Feb 26 2014
Dear journalists, scriptwriters, and other members of the media: I officially revoke your ability to use the word “adoption,” in any of its related forms.
The lead story on CNN recently (which was not about adoption in any way, shape or form) pointed out not once, but twice, that a couple adopted their son. In one instance, they use the line, “…[She] carried him out of the hospital in her arms, as ecstatic as if she’d carried and birthed him herself.” A sensation, indeed: imagine, a woman whose name is on her own child’s birth certificate is over-the-moon at the anticipation of parenting her actual son. A banner day for mothers everywhere, to be sure.
Also on repeat, a show named “Bubble Guppies” on Nick Jr. (listen, I know it’s not exactly Masterpiece Theater, but sometimes I need to do things like take a shower) described adoption (in this case, the adoption of a puppy…or a mer-puppy, to be specific) as “giving someone a nice place to live.” If that’s all it takes, then I’m going to skip the college fund and start vacuuming more often.
(As a side note: While I applaud a marketing-job-well-done by the animal rights industry, until a cat is able to go to court and sign away her or his parental rights, there is absolutely no connection between pet ownership and parenthood.) Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 24 2014
Last week my partner and I wandered into a new cloth diaper store in our neighborhood. It has lots of cloth diapers, plastic covers, slings, and basically all the things you need if you’re planning to be a hippie parent. We were there to purchase dryer balls, but my partner started asking the woman who owns the store about various cloth diaper services in the city, and she looked at me. “Are you expecting?”
I had a brief moment of not knowing how to answer. At all. My mind went completely blank. Finally I regained the ability to speak. “Kind of. I’m not pregnant, but we’re being certified to be foster parents. So we’re hoping to have a baby sometime in the next few months, but we don’t really know when.”
“That’s great! Congratulations!” the woman said, looking as surprised as I felt. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 29 2014
Pinterest, I like you. I really do. But seriously, it took you how long to realize that people wanted (and needed) secret boards?
When I joined Pinterest two years ago, I was in the midst of transitioning out of infertility treatments and into the world of domestic, open adoption. With all due respect to all of our amazing doctors and nurses, infertility treatments are absolutely bananas. It does not matter what you do or don’t do; they are emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially draining.
So, in order to bring some semblance of normalcy to the proceedings, I began to peruse the Pinterest “Kids” category (and of course, immediately found hundreds of things I wanted to create, find, sew, bake, purchase, and remember for when we had children).
The challenge is that only a handful of people knew about the infertility treatments, let alone that we were trying to get pregnant. When we did tell people, it was sad. It felt like a discussion about failure. And there was a lot of crying. Rumors online suggested that secret Pinterest boards were on the way, but in the interim, I worked out a ridiculous two-pronged system which consisted of taking screen shots and emailing links to myself. I did consider starting a second account with a pseudonym, but I didn’t because I knew that one day I would want everything in one place–because one day, I would be a mom. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 30 2013
Jordana Horn recently wrote about nesting before the birth of her fifth child. We are also awaiting our fifth child, and this nesting period is different from our previous ones for several reasons. Most significantly, our fifth child is already born. He’s waiting for us in an orphanage on the other side of the world.
After our fourth child was born, darling husband and I were fairly sure that we were done procreating. We were less sure that our family was complete. Since my husband was adopted, adoption seemed to be a natural way to grow our family. A small part of me also hoped that by choosing adoption I might avoid some of the worry that I experienced during each of my pregnancies.
Parents in the adoptive community sometimes talk about the similarities between pregnancy and waiting to adopt. Personally, I have definitely experienced moodiness, anxiety, and weight gain again as I wait for this fifth child. I have also, once again, felt the impact of generations of superstition. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 1 2013
Well, that was a colossal failure. Months of planning, 10s of thousands of dollars, two trips to Cyprus, a really promising early pregnancy–and we have nothing. We have no donor embryos left. Our last cycle resulted in my seventh pregnancy, with fantastic early signs, but I miscarried at six weeks. We’d already been tested for every cause of recurrent loss, and honestly believed the genetically tested donor embryos were the answer.
