Saturday, December 29, 2012

13 "Scary" (for me) Adoption Bloggers I Love

2012 has been a difficult year for me with regard to adoption. I have felt a lot like my almost-eight year-old, whose assessment of the world changes all the time and seems to depend mostly on what kind of day she’s having. I am almost eight years-old as a parent  – adoptive parenting, specifically – and my understanding and experience of adoption changes all the time, sometimes depending on what kind of day I’m having and sometimes depending on what kind of day someone else is having.  

Citizens of Adoptoland often talk about their Truth. This year I struggled to recognize mine. Not the core, but all the rest of it that surrounds the core and colors my days. I struggled with this because Truth doesn’t live in a vacuum; it lives in context, and in this case, the context is Adoptoland, where the terrain is well defined. Where the (battle) lines are so clearly drawn, the teams so fervently distinct, and the opinions so passionately defended that it seems nearly impossible to accept one Truth without rejecting another, to support someone without injuring someone else. To embrace my Truth without denying someone else’s.

I lost my Truth because I forgot I never had one to begin with. Not one. My Truth is many. And the many often don’t get along and they almost never make sense together. My Truth is disorderly, disjointed, and disharmonious. That’s just how it is.

I am an adoptive parent doing my best and finding my way.

I love my children. I love their first families.

I read things about adoption that I don’t understand and can’t relate to; I read things that make me want to turn away; I read things that haunt me, things that make me laugh, things that give me hope.

I sometimes write things other people don’t understand and can’t relate to. I sometimes write things that make people angry or defensive or relieved.

Some days I hate adoption and wish it would go away. Some days I don’t.

That is MyTruth.

One of my 2013 resolutions is to highlight 13 of the people whose Truth challenges me, for theirs are the voices that shake and unsettle me, and their Truths help shape my own. I'm calling it 13 "Scary" (for me) Adoption Bloggers I Love, not because they themselves are "scary," but because I am sometimes scared by their Truth. (If you plan to make a big hairy deal of how I titled this post, please spare me. This is my Truth. Remember?)

Since I’m aiming to do one a month and there are only 12 months in a year, I’m starting a few days early with Claudia. Claudia writes often and shares her truth plainly. She and I came to adoption from different places, and I am scared spitless by some of her posts and deeply hurt by others. I also have a deeper appreciation for Claudia  and her Truth than I expect anyone to understand.

Claudia’s blog is Musings of the Lame.
I especially hope you will read her REAL Truth About Adoption Campaign
and 29Things I Wish I Knew Before Adoption Entered My Life  posts. I would like to know how you are affected by her words.

Best wishes for all of us in 2013!

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Thursday, December 6, 2012

This Adoptive Parent's Christmas List

1. Pictures and letters from my children's first mothers. They need them.

2. Truth and transparency between expectant mothers considering adoption, prospective adoptive parents, adoptive parents, first parents, and adoptees.

3. Tax credits for women who choose to parent and raise their child(ren), equal to the Adoption Tax Credit available to adoptive parents. There should not be more financial support for people who adopt than for the women who bear the children.

4. More support and better protection for first fathers who want to parent/would want to parent if they knew.

5.  That everyone who reads this will read the post, The Reality of Adoption 2012.

What's on your list?
Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What's It Gonna Take To Put This Baby In Your Family Today?

This just came across my desk: I have a 1/2 Caucasian, 1/2 African American baby girl due December 11, 2012. Her birth mother has continued to smoke a pack a day throughout the pregnancy and smoked marijuana 2-3 times per week during the first two months of pregnancy. Birth father smokes marijuana 4-5 times a week. If you know anyone who may be interested please contact me at...

Is that typical of the messages adoption agencies and social workers receive?  

First off, you don't have a baby girl, and there is no birth mother in what you're saying. There is a pregnant woman and the baby inside her.

And this: "If you know anyone who may be interested..." Seriously?  Pull up your PAP spreadsheet and see who checked off "open to mixed race" and "will consider drug history."  

Is that how we were "matched?" What about all the warmandfuzzy be-patient-your-baby-will-find-you crooning whitewash?  
Seeing it laid out like that... I feel like I'm going to retch. What is the matter with people?
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+

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Nothing to Do with Adoption

When I trip and slam my eye into the corner of a granite counter top and my eye swells nearly closed and I darn near pass out from the pain of the hit and the effort of holding in the long string of expletives jockeying around in my mouth, my three year-old rushes to my side, bends down close to my face and says, "Mom! I told you three times can I please have some more milk!" 

