Saturday, October 31, 2009

29th APC Adoption Conference Nov. 22, 2009

Another great conference in the area that goes on annually is run by this wonderful organization. The Adoptive Parents Committee has chapters all over the country and most likely has one in your area. They offer monthly meetings run by parents who get together to support each other. Bigger than the conference in NJ, this one is run in New York at different locations around the region each time. This year it is in Brooklyn, NY. Here's the link:

29th APC Adoption Conference Nov. 22, 2009
Adoption: Where the Joy Begins...

Please check it out. Workshops cover a wide variety of issues in the field of adoption for everybody involved: birthparents, adoptive parents, men, women, children,'s very informative. Agencies send representatives to meet who can provide information to anyone interested in the beginning stages of adoption.

Friday, October 23, 2009

why is it so hard for my child to go to sleep?!

This was a question someone asked, I think in exasperation. I thought wow. My son has trouble too. Sometimes, it is so painful to him and I am so tired myself that I want to cry. I want to have adult time. I want to be with my husband. I want to spend time with my the rest of my family. Is there some thread common to adopted children that makes sleep a dreaded experience? All kids, I guess have times when they don't want to miss out on what's happening. Even children who are not adopted have sleep disturbances. I am not suggesting that adoption is the answer to all questions pertaining to issues of childhood with adopted kids. But, I think the fear of monsters, of something bad happening is prevalent and perhaps, prolonged with children who have already experienced trauma. And while yes, there are wonderful, joyous aspects to it, adoption is also a trauma. Fears of being taken away from all we love are not so irrational, when they have already happened. The meaning of monsters takes on greater fear when it is known that bad things DO happen. I heard someone share that as a child, every time the family would pack to go on vacation, he would retreat inside himself and worry that he would be left with another family. Never mentioned it to a soul. Going to sleep means letting down one's guard, surrendering to the world of conscious awareness....letting go of control. Not something so easy to do for many adopted kids. Of course, there may be another explanation....

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Seems to me that while everyone focuses on the joys and miracle of adoption, the love we can pour into a child and the love we get back, there is a tremendous need to acknowledge a bunch of other feelings too! Not to be a downer, but EVERYONE in this experience loses, before we gain, right?! The child loses their birthparents often a few moments after coming into the world; the birthparents experience loss at the same time, or even before as they know what's going to happen from the moment they signed away parental rights; and the adoptive parents, well....most likely they had losses in order to get to adoption, and then they have to cope with losing their own experience of having a child that looks like them, thinks and reacts like them, losing their ability to carry a child and the feelings that go along with it...hey, I can go on! How 'bout dealing with so many people discussing whether or not this is your REAL child (even your child himself!)...WHEW. I just think it's important to be able to own ALL the feelings, to be open to true experience and that we must give the message to our children that this is all okay to discuss. By keeping the realities of adoption (ALL of them) out in the open, we foster pride and self-esteem, even in our differences. We model and teach our children how to cope with a wide array of emotions, not just easy ones. By making it clear that there are feelings and realities that are unspeakable, we foster shame and isolation, hiding and often, depression.

This is not easy. I believe this is when we need each other to help figure out how to say compare experiences, to figure out what is the "normal" here; to share how to cope with issues that just don't happen in the same way in biological families; to help make understandable what seems totally baffling. It is my hope that readers of these postings will chime in to share and discuss...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

the need to belong

more beginning thoughts...
As I focused on what to write here, what to share about adoption that might be useful to others, an old childhood memory came floating through my mind.   I used to love having the Little Golden Book version of Cinderella read to me over and over again.  The story was good, but I especially loved when we would get to the last page.  It was a picture of Prince Charming and Cinderella holding hands, the Prince dressed in his military regalia, Cinderella in what looked like a wedding dress, their backs to us, gazing off into the sunset.  The caption read: “…and they lived happily ever after.”  I used to stare at it squinting, trying to get him to turn around so I could see what my Prince Charming would look like, and trying to see myself as a bride.  I never could quite get there.  While I didn’t know what happily ever after looked like, I was certain of one thing…without any need for doubt.  I took it for granted that I would have a family and I would be a mom.  Well, things don’t always work out as we plan or expect.  Sometimes, they take a turn and we must be ready to continue, to keep going forward, to go outside the lines.

I keep thinking about the adoption process.  For many, there is a moment when we are faced with a fork in the road and we must choose the next direction in life.  Some choose the familiar; some stay stuck waiting for a sign from elsewhere to guide them; and still others take a risk.  Though some have always planned to adopt as a way to grow their family,  so many choose it after agonizing life events.  Recognizing the loss, mourning the dream, letting go of the story we had expected to live can allow a new chapter to be written.   The chapter can be a new route for getting to the same place - family.  And it is this challenge to dream anew, this process, this journey to belong to each other, to foster that sense of entitlement to be a family that is the task in adoption.

Monday, October 19, 2009

November is National Adoption Awareness Month

November is National Adoption Awareness Month and there are some really great things going on around here.  The one I have gone to many times is the all day experience called, "Let's Talk Adoption."  This year it's at Rutgers University in Piscataway, NJ on  November 7.  Here's the link to the program in order to see if you are interested.  I highly recommend it.
Let's Talk Adoption Conference    It's sponsored by Concerned Persons for Adoption, a wonderful organization  dedicated to offering educational and resource information for those who wish to or who already have adopted.  Workshops are offered on everything about adoption from the beginning of the process, through the early years and on through the whole life-cycle (with the myriad of issues in between).  There is a wonderful keynote speaker.  I always well up with tears at their presentations, as they talk with such personal vulnerability about their own experiences.  Anyone in the area who is considering adoption as a way to grow their family, as well as others further on in their adoption journey would benefit from attending.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

and so we begin...

Working in the adoption world and being an adoptive parent myself, I thought it would be a helpful endeavor to create a forum to talk about the experience and just plain ol' share related thoughts and feelings about almost anything.  I want to share a great book that I am reading..."Hard to Place" by Marion Goldstein is one of those books that takes my breath away.  Alost everything does, if it is well-written (which this is) and pertaining to adoption and/or child loss.  Would love to hear about any recommendations for good adoption literature.

I've also been thinking a lot about the journey to adoption.  In my office, I have found many people wishing to grow a family, only to find that what is taken for granted among accomplished, hard-working people (they can have a baby whenever they want), is not always so simple.  Among people who are used to reaching almost any goal they set for themselves, the fact that they just don't seem to be able to get pregnant is a devastating awareness.  Not only because they want a child, but also because it challenges their self-esteem.  The next logical stage is to get on the fertility procedure treadmill.  This can offer an amazing opportunity for more people to succeed in pregnancy, but for many others it too, doesn't work.  For these people, the decision to stop is agonizing.  Adoption can offer hope and a wonderful opportunity to fulfill that life dream.  It takes moving through a process, though.  It takes the willingness and ability to give up the generation of one's own genetic material.  It takes coping with loss, with uncertainty and so many other issues.  It takes a big heart.  It takes patience.  But, in the end...there is hope.  And, there is family.