Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas in Medina + Adoption Book Signing

Do you have plans for Saturday, November 27th?

Would you like to?

Why not join me at in historic downtown Medina, NY? I'll be there from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. to discuss and sign copies of my book, What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective. AND...

Old Tyme kicks off that same day at 10:00 a.m. Live music, horse drawn sleigh rides, crafts for the kids, storytime with Mrs. Claus, parade of lights... and my book signing, of course. It's the perfect way to spend the second day after Thanksgiving!

It's going to be a ton of fun, and I hope you can make it!

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book formats.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Adoption Truth

How much of what you've learned about adoption was taught to you by "adoption professionals?"

Cassi at has written with beautiful honesty about her experience with adoption loss. Her truth is shared by many first parents, and I hope you will take the time to read her post .

She is speaking truth that we all need to hear.

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book formats.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Adoption Book featured as Barnes & Noble Rising Star

Thanks to reader support in the marketplace my book, What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, has been selected for the

My book is currently featured in Barnes & Noble Rising Star Special Collection at the website and will be available through this exclusive boutique during the month of November. The Rising Star series showcases promising nonfiction and fiction authors tapped by editors for the quality of their writing.

Sincere thanks to all of you who have read (or are reading) my book. Adoption reform cannot be the work of one or two voices. It simply won't happen. I appreciate all of you who share your thoughts, experiences, ideas, and feelings with me. There is much work to be done!

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book formats.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Friday, November 5, 2010

New Article: While You're Waiting... Preparing for Adoption

Thanks to the Genesee Valley Parent magazine for publishing another of my articles. This month's feature is titled "While You're Waiting... Preparing for Adoption".

The article includes suggestions from APs, a PAP, and me for how to use your wait time productively.

You can read it here: .

I'm always on the lookout for adoption-related topics to write about, so please let me know if you have any ideas. Also, I know I'm behind on my interview series! I've got two on deck that I hope to post next week. I'm open to suggestions of people you'd like me to interview.

Make a great day!

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book formats.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Proceeds From Best-Selling Adoption E-Book To Benefit Adoptive Parents Group

In honor of National Adoption Month, the Amazon Kindle e-book version of the best-selling adoption book What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective will be available at 50% off list price during the month of November. Proceeds from sales of the e-book will benefit the Adoptive Parents Committee (APC), an all-volunteer, non-profit group that advocates for humanitarian improvements in the adoption and foster care system.

“I’m excited about introducing my adoption book to a new audience through an expansive online platform,” said Sally Bacchetta, author and adoptive mother of two. “It’s also a great opportunity to support the work of APC in educating the public, the media, and its members about current adoption issues.” more

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book formats.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Monday, November 1, 2010

Poking Fun at Adoptees is a Classless Move for PlayStation

For as little television as I watch, I can't believe I caught this ad. Type into Google search.

I gasped out loud.

I want to know what writer thinks it's funny to use adoption in this context. Oh, yeah, it's funny. Funny as a racial slur. Funny as a "Your Mama..." Funny as jokes about dwarf tossing or gay bashing.

I can't believe we still have so far to go.


Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book formats.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Friday, October 22, 2010

Adoption Interview Series - Adam Robe, MSW

Welcome to this installment of my Adoption Interview Series. I periodically post interviews with people involved with all aspects of adoption, and I hope 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 -

How has your life been touched by adoption?
My first contact with adoption was at the age of nine, when I was adopted. Although the concept was introduced to me prior my adoption, I really didn’t understand what it meant.

As a social worker for the last thirteen years, I have had lots of experience working with children and families going through adoption.

Please tell us about your , including the titles in the series.
When I was placed in foster care at the age of five, a number of people tried to explain to me what was happening to me in words that I could understand. But, at the end of the day, I knew two things about foster care; I was not with my mom or brother and that I was in a home with strangers. On most days, I felt alone and powerless.

Over the years, I have seen a theme emerge; communication is difficult for children in care. And that the behaviors that children display can easily be misinterpreted as many of the children in care do not always communicate their needs the way we would expect. Because of poor modeling, trauma, mistrust, age, etc. a child may not have the words to tell you what they are feeling or thinking. Often a child’s misbehavior might be their way of trying to tell us something and we are missing great opportunities to get a child to open up.

With confidence, I can say that all of us want children to feel comfortable talking about how they feeling and what they are thinking. But, how do we get them to the point where they feel comfortable talking to us? And if they do, is their trust in us going to be rewarded. In other words, if they open up to you, are you going to really listen to what they are saying? You have to also remember, that many children harbor a belief that if they tell you things - bad things will happen. For example, they might believe that because they talked about what was going on in their house they had to leave or maybe someone blamed them for breaking up the family. So sharing feelings doesn’t always equal something good.

With this in mind, I started brainstorming about ways to reach out to children in a safe and non-threatening way and to help a child communicate about how they are feeling. I thought about how much of an impact books have on us. So, I researched children’s books that were available and although I found that there are some really great ones, I felt that there was something missing in them.

First, I couldn’t relate to the characters or their situation or there was too much feel good stuff versus thought provoking situations. With Robbie, his reason for entering care was due to abuse, but also because his mother couldn’t take care of him properly and she needed additional help.
Robbie was created to fill the gap, and I believe that this series, will not only help children, they will also help the caring adults in their lives.

The books in the series are: “Robbie’s Trail through Foster Care,” “Robbie’s Trail through Adoption,” “Robbie’s Trail through Open Adoption,” “Wanting to Belong,” “Meeting My CASA,” and “Moving to Another Foster Home.”

