Tuesday, November 12, 2013

2013 Open Adoption Blogger Interview Project

Open Adoption Bloggers is a group of bloggers that write about adoption from the many voices of adoption. This annual interview project allows for bloggers from the different aspects of the triad to be paired up and expand their circle.  This year there will be three rounds of interviews so after you are finished reading our interview head over to read the November 12th interviews.  Each pairing is a random assignment which adds to the fun.

This year I get the pleasure of introducing Sharon of Ova Achiever who has documented her journey down the long road of infertility.  Her blog sucked me in and I wasn't able to stop until I read her last word.  She has you cheering with her as she celebrates the achievements like getting into a research study.  I cringed at every shot she gave herself or Ian gave her.  She shared her excitement and renewed hope when implantations looked promising.  She is honest and vulnerable as she recounts her disappointments when again she finders her still on the quest of parenthood.  I enjoyed getting a chance to read her journey as she enters her last cycle of FET.  I cried when she shared her infertility PTSD post as I was right there with her in the OBGYN office.  While I root for Sharon and her partner Ians final cycle to be successful I also saw the new hope emerging as they have started to explore the world of open adoption.   

With one foot in each world I would like all of you to welcome Sharon and Ian into the world of Open Adoption.  I feel honored to have been Sharons interview partner after so many before me; helped me understand all I needed to know about open adoption.  Ian was also so kind as to participate in the interview as well. 


 1) I gathered from reading your blog that you used it not only as a place to document your fertility treatments but also as a place to communicate globally with friends/family.  Did you ever regret something you shared on your blog? Do you think having friends/family read your blog shaped what you wrote about?
I've tried very hard to not let who is reading my blog affect what I say, but there have definitely been some times where I've wished I had a more secret place to really talk openly about things - which believe it or not, given all I've talked about, is sometimes still not true for my blog.  It's generally only happened when someone I really love and am very close to has done something unintentionally that is hurtful to me.  In some cases it might be something they've said, and in other cases it might actually just be not anything they've done, just a fact of their life that is hard for me to deal with.  In these cases I've felt quite stifled (and missed the olden days when I had
top secret blogs on LiveJournal) and wished I had somewhere I could process that in a less public forum that was still public!  (Does that make any sense at all.)  That said, I definitely don't regret my choice of openness.

In regards to the first part of this question, I can't think of a time that I've shared anything I later regretted.  I can say, in looking back, that I'm often a bit harsher emotionally in a moment than I might feel later, and that is a bit embarrassing to go back and read -very vulnerable and awkward to read past emotions so on display when
they are now more muted and tamed.  Still, though, I don't think I would take any of it back!  It was all quite real at the time, and my hope is still that it helps both family and friends understand me better and also that it helps others going through similar things feel less alone.

 2) A few points you mention in posts that you are posting information but are not yet ready to talk about the information yet.  Did you find people were respectful of those requests?  I had a few friends that read my blog. The first Mothers Day we were waiting a friend of mine drove to my work and put a rose and card on my car.  I still get welled up just thinking about that simple gesture.  What was the most meaningful/helpful thing someone did as a result of them reading your post?
I did find people to be generally respectful of those wishes.  There are definitely plenty of people who don't read the blog, but still want to talk about it, so sometimes people will accidentally ask about something that I really don't want to talk about yet. I am getting better at saying, "I don't really want to talk about it yet" in person as well as on the blog, but it's definitely easier to say it on the blog than to the face of a caring friend!  That gesture you mention is quite lovely.  I got teary-eyed just reading it.  For me, the nicest things have come in the form of incredibly kind and caring and loving notes in the mail (I LOVE REAL MAIL), via text, and by email.  Just things that made it clear that people are reading, are respectful and are rooting for me and thinking about me.  It doesn't take a lot, ya know?

 3) What is your greatest wish for your future son/daughter?
It is pretty simple, actually.  I just wish that he or she will feel secure, safe, happy and loved and that however we come together as a family (s)he will be overwhelmed by all the people who care about him/her.

 4) I remember the first onesie I bought for my daughter.  It was white with blue trim and a dog on the front.  I didn't' allow myself to buy baby items until we started the adoption process.  Have you allowed yourself to get ready for a baby?
I haven't really, and it is something I've been thinking about a lot lately.  I have a couple of things that I have saved for when I have a baby from quite awhile ago...things we bought for a baby before and during the time when we were trying the "old-fashioned" way.  As soon as it became clear, though, that this wasn't going to be our path to parenthood, I stopped buying anything for my future child.  Eventually I stopped even really looking at things for a future child (my sad Pinterest board "someday I will have a baby" sitting not updated for a
long long time).  I think it started to feel like bad luck, or at least like a sad reminder of something that was suddenly unsure.

Interestingly, since we have started on the adoption stuff, I've started pinning things to my board again.  My hope has come back a little bit and I've been able to let go of some of that fear that I'll never be a mom.  I feel conflicted, though.  While my hope is returning, it is hard to let go of the fear.  I still worry that I will buy things and then be stuck staring at baby things sitting in my house unused for years and years.  It's a heartbreak I try to avoid, but it is something I'll have to get past as we move further along the adoption path.  Obviously I can't bring a baby home to an empty room, and I have to figure out how to let go of the idea that I'll have preparation time through pregnancy.

