Monday, March 29, 2010

Is Your Family Uncomfortable with Your Open Adoption?

by Brittany from Que & Brittany's Adoption Journal
email me at
(please don't copy & paste this blog post onto your blog)

Que, me and our son's birthmom (standing)

The term "open adoption" can sound so scary to someone who has never encountered it before.  (It frightened me... until I learned about it.)  Be patient with family members or friends who may be giving you negative feedback or unsolicited "advice."  As someone who has endured negative responses to our decision to have an open adoption, I know being patient with that kind of treatment is not an easy thing to do. 

Interference from friends or family members only complicates things and can create contention.  And if you're like us, we only wanted our friends and family to trust our judgment and be excited about this baby!

I suggest telling them specific reasons why you chose open adoption.  Then ask them what their specific issues are with the situation and then answer any questions they have.  Refer them to blogs of people who have an open adoption so that they can see how theirs works for them.

Talk to them about how having an "open adoption" can mean different things to different people.  (Who knows what they personally think it is.)  Explain to them that some couples only send an update letter and a few photos once a year, some might be open at first, with an agreement with the birth parent(s) to slowly close it over time, whereas other adoptive couples might be so open that they invite their birth moms to babysit or to come along on family vacations. It's all up to the couple.

If you want, you can talk to your friends or family members about what open adoption is and isn't.

Open adoption is not:  confusing to the child, co-parenting, only for the benefit of the birth mom. 

 Open adoption is about: Love, trust, communication, respect for each other's role in the child's life, the sharing of information.

My point is, try to help them understand that the adoptive couple makes this choice, (sometimes along with the birth family), and that requires focus on what is best for the child, an understanding of the circumstances, patience and an open mind.  They may think you have been coerced into agreeing to it, and showing them that you have a plan and that you have some knowledge about how it works can help calm their fears. 

Also stress that you know what is best for your family, and you would like them to trust you to make that decision.  Adoptive couples have gone through so much already: dealing with infertility, miscarriages and the adoption process makes one feel like they have no control over their own life.  Some of us just hope that people around us will stand by us when we do get to make a decision, even if it's something they themselves don't fully understand.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Advice for Waiting Couples (from a Birth Mom)

The following is by Jill Elizabeth.  Jill is a birth mom who placed her daughter last fall, after parenting for 9 weeks.  She has a wonderful blog called "The Happiest Sad" and wrote this post for couples who are hoping to adopt.  ("Roo" is her daughter's nickname, "P&M" refer to her adoptive couple.) 
Re-published with permission

I first started this blog as a record for Roo. I wanted her to know where she came from, how she came to be with her family, and what sort of person her birth mom was.

It's grown since then. I would have figured I'd hear from birth moms about my blog. I've heard from more adoptive couples than anything, which has been great. I've gained a new perspective and a better appreciation of couples who adopt.

I would never presume to speak for every birth mom or potential birth mom out there. I only speak for myself. But, that said, I am a birth mom (and I have birth mom friends). I went through the process of looking at couple profiles and trying to choose parents for my baby. I saw a lot of profiles that were very well done ... and some that were a turn-off. No couple's profile or blog should be a turn-off! No couple sets out to make themselves unappealing. But it happens sometimes because they simply don't know what to say - or what not to say. As such, I offer the following suggestions (for blogs, profiles, meetings with potential birth moms, and relationships with your child’s birth mom).

Meetings and Relationships
-Don’t make promises you won’t/can’t keep – forever. When in doubt, don’t promise. In that vein, don’t start something you can’t keep up. As in business, it’s best to underpromise and overdeliver.

-Remember, when planning for openness, that things will be very different once placement is done. Your feelings about contact and/or the relationship will likely change. This is why it’s best to avoid overpromising.

-When in doubt, err on the side of too much contact with the birth mom. There almost can’t be too many pictures or updates or input or visits. The birth mom will let you know if you need to back off. Just because something may hurt a birth mom (baby shower, court date, sealing, etc) doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer her the chance to be there. Not being invited can hurt worse.

-Be open and honest to a fault – COMMUNICATE. Don’t ever let communication between you and your birth mom get awkward or stressful. Love her and trust her enough to be honest, open and communicative. (P and M excel at this, which I love.)

-Remember, when you’re going to meet with a potential birth mom, that she is as nervous as you are. Gifts are nice, but she’s not going to expect it, and if you do want to bring her something, keep it inexpensive and neutral. Flowers are good. You don’t want her to feel like you’re plying her with gifts to get her to choose you.

