interview project: open adoption bloggers
Another cool project hosted by Heather at Production Not Reproduction: the Open Adoption Bloggers Interview Project. Participants were paired with a partner to interview. Many of us did not know each other. We sent our interview subjects questions and had a week to respond. So join in and read about some bloggers that may be new to you too — be sure to check out the rest of the interviews!
I was assigned to Kris at My First Gray Hair. Though I had never read Kris’s blog before, we soon learned we had quite a few things in common. We both started blogging in 2007 (she in March, me in December), we’ve both been with our partners for a very long time (nearly two decades), we both struggled with infertility before adopting domestically (her daughter is now three, mine is nearly one), we’re both working mamas (but want to be home more), and both of us turn 41 this year (holy crap!).
1. How do people react when you explain that you are in an open adoption with ongoing contact with your daughter’s birthmother? Were you surprised by anyone’s reaction?
In general, I think people are both freaked out and curious. Many people who don’t have any experience with adoption find openness to be scary, unnecessary and potentially dangerous. My friends and family are supportive of this choice my husband and I have made, but are cautious about what they say, and I can tell that some of them are less comfortable with it than others. I have also gotten that kind of pitying look that says “I could never do that but it’s nice that you can.”
I don’t think I’ve been surprised by anyone’s reaction. I know it’s a foreign concept to people who don’t have experience with adoption, including us adoptive parents pre-adoption. I remember the people in my pre-adoption classes – many of them were totally against having an open adoption at the beginning and most of them came to understand how it benefits children (as well as birth parents who choose it).
2. You recently wrote that you haven’t yet been able to meet your daughter’s birth father, but that you just learned your daughter has a brand new half sister. Do you think you might contact her birth father at some point in the future? If so, how would you reach out? What would you hope for an outcome?
At this point, I feel like it should be Lauren’s choice whether to contact him or not (I will tell her what I know about him and his family when she’s old enough to understand it). If she wants to contact him when she’s older, then I will help her do that. I don’t see any advantage to contacting him right now; he has chosen not to be involved in her life, or to even meet her, and I don’t want to impose my family on him. But maybe when he’s older he’ll want to know her and that would be fine with me. I’m not sure how I would contact him, since I don’t know his phone number or address. (Would sending a message via Facebook be too weird?!) As far as an outcome, I think that’s why I want to leave it up to Lauren – if she doesn’t want to know him, I’ll be okay with that. If it’s important to her to at least meet him or even have an ongoing relationship with him, I would support that, too.
3. You seem to write about every day life as opposed to just adoption or infertility. Who in your “real life” knows you have a blog? Do they follow along?
I started blogging when Lauren was a few months old and I guess at the time I had a chip on my shoulder about being considered a “mommy blogger,” so I chose to write about random things. Now I wish I’d written more about motherhood, and about Lauren, because I have done a terrible job of keeping up with her baby book or journaling for/about her. As for who knows about the blog, my husband, a couple of close friends and a few other people – and very few of them read it anyway! I don’t know if that’s because I don’t post often enough, if they don’t like what I write or they’re just too busy to bother. Or maybe they’ve had enough of me in real life and don’t want or need to read about me, too. That’s okay – maybe I can be more honest if I’m not so worried about what people I’m close to think.
4. Question for a fellow working mama: What would you do if you didn’t *have* to work (i.e., if your finances didn’t depend on it)?
I would have a life! I would keep Lauren in preschool a couple of days a week, both for her benefit and mine. But I would spend more time with her, and be able to take her to daytime story hours, play dates and other kid events. And just hang out at home making cookies and coloring.
I would keep up with my house, laundry, groceries, etc. WAY better than I do now. I would watch “Ellen” while folding laundry and “Oprah” while making dinner. I would focus more on my own writing. I would get caught up on house projects (like painting the inside of my front door which was installed over five years ago). I would volunteer at my church and at the local food bank. I would work in my garden, clean out the inside of my car and the inside of my fridge.
Now, I understand that these are the fantasies of a woman who has felt like she’s been drowning in undone tasks since becoming a mom. I know that in reality, I wouldn’t be able to get half of this stuff done on the days Lauren is at home with me. Which is exactly why nothing gets done on the weekends.
5. I’ve heard it said that adoption “cures” childlessness, but it doesn’t cure infertility – what are your thoughts about that? (What’s your “relationship” with your infertility like these days? Do you view infertility any differently now that you have a child?)
When I decided that my path to parenthood was not going to involve getting pregnant, it was because my husband and I had had enough of the infertility treatment rollercoaster, and because I realized that I just wanted to be someone’s mom – I didn’t care how he/she came into my life. So I did make some peace with my infertility at that time. That said, I can admit that I still have “issues” surrounding my infertility. It no longer defines me (it’s kind of hard for it not to when you’re going to the doctor’s office every other day for blood draws and getting shots every night and being told when to do “the deed”). I do, however, wish I would have had the experience of being pregnant and giving birth – lord knows I have the hips and the pain tolerance for it!
I would never want another child than the one I have, and I am proud to say that she joined our family through adoption, but I wish I could have been the one to give birth to her. Not for the genetic link to her – that doesn’t mean that much to me – but more so just for having that one experience that only women can have. My mom gave me very positive messages about child birth and breast feeding. I think women are so powerful and strong, and being able to bring life into the world would have meant a lot to me. And by the way, I think it’s okay to feel this way – it doesn’t mean I think adoption is “second best” or that I regret anything about how my family came to be. I fully believe that you can adopt and have complete peace about finally being a parent and be totally crazy about your child, while still sometimes feeling the pang of loss involved in infertility. They are two completely separate issues.
6. What is your guilty pleasure (come on, we’ve all got them!)?
I have way too many to list here! I can name at least a dozen foods that fall in that category, and I always seem to follow some train wreck of a reality show that I shouldn’t. I also have a thing for magazines – happiness is reading a stack of brand new magazines in bed while eating “Ballerina” cookies from IKEA.
Feel free to leave a comment for Kris here, or on her blog.