A few things to address what’s up for me lately, both in my personal life and as an adoption educator.
1. In Memory of Dominic DePalma
My sister’s son, Dominic DePalma (say his name), was loved by so many, and respected by teammates and rivals alike.
It had been exactly 77 days — 11 weeks to the minute — since our family’s tragic loss. At 7:13pm on a recent Thursday, Dominic’s high school team and its crosstown rival honored his memory in a way that soothed our hearts.
It was such a lovely gesture by the teams, the schools, and the parents. Tami and Gino are buoyed by people saying Dominic’s name and noticing that he left a mark during his short time in the world. Please consider leaving a 💚 in a comment below and I will make sure Tami sees.
2. Announcement (something happier)
My co-authors and I made an announcement last week via our YouTube Channel.
Yes, I said co-authors! Sara Easterly, Kelsey Vander Vliet Ranyard and I have signed a publishing contract with Rowman & Littlefield, the publisher of my first book. Our new book, tentatively titled Three + Sides to Every Adoption, will be published in hardcover in 2023.
The three of us had been talking regularly ever since we collaborated on an article in Severance magazine. Next we busted adoption myths on my podcast, Adoption: The Long View. We continued to serve as sounding boards for each other when adoption-related issues came up. We experienced a certain synergy from looking at thing from all three viewpoints, and Sara eventually said, we should be recording this. A video podcast was born.
We hope to share what we experience together, along with multiple, expanded viewpoints, with our book. We’d like to help people understand the context behind generalizations like: adoptees are so angry! birth parents so unreliable! adoptive parents are so insecure!
When people begin to comprehend the context behind such generalizations, maybe they can be less judgmental and more curious, less hurt and more confident. When they see how their part fits into the bigger puzzle, maybe that will better help folks navigate their own adoption situation , as well as become more circumspect when talking about adoption online.
Tall order, we know. But we have a vision.
We invited several friends to our first Round Table, all contributors to the book. Adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents, a non-adopter, and an adoption-competent therapist (those last two comprise the +) dialogued over the question: what has been a big a-ha you’ve had about adoption? You’ll see our announcement, followed by a discussion that emphasizes marginalized voices. We seek healing from the wounds of adoption and reforming the practices of adoption — in community.
We are doing it, and we believe others can, too.
Rowman & Littlefield is an academic and trade press. We are thrilled that our book is likely to end up in the hands of not only adoptees, first parents, and adoptive parents, but also in offices of therapists, adoption agencies, and policy-makers. Just like my first book.
3. Between Roe and Dobbs
In the 49 years between Roe and Dobbs, just how much did society decide to help women in unplanned pregnancies either parent well — or place (for adoption) well?
That’s the question my friend Rebecca Vahle set out to explore in her series for the Family to Family Support Network, Coming Together For Families.
Rebecca interviewed 15 people through the lens of healthcare, child welfare, and church communities. She covered aspects such as:
- commodification of adoptees
- informed consent for expectant parents
- unbiased space to decide between parenting (including access to resources) and placing a child
- acknowledgement of grief and loss
- incorporating a bereavement model
- need for post-placement services
- implicit bias
- informed consent for adopting parents
- baby brokers and predators on the internet
- “adoption-friendly” and its flip side
- the necessity for openness in adoption
The entire series is worth the time.
Here is my interview about how prepared we are — really — for openness in adoption.
4. Safe Home Podcast
I got to appear with host Beth Syverson on Safe Home Podcast, a joint effort between her and her young adult son, Joey (who wasn’t with us on this episode).
I’ve got something special planned for National Adoption Awareness Month. Stay tuned.
Lori Holden, mom of a teen son and a young adult daughter, writes from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life. Catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.
Lori was honored as an Angel in Adoption® in 2018 by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.