Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Guest blogger

It's my pleasure to offer you an interview of questions and answers from another side of adoption. Sometimes, I think it's the side that people often try not to hear. Speaking for myself, adoptees blogs were the last ones that I started gaining an interest in. It's not that I didn't care about adoptees but for me it made me think past the fact of thinking about "my baby" and made me think of my daughter who had a mind of her own and feelings.

I have read posts from adoptees where adoptive parents want to say that "my child" won't feel that way. Or things will be different with my family. Even though, adoptive parents are not the cause of adoption maybe their is a lot of denial in the fact that adoptees do have pain and struggles as they grow and explore more about their first family.

Check out her blog here.

Question 1. At what age did you fully understand adoption? Meaning that you had two sets of parents?

I don't remember the age when my parents first told me. But when I was three, my parents adopted my little sister. I had the whole adoption process re-explained to me and I got to see it from the adoptive family perspective. When I was in eighth grade, I wrote an article about being adopted for my school’s newspaper. The article led to an interesting discussion at home with my adoptive mother, and we stopped talking about my adoption. I don’t remember discussing it with her after that until I was a lot older. When I turned 18, I started doing some searching on the Internet, but not seriously. My next go at my adoption thinking was when my sister told me about finding all my paperwork. I was twenty-one years old. I thought that I could put in on the shelf, but that didn’t work out so well. I’d say that I started to fully understand my adoption and what the consequences of it were after I’d reunited with my first parents and started to deal with the fallout. It was around my twenty-third birthday that I started to fully get how angry I was when my first mother didn’t acknowledge the day. For me, I’ve reached greater understanding in dealing with the anger and the fact that I had two sets of parent. I needed to process those feelings and work them out in order to fully get what had happened to me. I’m still working through it.

Growing up, I never really thought about both sets of parents. My first mother was this mythical creature who loved me from a distance. She wasn’t a real person. When I finally reunited with her, I saw pictures and she wasn’t the young girl of my dreams, she was a woman with a family of her own that didn’t include me. I thought that I could keep my feelings about her and my first father very separate from my adoptive parents, but it wasn’t so easy once I got to know my first father, who felt more and more like a father every time we talked. I don’t think that I’ll ever fully understand adoption, or how both sets of parents fit into my life. I love all four of my parents very much. They all hold significant places in my heart and they always will.

Question 2 Growing up how often did you think about your first parents?

I thought about my first mother all the time. I had an adoption poem on the wall of my bedroom and I would think of her every time I passed it, so at least twice a day. It was on my wall from ages four to twenty-two. I rarely thought about my first father. I didn’t know anything about him. From time to time I’d imagine that maybe he was someone famous, like a rock star or something, but that was mostly when I was a teenager. Now, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of the two of them and wonder how they are. They are a huge part of my life, and to some extent they always have been.

Question 3 Did you feel comfortable talking about adoption at home?

I don’t talk about my adoption at home anymore. I used to talk to my adoptive mother about it all the time. She’s my best friend so we’d talk about everything under the sun. No topic was off limits. It was hard for her to talk about my adoption. I could tell. But she’d rather know what was going on than to be left in the dark. I left her in the dark a few times and she was very upset by that. She didn’t want it to drive a wedge between us so she worked hard on being supportive and accepting. Now due to health issues, we don’t talk about anything important. I’m just glad to still have conversations about the best way to fold the towels so they fit with her. Adoption is too complicated of a subject. My adoptive father and I never talked about it. It was very hard for him not to have biological children. In his mind, once the paperwork was signed, we were his kids and his kids alone. Our first families meant nothing to him other than a threat. He went to great lengths to make sure they never showed up to take us away. He tried to be supportive of my reunion, but he’s never going to approve. I don’t push it because my reunion is about me and my first family. My adoptive family doesn’t need to be involved. My sister is also adopted. That means that she has her own adoption baggage and views. At her request, we don’t talk about our adoptions anymore. It’s just better for our relationship that way.

Question 4 Do you think it would have been easier to deal with your parents choosing adoption had they not ended up married?

