Adoption: Growing Grace

Part 3:

Growing Grace is a tender story about adoption from the perspective of a girl (almost a grown up, but not quite) who discovers she is going to have a baby. Readers, young and old, are taken on a journey with the young mother as she struggles to do what she believes is best for the baby who is growing inside her. The book addresses the plight of her decision making process, the connection she develops with her baby, and most of all, the love she has and will always hold for her child.

Children learn about the world through imaginative play and story telling. Parents who have adopted children often introduce the concept of adoption and help each child understand their journey through books and stories. Many books on the subject of adoption begin with the adoptive parents’ experience, their journey leading up to the adoption, or the first moment meeting the child. Most of these stories beautifully reiterate how much the children were hoped for and how valued and loved they are from the perspective of the adoptive parents, but do not convey this same sentiment from the perspective of the birth parents.

This missing perspective is an integral part of fully understanding the adoption process. Through the account of one young mother, Growing Grace provides an opportunity to engage in an open, honest, and evolving conversation about each family’s unique experience. Acknowledging the circumstances of the birth mother, and making it part of the dialogue about adoption in the earlier stages may help the family and each individual to comprehensively synthesize their experience in a meaningful way.

An ideal read-to children’s book, this story introduces the perspective of the birth mother framed in love and compassion. Written in simple and appropriate language, Growing Grace provides an opportunity for children as young as preschool-age to navigate and understand, in their own way, how their life may have begun. Inviting the birth mother’s perspective into the conversation allows a unique opportunity for the family to explore this rarely shared aspect of the adoption story. Every family’s situation is different, and this book is intentionally open-ended and inconclusive, as to allow additional opportunity to explore the various possible outcomes.

The story of Grace is a tribute, not only to the child who has been adopted, but also expresses appreciation, honor, and recognition of adoptive parents and biological parents alike. Brought to life by illustrator Layal Idriss, the dynamic images in this book beautifully convey the complexity of emotions involved in the adoption experience. It is intended to spark questions, facilitate communication, and foster an exploration of what each family’s adoption means for them. This book promotes self-discovery and self-actualization, and helps anyone affected by adoption to integrate their own unique experience into their identity with positivity, clarity, and confidence.

To purchase Growing Grace

Adoption: The Quiet Voice

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It’s never been a secret, really. I didn’t hide it. I have always been open and willing to talk about it. Not necessarily something I advertised, but something I’ve come to deeply appreciate and value about my personal life story. Yet, somehow in this moment, it feels inexplicably overwhelming. I worry about making other people uncomfortable by the revelation. I battle with old feelings of uncertainty resurfacing. I recoil at the thought of feeling exposed, raw and vulnerable. In other articles I’ve written, and in the very mission statement of my blog, the message is clear: Empowered Times—Liberate the inner evolution! I strive to encourage everyone to stand boldly in who they are, to embrace their flaws and shortcomings, to honor their scars, and to move fearlessly down the unexplored paths of self-awareness and self-discovery.

And here I stand at a crossroads. On one hand, I am paralyzed by uncertainty and doubt. On the other hand, I am propelled and fueled by a vision which has evolved over the years. I believe, as Michelle Madrid-Branch so eloquently and succinctly frames it, “Adoption Means Love.” We must continue to find new ways to open up conversations about adoption. We must break down the stigma and overcome the taboo associated with adoption. We must encourage people impacted by adoption to share their voice and their experience with others. We must create more connection, more transparency, and more opportunity for dialogue. We must provide more validation and support during the challenges presented through the adoption process. We must empower one another to whole-heartedly integrate our unique experiences into a profound understanding of who we are, where we come from, and where our future endeavors will take us.

With all this said, I will choose to step on to the path of uncertainty and doubt and embrace the risk involved along the way. I will choose to share my voice. This is the voice not often heard in the adoption story. The voice in the shadows. The voice that historically disappeared for nine suspicious months, only to reappear muted and stifled. The voice that often still only whispers its truth behind closed doors or on safe platforms. However, I believe that in concealing this voice, we also arrest the potential for understanding and healing.

