If you are about to adopt – reset your compass

May 21, 2008 at 11:44 pm 95 comments

The following will be a list of ideas and concepts to reconsider during your wait.  This is, in part a reaction to the changing face of wordpress adoption blogs and it seems that we have some work to do.  So, in no particular order (and feel free to add more in the comments section) here are things that PAP’s, in my opinion as both adoptee and adoptive parent, must confront before adopting. 


1. She is not a birthmother if she hasn’t given birth or signed termination of parental rights.  If you are ‘matched’ with a pregnant woman considering adoption, she isn’t ‘your’ birthmother and the baby isn’t yours either. 

2. Also, let’s give the terms original mother, first mother and other mother a fighting chance.  Consider a woman’s feelings and worth when reducing her role when you call her ‘birthmother’

3. Don’t ever breathe one single negative word about your child’s mother, father, state, country, race or culture.  Not for any reason.  If there are disturbing facts in the situation, state them plainly and support the feelings that may come.  But don’t add commentary. 


1. Tough, but the truth.  No one owes you anything.  Infertility does not buy you the right to parent someone else’s baby.  Sucks, but there it is. 

2. And this isn’t going to win over any friends, but…here it goes… God did not hand-pick, or decide to have someone else get pregnant for YOUR benefit.  Believe me, I can understand how it feels that your child is perfect for you, was the missing piece in your family, or is spiritually connected to you.  That still does not mean that there was a grand, benevolent or divine plan,  to have a misfortune befall a woman, so that a child could fulfill your family, or so that you could feel as though you are doing what your church teaches you is right.  Children are not pawns.  Neither are their mothers.  Also, just because you believe that children ought to have a two-parent home in which the parents are married, still does not earn you the right to dictate what ought to happen to the child. 

3. Along these lines, later on in life, do not tell your child that she ‘grew in the wrong tummy’.  Do not tell her that she was’chosen’.  Do not tell him that you were able to give him ‘a better life’  It’s a different life…you can’t know that your family and life would be better.  Don’t go into an adoption without the implicit understanding that your family will be different than if you had had children biologically.  You are taking on extra responsibilities. This means that your child needs nurturing that encompasses their feelings which typically include, but are not exclusive of: lifelong feelings of rejection, insecurity, a certain ‘otherness’ and also feelings of grandiosity.  Do you have a longterm plan to support your child if you begin to see these things creep up?  Do not minimize the impact of adoption.  Yes, even if you adopted at birth.  Ask any newborn baby who they want to be with.   They want to be with that lady who sounds familiar. 

4. Put your infertility issues in the past.  If you are adopting straight out of the doctor’s stirrups, you are setting up a highly charged situation which can propel you into unethical behavior such as coercion of a pregnant woman.  Again, it isn’t appropriate for a woman to decide on adoption until after her baby is born, as well as having an advocate who is talking with her about all her options and telling her of the support available to her.  If you have a serious broken heart, and a houseful of baby stuff – that’s some serious danger! danger! Will Robinson.  A child you adopt should not be put to work by being there to heal the serious and lingering pain of infertility.  Besides, healing doesn’t work that way anyway. 

5. Do nothing but encourage honest feelings from your child about how they see their adoption. 

6. Do not lie or misrepresent facts to your child.  Adoption happened to your child and they had no say in the matter.  Honor your child with the truth.  Do as much as you can to obtain their original birth certificate. 

7. If your child is old enough to know their name, which is probably younger than you might think, don’t change his name. 

8. And just because you see the world and people of color as represented by a beautiful rainbow of colors does not mean that the rest of the world does.  The public can be a cruel place for your child.  People say stupid and racist things.  Be prepared for this if you have adopted a child whose skin color does not match yours.  How will you teach your child tolerance while others are being intolerant?.


Read Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew – Sherry Eldridge

Don’t read books about how you can say and do things that will speed up the process.  Yes, there is a book like this. 


Check with your state for any grievances or complaints on file regarding your adoption and/or placing agency.  Email previous clients, find ones who are not on the provided list given to you from the agency. 

In closing, this is not a transaction.  We are dealing with human lives.  And, as beautiful as you might see the whole idea of adoption, for those of us who have experienced the many feelings of loss because of adoption, we ask you to consider the above.  Don’t strip away or deny what is real and what may be troubling for the others involved, namely your child and his or her mother.  Please uphold the bond between mother and child.  Celebrate family…the one you’ve created and the family that your child also has somewhere else. 

If you can’t do these things, or at the very least, be willing to examine and challenge your given ideas or even your core beliefs, then you probably aren’t ready to be an adoptive parent. 








Entry filed under: adoptees, adopting, Adoption, Adoption Blog, Adoption Ethics, adoptive, birth mothers, Children, Family, first mothers, infertility, International Adoption, Motherhood, Parenting, rants, support.