Good question. It’s a question I ask myself all the time. It’s a yes and no answer for me. For starters, I’m really happy that they are married. I grew up thinking my first father was a bad guy. It’s this stereotype that is hard for an adopted person to escape. I figured he’d left my mother. So when I found out that wasn’t the case, it was a huge relief. And when I found out they were married, it made me feel like I came from a good place, a loving place. And I loved that I had full biological siblings. I figured I would have a hard time with the half-sibling thing. At the same time, because they are still together, that means that they have to be on the same page about me. Simply put, they aren’t. They both want different things. It would have been so much easier if they weren’t still together. I might be “out” in my first father’s life. Though lately, I’m thinking that might not be the case. Still, it’s hard to deal with the two of them as individuals when they deal with me together. It’s like an uneven triangle. So it would have been a lot easier for them to be separate. And I wouldn’t have to deal with the emotional pain of knowing that they were engaged less than a year after my birth (I was born in October; they were engaged the next August). I know that things changed for them. And I’m glad that they did get married. But it hurt just a little bit. Sometimes, things just hurt. You can’t do anything about it. You might like the ultimate product, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t sting a little. If that makes sense.

Question 5 Have you ever felt jealousy towards your birth sisters?

It surprises me, but not really. I thought I’d be really jealous of them. They grew up with the family that I should have grown up with. I used to be jealous when I heard about all the fun family stuff they did when they were kids. My adoptive father wasn’t around all that much, so it was hard for me to hear that my first father was a real family guy. He coached my sisters’ softball teams (still does) and went camping with them in the backyard. I was lucky if my father showed up at all to my softball games and wouldn’t even take us to the movies if he didn’t feel like it. It just wasn’t his thing. So that was hard at first. But the more I talked to my first father, the more I realized that it wasn’t as perfect as he made it out to be. They have their fair share of problems. My sisters don’t know they have a sister out there. I’m not jealous of that at all. It is what it is. I love my sisters even though I’ve never met them. I’m more protective of them than jealous and want what’s best for them. It’s weird feeling like a big sister without even knowing them. But somehow I do.

Question 6 From reading your blog.. I believe you grew up thinking that your parents couldn't raise you because they were young. I recall you saying your 24 so your past the stage of having been through an unplanned pregnancy as a teenager.. Do you think your adoption experience helped you make the right choices about sex?

100% yes. I was petrified I was going to grow up to be like my first mother. I was so scared I would end up like her and have to make a hard choice. It certainly helped that I wasn’t popular with the boys, but I think a huge part of that was that I was very conservative and didn’t want to get into trouble. I was very much a “good Catholic girl”. That’s not to say that I didn’t make some bad choices. Somewhere along the way I decided that if it was good enough for her, it was good enough for me. I had some unresolved anger issues and I’ve made some pretty stupid choices. But eventually after I’d heard my full birth story, I came to realize that it didn’t have to be that way. And I was conceived because my first parents didn’t use protection. If it could happen to them, it could happen to me. And I wanted more for myself. I saw how messed up my first mother was about my adoption. I saw the scars it left on her family. The fact that I was born is never going away. I didn’t want to deal with that. So I’ve made better choices because of her.

Question 7 How do you feel about open adoption?

I think that open adoption is a lot better than closed adoption. A lot of the issues that I faced as a kid and a lot of the challenges of being an adoptive child came from the closed system. I would have loved to have known my first parents growing up. I think that open adoption would have been hard too though. Open is better than closed, but not a full solution to the adoption problem.

Question 8 Do you think you would have been more happy in life had you grown up in an open adoption and known your first parents all along?

I wish that my adoption had been open. It would have been great to know who I looked like and where my personality came from. However, I do think it would have been very challenging for me to wonder why my first parents couldn’t keep me if I’d known them my whole life. And it would have been hard to deal with my younger sister as a seven-year-old. I don’t think I would have understood back then what I understand now, that a lot changes in seven years.

