Thursday, April 30, 2015

Adopted: Just Another Adjective

I've had many moments in my 11-year "career" as a mother that I'm not proud of, and there have been many moments when I’ve been less than proud of my daughter (Can you say infuriated? How about mortified?) but perhaps my proudest moment as her mother came one afternoon last year. We were at the park and I was sitting on a bench while she was on the swings a few feet away talking to a younger girl she had just met.  It came up that G was adopted, and her new friend basically gave her an "Oh, that's too bad" reaction, and G proceeded to set her straight and explain adoption from her particular 10-year-old point of view.  You don't need a transcript of the conversation, you just need to know that it ended with: "I don't want you to think being adopted is a bad thing. It's not. It's a great thing."  I was positively beaming.  (And trust me, I’m not a beamer.)

When G was a baby, I told everyone she was adopted. I loved telling our story, especially right after they would tell me that my daughter looked JUST like me.  I think even as a baby G was hearing our excitement and pride and the warm, fuzzy feelings attached to her adoption and it really did penetrate.  She heard the word adoption a lot, something I knew was important from all of those books I read and seminars I went to.  (You never want a child to remember The Day They Were Told They Were Adopted, all the experts cautioned. It’s supposed to just be something they’ve always known.) 

So I proudly shared our story often in those early years, but as she’s grown older, I've begun to respect her privacy and share much less.  I stopped telling strangers or casual acquaintances she was adopted without her permission. Yet on several occasions I've had her classmates approach me, asking for confirmation that she's adopted because she's told them herself and they don't believe it.  She regularly and comfortably shares it with people, something very gratifying to me. (Since we, the general population have not come quite as far as I think we have in this area. There is still the occasional person who will ask me if my daughter herself knows she’s adopted.  Really?  I don’t mean to sound like an Adoption Snob, but geez. )

It's an interesting time, these tween years. With the increasing consciousness of her body and its changes, she is somehow becoming more AND less self-confident all at once.  The hormonal age has arrived.  An age I’ve been dreading pretty much ever since she could talk (back!).  But with all that I'm dreading, I thank God that I'm not worried about adoption issues on top of all of that. I give myself credit for that and I also give a lot of credit to my amazing support group.  We started out as a few hopeful adoptive parents-to-be and we’re now a group of twenty or so thriving adoptive families. (It was the “parent group” so to speak, of the group that hosts this website, as a matter of fact.)  Support groups are so invaluable, and ours is no different. Not only have we parents had each other to lean on all these years, from pre-placement until now, but our children have grown up with each other.  I always say that our group has helped "normalize" adoption for our kids, certainly for my own daughter, when they might have otherwise felt isolated and different. As our kids have grown, it's become harder to get together regularly; yet when we do, we are like family who doesn't miss a beat and we just pick up where we left off.  It's the best.  

But I digress.  

My daughter is one of those strong-willed types. For years I’ve said and heard that adjective to describe her and I definitely need some new ones. What I currently have on my hands is a prepubescent button pusher to the nth degree. We bicker daily about everything from what she's wearing to what she's eating.  Or not eating.  Or not wearing. (Already, yes.  Last week we almost got out of Target spat-free, but thanks to the Juniors bathing suits right by the exits -- all those too-skimpy-for-tweens two-pieces – the ride home was pretty much silent.) We yell, we laugh, we cry, just like every other mother and daughter.

It's interesting … Very often, when I vent about my parenting struggles to another mom, and during the course of the conversation I mention that she's adopted, the other person will say something along the lines of: “Well, you could have a biological ‘strong-willed’ child too, you know."  As in ..."It’s not necessarily because she's adopted."  I’m here to tell you that I can absolutely confirm that, and that the fact that my daughter is adopted is the least of our problems. It's just another adjective in a long list:  Confident.  Sassy.  Passionate.  Sloppy.  Headstrong. Hilarious.  And oh yeah, adopted. 