Do you have a favorite Robbie Rabbit book?
I actually have two favorites, and they are “Robbie’s Trail through Foster Care,” and “Robbie’s Trail through Adoption.” I like these two because they really highlight some of the emotions that Robbie (or a child) may be going through when coming into foster care, and adoption.

Often, children aren’t able to tell us what they are feeling and instead, they share their feelings through their behaviors. These behaviors can be misread, and if we are focused just on correcting the behavior, versus finding out why the behaviors are occurring, we could be missing a great opportunity to help children verbalize their feelings.

One of the things I love about what you've done is that Robbie Rabbit is more than just a series of children's books. You've also developed Activity book(s) and Adult Guides. Please tell us about those.
When researching books for children in foster care, I found that some of the books did include discussion topics for an adult to go through with a child, but I know from my own experience and from being around children, that interactive activities tend to have better results. When you think about the activities that children do in school, even as silly as some of them seem, they tend to help the child learn. With this in mind, the activities in the “Robbie Rabbit” series are interactive and require action from both the child and a caring adult. There are also themes to the activities in the books that will allow the child to better understand the things they can control and can’t control; identify people in their lives that they can talk to; use words to tell others how they are feeling; and to build their self-identity.

The adult guide helps caring adults to create situations where children feel comfortable talking with them. Plus, it gives starter questions and advice on how to get a child engaged in the activities.

Having a child read the books and do the activities by themselves will not help a child to feel more comfortable about sharing their feelings with others. It is so important that a caring adult be a part of this process.

I imagine that your own experiences with foster care and adoption inspired the Robbie Rabbit books. I'm curious, how or why did you decide to feature a rabbit rather than a human child or another animal?I initially considered making Robbie or the character in the series, a human, but the more I thought about the best way to reach children, it seemed more appropriate to use animals. Plus, because of the sensitive material, I believed that it would be more difficult for children if the characters were human. It also allowed me to create cultural differences without creating a stigma for a child or family of a particular race.

I used a rabbit to represent Robbie because they are the most cuddly and non-threatening animals I could think of. Rarely, are rabbits seen as evil or mean. Of course, after I had written the first two books and had them illustrated, I came across another Robbie Rabbit character that is evil and I hope that if kids Google Robbie the Rabbit they don’t come across pictures or videos of that character.

Are your books relevant for adoptive families who have not experienced foster care?Definitely! By reading the books, they may get a glimpse of what may happen. If they can anticipate some of the emotions that a child may experience, they will be better prepared to help a child. It also will give them a chance to recognize some of the pitfalls that parents may fall into.

Visitors to your website will see that training is an important component of what you do. Would you give some examples of the kind of groups you train and the feedback you get from those you train?
I have trained youth who are transitioning out of foster care, and professionals who are involved in a child’s life. I have conducted trainings with foster parents on helping children in care feel as if they belong. I also have spoken with residential care and child placing agencies about some of the emotional transitions that children go through while in care. Court personnel, such as CASA’s and GAL’s also have heard me talk about the challenges of youth as they transition out of foster care, creating life-long connections, and the emotional impact of foster care on children.

Some of my feedback is that people appreciate me sharing my personal and professional experiences and helping them have a better understanding of how to work with children in care. They have also appreciated my non-judgmental approach, and humor, which helps when dealing with such an intense topic.

It seems that more and more people involved with adoption are now seeing the need for adoption reform. What are your thoughts on that? What things (if any) do you think need to change, and what ideas do you have for the best way to go about changing the adoption industry?
I would love for there to be consistency across state lines when doing adoptions. Although many states require similar training for their families, the rules can change from one state to another.

One area that I see a lot of problems occur, and have heard from foster/adoptive families, is the idea of con-current planning. Many courts and state policies require that there be dual goals for a child. The first is to work towards reunification, and the second towards another permanent arrangement such as adoption. Unfortunately, case workers are not trained on what this looks like, and some courts are vague about what they require. Children may be placed in adoption eligible homes, while the state works towards reunifying, yet they also are communicating with the adoptive families that the child or children will be available for adoption with them if reunification doesn’t occur.

Unfortunately, the initial placement could have occurred quickly and even though the initial match factors were there, no one can officially staff this family until the goal changes to adoption. By that time, the children may have been in the home for several years, and what happens if the team determines that this family isn’t a good match for the child? Or, if there were siblings involved and there was never strong efforts made to find a home for them together. Now, years later, workers are trying to identify homes where all of the children can be placed together, which may cause another disruption and another loss for the child.

Better training and consistency with court requirements should occur to help so the above situations can be reduced.

What type of support do you wish you had had when you were a child in foster care?
My siblings and I were abandoned by my birth mother when we were four, five and six. For us, one day things were going along as they normally did, and then one day, everything changed. I didn’t talk to my birth mother again until I was 32 years old. In-between, I continually asked myself, what happened? Is she okay? Why would she just leave us? I also lost my brother after coming into foster care, and after my adoption, I lost my sister.

Unfortunately, because I did not display any outward signs of trauma or distress, nor did I exhibit anger or negative behaviors, people assumed that I was okay and that I was adjusting to the situation. No one took the time to help me understand what was happening. The system missed the boat on providing me with counseling to help me with the unresolved issues in my life.

One of the things I didn’t realize until recently, was that I actually lived three different lives. The first one was with my biological family until age five. Then, as a foster child until age nine - and finally, as an adopted child. In each one of these situations, I lost a little more of the “original Adam” as I like to call him, and adapted and changed to be accepted into my new situation.

So, what could have been different...a qualified therapist to help me with the trauma of losing my family and better training for those who were in my life. It seemed as if nothing existed prior to me coming into foster care and that my life began at age five.

