Friday, February 26, 2010

Monthly Letter to My Son's Birthmother

Hi J,

I've let too many days slip past simply because I don't know what to write.

No, the truth is I don't know what not to write.

I can’t imagine facing even one day without him. What have you had to rearrange in yourself to get through these last 11 months? I'm afraid that something I write will upend some intricate balance you've perfected in yourself in order to be able to love him from a distance.

You always tell me I worry too much about you. I know. I do. I may always. Because even though you believe you made the right decision (and I believe you when you tell me that), I can't help but wonder how your feelings about your decision may change over time. Does time make the pain of loss less acute or more pervasive? Each day with him brings new joy to me. I can't help but wonder what each day without him brings to you.

Thank you again, and for the rest of my life, for trusting us with him. The day he turned nine months I thought, "He's been separate from J for as long as he was joined with her," and I felt sad for his loss of you and yours of him. And when I think of your smile and your laugh and your voice and your eyes, I'm sad that he's missing all of that. I know he would adore you.

Then I remind myself: he will adore you. He will come to know your face and your voice and your hands and your laugh, and he will hold you, J, in some special place within himself created by you. For him. For you. He will love you in a way that’s just for you.

I reflect on how he’s changed since we last saw you, and I wonder how you’ve changed. I think about his persistence and his determination to grow - to stand, to reach, to decide for himself - and I smile at the memory of yours.

I see so much of you in him. His love of speed. His placid nature. His sense of humor. I also find much of us in him. The way he joins in on family jokes. His habit of perfectly mimicking our expressions. The way he molds himself into my arms. The light in his face when Daddy walks into the room. And he and his big sister are inseparable. Each has truly become a part of the other. Their games, their songs, holding hands in their car seats… it’s one of the most beautiful relationships I’ve ever known.

Has there ever been a little boy so loved as this one? Surely not. Love is all he’s ever known, from the moment he began. You gave him that. One of the many reasons he has to love you. And I, too.

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, February 18, 2010

Maru On My Mind

Who's Maru?
She's virtually a stranger, yet she's a virtual friend.
She's vibrant and gracious and grateful and inspiring.
She's a devoted wife.
She's a new mother.
And she's very much on my mind.

Tomorrow is her family's finalization date.
Tomorrow means a lot.
And it means almost nothing.

Finalization means the adoption is complete.
It means the adoption verb becomes past tense.
It means Maru and Fico are their daughter's parents in the eyes of the law.

Finalization means closure for their daughter's first mother. How she feels about that, no one really knows, except her. Maybe. On a really good day.

Finalization means that the guiding and deciding and upholding and holding up and giving beyond all reason that is parenting... well, finalization means nothing in that regard. Because parenting comes from the heart. It's in the words you choose and the words you hold back. It's in your sighs and tears and insomnia and chest-bursting pride. It's not in the ink-filled pores of a piece of paper.

So tomorrow means a lot.
And it means almost nothing.
And Maru is very much on my mind.

Click here to buy Sally's

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Coming Soon to a Family Room Near You

Wow! I've been invited to be a guest on a TV show called "Many Voices, Many Visions." The show is hosted by the warm and thoughtful Norma Holland, and airs on 13WHAM-TV Sunday mornings at 11:00 a.m. I'll be on with Erica Schlaefer and Kevin Mulcahy of on Sunday February 28, 2010.

"Many Voices, Many Visions" is a multicultural public affairs program that explores the Rochester community's diversity, and I'm grateful to Ms. Holland for giving me and PFM an opportunity to expand our community's education and awareness about adoption.

It's the first time I'll be on TV talking about my (Hi Mom!) Who knows? I may even read a short excerpt from it. Tune it to 13WHAM-TV Sunday February 28 at 11:00 a.m.

Buy Sally's here.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Monday, February 15, 2010

First Amazon Review of My Adoption Book!

Yea! I got my first review on Amazon. Thanks, Paula Jean, for helping me tell the story and for formally reviewing my . It means a lot to me!

What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective is available at , Barnes and, , and Google Books.

Check out to order signed copies of my !

Sally Bacchetta

The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Friday, February 12, 2010

Award-Winning Writer Publishes Groundbreaking Book on Adoption

Award-winning writer and author Sally Bacchetta announced the release of her new book, What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective. The book is described as “a tender, revealing look at adoption from the parent perspective.” Whether an adoptive parent, an adoptee, someone considering adoption, or simply curious about adoption dynamics, What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent’s Perspective will touch hearts and increase readers' sensitivity to the challenges and joys that are unique to adoptive parenting.

Bacchetta wrote the book in response to a need common among adoptive families. “Adoptive families navigate emotional terrain that fully-biological families don’t have to,” said Bacchetta, adoptive mother of two. “This is a book adoptive parents can give to their child and say, ‘I know adoption is painful, unsettling, joyous, and affirming. It’s that way for me too. More than anything, adoption is the way we came together, and I’ll always be grateful for that.’”

“Sally has written a narrative that is heartfelt, honest, and warm,” said Greg Franklin, Esq. and Fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. “She’s told her story truthfully and without sugar coating, but also with knowledge from which I would have benefitted had the book been written before my family embarked upon our own journey to adoption. The readers of this book are lucky to have the benefit of Sally’s experience and her shared wisdom, because her story reminds us that we have so much in common.” more

buy the adoption book

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Adoption Book Review: Where Do I Belong?

In this, her second book, Ola Zuri shows why her books belong everywhere there are children. Where Do I Belong? is the story of a young boy who, like many transracial adoptees, doesn't feel rooted or connected in the same way the rest of his family seems to feel. It's clear that Zuri's character loves his family, but still, he is pained by looking different. I absolutely love that Zuri rises above the common tendency to sugar coat the truth. She lays the facts out straight up - yes, you do look different, because you and your family are of different races. And yes, your original roots are far away. And no, no amount of love will change that fact. That's our family.

