What To Read this Week….

Some of the things I read this week, and wanted to share.

She Thought It Was a Parade

“Look, Mom — a parade!” my 4-year old daughter was giddy when she saw the front page of today’s newspaper.
A parade.
That’s what my daughter associated with the images circulating of white folks holding tiki torches while proudly waving confederate flags down the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. (Full Article)

Open Adoption: An Interview With A Birth Mom And Adoptive Mom

Prospective adoptive parents need to do the heavy lifting of discerning why openness scares them. Is it jealousy? False stereotypes? Not wanting to “share?” Barring a true issue of trauma or safety, research tells us that some degree of openness is best for the adoptee. At its core, adoption is about “sharing.” Our kids come from a family of origin and that cannot be erased or ignored. ( full article)

When the answer is no

Another tally mark in the “things I never expected when I signed up for this” category. (Read Full Article Here)

To Do or Not To Do an Online Adoption Profile

 When it comes to making an online profile, there are a lot of thing to consider. Chris and I are always hesitant. We have to overcome the fear of emotional scammers. There’s also the huge task of choosing a site to advertise on and building the actual profile. How much do you put on the Internet about your family? Your other children? It’s complicated. The process of building your family through adoption is long, invasive, and time consuming without the Internet.

We feel like we have to do everything we can to be seen, but at what cost? We felt this way the first time and we still feel this way. It’s kind of strange too. Chris and I have been building our lives on the Internet together for years. We work in affiliate marketing. We’re into the Internet. Chris’s passion is technology and how to market effectively. You would think it would be easy for us to jump on the online profile bandwagon.  We are actually really private.  The thought of putting everything we hold close to our hearts on the Internet is overwhelming.

It’s kind of like asking for help, the kind of help where you should be able to do it yourself, but can’t, borderline embarrassed but few other options exist kind of help.  ‘Please Google god, won’t you help me build my family?’  Then, Google responds with 5 profile views for 7 months so you are hanging out in the world with your feelings showing and talking to Google. Fun stuff.

We do have an online profile. It’s important for my sanity to know that I am doing everything I can, even if it’s hanging my feelings out for the world to see and talking to Google. We have used two different sites: Adoptimist.com and Parent Profiles (now connected with Adoption.com). (If you would like a review / more details about that experience, email me.)

So why did we use an online profile when we are already in an agency pool, our book is amazing, our letter is perfect, and our feelings are all safe and tucked away from the Internet?

The Internet is a part of our daily lives. It is more than likely a daily part of most expectant women’s lives too. Our son’s birth mother found us through a Google search. She saw our profile online. The Internet is not only the way we support our family, it is also how we build it. Oh, Google. Google searches are a part of our daily lives. They just are. Kind of like how online dating used to be taboo. Building an online adoption profile is becoming more and more necessary for families built through adoption.

 So much of our time is online. For better or worse, the Internet connects people without bounds. It doesn’t, however, make it an easy task to build an online profile.  Sharing all of your very personal and heartfelt feelings about a child you hope to raise someday is really scary. I get nervous every time I make a post. Every time a profile goes live, I get nervous. Being vulnerable to the world is hard. Having online presences makes you a target. You are now open to scammers, to haters, and to people who may copy your letter and call it their own. It’s so hard. On a road that has already been hard, why make it harder on yourself.

My friend, times are a changing! They may have in fact already changed. Think it over. Do some research. Then decide. You can do this. You will, if you choose, make a really great profile.

What I Read This Week… You Should Too

A collection of the things that inspired, resignated, and or made me laugh from around the web this week.

5 Things That Happen Because Open Adoption Is A New Concept

“I could never have someone like her around.”

