Wednesday, February 15, 2012

With a little help from our friends...

We are tremendously grateful for all the support and many kindnesses we have received along the way on our adoption journey. Many family members, friends, acquaintances, and even a few strangers have helped us and we truly appreciate this.

One of the challenges with open adoption is that we have no idea how or when we will find our child and become parents. This may happen through the efforts of our agency, the Independent Adoption Center. However, there's also about a 20 percent chance that it will happen through our efforts to get the word out. We're asking everyone for as much help with this 20 percent chance as possible.

While you may be thinking it's unlikely you or your contacts will know a potential birthmother, it's often a small world and we never know for sure what's going to happen. We put together a list of several things you can do to help us. It may be that only one or two items on this list appeal to you and we understand. However, if you'd like to help, please have a look at our list and see what you can do. 

  • Share some of our new contact cards with friends, family, or anyone you think may be interested. You can email us and we'll arrange to get you some of these cards.
  • Visit our new website at and share it with your friends.
  • Download our adoption letter as a PDF from our website or online adoption profile and share with your contacts.

This is the front side of our new contact card.

  • Follow this blog using one of the tools on the right side of the screen.
  • If you are on Facebook, please like our online adoption profile. The like button is just under our main picture.
  • Also, please like our Facebook page and check back for updates and new photos. You will need a Facebook account to like the page and comment/like posts, but you can check out our page even if you don't have (or want) a Facebook account.
  • Share our online adoption profile and Facebook page with your network of contacts, either through Facebook or email. If you'd like to do this, but aren't sure how, then just let us know. We can help with instructions and suggested wording.
  • If you see a post or photo you particularly like on the blog or Facebook page, please let us know by liking the item or commenting on it.

And this is the reverse side of our new contact card.

  • If you have questions or feedback for us or ideas we didn't include here, please let us know. If you prefer you can always send an email to us instead of commenting online.
  • Spread the word in person to your friends, your coworkers, anybody you know really.  

Even if there's just one thing on this list that works for you, please keep in mind that every little bit helps and we can use all the help we can get. The more people we can reach with our message, the more we increase our chances that we will find our child's birthmother and become parents. Thanks!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Our Story, part 1

One of the reasons we started this blog was to share more about us and our story. We'll start at the beginning and break break it up into a few parts with some other stuff between installments, so it’s not too much all at once. We think this will help you get to know us better, and will give you an idea of why we’ve chosen the path we’re on.

Our story begins in Amherst, Massachusetts in Spring 1997. Susan was a grad student at the University of Massachusetts, studying Art History. During this time Susan shared an office with another grad student, who was in a German class with Mitch. She thought that her friend Susan and her classmate Mitch would hit it off, and she was right. (Thanks CH!) She got us together for lunch one day, and a few days later, Mitch asked Susan out on their first date.

One of the ticket stubs from our first date.

That date went long into the night and into the next morning, with us talking and laughing until the sun came up. We had so many common interests, it was like we were made for each other. Our next date was the same way, with us staying up all night sharing our ideas and our opinions. We spent as much time together as we could, and when we weren’t together, we were on the phone. Soon we were inseparable.

One of our favorite memories is of Thanksgiving that year. Susan’s family lives in Orange County, California, but many of Mitch’s relatives live in New England. We spent Turkey day that year with Mitch’s mom and grandmother, an aunt who lived in Connecticut, and an aunt and uncle visiting from Norway. It was such a warm and loving day, with all of us laughing and having a good time. Susan shared her mom’s cranberry bread recipe with Mitch’s visiting aunt, and his uncle said that day that Susan & Mitch should be together forever.
(He was right!)

Photo booth fun!

As our love for each other grew, we started talking about what our future would look like. We wanted to be together, of course, but we knew we also wanted to share our love with a child. We’re both from small families, without nieces and nephews, but when we talked about our future, it was as a family, not just as a couple.

Susan got her Master's degree in Spring 1998 and moved back to California soon after. We had talked about both of us moving at the same time so we could set up our life together. However, Mitch wasn't quite ready yet and
it would take another year before he made the move.

During that year, we visited each other several times. We celebrated New Year's Eve together in Cambridge, Massachusetts and attending the wedding of good friends in New York. On the West Coast, we visited Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, and Santa Barbara. We also spent more hours on the phone and exchanged many cards and emails. Our love was still strong, but we needed to be together for real. Finally, overcoming the fears that had prevented him from following his heart, Mitch packed up his car and drove out to California in Fall 1999. It was one of the best decisions Mitch ever made.

The two of us back in the early days.

You can read more of our story in part 2 and part 3.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

One word you won't see here anymore

We've been thinking a lot about a recent post on the America Adopts blog that we read this week titled, "How Not to Begin a Dear Birthmother Letter".  This post challenges the convention many people use when starting adoption letters. It makes an excellent point about women faced with an unplanned pregnancy, in that a woman is not yet a birthmother until she makes the choice to become one. While some women will choose adoption for their path, that's not the path all will ultimately choose. This post is an important reminder that it is up to each woman to make the choice that's best for her and to make it in her own time.

As kids we all heard, "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me." It's a great response back to the bully calling you names on the playground, but as adults we learn that language is much more subtle and nuanced than this. This taunt back on the playground is true in that words rarely have the power to inflict the same physical damage as sticks and stones. However, even words and phrases that are well intentioned or don't seem "that bad" can fail to convey what we truly feel and have the power to sting, hurt, insult and limit us.

Our adoption letter was the result of careful consideration and reflection, lots of editing, and many hours of work. We weren't entirely comfortable with the greeting "Dear Birthparent", and in fact, our earliest drafts left this out. We ultimately agreed to go with convention during the approval process as many potential adoptive parents undoubtedly do. When we first started learning about adoption it seemed like a term of respect. It certainly is for the many birthparents who place their child for adoption, but we agree with the America Adopts post that it's wrong to assume a decision has already been made by women (and men) still considering their options.

Learning new things is part of being human and it's one of the joys of life for us. We'll be the first to admit that we didn't know a lot about adoption before beginning this journey. We're still learning and try to learn something new every day. We also do the best we can to make changes when we learn new information. It was never our intention to cause someone looking at our profile to feel we had already made their decision for them by our word choice and we're so sorry if this happened.

Yesterday we made changes to our website, blog, and Facebook page to reflect our new awareness of this old convention. Soon we we also change the PDF version of our adoption letter. Our printed letters still have this salutation, but that's just until the next time we print them.