Wine and coffee with Anifish

Recently I had a delightful visit with my friend from a cross-triad adoption board, Anifish (that’s her avatar), who is an adult adoptee. Her blog is on my blogroll, but lately she’s been taking a break from all things adoption.

Ani’s very talented daughter had a gymnastics meet in my city, so she drove up from her city with her 12 and 10 year-old girls to spent the night at our home.

Over just one glass of wine (I swear), Ani and I talked into the night. About adoption (she broke her moratorium temporarily), about parenting, about willful children, about our common online acquaintances.

We were at it again in the morning over coffee. Her kids and mine played nicely together. The heelys were a big hit with my children.

Anifish and I fit like pieces of a puzzle. She helps me understand the adoptee perspective, which I hope will help me be a better mom as my kids grow and integrate their adoption stories into their identities. I help her see the adoptive parent perspective, giving her insight into her own mom.

Here are some a-has we had. I pose these as theories, not facts. What do you think?

  • Infertility is less shameful than it was pre-1980s. People are more “out” with their infertility. It is no longer something so embarrassing that you need to pretend you suddenly gave birth to a baby when, in reality, you have adopted one.
  • Compared with earlier generations, adoptive couples today have more time to grieve and more assistance in processing their loss of a dream. Because of the time spent in IF treatments, my processing was quite lengthy. But the time we attended a meet-and-greet at the adoption agency, I was already 5 years into grieving. Further, I had clarified that at its essence, my dream really was to parent, not to procreate. Through the homestudy process, I was counseled even more through the grief. I felt pretty healthy by the time I became a mom, responsible for another life.
  • The more healed the parents are, and the more they can separate their own adoption issues from their children’s, the easier it will be for the children.

As for her break from adoption: Ani has been in reunion these past few years, and it’s not been a wholly successful one. Sometimes she blogs and posts on the boards passionately, and sometimes she has to stay away from the intensity. I value her perspective because she neither praises nor condemns adoption. She simply tells how it feels to be her. She has only one agenda item: open records for adoptees.

13 thoughts on “Wine and coffee with Anifish”

  1. The A-ha’s you list make so much sense. And I especially agree with the assessment that the healthier the parent, the more skilled he/she is in helping the child develop a healthy sense of self, no matter how he/she entered the family.How wonderful for you to connect with someone like that. Those are the types of relationships that help to remind me that life ultimately IS good. They are vital to our very survival.XOXO

  2. WG — I wish you were, too! If you’re ever out this way, we’ll get together in your honor.Ani — OMG. You are such a gift to me. There are no words. Can’t wait til next time.MM — I hope things go OK for your kids. Sounds like a big challenge for you as a parent.Mel — maybe we should have more words about this.Katd — thanks! I know you get it.Mrs X — it’s always a challenge for me not to be creepy!

  3. I’m with ani in loving the line about wanting to parent and not procreate. That is exactly what it came down to for me. I was ready to be a mom. It was hard to grieve a bio child at first, but in the end, it wasn’t about genetics at all. It was about parenting. Great post! 🙂

  4. We agreed to let birth mother see the kids twice a year as long things didn’t get weird. They got weird. They don’t see her anymore. It was really hard to watch the kids with birth mom. My youngest remembers her, but has no urge to pursure a relationship with her, yet. I’m sure the older kids will look her up, and unfortunately be disappointed.

  5. What a wonderful and valuable resource this friend is — and how open-hearted of her to share her experiences.I find myself, lo these many years, (over three now) touching back on adoption. I really value the opportunity to read about your experiences…Thank you…and I wish I were still in Colorado!! I could be part of your brigade.(Oh and Heelys…we’ll be lucky if we get through the year without an orthopedic injury)Pam

  6. You adoption posts always make me appreciate how evolved a person needs to be (and should be) to take on the care and nurturing of a child. Your children are very fortunate indeed.

  7. Re a-ha #1: I think one factor that has de-stigmatized infertility is its prevalence. I haven’t fact-checked this for a while, but I did read that something like 1 in 5 couples will have trouble conceiving. This was about 10 years ago, so the number may be higher now. I suppose part of it might be the increased age of people attempting family-building. I imagine a great deal of it may have to do with environmental factors.So, there are just more of us.Also, I think that having the internet gives us access to a wider community where we can see we’re not alone as we might feel in our immediate surroundings.That sounds like such a marvelously satisfying visit.

  8. I have zero experience with adoption, but I would think that the nature of the adoption should fit the parties involved. The LA Times and the Washington Post have both had amazing stories recently about open adoptions and the ups and downs that are involved. As with most things in life, it’s never an either/or. There are always positives and always negatives, no matter the decision. As for infertility being less shameful, again, I’ve only been in it in the last three years and didn’t know anyone who was open about it before then. I suspect that there is a greater understanding that it happens, but there is still a lot of ignorance about why it happens and the effects. I still don’t feel comfortable ‘outing’ myself all over because usually the person doesn’t have a clue about it. Glad you found such a wonderful friend. Hang on to her for dear life (but don’t be creepy – you know what I mean).

  9. I love how you two fit together and move one another forward.Is that, perhaps, your purpose (since you were considering it at the Lushary)–there are certain people on earth who need you specifically in order to have that pieces in their personal jigsaw puzzle?

  10. I love that you said this.. “Further, I had clarified that at its essence, my dream really was to parent, not to procreate. “I feel very comfortable with you, I love our time together. You simply remind me that adoption is not so bad. I watch you with your wonderfull children and I think to myself “Such an unselfish well rounded parent. So smart in knowing what her children need. Still able to sacrifice parts of herself for the kids relationship with their bmothers.”But here is the real truth, you show me that you are really sacrificing nothing at all. It is whats natural to you. Natural for you to put their needs first in everyway.As it should be.. Ani

  11. What a wonderful and valuable resource this friend is — and how open-hearted of her to share her experiences.I find myself, lo these many years, (over three now) touching back on adoption. I really value the opportunity to read about your experiences…Thank you…and I wish I were still in Colorado!! I could be part of your brigade.(Oh and Heelys…we’ll be lucky if we get through the year without an orthopedic injury)Pam

  12. Thanks for this post. I often wonder where we will fall . . . I didn’t really adopt, but I am not this child genetic parent either.

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