Top 10 Reasons Open Adoption Rocks
In response to a Today Show "expert" panel suggesting that closed adoption was better, I generated my own Top 10 Reasons Why Open Adoption is Better.
Open Adoption Roundtable #37
Special topics in open adoption. Come read my perspective, and then add yours!
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Here's a glance at them in the light of day...
Saturday, October 30, 2010
While I'm sure it makes any mom happy to hear these sorts of things, these moments have particularly special meaning for me. My husband and I adopted both of our children, and while in many regards there are no differences between having children you've given birth to and children that you've adopted, there are a few things that make this a unique experience. I thought I'd devote a few posts to talking about these differences and to talking about adoption in general. For this first post, I'd like to talk about open adoption.
Both of my daughters came to us as part of an open adoption. This means that we know who their birth families are, they know who we are, and we have contact with them. In our case, we have what many consider to be an extremely open adoption - we see the birth families every month and frequently are in communication with them via Facebook, email, etc. That said, the first unique aspect of our adoption experience has been the expansion of our family. While most people who have a child gain one new addition to the family, with each child we've adopted we've added no fewer than 20 people to our family. This is so much the case that we went from holding parties in our living room to requiring a tent in the backyard!
Having come from small families, my husband and I welcomed our rapidly expanding family with open arms. Of course, we weren't without critics. You're going to be in contact with the birth family? You're going to let them see the baby? What are you thinking? Yes, Yes, and we're thinking about her best interests. You see, when we were given our two beautiful daughters we were given the most amazing gift in the world. In return we think we should give our daughters the gift of knowing their origins. We don't want them to wander through stores looking at strangers, hoping to find a glimpse of a resemblance. We don't want them to wonder why they came to live with us or worry that their birth families didn't want them. They will always know their stories. They will know that they came to live with us because their birth families loved them so much they wanted them to have a better life than they could give them at the time. They will know that it was the hardest thing their birth families ever had to do. They will know that they have so many people who love them. They will know that we all wanted them more than anything else in the whole world and that we all loved them so much that we couldn't think of a better way to show them than by loving each other too.
I'll admit that when our social worker first mentioned the idea of open adoption to us, my husband and I were not thrilled. Why should we have to share them? It seemed unfair to us that just because we couldn't have biological children we would have to share them with other people. It seemed like we didn't truly get to be a family, like we got to pretend to be their parents and then show them their real parents when they came to visit. We talked about this a lot. It's no secret that birth mothers nowadays want open adoptions. And, that makes perfect sense. If I was in their shoes, I'm sure that I'd want to know how my child was doing. Is she happy? Do her adoptive parents treat her well? Does she have siblings? Does she look like me? What does she like to do? I'm sure that knowing the answers to these types of questions gives the birth families a good deal of comfort. Our social worker laid the cards on the table: Birth mothers want this. Agree and you're likely to get a baby soon. Disagree and you could wait a very long time... We were torn.
And then, as fate would have it, two of my co-workers who were adopted children themselves located their birth families. They both told me how hard it was not knowing who their birth families were, that they always wondered who these people were, and that they wished that had always known where they came from. They talked about the anger that they felt, believing that they had been lied to their whole lives. And they told me what it was like to finally meet their birth families... one of them has brothers that he never knew about. The other finally had a person in her life that she looked like. They were both thrilled to have had the opportunity to find them and said that they now felt complete.
The more we talked about this, the more my husband and I began to think... who are we to deny our children the right to know their birth families? Would we want them to go through life angry and upset? Shouldn't they know if they have biological siblings? Would it be helpful to them to know where they got their noses or long legs? The thought of lying to my children or having them grow up feeling incomplete did not sit well with us. We knew then that open adoption was the route we needed and wanted to go.
And then we met our first birth mother, the wonderful young woman who gave us our daughter, Lorelai. Two years later, we welcomed another amazing birth mother, birth father, and our daughter, Logan, into our family. Our family has more than doubled. We've now gained an awesome extended family who we love. And how could we not love them? They love our daughters more than anything else in the world... that alone makes me love them.
