120 Adoption bloggers were paired by Heather at Production not Reproduction to conduct interviews of each other in honor of National Adoption Month. You can read other interviews HERE. My interview partner was American Family, mother of one bio-kid and another adopted from China. I loved the honesty of her answers. She sees the complications and struggle of being an adoptive parent and shares it openly. Thank you!
What motivated you to start blogging in the first place?
I started blogging when my oldest (bio) daughter was about 1 year old. I am not a baby person, so those early years in baby jail were hard for me. I turned to blogging to find a way to socialize when I was trapped in my house by M’s nap schedule. I have been blogging for about 7.5 years.
How do you know when you’ve found a topic that you feel is important enough to write about and share with your “public”? What do you think brings readers to your blog specifically?
I just blog whatever pops into my head. I have blogged everything from the stuff in my kitchen cabinets to arguments with my mother-in-law to weird things in my creepy basement. In general, there are some topics I return to again and again, which I suspect is why many of my readers follow me: adoption, being a multi-racial family, China/chinese adoption and more recently searching for and finding birth families in China. I also like to blog about my home renovation efforts, but I think those are more interesting to me than to my readers, but it is my blog so I will blog what I want!
What topics do you steer clear of?
There are only a few off-limits topics for me: My husband’s job, our sex life, and my side of the family.
My husband’s job pays the bills, so I don’t want to get him in trouble. He made the (huge! massive!) mistake of sharing my blog with people he works with, so I am always somewhat aware that his professional contacts are reading. (This is probably surprising because I curse and am very blunt about many of my opinions.) Mr. A (aka Mr. Amfam/my husband) also wouldn’t appreciate me discussing our sex life in detail, so I don’t. In general, when I am posting something personal about Mr. A, I ask him to read over what I have written. I can count the times he has asked me to change or omit what I have written on one hand.
My family does not know about my blog and I am fairly certain they would not appreciate it at all. They are very private, Midwestern people who do not gossip or talk about their feelings publicly. I assume they will find out about it some day, so I try to avoid saying anything too personal about them in it. I do blog extensively about my inlaws, but my husband does not mind because he knows a) it is all true and b) if I can’t vent about my mother in law somewhere, I will end up yelling at her and damaging our relationship beyond repair. My sister in law and her husband know about my blog and have never asked me not to spill the beans about my mother in law.
Have you thought much about what your children will think if/when they read your blog? How much of a consideration is that when you write?
I think about this a lot. Now that my older daughter is 8, I blog about her less and less. I have blogged quite a bit about my younger daughter (age 5) lately because I am processing my thoughts about her birth family and opening her adoption.
I feel very conflicted when blogging about L’s story, her birth family and how open adoption is working for us. On one hand, I am very aware that we are one of the very, very few families who are public about knowing a Chinese birth family and I feel our story (including our successes and struggles) is groundbreaking in the Chinese adoption community. On the other, I have an obligation to protect L and her family’s privacy. I try to balance this by blogging *my* experience instead of theirs, but it is a fine line to walk.
In a way, I hope my girls grow up and read my blog so they will have a better understanding of me as a mother and as a person. I know they might not always be happy with what I have shared, but I hope that will be outweighed by the insight into my heart.
I read that your interview with an international adoptee affected your decision to search for your daughter’s parents. Why else did you search?
When we adopted our daughter, I don’t think I really had any intention of searching per se. That being said, I knew I would do everything in my power to collect as much information about her story as possible before it disappeared. The decision to search grew somewhat organically out of that process. I always believed she had a right to know as much of the truth as possible and knowing was better than not knowing. There was a point where we explicitly committed to searching, but we were pretty far along in the process by the time I actually said it out loud.
Is there any connection between your history of working for Planned Parenthood and your decision to adopt?
Hmm. I don’t think it is directly connected, but my world view certainly influenced both decisions. I would say that I worked at Planned Parenthood because I am an unapologetic, liberal feminist who believes that women should have the right to control their own fertility and bodies (including deciding if, when and how they decide to have children). That is a right that is denied to women in China, which makes me very angry, but it wasn’t really influential in our decision to adopt.
Why choose international adoption instead of domestic adoption?
I really believed that our family would be best suited to a Chinese or Taiwanese kid if we were going to adopt.. My husband is Taiwanese/Chinese American and his Asian identity is very important to him. We already had a strong commitment to exposing our biological daughter to Chinese culture and language, so adding another Chinese kid seemed to be the most logical choice. I don’t think we would have adopted if we did not adopt from China or Taiwan.
Do you have any thoughts about why someone ought to choose international versus domestic adoption, generally?
Ugh. I *do* have opinions about that, but these are the kind of things that get me in trouble. In general, I don’t like international adoption. It makes me a hypocrite, for sure, but I can see how much my daughter has lost in addition to her birth family. She lost her culture, her language and her country. This piles loss upon loss. I also see now how much she will have to overcome to have a real connection to her birth family. In general, I think kids should stay in their birth culture if at all possible.
Do you experience any downside to having a family created partly through biological connection and partly through adoption?
Yes and no. In general, our day to day lives are easy enough. I worry in the future that my girls will compare themselves to each other and to our family and feel like the fit isn’t perfect. They are very different girls. I can relate to how my older daughter thinks because she is so similar to me. Our younger daughter came to us with a very different personality, trauma and attachment challenges. I wonder if she might have had an easier experience in the long run if she didn’t have a sister who was born to us. I think we do a pretty good job of working with each girls’ strengths, but there is a difference in how that plays out. They love each other, though, so I hope that will overshadow their differences in the long run.
Would you adopt again? Why or why not?
This is a hard time for me to answer this question. I would absolutely choose to be L’s mother again and I would never undo that choice, but right now I am struggling and a little overwhelmed by the adoption stuff. I know that these are just growing pains and they will pass as we find our footing in the new relationship with L’s family, but right now it is really hard.
I don’t think I would sign up again for these kinds of struggles if I didn’t have to. I don’t know if we adopted for the right reasons and I don’t even know if their are right reasons any more. When I meet other people who want to adopt (especially if it is not due to fertility issues), I generally try to remind them there is nothing romantic about making your life more complicated than it already is.
I love L. I love our family. I love her family. But it is all very hard. It is a lot of responsibility.