The Special Chosen One

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If you are an adoptee, have you felt alone in the world with no one to talk to; wondered how other adoptees deal with their emotions; or wondered WHY you were placed for adoption?

If you are a birthparent, have you ever wondered how your child might feel towards you; what their life was like growing up; or how you would react if they ever showed up on your doorstep?

If you are an adoptive parent, are you puzzled with how to deal with your child’s feelings towards adoption but don’t know what to say; thought about helping them search for their birth parents; or how you would handle the situation if they contacted their birth mom?

If you are someone who knows someone who is adopted, have you ever been curious what it was like to be adopted; you don’t know what to say to them about being adopted; or you don’t know how to support them if they are searching? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then this book, The Special Chosen One, is for you.

Click above on ORDER BOOKS HERE.

Aside

Family Medical History

The following article was written by Lynne Miller and appeared on her web page.  When I was younger, before I found my birth family, the subject was frustrating.  Every time a doctor would ask, “What is your family medical history?”  I always sadly answered, “I don’t know.”

 

Medical History: Adoptees Fill in the Blanks

Every time we turn around, we hear about the importance of family medical history. Yet for adoptees, these facts are missing or at best incomplete.

A couple of recent  situations reminded me how little I know about my family medical history.

Leafing through Better Homes and Gardens on the subway, an article about heart disease caught my eye.

“When it comes to heart disease, what runs in your family matters—a lot,” the article began. “Studies show that if one of your parents had a heart attack or stroke, your own risk for these conditions can double, and having a brother or sister with the disease ups your chances of having a heart attack, too.”

I turned the page. Another article suggested talking to relatives about diseases that run in the family and then telling your doctor, who can use the information to recommend lifestyle  changes or screenings. “So grab a pen and paper and start interviewing Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, and everyone in between,” the article said.

Yeah, right. Like I can pick up the phone and get the scoop on family health conditions just like that. The writer is obviously not adopted.

On another day, sitting in an office in Manhattan, my doctor and I tried to calculate my lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. Lillian, my mother, died of breast cancer at the age of 48 and that’s why I made this appointment. I have no idea how old Lillian was when she was first diagnosed with the disease so I couldn’t answer my doctor’s question about age of onset. Hell, I didn’t know about my adoption until 11 years ago and didn’t know Lillian’s name until 2012. By the time I found out about her, Lillian had been gone for nearly 30 years.

I recalled hearing from a relative that Lillian had battled cancer for quite a while.  How long is quite a while? Let’s say my mother had the disease for seven years, I told my doctor.  She knew I was guessing and she wasn’t pleased. My doctor quizzed me about the other members of my family who had the disease. I don’t know, I don’t know, I said. My blood relatives are strangers to me.

I knew what my doctor was thinking: you should know your family history! I am adopted, I said, feeling compelled to defend my ignorance.

pic for medical history article

As we wrapped up our meeting, my doctor commented on how frustrating this lack of history must be for adopted people.

Yup, adoptees from the sealed records era run into these situations all the time. We don’t have family gossip stored in our memories because we never had a chance to talk with our biological kin. We can’t answer doctors’ questions with actual knowledge. We are clueless about our family histories.

In recent months, I’ve learned a few things about the health issues that run on my mother’s side of the family.  Lillian, in addition to breast cancer, struggled with alcohol and probably bipolar disorder. At least one of her brothers struggled with bipolar disorder, too. Lillian’s father, George, also had a drinking problem. My half-sister has diabetes and suffered a mild stroke some years ago.

What little I know about my mother and her relatives seems like a treasure chest of facts compared to what I have on my father and his family – absolutely nothing.

This problem is finally getting attention from the outside world. New Jersey lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow adoptees to gain access to their medical histories along with their original birth certificates.  I say it’s about time.

In the absence of information, I will do what I can to keep heart attacks, strokes and other bad stuff away.  Healthy genes, heart attack genes, mystery genes – whatever I inherited doesn’t have to dictate what’s going to strike me five, 10 or 20 years from now.

I try to take care of myself by making (mostly) healthy choices. Today I have a head cold. Part of me wants to take a nap, the other part of me thinks it’s time to get up, stretch my legs and have a glass of water with another shot of cold medicine.  It’s snowing and 27 degrees outside but a walk might do me good and get my mind off the things over which I have no control.

Loretta Lynn

Excerpt from my memoir, The Special Chosen One.  Available in paperback and eBook on Amazon.

 

“I rode with Aunt Ann and Uncle Hank to the Detroit airport. People everywhere. Mobs of people dashed  past me. Bumped my elbow. Brushed against my shoulder. A white Samsonite suitcase banged my knee.

What if my mom got here early and we missed her?

I searched faces in the swarming herd of strangers. We waited at the gate.

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

“When is her plane gonna land?”