-Relax. Don’t try to sell yourself or be pressuring. Just get to know her for her, not for her baby. If you happen to have the exact same tastes and views as she does, great. But don’t pretend you do to try to get her to like you. Be yourselves.

-For the love of all that is good and decent, don’t refer to her pregnancy as “unwanted.” Unplanned does not mean unwanted. Don’t ever lose sight of the fact that birth moms choose adoption out of love, not because they don’t want their babies.

-Pray every night for your birth mother, whether you’ve met her yet or not. Pray before you meet with a potential birth mom. Follow the Spirit. Don’t let your desire to be parents override your feelings. If a situation isn’t right, you’ll know. Remember, you’re not just looking for A baby, you’re looking for YOUR baby.

-Don’t take it personally if you meet with a potential birth mother – even if you meet more than once, and e-mail and talk – and she doesn’t choose you. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t like you or that you’ve done anything wrong. The couples I met with but didn’t choose couldn’t have made a better impression on me. They just weren’t my baby’s family.

For Blogs and/or Profiles
-Proofread, please. You don’t have to be the world’s best writers or even have a knack for spelling. But when you’ve typed “ans” instead of “and” and not fixed it, it just looks lazy. Not every birth mom is going to be as picky as I was, but the first thing I noticed about P and M’s profile (after their picture) is that it didn’t contain any glaring errors. I appreciated that.

-If you’ve adopted before, mention what things are like with that birth mom – how open is the adoption? If you’ve got pictures of her with your child, that’s awesome. Post them! Birth moms want to know that they won’t be dumped after placement.

-Speaking of pictures, please please please have some nice ones taken for your profile. They don’t have to be glamour shots, and you don’t need to be Photoshopped, but do try to look your best. Be yourself and have fun in your pictures, but birth moms don’t want to see your his-and-hers “white trash” Halloween costumes.

-Do you enjoy hunting and fishing? Good for you, and go ahead and mention it. Maybe your birth mom does, too. But maybe she doesn’t. And she might find your blog a bit off-putting if it contains multiple pictures of bloody, entrail-strewn deer carcasses or slimy large-mouth bass. I’m going to put high-risk activities in this category, too. If you enjoy 4-wheeling, that’s fine. But please don’t post pictures of the gory flesh wound on your back from the last time you crashed. A birth mom wants to feel that her baby will be safe and protected, and that the baby’s parents will live long lives, unmarred by any sort of horrible accident or disfigurement.

-If you waited several years after marriage before trying to conceive, keep it to yourself. I’m REALLY not proud of this, but there are a few profiles that mentioned that and my knee-jerk reaction was, “Well, you should have considered your fertility ten years ago when you were young and ‘enjoying it just being the two of us’ and travelling the world and building up your careers!” Whether you did or not is your business, and it’s not my place to judge (although obviously that didn’t stop me). But you might want to keep it to yourself.

-Blog! Update at least monthly, too. If you haven’t updated in 10 months, a birth mom might wonder if you’re no longer hoping to adopt, or if you’ve dropped off the face of the earth. You might feel like you have nothing to say. Make something up. Are you wondering how “Lost” is going to end? What did you think of the latest Twilight movie? Blog about it. A blog is a great chance to really be yourselves and show potential birth moms what your lives are like and what great parents you would be.

And Finally …
Try to anticipate what kinds of questions a birth mom might ask. What would you want to know about a couple if you were in her place? Here’s a messy, random list of some things you might want to mention.

-Will she be a stay-at-home-mom?
-Do you have any family traditions you hope to carry on?
-Do you have a nursery set up (are you ready, right now, for a baby)?
-Do you have any pets?
-Any plans to move in the next 10 years?
-Do you attend the temple regularly? What are your church callings? Do you have Family Home Evening every Monday night?
-Do you have immediate and/or extended family living in the area? (Roo has tons of family nearby, and I love it.)
-Besides infertility, have you overcome any other hardships/adversity? What did it/they teach you?
-Do you have any experience with adoption? Do you know anyone who has adopted, or anyone who was adopted?
-What would adopting a child mean to you? You can’t oversell how precious a child would be, although you'll want to avoid sounding desperate, as though your lives are empty and worthless because you aren't parents yet.

