If you are stopping by as part of International Leave a Comment Week , I’m thrilled that you did! I’m really looking forward to reading your comments, sharing my infertility to adoption story, and getting to know you.
1. If you had to write a three sentence blurb, summarizing the unique point of view of Production, Not Reproduction, what would it be?
I suppose I would describe it as an ongoing examination of adoption by a pragmatic, feminist, opinionated mother through open adoption. I’m no expert. I’ve just got a lot I need to (over)think and this is my space to do it.
2. As the founder of the Open Adoption Blogroll , what trends do you see in the community and what would you like to see happen within the community over the next five years?
Talk about a question I don’t feel qualified to answer! I’ve give it a shot: I, personally, would only call us a community in a very loose sense of the word. Our online presence has grown large enough, and diverse enough, that it’s hard to categorize us as a single group. What I’ve noticed–and this is true, of course, of most any online network–is that lots of us have sorted out into little clusters of writers/readers typically connected through one of the higher traffic blogs, with each cluster sharing a certain unique view of open adoption. And each of our clusters is convinced that we are the ones with the inside track on what open adoption is really about. I know that I often grow a lot when I step outside my comfortable circle of familiar blogs; we all have much to offer and much to learn from each other. My hope is that the open adoption blogroll, roundtables and this interview project make it that much easier for us all to branch out a bit.
3. How did you come up with the nicknames Puppy and Firefly for your kids?
They are both geeky word plays on their actual names. Puppy’s name is Hebraic and looks a lot like the Hebrew word for “dog.” A lot of baby name websites/books mistakenly list “dog” as the meaning of his name, which amused us back in the day when we were new parents with enough time on our hands to look up such things. Looking back, I would have nixed Puppy as a potential nickname because of the association with animal adoptions, but it didn’t occur to me at the time.
I felt like sticking with the animal theme when Firefly arrived, for continuity. Her name is related to the Latin root for “light,” and fireflies came to mind as an animal that lights up. Neither kid has the foggiest idea these are their online nicknames; we don’t use them in real life.
4. Black hair is obviously a big deal for black families as well as transracial families. I have read some of your posts about it. What has been the most frustrating part about embracing black hair as a white mom? And what has been the most rewarding? What advice do you have for other who are working through some of the challenges you have experienced?
Without a doubt, reading all the new (to me) voices. It’s great to see all the different perspectives that emerge as people respond to a prompt. And it’s extra enjoyable for me when one comes from blog I hadn’t stumbled on before. (Although my feed reader is a bit overstuffed from all the blogs I’ve added over the past year!)
6. In your personal experience, what has been the most challenging, frustrating, joyful and surprising aspects of the Open Adoption relationships you have with Beth and Kelly ? And if you could change anything, would you? and if so, what would it be?
We have four very different relationships with each of the kids’ first parents, so the challenges and joys have been unique to each of them. There is a lot of trust and just plain enjoying each other in some of the relationships, and I’m so grateful for that. But thinking back to our first adoption, I do remember being surprised by how hard open adoption was for me emotionally. I wish we all–Kelly, Ray, Todd, me–had more realistic information and support going in. Agency #1 sort of took the attitude of, “Open adoption is great! You’ll all be fine! You’ve got your baby, now don’t bother us!” And if that was our experience, I can only imagine how much worse it probably was for Kelly and Ray. (In fact, as far as I know, they completely ignored Ray after he waived his parental rights.) We’re still seeing the ripple effects of that lack of support years later. At the time, I don’t think any of us realized that we deserved better.
If I had a magic wand, I’d erase the insecurity that can come with adoption, for all the participants. It’s led to pretty big bumps in two of our relationships. It bums me out and I wish we could get past that to a healthier place.
7. If you could effectively communicate one thing about open adoption to someone like me, who is just about the put her toes into the water, what would it be?
He’s pretty quick to tell people that he doesn’t think of himself as a blogger, since he hardly ever posts. (He, however, thrives on Facebook, a site that exhausts me pretty much the minute I log in.) There haven’t really been any frustrations. Both of our blogs focus on such a narrowly defined part of our lives that we don’t face the privacy questions that spouses in the put-it-all-out-there school of blogging might.
I will say that it is nice to have him understand some of the work that goes into blogging. When he started, he thought it would be easy and he’d be dashing off posts right and left. Now he realizes that there is more time and thoughtfulness involved, both in writing and in getting to know other people by reading their stories and commenting. And he’s experienced people misunderstanding things he’s written, which I think was eye-opening for him. He understands better why there are things I flat-out won’t share online.
9. What’s a question that you wished I had asked but didn’t?
Heather, how did you get to be so unbelievably brilliant?
I kid, I kid. How about this: what is my bloggy dream? It’s to go to PACT family camp one summer and magically have all of my online transracial adoption friends there with their families. And then the next summer go to Dawn’s (hypothetical, but I so want it to happen) open adoption family camp and have all of my online OA folks there.