There were definitely things that the state could not control, but there were plenty of things that they could have. For example, I only saw my brother once during the three years I was in my foster home. They could have ensured that I was having contact with him. By the time I saw him again, he was a stranger to me.

My adoptive family did a wonderful job after my adoption of helping me connect with my brother and sister. They created opportunities for the three of us to get together to celebrate holidays and birthdays.

Please add any additional thoughts you want to share, Adam.
Of course, I would love it if everyone bought copies of the Robbie Rabbit series. But, these books cannot cover every aspect or every scenario that a child may have faced or will face, but it is a starting point. The characters in the books give the child and caring adult a place to start.

These books aren’t the end-all-be-all, and I am sure people will find areas that need improvement or they may feel they don’t apply, but they are another tool to use when working with children in care.

By helping a child communicate his/her feelings, sharing one-on-one time together, building an open relationship, and creating an environment where a child feels safe to talk to you, I believe it will strengthen a child’s future.

Thanks, Adam, for sharing with us!

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book formats.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Adoption Book Giveaway on Adoption Angles on Mom TV TONIGHT!

I hope you'll join me tonight at 9:00 ET for the fabulous Mel's Adoption Angles on Mom TV. Click the logo below and REGISTER to join the live chat!

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book formats.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Adoption Angles on Mom TV

I've been invited to be a guest on Mel's Mom TV show Adoption Angles. We just did a tech run through, and video and audio are working perfectly.

I hope you'll join us this Wed., October 6th, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. You can join the live chat by logging in at a few minutes to 9:00.

Mel is a doll, and we're ready for some meaty discussion about adoption realities.
BONUS - We're doing a giveaway during the show! A signed copy of my book, What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, will go out to one of our online "chatters".

I hope to talk with you then!

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book formats.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Adoptive Parents Ordered to Surrender 3-Year-Old to Biological Father

I just read Adoptive Parents Ordered to Surrender 3-Year-Old to Biological Father by Honey Berk at Parent Dish, and I'm sputtering mad. (

In her opening line Berk writes, In what may turn out to be a nightmare-come-true for adoptive parents, an Indiana couple risks losing their son today to the child's biological father in Ohio, after fighting to adopt the boy for nearly three years. I don't know Berk or any details of her personal life, so I can't hazard a guess as to why she chose to write from that perspective rather than the bio dad's or a neutral position. Why didn't she write, "In what may turn out to be a dream-come-true for first fathers, an Ohio father may finally be able to raise his son, after fighting nearly three years to have his legal rights as a first father upheld." I don't know.

Whether intentionally or not, Berk's word choice demonstrates an anti-first parent bias - especially first father bias - that I believe lurks beneath the surface of adoption today. That's a topic I'll tackle another time. For now, I hope you will read Berk's article. I am interested in your reaction.

Here are a few details from the article that I found particularly upsetting:

Bio mom wasn't required by law to provide bio dad's contact information to the adoption agency. (Why not? His DNA matters as much as hers.)

Within 30 days of his son's birth, bio dad registered with the Putative Father Registry in Ohio, which was weeks before the adoptive parents filed for adoption. (So bio dad asserted his paternity before the adoptive parents filed for adoption.)

Seventeen months later bio dad was awarded custody in Ohio court. That decision has been upheld by the Ohio Court of Appeals and by the Supreme Court of Ohio.

The voice of the law seems clear. Bio dad should get his son back - three years ago!

Parts of Berk's article made me physically ill. Those would be the quotes from the adoptive parents, e.g.,:
Quote #1 "He's never contacted us directly. He's never asked how the child is doing. He's never sent a birthday card." If I believed that someone essentially stole my child from me, I don't know that I'd contact them directly either. Perhaps he had legal counsel in that regard or was afraid of how easily he could be labeled a stalker, menace, obsessive, etc.

Quote #2 "What they'll say is they've litigated this from the beginning, that he filed a paternity action in the very beginning; that he's done everything he can do." And hasn't he? Hasn't he litigated it from the beginning? Didn't he file a paternity action in the very beginning? Hasn't he done everything he can legally do? Yes. YES! How can you feel good about keeping this man's child?

Quote #3 "We want him to have contacted Grayson and to have supported him, and our position is he has not done that." Excuse me? Really? So, if bio dad had contacted Grayson and 'supported' him (whatever that means), then what? You'd be happy to return his son to him? Doubt it! And besides, who are you to decide what hoops he or any other bio dad has to jump through to 'prove' his love for his son? The position of the Ohio courts is the one that matters in this case; not yours.

Quote #4 The adoptive mother is worried about how to tell her two other children. "There's absolutely no difference. He's our child, and he has been since the moment I held him." And this is where I cry, because Lady, I understand that feeling. I have felt that feeling. But feelings don't erase paternity. Feelings don't change wrong into right. I can not begin to imagine the pain of having to tell either of my kids that their sibling isn't going to be part of our family any more. The idea is devastating. But... you shouldn't have been allowed to raise him as your child to begin with. He was never relinquished for adoption by his biological father. And that sets up a situation where everyone loses.

Bio dad has lost the earliest years of his son's life.
The adoptive family is scheduled to lose the boy they have loved for three years as a son and a brother.
And Grayson loses everything. Absolutely everything. His parents, his siblings, his home, his world. He loses security, peace, belonging, and faith. Everything. Absolutely everything.

To those of you who think that Grayson should stay with his adoptive family, I agree that his loss will be tremendous and devastating. Enormous. Life-altering. But I have to ask, if someone took your infant child without your consent, how long would you fight to get him or her back? At what point would you say, "OK. It's enough. Just keep him. It's not worth the fight." Honestly?

