Open Adoption Quote: Facts Instead of Fantasies

Open Adoption Bloggers

Donaldson quote

The full report on open adoption can be accessed at the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute website, an excellent source of recent research on adoption trends and practices.

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This is What Happened

Powerful stuff!

what a shrink thinks

Someone asked me to write this. Sort of.

They asked me if I could state, in tangible terms, the kinds of healing that I have seen take place in my work as a therapist.

And I can’t. Because it didn’t and doesn’t somehow seem to be my prerogative to codify or co-opt my client’s experiences to say how I think they have been healed, or not. That is up to them to define. I have no idea what they think has helped about therapy unless they tell me.

Sometimes they point to powerful defining words – for good and ill – that  I said, years, even decades earlier, that I have no recollection of ever saying.

I do this to my psychotherapist too. If you’ve read my writing over time you’ve seen me do it, and you should know he is a very good sport about it.

Is healing always…

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The Past 6 Years Have Been A Doozy

I’ve been told that the greatest period of change for person is from 18-20- I’d have to say 18-20something. 

The past 6 years have been the most chaotic, life changing, hurtful, joyful, brutal, grueling of my entire life. I’m still reeling from everything that has happened and everything that will happen. The chaos hasn’t left my life, neither has the pain or the joy, and it isn’t going to leave anytime soon. 

Looking back I can’t help but wonder, what if, but I can’t get stuck playing that game- that’s one regret I do have, playing that game. It’s insidious and will get inside your head and it will get you stuck. Stuck in the mud of the past. 

I can’t go there. 

I know that many people, probably many of you reading, don’t believe in God. That’s ok. I do and that’s ok too. I look back on the past 6 years of my life and I can see the hand of God in my life. Now let’s get this straight, I don’t believe God makes our decisions for us, He does allow us to make our own choices. Does he work through the ugly and the bad to produce good? Yes. Absolutely yes. And thats what He’s done for me. I don’t know what He’s planning next but I’ve learned to trust, to lean on Him for support. 

If you had met me at 18, you wouldn’t have been my friend. I wasn’t that good of a person, I didn’t care about anyone else. I was manipulative, mean, self centered, a liar, a cheat, a con. I was in essence the very worst version of myself. I will not ever go back to that. I don’t think I could- Scratch that, I could go back to that, very easily, but I wont let myself. 

18-19: I was at my darkest place. Depression had overcome me, despair. A Bible verse pulled me out, and I had to make sure my mom was ok. I placed my son in a loving family but I didn’t forget what pain I went through and what pain I was going through. My sons mom was so wonderful during that time- she and my mom coordinated (I was to withdrawn into myself to plan) and I saw my son for a few hours every month. That helped. Immensely. I was in school for my Bachelor’s in Social Work. I worked part time security (yup little ol’ me was a security guard). And I met a man who would change me. 

19: Worst version of myself. Didn’t trust anyone, especially not guys. And you got it, I started dating. Someday I’ll tell our love story 🙂 but not now. Suffice to say after this year I don’t know why he stayed with me. I was awful. 

20-24: While I could go into each year- all of them have parts that overlap. I was able to see my son often, his little brother was born. I opened up the adoption for the birthfather (yes I asked the adoptive parents if it was ok to and I recommended it. I was there the first time the birthfather, G, saw my son for the second time.) I dealt with the birthfather being angry and wanting nothing to do with me while he had a girlfriend then begging me to leave my boyfriend to be with him when he was single. I continued to date this new guy, KF, who has helped heal my heart and has made me such a better person. I have switched jobs from case manager, targeted case manager, little side jobs and now part time at a jail. Yes. A jail. I have strengthened friendships, made new friends and I have massively lost friends. 3 main people who I counted on and loved and had them go batshit crazy on me. (I need to screen people better). I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Social Work and am now in grad school for my Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology focusing on mental health. 

Yup the past 6 years have been chaos. 

But I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. 

I have learned and grown so much. My heart is softer, more able to love than ever before. I am finally content in myself. I’m now surrounded by people who lift me up. I have a sense of purpose- of where I want to be and what I want to do and where I can make a small difference in this world. 

