Posts filed under ‘Adoption Ethics’

How To Mess up Two Women’s Lives With Hardly Any Effort – A True Story of Lies, Secrecy & Denial

If you happen to have about 45 minutes or so…here’s a truly compelling story from NPR.  This isn’t your ordinary baby-switching story.  In this piece, in which all major players are interviewed, you will hear about how one of the mothers knew  that her baby had been switched, but went along with her husband’s wishes not to make any waves or make the doctor look incompetent.  You will really be hooked after about 5 minutes listening to this.  So, grab your knitting, or fill your sink with dishes or find something to do while you listen.  You’ll need something to do so you can channel your shock and outrage.


August 12, 2008 at 12:51 pm 4 comments

Middle Age, Kyrgyzstan, Food & The Tooth-Wiggling Situation

Mea Culpa.  I don’t even know what happened.  The last month has just done me in.  But, I’m all better now but it’s been a few weeks of house guests, end of school year picnics, family graduations, a new play group and then the big finale was going down to San Diego to meet with the Tokmok orphanage director, our in-country co-ordinator Lyudmilla, the Tokmok judge and Kyrgyz adoption inspector who had come to see how the children who have been adopted are doing.  Many families came from near and far which shows the strength and commitment in our Kyrgyz community of children from Tokmok.  I met Hillary, Mala and Jackie!  The afternoon went by so quickly, but I felt very very glad to see Lyudmilla again.  Tatyanna, who is the director of Tokmok orphanage could not believe how big Isabel is.  When we left Tokmok a year ago, Isabel was not even 13 lbs at 8 months of age, anemic, not able to turn over, and hypotonia.  She was a bit tearful in seeing her.  Isabel had been very loved in Tokmok and I think they worried a fair bit about how she was going to fare in a new family and country.  There was a lot of picture taking (future post, I promise…really, I’m incredibly lame…I know.)  We stayed with Lori, our travel partner who adopted from Tokmok at the same time we did and we took both trips to Kyrgyzstan together.  We went to Disneyland in the middle of a heat wave.  It was insane. In four hours we ate lunch and went on two rides.  We left with our hearts very full.

Ok, so you all threw out a few great topics for me to discuss.  And in no particular order…away we go.

Middle age.  Oh my…I suppose it is finally here.  It’s funny to age isn’t it because for the most part, I feel a lot like my much younger self a lot of the time.  I mean, I respond and react differently to most situations but I’m still an insecure teenager inside.  I’m looking forward to my 50’s, when I will embrace my inner Ruth Gordon. 

Suzanne…you want food?  I’ll give you food.  It’s totally my calling in life to feed people.  I’m happiest when I’m watching someone eat something I cooked, particularly something I’ve baked.  What have I been cooking….well, not a whole lot to be honest.  But, now that the rest of the summer stretches out before me with little plans other than going to the beach, I’ll be doing my usual farmer’s market schedule of Wednesdays and Saturdays.  Summer menus here revolve heavily around tomatoes, basil, stone fruit and a lot of fish.  Sunday is the big cooking day around here.  For breakfast there are waffles or scones or Art makes Dutch babies, and then there’s light noshing while we do household things.  Then, about 4 o’clock Art fires up the grill and we all start cooking.  Zannie is taking pride in her budding knife skills.  This week she trimmed a massive bunch of broccoli all by herself.  I mean, I supervise and teach her while she’s doing it of course, but she’s doing the whole thing.  She gets very proud of herself, but tries not to show it. 

All the food writing and recipe development I’ve done this year still hasn’t been published.  I’m about to do some more and I’m working on getting a column in a new magazine.  We’ll see…I think digital media is going to replace many magazines, but I’m still hopeful I can get this gig. 