Instead of bashing bio dad for wanting to raise his son (his son), why not bash the laws and regulations and protocols that make it ridiculously easy to delete bio dads from their children's lives? Why not work for adoption reform that values fathers as much as mothers?

Both my kids' birth mothers recognized the importance of fathers. Both realized that was something they couldn't give to their children, and that's why they asked my husband and me to adopt their babies.

How can anyone deny this bio dad the privilege of raising his own son?

What do you think?

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book formats.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Monday, September 20, 2010

Response to 'Not My Normal Modus Operandi'

Do you read Valency? I do, and one of her recent posts knocked some things loose in my head for me. I started to write a response, but it quickly became too long, so I'm posting it here.

Valency wrote this in response to a reader's comments on her post : ...I am just so astounded that adoptive parents would even discuss how much their new acquisition “costs”, especially in an open setting like a blog, all laying out there for the whole world to read. And then to whine about how it is robbery and put them in an unfair moral dilemma????? Say what?

What follows is my response to Valency.
I think that some APs who do so have convinced themselves that they are entitled to parent. They resent their infertility. They feel frustrated, depressed, hopeless, impatient, and very sad. I know I did; I felt all of those things. Except entitled. I never felt that. I spent eight years in the crippling grip of infertility, and never once did I think that I 'deserved' a child or that someone 'owed' me a child or that another woman should just 'admit that she's unfit and give her kid up already' - sadly, all things I have heard (or read) PAPs say.

I haven’t yet been able to sort out how much of that attitude of entitlement is pure self-absorption and how much is cultivated by the adoption industry, whether intentionally or not. PAPs hear an awful lot from industry professionals about their (the PAPs) needs, desires, dreams, fitness to parent, choices, etc., and VIRTUALLY NOTHING about the needs, desires, dreams, fitness to parent, choices, etc. of first parents.

My daughter’s first mother was something of a mythical creature to me for a long time post-adoption, and I’m not a shallow pea-brain; I’m educated, insightful, and compassionate, but I was told zero about her except for some basic stats when we got The Call. We had waited years for The Call, and we were consumed by our joy and anticipation. It was shamefully easy NOT to think about first mother. The baby is here, the baby is real, the baby is ours! M (first mother) had never been made real to us. The role of first mother had never been made real. It had never been made to be more than a means to our end. (I feel sick re-reading that, but it’s true.) We were never directed or even encouraged to explore the adoptive experience from the first parent perspective.

In fact, the adoption professionals who spoke with us gave no indication that there was an “adoptive experience” at all for first parents. It was all about us and what paperwork we needed to complete and what appointments we needed to make and what monies were due when and to whom. Heaven knows, I was grateful for the support we got… we didn’t have a clue what we needed to do or how to navigate the logistics and legalities of adopting. But I noticed that my questions about first parents were dodged with “We’re handling everything with them” or “She’s fine.” I pressed, and I was redirected. I pushed, and I was reassured. “We’re handling everything with them.” “She’s fine.” And I accepted that they were and she was. I couldn’t even begin to comprehend the first mother experience and wouldn’t presume to know what a first mother might need, so I trusted the professionals. I wanted to do the “right thing” for my new daughter’s first mother, and I got the message that the “right thing” was to let the pros handle it. So I took myself off the hook.

I learned a lot over the next 3 ½ years, and I plan to stay on the hook for the rest of my days. My son’s first mother was real to me before I met her. Real to me even before we got The Call. My earliest thoughts were more about her than the baby.
Why is she doing this?
Has she talked with other first mothers?
Has anyone explained to her how her feelings may change as time goes on?
Is she making this choice because she wants to or because she thinks she has to?

I questioned whether or not I even wanted to adopt a second time. The experience this time was all about a woman who had chosen not to parent – I wanted to spend time with her and explore the roots of her decision, her relationship with first father, her thoughts of the future, her family, her needs, her emotions, her questions, her options, her journey, her strength, her conviction, her time with her child – and not at all about us wanting a second child. Honestly, not at all.

So, where am I going with all of this? I’m not sure. These thoughts have been ricocheting around in my head for a while, and I was prompted by Valency’s recent post to type them out and hope to find clarity staring back at me.

It's not yet.

I can wait.

There are a few more things I want to say:
• Every adoption professional I have personally spoken to or worked with has seemed genuinely compassionate and ethical. I don’t believe that any of them are knowingly malevolent or unethical. I have heard of some, but never encountered any.
• I can’t call to mind any APs or PAPs who are intentionally offensive, insensitive, thieving, womb-robbers. None that I know personally. I have found some on the internet, so I know that some are. My point is that many of us aren't.
• I support adoption as an option for first mothers/fathers who do not want to parent. (And yes, they exist, and yes, it’s terribly sad, and no, I can’t imagine being an adoptee that learns that about their first parents.)
• I think it is immoral for any state to make it easier for someone to adopt a child than for first parents to raise a child.
• I think it’s crass and insensitive for PAPs to complain about the cost of adoption or to conduct personal fundraising campaigns to defray their adoption expenses. JMO.
• I am deeply grateful to my children’s first parents for teaching me. I love you.

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book formats.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Monday, September 13, 2010

On John Wyatt - Utah Birth Father Case

Julie at recently posted her thoughts about an adoption case heard in Utah Supreme Court. Julie's post about the case involving birth father John Wyatt generated a lot of discussion (that's an understatement), and I was one commenter among many. This case strikes me deeply, so I'm re-posting Julie's post and my response here.

Julie is an adoptive mother, and I'm grateful to her for taking the time to explore this case on her blog. Honest, heartfelt discussion and debate are prerequisites for any adoption reform, and I appreciate Julie's passion and compassion. The issues raised by this case transcend John Wyatt, his daughter, and her adoptive parents, and I hope you will share your thoughts.

