â€œTell me who admires you and loves you, and I will tell you who you are.â€
– Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve
Sherri, a mother in an open adoption, recently de-lurked here to tell me she had given me a blog award on her blog.Â I dont know Sherri (yet) but did saunter over to check her out and thank her for the award and her comments.
It appears as though I am to respond in kind and nominate ten (10!) blogs in return.Â Ten is tough for me. See, a few months back I seriously cut back my blog reading. I am not sure I even still follow ten adoption blogs. I still have more than ten on my reader but not all of them write anymore. I just keep them there in case they come back. I also added blogs that cover photography (something I do for fun), communications (what I do for a living) and other non adoption interests of mine.
This lack of adoption follow was done for purely self preservation reasons. I just couldn’t take much of the pain and agony expressed by others and found it nearly impossible not to take it on somehow. As I have said many times, when I read an adoptee being outrageously mean to their mother, I take it personal. I fear my daughter is like that nasty adoptee (and since I dont know my daughter I have no way of ruling it out). I internalize too much, worry too much, and in general dislike who I am and how I feel when I read nothing but adoption pain and nastiness.Â I can too easily adopt the herd mentality. When I see an adoptee needing their mother I want to reach out, run to her and offer her some comfort. I had this bad habit of seeing myself, placing myself, in the role of the collective mother. The mother responsible for all the pain and thee mother that could fix it all.
Clearly, not the case. I am not responsible for the behavior of all adoptees nor can I fix them. I am not even responsible for my daughters behavior and I cannot fix whatever ails her. I can only take care of me. I am only responsible and accountable for my own behavior. I define me. No one else does.
I had to withdraw to save myself a bit, to reassess and to change focus. In addition, I actually have a personal life beyond adoption trauma and reunion and over the past year purchase lovely new home, became engaged to a fabulous man, continued parenting my two sons, and more.
All that being said, I will share a few blogs that I do continue to read and more importantly, why I continue to read them.
Most will be no surprise. I thank Sherri again as not only do I appreciate the sentiment but I welcome the opportunity to share a few notable adoption bloggers.
This Womans Work– Dawn Friedman inspires me as a mom and a woman. She is a mother in an open adoption to an amazing young lady named Maddie. Dawns committment to her adopted daughters open adoption, to her daughters first mother (also pretty fabu), and so much more makes me stay in tune with her blog. As an aspiring writer, I have enjoyed her writing related posts. I enjoy her thoughts on home schooling, on feminist issues and much more. I had the pleasure of meeting her this year at the American Adoption Congress. We did not get much time to really talk (and I felt a bit mopey about that). I do hope to get more time with her, somewhere, in the future. Must read for those that are in or considering open adoption.
Mother Issues– Thorn and her partner are hoping to adopt out of foster care and ideally an older black or biracial boy. Like Dawn, Thorn and her partner are committed to the childs well being, preserving family connection as appropriate. She has clearly educated herself on many issues surrounding adoption. She also seems like a nice, kind, thoughtful person. She seems like someone I would have as a friend in real life. Must read for anyone considering adopting a child out of foster care.
Thoughts from a Foster Family– Yondalla and her family foster GLBT older teens. She poignantly shares her experiences on fostering, parenting and recently thoughts on adopting her seventeen year old current foster son. As is the case with Dawn and Thorn (notice a trend here?) I appreciate Yondalla compassion, understanding and well balanced attitudes towards the children she fosters and their first families. She parents and cares for the whole child, not just the parts that suit her comfort level. Must read for foster parents or anyone considering fostering.
Ungrateful Little Bastard– Adoptee Theresa lives sort of kind of in my neck of the Northeast woods. I had the pleasure of meeting her in real life last year for a short visit.Â She does not blog much but when she does I run over there quickly to see what she is talking about. She is witty and funny and compassion and fiercely strong.Â I love fierce women. (She also has a pretty fierce head of curly locks which I covet) Even though she has been refused contact her first mom, she is able to retain compassion and understanding for others. I greatly admire individuals, particularly adoptees, who can find a way to balance the pain. It is something I struggle with daily. Must read for anyone needing to be assured that not all adoptees lack compassion and understanding for what happened to mothers.
Chronicles of Munchkinland and Paragraphein – I check in on Nicole and Jenna now and then. I am not really sure why I do this as I cannot relate to their status as first mom in open adoptions since my own situation is so drastically different. I have mixed feelings on open adoption (even in light of the friends noted above whom I admire for how well they perform in an open adoption). I cannot even begin to fathom how Jenna and Nic manage day-to-day knowing where and how their child is yet not be able to be actively involved every day.Â Then again, they probably cannot imagine how I survived eighteen years not knowing where my first born only daughter was. Separate from adoption, I admire their writing and parenting abilities. Must reads for anyone involved in open adoptions.
Family Preservation Advocacy – So much I could say here. As the title of this mothers book says, this blog consistently highlights the dark side of adoption.Â While the author is controversial to many, I happen to be a fan and always get something useful out of her blog. I volunteered with her on the Board of Directors of Origins-USA and will never forget her reaching out to me in a time of deep emotional agony and doing nothing but holding me. Little in this world can compare to being comforted by someone who truly understands your pain down to the deepest depths of their own soul.Â I envy her writing ability, her strength and determination and outright dedication to the cause. Must read for anyone looking to discover the facts on the dark sides of adoption.
ReadingWritingLiving– Adoptee, author, cool mom, diabetic, writing inspiration. Susan, like so many others, inspires me on many levels.Â I enjoy her adoption blog when she writes and also follow her food/dieting/dealing with diabetes blog.Â My heart kinda aches for her in relation to her own reunion (see above where I state I struggle with separating myself from the pain of others).Â If I ever get out to the West Coast again, I so want to meet her. Must read for pretty much anyone since Susan covers such a wide range in her various blogs.
Write-o-Holic– See a trend here? I tend to follow smart women writers effected by adoption in some way. Denise is one such woman. Mom in reunion for many years (and a very difficult one at that), kind heart, good writer and oh yeah, she sent me the most awesome Bruce Springsteen purse some time ago too! I have learned a great deal from her and continue to hope that someday her son will get the help he needs and she will be able to once again be a part of his life. Must read for anyone in a difficult reunion, a writer trying to get published or someone who digs music.
The final blog that I read daily is one I am not permitted to link to.Â My daughters. She maintains her own personal website for her photography work and also a tumblr site where she posts snippits of things, mostly photos and links to other sites. I visit them daily.Â I wish I couldÂ link to them to show you how amazing she is, how talented she is with her photography, how incredibly well spoken she is. But alas, I believe, or feel, I am still under gag order and not allowed to make a connection between us. I fear that if I linked to her she would get tremendously angry at me for putting a dent in her denial and avoidance and it would damage any chances I have of ever meeting or knowing her. Its been two years since she wrote me last. You will have to take my word for it. She is truly amazing. A must read for me.