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Good-bye July, hello August! It's been a very busy month here, in part because we've had some staff on holiday and also because adoptions just keep happening!

I read an excellent book recently, titled The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler. It's described as "wrenching and riveting," and that it was. It's the personal histories of women who surrendered babies for adoption before Roe V. Wade in 1973. It is a deep look into the culture of the time, which was basically the generation I grew up in. Making an adoption decision was not the same then as it is now; basically social pressure and parents made the decision for girls and young women and there was no open adoption. They were told to forget, which of course is impossible. The adoption became a defining and depressing moment in their lives, where they felt abandoned and punished, rather than supported and assisted.

Placing a baby for adoption remains a defining moment but it is much more humane and the wishes of the birthmother are respected. She may still feel a pressure, since generally she has no resources to raise a child and the pregnancy was unplanned and ill timed. But she does have a choice. Single mothers are not marginalized and children born out of wedlock are not bastards. Such heavy and hurtful social stigmas. Adoption is not hidden and children growing up in adoptive families are not shamed. Yes, they may question why their parents let them go, and experience confusion and rejection, but it can now be addressed openly and with compassion; rather than as a shameful secret.

I think of adoption as one of the high points of our social progress, where parents open their arms to children who are not their "blood" and embrace them fully as family members, children who look like them and children who do not. There are so many "rainbow" families that adoption feels nearly normal. It is one of the rare ways we come together, despite other differences, and care for each other, sacrifice for an support each other.

Family life is not perfect, it has ups and downs, parents and children have moments they regret, wish they'd handled differently, wished they'd understood more. Parents have their patience taxed in the most ordinary of families. Life is full of daily negotiations and it is hard to be creative and flexible and firm 24/7. It's hard to balance and keep up with all of our obligations; more so for those who do not have a relaxed temperament and tolerance for imperfection or surprises.

As you live your life, let go of your internal demands and try to stay in the moment. Avoid too many or too high expectations. Children don't think like adults and put little stock in schedules. Life is simply a continuum of experiences; calendars and schedules seem pretty absurd to young children. Unless of course you are talking about going to a move Saturday or Christmas. That they want to remember!

For those adopting internationally -- yes, I am frustrated too thinking of kids waiting in orphanages. But while adoptive parents are definitely agents of change, we can't change everything. The adoption community in the US and Europe has made a profound change in the world... but adoption itself is not more efficient.

For those adopting domestically, expectant parents are hard to predict and the matching process often defies all logic. Your best advantage is to have bright and cheery profile so that an expectant parent wants to see her baby in those pages.

Remember we are close by and please call or email us for an update or some support, any time. We get it -- we get it can feel lonely and discouraging to wait. We have no magic, but we share your feelings.


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