Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Interview Series - Michelle (Prospective Parent)

Welcome to week four of my Summer Interview Series. Each week I'll post an interview with someone touched by adoption. I hope that you will enjoy learning about them as much as I have. Please let me know if you would like to participate or would like to suggest someone else for me to interview.

This week - Prospective adoptive mother Michelle P. from .

What is your name/title as you would like it to appear on my blog?
Michelle P. from .

How has your life been touched by adoption?
I have to be honest in saying adoption was not something I gave much thought until it we were faced with infertility challenges. I had a good friend in elementary school who was adopted but it was not something that we ever discussed. At that time adoption were so hush hush….I know we discussed it at my family dinners when my curiosity peeked about the subject, but I was told not to speak of it with her.

Five years ago a good friend of mine was blessed with a little girl through adoption and then a little boy a few years later, so I certainly heard her story from start to finish. However in my naivety at that time I never thought it was something that would touch my life so deeply.

When Terry and I discovered that having biological children would not be an option for us, we of course were devastated, and spent time mourning this. We knew though, we still wanted to be parents. By this time we now had a few different couples in our lives that had been blessed with children through domestic adoption, so we had a few very positive experiences to hear about and learn from… didn’t take long to know that this was something that we definitely wanted to do. It has been wonderful to learn and gain insight from these couples…so we decided to start the process of domestic adoption.

We both have always tried to stay very realistic about where this could take us. It may work out but it may not. We truly want our prayers to be answered, but know that if that is not to be we will be okay…we love each other and are best friends…as long as we have each other our lives will be full.

Has your impression of adoption (in general) changed at all during the time you've been waiting to adopt? If so, in what ways and by what influence?
When I think back two years ago and reflect on my opinions and knowledge of adoption in general, I have to chuckle………NAÏVE…that is all I can say. From thinking that this would happen very quickly, to being so scared when our social worker even suggested ‘open adoption”. It is amazing how much I have learned in the past year and a half. Much of my new found knowledge has come from all the wonderful people I have met through my blog. As well all the great online sources.

The one thing that sticks out in my mind is how we felt about open adoption when we first started into this process. It was something that definitely made us nervous. However after chatting with a wonderful birthmother that I have come to know and hearing her story and listening to her and the joy she has when she gets to spend time with her son….I quickly came to realize just how important an open relationship can be for you as a family, for the woman that has given you this amazing gift and of course most importantly that special child.

I have found that the longer I live the more my perspective shifts as I encounter and incorporate new experiences with my own history and impressions. I have been surprised by how much the reality of being a parent, and an adoptive parent, differs from my expectations. What resources have you tapped into to prepare yourself for becoming an adoptive parent? What has been most helpful to you, either specific resources or specific advice?
I am always amazed as well, at how my thoughts and views change the older I get. I think I would have been a much different parent in my 20’s, not better or worse just very different. I doubt I would have been ready to truly be the best parent to an adopted child. I do believe that raising an adopted child is much different in some ways than raising a biological child. Like any prospective parent I have expectations and ideals that most likely will be blown out of the water once reality hits, but at this time I have surrounded myself with books, websites, and friends that are raising adopted families. I am taking their cues on how to handle different situations that arise.

What degree of openness do you hope to have with your child's birth parents? Why?
Well this is a very interesting question for me right now. Like I said earlier if you had asked me this question last year I might have replied by saying hopefully not much. However after a year of growth and knowledge I would love to have an open adoption. I do believe that if handled properly from the very beginning stages of an adopted child’s life the benefits of openness are astounding for adopted children. Unfortunately we are currently matched with a birthmother that is choosing no openness at all, she would like a completely closed adoption…which makes me sad, but we respect her wishes and know that she has some very good reasons why this adoption should continue to be closed. I have said to her many times that our door would always be open to her and her family if ever there is a time that they would like to have contact.

What has challenged you most during your wait? What has been your response?
The only way I can describe the waiting period for me would be the most intense rollercoaster ride. There are times when I have been fine, patient…realizing life is going to happen and there is not one thing you can change about it. Then there are the other times when I am a crazed mad woman that feels totally out of control and needs to take action. That for me is the hardest, the lack of control. Most of your waiting time is spent with no control over the situation…..

What I have done to keep myself occupied was tons of work, tons of fun with my husband, travel, redecorating…crafts, jewelry making…you name it I have done it.

If I can give any advice it would be, don’t beat yourself up at some point in your wait you will have a melt down or two….it is going to happen…you may not be able to go to that baby shower for a friend…that’s okay…because chances are the next one you will be just fine…don’t pressure yourself.

