Adoption 101

I've called this list of links Adoption 101 because it's your ticket to a semester at the college of internet adoption knowledge. And you won't even have to take out a student loan! Here are some things I want to say before I start linking: 

I have compiled this list for the benefit of adoptive parents, or people who are in the process of adoption, or thinking about adoption. I've done this because am an adoptive parent, and these are the posts that I would like to send back in time to myself, to the Claudia who was around sometime in 2008. This is not the definitive list of every adoption-related issue, this does not look at every single thing from every angle.  It's mostly stuff for APs and PAPs, because that's what I know about. Also: there are lots of great writers who I read often who aren't on this list - it's not supposed to be a 'best of the adoptosphere', just a whole bunch of stuff that made me think. There's a lot of fabulous stuff that I haven't included because there's already something similar or (more likely!) I've - ahem - lost the link. Another also - despite what it sometimes feels like to me, I have not read the entire internet. If you know of a brilliant post that covers an angle I haven't got here, please let me know - I'll occasionally be updating this list.

Oh yeah. Take it slow! You are not going to read all of these posts in one sitting. Not if you want to stay sane, you're not. 

There are lots of different views and opinions in these posts. You are not going to agree with all of them. That wouldn't be possible, they don't all agree with each other! I've tried to choose posts where the ideas are challenging but the writing is respectful, but not everything here is an easy read, no matter who you are. If something makes you cranky? Please do not leave mean or disrespectful comments on these blogs.  If you're tempted, read Discussion or Argument, from Finding Magnolia, instead. Don't be mean on the internet; it's not cool. Also, I don't want to have to find you and hurt you. I'm serious.

All these links will take you to the site where they were originally published. (Well, they should! Please let me know if any links are broken or pointing to the wrong place). So, please remember: all the copyright in these posts belongs to the authors - not to me, and not to you. If you love something, link to it - that's flattering -  but don't copy it - that's stealing.  (And of course, if I've linked to you and you would prefer that I hadn't, please let me know and I'll remove the link straight away). 

I hope you find this list useful! I've put things into categories so that you can find the areas you are most interested in. Of course, there is lots of overlap but this was the best way I could find to cut the information up so that it wasn't just blog soup. So, you'll find some stuff about race in the posts about post-adoption. on post-adoption in 'Identity'. Some stuff Some stuff about faith in childlessness. I'm sure you'll cope.  I've asterisked some of my favourites, if this is all new and you want to know where to start. So now, let's jump straight in with : 

Childlessness, Waiting and Making Decisions

***I'm going to start you off with what is probably the best thing ever written about waiting to adopt, anywhere, ever.  It's by Julie from The Eyes of my Eyes are Opened, and it's called Thoughts at Twelve Months (or Fifteen Months, or Nine Years) of Waiting.

Dame Gwyneth Paltrow Thinks My Life Is Meaningless, at Shakesville. And not just because she's richer than the rest of us.

***An extremely poignant post about Private Disappointments from Goggy Coffee. One of the very few male perspectives in this list! 

From Production, not Reproduction, lots and lots of food for thought about Deserving That Baby.  

***Ever started a sentence about deciding to adopt with the statistic about 163,000,000 orphans? Ethica tells us that this number is not a number of adoptable children in Orphan Statistics Explained.

An answer to a question from a reader about adoption: Deciding to Adopt, from American Family. This has a really interesting perspective on adoption vs having more bio kids - also a great list of books at the end.

From Peter's Cross Station, Beware the Used Car Salesmen of Adoption.

**American Mamacita asks the common question: Is Adoption Right For Us? .... and then turns it on its head.

This is pretty much how it feels to wait. Reprieve, from Mother Paradox. 

Big Pictures

Entitled to all that parenting has to offer, from a therapist who specialises in infertility.

Kristine, from And Buds Know, writes on Failure To Provide.

***Some of the contradictory, paradoxical nature of adoption is explored by Mei Ling in "I Wish I Had Not Been Adopted".     (See the section below for links to the unmissable mock-interview she references) and I Feel Like I'm Lying.

Heather tells us why My Tshirt Today Is Solid Grey. and lets us know about Things I Don't Have To Think About Today. 