Isn't it nice to be needed?

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+

Friday, April 13, 2012

Is it (Ever) OK to Complain About the Expense of Adoption?

One of the comments on my previous post (Open Letter to Prospective Adoptive Parents [PAPs]) was this, from :

I have to defend the talking about expense discussions. It is a common complaint for most everything related to infertility. Most of the expense complaints I hear and my personal expense complaint have everything to do with how unfair it is that infertiles typically have to spend crazy amounts of money to become parents and it is a bitter pill to swallow. It is unfair and deserves to be acknowledged whether it be the expense of IVF or the expense of adoption.

I've been thinking about her comments and asking myself, "Is it OK to complain about the expense of adoption?" I still say no. For the most part. And here are my Top 10 reasons why (in random order):

1. It's insensitive. A parent who places a child for adoption faces incomprehensible losses for the rest of their life. You can make more money. They can't re-make the child they lose.

2. It's crass. 'Nuff said.

3. It positions your child as a commodity. There are plenty of people in the business of adoption who see your child as a commodity. You shouldn't be one of them.

4. It's not anyone else's problem. It's not. Life is hard. Infertility is devastating. The costs of adoption are prohibitive and ridiculous. I get it. I do. But it's not anyone else's problem.

5. It smacks of entitlement. Any complaint about the cost of adoption implies that it should cost less or be free. Why? Because you want it? Because you need to save your money for something else? Because you'd be a great parent, but you can't afford to adopt? Again, I get it. But we're not entitled to anything.

6. It breeds resentment. Between expectant mothers and potential adoptive parents, between adoptive parents and first parents, between friends, etc.

7. It's not anyone else's problem. See #4.

8. It's a waste of time. When women started fighting back against the barbarism of the Baby Scoop Era, someone figured out other ways to exploit adoption and make it profitable. Unless and until large numbers of adoptive parents and PAPs seriously join the fight to reform adoption, complaining about the costs is a waste of time.

9. Someday your child may read your words. Can you imagine how they would feel?

10. It's a distraction. When you're a PAP, the wait is bone-deep agonizing. Every baby shower invitation and announcement of a friend's pregnancy is like a telephone pole being driven through your gut. I remember. Money is a convenient lightning rod for anguish, anxiety, fear, and frustration. But complaining about money is a distraction from more important things like getting to know some first parents, adoptive parents and adoptees and talking to them and reading their blogs to learn how adoption has impacted them (both positively and negatively) throughout their lives. Like researching the history of adoption and getting involved with adoption reform. Like volunteering with organizations that offer support to expectant mothers and mothers who need help to be able to raise their child/ren.

All that being said, it is financially expensive to adopt a child, and of course, PAPs need to talk about the cost. But those conversations should be kept private. Complain and fret to each other over breakfast. Unload your financial frustrations to your social worker or attorney. For crying out loud, keep it out of cyberspace. Please. It diminishes everyone.

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+

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Adoptive Parents: What You Need to Know About the Adoption Tax Credit

Tax time is getting closer, and can't we all use some good news about our taxes? The Adoption Tax Credit is definitely good news for adoptive parents. If you are an adoptive parent, you may be eligible for a refundable tax credit of up to $13,360. This article outlines what you need to know about the adoption tax credit.
Continue reading on ...

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Open Letter to Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs)

I posted this a few years ago, but what I've read online in the last week compels me to run it again (with minor edits).

Dear Prospective Adoptive Parent,

Today I came across yet another blog of a prospective adoptive couple using their blog to chronicle their "journey to adoption". Sadly, it read more like an online tantrum.

We've spent a fortune already and we still don't have a baby.

We were matched with a birth mother last year who changed her mind after she gave birth and she refused to follow through. I'm still angry about that!

Everything was set until the birth father got involved and that was the end of it. He was uninvolved for the whole pregnancy and then decided to care after we made an agreement with the birth mother. It's not fair!

I'm an adoptive parent myself. I understand the agony of infertility and the gut-wrenching uncertainty, anxiety, and helplessness of the adoptive process. And I understand using your blog as a release valve; I often do the same thing. However, (deep breath), I don't understand the attitude of entitlement.
I don't understand your resentment toward parents who ultimately decide to raise the children they themselves create (How dare they?).
I don't understand how you don't understand that some of the language you use is crass and base and incredibly insensitive.
I don't understand how you think you will love a child as children need to be loved when you seem to have such a low opinion of parents who place.

