This month’s blogger interview is with Danielle, who at her blog Another Version of Mother thoughtfully and vulnerably sifts through her ongoing experience of placing her son for adoption a decade ago. Let’s get to know her!
Tell us about yourself and your connection to open adoption.
My name is Danielle, and I am a mom to three wonderful kids. My eldest, The Kiddo, was relinquished in an adoption ten years ago in May. Our open adoption was more closed than open. Right now, we’re sort of at a turning point in our relationship, it seems. We’ve continued to have openness with one another despite the fact that the openness agreement has “expired”. I talk to The Kiddo’s parents on Facebook, and we usually meet once a year. We’re working up to a more open relationship, but that’s a whole other story.
What has been the most unexpected or surprising aspect of open adoption so far?
How incredibly similar it is to an intimate relationship, like one with a spouse. The relationship you have with those in the adoption constellation is very similar in the respect that you start with dating, where you get to know each other, and the engagement, where there is a promise of further commitment to one another, and then the marriage when you fully embrace one another as family. No one explained that to me in the beginning, that it was a relationship that would need attention and cultivation. I’m not sure what I expected, per se, but it’s really been profound to me to come to the realization of how important it is for everyone to be open, and communicating with one another. I think when we drop the labels–birthmother, adoptive mother, etc.–and just accept each other as family, it’s a very empowering experience. I didn’t expect that, and I wish someone had told me that in the beginning. It would have made a lot of things a little less hazy.
How did you start blogging?
I’ve always been blogging, writing. It’s just something I’ve done my entire life. Post-relinquishment, I wrote off and on about the experience, but it was always hard for me to find a voice that was strong enough because my experience was so terrible for me. Honestly, one day, the name of the blog came to me, and I opened an account with it. I don’t think I wrote for a long time, and then finally, one day, I just dared myself to start talking about my experiences. So I did it. My first entries are totally awkward, but it was a start for me, and eventually, I let go of the worries I had about being judged, and just started to really talk about what adoption was for me.
What influence has the blogging/online world has on your family’s adoption?
Blogging has put me in touch with this incredible community of women who understand adoption. They get the pain, they get the rollercoaster ride that it can be. On my bad days, it’s so comforting to know that I can put out a post, or a tweet and be surrounded with this virtual love and support. People who understand, who get it, and who care about how I feel. It’s very beautiful. Amazingly, many of the women who I have grown close to aren’t even birthmothers. I’ve learned so much about the other side of the coin–adoptive parents and adoptees. When I’m having a hard time understanding my own feelings, it’s amazing to be able to read someone else’s blog, or even a tweet, and go, “YES! That’s it!” There is this intense feeling of community among those in the adoption world who accept what each person in the adoption conversation has to bring to the table, and I love that. I also love that I’ve been able to challenge my own beliefs about adoption, for better or worse. Surrounding yourself with such amazing people allows you to grow, and to be able to learn.
If you could go back to the beginning of your adoption experience and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?
I’d tell myself to not be afraid of asking for more openness. I would have not hesitated for so many years, and I would have reached out to The Kiddo’s family, so we could learn about one another and become family. I would tell myself to not be afraid to ask or speak my feelings. I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities with The Kiddo, and his parents because I was so afraid of a pre-conceived idea that they had no interest in me whatsoever.
Pick a few favorites to share with us.
Thank you so much to Danielle for answering our questions! You can check out past interviews with other bloggers from the Open Adoption Bloggers blogroll here. Have a blogger you’d like to see us interview? Let us know!
About the author:
A mother by open adoption, Heather Schade is the founder and editor of Open Adoption Bloggers. She writes at Production, Not Reproduction.