Written By

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Supreme Court Same-Sex Hearing

I was up all night thinking about what i was going to write especially since I have a child that doesn't sleep.  I wanted to talk about my wonderful son and how he came into our lives BUT i have plenty of time to write about that.  Another topic has been bothering me over the last few days and i felt it was important to talk about. 

Last week someone told me that the Supreme Court will be hearing an adoption case this Tuesday that is pretty big.  Now I have to admit I had NO idea about any cases being heard cause who pays attention to law.  I only hear about news when someone tells me to turn on CNN or tells me to check FB.  I don't have time like a lot of moms to read the morning paper and I am pretty sure Newsday wouldn't be putting an adoption case on the front page the one day I decide to read.

It looks like there are 4 cases being heard and one of them is the major one.  They combined all of them together since they all pretty much cover the same thing.

Now i could go into detail about what the case is but that is not what I am so upset about. 

A same-sex couple in Ohio filed a lawsuit in 2013, alleging that the state discriminates against same-sex couples who have married lawfully out-of-state.  This male couple were married in Maryland legally, but the problem came when one of the partners, John Arthur, was diagnosed with ALS.  James Obergefell, John's spouse, wanted the Ohio State Registrar to recognize him on John Arthur's death certificate.

 By now your saying what does this have to do with adoption? So what happens when a same-sex couple is legally married in one state and live in another and they adopt children...HMMMMM or are we going to too far by saying the child was born in a state that doesn't recognize same-sex marriages. So complicated.  Why does it have to be complicated? 

The article I have a link to here is called the Accidental activists.  This is about 2 women who were married legally, but live in another state that doesn't recognize that marriage so when they decided to adopt their now 4 children, they had to do things differently.  One woman adopted 2 children and the other adopted 2.  The state they live in allows for singles to adopt but not same-sex.

For many in this situation there are so many obstacles that they need to figure out.  Day care and doctors that will recognize them BOTH as parents.  They have to figure out surviving death benefits.  And then custody!!  OMG!  I cant even deal knowing that if my partner died that I would have a rough time taking custody of MY child.

I am going to play devils advocate here for a second, but even if some states don't recognize these marriages shouldn't some kind of laws be put into place to provide for the children?  I know I am not a lawyer or government official, but don't you think that maybe they should have thought of the repercussions of this whole thing before making the rulings.  NOPE!!  They don't care do they.  They have a one track mind and why would love and safety of a child be important to think about.  We all know how hard it is even as a legal parent to get info from doctors or health insurance.  I would be pulling my hair out if I had to deal with this on a daily basis and NOT focusing on just loving my child.

The oral arguments to 4 different cases, all merged into one, will be held on Tuesday!  I wonder what will happen!!

Writtten By
Chemene Vizzi 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Where did I come from?

Where did I come from those 5 little words we are reluctant to hear as adoptive parents.

If M wasn't adopted then I can easily say well mommy and daddy made you.

M and I were laying in bed the other night. Started chatting about his BM (biological mom) n how she carried him in her tummy. And low n behold he said "I know I was in her tummy but how did I get there?" It was late n I was at a loss for an answer so I just told him lets go to sleep. I thought about calling ummm, let's call her "A". I thought about calling A the next day n saying hey, M wants to know where babies come from any ideas? But she's 22 and essentially has no idea about what to say to a little boy with a growing mind. And I am his mom therefore I need to figure these things out. But it's nice to know I CAN call her for future questions.

He's 6 now and our conversations are starting to go deeper. Not because of me but because of his curiosity. He's no longer satisfied with simple answers. But his BF (biological father) has no idea he even exists. I cannot tell him about sperm and egg, for his next question will be ok well who is the sperm that made me?

I never ever want to lie to him. I never have regarding adoption and I never will. So I guess for now ill just tell him God made him.

I always knew being a parent was a hard job but being an adoptive parent is harder. IMO

Written by
Dina Woods

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Our Journey...

