imageThanks to everyone following this blog.  My hope is that readers will examine preconceived notions about adoption.  My aim has been to illustrate that adoption is a miracle to be celebrated – not shrouded in secrecy or shame.

Many of you have asked me to fill in details of the day we met Julia’s birth family.  Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

What if the day turned out to be a disaster?  Weren’t you putting your daughter at risk for trauma?

The miracle of adoption comes with a side order of tears.  But you know what’s even more painful?  Avoidance.  It’s always more painful to avoid reality than to face it.

It would have been traumatic only if shame had been part of the adoption equation. I’ve never understood the shame attached to adoption, especially now that society is inching closer to acceptance of alternative lifestyles and “friends-like-family” relationships.

Shame is born of secrecy, and adoption has been shrouded in secrecy since – well, forever.  But times are changing.  I hope this blog has illustrated how transparency erases secrecy and shame from the process for everyone involved.   (Learn how we employed the open adoption concept.)

Ask yourself:  Were you afraid for us when we began this journey?  If so, I invite you to examine preconceived notions about adoption.  Society is finally opening its collective heart and mind to new definitions of “family.”  As for me, I always knew the day with Julia’s birth family would turn out beautifully.

Who was the driver behind the decision to meet Julia’s birth mother?

Julia’s origin story has been part of her upbringing.  She was raised knowing her connection to her birth family,  and those family ties were celebrated.  Her birth mother is in her baby book.  She knew about her sisters.  She knew we were in communication with her birth family.

We waited until Julia told us she was ready to travel to Guatemala to meet her foster family and birth family.  It was always an option for her.  But to be honest, there was no burning desire on Julia’s part.  She’s a typical teenager, more concerned with ACT scores and going to college than exploring her roots.

So why now?

Julia is going to college next year.  We thought of this journey as a rite of passage.

How’s Julia feeling about this now?

You’d have to ask her.  But as her mother, I can tell you that it appears to have been a 100% positive experience.  She loves to look at the pictures and we’ve been talking about it constantly.  Of course, she is still processing.  It’s a lot to process.

Why isn’t Marina smiling in the photos?

Believe it or not, Guatemalans generally don’t smile in pictures (especially those of a certain age.)  It’s a cultural thing.  I can tell you that, as you might imagine, this was a bitter-sweet experience for her.  But she thanked us again an again and again.  Read more and see photos from our day together.

How did you organize all this?

I can’t take credit.  Everything was handled by a wonderful Guatemala-based non-profit de Familia a Familia.  This organization has a solid history of orchestrating birth family reunions with adoptive families.  It is also involved in charitable work for impoverished Guatemalan children.

What’s up with your hair????

Did you know that “Guatemala” is Spanish for “Land Of Broken Hairdryers”?   🙂