Today I am doing something I have been looking forward to since January.
I am attending Time Out for Women in Salt Lake City. I am so nervous …you see, when we got home from Disneyland in January after our first failed adoption this year, TOFW came to interview me about how I “Seek the Good” in difficult situations.
Although so many of you have been sending me messages that you’ve seen the video at TOFW sessions around the country (thanks for the photo from Atlanta, Chrislyn and the photo from Denver, Amanda!), I’ve never seen it! AHH! I am excited. So excited …and nervous.
I just learned that TOFW will have a live-feed of Salt Lake City’s sold-out event this weekend available for everyone, everywhere. Here’s the link. It’s FREE but you have to register. Awesome, right? So, even if you haven’t been able to attend and wanted to hear the messages or see what it is like, here’s your chance!
Speaking of TOFW, I was able to write for their blog on two of the adoption myths that I have been hearing a lot of recently. Below is what I submitted, but I would love for you to enjoy the comments on the original post from October 17, 2012 over at TOFW’s blog. Great things!
My family is not the norm.
First of all, we don’t look like each other. In fact, no one in my family is biologically related to one another. Secondly, if you were a fly on the wall at my house you may hear something along the lines of, “So Mom, Grandma Gee Gee is your mom and your birth mom? That’s so weird.” It’s just how we roll.
I am the proud adoptive mother of a transracial family in an open adoption. It’s a mouthful, isn’t it? Most of the time, I just call them “my family.”
While I am open with people about our adoptions and the openness thereof, not everyone is ‘open to my openness’ so to speak. I often hear myths about adoption and open adoption ringing in my ears from people that, for the most part, just don’t know any better or cannot wrap their minds around open adoption.
Allow me to take a minute and dispel two of the myths that I have heard repeated in various forms so many times as of late.
“As soon as you adopt, you’ll get pregnant. Seriously, that happened to _____ .”
My response to this one usually includes a deep breath and a reminder to speak to people with “more sugar and less vinegar.” Pregnancy is a sensitive topic among many couples who suffer from infertility. I am very protective of our infertility and there are undertones in this statement that imply that our diagnosis of infertility and the genetic abnormalities we enjoy aren’t that serious, that they can be “cured” with paperwork.
Before we turned down the adoption path to build our family, we endured painful and embarrassing testing with the best fertility specialists we could find. Each time their conclusion was the same and words like “no, never and impossible” were the common thread. To nonchalantly throw out that adoption or adoption paperwork is somehow the cure for our specific diagnosis (which has no cure) is just insensitive.
What could you say differently when you hear someone is hoping to adopt? Give them a big hug and congratulations! This is not an easy decision for most to make. It most likely comes with a lot of prayer, fasting and faith. Ask them how you can help “get the word out” about their adoption plans.
“Your kids have relationships with their birth parents? I could never do that!”
I hear this one all the time and my response is always the same, “Oh yes you could …and you would love it!”
When we decided to have open adoptions with the birth families of our children, we didn’t know what it would evolve into. We couldn’t see the end from the beginning, but we trusted how we felt and we knew how much we loved these young women who were literally giving us a piece of themselves. We knew that we wanted them to have relationships with their children because, especially in our faith, so much emphasis is placed on knowing your roots. I wanted my kids to have that. I wanted them to be able to pick up the phone if they ever wondered why they were placed for adoption and ask their birth mothers directly. I wanted transparency for them. I wanted them to know their whole story. In the beginning, we chose open adoption for our children.
I have been so pleasantly delighted at what our open adoptions have turned into. I love them. I love having the boys’ birth mothers in our home. I love to have them as house guests, dinner guests, dear friends. They are some of the biggest cheerleaders that our family has and my heart just swells when I think of them. Even as I write this, my throat is tightening with the all too familiar emotional response that always comes when I think about how dearly I love these women …not just for what they gave me, but for who they are. And who are they? Beautiful, big-hearted, warm, passionate, loving, talented and caring women. They are great examples to the boys. To me. To all of us.
Why wouldn’t I want them in my kids’ lives? Can having another cheerleader and family that loves them every bit as we do ever be a bad thing? My vote is no. I want as many people as possible to love on these boys.
Lindsey Redfern writes about infertility, adoption and celebrating family at The R House. An open adoption advocate, she and two best friends created The R House Couture–a boutique of handmade sterling silver keepsakes. She and her husband own an adoption consulting firm called The R House Adoption Consultants. Although she’s lived in her beloved state of Utah since 1997, she still considers herself a Virginian, where she was raised. She and her house of boys love anything to do with trains, Star Wars and BYU football.
Photography by Kim Orlandini.