Tag Archive: National Adoption Awareness Month

Guest Post: “Brown Family”

It’s hard not to start bawling when your six year old stops getting ready for school to tell you, “I wish a brown family adopted me.”

It was one of those parenting moments in which I had to take a breath, hide my emotions and proceed with caution.

“How come?”

“Because I want my family to look like me.”

“Well your little brother and sister look like you.”

“Yeah but not the whole family.”

I hugged him and apologized for not being brown. What else could I do? I mean, there was a time when I was small when I operated under the notion that I was part African-American, but the fact is I’m not. I distinctly remember when I found out the truth. I was playing Barbies with my older sister; I was probably about 4, making her around 9. I chose a White Barbie for the Mom and a Black Ken for the Dad for our game.

“You can’t do that,” my sister informed me.

“Huh?”

“You can’t have a White one and a Black one be married!”

“Why not? Daddy’s Black.”

And with the whack my sister gave me for saying so, I thus learned my Portuguese-Italian father, while certainly the darkest man I saw in rural New Jersey where we lived, was not, in fact, Black. And therefore, neither was I.

That was the extent of my own childhood racial identity crisis. Of course there was no real crisis to be had. Even though my dad is dark and my Polish-German mother is fair, they are both Caucasian. There was no loss of birth parents or cultural heritage for me. There was no wondering about my ancestry or why all the other kids at school resembled their parents and each other.

I always knew a day would come when E would start to work through his own valid identity issues so I don’t know why I felt so blindsided by it. Maybe I thought he’d drop some hints first, or that he’d be a little older.

When I tucked him in that night, we talked some more. Or, more accurately, I talked while he mostly cried and nodded.

Was he still feeling sad?

Yes.

Did someone say something recently that made him start feeling like this?

No.

Does he know how much Mommy and Daddy love him?

Yes.

And even though everyone talks about how happy adoption is and we ARE so, so happy he’s part of our family, did he know there’s sadness to adoption too?

There is???

Yes, E, because we love you so very much but if the world was perfect and there were never any problems at all, you probably would just have stayed with your birth mother, don’t you think?

And my boy sobbed when I said this. My sweet, sweet first grade boy, with pain more suited for an older person to deal with.

Is there anything I can do to help you feel better?

No.

Well I want you to feel at least a little bit better. You might always have sad feelings about this, and that’s okay. But I want to help you…find peace about it. Do you understand what that means?

Yes.

Would you like to spend more time with your birth family? Great Grandma and Auntie you just met and your sister that was adopted by another family? Would that help?

Yes.

Then I will do my best to arrange it, my love. I promise to always do my best to keep you in touch with the brown family you long for.


Gina Sampaio likes to challenge the notion of what being a stay at home mom means by not only staying busy with her husband and five kids but also with acting, writing, social activism and rabble rousing in general. Gina blogs about her daily adventures with kids, crafts and cooking, navigating a post-foster care transracial open adoption and the ongoing journey of surviving a sexual assault under the name Sister Serendip (follow her on Facebook and Twitter).

#AdoptionTalk Link Up

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This week’s topic: Anything Goes

Grab a button for your post and join ErinJenni, Jill, Madeleine, and me! New to linking up? We’d love to have you join us, here’s how.

Starfish Confidential #AdoptionTalk

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I want to hear YOUR story

November is National Adoption Awareness Month 
and I want to hear YOUR story!!

share your story!

For something a little different this month, I want to feature how adoption has touched you, my lovely readers.

I’m going to leave this pretty wide open — anything adoption-related, from anyone who has been touched by adoption —

A few possible examples (but certainly not exhaustive):

  • the day you met your adopted or to-be-adopted child
  • how you talk to your child about their adoption and/or birth family
  • how you wish your parents had talked to you about your adoption and/or birth family
  • why/how/when you hope to adopt
  • the day you met your or your child’s adoptive or birth family
  • how adoption has touched your family
  • how/why you decided to make an adoption plan
  • things you wished you’d known before/during/after adopting/making the decision to adopt
  • why you chose an open or closed adoption
  • how/why you chose your child’s adoptive family
  • how you maintain or create connection with birth families
  • what it is/was like having adoptive siblings
  • why you’ve chosen not to have contact with your or your child’s birth family
  • how you support or hope to support adoptees, adoptive families, or birth families
  • things you wished you’d known before/during/after deciding to make an adoption plan
  • basically anything adoption-related, from anyone who has been touched by adoption

I will edit for grammar, spelling, etc, and I’ll be happy to send you the edited version before posting, if you wish.

