I love reading different adoption blogs! In the past year I have followed the Production not Reproduction blog. It is a network of 200+ bloggers from all sides of adoption writing about their open adoption experiences. I thought it would be fun to participate in the 2011 Open Adoption Interview Project. I was randomly paired with another Open Adoption Blogger. I had the opportunity to read a blog that I haven't read before and peek into someone else's family life that has been also been blessed by adoption.
It has been so fun to get to know this neat mom who lives more than half way across the country and has an incredible family built through open adoptions! Without further ado I'd like to introduce you to my new friend, adoptive mother of two and fellow Blogger Kira!!
My name is Kira, but on my blog I go by "Kiki" because it was an old nick name I got from my roommates in college. My husband Mike and I have been married just over 5 years and live in Utah. We have been blessed with two amazingly cute kids through adoption, Mischief and Lady. These are obviously not their real names, but are nick names I use on my blog as well for privacy reasons. I am a stay at home mom, but I enjoy teaching dance a few hours a week at a local dance studio as well. I enjoy reading, baking, dancing, exercising, being involved in my church, going to movies with Mike, and playing with my kids.
Were you always interested in having an Open Adoption (OA) when you began the adoption process?
We were not always interested in having an open adoption. Mike thought it sounded uncomfortable to keep in contact, and I admit that I was afraid of my kids having 2 moms. I wanted to be the mom, period.
What changed your mind?
We were required through our agency (LDS Family Services) to attend adoption education classes during our approval process. During the classes, we were taught about open adoption and what it really is. We learned that open adoption can be a really great thing, and healthier for all parties involved. At the education classes, we attended a panel where 2 birth moms told their stories. Our hearts went out to these women who made such a lovin decision for their children. Once we felt educated about open adoption, it was an easy decision. We knew we would be completely open to an open adoption. Thank goodness we were, because our son's birth mother wouldn't have picked us otherwise. Mike has found that visits are not uncomfortable at all. I have learned that we can have an open adoption, but that doesn't mean that I'm not the mom. My kids know that I am their mother, it doesnt make them love me any less, or me love them any less. We are a normal family (as normal as any family is, haha) but we built our family through adoption. It is a part of our family, which means their birth parents are a part of our family. We love them.
Your children are only 10 months apart-- I love this story-- can you briefly tell my readers about God's works in your lives bringing baby #2 to you so quickly after #1 was born.
I still can't believe how close our children are in age. In adoption, that is rare. With Mischief's birth mom K, we have a really open adoption. We found out we were chosen by Mischief's birth parents in April of 2009, and he was born in November. So we had about 6 months to get to know K. During that time, we met her best friend "B". B was at the hospital when Mischief was born and we felt really close to her. When Mischief was 3 months old, I got a phone call from K. She asked if we would be willing to adopt again because B was pregnant and wanted to place with us. This has been one of our biggest blessings of having an open adoption. Since our adoption with Mischief was so open, we got to know our daughter's birth mom long before she was even pregnant. She was comfortable placing with us because she already knew us, which was really important to her. So, our kids are 10 1/2 months apart. It is crazy sometimes, but I love having them so close! They are buddies!
What do your children call their Birthmoms?
Mischief is just starting to talk. So he doesn't really "call" them anything yet, but we refer to his birth parents by thier first names. Same with Lady's birth mother.
How often do you see your children's birth families? How far away do they live from you?
We have contact with Mischief's birth mother and father. We have contact with just Lady's birth mother, but send pictures to her birth father. They live about an hour and a half away. During Mischief's first year, we saw them about every month, largely because we were going up for Lady's ultrasounds anyway. So I felt like to be fair, we needed to see Lady's birth mom once a month for the first year as well. Now we have changed to every 2 months, and next year it will change to 4 visits per year. The plan is to always have contact and visits with them. The amount of visits will completely depend on circumstances and most of all, how our children feel about it. I know that our kids will probably have times when they are more curious, and times when they don't want to see them. Their birth parents understand this as well. We will always do what is most comfortable and healthy for how our children are feeling. I hope when they are older, they will have a good relationship with them.