Julie's post:
The case involving John Wyatt (a brth father)
If you live in Utah, you’ve probably heard this news story about an adoption contested by the birth father. I get really angry every time I see this birth father, John Wyatt, speak, or see his story in written form. Really angry.

Here’s the thing: Utah has really strict laws about rights of birth fathers, and their rights are pretty minimal here. Here’s a basic run down for those not involved in adoption:

Utah law says that any man in the country who has sex with a woman anywhere in the United States has the responsibility to follow up with that woman and determine if a pregnancy resulted from their little rendezvous. If the man does not do that, he automatically has no rights to the child after birth. If the man does find out that he fathered a child, it is then his responsibility to show interest in that child before it is born. Some ways he can do that are by financially supporting the mother (rent, groceries, medical bills, etc.), driving her to doctors appointments, and so on. If a man knows he impregnated a woman and shows no interest in the baby before it is born, Utah law gives him absolutely no rights to the baby after it is born and the mother signs paperwork terminating her own rights (which can be done as early as 24 hours after birth if she is not on narcotics). If a man knows he impregnated a woman, supported her during her pregnancy and wants to retain rights to the child after birth, he MUST file certain papers in court in a very specific manner of time.

The case I’m talking about here is all wavering on that birth father saying he submitted papers to the court in time, and the adoptive family attorney proving that he did not have the papers filed until something like 2 days after the deadline.

I do see how in very few percentage of cases, this law might be a bit difficult for birth fathers. But I’m talking 0.01% of all cases might have a birthfather with issues with Utah law, from everything we’ve seen and researched. From all the family situations and birth family situations I’ve seen over the past few years, the laws in Utah work. They have been a lifesaver to countless birthmothers, and I sure appreciate them as an adoptive mom.

Here’s a very tricky thing about adoption law: each state has their own adoption laws, and they are incredibly different. When we were pursuing our failed adoption in 2005 we lived in CA and the babies were born in PA. We could have chosen to use CA or PA law, and because the laws in PA were difficult to work with for our situation, we chose to use CA law. When Joshua was born in Utah we still lived in California, but because Utah adoption law kicks the pants off of any other state in the country, we chose to use Utah law. Generally speaking, the adoptive family can choose to use the laws of either the state they reside in, or the state the baby is born in. There are times when an adoptive family does not get to choose, but I believe this is pretty rare.

The problem with this current case: Virginia – where the baby was born -has awarded custody to the birth father, but the adoption of the baby was by a family who are Utah residents and worked under Utah law, who has given custody to the adoptive family.

Huge problem.

Nathan thinks there is no where for this case to go but the US Supreme Court, and I’m starting to agree with him; although I’m hoping and praying the birth father’s family runs out of money before they can go that far.

Why does seeing this birth father make me angry?

I can’t understand what it would be like to lose a baby when you think you have full legal rights to that baby. I would be tempted to fight and scream and kick for my baby, too.

BUT at what point do you just STOP fighting and admit that even if you were wronged (which I do not believe he was, but play along – what IF he was wronged) – this is a human. This is an 18 month old human being who has a FAMILY. A sweet little girl, who might be ripped out of the arms of the only family she has EVER known (and by that time it happens (please, don’t let it happen) will she be 2? 3? 5 years old?) and given to strangers when she already has a safe and loving home. Can you start to imagine the trauma? This isn’t an orphan, a kid in foster care, an abused or neglected child. This is a girl – a daughter – who has a loving mom and dad and safe home.

This girl is not a lost dog who was taken in and loved by a new family until hey! her first owner was found and now we can reunite them! NO. She is not a lump of goods, trade-able property.

This is a HUMAN. A delicate, innocent baby girl and if she is removed from the only home she has ever known I can not imagine how it will impact her life.

An upstanding birth father, who actually cared about his daughter would never want her to go through that. In my opinion, his is the highest form of selfishness, bordering on evil. He is treating this little girl like property. A lost dog. John Wyatt is showing the world he cares not about his daughter, but himself. A real parent places the BEST INTERESTS of the child above theirs at all times. He is showing he cares about himself, not about what would be best for his birth daughter.

What do I wish he would do? What do I hope I would be strong enough to do if I were in his shoes? John Wyatt needs to say “I still think I was wronged, but instead of ruining the life of my daughter forever, I will fight and work tirelessly forever to change the laws of each state, and the way that states coordinate interstate adoptions, so this never happens to another birth father again.”

Anything less than that will show him to be only cruel, evil, and selfish.

My response:
This story pushes all kinds of buttons, and like Christine, I’m challenged to put my thoughts into words that will not offend. (Deep breath) I am an adoptive mother. I could never live with myself knowing that either of my children’s first fathers was in this situation, especially over a paperwork deadline. I don’t know this guy from Adam, but I do know this: it’s not as easy as “If he really loved his daughter he would let her go and spare her this mess.” Yes, on paper it may seem clear that it is far better to leave her with her adoptive family… bonding, etc. But this is his child. This is his life. She is of his BODY!

Rational or irrational, I would fight to the death for my children, and I think he truly believes that she should be with him. Why should he be denied that right? Because he missed a deadline? For crying out loud, it’s not a term paper. This is a child he CREATED!

I may be slipping into deletion territory here, but this brings up a lot of emotions. I’m disappointed with the way people use child development to justify separating child and first family. (Not just here; the argument is used all over the place.) For example, many people say that a child this age has already bonded with her adoptive family, and separation at this point would be traumatic, etc. Yes, I’m sure it would. Not life-threatening, though. Not insurmountable or irreparable. No. Children this age lose parents to death, divorce, work-a-holism, addiction, and incarceration, and with the right support, the kids grow up emotionally and psychologically healthy. To say that returning the child to her father would ruin her for life is overly dramatic. It would be sad and difficult and confusing for a while, but it’s doubtful that she would suffer lifelong repercussions from it.