The next few years are going to bring more change- engagements, marriages, career movement forward, graduations, lots of love, new family traditions, healthy boundaries, adventures. 

Peace. Contentment. Pure Joy. 

And as always just that little touch of chaos 🙂

Standing Up For Adopters

All Aboard The Trauma Train

As adoptive parents we become aware of loss quickly. The process of adoption may or may not begin with personal loss but certainly the day somebody else’s child arrives in our home we are acutely aware of their loss. Sometimes we can feel it in their rigid bodies or see it in their eyes.

Even more naive and less prepared adopters understand that the challenges ahead will require parenting skills and nurturing above and beyond that which is usually required.

I believe adoptive parents are on the whole, big hearted, brave, resilient and good humoured people. We come to adoption for individual and varied reasons. With much mindfulness and faith we open our arms and hearts to children who very often cannot accept our love or trust us very easily.

Many of us have more empathy for a birth families loss than we are given credit for. This lack of…

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Why I Hate The Word “Blessed”

I am so grateful

These Are The Days

You hear it all the time.

“Oh I feel so blessed.” “God has really blessed me.” “Let’s ask for God’s blessings.”

I call bullshit. Not on the whole God thing. I believe in God, but don’t feel the need to justify whether I do or don’t in this space.

My problem is how people say it. As if God is up there (up where, really?) looking down and randomly choosing people saying, “Yes…let me bless that real housewife of Beverly Hills with zillions of dollars and a new car and fame and Botox…” All the while, turning his back on the people in the world that really need a blessing.

People like Davion Navar Henry Only.

He is 15 and has never had a real family or a real home. Now I have to give a shoutout to the folks who have been providing him with a foster…

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There are so many Davions

Angela Tucker

15 year old Davion went to his church one Sunday, got up in front of the congregation, and made his case for why someone (within the church) should adopt him.  His story has gone viral resulting in over 500 phone calls to the church Davion attends, apparently from prospective adoptive parents/agencies/social workers.  What was it that compelled all of these people to step forward and act? Does every older child looking for a family need to make a public plea that goes viral in order for people to consider them adoptable? Are these children truly invisible to us, until they find a way to meet us in the way we want to be met (apparently that’s via videos that can be viewed in the comfort and privacy of ones own home)?

Northwest Adoption Exchange features many children in the northwest who need homes – now. They post write ups with photos…

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I Knew

Had a conversation recently on twitter with another birthmother and an adult adoptee from an open adoption. It was more or less a conversation on relationships and was based off the same birthmother’s blog post about her struggles, etc. This brought up for me emotions and thoughts about my own relationship with my son.

I just want to make something very clear to everyone. When it comes to my sons adoption, NO ONE will tell me or my son how he feels about it. You do not know my son, and even if you did you cannot tell me how he will react emotionally to anything. Please keep those types of opinions to yourself because they are not welcome. I can’t tell you how my son feels so YOU most certainly cannot. This includes positive and negative emotions and thoughts.

With that being said, for those of you who don’t know my story (and that’s most of you) don’t judge me. You didn’t live what I lived. You weren’t in the same situation and you don’t know.

With all that being said (sorry I had to for myself) I am going to be saying a few things that many of you won’t like.

I don’t regret the decision that I made to place my son for adoption.

I was not coerced or lied to in making my decision.

I knew going in that the adoption could be closed at any time.

I knew I would go through depression and grief.

I knew going in that my son could very well hate me in the future however the risk of keeping him with me outweighed that.

Let that last one sink in for a bit. Maybe it’ll give you a clue about what was going on. The harm that he would go through with me outweighed the harm of being placed for adoption.

My son has every right to ask me anything. I have the responsibility to answer for my actions to him.  I don’t have to answer to any of the rest of you. My son is the only one who matters on this earth when it comes to his adoption. And I have accepted the fact that whatever the outcome, whatever he feels or thinks is ok. No matter what he does or says I will be there for him, I will love him to the best of my ability.

I knew.

And I have to accept the consequences, whatever they may be.