Not My Child’s Only Parents

January 28th, 2013

heartsMost adoptive parents dread the thought of being seen as “not real parents” to their adoptive children.  The pendulum seems to swing in the opposite directions out of adoptive parents’ fears, minimizing the role of the birth parents with the use of the qualifier (“birth” or “biological”, etc.), while at the same time taking offense at similar qualifiers with their own title ("adoptive" parent instead of just "parent").  Is there a better way? If we stop thinking of the title “parents” as being strictly limited to a certain definition, we are able to accurately represent all parties.  In my own life (I was not adopted), I have several people in my life with the title “parent”.  My mom and dad, of course, but… [more]

Open Adoptions Are Not Confusing!

July 8th, 2008

One of the criticisms I’ve heard within the adoptive parent portion of the triad, is that open adoptions are “confusing” to the child somehow. For example: * Having two mommies and/or two daddies * Along with the above, which is the “real” parent? * Birth parents will want to “co-parent” and thus “diminish” the authority of the adoptive parent We have an open adoption. We routinely send pictures to our children’s birth family. We talk to them on the phone. We mark special occasions with cards, presents, and/or calls. We send frequent e-mails. One such case was today. Yesterday, I shared that I received a lovely e-mail from the kids’ aunt with a link to her online photo album. The kids got to… [more]

Misconceptions About Open Adoption

June 28th, 2008

I’m often asked about our open adoption. People are amazed that our kids are happily in contact with their birth family. I think the surprise comes from several sources: Children are placed for adoption for a variety of reasons: The underlying assumption many (erroneously) make is that children are placed for adoption because something is “wrong” in the family of origin. People routinely believe that one or both of the birth parents are involved in something unsavory. In fact, the first question I usually hear is, “What’s wrong with the mother?” Or “Why did the mother ‘give them up’?”. Whereas, it can be true that there are substance abuse or other dysfunction within birth families, there are other reasons birth families seek families to place their children… [more]

Does the Adoption Tax Credit Apply to Self-Employment Tax?

April 7th, 2008

A reader recently posted a question on one of my blogs as a comment. She asked me if the adoption tax credit could help to eliminate a person’s self-employment tax. This reader was understandably confused when she was told that the adoption tax credit did not apply to the self-employment tax. Surprisingly, I can answer this question. In my previous life, before adoption, I was an accountant. In addition, Super Dad and I completed two adoptions in 2007 and I earned money from self-employment (blogging) in 2007. Therefore, our tax return may be very similar to this reader’s tax return. The maximum tax credit that can be taken for each adoption in 2007 is $11,390. However, the credit is not a refundable credit. This means that… [more]

Dealing with “Real Mom” Comments from Adults

November 30th, 2007
Categories: Terminology

We had some discussion going on my post, Adopted Child and "Not My Real Mom" Comments, about my son using the term "real mom" when he is referring to his birthmother. I have chosen to let him call her whatever he wants. I refer to her as his birthmother, and I am not taking offense when he calls her his "real mom" because I know he does not mean it as a slight to me. He is just a little kid, and having "two moms" is a big concept to grasp.

However, it really does irk me when adults refer to my son's birthmother as his "real mom." Again, I know they don't mean this as a slight, but I just want to say, "HELLO!?!! Am… [more]

Adoptive Parents Who “Have an Adopted Child”

November 19th, 2007
Categories: Terminology

I was reading an article about international adoption in a magazine, looking for ideas to blog about on my Hoping to Adopt blog. I skimmed through the article but did not see anything that piqued my interest: Most of what was said has been said numerous times before (and better, in my possibly biased opinion) by Sandra on the International Adoption blog and Erin on the Transracial Adoption blog. I was about to toss the magazine when I read the final sentence, stating that the author and her husband "have an adopted son." That sentence gave me an important topic about which to blog.

The statement "have an adopted son" just got all over me. Why didn't the magazine say that the author and… [more]

Not My Adopted Child: Just my Child

August 15th, 2007
Categories: Terminology

Child (c) Lynda Bernhardt

As I posted in Protecting Adopted Child from the Media, I really dislike it when the media goes out of its way to point out that a child was adopted when the child’s adoption is irrelevant to the story. As an example, I pointed out how frequently the media reminds us that Tom and Nichole adopted their children. My son is just my son. Yes, he joined my family through adoption, but his adoption does not define who he is.

I happen to be a Michelle Pfeiffer fan, and I never knew that she was a fellow adoptive mother. One of the reasons I did not know this about her is because she apparently feels the same way that… [more]

More On Adoption Language

September 28th, 2006
Categories: Terminology

The more I read and the more I write for the better informed I become about the bazillion issues related to adoption. I have visited and revisited a number of adoption topics over the past several months and each time I come away with an a-ha moment, or a different way of looking at the very same issue. Today...this morning actually, very early in the morning...that topic is respectful adoption language (RAL). I have always been a language sensitive kind of person. Using affirming, positive language about people and their experiences seems to come naturally to me and my professional training supports this inclination. In graduate school, I was one of those students who immediately adopted what was called… [more]

Unwanted vs. Unplanned

March 23rd, 2006
Categories: Terminology

I left a comment earlier this week at the Adoption Search Blog saying that I wanted to continue the dialogue about the use of the word unwanted in referring to the birth circumstances of adopted children. I gave a lot of thought to this because I know that I am one of the offenders. After reading the post I have made a decision to stop using that language and to start using unplanned instead of unwanted. I've already made the change in fact. I was in a staffing meeting as a consultant yesterday and I deliberately used the term unplanned pregnancy in reference to a young soon-to-be mother. Perhaps I became comfortable using the phrase unwanted pregnancy because it is something that I could relate to. I imagine if… [more]

Will The Real Mother and Father Please Step Forward?

February 12th, 2006
Categories: Terminology

Well, I'm going to jump in here and go ahead and tackle the hot button topic among adoptive parents. "The Real Parent" is a phrase that seems to take on a life of its own in the minds of many adoptive parents, their children and extended family members. I guess the issue has been around since adoption has been around. But, sometimes I think it is an issue that is simply a by-product of well meaning experts. One that parents have taken on as their own. About a month ago, I sat in a staffing meeting in a consulting role at a child welfare agency involving an adoptive family. Before the family arrived information was disseminated and shared about the case orally and in writing. The child was adopted as… [more]