Hey guys, I wanted to let you know about a project I am helping a friend with. Russell Elkins, author of Open Adoption, Open Heart and Open Arms, was asked by Adoption.com to gather stories from domestic adoptive parents for a book they are putting together. This book will feature about 25 chapters, each telling a story and giving one piece of advice about adoption that you would give someone just entering adoption. Each author’s submission will be a stand alone chapter. If this is something you’d be interested in doing, please see the criteria below:
Must be an adoptive parent or potential adoptive parent through domestic adoption.
The entry cannot have previously (or if selected, in the future) posted to any blog, article or book.
Must be approximately 1500 words.
Must lend “one piece of advice”.
Can submit using real name, pseudonym or anonymous.
Permission from anyone named in the submission, otherwise change names or use generic terms like “my son, birth mom, husband, wife” etc.
Due ASAP, we are behind schedule.
This is an unpaid project that will serve as an educational piece to help future adoptive families through Adoption.com. Time is of the essence for this project. It is behind schedule and we are looking for 5 additional entries to quickly complete this project. Please email me your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in Russell’s books about adoption, please visit my book review’s page to see a description and a link to purchase his books. Thanks!
A few nights ago I realized my favorite part of open adoption. It is sharing my proudest moments with someone else that is equally proud! I just LOVE when my son does something new and I can share it with his birth mom. Sure I can say it to my family or post it on Facebook. It may even get a bunch of likes and comments. But other than his birth parents, no one is quite the same level of proud of him as we are. That is a very special bond.
My husband has been away on business for a few weeks. He has luckily been given the ability to come home for the weekend to spend time with us (and because he teaches a Saturday class at a local college). This weekend we tried basking in as much family time as possible. Friday after we picked up Isaac from school, we went out to dinner and since the weather was perfect, we headed to the outlet mall to get the boys some new gym shoes. When we returned home, the boys still wanted to be outside (Ezra loves being outside and is constantly running to the door saying “side”). Joe and Isaac were tossing the football around and Ezra was just cruising around the driveway and the yard in his new Nike’s. Of course, like any proud mom with an iPhone, I was snapping pictures. Then I remembered that T, his birth mom, had asked if he was starting to run yet. So when he was chasing the dog, dad and brother around the yard, I switched the camera to video mode and recorded a little one minute clip of him running around and “playing” football. I couldn’t wait to send it to her!
Her response was pure joy! “Look at him run. I love it. It almost looks like he’s been running and walking for years!” I typed back “he’s a pro!” and her next message was when it hit me… she said “I’m so proud.” It is those moments that I know that no matter how many likes a picture gets on Facebook or how many oohs and ahhs grandparents, friends or other family members give, no one else in the world shares the same love for him with me and Joe as his birth parents do. They’ll never tire of seeing pictures that look exactly the same as the ones I took the day before. They’ll never think I talk too much about him. They’ll never think “Gosh this woman is obsessed with her baby.”. They get it. They are still his parents too, even if they aren’t parenting him. They are proud of him. They love him. They take joy in his happiness.
So many people are still scared off by open adoption, simply because they don’t understand it. Open adoption is not co-parenting or fearing that my status as “Mom” is at risk. It is sharing the joy of a child that is loved by many. Imagine depriving them that joy of knowing how he is doing, that would be a terrible heartache to be responsible for causing. Being able to share with him their love, well that in itself is very special. He will know he is precious, loved and cherished.
“He is mine in a way he will never be hers, yet he is hers in a way he will never be mine, and so together, we are motherhood.”
Thanks everyone for your input on if I should start taking on blog sponsors and ads. Your opinion really helped me in my decision! I decided the best way to do this would be to add a new page to my blog. The new page can be found in the menu under Reviews. I have sub-menu drop downs that you can chose to go to the Book Reviews or the Product Reviews. The first sponsored review I did is for a company called VivoPrint. They offer custom photo products. Check them out and take advantage of the 30% off coupon code. Now I’ll return to regular scheduled adoption blogging. Have a great day and thanks again for your feedback!
OK readers… It’s time for your input again. I have been approached a lot lately to have advertisements on my page. I would like to know your thoughts on this. Some companies have been asking for reviews of products or ads/coupons placed on my page. While some of these products could possibly be a good fit and helpful to fellow parents, I don’t want them to be intrusive on my page and distract from why you actually visit, to read the articles on adoption. I have added a page to publish book reviews by people who have requested them, or relevant books I think you would like. You’d have to willingly click to go to that page though. So I don’t have a problem with that. Some other things, like coupons for child, health or food/drink products I am interested to see your thoughts on. Some vendors have asked for a blog post reviewing a product. I am not keen on that idea. Others have suggested doing a give-a-way of their product in exchange for an ad placement on the page. So… what are your thoughts?
It is really easy to get caught up in our own pity party when we face infertility or have set backs in adoption. We see women getting pregnant on accident, we stop watching the news because we can’t handle watching stories about abused children, we lash out at family members who are expecting a baby or complain about their kids being bad, and we cry at the sight of pregnant strangers in the grocery store. Experiencing that grief makes us desperate and sometimes with desperation we lack reasoning skills.