Message me on facebook, or send an email to Jamie @ StarfishConfidential dot com. Please include any pictures you’d like me to use, and feel free to give use pseudonyms or nicknames. Let me know if you’d like to see the edited post before it goes live.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hint: It has recently come to my attention that not all of my readers can easily tell when I’m being sarcastic. That is truly unfortunate, so finding a solution was imperative. ^Obviously, the easiest answer is to assume that if something can be read with sarcasm, it should be;^; but that’s not really workable, I guess. After reviewing several options for a “sarcasm font”, I’ve come up up with my own system. Whenever you see italics inside carrots (^snark^), that is my “sarcasm font”.

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N.A.A.M. Blog Tour: Where did all these boys come from??? (Part 2: Squirm)

In January, just before Squish was reunified with his birth father, I told our agency, “No more boys. Only girls. Girls are more fun and boys’ clothes are boring.”

No more boys.

In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month, I’m participating in an Adoption Blog Tour (AND GIVEAWAY!). Since we’re hoping to finalize a couple of adoptions in the next few months, I decided to write about the sequence of far-too-many-to-be-coincidence events that aligned and blessed us with two happy, boisterous, affectionate, spirited, funny, exasperating beautiful boys.

Because I’m incapable of making a long any story short, this will be a multipart fairy tale. Hang in there, because I’m pretty sure we all live happily ever after. If you missed it, you can go read the bit about how we got Squish-ed (I’ll wait). Today, let’s talk about

Where Squirms Come From
  • I mentioned this yesterday, but it’s worth noting again: when we were initially licensed, even though we were adamant that 2 was our limit, our licensing specialist licensed us for 3 beds, “just in case”.
  • Two weeks after Squish left, I got a call about a little boy. “I know you didn’t want any more boys,” starts our Licensing Specialist, “but we have to move him from his current foster home, we need someone on this side of the county, and it’s only for a few weeks – he’ll be reunified with his dad soon.
    • Squish’s birth father was identified in September 2012, but due to stupid paperwork delays and unnecessary red tape, Squish wasn’t reunified until January 2013. If Squish had left any sooner, we would probably have already had another baby by the time Squirm needed a new placement, and he would have gone to someone else.
    • We decided to accept the placement because it would help our agency out and it would only be a few weeks anyway. When the Licensing Specialist told me his birth-date (exactly the same as Squish’s), I did a double-take – “Wait, this isn’t [Squish], is it? He just went back to his dad.” “No,” she said, “it says the name is [Squirm], and he’s coming from another foster home.”

SuperDad picked up Squirm from the CPC office and sent me a picture. He was freaking gorgeous! We decided that it was a good thing he’d only be around for a few weeks, because we could oh-so-easily fall in love with those dimples and we definitely wanted only girls.

  • Then I got a call from Squirm’s Case Supervisor – we knew her from a previous case, and she was thrilled when she heard Squirm was coming to our home. He was being moved because the previous foster mom went a little nutty when the case plan goal wasn’t changed to adoption right away.
    • The CS had told Mr. Stork that she needed a home that would support the current case plan (reunification) but that was open to adoption, because Squirm was very likely going to be available for adoption!
  • Squirm has several biological siblings (not enough for a baseball team, but enough for a hockey team and backup goalie). The three siblings just older than him had been adopted by a maternal uncle and aunt. They were asked to take Squirm when he came into care, but passed because they also had three biological children and they just didn’t feel they could handle 7 kids.
    • If the uncle and aunt had had room for him, Squirm would never have been placed in foster care, and we never would have met him.
    • If Squirm had been placed with anyone else when he first came into care, he wouldn’t have needed to be moved, and he wouldn’t have needed us.
    • A friend of mine actually got a call when Squirm initially came into care, but she didn’t have a spot for a boy, so she passed. If she had said yes, we wouldn’t have Squirm!
    • To be honest, from the beginning I was very intimidated by the idea of transracial parenting (I still am, but that’s another post). I was far from convinced that I was up to the task, and I was certain that Squirm deserved someone anyone better than me.
      • Then the maternal aunt reached out to us and asked for a picture of Squirm. My first thought was that she was maybe having second thoughts.
        OH, HELL NO! SuperDad and I instantly circled the wagons – She had her chance, she passed on our baby, and we weren’t going to give a chance to change her mind. That’s when we realized that he owned our hearts and began to pray that Squirm was here to stay.

