Belkin muses in Are You My Mother? The Changing Norms of Adoption and Donation whether we should apply what we’ve learned about openness in adoption to the arena of egg, sperm and embryo donation. A blogger on Babble‘s StrollerDerby said, “The child’s parents would be the people who raised and nurtured her, who got up in the night to care for her when she had a nightmare and struggled with her homework night after night. It’s not the birth that makes me a mom, and it certainly isn’t the ability to produce a healthy egg. It’s everything that comes after.”

And Lisa responds: But isn’t that the same argument in favor of closed adoption for all these years? That it is not the genetics, but the actual parenting, that makes a parent? And haven’t the decades taught us that it is, in fact, a mixture of both? Yes, adoptive parents are the child’s parents. But biological parents are not secrets to be buried, but building blocks to be embraced.

I did something I’d never done before — left a comment on HuffPo.

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Be on the lookout for what you consider Very Important Posts during the month of April — I’d love to know your nominations for the next edition of VIPs.