Certainly, you can use whatever language you choose; it's your blog. But when I read the words below on an AP/PAP blog... it scares me. Seriously. I'm NOT suggesting you deny your feelings or just grin and bear it. You need the support of people who know what you're going through.

What I am suggesting is that if you're working so hard to become a parent perhaps you should work harder on understanding the totality of the adoption experience - the totality of your future child's history - and expressing your feelings with more sensitivity to birth families, adoptees, and other APs and PAPs.

Words to look out for:

1. Any words that refer to the cost of adoption. I know birth mothers who would give everything they have, including body parts, to be able to raise their children or to have contact with the children they placed for adoption. These women paid dearly for their decisions, and you're crabbing about what it costs you? You can choose to adopt privately or from foster care if you can't or don't want to pay adoption agency fees. Unless you're discussing ethics and the need for adoption reform, complaining about money is tacky and insensitive.

2. "Deal", "promise", or "agreement" as in "We made a deal with a birth mother but she changed her mind," or "She promised to let us witness the birth," or "She violated our agreement." I'm not even sure where to start with this one. You made a deal? She made a child. She has the right and obligation to make the best decisions she can on her child's behalf, regardless of what plans she may have made earlier in her pregnancy. Hormones, denial, stress, support resources, health... things change rapidly during pregnancy. Most parents waffle for months over what to name the baby, what color to paint the nursery, and whether or not to introduce a pacifier. Please, show some respect for one of the most important decisions parents can make.

3. "Lie", "deceive", or "manipulate." Even if it's true. Even if you can prove it. Even if it hurts a lot. Assume that it was unintentional. Assume she did the best she could under the circumstances. Assume your future child will read your words someday and form opinions about you because of it.

4. "Our" as in "our birth mother" or "our baby." They're not.

5. "Want." Of course you want a child. I get that. But what you want is still a part of another woman's body. That's pretty heavy.

6. "Hero." Birth parents aren't heroes. They make the decision to place because they think it's best for their baby or for themselves, not for you. It's not about you. It wasn't about me, either. It's not about making an infertile couple's dreams come true. It's not about being a hero.

7. "Deserve." You don't deserve children any more than I do. No one does. It's not a birth mother's responsibility to provide you with a child. She's not a breeding sow.

8. "Pray." Please, please, please don't ask people to pray that a birth mother "makes the right decision and gives us her baby" or anything along that line. Do you believe that God would rip a woman apart mind, body and spirit in order to answer your prayer? I'll pray with you for grace and patience. I'll pray with you for peace. I'll pray with you for a birth mother's strength and clarity. And I'll pray with you for everyone's health. Please don't ask people to pray for you to get what you want at the expense of someone else. Is that what you're going to teach your child to do?

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, January 23, 2012

One Down, One to Go?

I took the kids sledding last week, and we had a great time until I got plowed down by a teenager on an out-of-control snow tube. I mean plowed down. Tossed like a rag doll-lost a boot in mid air- struck my head on landing. I got CLOCKED!

As I lay on the snow I thought, "I hit my head. Hard. I can't get up."

Then I became aware of crying and my daughter's voice. "Get up, Mommy. Mommy, get up! Get up!!" But I couldn't get up. It was more than a full minute before I could even speak to let her know I heard her, and the impact that had on her will haunt me for a very long time.

At first terrified, she became angry - really angry - when I finally got up. She broke down sobbing, "I thought you were killed! I thought I was going to be without a mother forever! How could I grow up without a mother? You can't leave me like that!"

And in that moment, I didn't care about anyone's "expert" opinion. Adoption is a loss. It is. I know she was talking about me, but I also know that the loss of her first mother waits somewhere inside her. And even if she isn't aware of that loss yet, I am. And the thought of her losing two mothers brings me to my knees.

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, January 4, 2012

Good Old What's His Name

Our family speaks frankly about adoption. So much so that our kids assume adoption is part of everyone's birth story, which is either funny or tragic, depending on your own experiences.

I'm pained to realize that in all of our formal discussions and impromptu conversations and off-hand mentions of adoption, we've barely talked about their birth fathers. We just don't know much about them.

I know they made decisions that will reverberate in my life as long as it lasts.
I know their first names.
I know what one of them looks like. I know he was adopted and wanted to be present at the birth.
I know the year the other one graduated from high school. I know he was a straight A student and was no longer in a relationship with M when the baby was born.

That's it.

What I know about them amounts to a pile of nothing.
I can't give my children anything of substance about the men they came from.

It's an awful feeling.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+