I said to you not long ago that your child will need the particular gifts of yourself that you develop during the wait. What strengths or insights do you see that you have developed?
This wait has changed me in many ways…..the most wonderful thing the wait has taught me has been the hardest lesson of all. Patience! This is not something I have ever had much of. I think this is the one lesson that God knew I needed to learn before raising a family. Now I don’t think I will be getting any awards for being the most patient person around or anything, but I certainly have learned to calm down a bit. I think this is really in invaluable lesson to have learned before bringing a child home.

I really believe I will be a much better mother after this wait is over. Not only will I not ever take anything for granted again, but the desire to be a mother and parent a child is even deeper than I ever thought possible. I know I wanted this when we started into this journey but now I have had almost 2 yrs to really think about it, pray about, and ponder it….I know this is something that the 2 of us truly want.

People who know you know that you have a very close, beautiful relationship with your mother. I imagine you hope to have the same kind of relationship with your child. What are your expectations of a relationship with your child's birth mother, both yours with her and your child's with her?
Yes my Mom and I are extremely close. Besides Terry, both my Mom and Dad are the closest people to me….we are so blessed both of us, with such wonderful families…all sides….the support is amazing. I don’t think that I can give an accurate answer to that question because you never know what your situation is going to look like. There are certainly people that come into your life that you would want to welcome into your family, and want them to be a huge part of your child’s life. However that may not necessarily be the case. I really think you have to take your situation and come up with a plan that is best suited for everyone involved. At the very least what I want is, if my child ever wants any information we will be able to get for them.

Do you have any misgivings about your decision to adopt?
At this point I don’t have any misgivings about our decision. We still feel very strongly, like I said earlier maybe even more so now than when we started this adoption journey. It has been a challenge thus far….it has many low points but we are sure that in the end it will all be so worth it!

Thanks, Michelle!

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Interview Series - Gregory Franklin

Welcome to week three of my Summer Interview Series. Each week I'll post an interview with someone touched by adoption. I hope that you will enjoy learning about them as much as I have. Please let me know if you would like to participate or would like to suggest someone else for me to interview.

This week - Adoptive parent and adoption attorney

What is your name/title as you'd like it to appear on my blog?
Gregory A. Franklin
Ashcraft Franklin Young & Peters, LLP

What are some of the adoption-related challenges you have faced as an adoptive parent, and what are some of the things you've done to overcome the challenges?
The biggest challenge was the realization that my son did not necessarily share my joy at being a parent! Adoptive parents need to remember that many adoptees experience feelings of loss, disruption and inadequacy, among other issues, and that we adoptive parents must be sensitive to the presence of those feelings.

What about being a parent has surprised you? What about being an adoptive parent has surprised you?
I don’t see many material differences in being an adoptive parent than being a non-adoptive parent. My biggest surprise was how all-consuming it is to be a parent - I could barely remember my life before I became a parent, and how inconsequential that life had been!

The socio-political tide seems to be turning against international adoption, with a variety of factions citing a variety of reasons. What are your thoughts about the current state of international adoption? How is it different than when you adopted your son? What do you think the future holds for international adoption?
I am saddened that those steering international adoption apparently believe that it is better to allow a child to fester in an orphanage than to be given the chance to thrive in an adoptive home. Between greed, bureaucratic barricades and homophobia, international adoption is a pale shadow of its former robust self, and I am saddened that this situation shown no sign of changing.

As an adoption attorney, you connect with a lot of newly adoptive parents. In general, how well-prepared are they for the experience of being adoptive parents? Do you notice any commonalities in terms of how they prepare themselves, their understanding of birth parents' experiences, and/or their views about openness in adoption?
I think that adoptive parents are least prepared to understand that their joy may not be shared by their child, and that any issues which their child may have are not a reflection on the adoptive parent or the parent’s parenting abilities. With respect to openness, I have certainly observed the trend towards greater openness in adoptions, and the fact that most pre-adoptive parents are more open to openness.

The media makes much of "adoptions gone wrong", which feeds misunderstanding about the legal permanence of the adoption bond. Would you comment on that (the legal permanence of adoption)?
There is one adoption thrust into the media spotlight for every 20,000 “silent”, successful adoptions. I just made up those numbers, but the media, and people in general, focus on the abnormal and notorious, as opposed to the uneventful adoptions which happen every day. The huge likelihood of success will not stop adoptive parents from being paranoid, but a finalized adoption in New York can never be challenged unless the adoptive parents themselves were part of the chicanery.

I hear different opinions about whether or not post-adoption agreements are legally binding. Opinion aside, would you clarify the facts?
Every state has its own laws, but the answer is clear. Post-adoption Contact Agreements (which have the awkward acronym PACAs”) are enforceable in New York agency adoptions, if the agreement is approved by a court. They are not fully enforceable in private adoptions, but a well-written agreement can clearly delineate the expectations of the parties, despite its limited enforceability.

