She's lives in Canada (I hear it's cold there, eh?) with her husband and two children. Danielle is a self-professed bookworm and enjoys a great political debate. She won't say no to a learning opportunity or a glass of wine. Of all her interests and passions, none compare to her love of coffee, as evidenced by her Tassimo she got for her birthday.
Danielle placed her son for adoption about 8 years ago. She describes it as a semi-open adoption. Most of my questions for her revolve around the adoption topic:
1) If you were to become a birthmother counselor in an adoption agency of your own design, what kinds of things would you want your counsel-ees to know? What would you want future birthmothers to know as they weighed their decision to parent vs. place for adoption?
I honestly don't think I would, based on my experiences with my agency, work for one or own one. Clearly, as you've likely read, have issues with how unethical adoptions are around the world. I feel like there should be more accountability to everyone, and not just those who are paying these agencies bucket loads (another issue that I find unethical) of money in the hopes of an infant child.
That being said love to hope see an agency who works with young moms to see if parenting fits for them first- give them a chance. If it doesn't work, then explore adoption as an option. I truly feel that woman should not be bombarded with the birthmother message until they have a chance to make the mothering part work. We should have women who don't feel pressured to adopt for one reason or another- they should be able to peacefully come to that decision after seeing if they can actually make it work. Obviously, this doesn't make money for the agencies, so with the current US industry, this is likely to not come to pass for years (it works brilliantly in the UK!) I'd hope that in the same aspect that adoptive parents would be informed completely about the struggle that she may go through internally. I'd also like the pre-adoption education to include more then just how much money you can give (I feel if a baby is going to go to different family dynamic, it shouldn't come with such an absurd price tag where someone is making money off the "transaction"), but about the differences between biological and adoptive parenting, and the issues that come behaviorally with an adopted child. I feel that adoptees are often done a disservice when their adoptive parents are just handed them as a child and not told anything about the issues they may run into down the road. Especially if they do end up having their own children biologically.
That being said, mom's considering adoption deserve to know what it looks like 10 years down the line, 5 years, the reality that their openness agreement is not legally binding. They need to see the side of being a birthmother that is the toughest; I feel that a lot of agencies paint it as this experience that you just get over- something that is simply untrue. I feel like one of the reasons I am struggling so badly right now is because I wasn`t told whole truths; I was told versions of contained truth and sometimes I was outright lied to. Everyone in the adoption triad deserve full honesty even if it means uncovering the uglier parts of adoption.
2) How did you choose The Kiddo's adoptive parents? Did you look at tons of family profiles? What, if anything, was on your "must-have" list?
I was given 15 profiles. Their profile was the first one I looked at and the only profile I actually related to. According to the agency I worked with, that was more then most girls were given access too, and I was told I needed to choose sooner then later. Sadly, that was the main reason for choosing the family I did; I enjoyed the Adoptive Father`s letter to the birthmother, and they seemed like a great fit. I had no list going in either; I saw a strange string of profiles- families with adoptive children already, families who were much older and had none, couples who wanted a completely closed adoption (I had requested open adoption profiles only- I saw 6 profiles who wanted strictly closed adoptions, despite my requesting only those who wished for open).
3) You've mentioned a group of accepting women that you get together with that you can be totally open and honest with (from your Birthday Friends post). Are these other birthmothers? If so, how did you find each other?
I know, other then online, no "real" birthmothers. Those girls in that post are just my closest girlfriends; we've all been through our own version of struggles. We are a very honest group of women, my adoption aside, so that makes it much easier to break through the crud and be completely open. Without fear of judgment.
4) What, if any, contact do you have with The Kiddo's birthfather now?
Minimal contact. I never blogged about it, and I should, but I recently asked him all the questions I needed to ask him. I got my anger out, and it seems other then the occasionally hello, I have no need for deeper contact. He is off doing his thing, and as harsh as this sounds, he's just the 17 year old boy (8 years ago) who never grew up.
5) Would you and The Hubby consider adopting a child? Why or why not?
This is a tough question. I used to say yes, but I want to say no. I think if the circumstances were correct, and openness was fully part of the scenario, then maybe.
6) Being a birthmother is a part of who you are, but it's not ALL of who you are. Help paint the fuller picture of who Danielle is. Birthmother, parenting two kids, wife... I know there are many, many facets to you!
I am a bit of a bookworm; I will devour anything in sight if it catches my interest. I enjoy a great political debate, I love learning and drinking wine. I have a quirky sense of humor that few people appreciate and understand. Eventually, I plan to go to school; I'd love to double major in social work, and writing/editing. I'm not religious, even in the slightest, which is a far off place from my religious upbringing. I love food, a little too much, and have a rather romantic relationship with coffee (I got a Tassimo for my birthday, need I say more?!) I am quiet in groups of people, yet I am always observing. I would rather stay home for a date with my husband then go out.
7) Is there anything/anyone that is your go-to happy place right now? You are wading through some deep stuff. Is there anything that is guaranteed to make you smile?
I'm trying to balance it all; and I won't lie, it's been tough. Having two young kids who have such big, silly personalities helps. I take time to connect with The Hubby, who is quite funny. If nothing else, a good glass of wine usually gets me relaxed enough to laugh a bit.
I so appreciate Danielle's time with this interview project! Go check out her blog at http://anotherversionofmother.com/.
To read her interview of me: click here. This interview project was put together by Heather of Production Not Reproduction. Lots more interviews to browse through at that website. All different sides of the adoption triad are represented. Thanks Heather and Danielle!