Ok, it’s late but I’m going to leave you with a parenting story that I’m sure will become a family classic for us.  Zannie’s front tooth has been loose for weeks.  She’s been wiggling and loosening it and eating apples and chewing gum and whatever else she can think of to get it out.  Then, tonight I noticed that it had turned grey.  The Time Had Come.  So, taking a firm stance that the tooth had to come out tonight, we had a circular conversation that went something like this:

Me: It has to come out tonight…


Me: (trying to stay calm) Honey, you can do it yourself like you did last time, or I can do it but it has to come out now.  It’s only hanging by one thread.  It’s swinging in there like a door.

Z: NO! NO! I want to do it when it’s dark. I want to do it tomorrow.  I want to do it after we do our crafts.  I want to just wiggle it for now.  Where is the orajel?  We can’t do it without the Orajel!!  NO! NO! I HATE THE TASTE OF THE ORAJEL!!!!  Mama it is NOT coming out, it’s not ready!!! 

Me: It has to come out tonight.  Let me do it and then it won’t hurt…

Z: NO! NO! You kept talking about it!  I was THIS CLOSE to doing it and now I can’t!!!!!!! 

Me: Daddy will be there with ice cream right after so that the orajel taste will go away.  Mint chip… love mint chip…

Z: I don’t like mint chip

Me: Yes you do…you love it.

Z:  No I DO NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: What about all the times we’ve had it?

Z: Well, I didn’t like it but I ate it anyway…

Me: (doing all I can not to laugh) well then we’ll think of another thing to make the taste go away…


Finally, weary with wiggling the tooth and putting up a fight, she said….ok…go ahead mama…and I reached  in and hardly touched it and it fell in the palm of my hand.  I think she had wiggled the life out of it and actually pushed it into her gums and by the time I got there, it gladly came to me.  Zannie started laughing with a slightly disturbing kind of mania with the occasional moment of crying – a schizophrenic kind of coming down from a trauma mixed with the relief that it was All Over.  The tooth awaits its capture by the tooth fairy and Zannie got in bed with a slight lisp and a promise that she will never do that again.  Then, she announced that her other front tooth was loose now. 

I’m not even kidding.  It took three hours.  She was absolutely exhuasted afterward.  But, she was such a sweetie, she even thanked me afterwards.  So…that’s all for now, but I will hopefully be posting pictures in the next few days.  Ciao.


June 26, 2008 at 11:43 pm 1 comment

Dude, where’s my post?

I’m having serious blogger’s block.  My last post was a big giant spa treatment for my soul and since then, I’ve tried to sit down and write again, some more…something.  Anything.  The words, they don’t come. 

So, I thought that what I could do is have a bit of an open mike jam session and put it out there to anyone reading.  Since I get emails every day with some kind of question relating to my blog, why dontcha just ask me here in the comments following.  Go ahead and be anonymous if ya want to.  Ask me anything.  Or, take me to task.  Whatev. 

The floor is yours…



June 10, 2008 at 10:27 am 21 comments

If you are about to adopt – reset your compass

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. 







May 21, 2008 at 11:44 pm 95 comments

What I ought to feel

…is gratitude and thankfulness.  I ought to stroke my daughters’ hair and feel the softness and feel my heart melt.  I love the cards I got and the beautiful picture frame that was handmade. 

But I am so, so sad today.  I am putting on a good show, because it’s the right thing to do.  The sadness is winning right now. 

My heart is broken in two for missing two mothers today. 

What I want, I can’t have.  What I want to do is to have my mom over for a big dinner, or to go to my childhood home and celebrate there with my daughters.  Instead, I’ll drive to the cemetary that I walked through on my way home every day after school and place nasturtiums on my mohter’s grave. 

I would love to call M. today and have her feel comfortable in accepting that she is a mother too.  I wish that even if she rejected that she is a mother, that we could at least have a relationship.  I suppose we can’t have the latter without the former.  I don’t pretend to understand or know.  I guess that’s the problem in the first place. 