I'm interested in your thoughts about the issue of access to original birth records. What do you think is the best way to balance a birth parent's expectation of privacy and an adoptee's desire for information about their beginning?
I’m not so sure that a birth parent necessarily has an expectation of privacy in this day and age. Most adoptions today have at least a degree of openness. The perception exists that birth parents in years past were told that the adoptions were completely closed and that they would not have to worry about contact, but that was presented as a fact, not as an option.

In my experience, there are few birth parents who do not welcome some degree of contact with their adult biological child. The bottom line for me is that a child is entitled to know who they are, where they came from and how their adoption came to be. Open records are a way to provide some answers to these questions if the adoption has not been open and the child unaware of these answers. Some adoptive parents feel threatened by their child having access to this information, but the balance should be tilted towards providing that information to the adoptee – adoptions are, after all, always supposed to be in the best interests of the child.

What resources do you suggest for adoptive parents and their adopted children?
While it may sound self-serving, I think that pre-adoptive parents should consult with an adoption attorney at the very beginning of the process. Neither the Internet nor an adoption agency will offer unbiased information and present the widest range of realistic options.

Thanks, Greg!

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Interview Series - Ola Zuri

Welcome to week two of my Summer Interview Series. Each week I'll post an interview with someone touched by adoption. I hope that you will enjoy learning about them as much as I have. Please let me know if you would like to participate or would like to suggest someone else for me to interview.

This week -

1. What is your name/title as you would like it to appear on my blog?
Ola Zuri, Children’s Author, Mentor

2. How has your life been touched by adoption?
When I was two years old, my twin sister and I were adopted transracially out of foster care in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I also have a sister five years younger, who was born to my adoptive parents. When I was almost seven, I moved to Calgary, Alberta. I had a rough childhood when it came to fitting in, belonging to a group, and being able to relate with anyone. As I looked around me to see what I could find that I could relate to or with, it became apparent that there was not a lot that was out there for me. I have struggled during this life for many years, not knowing who I was or where I belonged. I found, and still find, that many other adoptees that I speak with had similar experiences of not belonging and of feeling lost within their worlds. I am now an author of children’s books that help children with their own healing and journey toward self with positive messages to believe in oneself.

I decided that the children of today needed to have a resource that could help guide them through the issues that so many transracial adoptees appear to go through. Being that the stories stem from personal experiences of my being an adoptee, I believe that the children will be able to feel a connection with my being the author who actually went through the same feelings, questions, emotions, and problems that they will go through. The books that I have to offer to the children are a series that I wish I could have had as I was growing up. Having the opportunity to work through the ups and downs of all the various questions, feelings, and emotions that are explored in these books will help the children as they grow, rather than when they are grown.

3. What is your relationship today with the members of your adoptive family?
My relationship with my adoptive family is fairly minimal - when I first brought up the subject of how I felt growing up with the family I did and the experiences I had with the little, actually no, real support from them, I was more or less banned from being a part of the family. It was a “how dare I act as if my life was so bad when they had adopted me and done the best that they could.” My mom and I had not spoken for years until recently yet when I do something she disapproves of, she gives me the silent treatment all over again and I don’t hear from her. As far a my father, we haven’t spoken for years, at least ten. He seems to have little or no interest in what has been happening with myself and my children and I am unable to provide the extra time out of my busy life to run after him.

4. What is your relationship today with the members of your biological family?
My relationship with my biological family is non existent. My biological mother passed away a few years ago and we had been in an on and off contact situation, via mail, for about four years before that. As for other members of the family, I was in contact at the beginning of having found my biological mother in 1995 and then things kind of stopped and we have not communicated since the death of my biological mother in 2004. I have a half brother whom I expected to continue contact with yet for some reason or another, he was always off doing his own thing and never returned calls or letters so that relationship has not bloomed.

5. Understanding that every child and every situation is different, I'm nevertheless interested in your thoughts about trans-racial adoption in general:
* What do you think are the long-term effects on the child (positive and negative)? On the adoptive parents?

The long term effects on the child are pretty diverse. What I mean is that all people are different and have different views on what happened in their families and within their communities. Having no one to relate to or look like you can be a very difficult thing for a child to have to overcome - seeing the negative attitude towards some races in the media and seeing how the celebrities adopt certain races and the not so positive media attention they receive can be devastating for some - living in small towns without the diversity a large metropolis may have can be hard for some to adjust to - Children who do not have a connection with others who look like them actually can gravitate towards them as they are growing up - there is an uncontrollable need or want, a longing inside of something the child doesn’t have yet somehow realizes is something he/she needs - keeping connections to people of color is extremely beneficial for the child to see who he/she may be able to relate with.