Adoptive parents in open adoptions often are asked “Was she on drugs?” or “Why didn’t she want the baby?” We often spend a lot of time defending our children’s birth parents honor to friends, family, and strangers alike. Tune into any Lifetime-esque channel and you will see a litany of movies showing the scary birth mom who tries to steal her child back. Even the people closest to us don’t understand the relationships we have which can lead adoptive parents to feel isolated at times. ( Full article here)

Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Adopted

No one ever told me a story in which adoption was really hard at first, but then got better. After connecting with hundreds of other adoptive families over the years, I really feel like that’s the true story that most of us experience. When a child is placed with you, particularly an older child, it can be really tough for awhile. It is so worth it to struggle through those hard times. Adoption is never all rainbow unicorns, but there are plenty of magic moments. (Read the full article here)

What Adoptive Parenting Has Taught Me About Persistence

Families who have been able to adopt recognize that without persistence, they would have never made it to their adoption days. It takes a lot of fortitude to finish the stacks of paperwork, background checks, home visits, and any other pertinent requests by the courts, other countries, or placing agencies. In some ways, the process to be approved is a way that families begin to understand how patience and persistence come into play with adoption. (Full Article here)

The Fashion Influencer Has Found A New Gig

As Web 1.0 celebrities grew up, the fashion market became more saturated and was quickly co-opted by marketers, making it a less desirable space to be embedded within. Plus, why limit yourself? As influencers saw that they could live their lives as content — streamed on Snapchat or Instagram stories, a reality show in the palm of your hand — the business opportunities became endless. (Full read here)

Choosing a Quality Adoption Agency: A Guide for Expectant Parents

There are many factors you should consider when choosing an adoption agency.

The importance of choosing to place your child is unmatched in the parenting world of most.  Aligning yourself with professionals that are looking out for you and what is best for your baby is key. A quality agency will make you feel supported and informed as you move through the process of adoption. Here are seven ways I would share with someone I love who is looking to choose a quality adoption agency.

Click here for the entire article.

3 Things I Learned by Not Experiencing Pregnancy

I thought about what to title this post for over a week. Learning to talk about how I felt when I was mourning the loss of pregnancy is a piece of me that I wanted to share.

There was a time (it seems like a lifetime ago) that I had a goal to be finished building my family before I turned 30. I used the phrase ‘Done having babies’. My vision for myself was filled with baby bumps. Me, the hot mom with a perfect post pregnancy body. I was ready. Fast forward a few years: not pregnant, not yet, and not ever.  Choosing not to experience pregnancy is a loss that I mourn.

When I was first learning to own this new reality, it was not easy to talk about. I was ashamed and embarrassed. I felt like I was less of a woman. Wrapping my head around the fact that something so common and so easy for some was not going to be my reality wasn’t simple. I didn’t realize how much of my self worth was tied to having control of my family building or how profoundly different my life was turning out than my peers.

Everyone around me was getting pregnant. They were planning showers, complaining about pregnancy, and doing maternity photo shoots. Around every corner, there was a baby bump or a shower invitation.  My friend and I both started to ‘try’ around the same time. We would fantasize about our kids being the same age and experiencing motherhood together. She ended up pregnant not once, but twice! I watched as her family planned her gender reveal, her shower, and decorated the nursery. Pregnancy is an event where women rally around one another. They share stories and experiences. It’s a bond. I wanted that. It felt like a right of passage.

There wasn’t a congratulations ‘you can speak about infertility without getting hives shower’. Or a ‘never going to be pregnant photo shoot’. It was isolating. I felt like I would never fit in with other women or other moms.  I felt like I was one of the boys.  Where was my ‘building my family through adoption never gonna be pregnant woman tribe’ party?

Not being pregnant helped me to learn so many things about myself and the world I live in.  Here are three of them…

  1. Pregnancy is a journey and an experience.

It’s a life changing amazing experience. Most people are pregnant to become a mother. You can be a mother and a parent without being pregnant.  I originally thought that pregnancy was a journey to motherhood. It is not the only journey. I was writing letters, creating photo books, and making online profiles. I was learning adoption language, practicing adoption language, taking classes, and being finger printed. I was discussing my weaknesses with our social worker at my kitchen table. Believe it or not, there is not a cake cutting at a ‘we’re adopting reveal’.  This is my journey to motherhood. My experience.