Short, sharp, insightful and to the point: Top Ten Things I Learned About Adoption in 2010: at See Theo Run.

***Admit It, We're All A Little Ignorant, from Every Day the Wonderful Happens. Really great post about remembering to cut other people a little slack.... even when they say incredibly dumb things.

Thinking about Ethics

From an adoptive parent who is now working in Cambodia reflecting on her work: Starting Adoptions From the Other Side of the Table.

Interesting take on how we talk about the adoption system: Individual Cases, Systemic Problems at Adoption Talk.

***Semi-Feral Mother talks about the responsibility of PAPs to do their homework (and do it properly) in Pathetically Naive - Purposefully Stupid... Clueless or Careless.   And so does Captian Murdock at God Will Add: Rose Coloured Glasses, Where Did I Lose Thee? (These two  are friends. Can you believe it? Me neither).

The clue's in the title:  There is Coercion in Adoption from Welcome to My Brain. And make sure to read the post she links, too: Young Moms and Coercion in Adoption.

Taking Away Another Mother's Purpose, from Cindy at The Sweetest Thing.

A reminder of how complicated this all is: The Birthmother: The Thin Line Between Relinquishment and Abandonment, from Watershed. 

From Sit a Spell - Orphan Sunday: November 6: Preventing Orphans.  Again, want to know what this post is about? The clue's in the title. On a similar theme: You Don't Need To Adopt To Care For Orphans, from Kristen at Rage Against the Minivan.

A blunt and hugely insightful take on adoption in Adoption Sometimes Gets All F***** Up, at Fugitivus. I'm giving you a language warning on this one (um, obviously, from the title). It's not for the faint of heart, but there is a lot to think about here.

***Why My (Amended) Birth Certificate Is A Lie, from Amanda at the Declassified Adoptee. Essential reading about an important topic! 

Thinking about online polarisation and the pragmatic side of ethical considerations: National Adoption Awareness Week 2011: A Spray from TortoiseMum.

Other sides of the story 
(Or: thinking outside our adoptive-parent boxes)

Thinking about how we all tell other people that they don't really feel what they feel: Don't Go Crossing My Boundaries, from Welcome to the Dollhouse.

How to Suppress Discussions about Transracial and Transnational Adoption, from Harlow's Monkey (some interesting comments on this one, too)

On differences of opinion between adoptees about the adoptee experience, cliquishness, and respecting what other people have experienced, at And Other Ideas and Thoughts : In the Eye of the Beholder. 

From me, a post about how we all see things differently, depending on where we stand: Adoption Paradigms.

At Shadow Between Two Worlds, Mei-Ling talks about grief for relationships that never were in They're Real To Me.

***A great piece on identity: Fill-In-The-Blank Girl, at I should really be working.

Report from Korean Birth Mother Presentation - From Adoption Talk. Much more moving than the simple title suggests.

It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking about adoption as supply-and-demand for intfertile couples. American mamacita reminds us how we sound to other people when we slip into that way of talking.

Sunday Koffron gives her perspective as a foster care alumnus on the question 'Would You Have Rather Been Raised In An Orphanage?'

*** At Chronicles of Munchkinland, Jenna answers the question a reader typed into google: How Does It Feel To Be A Birthmom? 

Cassi, a first mother, reminds us that infertile couples aren't the only people who feel intense pain when they see other people with their children in We Bleed Too. She also writes about how her perception of herself and of adoption has changed in  My Tainted Halo.  (This is an interesting parallel to the Deserving That Baby link above - both writers touch on how society makes assumptions about what sort of person deserves to be a parent). Then she writes about the way that adoption relinquishment is seen as a 'selfless and loving' act by birthmothers in You Said What? 

Amanda (The Declassified Adoptee) tells us   You Know, I Think I Was Angrier Before and  10 Reasons Why Adult Adoptee Narratives are More Than Relevant.  On a similar note to the last one, another link from Welcome To My Brain: Everyone Must Be Heard. 

Mama Dog writes about Babies, Dummies. It's relevant. I promise 

What I Couldn't Give You, at Faded Footsteps.