There are positives that can take place for a child in the love and support that the parents put forth with any literature, mentoring groups, hair supports and anything parents are willing to do to help keep a child in contact with their cultural background. The resources parents have today for their child are valuable tools for ensuring the chid has an extra connection to their race, history, and culture.

Adoptive parents can have long term effects in very negative ways where they feel resentment toward the child whom they adopted for not feeling like he/she fit in - for not having the belief that their love should have been enough during the child’s childhood - positive effects parents could be the resources parents are willing to include in the child’s life - from the hair products and salons, the mentoring groups, the same race as the child contacts, the cultural inclusion within the family, the positive literature available to both the parents and the children and the pure enjoyment of being a parent to a child!

* If you were to place a child for adoption what would be your first choice of adoptive family - same race, trans-race, or doesn't matter?
If I were to place a child for adoption, my first choice for an adoptive family would be a same race family. I say this because it was difficult for me to find out things about being a person of color in this world when my parents could not, would not, be able to relate to or understand what it was I was feeling or going through. I would want my child to have a family of the same race who could assist him/her through the issues of race, status, and any other issues because of the simple fact that they would be able to relate to what it was he/she would be going through. Having said that, there are definitely not enough people of color adopting children and the reality is the majority of children available for adoption are children of color and the parents who are available to adopt are generally non color families.

However, I do not believe children should be left in the foster care system because of the fact there are not enough same race families to place them in. All children deserve to have a home and a family and being left in care can be harmful, hurtful, and extremely detrimental in how a child develops a positive self image and positive self esteem. So in the end, if my child were to be adopted by a trans-race family, I would encourage interactions with others who look like my child and finding other outside influences to aid in the development of the child.

* Do you think trans-racial adoptions are more a function of a surplus of Caucasian families or a dearth of families of color?
There are certainly an abundance of families who are not of color than there are of color. Unfortunately, there is such a high demand of children of color in foster care and in international orphanages that are awaiting homes and not enough families to adopt them. That being said, I can see the reason more families not of color are able to adopt transracially.

* Do you know of any Caucasian children who were adopted by families of color?
I know of one family of color who has adopted a child who is not of color. I have not seen nor heard of any others - there may be more yet they are not in the same abundance as the reverse so it is not as prominent in the communities.

* There seems to be a strong interest or need among communities to label people. Which of the labels imposed on you have affected your life more, "female", "adopted", "trans-racial", or "African-American"? Do you think of yourself in terms of any or those labels, other labels, or none at all?
As I was growing up, the pressure that I felt to be “more black” was actually really important to me when I would meet other black people. I didn’t understand the foods that they ate and sometimes the different clothes that they wore or their accents. I remember that most black people that I met had a different attitude towards me when I said that I didn’t know what they were talking about when it came to certain foods or music. Having been raised in a very white, country music city, the exposure to anything black was virtually non-existent and I didn’t have the support of parents who were willing to show me anything that had anything to do with black culture.

As I continued to mature, I found myself drawn more and more towards things that were black - clothes, foods, books, art, music, movies and even starting to collect items for whenever I would have children of my own. I felt it was important to make sure that I had some things that made me feel like I was black, that I “got it.” The labels of being female, adopted, transracial, or African-American have not been the focus on my life as much as the labels “black,” “foreigner,” “minority,” and “ token.” These labels have affected my life because of the derogatory way they have been used to describe me. I have had too many people tell me I didn’t belong or wasn’t accepted because of the label placed on me.

* Similar question - To the best of your knowledge, what labels have affected your parents most, and which labels do they apply to themselves?
My parents have never expressed any discomfort with being called Adoptive Parents - they may have felt it more when I was growing up because of the differences in family dynamics of the era, yet now when we are anywhere in the public eye, the label doesn’t seem to come up at all nor do people seem to question the fact that we are a family anymore. For them as parents, the label of adoptive parent is better now than it was then.

6. How have your thoughts and feelings about adoption changed over time (both with respect to your personal experience and adoption in general.)
My thoughts and feelings about adoption has changed many times over time - when I first started writing essays and term papers on adoption, I was completely for it - race didn’t matter, love did - end of discussion. As time went on and I was discovering who I was, who was inside of me that I didn’t know, as I met others in the community and talked about adoption, transracial adoption and race issues, I came to realize I was not at all at the same crossroads as I was earlier in my life, when it came to supporting adoption, as I had been to begin with.

The disconnect a child feels from not being with the biological family, the loss of a culture, and a community, when a child is adopted transacially and internationally, the confusion a child goes through with regards to identity, the unknown that most adoptees feel as they are growing up and some decide to ignore it and move on with life, while others take everything to heart and work at finding the answers to their healing - as I realized these areas were extremely important to someone who is adopted, I knew my rational feelings and thoughts toward adoption in general was hugely affected.