 5) I have found my greatest support for adoption via the internet.  I have many "friends" I have never met yet I feel closest to them having experience adoption with them.  How has the internet shaped your journey?  Do you think infertility would have been the same had you experienced it 30 years ago?
I can't even imagine how I would have dealt with this without the Internet.  It would have been SO different.  I don't know, maybe I'm wrong and my innate desire to share my story means I would have found other people via word of mouth or like classifieds in the newspaper ;).  Who knows?  What I do know, though, is that from the start I turned to the Internet for, initially, information.  After information, the Internet provided support (online forums, like those at Resolve,"meeting" bloggers etc.) and then it became a place for me to share and express my thoughts and feelings with the world.  Via the sharing I ended up getting more information and more support.  What an amazing cycle, right??

All that said, I have to point out that I have met so many adoptive parents via word-of-mouth (friends of friends) that have welcomed me and met me in person (or on the phone), shared information with me, and been incredibly helpful.  I'm not sure if the Internet was so much a factor in that - maybe not, actually.  Although would people have known what I was going through without the Internet - would they have known to hook me up with these amazing other friends?  Maybe not.

All I can really say is, HOORAY FOR THE INTERNET!

 6) I found as I delved deeper into the world of adoption my awareness about adoption grew exponentially.  What is the most interesting thing you have learned so far about adoption?  Have you learn anything new about yourself or your partner via this new exploration?
I have learned so much already!  Every day I become aware of something new regarding adoption and I really went into this knowing absolutely nothing.  Now I can't stop - I read anything I can get my paws on!  I think the most interesting thing that I've learned is actually also the hugest thing - the giant shift toward open adoption from closed in this country.  Learning about that, and delving deeper into the how and why just opened my mind up to so much else about adoption.  I had to be able to accept the ambiguousness of it, morally, and find the place in my head and my heart where I feel comfortable within that.  That was a challenge for Ian, my partner, and I to do together.  I'm pleased to be able to say that we have been almost 100% on the same page as we discover all the questions we have to ask ourselves in this process, and I feel so so lucky about that.  I think, also,  it's the first time in my life where I felt truly tested and discovered that I am willing to forgo the "easy" path to take the path that feels just and right (at least when it comes to this particular topic - building
my family).  I am so thankful to have a partner to share this process with who passed this test as well.   So, forward we can go together, and feel secure in knowing that we are doing our best to do what is right for every person who will be affected by the way we are starting a family.   That feels good!

 7) How have your families responded to your interest in pursuing adoption?
We are lucky to have incredibly supportive families.  So far, and of course this is very early, no family member has said a single thing that could be construed as being anything other than amazingly supportive.  I bought a few copies of this book, http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/763314.Adoption_is_a_Family_Affair_, and I'm not even sure that anyone "needs" it - so much so that I'm almost embarrassed to give it to them.

Of course we still don't know what our path will look like, and we haven't talked as much with extended family so there is a lot of unknown and I'm sure there will be some hurdles (hopefully small).  I already feel like I have my shields up because of all the new knowledge I have about adoption - I can remember so many of my own
misconceptions because I had them such a short time ago.  I need to find a way to share information with the people I care about without feeling hurt when they don't just KNOW it.  I need to have empathy and remember how ignorant I was what feels like just a minute ago.  I do have a fear that I will feel like our parents and siblings don't see our child as their "real" grandchild or niece/nephew due to lack of genetic connection, but this fear is based on nothing concrete other than probably my own deepest darkest fears about myself.

 8)  As "The Boy" had a guest post last December; I had a question for him if he was willing.  Adoption is the great equalizer in family planning as both parents are equally involved.  How do you think the pursuit of adoption vs fertility treatments will be for you?
I hadn't really thought about the move towards adoption in those terms. During our fertility treatments I've wished there was more of the burden that I could take, but biology limits what I have to offer.  In abandoning fertility treatments Sharon is giving up more than me -it was never in the cards for me to carry a baby and give birth. On
the other hand I was more attached to the idea of a genetic connection than Sharon ever was - I'm attached to my family history (eg: I'm reading an ancestor's memoirs at the moment) in a way that she isn't.

I'm not sure how the adoption process will be for me. While I'm not looking forward to an indeterminately long wait for a match and the stress of matches falling through, I'm looking forward to leaving the injections and the 2-week waits behind.


  1. Wonderful interview. I had the pleasure of meeting Sharon and her partner last month, and I concur "Hooray for the Internet!"

    I especially like the response to Q6. Sharon, I wish you well on your journey -- you are well on your way.

    1. Lori I did see that you posted on her page that the two of you had met. I wish I lived in a more populated area.

    2. I don't think I'm as proud as Sharon for our decision to pursue open adoption. My initial reaction to the idea was fear, but as we've learned more (and your reading Lori and the birth mothers' panel was important) it's become a really obvious choice, morally and practically. It's still scary, but for me it's scary like all of the life changes that will come with being parents are scary (no sleep, nappies, being imperfect role models, etc).

      As we've been learning more about different kinds of adoption I've learned about far more "noble" and potentially far more challenging paths to build a family. When we talk about adopting out of the foster care system I realize that building a family is about choosing a lifestyle. It breaks my heart to think of kids who need a loving family, but I'm really attached to raising children from infancy. It feels selfish, but it also feels like the right choice, for me, for now. I also recognize that we are extremely privileged to have the financial ability to make the choices we have. There are plenty of people who've had our bad luck without our good luck.

      "The Boy"