Overall, be yourselves. You don't have to be perfect, and you don't have to take any of the advice I've given. Odds are, your child's birth mother will love you anyway, warts and all.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Updating the Hoping to Adopt List

I went through the list and deleted your name IF:

1) your links were dead (including and parentprofile links),
2) your blog was stale (hadn't been updated in over a year),
3) your blog stated you had recently been chosen by a birth mother or had adopted.

Please look over the list- if I have made a mistake (or if you are new and would like me to add your adoption blog or adoption profile link) you can email me (Brittany) at or Amanda at

PS: If you have recently been chosen or have been placed with a child and would like to be showcased as a Success Story, please email us!  We love to be inspired by adoption success!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Adoption Books

By Brittany of Que & Brittany's Adoption Journal
email me at

Here are some cute adoption-related books that I've been interested in buying (although I already have the Michael McLean book). 

From God's Arms to My Arms to Yours by Michael McLean
(it comes with a CD)

I Wished for You by Marianne Richmond

God Found Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Blog post idea:  Are there any LDS (fiction or non-fiction) books on adoption that you like? (They don't have to be children's books.) 

[To post a comment, click on the title of this blog post and then scroll down.  I don't know what's going on with blogger, but that's the only way they're showing up right now.  Sorry.] 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

You are Not Alone (Speaking to Sisters Hoping to Adopt)

by Amanda (wishes4happiness at gmail dot com)

I am feeling prompted to write about how alone you can feel when you are unable to have children the "usual" way. I remember those nights when I would cry because I felt like my prayers weren't being answered. I felt like a miracle should just happen and I would be pregnant. That didn't happen. Instead I was inspired to start looking at different adoption agencies and pray more. Finally we made the decision to look at Foster Care. Everything felt right.

When we went to classes there were so many other couples there. It was about that time that I started blogging. I think it was the best thing to happen to me at that time. Reading other's blogs about infertility really helped. Others were able to put into words the exact way that I was feeling.

One of my biggest fears going into adoption was "What if I'm rejected?"

These feelings came all too easy because of our education and income.

When we were accepted by Foster Care I decided to make this website. It made me feel more at peace and added to the feeling of not being alone. When I see so many of your profiles it tells me that you are people who have gone through a lot of the same feelings I have. It tells me that I am not alone in my feelings. It tells me that while I see so many sisters at church announcing their second or third child, I have my sisters here who have walked in my shoes. I have my sisters here who know how hard it can be to go to a baby shower and want to run for the door. I have my sisters here who may just end up in a mood for a few days when they find out yet another friend or family member is pregnant. We are not alone here.

There are many blogs and profiles in the sidebar here. If you ever feel alone just go through the sidebar to see that you are not.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Adoption doesn't cure Infertility

By Brittany, of Que & Brittany's Adoption Journal
email me at

I remember during our adoption orientation in 2007, the myth of "adoption cures infertility" was brought up. In my mind I kind of got hung up on that because I guess I thought that once we added children to our family, those uncomfortable feelings of inadequacy, frustration, anger, grief and loss would just go away.

And yes, it is true that since beginning the adoption process I have healed a lot, (I was actually OK at church last Mother's Day, and that was even before we met our son's birth mom). I can now go down the baby isle at the store, I can even go to baby showers now without the threat of a panic attack. But there are still times where those old [crappy] feelings crop up.

For me, sometimes it catches me off guard, like when I bought a baby book for Liam. I started filling it out with the normal information (weight and length at birth, etc.) and then I came across things like "Some people say I inherited these qualities from my mommy and daddy: _________." I just sat there and stared at the page. It was just kind of a reminder that our situation was different. I love that adoption is part of who Liam is, but it brought up that familiar hurt... you know, that sometimes I wish that I could have given birth to Liam.  (And of course, I consider Liam to be my son; he just came to our family a different way.)

When stuff like that happens, I have to remember to just take a step back and think of how blessed we've been. The good news is, for me, the bitterness of infertility has faded over time. Even though adoption has not cured those feelings, I think I have learned how to deal with it a little bit better.

And who knows, maybe Liam will "inherit" Que's love for camping and hunting, or my love for books. I'll just have to wait a little longer to fill out that page of his baby book. And that's ok. :)

[To post a comment, click on the title of this blog post and then scroll down.  I don't know what's going on with blogger, but that's the only way they're showing up right now.  Sorry.]

An Open Adoption Documentary

Adoption Isn't Selfish

Straight from a Birthmom...

The Open Adoption Project via The R House