Like I said, I’m pretty sure we all live happily ever after, but you’ll have to come back for the happy ending because we don’t have the final chapter yet.

* if you’re unfamiliar with any terminology, it might be helpful to check out my primer on foster care lingo.

Foster2Forever positive foster parenting adoption blogs support

Please check out the other foster/adoptive parents who have contributed to the National Adoption Awareness Month Blog Tour by clicking the photo above!

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

 

N.A.A.M. Blog Tour: Where did all these boys come from??? (Part 1: Squish)

In January, just before Squish was reunified with his birth father, I told our agency, “No more boys. Only girls. Girls are more fun and boys’ clothes are boring.”

No more boys.

In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month, I’m participating in an Adoption Blog Tour (AND GIVEAWAY!). Since we’re hoping to finalize a couple of adoptions in the next few months, I decided to write about the sequence of far-too-many-to-be-coincidence events that aligned and blessed us with two happy, boisterous, affectionate, spirited, funny, exasperating beautiful boys.

Because I’m incapable of making a long any story short, this will be a multipart fairy tale. Hang in there, because I’m pretty sure we all live happily ever after. Without further ado, here’s

How We Got Squish-ed
  • When we were initially licensed, even though we were adamant that 2 was our limit, our licensing coordinator licensed us for 3 beds, “just in case”.
  • In May 2012, we got talked into taking a sibling group of 2. This brought us to capacity and meant that when Squirm initially came into care, we didn’t get that call.
    • If we had taken Squirm when he first came into care, we couldn’t have taken Squish in July.
    • The sibling set was moved in July 2012, and I asked my agency to find us another baby ASAP. Meanwhile, AS A FAVOR TO MY AGENCY, we agreed to provide respite for two boys.

On July 20th, I got a call about a newborn baby girl just being released from the hospital – without even checking with SuperDad, I said we’d take her and happily began prepping for the new addition. Before I even finished making up the bassinet, my agency called back and said I couldn’t have her because Mr. Stork, the placement specialist at CPC wouldn’t give me an over-cap, even though I was at capacity only because of the respite. To put it mildly, I was furious. My agency relayed how unhappy I was, and Mr. Stork promised that the very next infant that came into care was mine. Sure. Whatever.

  • That baby girl actually never came into care. If Mr. Stork hadn’t denied my over-cap that evening, I probably wouldn’t have been the 1st call for Squish – I definitely wouldn’t have been the only call.
  • Less than a week later, the phone rang at 11 pm. A 4-month-old boy was coming into care and even though I was still doing respite, my over-cap was already approved. The mom had several kids already in care with paternal relatives. This little guy had a different unknown father. Which meant that odds were very good that this case would go to adoption. Mr. Stork kept his promise & Squish landed at 1am.
  • In a major plot-twist, Squish’s birth father was identified and Squish went to live with him in January 2013.

This is when I told my agency “No more boys.”

    • In yet another plot-twist, Squish’s birth father changed his mind, and Squish came back into care. Normally, he would automatically come back to us to ensure as much continuity as possible.

But by then we had Lady Bug and Squirm – and the state says that foster parents can’t have more than 2 children under 2. There’s a waiver, but the state had gotten really tetchy about  waivers and it definitely wasn’t a sure-thing. Mr. Stork was contacted by Squish’s CM, our agency, Mother Goose (as my mentor), and Rainbow Brite, the Foster Care Liaison. Everyone assured Mr. Stork that SuperDad and I could handle 3 infants and that this was the best option for Squish. Mr. Stork agreed, and Squish came home!

Now check out Where Squirms Come From to see how we wound up with the second of our sweet boys.

* if you’re unfamiliar with any terminology, it might be helpful to check out my primer on foster care lingo.


Foster2Forever positive foster parenting adoption blogs support

Please check out the other foster/adoptive parents who have contributed to the National Adoption Awareness Month Blog Tour by clicking the photo above!

National Adoption Awareness Month – facebook cover

I created a new facebook cover image to highlight National Adoption Month. I’ve decided that I like it so much, I’m going to post it here for you to use if you’d like. 🙂

If you want to grab it, make sure you first click on the image to bring up the full-size banner.

All I ask is that you don’t take credit for creating it, and I wouldn’t mind if you point people in the direction of FosterDucklings.com. 🙂

Also, while you’re here, please vote for Foster Ducklings on Top Mommy Blogs. All you have to do is click here:

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