We wanted to catch up with this interesting mum after she put up a post, she had put up for a news website. She had honestly shared her views on why parents need to talk on adoption to kids early in life rather than them knowing about their life phases later in adulthood.
Talking on various complexities in adoption and trying to bring the openness that is much required for this decision of parenting Melissa share with Mums and Stories her journey until now. She is a stay at home mum residing in Pennsylvania in the USA, she is a blogger and advocates on mental health awareness and tries to bring new insights on parenting on Spoonie Mama and on https://www.facebook.com/GuidaRichards/
“Well, my childhood is a bit complicated. Honestly, I could write a book on it and I am working on a memoir to try and explain the complexities of living in a family that loved me but was also full of toxic problems that did hurt me as a kid. My best memories were of me reading or of my brother and I trying to get away with something as kids when our Nonna (grandmother) watched us.
I found out when I was 19 years old that I was an adopted child. I personally do think that telling kids early is the best possible way. It makes it a non-issue by including it in their story they can learn how to process that information earlier, can learn more about their birth culture if they so choose, and can learn to celebrate their differences if they are adopted into a culture that does not have many other people like them.
My advice for others who are thinking of adoption is to do a lot of research, and not just from the Adoption Agencies give you. Do your own. Educate yourselves about problems in adoption, issues birth mothers face, and be really willing to love that child no matter what. You would be surprised at how many children are ‘rehomed’ when they don’t meet the families expectations.
I know the promise of a cute little baby is tempting but just because adoption can be such a beautiful thing, doesn’t mean that there aren’t issues that your child will face one day.
Be open to discussing identity problems, self-esteem issues, and questions about birth parents. It’s your job as a parent to ready and willing to learn how to have those discussions without making your child feel guilty for bringing them up.”
(Melissa with her family. Photograph courtesy- Spoonie-mama.com)
Talking on being a stay at home mum, Melissa shares, “ It is mostly my choice but is definitely influenced by the lack of affordable childcare. Even with a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice, my paycheck would 100% go towards childcare if I worked outside the home. This is why I work from home as a freelance writer and blogger, so I can work when my kids are asleep and don’t have to worry about childcare.
My journey has been a rough one. I faced infertility and it didn’t really matter to me until I found out I was adopted. Then I had two children under two and had postpartum depression with both, and am just now finding my footing this past year.
On being questioned on her opinion on adoption being taken as a decision for kids from different countries or regions, she responds, “ I think this is a very, very, hard question. I believe that adoption should be the last possible option. Which to me means if the birth mother does not want to parent because of her personal choice and not due to financial reasons, and then other families don’t want to take in the baby, and then there are no adoption options available in that country- then okay. I am not against adoption but so many people see it as an easy answer to ‘unwanted’ pregnancies, but in a lot of cases, a birth mother would have chosen to keep their child if they had a chance to get on their feet.
I think international adoption should be the last possible option because a lot of adoptive parents choose this since it is often ‘easier’ than adopting domestically.
I have talked to a lot adoptees who have felt their adoptive parents did not integrate their birth culture into their childhood enough, experienced racism, or insults for not conforming as they got older.
If adoptive parents aren’t fully educated before making such a big decision and just focus on the baby aspect, they can often be surprised when cultural problems arise as the children grow older.
So, personally, I would encourage domestic adoptions first and transracial adoptions only if you are properly prepared and willing to take on the unique challenges that will arise.
I have not found my birth parents and am not really interested other than for a medical history. Two half-sisters found me and it didn’t go so well, and I am pretty happy with my husband and two boys. But, yes I am trying to get to know my culture more when I get a chance between taking care of my kids and working.
Lastly, my relationship with my adopted parent is actually pretty good. There are some issues at times where we have to have discussions about terms they are using, or why certain things are inappropriate but we are in a much better place than we have ever been in. “