7. What would you like people to know about being adopted? About being adopted trans-racially?
What I would like people to know about being adopted and about being adopted transracially, is that it all matters! What I mean is everything in an adoptee’s life is not the same as your biological child’s - their background cannot always be traced, the biological family may not be in the picture or may be to start and then al of a sudden stops, - everything from hair, skin, race issues to culture, music, heritage, genes, biological parents and siblings and even extended family members - all of these areas matter and need to be addressed with the adopted person at one, five, twenty, one hundred times throughout a lifetime - the need for connection by adoptive parents to their adopted child is key to ensuring a healthy bond, a healthy connection, a healthy journey for both the parents and especially for the child. After all, it is the child who was adopted into the family, not the other way around. Being told you are special because you were chosen, is not always what an adopted person wants to hear. It is not as special as some people may think.

My parents didn’t put a lot of time or effort into ensuring that I felt okay as an adoptee, let alone a transracial adoptee. I wish my parents had actually acknowledged my race as something I had to deal with. I didn’t realize I would go through the racism problems I had to because my parents never made it an issue or concern for me. There were times when my parents would snap at people with angry comments about my being an adopted child and that embarrassed me more than helped me feel good about one, being adopted, and two, being black. Being that I am black, I think that race is a huge issue for a child to have to all of a sudden deal with on her/his own. Having the support, words of encouragement, and love from my parents would have helped me face the racism and, ultimately, my own identity, a lot easier than I was able to.

Children need whatever kind of love and support that they can get and having an extended family that cares about their well being and development is very important and extremely beneficial. As I was growing up, I did not have the luxury of having grandparents that cared about what happened to me, or about developing any special bonds of love and sense of belonging and being a part of the family. My grandparents on my father’s side, did not like the fact that my sister and I were black and showed it. There was always the attitude of non-acceptance in the air when I remember going over to their house and the children can be seen but not heard when over there. Too many times I remember having to lie on the floor over there and play the game of who can lie still the longest and then I would end up falling asleep because it was always for so long. I never enjoyed going over there.

My mother’s family was a little more welcoming but there was a definite clash between my grandfather and I because he never treated me as if I belonged and that was hurtful because my sister was treated better than I was with him. I think that as long as the children have extended family that are interested in developing bonds with all of the children and show the same love and affection towards them all, the children will benefit a lot by having that extension available.

8. Are there any resources you recommend for birth parents, adoptive parents, adoptees?
The resources that are available today are immense compared to when I was growing up. There is a lot more literature, support groups, counsellors who understand about attachment and belonging who can aid or assist with the child(ren) who feels out of place. There are also support groups in the way of mentoring for children, in the form of multicultural camps or mentoring groups, a place where everyone comes and it is all about them, having fun together and being a part of an experience geared toward the child(ren). These resources are so helpful for the family as a whole because there are many opportunities given for each member to see others who look like them, to have a network of people who have, or may, experience similar things being in the same type of family situation. When I was growing up, I did not have any other families around me who looked the same as my family did - I was never exposed to others who may feel what I felt nor did my parents have any friends in the same situation.

The Believe In Me program I have started and am taking across the country, has been widely accepted already. The overall purpose of the program is to provide positive literature to encourage and empower all children to believe in themselves with determination and faith while discovering and using perseverance for success and overcoming obstacles in life.

Believe In Me gives parents the support needed to raise confidence levels in
children. It provides resources for the educators, support workers and community members while helping children develop to their best level as individuals. This program creates ways for all children, in every part of the country, in building positive self esteem from within. Why Can’t You Look Like Me and Where Do I Belong are the first two of six titles in the program. These books open children up to having to deal with their feelings when they are unsure of how to feel. They offer a distinctly broader view of dealing with situations any child may experience that is on the level of the child. Next, the books emphasize roles to actively teach and encourage the child to believe in what is inside of himself/herself and not on what others may say or want for him/her. The variety of subjects to be included in the series include family, belonging, fitting in, identity, adoption, foster care, and most importantly is building a positive self esteem and a positive self confidence within the children.

9. Anything else you want to say?
So, don’t get me wrong with the answers that I gave. I know that I was very fortunate to have the family that I had when I was growing up. I had a roof over my head, clothes to wear, books to read, gifts and activities to experience. Having said that, I would take it all back in a heartbeat if I could have had a family that had actually wanted me for me, a family that loved me no matter what, and believed in me and what potential I had and could have. My parents thought they did the best that they could and I guess in reality, they did not seek out any resources that there may have been for them and ultimately, for my sister and I.