Many years ago, “Grace’s” mother asked me to write this story… our story from my perspective. She said she had bought every book she could find on adoption, but none of them offered anything about the birth mother. How could she fully explain to her three-year old daughter how much her birth mother loved her if there was no such character written into any of the storybooks? Children begin to understand life through play and story-telling, but how can they make sense of adoption if things are only vaguely presented to them? Storybooks which do include the birth mother, often do so in a mythical and mysterious way. Not to dismiss the importance of some of the most popular stories on adoption, as they most certainly convey how much the baby was hoped for, prayed for and celebrated after the adoption. However, an important segment is overlooked… how much the baby was loved, longed for, and nurtured prior to the adoption. This is the story I am going to tell.

Mother’s Day: A “Tricky Conundrum”

 

It’s a “tricky conundrum,” says Ryan Jon in his social media video addressed to his biological mother in recognition of Mother’s Day. The annual reminder to honor, celebrate, and appreciate the women who raised us is often times countered with an emotionally complex tsunami of loss, pain and sense of isolation. A bittersweet holiday, Mother’s Day is one in which I celebrate not only my own mother, but also recognize and honor other women and children who experience this day in extraordinary ways. So this year, I decided to ask women who have been touched by adoption to share what Mother’s Day means to them.

“When I started this journey  Continue reading “Mother’s Day: A “Tricky Conundrum””

Women: Voices and Choices

Saturday, January 21, 2017 was an incredibly powerful day for women. Regardless of where we stand on the political spectrum, it was a moment when many generations, ethnicities, cultures and socio-economic classes of women in cities all over the world stood and marched together in solidarity. Millions of women (and many supportive men) participated in this monumental event for a variety of reasons stemming from concerns regarding women’s healthcare and access to contraception, fair and equal pay, environmental consciousness, immigrant rights and a plethora of other serious concerns related to the threats and promises of the new administration. In the face of dramatic changes in legislation, we worry the clock is winding backwards to a time of suppression, segregation, oppression and division.

One of the many concerns motivating women to unite is the possibility Continue reading “Women: Voices and Choices”

The Multiple Meanings of Mother’s Day

 

“Are you a mother?” asked the grocery store clerk at the check-out counter. “Are these roses for your mother?” she went on to inquire. A friendly lady with a genuine smile, I answered her questions briefly but honestly, and then busied myself by bagging the groceries to avoid any further small talk with this stranger about the imminent holiday.

It is presented as a day of recognition and appreciation for the marvelous relationship between mother and child. As with every Western holiday, for weeks we are faced with daily reminders though advertisements, specials, and promotions. We can’t open our email or check social media without being inundated by quotes, pictures and messages to, or about, “mom.” Every place from flower and greeting card companies, restaurants, department stores, travel agencies, spas, gyms and theaters are touting their products as the perfect way to show “mom” how much you care. It is a day of commercial celebration.

However, there is another side to the story, one which is equally, if not more, common. Recognizing this extremely complex relationship, Continue reading “The Multiple Meanings of Mother’s Day”

Counter-Steering Through Loss

 

Motorcycle riders call it counter-steering. When taking a turn, counter-steering is the process of pushing the handlebars in the opposite direction you think you should, and leaning your body toward the turn. Even when this accompanies the sensation that you could topple over with the bike, leaning into what feels like it might take you down is what actually allows you to execute the turn safely.

Navigating this life unscathed, unscarred, or unimpacted by the crushing sensation of heartbreak, the sting of rejection, or the raw and ever-present void from the death of a loved one is nearly impossible. All of these losses, among others, can Continue reading “Counter-Steering Through Loss”

To Be (mother) or Not To Be (mother)?

 

It was girl’s night on the town, something we were all looking forward to and had prioritized amid our busy and demanding schedules. A mix of 30- and 40-somethings, we champagne-toasted each other and our much anticipated evening together. We come from all walks of life, different parts of the world, different cultures, different experiences, and we cherish one another more because of it. This is not where we are divided. Where we begin to feel the division between us is in our parental status—whether or not we will go home to children at the end of our evening. Continue reading “To Be (mother) or Not To Be (mother)?”