What do we do now? Nothing has changed on the adoption front (we are still on the years-long waiting lists for domestic adoption here in Israel, and international adoption remains out of reach financially). We could try a gestational carrier, but both in Israel and abroad the costs and logistical hurdles just seem insurmountable.
For now we wait. We are in shock. We really thought this approach, and this pregnancy, would bring us at least one baby (and possibly a sibling in a few years). Read the rest of this entry →
May 22 2013
What Makes a Baby, a picture book “about where babies come from,” is written and illustrated in a way that is sensitive to children and parents who found one another via the traditional route (i.e. sex!), or those families which came to be via reproductive technologies, surrogacy, or adoption. The pictures and language are gender neutral and the message is one of inclusivity and openness.
I got a chance to catch up with author Cory Silverberg, who is also a sexuality educator, over email recently, and asked him a few of our–ahem–burning questions.
OK. So what, exactly, does your work as a sexuality educator entail?
I write about sexuality each week for About.com. Part of my time is spent teaching and leading workshops, mostly for professionals and sometimes for regular people who want to know more about some aspect of their sexuality. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 30 2013
One week from tomorrow, on May 8th, the Kveller Book Club will be chatting about the new novel The Mothers by Jennifer Gilmore right here on the blog. And then we’ll be chatting with Gilmore herself on Twitter (#kvellerlit, people!).
The novel, all about the extremely difficult and emotional process of adopting a child, is an honest and enlightening story based largely off Gilmore’s personal experience with adoption. To learn more about the book, check out Jordana Horn’s take on it here.
Or, if you’d prefer to get your book advice from child stars of the 80s, here’s Molly Ringwald’s review in The New York Times.
We’d love to have as many of you join us in our conversation as possible, so if you haven’t yet, grab a copy today and get reading! It’s available here on Kindle and in hardcover, and we promise it’s a quick and entertaining read.
Apr 17 2013
This month, the Kveller Book Club is reading The Mothers by Jennifer Gilmore. Learn more about the book below and then enter our giveaway to win a copy.
Jennifer Gilmore’s book The Mothers is not a memoir. Yes, Gilmore herself did go through the excruciating journey into attempted adoption covered by the novel, but this is not her story. The story she has written, however a fictional account, is deep, resonant, and powerfully real.
I’m a big reader, but it is rare, for me, that a book can so thoroughly sink me into the world of someone else’s circumstances and mind as The Mothers did. Gilmore is terrific at making her characters palpably real, warts and all. Jessie, a woman looking to adopt a child with her husband, Ramon, after a prolonged fertility struggle, is “prickly,” to be charitable. At times, she can be a bitch on wheels, whether to her husband, her parents, her friends, or to herself. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 9 2013
Jennifer Gilmore’s new novel, The Mothers–about a couple’s journey through adoption–is out today! Check it out here.
The call from my sister came in the afternoon. I remember the day: bright robin’s egg blue, early spring.
“What’s wrong?” I said. She and I emailed and texted 30 times a day, but unannounced phone calls indicated alarm.
“I’m just going to tell you. I’m going to be as honest as possible. I’m pregnant,” she said. “It’s early, so I’m not telling anyone else.”
“You’re kidding!” I had been begging my sister to try to have a child–she was already 35–so that she and her husband would not go through any of the heartache my husband and I had endured in our six years of trying to have a baby. By then we were in the grueling and chaotic process of domestic adoption.
“No,” she said.
“Wow. That’s great news,” I said. “I’m glad you let me know.” I wanted to be thrilled for my sister, but instead I felt what was becoming a common emotion: that I had failed. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 8 2013
I start this blog post about Vladimir Putin banning the adoption of Russian orphans by Americans with two full disclosures:
1) I was born in the former Soviet Union and brought to the US by my own parents when I was a child. I have since been back to Russia several times, for professional and personal reasons, and I can state without qualms that, in my opinion, life in America beats anything the former Eastern bloc has to offer now, or back in the day of the USSR. Read the rest of this entry →