The heart of the story is what the boy chooses to do about his feelings. Again, Zuri rises above current trends and places responsibility squarely where it belongs - on the boy himself. This book artfully teaches children (and adults!) that true freedom is born of inner strength, and we all make decisions every day that either strengthen or weaken our inner selves.

Once again, Zuri teamed up with illustrator Jenn Simpson, and the results are outstanding. Simpson's drawings perfectly capture Zuri's voice and that of her character. This is a delightful book, and Zuri & Simpson are one of the best writer/illustrator teams I have found in a long time, and I'm very much looking forward to their third book!

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What Kind of People Adopt Children?

I've read a lot recently about how awful adoptive parents are. Apparently, the desire to adopt marks one as a greedy, selfish, "baby-luster", who will gleefully pay enormous sums of money to the corrupt and heartless proprietors of "baby shops" for the sheer delight of wrenching children away from their unsuspecting mothers. Hmm! Who knew?

Interestingly, not one of the adoptive parents I know fits that description. And not one of the prospective adoptive parents I know fits that description. And none of the adoption caseworkers, social workers, attorneys, assorted agency personnel, or adoption triad members I interviewed for my fit that description.

Neither does Paul.

Who is Paul? Paul is an adoptive parent who shared the post below on Leigh's blog,. I love what he wrote and I love the way he wrote it, and I thank him for giving me permission to repost it here.

Paul's words:

I'm an adoptive parent. I have two beautiful little girls. One is two and has me completely wrapped around her finger. My second daughter is 6 mos old and we brought her home when she was 2 mos old. She can't interract much yet, but her larger-than-life smile when she sees me melts my heart. We are huge supporters of openness and we volunteer and coach adoptive couples to help them understand the need for openness. My daughters have seen their biological families dozens of times in their very young lives so far and we have sent countless photos and emails of updates.

I love my girls more than I could ever communicate with words alone. And yet I tell them over and over again how much I love them. My 2 yr old is a big-time daddy's girl. I don't discount what biology could've meant to my girls - but I do EVERYTHING in my power to make sure that need-wise it is an extremely distant second place (we're talking light years away) to what comes from feeling fully and unconditionally loved by their mommy and daddy. I know that beautiful people (like yourself) made this possible for me. I look out for and protect the feelings and reputation of my daughters' birth families - regardless of their situations in life. They gave the ultimate sacrifice by placing their biological children in our loving family. Birth parents have lacked a voice for so long that it is time that they/you speak up and share their/your thoughts.

Yet where is the voice to stand up for me? I am vilified in the media by "reality" shows and mini-series and now these books that say I am only an "adoptive" parent and that my daughters have "real" parents from whom I took them. We were entrusted to be the parents of these children in each case and we take that very seriously. In each medium I come across I read how my daughter can only truly love those who are biologically connected to her. Please tell that to my daughter when she runs across the house to jump into my arms when she hears the garage door go up, or when she wants to sit on my shoulders to see the neighbor's dog, or when she coaxes my wife to call me while I'm at work so she can babble to me. If I don't have attachment with my daughters then I cannot phathom what attachment is. That primal wound must be hidden very well.

I'm sure that openness is a big mitigating factor in a primal wound - which is why we believe in openness. But daily, consistent love and safety by the child's parents is the real factor in all of this. If a child is unloved by biological parents OR by adoptive parents than there will be a wound that will not heal. I have grown up with friends who are biological children who hate, or worse, don't care about their parents. Conversely, I have a best friend who is so loved by his adoptive parents that the only reason he has ever been curious about his biological family is to be able to properly thank them for placing him with his parents. The real variable is love and consistent care - NOT biology. I know that what brings a birth mother to make her sacrifice is not a lack of love - but the exact opposite. The best quote I've ever heard was "if I loved my child any less, I'd still have him with me". I am convinced that if a child knows of the love it took to be placed for adoption AND (important) feels loved by their parents who have opened their arms to him/her - then a primal wound is a myth. Absent that environment, there will certainly be a wound.

I will always praise my daughters birth families and will always educate my girls so that they know that we are only a family because of the sacrifice by those wonderful people. But my girls will never have reason to doubt MY love, MY support nor MY attachment to them and I hope and pray that the relationship I have with them (and with their birth families) will continue to be as strong as it is now - despite the anecdotes contained in books and mini-series.
January 19, 2010 12:28 PM

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Adoption Book Review: Why Can't You Look Like Me?

In my quest to find really good for children I discovered . I just read her debut book Why Can't You Look Like Me?, and it's fantastic. Before I move on to her second book Where Do I Belong? I want to give you my review of her first:

It's hard to believe this is the first time author Ola Zuri and illustrator Jenn Simpson have worked together, because they got everything right with this book. Zuri's writing is free and lyrical, with sincerity gained by first hand experience. Why Can't You Look Like Me? is the story (Zuri's story) of an African American girl adopted by a Caucasian family, and her struggle to find her place within a predominately white community. Although it takes the arrival of "another young person who is brown" for the little girl to feel that she belongs, in the end Zuri's character realizes that in fact, she has always belonged - to herself. And with that knowledge she can claim a place for herself anywhere. That's a lesson every child should learn at a young age.

Zuri's delightful storytelling is offset perfectly by Simpson's whimsical illustrations. Her characters are light, expressive, and absolutely endearing. I especially like her uniquely textured trees.

This book is a gem, and I highly recommend it for ALL families and classrooms.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+