I personally didn’t think very much of it was the best and now with my own children, I do so many things differently. I do not want my children growing up thinking that I don’t believe in them, love them or want the best for them. The attitude towards them will always be one of pride and confidence in all that they can do because I know that I missed those qualities in my parents when I was growing up. The book series that I have in the works will help all children to believe in themselves, in who they are inside, and to rely on what is right for them not what is going on around them.

Not all children are lucky enough to have parents that care about what is happening in the everyday for their children. By having the books I am writing available in schools and libraries, it will still give all of those children the opportunity to read them when the parents won’t provide them with their own copy at home. A child will develop as he/she is taught and will withdraw into his/her own world when there is no positive resource available though the family network. Let’s hope more families are willing to bend a little and see there is more to adoption than meets the eye and be open to any and all assistance available to them! After all, it’ s for the children!

Last, but not least, is something I would like to express is one word that describes what “belonging” can mean to a child:

Acceptance - acceptance within one’s family, one’s school, one’s community - when a child believes he/she has been completely and totally accepted into their family, the ability to believe in and accept oneself becomes so much easier for a child. what I mean is a child who has a parent(s) that will listen to all of his/her concerns, issues, problems, emotions, worries and will not judge or try to do the quick fix for the child, this child will have gained such a feeling of acceptance from the parent(s) because whatever the issue was, the child will have always had the support from someone who wanted to provide it, not from someone who was obligated to provide it.

Children know when someone is being genuine and when someone is doing something because it has to be done. there is a difference and the parent(s) who can figure it out and can be there 150% without expectation, without judgement, without ridicule or sarcasm, or any negatives, that(those) will be the parent(s) who have children that are more willing to share thoughts, feelings, dreams, problems, and everything life has to bring their way. it is more likely for these children to be open with a support system who has been there throughout the times of confusion and will continue to be there.

Kids go through so many issues in their life and belonging should never have to be one of them - the reaality however, is that all children seem to have to go through some sort of belonging. whether it be in a sports related area, a school function, a school group, a class environment, or even within the family, there is some place in a child’s growing up years where “belonging” is something he/she has to try and do. as a child is growing up, the everyday stressess of wondering what to wear and what to pack in the lunch bag should be the most important things on a child’s mind - not wondering who he/she can sit with in the lunch room, or who is going to play with him/her on the playground, if anyone will play with him/her. worries about what others think about him/her is very unfortunate and has a lot of kids diagnosed with anxiety disorders as a result of not being able to handle the pressures. belonging is a way for others to say “you don’t belong” and then the child deals with how to fit in and where to fit in. when a child is taught from the formative years to believe in who is inside of themself and not on what others say or want for him/her, the child will have inner strength when the “belonging” issues cone up during school or sports and will be stronger for himself/herself in handling the situation with a positive attitude and positive outlook on how he/she can deal with the situation.

Thanks, Ola!

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Best-Selling Adoption Book Now Available for Kindle

The best-selling adoption book What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective is now available as an e-book through .

Kindle and Kindle DX are the revolutionary portable e-readers that wirelessly download books, magazines, newspapers, blogs, and personal documents to a crisp, high-resolution electronic ink display that looks and reads like real paper. Kindle and Kindle DX utilize the same 3G wireless technology as advanced cell phones, so users never need to hunt for a Wi-Fi hotspot. Kindle is the most wished for, the most gifted, and the #1 bestselling product on

Visit to purchase the book or download a sample that can be read on the Kindle e-reader or on a PC, Mac, Blackberry, Android, or iPhone device using one of Amazon’s free reading apps.

What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective will also soon be available as an ePub file compatible with other popular e-book readers, including Apple’s revolutionary new iPad, Barnes & Noble nook™, and Sony Reader.

Click here to purchase a print version of Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer Interview Series - Kelsey Stewart

I've met so many interesting, challenging, and truly wonderful people through adoption that I've decided to run a Summer Interview Series. Each week I'll post an interview with someone touched by adoption. I hope that you will enjoy learning about them as much as I have. Let me know if you would like to participate or would like to suggest someone else for me to interview.

Welcome to interview #1 -

1. What is your name/title as you would like it to appear on my blog?

Kelsey Stewart, Author

2. How old are your children, both those that you placed for adoption and those you're raising?

My daughter is in her twenties and my twins are soon to be in their twenties. I do like to keep their ages a mystery because I am more public than they are. My two sons that I am raising with my husband are ten and seven.

3. What is your relationship today with the children you placed?

I have known my daughter since she was born. Her parents are two very understanding and compassionate people who agreed with me that she should have access to her roots should she need or want to explore it. I saw her throughout her life and we do talk, or I should say type, often. We say I love you, we chat intensely sometimes, and sometimes we just talk sports.