As I said, I would fight to the death to protect my children, and I REALLY sympathize with the adoptive parents in this case. But that doesn’t make the first father less important. He is not less than they; his motivation and rights and feelings are no less important or relevant than theirs; he should not be dismissed simply because he makes other people uncomfortable or uneasy or self-conscious. This isn’t merely a transaction for him. This is a horrific personal nightmare. It’s easy for us to devour the headlines with breakfast. He is living this.

My last thought is that I really, truly understand the adoptive parent position. I’ve had my breath knocked out of me by disappointment, “failed matches”, etc. I know the agony of wanting to parent, of feeling sure that you are meant to be a mom, the all-consuming ache of infertility… but dang! No one owes you their child. No state should make it easier for people to adopt a child than for the first parents to parent. That’s morally wrong, and it makes me sick to hear that some adoptive families seek finalization in Utah because it’s faster/easier/safer. It’s an uncivilized concept.

Thanks for letting me chime in.

What do you think?

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book formats.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Nature vs. Nurture in Adoptive and Bio Families

One of my favorite blogging moms, Patti at , wrote an interesting post about nature vs. nurture. I've thought a lot about it, and I want to post a response, but since I'm blogging at glacial speed these days, I hope you will click the link for her blog and read it.

I especially like this that Patti wrote: My motherhood adapts to Jeb's personality/needs/tendencies, it has not formed Jeb's personality/needs/tendencies. I have found that same thing.

Thanks, Patti!

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book formats.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Adoption Book Review

Many thanks to Adoptions From the Heart adoption agency for this review of my book, What I Want my Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective:

A Must Read for Adoptive Parents

Bacchetta refuses to embrace (or allow her children to embrace) the victim mythology too common in our society. She insists that her children take responsibility for themselves, their decisions, and their lives. (“You’re not unique because you’re adopted. You’re unique because you’re you.”) Bacchetta manages to do this while still acknowledging that adoption has a life-changing impact on all involved — the child, birth/first parents, adoptive parents, extended family on both sides of the equation. It is rare to find a book that takes the specific and applies it to the general in such a way. A must read for adoptive parents.
— Adoptions From The Heart

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book formats.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Adoptive Parent on YouTube

Thanks to Dennis (my husband/business partner/marketing wizard) I just launched a new . I'll do my best to keep it growing, and I hope you'll visit it from time to time.

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book formats.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
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Friday, August 27, 2010

The Conscious Choice of Adoption

I have learned that...

Some women do not want to parent.

Sometimes it's not a matter of money, health, opportunity, support, abuse, religion, coercion, safety, addiction, education, employment, or peer & family pressure.

Some women choose adoption in order to pursue their goals unfettered.

Some women find it a relief to make an adoption plan for their child.

Some women who are personally and situationally capable of parenting are flatly not interested in doing so.

Reality is independent of what I want to believe.

If you hurt, you hurt, If I hurt, I hurt. Neither of us has to justify our pain to the other.

There are choices I will never understand.

I believe that...

These women have as much right to make an adoption plan as a woman has to NOT make an adoption plan.

A woman (with or without means) is no more "wrong" for choosing adoption than a woman (with or without means) is "wrong" for choosing to raise her child.

These women are no more deserving than any other woman of being called "cold, callous, heartless, disturbed, sick, twisted, dysfunctional, ignorant, easily-led, weak, cruel, unnatural, or pathetic."

None of us can inhabit the heart, mind or shoes of another.

, who takes a lot of fire for speaking freely, is right. Collectively, we need to show more empathy, so that every voice may be heard.

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book formats.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer Interview Series - Birthmothertalks

Welcome to the eighth installment of my Summer Interview Series. Throughout the summer I'm posting interviews with people 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 -

How has your life been touched by adoption?
I am a birthmother from the time when it was more common for closed adoptions. Last Oct, I found my daughter on a social network and we are in contact. So, far, it's only in the form of electronic contact. However, I don't blog about it in my open blog. It's private.

How did you come to make an adoption plan for Izzy?
I was scared and hid the whole pregnancy. I was only 15 when she was born. My Mom suggested and basically forced me to give her up for adoption. My Mom's sister who knew someone who wasn't able to get pregnant and they became the parents of my daughter.

How do you feel today about your decision to relinquish?
I seriously regret it. I have never gotten over my grief and the shame of not raising my daughter. I feel like not facing my reality of being pregnant and weighing my options has increased my sadness and also probably made it more likely that she was adopted out. I was in the hospital and wasn't able to have contact with my Dad who most likely would have helped me raise my daughter.

How has your life since placement compared with what you thought it would be like?
Adoption was thrown at me so fast... I don't know if I ever had an impression of how it would be like. but I do remember thinking that once I had my first raised child that I would be over the loss. It took both of my sons and years later to see that having more babies didn't ease my pain. If anything it made it worse. I would be loving a special moment and think of how my daughter was missing from our life.

You wrote this in one of your recent blog posts:
I have been trying to be more supportive of the birthmother's. I feel that is where my support should be. It's not that I can't read and comment on adoptive parents blogs, but if I am going to comment and try to support then it should be with birthmother's. Because the road a birth mother must travel on after parting ways with her child is very lonely.
It sounds as though you need to choose to be supportive of either birth mothers or adoptive parents; you can't support both. I'm quite struck by your perception that it is an "either-or" proposition. I'm curious why you can't do both. I can speculate, but would you mind sharing your thoughts?
I know I can support both birthparents and adoptive parents but I think I was falling into of a pattern of reading and commenting more on the adoptive Mommies blogs because I think we as a society only want to really talk about the good stuff. If you take the time to see how many follow adoptive Mom's blogs compared to birthmother's. You might see that the adoptive parents see quite a bit more support by comments.