Question 9 I know your reunion with your first parents isn't where you would like it to be. If you had to pin point it down to one thing. What do they need to deal with in their life to move on in reunion in the open?

That’s a great question. I’m not really sure. I can’t speak for them and what they need to change. But for me, I know that I would be a lot more willing to communicate if I felt that I was being taken seriously and not as an afterthought. I think it my first parents were open about me and where I fit in their lives, things would go a lot better. They need to figure out what’s holding them back from being open about me. I don’t understand it, but it’s not really my place to understand. I just hope that we get there someday.

Question 10 What do you think about your reunion or desires to know your first parents bothers your parents the most?

For my mom, it’s that she doesn’t want me to get hurt. She saw it coming way before I did. I was so excited I wasn’t careful to guard my heart. I didn’t understand that my first mother might not be happy to hear from me. She seemed happy enough. I didn’t see the giant red flag when she decided not to tell my first father about our reunion once I got back in touch. When my first father entered the picture, she also saw the giant red flag when my siblings weren’t told right away about me. She knew I would be hurt and that it was going to happen. She was so mad about it because she didn’t want me to have to go through it. She tried to step back and let me deal with it but wanted to be there to help me. I didn’t always let her, so it didn’t work out so well for me. I’m just glad we were able to work through it. As for my dad, he doesn’t want them to exist. He wants them to disappear because I’m his daughter and nobody else’s. He’s afraid they will tear our family apart and that they aren’t good people for me to be around. It’s taken me a long time to figure out that those are his issues, not mine.

Question 11 Do you have a favorite blog that is written from adoptive parents? And why is it your favorite?

I’m in love with Sara at Unofficial Mom ( She rocks my socks. Sara’s got a great adoption story and her daughter is the absolute cutest. Plus Sara’s amazing at listening to others in the adoption triad which makes me respect her so much. It can’t be easy but she makes it work for her daughter. Amazing right? Another one that jumps to mind right away is Lori at Write Mind Open Heart ( She’s pretty cool too. Lori’s written some amazing posts about letting her children grieve. Plus she organized the book tour I recently participated in for Found. Pretty amazing that an adoptive parent picked a book by an adoptee to read. I can imagine it was a hard read for adoptive parents, but she took it on anyway and challenged others as well. I have a few other adoptive parents that I love to follow as well and some great adoptive parents that comment on my blog all the time. I’ve been lucky to meet some really respectful adoptive parents.

Question 12 Is there anything in particular that you have learned from my blog or gotten a new prospective about something from my blog.

I love your blog because you tell it like it is. You deal with your daughter’s adoption without pulling punches or hiding from it. Your writing style is great too. I can’t help but think “It is what it is” when I read your blog and I love that. I think that takes a lot of courage. It doesn’t sound easy but it gives me hope that maybe someday it might work out for me and my first mother. Plus you are very supportive, something that I’ve come to value so much in adoption blogland. I have a lot of respect for your supportive of adoptees and adoptive parents. It’s so refreshing and amazing!

Hope you all enjoyed this and go visit Jen's blog.


Wendy said...

I wanted to thank you for sharing your story, Jen. I'm sorry it's been hard to talk about adoption-issues with your adoptive parents. I'm also sorry that it hasn't been as easy with your first parents. I hope that over time the relationship between you and them just gets better and better. I hope that you get to meet your other siblings, too, if that's something that you decide your really want.

Thanks again.

Wendy said...

Birthmothertalks...I don't know if you're still looking for guest bloggers or if you'd want a guest blogger who is an adoptive parent, but if you do, you can certainly email

birthmothertalks said...

Wendy, I would be happy to have you do a guest blog for me. It might take me a few days to get some questions to you. Thanks and I will be looking forward to it.

Jenn said...

Thanks for letting me do this! It was fun to write a guest post! :-)

Wendy, thanks for the support! I hope I get to meet them someday too.

birthmothertalks said...

Your welcome. It was fun for me too.

Wendy said...

Sounds good, birthmothertalks! :)

You're welcome, Jenn!