2. Not experiencing pregnancy is also amazing.

It’s different not being pregnant. People have a harder time relating to things they themselves did not experience. Being pregnant is amazing, I’m sure. I’m sure because everyone tells me so ;p. Not being pregnant is also amazing. My journey is a testament to how much strength and how much love it took to bring my child into my world (reference your favorite facebook video or meme about labor/ delivery/ pregnancy here) The fierce unconditional bond that flows between my son and I is truth that my journey is amazing.

3. Motherhood is a privilege and an honor.

Infertility was one of the first times I had to learn to accept and live with things out of my control. When I let go of my expectations for myself in regard to pregnancy, I learned that I am enough as I am. I can do hard things. I am worthy of the best life I can dream up. No one is entitled to be pregnant. No one is entitled to be called mommy. Motherhood is not a given. Living with infertility allowed me to own the shape of my life. Having the time (oh, so much time) to consider life without being a mother allowed me the freedom to see the gift of the fray of motherhood.

How has infertility changed you? Was it a surprise?

Positive Attitude Month

I am honored to have the opportunity to share my experiences in this adoption world on Adoption.com as a staff story teller. I’m in way over my head sharing with the rock star ladies that blazed the trail for me and helped me find my voice in this thing called adoption.

Staying Positive When Adoption is Hard.

I cannot count the ways adoption has taught me to dig deep layer by layer and choose who I want to be. It has allowed me to practice being that person in the world.

When the road seems to stop and a hard patch is present, breathe through it. Find your grace. Forgive yourself. Have patience. Read the rest

Staying-positive-when-adoption-is-hard-2

Appropriate Adoption Language and Kung Fu Panda

I have never seen Kung Fu Panda. I have no experience with closed adoption. I do know what it feels like when people or T.V. uses inappropriate adoption language. This is an excerpt  from the article posted to Adoption.com. Please read the entire thing. It is really eye opening. We typically talk about adoption language in the context of strangers in the grocery story or well meaning friends and family. This hits on the importance for all members of the adoption triad to learn and practice appropriate adoption language.

So, while watching Kung Fu Panda III recently, a couple of moments in the movie really hit me hard. When the two pandas realize they are father and son, there’s a tender moment between them. Almost immediately Po’s biological father runs to Mr. Ping (Po’s dad) and grabs him in a tight bear hug (no pun intended!) and says, “Thank you for taking care of him for me.” Sounds sweet, right? Yeah. The sentiment really is sweet. But for a parent to hear that (at least for this parent writing this article) it feels like an immediate demotion from parent to babysitter. I know that when those words were said to me there was only the purest intent. But the words still stung. I didn’t “take care” of my son. I parented him. That means I gave him my heart, my time, my resources, my love, my whole self. I would have given my life for him if that was required. No – I didn’t “take care of him” for someone else. I did it for him.

Here is another ‘Real’ tear jerker.

In the Press… and Being Vulnerable

Chris and I were asked if we would like to be interviewed for the July centerpiece in The Ann, a local magazine. For their July issues, the focus is on local businesses. This year, the topic is ‘The Ultimate Merger: Couples in Business’. We were super excited to be asked, interviewed, and have the opportunity to get photographed by an actual photographer.

This all happened at the same time we were launching this site so we decided to bring up open adoption in the interview. I am going to create a better world for my son and future children. This article was a step, and this site is a step. It was hard to put it out into the world that my family is built through open adoption, that I do not know what pregnancy is like, and that my son is my son. He is my heart and soul. His Birth Mother found me. She made me a mother. She knew him first. I cannot imagine life any other way.

Talking about adoption and what it means to me is scary. I cried after the interview, nearly giving my myself a panic attack. I wasn’t sure if the interviewer would get ‘it’. Would they use proper adoption language? Will they label my family? Did I just open my son up to being judged and labeled? Will I be portrayed as not his ‘real mom’? Being vulnerable is hard! Changing the world is hard!

I will make a better world for my son. I will create a world that I am proud of. I will stand up for women and their rights. I will work really hard to be brave for every woman who has placed. I will show that mothers are mothers no matter how they build their families, even when they are not parenting.

You can find The Ann around town this month.

Originally posted on 6/28/2016