Also, I can't always be sincere and saying that I hope you are picked soon or that the adoption goes through. Because, what I really am thinking is how I hope the women find a way to parent their own child. I kind of feel like hoping someone gets to bring home a baby by adoption is hoping a woman loses a baby to adoption. I got to thinking back to the day that I finally told everyone that I have contact with my daughter and I didn't get tons and tons of people telling me how excited they were for me. However, to the credit of some adoptive Mom's that I felt like I really connected with, I had already shared my news with them.

What do you think adoptive parents want from birth mothers? That is an hard one. I would have to say to be open and honest and understanding of each other from the beginning.

What do you want adoptive parents to know about your experience as a birth mother? I want adoptive parents in general to know that even though a Mom chooses adoption because she feel it's the best for her baby.. It doesn't mean that she doesn't love him or her. Also, if the Mom is grieving because of the adoption that it doesn't mean that they are upset about your skills about parenting. It's more about how they miss the child and feel a loss for them.

I think they should know that when it comes to meeting and accepting a match for adoption of a child to only agree to the level of what you feel that you can handle. It's very depressing to live day by day not knowing if your child is alive and being taken care of. It's hard to wonder if you seen your child would you know it was this. For me... I took it as something personal that was wrong with me. Like they didn't trust that I wouldn't steal her away from them. I love my daughter so much. I could never rip her away from them to heal my heart.

Lastly, adoption and my daughter have been shoved under the rug. No one spoke of her for years.

Are there any adoption-related books or publications you recommend? I am glad that you have asked. I have blogged about some. I really enjoy reading about adoption from all sides of adoption. It gives me a sense of being normal. Someone else felt the same thing and it made me feel more normal. Here is a handful of books that I have enjoyed reading. I know I am missing some but here is the list that I could come up with.
The Red Thread by Ann Hood
The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler
Giving away Simone by Jan Waldon
The Adoption Reader.. birthmothers.. adoptive mothers and adopted daughters tell their story by Susan Wadia-Ells
Birthmothers by Merry Bloch, jones
Letters to my Birthmother by Amy Dean
The Other Sister by S.T.Underdahl

I know this isn't a question but I have a few final thoughts to add... Before blogging about adoption, I spent most of the years as a birthmother alone in the dark. My daughter was barely mentioned. My friends never knew about my daughter. Most of my family knew but choose not to discuss her or even let on that they knew about her. My daughter was born on Sept. 11 1991. When the attacks happened on 9/11 in 2001, it changed how often I thought of my daughter. It stole her birthday. My daughter's birthday was slammed together with the attacks. I had a really hard time and her birthdays started getting harder to deal with compared to getting easier.

Sometimes, I might come across as Anti adoption. I am not. I am also not praising how wonderful adoption is. I know it can be beautiful but at the cost of loss so deep that most people can't begin to comprehend the pain involved for the birthmother and from reading the adoptee too. I fall somewhere in the middle. I understand that sometimes adoption is the best choice. My brain understands this but my heart screams no!!!

What bugs me the most is how much people pay to adopt a child. I wonder how can the business be unbiased when they stand to make a profit if a women considering adoption choose adoption. It makes me sad to see people wanting to adopt to raise the funds from friends and family, because in a lot of cases if the birthparent had that same support either money or emotional support she could parent her own child.

Lastly, I want to mention how blogging about adoption has given me a voice to express my thoughts and sadness over adoption. I have connected with people from all sides of adoption. All sides have helped me in one way or another. The best friendship that has happened as a result of blogging was a birthmother who reached out to me when I needed someone the most. It was amazing to be able to talk to someone who really understood what I have been going through. We don't talk often enough but when we do... we sometimes finish each others sentences because we have both been there.

Thanks for your interest in my story.

Thank you!

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book format.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Adoption Book in the News

Many thanks to Steve Vogt for highlighting my book in his Democrat and article .

Steve's weekly column features news and notes about the people and communities Northeast of Rochester. I encourage you to dig around in his Past Columns section. It's a great place to wander.

Thanks, Steve, for the mention!

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book format.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Adoption and Your Child's Privacy

Andi at has a post up about adoption and privacy. I agree with everything she says, and I want to share it with you.

Make a great day!

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book format.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Adoption Book Signing August 21, 2010

If you will be anywhere between Rochester and Buffalo this Saturday, August 21st, please join me at in historic downtown Medina, NY. I'll be there from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to discuss and sign copies of my book, What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective. But wait. There's more!

The Book Shoppe is soooooooooo much more than a book store. In fact, it's everything that's great about indie bookstores. Besides books, Sue and Roland (the owners) offer a variety of flavored coffee, teas, gift items, stationery, greeting cards, toys, games, and custom-made gift baskets. As soon as you walk in you'll feel like you belong there, and it's nearly impossible to leave without making at least one new friend.

The Book Shoppe has a huge selection of books, including "New York Times" best sellers, and if you don't find what you're looking for in the store, Sue will happily place a special order for you.

Come out this Saturday. Any weather is book weather, and I'd love to have a nice warm (or iced) cuppa with you!