I stayed in touch with my twins parents their entire life and just last summer they contacted me through the Internet. We have been spending the time since then getting to know each other through writings but we have not had an in person reunion so to speak. They have been very kind and it is still very new, but I do love their understanding and amazing sense of humor! It seems, 20 some odd years later, that they have all grown up healthy and happy kids.

4. What was at the root of your decision to place? Who or what influenced your decision and in what ways?

I influenced myself. My life was at that root of my decision to place. I was a child of divorce in a time when divorces were not the norm. I grew up thinking that it was the Army that was keeping my father away from us, not the fact that he had another family somewhere else. I had many, many abandonment issues as an adolescent. I worked through them eventually, but at the time I was dealing with quite the confusion and sadness of not knowing my life story in it's entirety until it was far too late not to be affected by it!

When you grow up without a father because of divorce, it has some very different demons that will cause you to think twice about becoming a parent alone. Did I really want to put my child through that pain? That loneliness? Did I want them wondering what the hell they did wrong to make him leave complex?

Oh I know, some out there may say ... "Well Kelsey, isn't that what you did? Did you not abandon your OWN children when they were born?" Good point. And I would have to answer yes. With a but. You see, my mother did not choose for my father to become disenchanted with family life. My mother did not choose to walk life alone, scared, strong sometimes and defeated other times. She did not choose for me to have such issues with being the victim of his disloyalty to me, his disrespect to her. She did not choose those things. And although it was extremely difficult for her, she always came through optimistic that there was something out there that was worth it.

I lived with it, and did not want it for my children. I am strong and speak well for myself so I was able to fight and get what I thought was an open adoption that would work for all parties involved. I made sure that my parents knew that I WOULD NOT be able to do it if they did not let me know just how they were. I did not want constant contact, (remember this was over 20 years ago when open adoption was not very acceptable) I just wanted to see pictures and hear about them twice a year. I knew that I could not not see them, could not forget them, and needed to just keep in touch, if for nothing else to let them know that I cared and thought about them.

I knew that I needed to place them for adoption because I could not do it alone, and I was not in a very good place mentally at the time. I was still dealing with many, MANY issue with my own life and head to be able to raise another person. I know when to ask for help and I am not afraid or ashamed to do so.

5. How did your family and friends react to your decision?

I could not have been more supported or loved. It was all around me. Everyone I knew, who knew me and what I had been through in my short life (I was 19 when blessed with my daughter), and they all thought it was very brave of me to know what I wanted, and what was best for the child at that time. From my biggest supporter, my mother, to the friends I had, to all the cousins who still to this day tell me how proud they are of me for what I was able to do, then live with, and eventually talk proudly about....well to say that I was fortunate would be an understatement! I am one incredibly luck gal to have such love, such comfort around me, both now and definitely then.

6. Was the birth father involved in the decision? In what way?
Well, my daughter's father signed the papers and pretty much let me handle everything. We broke up not long after learning I was pregnant, reasons I will not share because I do not like to speak for others and this is very private information for my daughter. He relinquished his rights and that told me he was acknowledging her and trusting me that this was best.

I married the twins father years later, so to say that he is involved would be a true statement. He loves raising his kids now, and did think and miss the twins all their life. He is just more reserved about being so open about it, it's just his style. I am not saying that he is ashamed of it or anything like that, he just thinks it is none of your business because it is his life. Again, I do not like to speak for others and I respect him more than any other human on this Earth.

7. How have your thoughts and feelings about adoption changed over time (both with respect to your personal experience and adoption in general.)
Thoughts on adoption have been varied. Personally I am one proud woman for working through the deep heartache of loosing a child. I make no candy coated claims that adoption is always fantastic. I have spent all my years since my daughter came into the world walking everyday without her. Then, to do it again was probably more difficult because I knew what society would have to say about it, even worse, what some think about it.

This leads to the second part of the question the feelings of adoption. Mine have changed almost yearly, depending on what trend adoption is in at the time. Sometimes it is looked upon as a good thing, caring and accepted leading me to feel pretty good about it. Sometimes it is looked upon as the devil's work of money loving individuals who will coerce and lie in any way to make adoption happen leading me to such pain to think that some were forced to leave their children. The later just hurts my feeling because I am lumped into that group that is considered "brainwashed or just plain soulless" because I have a rather happy outlook on adoption. I really don't understand all the controversy that has irrupted in the last 10 years. Adoption truly is a cauldron of mixed opinions and voices that shows what an amazingly personal and heartfelt matter this is. Has it changed? Oh yes! It is now in an age were the whole world can read a plethora of information about all walks in the triad and sometimes, just too much information.

8. What are your thoughts about degrees of openness in adoption? How do you think different degrees of openness affect adopted children at different stages of development?