What I ought to feel Dude, where’s my post?

95 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mama2roo  |  May 22, 2008 at 4:00 am

    I *heart* Tina.

    Can I have your permission to use this (for good, not evil??)


  • 2. Shea  |  May 22, 2008 at 4:39 am

    Sing it sister!

    I will admit to changing Xander’s name, but it was because it was not his birthname and it was a name completely unpronouncable by English speakers, Akyl. A (like you’re about to sneeze) K (said way as low in your throat as possible) L (like the L sound at the beginning of Lull) Very hard name in English.

    I would also add… when they talk about their parents… shut up and listen. Xander has told us so many things and while some of it is painful to hear (it’s his story so I won’t share it here), what does come clearly through is his love of his mother and father and his siblings.

  • 3. Margie  |  May 22, 2008 at 4:50 am

    Woo hoo, you nailed this one, baby!!! Thanks, I’ll be linking!

  • 4. imtina  |  May 22, 2008 at 6:04 am

    Of course Em! You always are for the good…

    Shea…thank you for that added input about listening. It is an important parenting tool, particularly for adoptive parents.

    Margie, thanks.

  • 5. Coco  |  May 22, 2008 at 7:03 am

    I love you, Tina. I really, really do.

    This post is…wow. This is the checklist that needs to be passed out at those agency orientations. Absolutely.

  • 6. suz  |  May 22, 2008 at 7:54 am

    Awesome. Good job. Will be linking as well.

  • 7. Sang-Shil  |  May 22, 2008 at 9:14 am

    What a great post!

    I would add the book “Outsiders Within” to the reading list for any prospective/adoptive parent that is (or is considering) adopting transracially. I can see how some parts might be difficult to read, but the ideas inside it are incredibly important.

  • 8. Theresa  |  May 22, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Oh this is so good

  • 9. Tina  |  May 22, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Sang-shil, thanks for mentioning that awesome book. Yes, it’s a must for parents of children adopted internationally, or transracially, or both.

    Theresa, thanks. You are so good too.


  • 10. Mei-Ling  |  May 22, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    [God did not hand-pick, or decide to have someone else get pregnant for YOUR benefit.]


  • 11. mia  |  May 23, 2008 at 5:31 am

    This is amazing. Brilliant even!

  • 12. Libby  |  May 23, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Thank you.

  • 13. justenjoyhim  |  May 23, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Wonderful, Tina. Just wonderful.

  • 14. paragraphein  |  May 23, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    You can’t see it, but I’m giving you a standing ovation right now.

  • 15. aislin13  |  May 23, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    All I can say is Thank You!!!

  • 16. Michelle  |  May 24, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    I love when I can walk away from reading a blog knowing what I just read has the possiblility to impact my child in a positve way. Thank you!

  • 17. MrsAlmostJoyner  |  May 24, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Im from NaComLeavMo and Im starting early and your post is fantastic. I don’t think my parents had any kind of list, but they did all these things. They’ve always been open about my adoption and answered any questions that I’ve ever had. Thank you for list, it’s important for every adoptive parent to know.

  • 18. zygotedreams  |  May 24, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    This is a great blog post! Thank you for writing!

  • 19. Jen Chew  |  May 25, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Beautiful. Thank you. I am linking to my blog if that’s okay.

  • 20. Not On Fire  |  May 25, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Wow! That is great advice.

  • 21. Magi  |  May 25, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Fantastic. I’m linking also.

  • 22. Sam  |  May 25, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    That was wonderful, and something that I needed today. Thank you.

  • 23. shawna  |  May 25, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    I have not been involved in adoption first hand but this advice seems excellent to me. My belief, as a Christian, is that God does not create tragedy for one to help another, but the Bible says that He works all things for good. So I think that you are spot on about God not creating a child specifically for adoptive parents, My belief is that God makes a bad situation better by creating a better outcome for all parties involved through the gift of adoption.

  • 24. InDueTime  |  May 25, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    First time visiting your site from NCLM. Thanks for the checklist.

  • 25. Suzanne  |  May 25, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Ahhhh, once again, your insights and wisdom are so illuminating. Just when I think I know everything I need to know about how to do this, you throw some new nuggets at me. Thank you, my sweet friend. Thank you for helping to prepare me. I’m so lucky to have you at my side.


  • 26. DC  |  May 25, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    My husband and I are in the very early stages of international adoption and i am so glad I came across your blog. Your post is well-reasoned and brings up some excellent points. Thank you for passing on this valuable perspective.

  • 27. mom0four  |  May 26, 2008 at 8:21 am

    This is wonderfully written. It is so honest and that is what is needed in the adoption community. Thank you for this post.

