Friday, July 29, 2011

Reverse Terminology

I had an interesting experience at the lake a couple weeks back.  I was talking to a friend about his wife's adult-adoptee relationship with her birth family.  He was saying how she and her birth mother are extremely close and talk on the phone almost every day.  How they love to spend time together now that they've been reunited.  It was making me feel kind of melancholy--just thinking about our son and how he may likely never have that experience.  Plus, if I'm being honest, I was also thinking about the adoptive mom and what her feelings would be about her grown daughter having such a close relationship with her birth mom.  Then, in what was an interesting reversal of terms, my friend said, "Of course she's still really close to her real parents too--you know, the ones who raised her."  I thought it was kind of funny that he used the words, "real parents" to describe adoptive parents since there is such a stigma about that in the adoption world.  Oftentimes strangers will ask, unwittingly, about our son's "real parents."  I want to (and sometimes do) point out that we are right here--as real as can be, living life with our son day in and day out.  They don't really mean anything by incorrectly using the term "real parents," they just want to know our story and don't really know how to ask.  I do keep that in mind when such conversations arise, but I also think it's appropriate to do a little PAL (positive adoption language) education sometimes too.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Two Weeks Can Change a Child's Life

I received an email recently introducing me to the Fresh Air Fund.  If you've never heard of this, click on the link in this post or on my sidebar and find out more.  You'll be glad you did.  The Fresh Air Fund was created to help make a profound difference in the lives of inner city kids by giving them the gift of exactly that, fresh air.

The fund is still in need of host families for this summer but even if that's not something you can commit to right now, maybe you can help by donating funds or, like me, by simply spreading the word to others who may be able to help.  If you watch even one of the video clips posted on the fresh air site, I think you'll agree that two weeks really can make a difference!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Talking About Adoption

With a very verbal little man in our midst, it's become more important for me to get adoption on his radar screen. I've always used the word casually around him and tried to pepper our conversations with things like, "The day we adopted you was the best day of our whole lives." We look at his baby book together and he shouts, "doption day!" every time we come to that page but I've been thinking lately that we need more. It seems important to at least begin talking about this aspect of our lives and how we became a family more, now that he's beginning to ask questions and attempting to make some sense of the world. I do want him to lead the conversations and discussions we have as the years unfold; however, I also want him to know that adoption is a safe subject in our household and that he can always ask any questions that come to mind. According to an article I read last week, openly talking about adoption now, while he's young and still forming a framework with which to view the world is one key way to make that happen.

So we've been reading the book, "I Wished for You" by Marianne Richmond a lot, and I try to tell him our (similar though still unique) story in simple terms too.  My good friend and fellow adoptive mama, Debbie has made several books for her little girl including their special story.  I know they have been good conversation starters for Debbie and other members of her family, and I'm thinking I'd like to do the same sometime soon. The thing is, like all parenting, this is all a learning process and I'm figuring it out as we go along.  It's sort of like an added dimension to his normal growth and development.  An added thing I have to consider as he gets older and picks up more of what we say and do.  All I know for sure is that I want our son to just know that he was adopted and that he had a special (though not better or worse) way of joining our family.