You never know where your journey will lead you.  My husband and I started our journey wanting no more than a semi-open adoption with pictures and letters.  After just over a year of advertising, I start speaking to K.  We hit it off, and go down and meet her and her family two months later.  We enter into a whole new world, so different than our own.  Yet we are welcomed with open arms and loving hearts.  We leave there after that visit with some layers of fear of a more open adoption starting to chip away.  Another two months go by and it's time for us to head south for the birth of this beautiful child.  We are excited, petrified and hopeful all at the same time!
Early in the morning on March 10, 2009, a beautiful precious boy is born.  I am the first to hold him, she doesn't want to hold him or see him.  We are over the moon about the birth of this precious child, yet are feeling devastated for this special, amazing woman's potential loss.  She will only allow her mother and us to visit her in her room.  We pray together, we cry.  Layers of fear of open adoption chip further and further away.  The love beaming from her family for this child, they come and visit him and hold him.  Who are we to keep this love from this precious child.  Everything we know and believed is bring questioned at this point.

First name, last name and address shared with K before she leaves the hospital.  We never thought twice about it.   Her family visit us at the hotel, bring gifts and love. Chipping away more and more!  By the time we get home we knew open adoption was perfect for us!  K pulls back for a little while but we keep in touch?

Well this past week, we went to TN for our third visit.  Our son is 6, we haven't been there in almost 3 years due to birth of our youngest.  Unfortunately, this time around, we did not get to see his Birthmom, but he got to hang out with three of his four siblings, his aunt and uncle, his cousin, and his Mamaw and Papaw.  As it turns out we have been truly blessed to not only gain an amazing, beautiful son, but we have also gained an amazing southern family who we feel like we have known forever.  We left a few days ago and I miss them all dearly already!  Our son had an amazing time with his three sisters!  We have over 300 pics coming home with us and lots of greats memories!!!  So although there could be some scary parts of open adoption, please know, I can not even say enough of how truly blessed and lucky we are to have gained this wonderful addition to our family!!  Keep your mind open, you never know where you may end up!

Josette Crean

Monday, April 20, 2015

Adoption Scams

Last week NBC DATELINE aired HOPE & HEARTBREAK Adoption Scams.  This is the second news story they have done in the last few years.  As a news show it did its job informing those who are not on the adoption journey.  But those of us watching who have gone through it or afraid it will happen to them, well it was not enough.  

How can you express to viewers the pain that can come from the loss or failure from adoption scammers.  Adoption is so emotional from all sides.  The hours of calls where you hold onto every word the scammer is telling you.   The vulnerability!  You are completely at the mercy of someone at the other end of the phone or email.  You spend your time dreaming of your forever family and what things you will do when your child finds you.  You realize that when you start this process that it may be heartbreak at the end BUT you prepare the best you can and wait. But when the heartbreak comes from a fake scamming situation and not the one that you have prepared for, then you feel depleted and more vulnerable than before.  

There was one couple that said that they lost $30,000 and it was their life savings.  So what does that mean?  That poor couple will have to learn to live with being childless.  They will go through the rest of their lives knowing the one shot they took screwed them.  News reporting takes the emotion out of it for me.  Listen I think it was great that the topic was brought up and shown that it is happening – but I think we need laws to be changed in this area so badly and maybe news shows can delve into that and see why a scammer cannot be charged!  Or what laws can be set in place to protect potential adoptive families.  

Scammers take the beauty out of this process and shine such a bad light on it.  There are so many opinions on adoption and I know it’s a hard thing to agree on.  Some people feel open adoption is the only way and others feel they want nothing to do with it.  It’s a matter of your personal journey.  Sometimes things fall into place just right and you just go with it.  I am sure some of those families that went onto adopting after this scam would say that they are hurt but they wouldn’t change that journey because they wouldn’t have their forever family now.  The news shows have a good idea and it’s a good start BUT keep going and go deeper!  Help both birthparents and adoptive parents go through this rough yet beautiful journey safely!!!

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