    I am helping to build and adoption community at cre8buzz.com and I think you would be a great addition there. We want to have a place where adoptive families can come and get support as well as wonderful information about adoption. This post would be perfect for what we hope to have the community there become. Please check out http://www.cre8buzz.com/categories/648-adoption

    I am not trying to spam you here. I am a mom who has adopted and am hoping to do so again. There are many things I wish I had known the first time around and I am dreaming of one place where families can go to find those things.

  • 28. mom0four  |  May 26, 2008 at 8:22 am

    oops, just realized who you are and you are already on cre8buzz. sorry, didn’t pay enough attention first. i do think this post would be great to add to the forum there though!!!

  • 29. Echloe  |  May 26, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    I think your thoughts are quite poignant and it would be great if they could reach a larger audience. Good luck with your adoption.

  • 30. Erin  |  May 26, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    I’m here from NaComLeavMo, and wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this list. We adopted our younger son from Ethiopia earlier this year and learned so much of what you were saying throughout our process. Although we’ve been calling K’s mother his “birthmother”, I have been consciously trying to change that to “firstmother” whenever I say it. “Birthmother” just doesn’t fit a woman who tried desperately to raise her child for almost a year and, due to circumstances beyond her control, wasn’t able to provide for him. It minimizes all she has done and given to our shared son, and I cannot do that to a woman who has given up so much for him.

    Though you said it wouldn’t win you friends, you make an extremely good point for expectations #2: every time I think of how much joy K brings to our family, I think of the sorrow and grief that his firstmom is going through from having relinquished him. I see K’s sorrow and grief firsthand; the experience of a toddler grieving is incredibly heartbreaking but it is glossed over far too often in PAP classes. This is not a process that anyone should undertake lightly or without extensive preparation, education, and soul-searching.

  • 31. Nicky  |  May 26, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    Here from NaComLeavMo. Excellent advice. I myself am infertile, and it drove me nuts when people would tell me to “just adopt”, as if it’s a good idea to enter the adoption process in the hopes of a consolation prize. People who do adoption for the right reasons, with the right expectations — kudos!

  • 32. Trish  |  May 26, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    I here from NaComLeavCom
    My Little Drummer boys

    I have an adopted son almost 15 by local adoption in Australia.I agree with most of what you have said. I am challenged by what you wrote . He was 13 months old – we did not change his name (except surname of course)
    I needed to read this.. I have made mistakes and I can right them.

    I” love when I can walk away from reading a blog knowing what I just read has the possiblility to impact my child in a positive way. Thank you ” I ditto this comment!

  • 33. Jackie  |  May 27, 2008 at 6:52 am

    What a great read, Tina. I plan to share this with my family and friends. I’m still learning myself and I so appreciate your insight 😉

    Hugs, Jackie

  • 34. Linda (littleangelkisses)  |  May 27, 2008 at 9:13 am

    Wow, this is a very powerful post. I hadn’t even thought about many of those things. If we should ever decide that adoption is right for us, these would be things to remember and take to heart.

  • 35. Foxxy  |  May 27, 2008 at 10:53 am

    Came over from Chew’s site – well said!!

  • 36. Laura NaComLeavMo  |  May 27, 2008 at 11:53 am

    I have such respect for people who complete their families through adoption.

  • 37. Bonnie  |  May 27, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Wow, this was an interesting read. I’m over from Nacomleavemo. I’ve thought some about adoption and this info will definately be considered. I have kids in my classroom that were adopted into different families and we talk about adoption a lot. I like the term “first mother” also.

  • 38. Alyson @ 3 Ps in a Pod  |  May 27, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Wow… I am almost speechless after reading this…almost.;)

    As mama to 2 adopted daughters, I felt an immediate kinship after reading your self description on the blog, especially when you closed with how completely and insanely you love your daughters.

    While I might not word everything exactly the way you did, I essentially agree with all of it. I might add to allow that your family will be unique and to embrace it.

    We do refer to our girls 1st Mama’s as their Birthmamas because that is a name we use with reverence…they did for them what I could not and I am doing what they could not…we are all in this together and I consider them an integral part of our extended family. And in all fairness, we have to have an almost equal love of DD3’s nannies as they were her ‘mother’ as far as my daughter was concerned from the time her birthmom left her until I could go and get her. Adoption makes families grow and makes relationships more complex and intertwined.

    I am also visiting with NCLM and am so glad to have found you.

  • 39. Eliza  |  May 27, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Excellent read! I’m here via NaComLeavMo and I agree with you completely–I love the way you just put it all out there…my kinda gal 🙂 I’ll be back…

  • 40. Gretchen  |  May 27, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    Oh, Tina. Tina, Tina, Tina.

    Thank. You.

