Monday, May 17, 2010

Blogging About Talking About Adoption

I started blogging over two years and 901 posts ago because I could find hardly anyone blogging about how to talk to your kids about their adoptions.  Sure, there werea few blogs telling you that you SHOULD talk to your kids about their adoptions (not that many!), but even fewer telling you HOW. 

I'm always told I should just "go with my instincts" when it comes to parenting, but I'm more a "research-based" parent!  I want to know what scientific research says about adoption, what sociologists and psychologists have to say about it.  I want to hear from adopted persons about their adoptions and  from birth mothers about their relinquishments and relationships with their children and those who adopted them,  and from adoptive parents who are having the same conversations with their kids that I am with mine.    That last part was a pretty small segment of the blogosphere 3 years ago. 

I decided to put my toe back in the blogging waters, thinking maybe there were others out there who wanted to know HOW I was talking adoption with my kids.  I figured I'd get some feedback and share what I know and we'd just be a talking about talking about adoption crew!  I've branched out into other adoption topics, too, but that's really what I love -- talking about talking about adoption.

I love how more and more adoptive parents are sharing their conversations with their kids about the hard stuff in adoption.  I don't always agree with them, but I love that they are sharing.  I learn so much from what they say, and I go practically giddy when I get a word-for-word transcript of the conversations they're having with their kids!  One of my favorite "talking about adoption" bloggers is Dawn at This Woman's Work.  One of my recent favorite posts from Dawn comes in reaction to Brian's post talking about talking about adoption with his kids, where he says he does not bring up the topic unless his kids initiate the conversation. Dawn says:
So I bring it up. I don’t say, “Hey, Madison, do you feel so much more tied to Pennie [Madison's birth mother] than you do to me? Since she’s your real mother and all?” Instead I say, “How did you feel when so-and-so was talking about how much you look like Pennie?” If I was Brian Stuy in a closed adoption from China, I’d surely say, “Sometimes I wonder about your birth mom. Do you wonder?” Because I would wonder. And if I’m wondering, it’s not such a far stretch to think that the kid herself in question wonders.
And then Dawn goes on to interview her kids on whether she should raise the issue of adoption or not!

And if that's not awesomeness enough for you, she addressed questions from the comments about whether and when it crosses boundaries to blog about our kids, an issue I visit and revisit all the time  -- not just in my own mind, but in conversations about the blog with my kids.

So shoo!  Go!  Go read what Dawn has to say.  You can come back later to read me!


Dawn said...

I thought of you when I got some of the critical comments (most particularly from the woman who then asked me not to publish hers). I would love to hear more about your boundary decisions and how you balance it. I learn A LOT from your blog and am grateful you write and appreciate that you liked that post more than you can know!

And because I am a talker and we are a talking family, I told my kids about the controversy and explained the opposing view and Madison was DEEPLY annoyed that anyone thinks I should not encourage her to blog or talk on my blog. Now she has been saying, "In my NEXT blog about adoption..." Then, too, someone linked to the post and quoted her and I told her this and she said, "I'm happy to help" and then said she is like Frasier because she helps people. Clearly this is not a child whose spirit has been broken, eh?

Wendy said...

Funny you wrote this post. I am putting together the newsletter for our local adoption organization and I am including my favorite blog links. That includes Dawn and you!

Would you mind writing up a little something for me to include in your blog description?

Wendy (

Anonymous said...

I do wonder about adoptive parents that blog about their kids. It's seems to be an invasion of their proivacy (even with their permission). I mean, they are just kids, so asking their opinion should not be the deciding factor... but I also understand that by blogging you are putting the conversation out there for others to learn from and think about. Tough call, indeed.

Mirah Riben said...

My favorite story about talking about adoption with kids is one I heard YEARS ago at a conference.

Mother walk past her teen sons room and he's staring into the mirror (no doubt examining zits).

She says: "I bet you wonder who you look like. I do."

And walks away.

No big, heavy duty, uncomfortable "talk" but opening the door and giving permission for the topic to be reopened without offending!

Of course, such little opening might need to b repeated.

I always thought that was one cool mom!

I also suggest adoptive patents, especially of international or interracial kids should see the documentary "Adopted" which really shows the pain from the adoptees point of view when the subject is ignored. It's a hard film to watch. It's PAINFULLY real!

Also "Language of Blood" and "Fugitive Visions" by Jane Jeong Trenka are very informative for the same reasons, as is the documentary "On The Fault Line" about 9 Vermont families who adopt interracially.

All of these resources deal particularly with the challenges of being non-white in a white family and predominantly white school - or any school in which kids are teased for anything different.

Finally, coincidentally (?) O Solo Mama blogged about the same thing today!