Birth family

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The grandmother clause

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

The impact of including grandparents in the adoption (and post-adoption) process.

The impact of open adoption on birth and adoptive families is only beginning to be understood. Recent research explores the perspectives of birth grandmothers who had direct contact with their birth grandchildren. The findings clearly demonstrate some of the benefits and challenges of open adoption, the impact open adoption had on their lives, and how grandmothers see their role in the kinship network.

For better or worse: One woman's search for her birth family

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

“I made the decision to give her up because I wasn’t able to take care of her. So when I left the hospital, I told the nurse I wasn’t going to keep the baby.” - Vernita Lee

Patricia Lloyd’s adoption records indicate that her birth mother placed her for adoption because she did not think that she could get off welfare if she kept the child. But after trying for several years to discover the identity of her biological mother, Patricia gave up. It was only at the insistence of her two adult children that she began the search again.

Birth mothers find support and healing online

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Several studies have documented the persistent, negative effects birthmothers have experienced after placing a child for adoption. Grief may manifest itself in physiological changes, emotions of sorrow, distress or guilt, socially through family and other interpersonal relationships, and maladaptive coping strategies such as substance use and self harm.

Sperm donation: Trials and tribulations

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

When do the rights of the child trump the rights of anonymous donors?

All that Olivia Pratten knows about her biological father is that he was Caucasian, a medical student, had a sturdy build, brown hair and type A blood. He was the sperm donor for Pratten’s mother, Shirley, who sought artificial insemination when she learned that her husband was infertile from bladder surgery complications.

Bethany goes back to her Chinese roots—Mom goes too

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Last spring my daughter, Bethany, was 15 years old and loving “all things Asian.” It seemed a good time to visit her birth family in China. Armed with a powerful appetite for dim sum, and a shopping list of Anime titles (Japanese animation) she hoped to find in Hong Kong, Bethany joined me on her first visit back in 10 years.

Birth Mother's Day or Mother's Day

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

We are both his mothers, and to become the wonderful son he is today, we were both necessary in his life.

For many years there was no choice—either a birth mother was honoured and recognized on Mother’s Day, or not at all. In 1990, a group of Seattle birth mothers sought to correct that oversight and created a special day to honour those mothers who lost children to adoption. Birth Mother’s Day had a variety of purposes—to educate, honor and to help heal.

Open adoption: The shifting relationship

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

The reality of open adoption is a delicate balance of space and privacy, family, and individual.

The day we met Theo’s birth mother was a sparkling, blossom-infused May day. Mark and I were carefully attired in a vain attempt to look calm, thoughtful, responsible, yet fun: white shirt, cropped jeans, yellow shoes, a stripy scarf for me, and Mark in his crisp shirt and pressed shorts. In reality, we were sitting in the agency boardroom speechless and scared.

Marks of permanence

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

As long as there have been tattoos there have been symbolic homages to family.

Early Egyptian mummies indicate that tattooing was exclusively a female ritual intended to honour and protect women during pregnancy and childbirth. Tattoos have enjoyed a renaissance of late and, not surprisingly, the tattoo trend has given opportunity for ink-art representations of the complexity of family in the adoption community, too.

Building childhood memories

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

When I was five years old, I was adopted. It’s something I’ve known about all my life, as my parents were always open and honest with me. Adoption is something that has never bothered me as it has always been a part of who I am.

As my daughter approaches five, my feelings about my adoption and my past have shifted. I had never thought about my earlier years—the life I had lived before I was five. My life with my adopted parents was so wonderful, and the memories so vivid and precious, that I had never even thought to venture deeper into the memories of my previous years.

Culture shapes a South Asian adoption reunion

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Chelan Gill remembers always knowing she was adopted. It would have been difficult for her parents to hide it because, although Chelan’s mother is South Asian like her, her father is Caucasian. Adopted at birth, Chelan was raised within western culture and influences – even having the last name of Fletcher. However, at 26, she married a South Asian man who taught her about Indian culture and customs, and at 27, Chelan decided to search out information about her birth parents and medical history before having children.

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