Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day 2014!

D. (and his precious Puppy) are full of love and kisses this
Valentine's Day!

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you.
When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with,
but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
- Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

(Yah, I've got to admit this blog 
has pretty much just turned into a place 
for me to post cute photos of my kid, especially on Valentine's Day.)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

An Infinite Love?

A few weeks ago, D and I were playing and he kind of randomly said, "Know what, Momma?"
He took a deep breath, stretched his arms way out to his sides, and cupped his little hands.
"I love you THHHIIIISS much!!"

Man, our little guy - who is growing up so fast and furious - really knows how to melt my heart..

Happy Valentine's Day 2013!
(Here he was in 2012, 2011, and on his first Valentine's Day)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Adoption Interview Project 2013: Akers of Love

I have said before - and I'll say it again - that I have learned SO much about adoption by reading about the experiences of others' through their blogs. Therefore, I am really grateful for the initiative of people like Heather over at ProductionNotReproduction  for coordinating the Adoption Interview Project, which is a wonderful collaboration of bloggers from throughout the adoption constellation. I had fun participating last year, and did again this in 2012.

This year, I have the good fortunate to be paired with Abby of Akers of Love. Among other interesting things, she's the momma of toddler Max and new born Sam. Her boys are REALLY adorable (including her husband, Wes!), and as I wrote to her, I don't understand how she finds time to be such a great mom, keep up with her blog, AND look so cute and perky herself!

Somehow, thankfully, she DID find time to respond to my questions. Below is her interview.

I am impressed by how frequently you post and your initiative in connecting with other bloggers, such as your 10-4 Good Buddy project. I feel like I often lack the time and energy to keep up my blog, yet you are the busy mom of a toddler and a new born and you manage it (while still looking so energetic and cute, I might add!). How do you do it?!

Don't be too impressed...I've already stopped doing 10-4 Good Buddy.  I loved the idea and meeting people, but it was too much...especially with our new, little guy.

I usually blog during naptime, but again, don't be too impressed, because sometimes I choose to blog instead of doing what I really should be doing, cleaning, laundry, preparing dinner, etc.

But the main reason I blog is to jot down things I want to remember about my family...mainly my boys.  So a special event or something funny my two year old says are great motivations for me to sit down and write a post.  I know I need to write another post when my husband or mom say, "You haven't written a post in a while..."

How do you envision your blog evolving in the future?

I'm not sure I'm looking for it to evolve.  I don't want to be motivated by how many followers I have or who is reading my blog...although it has been a huge blessing to meet some lovely ladies through the blog world!  My focus is to record our family stories...sometimes a project or recipe I think is worth sharing...and if other's are blessed by what I write, that's a bonus.

How is living adoption different than you envisioned it when you were dreaming of becoming parents?

Well, the main difference is that when I was dreaming of becoming a mama, I pictured my children to look like my husband and me.  Adoption caused me to  break the mold of what I thought our family would like and I love how my family looks!  I pray that others..especially those who are struggling with infertility...will see our family and see how wonderful a family grown through adoption can be.

Your faith is obviously a guiding force in your life. How do you think it impacted your adoptions? How do you think it impacts your parenting?

It's interesting that you asked this questions because adoption/infertility and parenting have been the two areas of my life that have grown my faith the most and made me realize my enormous need to completely depend on God.

My faith impacts every aspect of my life.  Although I fail miserably at times, my desire is to have God be the driving force in every action, word and decision I make.  I remember saying over and over to my husband during both of our adoptions, "I can't imagine doing any of this without a relationship with Godt."  Regardless of the disappointments {and we have had our fair share}, I always had hope that everything would work out according to His perfect plan for our family.

With parenting, it's a daily battle between allowing my selfishness and flesh to take over and allowing God to lead me with my parenting choices.  Parenting is so hard. When I begin my day in prayer asking God to help me be the mom He wants me to be for Max and Sam, my day goes so much better than going about my day on my own.

You now have two children who you adopted, which means you have connections with two different birth families. How are you navigating the differences in their adoptions, and how do you anticipate doing so as they grow? 

You're right!  Our two adoptions are different.  We had a relationship with Max's birthmom prior to him being born, we were in the delivery room to see him come into this world and have had consistent communication with her.  We have also met Max's birthfather and many other member of his birth family.  With Sam's birthmom, we  met her the day Sam was born, we don't know much about her and may not every know anything about the birthfather.

It can be overwhelming to think about how everything is going to work out in the future.  I pray that we can have healthy, safe relationships with both of our boys' birth families.  We trust God that he will guide us in the way that is best for our family and everyone else involved.

I guess I really didn't answer your question, but I really have no idea what our future holds, but our desire is to have a relationship with both birth families.

I believe that you and your husband are white parents raising children of color. Do you have any advice to share with others considering transracial adoption?