    It’s like you took the words, the thoughts, the feelings right out of my mouth, my head, my heart — only you made them sound so much better than I could have. So succinct, so spot on, and most of all, it’s so … sure, so matter-of-fact. As it should be. There’s no molly-coddling with this.

    I want to do more than link, because I believe there are some folks who read my blog that won’t take the time to ride the link. Can I please use this on musings, with all due credit to you, of course?

    Brava to you, Tina.

  • 41. Gretchen  |  May 27, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    (I should clarify — it’s not that I want to reach just anyone on musings that won’t ride the link — there are people that I believe can truly benefit from reading this, people I know won’t bother to find it. And these people are the ones that need to read it.)


  • 42. imtina  |  May 27, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Yes, of course Gretchen!! Anytime.

    Everyone…your response is quite startling. I was expecting a lot of rumblings and I’m happy to find that I’ve not done that.

    I go through the tag surfer on WordPress a lot with the ‘adoption’ tag. When I first started blogging, there really was a balance of different views and experiences on adoption.

    Lately, I see a lot of adoption blogs on wordpress that are about:

    a. pets
    b. God’s adoption of us earth folk
    c. The kind of PAP who might need a little bit of tweaking (in my opinion)

    Which is what drove me to my post above. The one blog that put me over the edge was a woman who is painfully reeling from infertility, posts about other single women who get pregnant and that it’s a stab in the back to her, then when she was selected by a pregnant woman to parent her baby, the woman and her husband announced to their church that they are having a baby.

    It was all too much.

    Thank you everyone for stopping by.


  • 43. April Taylor  |  May 28, 2008 at 3:37 am

    Where have you been all my life? We are another family in the Kyrgyzstan program (in between trips 1 & 2) and we have 2 from Kazakhstan. We are non-Christians who simply got very lucky in the adoption of our kids. We were not “lead” anywhere, we followed our gut, sometimes grudgingly, and have been blown away by the whole process of becoming a family through adoption. One thing we always try to honor, is that adoption starts from a place of loss, not recognizing that belittles everyone involved.

    Thanks for this brilliant post! I hope you don’t mind if I share it?
    April Taylor
    mama to Kai & Grace (Kazakhstan ’04 & ’05)
    waiting for trip #2 for baby #3 from Kyrgyzstan

  • 44. Michelle  |  May 28, 2008 at 8:08 am

    I thought this was well written, but I have a couple of issues.

    You say that you can’t know that your child has a better life with you than the woman who gave birth to her. I disagree. My nephew was neglected when left with his parents, and then he moved in with my parents. They have cared for him since he was two with occasional help from his mother (his father disappeared). He is nine now, and she is still a mess. It is obvious to everyone that if she were his sole caretaker, he would be left alone, exposed to adult situations that aren’t appropriate, and neglected. He is better off with my parents. Would he be best off with his natural mother? Only if she were a different person who loved and cared for him the way he deserves. She isn’t, so he’s not.

    Through helping to raise him and other experiences with children and parents as a public school teacher, I believe wholeheartedly that giving birth does not make you a mother or father, even though you may be given the title. There are women who agonize over placing their babies/kids for adoption, and they are mothers. There are other women who stumble into the labor and delivery unit high, give birth, and announce that they don’t want their baby (my mom has worked in an NICU for over twenty years, so I’ve heard tons of stories). Those women obviously have problems and deserve help, but I would never tell my adopted child that he/she would have had an equally wonderful life with one of them.

    Everyone has a unique situation. I agree with being honest with your children, biological or adopted. There just isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to these issues.

  • 45. craftymommy  |  May 28, 2008 at 8:21 am

    This was brilliant and informative. Thank you.

  • 46. Overwhelmed With Joy!  |  May 28, 2008 at 8:55 am

    Brillant! I’m bookmarking this post. Thanks!

  • 47. Lillie  |  May 28, 2008 at 11:41 am

    How is it that I haven’t known about your blog??

    Brilliant post, thank you so much for writing it. Every PAP and AP needs to read this and take it to heart.

  • 48. imtina  |  May 28, 2008 at 11:53 am


    Thanks for your response. I should clarify a bit. What I mean when I say to adoptive parents that you aren’t giving your child a better life, but rather a different life…I’m not talking about chronic neglect or abuse.

    What has happened historically in adoption, particularly in adoptive families from the era in which I was adopted, and currently oftentimes in international adoptions and sometimes in domestic adoptions is that there is the given notion that since someone is adopting and someone is relinquishing, that they will be given something grander, better, more. But, it’s never that easy, is it? It’s different, not necessarily better.

    Adoptees have been told forever that they should feel grateful for having been ‘saved’. International adoptees have been told and are being told that their very lives depended on being adopted. And it may be true, but what I’m saying is there is SO much talk about ‘how lucky is that baby/child’ that any feelings on the child’s part of wondering what their lives might have been like if they had been able to stay in their family of origin is choked out.

