i elected to participate in the "adoption bloggers interview project 2011". i was paired with another blogger and we were asked to read each other's blogs and create some interview questions to get to know them a little better.
i had the pleasure of interviewing mandy from http://missmandybeth.blogspot.com/. mandy is the mother of two children who entered her life through adoption. mandy's blog focuses on every day struggles that most of us face. she's a down to earth friendly person who i hope to meet one day! cannot thank her enough for her offers of emotional support while we've been going through adjusting to life as a family of three! she's a true sweet heart!
below are some questions that i asked mandy to answer for us in this interview project.
Are your adoptions open, and if so how has the openness worked out in your situation?
Yes, our adoptions are both open. Our struggle has been in the levels of openness from child to child. For example, Ellie's birthparents are both very stable who were college students when she was born. Both of their families supported adoption, but we have had to have different levels of participation from each of them. Ellie's birthmother and her family see Ellie at least twice a year, and we text, email, Facebook each other all the time. Anytime I send pics to my family, I send it to them. They come for Ellie's birthday each year, also. Her birthfather, on the other hand, has stepped away from us in the last couple of years, so our contact is mostly through emails and letters. His family also decided that ttey didn't want to be involved in an open adoption process, so we've had no contact with them since her birth. Sam's situation is a bit different - his birthmother was very young and from a pretty unstable environment, while his birthfather was a married father of other children. We have no contact with his birthfather, but we have annual visits with his birthmother, in addition to texts, emails, phone calls, etc. We don't feel comfortable having them in our home for various reasons, so we go to see them (about 6 hours away).
What is the best thing from your perspective about being an adoptive parent?
I think it's the opportunity to clearly see God's work and plan for our lives. How many people have children and don't stop to consider the miracle? We get to marvel at it everyday! I think if we had been able to easily conceive, we would have just continued on our own little path without looking for God's will. We so desperately wanted what WE wanted, that we had never really stopped to ask. We were only days away from starting the in-vitro process when we got "the call" ... a friend called to say her cousin's daughter was 15, 7 months pregnant, and looking for a family to adopt her baby. Literally, it was that quick and easy. Two months later he was home. It's as though God put His gentle hand on us, stopped us, turned us in a new direction, and said, - "here you go." It still gives me chills!
Was it ever hard to bond with your adopted children?
For me, bonding took awhile, but I truly believe this is just who I am and would have experienced even with biological children. I felt like a babysitter for months - literally MONTHS!!! It was a gradual process for me that eventually led to that "I would kill someone to protect you" kind of love. And now, the love I feel for them both is so intense, so deep that it is almost all-consuming!
How did you handle grieving over not having biological children?
That it is a good question. More accurately, it's how I STILL handle the grief. I don't know that it will ever go away. When I was a youth minister, I used to talk to the teens about each of us bearing our own burdens and taking what God gives us and living our lives according to His will, not our own. For us, our burden, if we can call it that, was suffering with infertility. For others, it may be a mental health issue or a dysfunctional family dynamic. I think instead of something that we grieve and get over, instead it becomes a part of who we are. I will always feel sadness at not having been able to go through the experience of pregnancy, but I wouldn't change my life. (I wrote a post about the grief a few weeks ago even!)
How would you like others to be more aware of orphaned children and what could be done to alleviate global issues in this crisis?
I wish I could get a hold of those couples who are paying tens of thousands of dollars for fertility treatments and give them the gift of seeing our lives, and your life, and others' lives with our adopted children. I wish I could tell them that in the realm of being a parent, reproducing biologically is just a bonus - truly peripheral when it comes to parenting and raising a family. I wish they could know that the love they want to have is available without the medical intervention.
I think to alleviate the global situation, we need more not for profit agencies handling adoptions, making the cost much less for those wishing to adopt internationally. I know that kept us from seeking international adoption for a third child.
i cannot thank mandy enough for answering my candid questions. i really appreciate her genuine honesty in her answers and totally agree with her positions. i really do hope we can get to continue to know each other better and further this relationship. a connection with adoption binds parents together and helps us see things on a grander scale. i'm so thankful for this opportunity and another connection out there in the blogsphere!