***I have to end this section with an unusual and extremely thought-provoking reminder from Campbell that If someone says they know a happy adoptee, it's likely because they do.  I'm at a loss to know quite how to describe this post, so I'm going to have to pull a quote from one of the comments and agree that I'm thankful for any reminder that we should keep our minds open, our definitions flexible, and our empathies generous. And speaking of comments - quite often I find that comments (particularly on controversial posts) get pretty crazy, pretty quickly, but there is a lot of extra to chew on in the comments, and responses to comments, in this post.  

Actually, I'm going to add this counter-reminder, too, from the Declassified Adoptee . It's worth remembering that the fact that someone isn't talking about their adoption feelings to us doesn't mean that they don't have those feelings! Why Didn't You Say Something? 

Post Adoption

Remember the fantastic post about waiting? Here is Julie's equally piercing follow-up: Thoughts at Six Months Home.  And, because I can't help myself when I start linking to Julie (I'm unable to stop) here's a great post about her first Mothers' Day

Jamey's tips for post-adoption re-entry: What Happens Next

Looking back at the first few months: Hot Soapy Agua: Absolution.

Looking back at the first twelve months: It's been a Year. It's been a Year. It's been a Year.  friom Dandies in the Sunshine. 

A great summary of two Karyn Purvis seminars: Helping Adopted Children Attach, at Owlhaven.

***And also about attachment - here is a link to over forty really diverse posts on that topic:  Let's Talk About Attachment.

Dawn Friedman was one of my favourite adoption bloggers, and if she hadn't deleted her archives recently I would probably have linked to her entire blog. Fortunately, I am able to link to the article she wrote for Brain, Child magazine about The Myth Of The Forever Family - a difficult but important read on adoption disruption.

***Post Adoption Panic, from Melissa Fay Greene. Adopting? Read this first. If you never feel like this, good for you. If you do, you'll be glad to know you're not crazy and you're not alone.  And it can get much worse than panic: here's a post with some information on a topic everyone should know about: Post Adoption Depression. 

Wondering what the first few weeks home might feel like? Here's how it was for one family.   And here's how it was for another. 

There are lots of 'what not to say' posts about adoption on the internet. I like this one, from Shonda.

How to Talk to Young Children About Adoption, at (I got the link from this post at Adoption Talk). Again, there are lots of posts on this topic - here's one that doesn't assume you've been lobotomised.

Here are my Thirty Three Short Thoughts About Being Conspicuous

***From Jen Hatmaker, the truth about what happens After the Airport.  (She has a great follow-up post you should read, too).

From Liz at Inventing My Life: Don't Tell Me Anniversary Trauma is a Myth.

At scooping it up: Staring With the Intent to Act

From Rebekah at Give All to Love: a wonderful post about using the word Home. 

Adoption, Race and Identity (A lot of these posts could also have been categorised as 'other sides of the story') 

This is a big section, because this is an important topic. Also: it's probably the one where I, personally, have had the biggest gap between what I thought I knew and what I actually knew. 

Really interesting musing on adoption and identity, in the context of an art review (how brilliant is that?) from : On Adoption and Identity: Dana Weiser at the Burnet Gallery

On being born in one place and growing up in another: Dear Brazil, from Evelyn at Three Continent Family.

From Dr John Raible, an adopted adult, adoptive parent and adoption scholar: a mock interview with himself - Part one: Welcome to WhitesvillePart Two:Growing Up in Whitesville,  Part three: Heading West from Whitesville and Part four: Conclusion. Read all of it!

And a further 48 pages of usefulness: Dr Raible's handbook on Transracial Parenting in Foster Care and Adoption: Strengthening your Bicultural Family.

There's always food for thought from the group blog, Irene's Daughters. Here are a few of my favourite posts: A Beginner's Guide to Anti-Racism for White People, By a Fellow White Person       Derailment Monday: I have Black Friends           Derailment Monday: You Just Want Me To Feel Guilty          How to Tell People They Sound Racist  

At Resist Racism: What Would It Mean? And the aptly-named  Racism 101.

Extremely funny post from Dear Black Woman: Are there rules for BW's hair? 