    I’m writing this post to give more voice to the adoptee whose voice has been stomped on and diminished and silenced for SO LONG.

    I’m being the adoptive parent that I wanted my parents to be and I want to represent a kind of adoptive parenting that could help an adoptive parent out there take pause and reflect on their own issues vs. the issues of their child.

    Adoptive parents’ blogs that I sometimes read contain so much entitlement, and seemingly so little empowerment for their child whose life and well-being hangs in the balance.


  • 49. Amanda  |  May 28, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    This is an amazing post, which I’d also like to link to. I don’t know how I haven’t read your blog before. I will definitely be back.

  • 50. chrissy  |  May 28, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Wow- what a thoughtful post!

  • 51. Ansley  |  May 28, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Great post. I link you also.


  • 52. Paige  |  May 29, 2008 at 5:52 am

    Ooh, I’d like to link to you as well. The true truths, beautifully put!

  • 53. colleen  |  May 29, 2008 at 7:45 am

    I know that the term “birthmother” originated in the AP community and “first mother” from the other side of the triad. However, I wonder if first mother is really that fair of a term either. When I hear it I always get the distinct feeling of replacement. When you get a new car, house, furniture you refer to the “first” and the “second”. The second being viewed as better, an upgrade, if you will. Whereas, birthmother is a place in a child’s life that can not be replaced or substituted. At the moment we just refer to her as “your mommy in China”. Somewhat of a mouthfull I admit.

  • 54. colleen  |  May 29, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    P.S. we don’t use “birthmother” though, because it really isn’t my word to like or dislike. It isn’t my place as the AP and I am aware as to why and how it is used by APs and therefore why it is disliked by original mothers.

  • 55. thanksgivingmom  |  May 29, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    I am having a hard time catching my breath as I think I held it the entire time I was reading, because this was SO AWESOME and right on.

    From this firstmom, I appreciate this more than I can say and will be passing this link on to so many that will appreciate these words. Thank you!!!

  • 56. mmac  |  May 29, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    My daughter has her China mom and I, we are both real. And you have so nicely and wonderfully stated what I have spent so much time thinking about, and trying to get across to people (family) and PAPs who could use some of this type of bluntness. About what I want to give my daughter and any other child who needs a family. Wish I could post this on a bunch of boards.

    Thanks so much

  • 57. Mei-Ling  |  May 30, 2008 at 8:02 am

    [I hear it I always get the distinct feeling of replacement.]

    Adoptees are replacements, too. From those ghost children (biological children) that the APs could not conceive.

    Oh, and I was replaced in a third sense, too, since my sister was born as a result of MY adoption. Welcome to the world of what it feels to be “replaced.”

    On a more serious note… if APs get the chance to adopt, at least *they* get to choose to apply for a child. Adoptees have NO SAY in the matter.

  • 58. Mei-Ling  |  May 30, 2008 at 8:10 am

    Sorry my mistake. I was replaced in a second sense, not a third sense. Typed wrong there.

  • 59. imtina  |  May 30, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Yes, Mei-Ling that sense of powerlessness for the adoptee is why it squarely falls in the hands of the AP to make up for that imbalance and voicelessness as much as they are able and is possible. It’s all for the children….right???

  • 60. Kim  |  May 31, 2008 at 11:31 am

    This post really made me think. Although I do not agree with all of it, or maybe it was the way some of the wording could be taken. I think it is so hard to generalize, and what works for and is appropriate for some might not be for others. I personally do no have a problem with the term birth mother, and know a lot of people who agree. It just means the mother that gave birth. I don’t think that these women would not consider themselves to be mothers. I know plenty of women that have had miscarriages and still births and with no living children, they still consider themselves mothers. I think it explains her role and doesn’t reduce it at all.

    Another thing I would add is that many people ask about is how much it costs to get a baby or why the baby was given away. I tell them that the “birthmom” made an adoption plan for the baby. She did not give it away. It makes the child seem unwanted and that is not always the case. And I say we are paying for services to add to our family, we are not buying a baby.

  • 61. Kymberli  |  May 31, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    I am learning a lot from adoption blogs here and there – thank you for sharing these fresh viewpoints.

    Here from NCLM.

  • 62. April  |  May 31, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Nicely said Tina….thanks for posting this.

  • 63. Michelle  |  May 31, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    here from NCLM and so glad I found this post! Definitely something everyone considering adoption should read.

  • 64. Jendeis  |  May 31, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Here from NCLM. Thank you so much for sharing this insightful post.

  • 65. jbeeky  |  June 1, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    While the information here is good, the approach leaves me defensive. Can’t you be informative without sounding anti-adoption?