The Book Shoppe
519 Main Street
Medina NY 14103
585- 798-3642

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book format.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer Interview Series - Von

Welcome to the seventh installment of my Summer Interview Series. Throughout the summer I'm posting interviews with people who have experienced 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 -

How has your life been changed by adoption?
I have been an adoptee since I was six weeks old. Next month will be the 66th anniversary of my adoption which has never been celebrated in my family by the couple who adopted me or by me after I grew up. I find the celebration of a day that is traumatic and one of loss for an adoptee a rather strange idea. In my adult life I have worked with adoptees to bring about reunion and was privileged to learn many things from those who had relinquished their babies and longed for their return and from adoptees themselves.

When I was fifty I was lucky enough to be reunited with my own mother and in the last year have met, for the first time my half-siblings, my father's other children. It is not easy as an only child to learn to be a sister! They have been wonderfully accepting considering it is impossible for my generation to prove paternity. My sister Glenys is possibly the big sister I always wanted and I relish her involvement in my life...she buys me clothes, sends me parcels, phones me, remembers my birthday and is spending Christmas with my family for the first time this year. I sometimes wonder what our mothers and our father would have thought!

I have also been active most of my adult life in trying to come to terms with my own adoption and the effects it has had on my life and that of my family. There were six adoptions in my wider family, some out of the family have been found, some not.
Adoption has touched my life in many ways and will continue to do so all my life.

Your blog is a vast resource for information about unethical practices, legislation, and corruption in the world of adoption. What sources do you use to stay current on these issues?
I actively research, read newspapers online and am sent links by others who know of my interest. I also read the blogs of others and am grateful for the interaction that occurs between bloggers and the themes that run through blogs which are useful and quite fascinating in how they occur. Through long experience in people work and with adoption a sense develops of when there is an adoption theme running in a story, even when it has not been expressly stated and needs to be winkled out. My commitment to adoption reform and my good fortune in being born in a country that now has a fairly progressive view of adoption also help in keeping me motivated. Retirement is also a factor!

Is there any circumstance in which you think adoption is the "right" decision?
Yes I do.There are circumstances I have known where parents are unable to raise a child or provide a safe, secure, healthy environment. Although a hard decision, it is then better for the child to suffer the loss of attachment and have a better chance of survival. I have known children so abused they failed to thrive, who once adopted managed to lead productive, although damaged lives. Had they stayed with their parents they may not have lived to adulthood. There are no miracles in adoption!

What do you think is being done well in the practice of adoption?
It depends on where you are talking about. I would say a country that has no adoption or very little is doing well in encouraging and supporting families and good child care practice.

What do you think needs to be changed in the practice of adoption?
Any country that still practises adoption, needs to radically rethink why adoption is still available as a way of creating another family where two exist already when a child is born. Any country not supporting families to stay together, encouraging contraceptive practices particularly in the young and maintaining double agendas is doing badly.

By double agendas I mean the sort of situation that exists in some countries where the young are encouraged to think that sex is for marriage, which it never has been in reality, while discouraging the availability of contraceptives and advice but encouraging and promoting adoption as normal and a caring gifting gesture to fulfill the wishes of others.

Anywhere adult adoptees cannot access their birth records and information and allows a group of people to be second class without the same rights as others is, in the light of long practice in other countries, out of step, dysfunctional and running a very strange and dubious agenda.

From your experience, what do you think are the most important things for adoptive parents to understand about adoption?
That you can't alter DNA, there is no such thing as a 'clean slate baby', that loss of attachment is painful and damaging and no ammount of devoted care and love can make up for it. They need also to look very carefully at their motives in wanting to adopt to decide who it's really about and who it's really for.

If for instance they are concerned to save starving children from Africa, there are other ways that in the long term will achieve better results for children. They also need to know that adoption doesn't cure infertility and that if they are infertile they need to have actively sorted out their issues before they attempt to raise the product of another's fertility or parent an adolescent.

What are your thoughts on the permanency of the primal wound?
I believe from my own experience and from views I hear from other adult adoptees that the primal wound is permanent and lasts for life. You can be counselled, have therapy, support, a loving family and make a good life, but the damage never disappears and has to dealt with every day for life. Some days are good, some days are better and some days are the pits.

I'm sure you've read many accounts of adoptee's bad days on blogs and they all have the same thing in common...the damage was caused by adoption. It is hard and unpalatable truth for adopters but harder still to live with, never knowing when you'll be plunged into the depths or by what. Recently one of my fellow bloggers was 'struck down' when trying to choose a card, something so simple, something so hard and complicated and full of significance. It happens all the time and lurks around every corner no matter how happy and satisfying life is.

If you had the world as your audience for one hour, what would you talk about?
Empathy, my pet topic and favourite word. There is far too little of it around and many who have not learned to walk in the shoes of others. If we all were able to be more empathetic, most of the world's problems would resolve. Greed and selfishness result from lack of empathy and are so apparent in our life today, in the way businesses operate and Governments interact with each other. The American adoption industry is of course a prime example of a lucrative operation built on loss and suffering. Would one hour be enough?!

Is there anything else you'd like to say?
I hope in the next year or so to see my Government in Australia apologise to the 300,000 mothers who lost their babies to adoption between 1940 and 1980 and were treated inhumanely, often cruelly and told to forget. I hope too to see the adoptees, the white stolen generation receive their apology. Nothing repairs the damage but an apology is a recognition of the reality of what was done.

Adoption in my State is almost non-existent as illegitimacy has disappeared and no pregnant woman or girl, would dream of giving up her baby. I would like to see adoption disappear altogether in my lifetime and it seems in my country it may almost be possible.

To adoptees I'd like to say keep finding your voices and speaking out until all understand what adoption really means.

To adopters, raise your adoptees with as much understanding, skill, love and care as you can muster but please don't do it again!

Good wishes,

Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in softcover, hardcover, or e-book format.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+