 Wondering if your kid is too young to experience racial taunting? Mila tells us about  Kindergarten and Racism: Welcome to the Real World, Kid.   and Adoption Talk discusses a study on Racial Teasing and Identity in Transracial Adoptees. 

Want just one piece of advice on parenting your non-white child? The writer of this next post gives an answer in: Being Different.

A really great post on whiteness from Zhe Shi Wo Ying: White People Are The Centre Of The Universe.

I've got to stop linking to every single post over at Production, Not Reproduction but you'll be glad you read Let's (not) Talk About Hair. 

Il Panettiere writes from a different angle about the same topic and gets a great discussion going in the comments (and she references one of my favourite-ever adoption books) over at Workshop for Beginners: Not Teaching Their Kids To Be Black In America.

Not quite sure how to describe this post - just read it. Sometimes Life Just Sucks, Okay? from Love Isn't Enough.

Getting Real

The ever-honest and always-funny Leigh on being told what to do as an adoptive parent OR ELSE: Finding the Hooey and Tossing It Out. 

From A Bushel and a Peck, An Open Letter to an Adopting Mother. I wish I had read this (and taken it in) before we adopted.

The true and not-so-true: Knock Wood Three Times If You're Reading This, from What Now? Actually, you should just read this entire blog. Another personal favourite: Sometimes I Don't Feel Like Being A Therapeutic Parent.  

Good Day / Mean Post Anyway from Zehlahlum Family: on loving our kids, and what that does and doesn't mean. Mostly what it doesn't mean! Along similar lines: What I've Learned in Adoption Land, from A Bushel And A Peck (I think there are two blogs with this name. Confusing, non?).

Getting Happy
I want to open up this space a bit more widely, so I'm asking for recommendations for this category. I've covered a lot of the hard stuff, and I would love to fill this space with happy stories. The sunshine and roses. The rainbows and unicorns. Please, email me links to posts I should be including in this section!  I'll include them when I next update.

Adoption and Faith
Here are some posts that I've found really helpful as I think through what it means to be an adoptive parent and a Christian at the same time. 

***Not directly about adoption, but probably my favourite thing on Christian decision-making, ever: Jesus Wants Us To Use Common Sense, from Don Miller.

***Jamey, over at Zehlahlum Family, tells it like it is with 'Name it and Claim it: Adoption Version'. If you're a Christian and you're thinking about adoption - read this post. Really. Read it. Now. Right now.

The question of how God's will and adoption intersect is a very, very tricky one. I found American Mamacita's  God, Destiny and Adoption: Were My Kids Meant To Be Lost? to be really helpful in thinking this one through. And this post from Adoption Talk: Meant To Be II, is really helpful in thinking through how we talk about it.

***From Our Little Tongginator: Love and Adoption looks at 1 Corinthians 13. It's not just for weddings any more! 

A response to the way that some Christians promote adoption at Two Worlds, One Family: Adoption Shouldn't Be A Ministry. Wondering what her point of view is? Another case of the clue's in the title.

Things that don't fit a category, but that I couldn't leave out

Katy talks about Context after Ethiopia changes its adoption rules.

On meeting her son: You Had Me At Thrrrree, from His Other Mother. 

Becky, not Becky gets educational. Thinking about reading, writing and re-integration. 

Got opinions about 'those birthmothers' on welfare? Jenna tells us that she's Walked That Mile In Those Shoes, and walks us through her experience. If you haven't walked that mile, it should be compulsory reading.

On single motherhood and SAHM-ing: I Just Can't Take It Anymore, over at Single Mommy Makin' It.

Amanda, an adopted adult, writes about having a sibling who was raised by her first parents in Crumbs. 

Primary School Privilege, from Julie Corby at InCulture Parent.

On HIV and powerlessness: Two Scratches Of A Pen, from Such a Strong Word.

Dueling ABCs, from Jamey at Zehlahlum Family. This made me laugh so hard my sides hurt.

More on books: White Mind, over at Coloring Between the Lines.

And, to finish - Heather tells us why adoption blogging is so awesome (okay, I'm paraphrasing). Parts one, two and three

The End. For now. Or, as my two-year old daughter would say: TA-DAAAA!