Category Archives: Very Important Posts

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


 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.


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.


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.

VIPs: Very Important Posts from February 2012

Very Important PostsBelow is a collection of posts from February 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.

The Internet at its best, entry 1: We see meanness and bullying all too often around the Internet. So when I find a story like this, I want to share it. Witness this group of women rallying around one of their own during a time of need. BernThis and 6 other bloggers made a video for their friend Ellie, who is battling Stage 4 cancer. Watch here or head to BernThis for more of the story.

Operation Spiritual Airlift from Heather King on Vimeo.


The Internet at its best, entry 2: My friend MediaMum flew to her native Australia several times this year to be with her mom, Susan, during cancer treatments. When she let a group of her Colorado blogging friends know about her mum’s imminent passing, we mobilized to send Susan off in a wave of bright yellow, her favorite color. The result was this sunny and day-brightening #Yellow4Susan Pinterest display, courtesy more than 30 contributors.


Jill, a birth mom who blogs at The Happiest Sad, has a fitting analogy about always being on the lookout for something that was lost to you, In her post Adoption is kind of like an Isuzu pickup, Jill says, I know I won’t see [the stolen Isuzu pickup], but I think I see it all the time. Because I don’t know what happened to it, and I don’t know where it is, and what if it’s out there somewhere and I miss if because I’m not vigilant enough? What if I stopped looking, and the next day it passed me in the street on my way to work? There is a gap in my knowledge of the Isuzu. That gap keeps me wondering…This is the benefit of openness. Roo will never have to be vigilant, on the lookout. She knows what I look like and who I am.


In her post The “A” Word: Let’s Talk Abandonment, Rebecca from Life is Not a Pie compares abandonment to separation. Rebecca is both an adult adoptee and an adoptive mom, and she observes that, though having a highly stable childhood, she has a hard time expecting that anything will last. Is it adoption? The thing with adoption is that it can be difficult to tease out which parts are adoption-related and which parts are just life. Impermanence is part of living; the only constant, it has been said, is change.


Lastly, former VIP LisaAnne loved a post at Enjoying the Small Things.  In the post Dance, writer Kelle attends a Valentine’s party for people with Down Syndrome, hosted by her local Civitan club. I had to find out why Kelle was at such a dance and I found the incredibly moving story of her daughter’s birth in which she shows and tells about her 2010 shocker of all shockers.

I knew the minute I saw her that she had Down Syndrome and nobody else did. I held her and cried. Cried and panned the room to meet eyes with anyone that would tell me she didn’t have it. I held her and looked at her like she wasn’t my baby and tried to take it in. And all I can remember of these moments is her face. I will never forget my daughter in my arms, opening her eyes over and over…she locked eyes with mine and stared…bore holes into my soul.

Love me. Love me. I’m not what you expected, but oh, please love me.

LisaAnne says that Kelle “has had to figure out how to go from a perfect family, to being a ‘perfect in its own way’ family. And I love that her world was turned upside down and she is figuring out how beautiful an upside down world really can be.”


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

VIPs: Very Important Posts from January 2012

Very Important PostsBelow is a collection of posts from January 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.

Adoption in the City has a post called An Untapped Resource that brings up a benefit to the child in an open adoption: the birth parent is in a position to offer insight into that child’s nature. I’ve heard from birth parents and adult adoptees who have talked about what it was like when the adoptee was a child growing up in a family that just didn’t “get” him. I wonder what would have happened if the birth parents were around, and the adoptive parents let them know what was going on.

In our open adoptions we have relied on our children’s birth parents to consult with us on possible “nature” traits and issues.And no, the blogger says, this is not co-parenting. A helpful post for adoptive parents who wonder if (or why) they should have more contact with birth parents.


In Sharing Truths, The Maybe Baby shares her views about the adoptee memoir Found as an adult adoptee, a babyloss mama and a woman pursuing parenthood via surrogacy . The post itself is incredible in its insight: I believe there is a balance between recognizing and honoring origins and finding a space of love and acceptance in a family that is not genetically yours. These things can co-exist. I believe this. I HAVE to believe this.

And the discussion the post generated in the comment area among the blogger, the author and other book club tourists brought many to raw, raw places. Get the tissue box before you click over.


I Was, then I Became is a post by The Adopted Ones that begins with a probate case. A man was relinquished by his birth mother in 1947 and died in 1996 without a will. He had never been adopted, never married or had children, and died without any legal relatives. He did have, however, biological relatives — his birth mother and his half-brother, who petitioned to be declared the man’s heirs. This case (and another) causes the author to ponder her own legally switched heritage: [it] demonstrates that we legally lose our biological history and that history includes our heritage both in adoption and probate laws. I became a person with an English ancestry when I was adopted. I lost my true ancestral heritage of the countries my ancestors immigrated from...It is easy to pretend my ancestors are English, I grew up with stories of my parents ancestors, but yet looking at myself I am not. I am a combination of two completely different countries, one who warred with England for what seems like generations if not centuries.

Surely we can find ways to honor and recognize biology as well as biography. What might that look like?


The ever-brilliant Melissa from Stirrup Queens tells The Saddest Chapstick Story You Will Ever Read. After her daughter pushes out too much from her very first cherry Chapstick tube, Melissa writes of the deep weight of regret; that wish that you could have made a different choice, that you could rewind time and change one small decision so the future won’t happen.  Right now, it’s a chapstick, and one day it will be something slightly bigger and then slightly bigger and finally bigger still, and with each moment that we’re emotionally forced to drink from that well of regret, we choke on the knowledge that there was something small we could have done. Melissa goes on to show the relationship between small decisions and big consequences:  [I hoped] that this moment somehow acted as a vaccine against all the stupid decisions she’ll make in the future which will lead to regrets.  That somehow drinking from a deep well of regret over a broken chapstick will keep her from stepping on other small rocks in her path that will lead to future remorse.  That she’ll always use a condom.  She’ll never get in a car with someone drunk.  She’ll be late one day and miss a terrible accident; she’ll be early one day and meet the person she’s supposed to meet.

As a time-traveler myself, I love the idea of tugging on the small threads that make up the tapestry of one’s life to see how it’s all interconnected. What one thing that you do today could have huge ramifications years from now?


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