Monthly Archive for November, 2010

Sacred Connections…Birth Mothers, Birth Fathers, Adoptive Families and the children they love and honor

When an adoption is child centered it offers the adults involved both birth and adoptive the opportunity  to join together in forming “sacred connections” which hopefully will last a life time and offer the child a greater sense of belonging and love… and  less mystery  and anxiety over why and how the adoption occurred…I’m thankful during this season to reflect on the many wonderful and brave birth parents I have been so fortunate to work with ..they have taught me so many lessons regarding courage and truly selfless love….each time I see a birth mother bravely reach out to the adoptive family and remain present in the adoption for the sake of her child my heart sings….I’ve also seen the unfortunate downside for a child when a door may be closed to a birth parent out of fear by an adoptive parent …Each family entering into an adoption whether birth or adoptive has the responsibility to delve into the issues of building a relationship and truly needs to ask themselves what are the benefits of maintaining a relationship…the standard response that the balls in her court or we haven’t seen or heard from her so we wont reach out…or we will let her take the lead is just not good enough…Birth parents often struggle with the idea of roles..What am I to the family? What will I be called?… Am I intruding?…What if I see something I disagree with?…Or my grief becomes stronger after contact…Helping each other to take a step back sometimes when the adults in the adoption may be uncomfortable can be a good thing…trying at these uncomfortable moments to think of it from the child’s viewpoint..after all wasn’t that the reason for the adoption… to keep the  focus on the child and hold these connections sacred…I pulled out one of my favorite books that so tenderly and beautifully illustrates this..It’s called “Sacred Connections” by Psychologist Mary Ann Koenig /Photos by Niki Berg…The book will take you on a thought provoking and emotional journey.. at times it will make you laugh and smile other times it will make you cry…It’s worth adding to your library and worth pulling out at those moments when you struggle with building your child centered adoption…If you are a Birth Parent don’t let your fears get the better of you and prevent you from making contact and being present in the adoption.. I am told by many Birth parents it will get easier with time….if you’re an adoptive parent reading this.. Be “Thankful” if you know where your child’s birth family is and make a point to reach out to them and invite them into the adoption even if its only small steps of sending an email or pictures…it’s a start for acknowledging and strengthening those “Sacred Connections”…your child may someday thank you for your courage and wisdom…Click the link to consider purchasing the book.. it’s worth it….

http://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Connections-Adoptions-Ann-Koenig/dp/0762408014

A Holiday Celebration just for Birth Parents..

Placing a child voluntarily for adoption is a life altering choice with lifetime ramifications..the issues of grief and loss are profound for birth parents as well as adopted children…in addition adoptive parents also bring grief and loss issues to the adoption table…connecting with other families whether birth or adoptive families is a good thing to do… it also allows the great joys that are realized in adoption to be celebrated, discussed and acknowledged….Kinship Center sponsors several venues for both birth and adoptive families to share their viewpoints and to celebrate as well as to sometimes shoulder each others grief and loss related to the adoption..I am particularly proud of our Holiday Celebration that we sponsor each year just for” Birth Parents” to share their stories with each other…  This year our celebration will take place on December 8th at 6:00pm at the Kinship Center located in Tustin California…I’m posting the invitation in hopes that we reach Birth Parents who are in the area and may want to attend…Most of the Birth Parents who attend are involved in a child centered, relationship built open adoption… where they are having regular and loving contact …  offering the child and themselves all the possibilities that this type of open and loving relationship can hold …  It still does not mean that the holidays aren’t hard for Birth Parents even with openness… Part of the Celebration is dedicated to holding a support group where each birth parent is given time to tell her story and provide updates on their current relationship with the adoptive family…There’s usually an abundance of food, support ,love and laughter and tears..if you are a birth parent in the area and would like to attend please contact us to RSVP.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010
6:00 pm
Kinship Center
18302 Irvine Blvd, Suite 300
Tustin, CA 92780
Please RSVP to 714-979-2365 or
email: linouye@kinshipcenter.org

Birth Parents and gift giving…keeping it simple and from the heart

The holidays are just around the corner…hopefully there will be time for celebrating “family” especially if you are involved in an open adoption with your Birth Child and their family…sometimes there is anxiety about gift giving… Will the gift be liked? …Will it be enough?..What’s the message in the gift?…I’ve seen Birth Parents and Adoptive Families struggle with gift giving …this emotional struggling can sometimes  prevent Birth Parents from acting or cause them to retreat from the process all together… and perhaps miss an opportunity to share the deep emotions and love they feel for their Birth Child…I was working with an Adult Adoptee recently and he shared the one true thing that he treasured in life..It was a letter that his now deceased Birth Father wrote to him at the time he placed him for adoption…He said he often read the simple letter over and over again…The comfort he gained from it was immeasurable …He knew he mattered and he was loved…  That his adoption came from a place of love and not from rejection or abandonment… It was what his Birth Father believed was best for him … I’ve gathered the following  list of suggested gifts for Birth Parents to give to their Birth Children… Most are reasonably priced and can easily be ordered on line… Where ever possible I’ve linked directly to the item…I’ve also linked to a great article about gift giving from Birth Mother Brenda Romanchick ..she offers a practical and heartfelt perspective on the issue of gift giving for Birth Parents and Adoptive Families…