I am a big believer that a child should always know that they are adopted. Honesty is a quality everyone likes, so just because they are littler than us doesn't mean they would not appreciate the truth. Sometimes you have to allow the child to lead the way into knowing about their birth/natural parents. I believe that communication is THE key to open adoption.

If both sets of parents keep in contact and set rules that can be looked at frequently to determine what is needed in the child's life. I do think that a child can be overwhelmed by the whole thought of it, perhaps feel some kind of loyalty that they do not understand but do not dare question because they are the life givers. If the lines are open and the parents are on the same page it make it much easier to talk to the child and find out what the degrees are. But it definitely is changing all the time. I know that some birth/natural parents sometimes distance themselves which can make it difficult, but it is just another way to cope or heal for's not to be read into too much. I remind you, I do not speak for all birth/natural parents, I only speak from my own experiences.

9. What are some challenges you have faced in your relationship with the children you placed and with those you're raising? (related to adoption or not)
Regarding adoption, the biggest challenge with my adopted children is the awkwardness of getting to know you. It is very stressful because you do not want to scare off, but you do not want to ignore the tough questions. Or just starting a conversation, that is also sometimes very difficult for me...I think too much.
Adoption and the children I am raising is talked about from time to time, but it is not always a subject. They ask questions about their siblings and I have always been straight forward with them. They both love the idea that there are siblings out there that want to meet them. They have a very good idea of what adoption is in my life, and they embrace that I have a big heart.

Other challenges not regarding adoption?
Why there is always laundry, everyday! Keeping schedules, hurt feelings (those little faces try so hard to keep it together but when the tears come I just melt, then I am no good!), teaching perseverance, teaching how to clean up afterwards, how to keep my cool when I have already asked more than twice, and making sure they always know that I have their back...not matter what.

10. If you had it to do over again would you do anything differently?
I believe that if you live in the past you will always find something that did you wrong, but if you look ahead you can change those wrongs with what you have learned.

11. What would you like people to know about being a birth parent?

It is not an easy life to lead. It changes all the time. I just wrote the other day about how life moves on and sometimes you can be going along just fine, but then one thing will turn your world upside down because of adoption. I am not complaining about it, I am just saying that it is something that never goes away. I am proud of what my children's lives have turned into and I am fortunate enough to have the luxury of knowing them. I have always, always carried them with me, every step of the way. My children were wanted, they were loved and I did what I thought was the best that I could do for them at the time, and I am here to say that they are pretty terrific people!

12. Are there any resources you recommend for birth parents, adoptive parents, adoptees?

Tapestry Books is a fantastic resource for all things in adoption literature. I like to recommend the Internet, but I do not know your tastes. There are just so many out there, search around for a voice you can believe in and that keeps you thinking outside the box.

13. You say that "Adoption is God's love given twice." That's a very positive perspective. What is your response to people who have had horrible adoption experiences, either as birth parents, adoptees, or adoptive parents?
I speak from my experience only. I always say that, and I mean it. Sure, I am a little on the sweet side of the birth/natural mothers, but again I believe that it is what you do with your life that makes your character. I write to inspire those who need a voice they can believe in. I write to help birth/natural mothers feel not so alone in their journey, to remind them that no matter their story they are strong women. I write to help adoptive parents think differently about their birth/natural parents. I write to help adoptees who might be wondering if they were ever thought of so that I can say YES!, almost always YES! Sometimes just listening is what I do best.

The road is not always easy, and may not be the road you were expecting. But you have to have hope along with faith that you will make it through and perhaps you will find your peace.

14. Anything else you want to say?
I thank you so much for inviting me to do this! You have asked some very thought provoking questions, so much so I have been making notes as I answer because some of the things I want to touch on more in depth, so thanks for that as well. I feel very blessed and useful knowing that there are people out there who take an interest in what I say. If I can help just one person feel comfort, or feel validated, or feel differently about something I made them think about...well I consider myself very, very lucky.

Thank you, Kelsey!

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Adoption Book Reading and Signing

I've been a fan of indy bookstores since I was old enough to buy my own books. It's a great thrill for me to now promote my own book at two local indy bookstores.

On Saturday, June 19th, I'll be signing copies of my adoption book What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective at 10:00 a.m. at Village Bookmarket in scenic Palmyra, NY. I expect to be highly enough caffeinated to do a few readings from the book, so I hope you'll join me for a visit to Village Bookmarket, "The Little Store that's BIG on Service."
207 East Main St., Palmyra, NY, 14522

And at 4:00 p.m.on Sunday, July 25th, I'll be at Books, ETC. of beautiful Macedon, NY. I've worked in Macedon, hiked in Macedon, dined in Macedon, and now I'll be reading from my book in Macedon. I hope you can join me at John Cieslinki's fabulous store, Books, ETC.
78 W. Main St., Macedon NY, 14502

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+