It's not a necessity, but find other families that look like yours.  Maybe you can connect with other families that have done transracial adoptions through your agency.  We are blessed that our very good friends have a transracial family through adoption.

Don't let it scare you.  If that's God plan for you, He will give you the wisdom and grace to deal with any issues that come along.
Is there something you think readers should know about you that they wouldn't learn from reading your blog?

I was a kindergarten teacher for 8 years.  I loved it, but my dream job has always been to be a mom.  Being a teacher to a room full of 5 and 6 year olds taught me so much about parenting and I am so thankful that God allowed me to have a part and hopefully make an impact in over 170 kid's lives.


Thank you, Abby! It was a pleasure "meeting" you. I look forward to following your family's story and wish you all the best!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Child, Parent, Child

Have you ever heard that you never really appreciate your parents until you become a parent yourself? For me, that is not true.

I think that on a certain level I have always realized that I have two really "good" parents. I have always felt their love and support. For the most part, my childhood was stable and care-free because they worked hard to make it so, and even when I was very young, I could compare the attention, moral direction, and affection I received from my mom and dad with my peers' families and know that I was fortunate. In fact, I have always had confidence in my ability to parent because I knew I grew up with great role models.

On the other hand, it is true that since D. became my son, I've gained an expanded view of my parents' relationship with me. Because I realize they may feel the same heart-searing dedication to my well-being and emotional fulfilling that I feel for D., and knowing that I may be just as cherished - with such forgiveness for my foibles, and such interest in the mundane details of my life - I feel differently about them.

As good as my relationships with my parents are, they have certainly been strained at times. I'd say that my mom in particular brings out the best and the worst in me. Perhaps it is because I have the confidence that she'd still love me even if I were an ax-murderer that I don't always treat her in an exemplary way. I get short and snippy. I lose my patience. I needlessly point out her weaknesses and get angry and defensive when she points out mine. She pushes my buttons, and I push hers back, even harder.

My mom is getting older. And as is typical with aging, she's become more rigid and perhaps a bit slower. Never-the-less, she gets up early every Monday morning to drive through traffic and come spend hours upon hours on the carpet playing trains, or reading stories, or blowing bubbles with her youngest grandchild. She volunteers enthusiastically to babysit (and often when we return, the laundry is folded, too!) With my wily little toddler, she shows such patience, energy, and sense of adventure, it overwhelms me. The are such clear manifestations of her love.

So, when I came across the text below, which is attributed to "Spring in the Air," it really moved me.

Letter from a Mother to a Daughter:

My dear girl, the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say: “You said the same thing a minute ago”... Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep.

When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a girl? When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way... remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day... the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.

If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you. And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked. When those days come, don’t feel sad... just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared.

With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you... my darling daughter.

As a parent, now I realize that the overwhelming love we feel for our children makes us vulnerable. Even when I can rationalize my son's behaviour as typical toddler antics, his frequent "daddy preference" or refusals of bedtime kisses and such slight rejections really hurt me. So now, when I roll may eyes at something my own mom has said for the umpteenth time, I try to remember how that small expression might wound her the way it wouldn't if it came from anyone else.

I am learning so much from D. and from being his parent. My perspective on my work, my marriage, and my own family of origin is evolving because of my relationship with him. Right now, it is certainly bringing a greater sense of compassion to my connections with my own parents. It's a compassion I hope to sustain and grow with patience, energy, and a sense of adventureas we all continue to age.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Oh, the Irony

What a hypocrite! Is that what you have been thinking about me?

Isn't it ironic that I come here and express strong disapproval for a proposed reality tv show that focuses on adoption while I myself blog away? I have been feeling kind of uncomfortable about this apparent inconsistency since I last wrote, so I've been thinking a lot about it. And I suppose there is a case to be made that my reaction was hypocritical given how much I've shared about our son, his birth mom, and how our family was built.

There are some important differences, though.

First, and most important, I think, is that on this blog, someone who has the best interest of my son, his birth mom, and our whole family at heart has editorial control - me. Conversely, I think it is safe to assume that on a reality tv show, editorial decisions are based on what will drive viewership and profits; the more drama, the better. 

Next, since I began blogging, I've become increasingly concerned about over-sharing and relating parts of my son's story (or his birth mother's) that aren't mine to share. When I look back now on some of my posts about our match and his birth, I cringe, wondering if I've revealed things they would - at some point in their lives - rather I hadn't. Obviously, that relates to my concern about a child who cannot give consent to participate in an adoption show. But you know what? Much of their story is my story, too. There is a lot of overlap. I think it would be sad if my concern kept me from sharing the parts of my experience - our - experience that might be helpful to others. So, to address the concern about telling stories that are other peoples' rather than mine, I am increasingly cautious and aware about keeping some things private or labeling my feelings and experiences as my own, etc.