Do you have phone, email, Facebook or snail mail contact with them?
Our kids birth parents have just graduated from high school, so they are definately texters! I send a picture text to each of them about once a week. We text here and there, and when we are figuring out a date for us to come for our next visit. We are not facebook friends, that we have kept private. We usually go up there for visits, but both birth mothers have been to our home and are welcome here.
Mischief with his Birthfather
Did anyone in your family or friend group have difficulty accepting either of your Open Adoptions?
Our families have been so supportive which was such a blessing. Family is so important to us, so it helped a lot that they were supportive of an open adoption. My mom actually placed her son for adoption over 30 years ago, in a closed adoption. So she was confused about the idea of an open adoption, but quickly accepted it. My mom and dad have met our kids birth mothers, as well as Mike's mom. Our grandparents thought the whole idea was a bit more awkward and dangerous. They didn't understand, and we educated them. They of course told us to be cautious so that they don't "come back for the baby". It's all about educating people around you so they know that your baby won't be taken away. Friends have been amazing too. So supportive and accepting. That's not to say we haven't heard some insensitive questions or comments here and there, but I know that they are not trying to make me feel bad. They just don't understand completely because they have not experienced it for themselves.
What has been the biggest challenge with your OAs?
Our biggest challenge has just been making things equal. Our kids birth parents are best friends, so I feel a need to make everything equal. I need to realize that things don't always have to be so equal, because it is exhausting!
What has been the biggest blessing with OA in your family?
Without open adoption, we would not have either of our children. It has been a blessing because we know their medical history, we have pictures to show them of thier birth parents from day one, they will know why they have blonde hair, and dark hair, they will know that their birth parents loved them so much that they made this decision. Not because they were unwanted. Mischief just turned 2 and we called both his birth mother and birth father that day and he talked to them a bit. It was such a great experience for both of us. I know birthdays are hard days for birth parents, I hope the phone call eased their pain a bit that day.
Fill me in on some of your Favorite things please...
Favorite adoption resource book
I guess this isn't really a resource book, but this book is partially why my heart softened to open adoption as well. It is "From God's Arms, to my arms, to yours" by Michael McLean. It comes with a CD of beautiful music related to adoption. The song, "From God's Arms, to my arms, to yours" is my favorite Michael McLean held a free concert this past May for anyone who had been touched by adoption. We brought our kids birthmothers to this concert and it was a really neat experience. When he sang this song, none of us had a dry eye. Absolutely beautiful to have shared that with them.
Favorite adoption kids book
"Tell me again about the night I was born" by Jamie Lee Curtis. Such a cute book!
Favorite adoption movie
I love "The Blind Side". I love it because it shows that it doesn't matter how our children come into our lives, but when they come it is amazing and they are very much ours. I also love Sandra Bullock's character in this movie how she just gets things done and stands up for her family.
Favorite response to people when they say “Aren't you afraid his/her birthmom will come take them back?”
I say, "No, we are not afraid of that happening. Even though the media likes to make it look like it is a common thing, it really is not. By law, our children cannot be "taken back" and most of all, our kids birth parents are still at peace with their decision and would never do that."
Favorite bible verse related to adoption
I don't necessarily have a favorite verse, but there are bible stories that are my favorite in regards to adoption. This includes Moses, and how he was placed in the care of others for his protection. "And the child grew, and she [his birth mother] brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water" (Exodus 2:10). This is actually an example of a sort of open adoption, as Moses' birth mother was his "wet nurse".
Our Savior Jesus Christ was raised by Mary and his 'adoptive' father, if you will, and that has always touched me.
I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Our church is very supportive of adoption, and I like this quote from our First Presidency back in 1989: "Adoption is a positive, natural, and loving way to build families. We commend those who participate in the adoption process, whereby children may reap the benefits of having a loving father and mother and a stable home life" (Church News, November 18, 1989).
It has been awesome getting to know Kira and her family! Please visit Kira on her blog and post a supportive comment!! Thank you again Kira for participating in this project!