  • 66. Calliope  |  June 2, 2008 at 4:07 am

    here from NCLM.
    This was such a great & thoughtful post. I am totally clueless about the vernacular so this was quite an education for me. thank you!

  • 67. Jessica  |  June 2, 2008 at 9:10 am

    What a great post! I think at some point a lot of people have misconceptions/misinformation etc We all make mistakes, but this list, if nothing else, helps to make aware.

    Here via NCLM

  • 68. screamofcontinuousness  |  June 3, 2008 at 5:12 am

    You wrote
    “Which is what drove me to my post above. The one blog that put me over the edge was a woman who is painfully reeling from infertility, posts about other single women who get pregnant and that it’s a stab in the back to her, then when she was selected by a pregnant woman to parent her baby, the woman and her husband announced to their church that they are having a baby.

    It was all too much. ”

    I’m sorry it was too much for you. But you have mis-read a lot of my blog. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that we are coming at this from a different point of view. I’m very sad that you would tell your readers that I announced to my church that I was having a baby, when that was something my husband said to our choir and then immediately followed up with the clarification that we were matched. I did say that in my blog post, but you have deliberately left that out here.

    Also I never said it was a stab in the back from the single women themselves. I merely raised my face to heaven and asked “why not me Lord? What did I do wrong?” I’m sure we all have had times in our lives when we have questioned God. (or fate, or karma or whatever the person reading this might believe in).

    I guess in posting my personal struggles I am placing myself in a position for people to misread my meaning. It happens. But it does make me sad.

    I came here to read more of your blog and to read the comments because some of what you had to say in your post was very interesting and I agreed with it. But now I find that you are horrified by me and my writings. I wish you had taken the time to talk to me before you allowed yourself to get so angry and upset. It didn’t have to be this way. Especialy since I actually agree with most of what you had to say in your initial post.

  • 69. Tina  |  June 3, 2008 at 6:00 am

    I’m sorry it all came to you this way. I didn’t intend for it to hurt you personally. I didn’t link to you and I didn’t name you specifically.

    I’m understanding of your feelings on many levels, in the infertility arena, in wanting to be a mom. My sense in reading your blog ( and I know that I don’t ‘know’ you, but it is just my sense…) is that you may be too close to your infertility still.

    Also, it wasn’t *just* your post. This has been building for a long time. My own feeling is that I wanted to support you by comment I left on your blog, because I think everyone needs support. But, I also wrote about my own opinion on my own blog without naming any names.

    I don’t think it’s all black and white. I just wish that more PAP’s would take more time out to come at adoption from the child’s point of view on how they *might* feel about being adopted and to have more awareness of what their mothers are going through.

    So, I do apologize for upseting you and didn’t intend to disrespect you personally.


  • 70. screamofcontinuousness  |  June 3, 2008 at 6:25 am

    thanks. I do appreciate you not identifying me, but I did feel wronged by how you spoke of my blog on yours. We’re straight now though, so I think that’s great.

    I do agree with most of what you’ve posted.

    About the terminology though I disagree a little bit. I think that it should be up to the parents (all four of them) to agree to what terms they want to use. Our Birthmom *wants* us to use that term and we are respecting that wish. Even though it gets me in trouble in “blogland” 😉

    Maybe I should post about that sometime. We have a really amazing relationship with her. She’s a great lady and we plan on telling our child about her constantly. By “our” here I’m including all four of us, but there’s no way to make the word “our” show that !

    Thanks for being so honest and sensitive. I do value your opinion and some of what you have said has made me go back and look at things I’ve written and see that they *could* be taken in a way that I didn’t intend. I’ll work on that.

  • 71. Tina  |  June 3, 2008 at 6:30 am

    Thank you. I’m glad we’re good now. I didn’t mean to disrespect you.

    So, since the woman you’re matched with is asking for that term, then that seems logical. But, I would gently challenge you to think about how your child *might* feel about that in the future.

    There has been a very recent debate over adoptees being ‘second choice…second best’ out there. What it boils down to is that no matter what you intend, and how *you* feel and parent, that your child could still feel a certain way, and not be able to voice it. That’s why language is so important and a near-telepathic sensitivity to the adoptee is the goal.


  • 72. screamofcontinuousness  |  June 3, 2008 at 6:39 am

    oh amen.

    We plan on making the adoption story part of his or her everyday life. questions will be welcomed. the birthmom is planning on being available through phone calls all the time and we are hoping for a visit eventually. she and her husband love their children but they feel that their current life situation doesn’t make it possible for them to raise their children. they are such good people, gentle, sweet and caring and she loves her babies. they have made this decision before, so it’s not something they are being pressured into. thank goodness. I wouldn’t want that.

