Category Archives: Very Important Posts

VIPs: Very Important Posts from August 2012

Very Important PostsJill takes on the controversial topic of enforceable open adoption agreements in Openness and Contracts. Her view of  it may not be what you might expect from a birth mother.

An enforceable openness contract would have made me suspicious of any contact I got from P and M. The openness I have now means the whole world to me, because it comes from love rather than legal obligation. If there were a contract, I would always wonder – did I get a picture and an update because P and M wanted me to have it, or because they felt like they had to give it to me?

…My conviction had to be about what Roo was going to get out of adoption, not about what I would get from it. My choice for her wasn’t open adoption. It was simply adoption. Openness was a happy by-product, not the end goal.

The thing is, I trust P and M to make choices for Roo that are in her best interest. If I didn’t trust them to do that, I wouldn’t have trusted them enough to place her with them.

…If a couple needs a legally enforceable agreement to tell them to be decent and kind and respectful to the woman who gave birth to their child and then broke her own heart to give that child the best life possible, open adoption or no, then they have no business adopting.

She further explores the shades of gray and her commenters engage respectfully. A worthwhile post for anyone interested in open adoption.


Luna deliberately steers a conversation about where babies come from toward an adoption talk with her 3 year-old, Jaye. In Simple When It’s Anything But, Luna responds to the question “Why I not grow in Mama’s belly?”

Her thought processes are insightful:

Children ask what they need to know. They only ask what they are ready to hear. She wasn’t asking why I was her Mama. She wasn’t asking why Kaye was not her Mama. She was asking why, if babies grow inside their mamas, she didn’t grow inside my belly. Complicating my answer was the baby sitting in the high chair to my side. I knew I had to take Baby Z into account, even though the question was not about her. Or was it? Was she also thinking ‘how come I didn’t grow in Mama’s belly too?’

More important than what Luna said (which was clear and appropriate) was that she broached the subject. That she demonstrated for her daughter that such things can be talked about, wondered about.


Rebecca, adoptee-in-reunion and adoptive mom, also touches on messages adoptive parents can impress into their children, sometimes unwittingly. In Shrugging off the Shoulds and Shouldn’ts of Adopted Life, Rebecca says,

My parents were well intentioned, and they were doing the best they could with the tools that were available to them at the time. But the unintended result was there was no acceptable place for the feelings of “not belonging” that naturally arose in me.

The comments on this post are also instructive for adoptive parents on ways to either entrench or help shake off cultural messages about adoption.


In the same vein, we hear another facet of unsaid messages that can pass from adoptive parent to child. Racilous, a birth mother in an open adoption, says in Sometimes I Leave My Happy Place to Interact with People I Disagree with:

But there is another breed of adoptive parents out there, those who refuse to listen…they just think and know their way is correct, that they are the child’s parents (they may even stick the word real in there) and he/she won’t need anything but them. They spend 18 years objectifying the birth family, nullifying any connection, and then when the child is an adult says “well I would never do anything to stop you from searching now”, never acknowledging that they spent 18 years drumming it into a child’s head that they shouldn’t care about who this other family was. These kinds of adoptive parents make me feel really bad for their kids.

We parents should remain ever-mindful of the messages we may hold and unwittingly transmit about adoption, our children’s biology, and what we value and validate.


Thanks for joining me for this edition of Very Important Posts.

VIPs: Very Important Posts from July 2012

Very Important PostsAmanda resists the urge to bang her head against a wall when someone tells her, “So go look at your birth certificate!” at Land of Gazillion Adoptees. Think about the nails-on-chalkboard phrase to infertile people, “Just adopt!” and you’ll get a sense why this grated so.

My birth certificate, gee, now why didn’t I think of that?  The problem is, someone else already did and they sealed it away from me.  I have a choice here.  I can reply “oh OK” and change the topic.  Alternatively, I can explain “my adoption and birth records are sealed.”  This option a great deal of the time ensures that the person I’m talking to will immediately transform into an adoption-records-expert and reply “oh, well that’s probably because she doesn’t want to know you.”

Amanda gives a brief history of the sealing of adoption records (hint: it’s not to protect the adopted person) and it is illuminating for anyone involved in adoption.

