What We Talk About When We Talk About Adoption

The other day I asked for your thoughts about open adoption — what you like about it, what you don’t like, and how you would improve the process.

The call-out was inspired by a feature we ran last month on the Facebook page of our sister site. Each day, to mark National Adoption Month, we invited members of the triad to share their thoughts about their own journeys and about how adoption has touched, enriched or changed their lives.

And they replied. Boy, did they ever. In all we got close to 200 responses. Many were upbeat and positive while others were, let’s say, less than enthusiastic. And yet, I think you’ll agree, each one is instructive in its own way.

Two weeks ago, at the midway point of National Adoption Month, I posted a sampling of the comments we had received to date. Today, I’m posting another. When you’re done reading it, be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section below, especially about open adoption. And feel free to join our Facebook page if you haven’t done so already. We’re planning to run similar surveys and features there that we’re hoping you’ll find useful in the weeks and months ahead.


What do you know about adoption now that you wish you had known before?

Joy Blackburn: I wish I had known what an emotional rollercoaster it would be! It wouldn’t have changed our decision but man, it sure is full of ups and downs!


If you could change one thing about your adoption journey, what would it be?

Lorraine Montgomery: I would remove the drug and alcohol exposure my children were exposed to. Great, amazing, wonderous children such as mine shouldn”t have to cope with such disabilities!! None should. Otherwise I wouldn’t change a darn thing. The journey brought me to them ♥


What do you think is the biggest misconception about adoption?

Nicole Bell: That all birthparents are saints. Or that all birthparents are drugged up crack heads. That all adoptive parents are ‘baby stealers.’ I could go on and on.


How has adoption changed your life and/or the way you view the world?

Paula Schuck: It has changed everything. First it made us parents, then it made us better parents — second time around — with a child that has special needs. Then it opened up to us a great world of advocacy opportunities, writing and politics. I found a passion and an amazing group of likeminded families I treasure and support.


What’s your biggest regret about your adoption journey?

Mickie McDow: Mmmm, I think my biggest regret was not doing the practical things required in a home with children, while we were waiting. I know it sounds boring but I wish that I took more time to purge the clutter in the home. Think about where the recycling would go. Renovated the rooms that needed it.


What do you think is the most important adoption issue today?

Naomi Gardner-Owen: Cost for international adoptions that keep thousands of people from adopting even though they desire to do so.


What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of adoption?

Jo Bergen: Scared


At what age did you first discuss adoption with your child and what did you say?

Le N’ Ge: As an adoptee, I don’t remember ever not knowing. My boys are both special needs, one 5, the other 6. We talk about the fact, but they do not understand yet.


How do you want your child to view his or her adoption and what are some of the things you’re doing to make it happen?

Valerie Levere: My husband and I always say we want our children to know they are adopted but never to remember the day we told them. It will just be part of our lives, the way it is.


What’s your favourite adoption quotation, poem, novel or movie?

Carla Burgoyne: ‎”Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.” ~Oprah


How important a role does adoption play in your life?

Devon Saila: Huge! Without adoption I wouldn’t have my incredible little boy


What’s the one thing you want others to know about adoption?

Paula Schuck: Adoptive parents must be good advocates for their children throughout life. Our kids need advocates even more than other children.

(Photo credit: dennoir)