So, what I ought to feel is a whole lot of gratitude.  I was never promised any children whatsoever.  I have two miracle children who are healthy and happy.  I ought to be praying for Isabel’s mother and sending her good thoughts and reassurance that her daughter is alright and loved and that I’m so sorry that her motherhood has not been given a chance.

I’m just so sad.  It’s all so unfair, all the loss.  For all of us.


May 11, 2008 at 11:31 am 7 comments

Crack open the Kumis and raise your glasses!


Suzanne, over at Straight Down The Mountain has downright made me blush.  She has nominated me for the “You- make-the-world-a-better-place” award.  Holy smokes that’s fancy.  So, I’ll pass on the blog lovin’ to a few people who I know without a doubt are making things better in the world. John Wright and his family walk the talk.  They give of their time, energy and money to the people who need it most in Kyrgyzstan.  He and his group fix up properties, restore hope and provide dignity for the forgotten and needy.  They bring food, vitamins, warmth, toys and money to the orphanages and baby houses in Tokmok and Orlofka.  They help people who are living in the dump and have no other options.  John plays with the children, reaches out to those who are sick and can’t afford healthcare.  He does this because of an unwaivering belief and faith that this is what he must do.  I admire him so much.  He and his family are there now and I dare anyone to read his blog and not feel the same admiration and respect.

Margie over at her blog, is a wise, kind, funny, insightful and amazing mom and human being.  I feel that she is an online mentor for me in her graceful and gentle way of interacting with other bloggers (especially ones whose opinions are different from hers) and she writes about adoptive parenthood that exemplifies respect for her children, their mothers, and their country of origin.  Margie is an activist, writer and a good soul.  Read her.

Judy over at makes the world a better place because of her peerless honesty, humor, chutzpah, and her all-around sassyness.  Judy is another adoptive mom to Nate and I admire her parenting so much.  She walks an honorable path in everything I read in how she lives her life.  Right now, Judy is battling cancer and is asking the tough questions that go along with a life-threatening illness.  I totally love Judy.  She makes the world a better place because her writing is as big as her heart.

Lastly, but not leastly, I want to send an award out to Nicole at for being an incredibly brave blogger.  She writes with her whole mind, heart and soul on being a relinquishing mother who regrets placing her daughter for adoption.  She writes with great compassion and anger about adoption, the system that let her down over and over, difficulties and pain in open adoption, and what it all means to her.  I never tire of her willingness to put it out there, and to let all comments stand, even the ones that hurt her.  So, while I wish she weren’t having to write a blog about her pain, I celebrate her and I feel that she absolutely is making the world a better place by writing at length about that which must be changed in the American system of adoption. 

There are many others I’d love to honor.  But man, it’s late here.  Four is good, right? Oh darn…I just remembered one more new-ish blogger I really like.  Talk about honest.  KAD blogger Kev Minh.

Feast on the riches of these people. 

March 27, 2008 at 10:42 pm 7 comments

Craft For China – Putting Creativity To Work

I found a blog that I believe exemplifies part of responsible adoptive parenting.  Should we adopt from afar, then we owe that country a deep and lifelong commitment to its betterment for the future.  I think this is especially true for adoptive parents to take a part in helping the orphanages.  Along comes the brainchild of blog creator and art student, Melissa Robertson.  www.craftforchina.wordpress.comCraft for China is a fundraiser for orphans in China. Artists, crafters, and other volunteers have donated their time and products to be auctioned on eBay. 100% of the proceeds will go to Love Without Boundaries, a nonprofit organization that helps Chinese orphans get medical care, nutritional care, foster care, educational help and so much more. The money raised goes towards sponsoring children or their orphanage 


Consider putting their button on your blog, crafting your own items to donate which will be sold at their fundraiser, or sending in a donation.  I think this is a marvelous idea and I would like to perhaps start making things to sell at Etsy and donate the proceeds.  Maybe someday I could even start a Craft for Kyrgyzstan, or Craft for Central Asia. 

March 27, 2008 at 9:43 pm 5 comments

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