    As for good communication with our child, oh yes. I think every parent/child needs that. It’s going to be such an amazing process. I’m scared, but I think that’s good. Anyone who goes into parenting thinking they’ve got it all together is in for a rude awakening. Please believe that we are not ignoring the child’s needs and wants…we simply don’t know them yet. So it’s kinda hard to talk about a person we haven’t yet met. *grin*

  • 73. screamofcontinuousness  |  June 3, 2008 at 6:48 am

    I’m so glad I took the time and the risk to “speak” with you about our misunderstanding. I really do want you to keep pulling me up short if you see me trending toward and unhealthy or unproductive mindset.

    Friends are good at that.


  • […] 3, 2008 by screamofcontinuousness I just found a new friend.  Tina who posted a comment on my blog a day or two ago and I have just been having a great discussion on […]

  • 75. Lamont Cranston  |  June 3, 2008 at 10:09 am

    I am utterly down with changing names if the sound foreign to your region. I grew up with a “funny name,” and there wasn’t a damn funny thing about it. The constant mocking by other children left scars that sear my soul to this day.

    Kids have enough trouble fitting in without a name that brands them as an outsider.


  • 76. Busted  |  June 3, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Wow – what an amazing post. We may adopt someday, and if we ever even begin down that path, I am going to make damn sure to relocate this post and use it to remind me what adoption really means to all parties involved. You’ve done a great thing by writing this all in one place for others.

    (Here via NCLM).

  • 77. Andie  |  June 4, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Here from NCLM – this post really brings out some details I had not thought of before – thank you for posting it. I am also really impressed by the conversation between screamofcontinuousness & Tina – you ladies are both amazing for addressing the issue & working it out. It’s so easy for things to explode in blogland, and you are both very classy.

  • 78. Possum  |  June 5, 2008 at 5:20 am

    As an adoptee – thank you for this list.
    It’s great.
    I would add – ‘to read adult adoptee blogs’.
    Here’s a link to a list – (which I must update and check more often – but is a good place to start) –
    Poss. xxx

  • 79. DC  |  June 5, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Looking forward to an update from you soon . . .

  • 80. Bugged  |  June 8, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Great post, very well thought through and informative.

  • 81. Sharon  |  June 8, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Hi there from NCLM….and a great post! Lots of thought provoking words of wisdom! My father was adopted along with quite a few cousins and you hit it right on so many levels…

  • 82. C  |  June 8, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Interesting post and following discourse! You bring great points for consideration.

    Via NaComLeavMo

  • 83. David K  |  June 13, 2008 at 11:33 am


    Drop me anE-mail privately. I have something to discuss with you.

    David K

  • 84. Grace  |  June 18, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    I wanted to say I really appreciate your comments implying the unserverable bond between biological mother and child. I believe God gave mothers (whether they birth that child or not) a glimpse into the notion of being “one.” That child has no identity outside the mother and so even if adopted “at birth,” has been traumatized. Whether that trauma manifests itself in ways that are identifiably troubling is unknown, but I believe the potential is there. I believe the unnamed “longing” in many of the adopted is that tie that was severed.

    I believe understanding this is critical in how a new parent raises and nurtures their adopted child. It can be very different than raising their birthed child. “Just” loving their adopted child, in fact, may NOT be enough. For example, that child will most likely need to be held more intensely, more intently to try to recreate or form the bond that was lost. Oh…I have too much to say and I have to remember this isn’t MY blog!

    Anyway, I don’t remember how I found you but I’m glad I did. Very interesting reading. And hopefully helpful as we raise our child, adopted from Korea.

  • 85. clare  |  June 19, 2008 at 7:50 am

    this is an excellant post. It really is unusual to see one that is balanced with regard to the welfare of everyone involved in an adoption. I would just add one more expectation: Don’t promise anyone an “open adoption” unless you plan to honor your promises and be very clear about exactly what those promises are from the beginning. If the specifics of such a plan are kept vague there’s just too much potential for exploitation.

  • 86. Janiece  |  June 28, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Interesting post and it made me think. One comment I would like to make is I didn’t “save” my children–they saved me. I am a nurse (peds no less), better daughter, better friend, better wife (I Hope!) and just a better person because of my children. My reply to those who tell me how lucky my chidren are is I’m the lucky one. Without them I would have never known the wonderfulness (is that a word?) of being a parent and knowing–really knowing–what is unconditional love. And also experiencing the fear that something would happen to my child and the realization that I would wiiling give up my life for child. That has been a gift to me.

  • 87. Eve  |  July 2, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Tina, brilliant post. I think you should edit it to perfection, give it a snappy title, and make sure you send it to every adoption organization with a major web site. This is the stuff of great pre-adoption training. I can’t imagine anyone saying it better.

