Tag Archives: Adoption

Aren’t adoptions supposed to be happy?

13 Aug

I recently ended a 7-year journey as an adoption social worker in the child welfare field.  I was involved in almost 200 adoptions, and I was ecstatic for every single one.  So, when it came time to adopt my 2 stepdaughters, I was dumbfounded as to why I didn’t feel that same excitement and joy.  Some may even pass judgment on me for it.  These feelings even upset me until I figured them out.

In a child welfare adoption, that day in front of the judge has been highly anticipated by many of the parties involved for many months or years.  A child who’s spent years in the system being repeatedly abandoned and rejected, a couple who experienced infertility now has children who call them Mom and Dad, a relative caregiver or foster parent who cared for a child throughout an unpredictable and slowly-progressing dependency case.  All of these scenarios involved uncertainty, and most of them involved a conclusion that had been hoped for.

A stepparent adoption doesn’t necessarily work that way.  I will only comment on my own experience which may or may not be typical.  When I met these girls almost 3 years ago, I never envisioned becoming their mother.  In fact, I only had one birth child because that’s all I wanted and thought I could handle.  I did not mind being a stepmother (crazy behaviors aside), and I encouraged the girls’ relationship with their birth mother.  I even tried to help her, but her lifestyle choices were not compatible with parenting. (I am not sharing the details here in the event that the girls someday find this blog; I don’t want them to learn about the circumstances this way.)  About 2 1/2 years into my relationship with my now-husband, she decided to surrender her parental rights with the knowledge that I would adopt them.

Telling 2 young girls (ages 6 and 8) that they may never see their birth mother again, even with a therapist present, is about as horrible as you may have guessed it is.  I did not expect the blow to be softened by the news that I would adopt them, and I doubt it was.  

About 5 months later, we were all in a courtroom finalizing the adoption.  Like the weeks leading up to the occasion, I did not have any of the feelings I did at the adoptions I’d been a party to professionally.  In fact, everyone was quite blase about it.  Nothing felt different.  The younger girl had been calling me “Mommy” since I’d broken the news to her (I told them they could call me whatever they felt comfortable with, and they could change their mind anytime).  The excitement surfaced when we pulled up to Yogurt Mountain for a post-adoption treat.

So, why the lack of excitement?  I couldn’t muster up any excitement for what I feel is a monumental loss for them.  The only reason we were in that courtroom is because of their birth mother’s inability to care for them.  How could I feel joyful about that?  Of course, adoption means a lifelong commitment, but I’d already made that commitment when I married their father.  So, they didn’t gain anything; rather, they lost a parent.  The adoption made it official.

I suspect that I will see future adoptions I attend a little differently now.  It reminded me of the time my supervisor told me, “adoption is sad.”  I had no idea what she was talking about.  I understood that an adoption was preceded by a loss, but I never believed that the loss could overshadow the joy of adoption.  Now I understand.

A gift for adoptive fathers

8 Nov

It’s been awhile since I posted!  I have been hard at work at my full time job, parenting, and starting an Etsy business selling handmade accessories, mainly hair bows and clippies.  This is a post that combines my full time job and my business: a gift for adoptive fathers!

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I am very happy with how these turned out!  I was asked to create a gift for adoptive fathers who are adopting children at our local National Adoption Day celebration.  Those were the only parameters I had to work with.  I love to creatively problem-solve, so this was a challenge I was more than up for.  Having recently started dabbling in bottle cap jewelry (I know, about 2 years late to the party), so I decided to make bottle cap key chains.  I also recently started dabbling in creating bottle cap graphics since there is very little in the way of adoption motifs available.  I created these (very simple) designs using Open Office Draw and had them printed at Fed Ex (formerly Kinko’s).

Once the key chains were assembled, I needed a nice way to package them.   I decided to use my Silhouette Cameo and looked online for ideas. I got the idea from a matchbook notepad I saw and ended up making these oversized matchbooks.  They have 2 small holes in the back through which I threaded 1/8″ grosgrain ribbon and tied the key chain inside.  I added the mustaches for fun.  I made a total of 20 of these, and I only used 7 sheets of 12″ x 12″ cardstock!  I attached the mustaches with Scotch brand Quick-Dry Adhesive.  I just bought this on the recommendation of the supplier I bought the key chain kits from, and I am very happy with it.  It indeed does dry very quickly, and it doesn’t leave the paper all wavy and distorted.

I think I may end up selling these in my shop!

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