Last, even unsuccessful television programs are watched by thousands and thousands of people.  On-the-other-hand, this blog is followed closely only by friends and family. I know that occasionally others drop by, and I welcome that! But generally, anyone who comes here either has some connection to us or to adoption. It's hard for me to imagine someone teasing my son on the schoolyard because of something they learn here, while I couldn't confidently say the same if we elected to take part in a nationally-broadcast tv show.

What do you think? Does my reasoning make sense, or am I just making excuses? Do I have more in common with the producers of a reality tv show about adoption than I'd like to admit? Would it be different if I was trying to profit from my writing, as some adoption bloggers do? And how do you handle blogging or otherwise sharing potentially sensitive information about others' in your life?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Soap Box

So, below is what I drafted as a response to the interesting inquiry we received awhile ago about whether we wanted to take part in a reality tv show about adoption. Truth-be-told, I never sent it because it felt a little harsh to me and I wanted some time to see if my view changed. It hasn't. But, I have suppressed the urge to unleash my high horse on some poor production assistant. 

Anyway, what do you think of my response? While I clearly have my own strong feelings about this, I really want to know what others - especially those involved with open adoption - think. As I say, I am certainly no expert on ethics in adoption and I know there are could be lots of different, valid viewpoints about this.

Hi, [name],

Ha! I suppose we should really take our slideshow off of YouTube; our beautiful son D’s been home with us since October 2009. (Ironically, we were matched shortly after I posted the video, though his birth mom didn’t see it until after she met us.) So, with a precious 2.5 year old son, we clearly no longer fit the profile of the people you are seeking to feature.

Matching, being present for D’s birth, supporting his birth mom through the experience, and then bringing our son home were the most wonderful, scary, intense, emotional days of my life! The show you are developing will undoubtedly be dramatic.

I must share, however, that I have serious ethical concerns about it. Though I believe you will indeed strive to “do all [you] can to make the experience as positive and safe as possible for the adoptive parents and expectant mother,” bringing reality TV into such a sensitive situation at best will thwart the emotions and behaviors of the adults involved. At worst, it will be unduly coercive to expectant parents making incredibly difficult and important decisions.

Even if all adult parties use sound judgment to fully consent to participate, no account is being made for the stars of the show, the tiny individuals at the center of the adoption constellation: the babies. Of course, they cannot consent to participate, and we cannot guess now how having such intimate and private details of their arrivals in the world featured on television might impact the children in five, ten, or fifteen years.

My husband and I have a really good, loving open adoption with D’s birth mom. Had we received your email when she was expecting her baby and we were matched, we might have been excited to participate in your project. But since then, we’ve all learned a lot more about open adoption – and we’ve lived it. We have seen how emotionally complex it is ourselves, and we are beginning to understand that for our son. I am sure you will find other families willing to take part, but please, please consider whether this is really an appropriate situation to expose to and through the media.

Thank you for taking my concerns seriously. If you are interested in learning more about the ethics of adoption, please feel free to contact me. Even better (since I’m no expert), investigate:


Friday, July 20, 2012

Reality Check

[Why no, I haven't abandoned this blog...]

Recently, we received an email like the one below.

What do you think? How would you respond if you were in our shoes?

In a few days, I'll share what I came up with...

Hi Kristin and Matt,

I hope this email finds you well! Thank you so much for taking the time to hear about the special project we are working on and your support means a lot. My name is [name removed] and I am a Development Associate at the television production company [company removed] (company bio attached). I saw your amazing video on youtube. I was wondering if you have been matched with an expectant mother? I am reaching out regarding a new television show we casting for- We are looking for perspective adoptive couples who are already matched with an expectant mother.

Here is some information regarding the show:

I know that adoption is a super sensitive subject for all of the parties involved, however, through this series, we are hoping to depict the adoption process as honestly as possible so people have a better understanding of the challenges, decisions, joy and love that comes with the journey of becoming parents. Maybe we can offer inspiration for a couple or expecting mother considering adoption!

Our production company, [company removed] as well as the [network removed] takes this matter very seriously and will do all we can to make the experience as positive and safe as possible for the adoptive parents and expectant mother. Also, please note that we are partnered with and have the support of The National Council for Adoption as well as the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.

[Company removed] has teamed up with the [network removed] to share the stories of couples and single prospective parents as well as expectant mothers who are currently going through or considering the adoption process. The series will focus on the challenges, decisions, joy and love that come with the journey of becoming parents.

The series is green lit for air and is expected to have a total of 6 episodes featuring one adoption triad per episode. We are hoping to film over a span of eight weeks (approximately 4 weeks before the expectant mother's due date and 4 weeks after). We are not going to be filming

24/7 in those 8 weeks but rather schedule film time with all parties beforehand. In total it comes out to about a total of 12 days of filming for each of the expectant parents and prospective adoptive couples.

All parties will be compensated for their time.

If this something you believe you and your expectant mother would be interested in participating in or learn more about please contact me!

Best Regards,

[name removed]
Development Associate
[company removed]