1. Maybe not easy to compose but how about a letter to your Birth Child explaining simply and lovingly why you felt you needed to make a plan of adoption for them..put it in a little treasure/keepsake box that you’ve decorated along with a framed photo of you or better yet a photo of you and your baby at the hospital after the birth..hopefully you and the Adoptive Family took a ton of photos at the hospital…

2. If your Birth Child and Adoptive Family sadly live too far for you to frequently visit…why not consider a Hallmark recordable book… it’s your voice actually reading the story to your child and you can personalize it with your child’s name…the directions are easy to follow, hit the record button and read the words to the story and mail off to your child ..they even have the “Night Before Christmas”…What a wonderful tradition to start for your child and you’re also giving them the gift of reading!! http://www.hallmark.com/online/in-stores/recordable-storybooks/

3. Start a yearly tradition of sending your child a personalized Christmas tree ornament that includes the year inscribe on the ornament…Imagine what a collection they will have by the time they are grown and go off to build their family!!

4.Consider building up your child’s adoptive family library…Three great books..”Did My First Mother Love Me? by Kathryn Ann Miller. http://www.amazon.com/Did_My-First-Mother-Love/dp/0930934849/nef=pd_rhf_p_t_3 ; or  “The Best For You” by Kelsey Stewart also available at  www.amazon.com. or “Forever Fingerprints” by Sherrie Eldridge, http://www.amazon.com/Forever-Fingerprints-Amazing-Discovery-Children/dp/0972624430/ref=pd_p_t_1

5.Another great gift is “A Birth Parents Book of Memories-Scrapbook Edition” by Brenda Romanchick…This is a beautiful fill in the blank scrapbook for Birth Parents to fill out and give to the child and the Adoptive family…The scrapbook gives the child a better understanding of who his birth parents are and also gives a great sense of family history. http://www.openadoptioninsight.org/html/books.html

6.Consider that a visit take place after the hectic pace of the holidays are over and the winter doldrums set in ..it will give you and the Adoptive Family and your Birth Child a great day to look forward to..offer to bring some of your favorite foods to cook together as your gift… Nothing like breaking bread together…I know a Birth Mother and family who do this in January..the Adoptive Family is Anglo the Birth Family is Hispanic… the Birth Mom brings all the “fixings” for home made Tamales infusing the visit with her Birth Child’s culture and heritage…

Here’s the link to Brenda’s article on gifts and visits. ..most of all celebrate and enjoy…keep it simple and loving and please forward any ideas you have ,I’ll post them… click to link http://www.openadoptioninsight.org/html/the_perfect_gift_.html

10 things a birth parent can do to celebrate National Adoption Awareness Month:

Maybe you didn’t know but November is National Adoption Awareness Month…Hopefully birth parents can take an active role in celebrating and educating others on the realities of adoption and show the world the positives that adoption can hold for them as well as the children they lovingly placed for adoption…Adoption is not an easy choice and should only be undertaken after all other options have been explored…also whenever possible adoptions should be as open as possible with real relationships being built between birth and adoptive families… If you are a birth parent and want your voice heard consider doing at least one thing on this list of 10 things…

1. Join an adoption support group and share your story in person or go to an on line support group…each birth parent has a unique perspective to share…be honest and don’t be afraid to share from the heart..others need to know the realities both positive and negative about adoption.

2.Call a local adoption agency or the agency you worked with and ask if you can participate in a workshop or training they offer for prospective adoptive parents…people hoping to adopt need to hear how difficult adoption is from a birth parents perspective..hearing and seeing real birth parents helps to demystify who birth parents really are.

3.Make a family tree for your child that includes birth and adoptive family members…what a great message to send to your birth child… He/she can never have too many people to love them!

4.Blog about your experience especially if you have an on going relationship with the adoptive family and your birth child…The world needs to hear what the research supports..Open adoptions are healthy!!

5.Volunteer at the agency you used … Be a buddy or mentor to some one who is pregnant and may be considering adoption as an option…don’t hold back tell the truth you know better than anyone else what a life altering decision adoption is.

6.Think ahead to the month of May and start or find a Birth Mother’s Day Celebration  group to participate in … Join forces with other women who chose adoption.

7.Post your adoption journey on You Tube…share your adoption story…be sure to ask your child’s adoptive family if they are comfortable with this and ask if they will participate in the posting.

8.On a personal level seek counseling if you feeling emotionally “stuck “or feel your grief is holding you back from participating in your adoption.

9.Watch an adoption movie with a friend and share your perspective..Challenge any myths or stereotypes you see about adoption.

10.Send your birth child’s adoptive family  a  positive adoption book for their family library.

Being a birth parent isn’t always easy… you have a voice that needs to be heard… be proud of your decision and use your personal knowledge to educate others about the realities of adoption…Click to link to President Obama’s National Adoption Awareness Month Proclamation… http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/11/01/presidential-proclamation-national-adoption-month