    I don’t normally make comments when the comment threads are up to over 80 comments. But I’ve read them all and I noticed that the prospective adoptive mother who inspired you is here, in this thread. As you know, last week I too spent a lot of time ranting, er, writing, about my reaction to an adoptive mother post, an adoptive mother with a “separate but equal” love doctrine with which I very much disagree. I too did not link to her blog. I didn’t even try to talk with her. And, if I’m not mistaken, this is how you and I met.

    So blogging is the gift that can keep on giving understanding, if we let it. When someone has inspired a post and comes all the way over to read you, I think that’s a good sign. I admire how you handled this.

    I do want to comment about the use of the term PAP. You are telling prospective adoptive parents to stop using “birth mother” and to try “first mother, original mother, etc.” because you want to improve respect, preserve love, etc. between the child and his parents. I agree.

    But I have always thought it is rude to use the abbreviation “PAP.” I know, I know: it’s the actual abbreviation. But pap is also a tit, pap is also a smear from the vagina; pap is also baby food; pap is ideas or talk that are worthless, lacking real substance.

    Those of us who have adopted children were once prospective adoptive parents. I have no better term to suggest; but I do recall when parents didn’t even get to be called “birth parents.” Yes, I’m ancient. I remember those days.

    All you fiery advocates could surely put your heads together and come up with a term that does as much for prospective adoptive parents and shows them the sort of respect that you demand they show to others. This is just a thought. I will probably be shot out of the water for this one, but really… you’re smart and good with words. Won’t you think of something and start a revolution that has all of us respecting and loving one another, one word at a time?

  • 88. loobiesmith  |  July 2, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Yes, this is the sort of stuff that I would like to know – may I add you to my blog roll? I would like to read a little further another day.
    Thank you again for your comment on my blog – it made me lok this up and this is the stuff I need to know.
    Kind regards,

  • 89. Tina  |  July 2, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    yes Laura…link away. I think we all need to have an ongoing discussion as future adoptive parents..

    Eve, maybe that’s the ticket…Future Adoptive Parents…or…FAP

    Also stands for

    Anything is better than PAP which reminds me of my least favorite time of year…when I have my annual exam.

    PAP is baby food?? I’m going to have to google that one…


  • 90. Coco  |  July 3, 2008 at 11:56 am

    @Eve: I use “hopeful adoptive parents” almost always, but I’ll sometimes throw in “waiting families/parents”.

    You’re very right: respect has to go all ways for it to truly work. 🙂

  • 91. artsweet  |  July 18, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    I’m late to the party, but as always Tina, this is fantastic.

  • 92. Elizabeth  |  July 27, 2008 at 5:55 am


    Don’t know how I missed this post. Probably because you posted it two days before ew left for Kyrg! Anyway, I’ve been feeling very alone about my feelings and frustrations, which are very similar to yours. So glad there is someone out there that feels the same as me and lays it all out there.


  • 93. unsignedmasterpiece  |  August 4, 2008 at 4:13 pm


    I just came across this post in August when I noticed it as a relevant link at the bottom of one of mine.

    It’s nice to know that some one gets it.


  • 94. ccavanaugh66  |  January 27, 2009 at 10:25 am

    i’d like to find blogs where adoptees discuss being brought into families with biological siblings. We’re PAPs, not crazy, not religious zealots, just people who wish for another child. We don’t expect gratitude; we’d never talk of a “better life;” and we know that in the main we are doing this for us (as is any bio parent when they decide to have another child).

    I found this link on a blog about Korean adoptees. Please help us continue our education. Honestly if we’re going to screw up some poor Korean baby we won’t do this.

  • 95. Mei-Ling  |  January 27, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    ccavanaugh66: I was brought into a family where they already had a biological son. There was a HUGE age difference, so he moved out just before I turned 8. My memories are a bit fuzzy because I was just getting to “know” myself as a person when he was getting ready to move out.

    Not that I’m going to speak on behalf of Tina, but I’m sincerely glad to hear that you aren’t “crazy, religious” zealots. You might be surprised at just how many prospective parents out there *are* crazy & religious, esp. when it comes to the topic of adoption.

    Getting off topic here, the relationship between me and my brother never seemed to be different than any relationship between biological siblings. That’s not to say everything has always been fine and dandy but in MY perspective, there seemed no significant difference noted.

    Also, pertaining to the mention of “some poor Korean baby”, you won’t be screwing them up. The separation from their mother will have likely *already* done that long before you even come into the picture. If you still want to adopt, go ahead – we’re hardly stopping you right? – but understand what you’re getting into.

    Look into more blogs, read like crazy, and try to understand what it is like from the adult adoptee view (the ones blogging about loss) and what the mothers feel, *even* on the off-chance of a Korean child ever finding their Korean parents again.

    For those Korean parents are very well and breathe and live just like us folks. Misfortune just happened to strip them of their children. Adoption should not indicate they are of any less importance. 🙂


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