As we mentioned for the past several weeks, leading up to our re-launch of the podcast (with the brand new name of The Honestly Adoption Podcast
) we’re sharing some of our favorite past episodes as a special #TBT! You can now visit the brand new landing page for Honestly Adoption (and subscribe directly to podcast updates) by clicking here
When we adopted our first daughter, Jaala, her birth mother chose a closed adoption. We also know many adoptive families who have chosen this route. In today’s interview, Jaala shares her perspective on closed adoptions.
We understand why birth families and adoptive families choose a closed adoption. For Jaala, her birth mother wanted her to have the best life possible. We are eternally grateful to her for making this amazing decision. But over the past decade of our adoption journey, we have formed great relationships with several of our other children’s birth families and the benefits are many.
Yesterday we took our daughter to meet her birth mother for the first time in her (almost) 15 years of life. We were all nervous, anxious, and excited. But I had no idea I would be moved to tears.
The wind was whipping down the corridors of buildings along 16th street in downtown Indianapolis. Although the sun was shining bright, it was cold. A typical late December day in Indiana. I eased the car into a spot across the street from the vintage coffee shop we were meeting in, turned the ignition off, and turned to look at my daughter sitting quietly in the back seat. She smiled at me. Kristin suggested we pray before going in, and so we did.
This past fall I had the privilege of spending 3 days in the mountains of Colorado with 72 fellow foster and adoptive dads for the very first Road Trip, an experience for foster and adoptive dads, created by foster and adoptive dads. I walked away learning some very valuable lessons.
I arose early Wednesday morning to make the long drive down from Breckenridge, Colorado where Kristin and I had been for a few days. I gingerly packed the last remaining items in my suitcase, and tip-toed to the door, so not to wake her up. 9500 feet above sea level meant we needed sleep each night. After moving quietly down the hall of our hotel, the brisk mountain air met me like a concrete wall. Frost had developed overnight so it took me a moment to clear the sparkling layer of ice from my windshield. I saw my breath in the air for the first time since last winter. It was cold. But my heart was warm.
*Editor’s Note- We are taking a brief hiatus from The Honestly Speaking Parenting Podcast
this week. Join us next Wednesday for a brand new episode.
A while ago we had a few emails from folks asking us to write about the good aspects of adoption, and why we love it so much. This is one of the easiest posts I’ve ever written!
I find my spot on our front porch, just above the driveway, on a mild weekday morning in the spring. It’s a school day and, for once, my two sons are ready for school 30 minutes before the bus arrives. “Dad, can we ride our bikes before the bus comes?” my second oldest shouts from the backyard. “Sure you can, buddy,” I reply. Before I can complete my normal instructions of “Stay away from the street,” or, “Don’t ride into the cars,” they’re off and running!
Fear is a natural part of the adoption journey. Sometimes, it can be all-consuming and you lose sleep. How do you escape worry and fear, and find a place of rest?
I held my brand new baby girl in my arms, tightly, as she slept sound. She had been ours for just 3 short months. Our house was a flurry of people, stopping by to see her for the first time, celebrating our new-found parenthood, loading us up with diapers and meals, the usual after a baby is born. We were young, wide-eyed, and exhausted. We breathed a sigh of relief once her adoption was final. We had found peace. It was short-lived for me.
We’ve often been asked how we made it through 9 years of foster parenting and 14 years as adoptive parents. Our answer is simple: We have a great support system of people who help keep us going. But how do you find a support system like this?
“You’re going to be alright…this is going to be alright,” our friend said to us. “I know it feels like a dead-end street but there’s hope. I’m here for you!”
She was right. More importantly, she was there. Those were two things we were certain of. In our darkest moment on the journey, she looked at us with eyes of compassion, a spirit that understood, and a gentle smile that said “I get it.” We found the strength we needed to get up and keep moving.
Along with providing content that enriches the lives of adoptive, foster and special needs parents, we want to be proactive about creating resources you can pass on to professionals, like a teacher or coach. So when our friend Michele asked us to make a video explaining trauma to teachers, we jumped at the chance!
We jumped because we’ve been there many times in the past- Sitting in IEP (Individual Education Plans) meetings that looked more like a sinking ship than a proactive plan. It wasn’t that the teacher was unprofessional, or rude (although we’ve experienced that), it was a lack of understanding. Most of the children in their classroom did not come from traumatic pasts. Most were not abused, or removed and placed in foster care. Most were not malnourished or left to fend for themselves before their adoption. Most had a forever home from birth.