Adoption is an emotional roller coaster all on it’s own, but then factor in the reasons you may have come to adoption; infertility, health, relationship status, sexuality, etc, and you may have extra emotions tied to the adoption journey. While I have seen this many times lately in the adoption forums I go to, I am not going to claim I too wasn’t guilty of all the emotions that this entry is about.
Adoption isn’t easy for the expecting mother who made an adoption plan to place her child. She is doing it for her own reasons. She may struggle every day with her decision. She may feel guilt that she cannot provide her child with the life she wants. She may change her mind every day in the things she wants her child to have. She may waiver on what she wants out of the adoption relationship. But, let’s face it, it is her child. It is her decision. We have to just be willing recipients of the child with open arms. And we need to know when it’s time to walk away from a match that is not going to work.
I know it’s really hard to do, but keep in mind this isn’t about what you are or are not deserving of… but it is about her and HER child. (Of course you deserve a child, it just might not be her child!) This is a super stressful situation for you when she begins questioning things in her adoption plan or her match with you. I experienced a disrupted match because the expecting mom second guessed all her choices when it came to us. We were matched very early on and as our friendship grew, so did her need to know things about me on a personal level and on a parenting level. When an expecting mom chooses and adoptive family, she often romanticizes a life she envisions for her child as well as her future in your and her child’s life. I could not live up to her expectations and the match dissolved. It was devastating. The expecting mother may be freaking out and the emotions she is going through are no less valid than yours. Even if she is second guessing some of the choices. She may have people in her other ear telling her she should have picked a stay at home mom or someone that lives closer or in a bigger house. It my experience, the earlier in the pregnancy that she makes decisions, it seems the closer the time gets those decision start to waiver. (Obviously this isn’t the case for every early match.) I would much rather have a woman come to me with adoption as her choice and feel fully at peace, than trying to make the match happen because she thinks she’ll eventually be OK with it.
It’s really scary for us adoptive parents to go through, but we just have to accept what God gives us and remember that it isn’t another woman’s job to make us mothers. She is giving us to her child… not her child to us.
On the adoption forums I frequent, one of the big questions I often see is “What is a birth mother looking for in the letter we are writing?”. The simple answer is, everyone is different. There is no way of saying your letter is the perfect letter to be chosen by everyone. Your letter, however, may be the perfect letter for a specific expecting mother.
So let’s start of with the must haves.
First, no matter what your agency says, do not address your letter with Dear Birth Mother or Birth Parent(s). This is simply an inaccurate term to use for the woman or parents who have created an adoption plan. The correct term is Expecting Mother or Expecting Parent(s). She has not given birth yet and to call her a birth mother is reducing her to a role she may feel obligated to fulfill. Please respect that until she has given birth and placed the child, she is still an expecting mother. If you don’t want to write Dear Expecting Parent(s) as your salutation, you can always chose a simple Hi, Hello, or Howdy. She may not see the difference consciously, but starting off the relationship in a place of respect goes a long way.
Some things to include:
Introduction: Thank her for considering you. Tell her your names and immediate information, like age and about any other children in your household.
Body: Express your lack of understanding on how difficult her decision must be. Tell her you hope to meet her.
Body: Elaborate on who you are. Tell her about your family, what brought you to adoption, and what your goals are in raising a child. Be positive and be yourself.
Conclusion: Thank her again for her time, wish her luck in her journey and sign off with something positive.
Include pictures that tell a story of your life.
Get creative. It doesn’t have to look like a formal letter. It can include graphics, colors, pictures, bullet points, fun (yet easy to read) fonts, etc. Stick to a 8.5×11 letter, but you can use front and back.
Proof read multiple times.
Some things to avoid:
Salutation, as mentioned above, do not address her as birth mother or birth parent.
Avoid any terms that are negative to adoption or imply you expect her to place her baby for adoption.
Don’t try to appeal to every expecting mother, appeal to the one that is the right fit for you. This is a long term, open relationship, you want it to work.
While being positive, don’t be overly flowery. Be normal.
Don’t assume she considered abortion by thanking her for choosing life. Abortion may have crossed her mind, abortion may have been her first plan, but abortion may have never even been an option.
Don’t be more religious than you actually are. Talk about God or religion the way you would with any day to day person. If it’s a huge part of your life, include it, otherwise, just give the basics.
Don’t talk about your infertility in a lengthy depressing way. You can mention it in your introduction as why you came to adoption, if that is the reason, but this letter is not the time for a pity party. She has a big decision to make, don’t make her feel like she owes you a child.
Don’t over promise and under deliver. Stick to honesty.
Don’t pretend to know what she is going through unless you have personally placed a child for adoption.
Don’t include out of focus, under/overexposed, low resolution, or inappropriate pictures.
Use Positive Adoption Language:
This is not just about being politically correct or sugar coating terms to make the adoption sound more romantic, it is about respecting all members of the adoption triad and having a successful relationship in an open adoption.
Birth Mother – instead use “Expecting Mother” or “Expecting Parent(s)”.
Give up for adoption – instead use “Place for adoption” or “Create an adoption plan”.
Closed adoption – instead educate yourself on open adoption.
Thank you for choosing life – instead use “Thank you for considering adoption”.
If you reference possibly keeping their child – instead use “parent your child”.