Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Adoption Blogger Interview 2013

So I was randomly reading blogs in October when I came across this blog call Open Adoption Bloggers. I saw that they were having an interview day (Adoption Blogger Interview Project 2013), where you can connect with other bloggers who blog about adoption. Without even thinking, I signed up.

Best. Decision.

Basically, what I found I signed up for to be partnered up with another blogger and we interviewed each other over the intrawebs. I had a great time! I got paired up with Lori of Lavender Luz.com. I am so glad that I did this year, and look forward to continue doing it in the future. If you want to read all of the interviews from this project, then go here.

To keep things easier to read, my questions are in bold.

Meet Lori...she's the one on the right...in lavender =)
When did you start blogging and why?

In the Spring of 2007 I read a book by Peggy Orenstein called Waiting for Daisy. I was so enthralled with it that I did what any self-respecting bookworm does: I googled it. I landed on a blog (what's a blog?? I'd heard of them but never read one) in which a really nice-sounding lady said she was hosting a Waiting for Daisy book tour and all I needed to participate was the book and a blog.
A book and a blog? I already had the former. I saw in the upper corner of that lady's post the words, "Create Blog."
So I did. For a month I wrote posts that received no comments, and then the book tour happened. All of a sudden I had a tribe, an ALI tribe (Adoption/neonatal Loss/Infertility. It was a beautiful thing.

What is your favorite post and why?
That a toughie! I've got nearly 1000 posts.

I'll cheat and offer three posts. I love Birthday Presence as a general post. And I like Adding a Dimension as an adoption-related post. And this one as a vlogging post, about the day I felt like a "real" mom.

When did you know that you needed to take a larger role of advocacy for open adoption?

Several posts about adoption adoption conversations I had with my children and how my daughter's birth mom and I interact went small-scale viral. That was a clue that maybe Crystal and I were on to something.

Somehow she and I had figured out how to have a respectful and child-centered relationship, and others were asking us how. So we had to figure it out together by deconstructing what we did in those early days to start off so well.

And in those conversations with my children, my main strategy was to simply slow down and be mindful, intuitive and open. I began to think that maybe I could help people use mindfulness to deal with stressful moments in adoptive parenting. Along the way I also learned from people in other corners of the adoption triad (thanks, Open Adoption Bloggers!) and at some point I decided to put it all together as a guide for people trying to make open adoption work. People had begun to accept that we should "do" open adoption. Crystal and I wanted to share how.

When you adopted your daughter, what did adoption mean to you? How have your views changed since adopting?

One thing that came from the closed adoption era was the notion that adoption had no ill-effects on anyone. In spite of the shame and secrecy, everyone would move on without a hitch. The adopting parents would never hurt over infertility again, the birth parents would move on and never look back, the baby would grow up as if born to his new family.
At the time we set out to adopt, I was unaware of the deeper layers, of the complexities. It’s true that many people (some I know in real life) say they suffered no ill-effects of the closed era, but the Internet has made it possible for those who did experience grief at losing a child or losing a biological parent to congregate and have their voices heard.
A far as what open adoption meant at the beginning of our journey, I thought it meant just contact. I have since added the spirit of openness as a critical component of building and sustaining a healthy and child-centered adoption.

What are your passions, hobbies, favorite things to do in your past time?

I enjoy practicing yoga. For an hour I try to bring my awareness to the confines of my mat. It’s a practice of focusing attention, of taming the wild-child that is my mind. It yokes my mind to my body and helps me remember to be more present even when I'm off my mat. Through yoga, I’m beginning to “get” that life is a journey and not a destination and shed the “I’ll be happy whens.” It’s a process. In yoga, everything is a process and no pose is ever perfected.

I also love to read  and write and do cool things with my kids like paint pottery. My daughter, 12, plays volleyball and my son plays whatever sport it’s the season for, so Husband and I spend a lot of time cheering them from the sidelines.

Tell us about your book!

My new book, which includes passages from my daughter’s birth mom, Crystal, is called The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole.

 It flows from the premise that adoption creates a split between a person’s biology and biography, and openness is an effective way to heal that split. Hence the focus on the child becoming whole through the openness of the adults who love him or her.
Openness means not just contact, but also the way in which the grownups in the adoption constellation comport themselves. We are open to co-creating a relationship together–power is not used by one party against another. We are open to being clear and honest with ourselves so that we can be clear an honest with the others in our adoption relationships. We are open to having tough conversations as our child grows and develops cognitively. We are open and vulnerable and authentic, for it is from this openness that we can best give our child the space to wonder, to develop, and to integrate his identity that come from all of his parts.
Our book was written for people involved in infant adoption, in international adoption, in foster adoption and even in donor sperm/egg/embryo situations — in any circumstance in which the result is a person whose biology and biography come from different sets of parents. Several adoption agencies across the country have made our book required reading for their current clients and a resource for their past clients, as it covers not just the initial stages of an adoption, but also the parenting stages we face over the long haul.

I hope you enjoyed reading today's interview. Lori interviewed me, so my interview is over at her blog today. Check it out, to see my interview at lavenderluz.com.

Have a great day!


Jim and Amy Hoping to Adopt said...

Loved the interview and your new book looks great! Where can I order it online?

Lori Lavender Luz said...

You can find out more about our book and buy it at Amazon: http://bit.ly/open-adoption. Thanks so much for asking, Amy!