As I look back over the past two years now, I realize that our concerns about open adoption were understandable, but unnecessary. We know now that we are indeed our daughters' real parents. And we know that having the birth families involved in our lives is a gift... a gift for both our daughters and for us. Knowing these remarkable, selfless birth parents and their families has helped make me a better person and a better mother. I will be grateful to them forever for giving me the two most perfect children in the world. And I will love them forever because they truly are my family.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
The Healthy Families Act seeks to require all employers to provide 7 paid sick days per year to their employees. These sick days would allow for employees to take time off for their own illness or to care for the illness of a family member. You can find more information on the Healthy Families Act and many other family-related policies at www.momsrising.org. I, and many other mothers out there, would appreciate it if you'd take a moment to sign a petition in support of the Healthy Families Act. You can do so at this link: http://action.momsrising.org/cms/sign/petition_1924
Thanks for your support!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I also found a neat site called www.freecycle.org. This is a site that links you to local groups where you can post items you'd like to give away for free as well as locate items for yourself that others are giving away free. Such a great idea!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
These were a little more difficult than the standard molds (the pretzels were a bit difficult to insert without messing up the colors), but I think it was pretty good for a first effort. Here's the final project!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
To make the topper I cut out a number 2 from yellow card stock. I glued it on a square of black card stock. Then I outlined it in the same silver fabric paint that I used for the banners a few weeks ago. Lastly, I glued on a wooden bumblebee that I found at Michaels for less than 50 cents!
Viola! A sweet treat for the party goers.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
First you'll need to gather your supplies:
6-8 sheets of tissue paper per flower
Something to hold the tissue paper together (a twist tie, piece of string, floral wire - really anything would work!)
To begin making the tissue paper flowers, stack the pieces of tissue paper and begin folding them like a fan. You'll want the folds to be about 1-1.5 inches each.
Then you tie a string (or whatever you have on hand) around the middle to hold the paper together. I used clear string for mine.
Next, you'll want to trim the edges of your paper. You can round the edges if you'd like, or trim them into a point. I did some of each.
Then you separate each sheet of tissue paper (pulling out from the center) and fluff them until they are full.
I plan to suspend these with fishing line from the ceiling of the tent we'll be having our daughter's party in. More party plans to come!
Friday, October 1, 2010
When it comes to making chocolate candies you have two options: real chocolate or candy coating. While I think that real chocolate tastes the best, candy coating is certainly easier to work with. Real chocolate must be tempered while candy coating does not, and candy coating comes in a variety of ready made colors that saves you some time. On the other hand, candy coating has a shelf life of about 2 years while real chocolate will last for 5-6 years (both under ideal conditions). So really, it's up to you!
My first project was to make candies for her birthday party. For this first project, I went with the easiest candy making process - molding chocolate. I found two different bee molds and one plain swirl mold at my local cake and candy supply store. You start by melting the chocolate - or candy coating in my case. Just place the candy coating discs in a microwave safe bowl, pop them in the microwave for about 30 seconds, and stir. You keep microwaving them and stirring in 30 second increments until your candy coating is all melted and smooth. Make sure not to over cook it or you'll get hard bits in it.
For the first two molds, I just filled the molds with melted candy coating from a squeeze bottle. I gently tapped the molds on the tabletop to get out any air bubbles and then popped them in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Then the candies just pop out of the molds! Simple!
Then I tried another technique - I "painted" the colors in using different colors of candy melts. First I started with one color and painted (with a brush) the areas that I wanted to be that color. I popped those into the freezer until they set. Then I added the next color and put it back in the freezer until it was set. I only used two colors, but if you want to do more you just keep repeating until you have all the colors you want in your mold. Finish with the last color in a squeeze bottle to fill the rest of the mold. Freeze for about 10 minutes and then you're done!
Then I tried out the next mold. This one was my favorite! I'm going to use these for cupcake toppers!