Oh, and next week is the Adoptee Rights Demonstration in Chicago. Support in any way you can, including making a donation.


In Loss, we meet again, Other Mother shares how a new loss reveals the hurts of an old loss.

And saying goodbye to him… I wasn’t expecting all the raw emotion that saying goodbye to Ellipses would bring up from the day I left Baby Boy in the arms of a social worker.

I found it poignant how she also addresses feelings of regret.


Luna re-tells the birth story to her 3 year-old daughter as they drive by the house where Kaye gave birth to Jaye, the daughter Luna and Kaye both claim. With each telling, Luna is able to add more and more details. Luna explains in Evolution of the Story how she handles the inevitable “whys” — and how, through open adoption, she hopes won’t have to handle them solo through the years.

Some day, though, I know she’ll be asking “why” again. Why did Kaye ask us to be her Mama and Dada? Why did we take her home? Why couldn’t Jaye stay at her Grandma’s house where she was born? So many “whys” she may one day wish to know. I’m grateful I won’t have to answer all of those questions alone, that I can turn to Kaye to tell her story too.


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

VIPs: Very Important Posts from June 2012

Very Important PostsA post at Patheos reveals how one mother moved from the letter of an open adoption agreement to the true spirit of open adoption. You can see how the woman’s perspective shifts from her own to her child’s.

Jenni Levy explains in My Daughter Has Two Mothers how Emma brought her birth mom into their lives:

We always figured that someday, some far-in-the-future-day, Emma would join the conversation. But here was our kid, our bright, affectionate, talented kid, telling us very clearly that someday needed to be now. We stalled for a long time, until one night she looked up from her pillow and said “Mommy, you keep telling me we’re going to meet Kim, but you never do anything about it.

Click to read what Jenni did about it.


Harriet addresses the Nature/Nuture debate with her post, Nurturing My Child’s Nature.

There is an obvious randomness in adoption whereby a child winds up with a family that wasn’t biologically anticipated. I’ve heard from adoptees who felt they didn’t fit with their family…While I feel strongly that we are a good fit with Theo, these sentiments struck a tiny chord inside me, one that says, pay attention to the signs and signals that my son is offering. Don’t try to mould him in my  image.

I have been aware of this raising my children — have I had fewer expectations than I would have if I’d had a biological connection to my children?

I wonder, though, if I were an adopted person, would I find this freeing and liberating? Or might that lack of expectation be bothersome, a void?


Mom Colored Glasses featured an interview featuring two women in one open adoption. Ash (birth mom)  and Amber (adoptive mom at Bumber’s Bumblings) speak of their individual fears both before and after placement.

Ash says about her before-placement emotions:

But the reality is that the decision to place your own child, who you love more than anything, in a family besides your own is so unbelievably hard. Once it’s done all I want, and other birthmoms want, is for the plan we have for our child to succeed in being a supportive and loving family unit. Why would we go out of our way and sacrifice so much to ruin it?

Amber shares her post-placement fear:

I was concerned about sending pictures with us in them.  I thought it would make you sad.  One time, I snuck a picture of Nate & B together in the email.  That was the only picture you talked about in your reply.  It made you so happy to see them bonding.  That’s when I realized that this is really what you wanted for his life and it wouldn’t hurt you to see pictures of us with him.

Click through to read the secret fears that first parents and adoptive parents have at different points of the adoption journey.


Rebecca writes of her emotional evolution as an adoptee in Don’t Be Frightened By My Anger, My Grief, or Even My Love — It Only Means That I’m Awake.

Now I allow myself to feel it all: the whole crazy mixture. I don’t know any other way to be at peace with what happened to me other than to walk through the emotions – all of the emotions.

Listening to adult adoptees talk about being adopted feels like a good way to prepare me to listen to my own children as they evolve.


Finally, from Modern Mommy Magic, I direct you to the Top 10 Reasons why Open Adoption is Better. Prompted by The Today Show clip, Ashley says Open and closed adoption isn’t about what is good for the parents! It’s about what is best for the child… just like all parenting decisions should be.


Be on the lookout for what you consider Very Important Posts during the month of July — I’d love to know your nominations for the next edition of VIPs. Thanks to those who alerted me to some of the posts highlighted here.