My aunt stretched her arm around my shoulder to comfort me.  “Let’s stand over here so we aren’t so near the door when she gets off the plane. I know my sister. She’s a very nervous person. Give her a chance to let it sink in when she sees you.”

I inspected my surroundings. No TV cameras, that I noticed. Maybe they’re hidden. My aunt might have been sneaky and called the TV station anyway. If I see anything resembling the media, I’ll spin and run. Blend in with the crowd.

My stomach heaved. I can’t let my parents discover what I’ve done.

I examined faces again. If I noticed a familiar face of someone who might know my parents, I’m out of here.

On guard. Be on guard.

“Flight 1706 now arriving from Los Angeles at Gate 36.”

Strange people exited and filed through the doorway.

Oh, my God. What if I don’t know who she is? That would be humiliating if I don’t recognize my own mother.

“Aunt Ann, will you tell me when she gets—”

“There she is, Susan. There’s your mother.”

I stiffened. Fixated upon the woman slumped against the doorway.

“Hank, go help her. She’s about to pass out.”

I should be the one to run to her side. I’m her daughter. She needs help. I can’t let her fall.

She’s going to faint. Oh, my God.

But I’m glued to the floor. I couldn’t do anything but stand and stare.

Loretta Lynn. She looked young and beautiful. She looked like Loretta Lynn, with long black hair pulled up into Grecian curls, which trailed over the shoulders of her light blue silk blouse.

Aunt Ann nudged my back with her hand and walked beside me towards my mother. I looked into the slate-blue eyes of the woman who gave birth to me. This is my mother.

Wendy has her eyes. Now we know.

 We grabbed one another and sobbed. Our grip enmeshed so tight, we couldn’t let go.

Trembling. Her body shivered as if we stood in below-zero weather in a snow blizzard.

 She leaned aside to look at my face. “You look more like him than you do me.”

Uncle Hank guided us to a chair. Every few seconds we’d pull away and look at each other.

Flesh and blood. Yes, we are related.

She hugged me and cried. I sat on her lap and cried. She rocked me. And rocked me. And rocked.

Okay. Now this is getting uncomfortable. I don’t like this. How can I pull away and stop this rocking without hurting her feelings?

Then I remembered Cheryl, the support group leader, when she explained to me what might happen.

“Don’t be surprised if she just wants to hold you. Remember, the last time she saw you was when she cradled you in her arms as a tiny newborn. In her mind, you haven’t grown up because the last image she has of you is a baby. Let her have this time of holding you, if that’s what she wants.”

My tension eased. I relaxed. No TV cameras buzzed. No newspaper reporters aimed and clicked cameras. None of my parents’ friends witnessed this reunion.

Only me and my mom. That’s all who existed at Gate 36 in the Detroit airport.”

Read the rest of the story in my memoir, The Special Chosen One, available at Amazon.com

Adoptee Christmas Cards

I remember back in 1978 after finding my birth mom, I couldn’t find an appropriate card to send her for Christmas.  They all talked about remembering past Christmases, how through the years we’ve shared so much, and on and on.  I couldn’t send any of those to my birth mom.

I’m hoping that today there might be some good greeting cards out there for adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive families.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Memoir of an Adoptee

Watch this video trailer of my newly published book

 

Book Cover FRONT - JPEG

Adoptee’s Prayer

I just want to share An Adoptee’s Prayer, written by Jo Swanson, that was posted on the ALARM site on FaceBook.  I think it portrays how most adoptees feel:

Adoptee Prayer

Birth Mother Found

Exactly 35 years ago today I found my birth mother. I contacted my aunt first, which was the scariest, most rewarding phone call ever in my entire life.

i persevered through the obstacles of the adoption system and “sealed” records. I don’t regret for one minute all the time and effort I put into my search.

To my angels in Heaven, I love you Mom and Aunt Ann

The Special Chosen One

Published November 16, 2013.

NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE on Amazon.  Click anywhere in text to be redirected to purchase site:

Book Cover FRONT - JPEG

If you are an adoptee, have you felt alone in the world with no one to talk to; wondered how other adoptees deal with their emotions; or wondered WHY you were placed for adoption?

 If you are a birthparent, have you ever wondered how your child might feel towards you; what their life was like growing up; or how you would react if they ever showed up on your doorstep?

 If you are an adoptive parent, are you puzzled with how to deal with your child’s feelings towards adoption but don’t know what to say; thought about helping them search for their birth parents; or how you would handle the situation if they contacted their birth mom?

 If you are someone who knows someone who is adopted, have you ever been curious what it was like to be adopted; you don’t know what to say to them about being adopted; or you don’t know how to support them if they are searching?

 If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then this book,  The Special Chosen One, is for you.

 An adopted woman’s journey back to her roots. This memoir peers into the mind and emotions of an adoptee who wonders about her birth parents. The torment of being questioned by physicians as to your medical history, when all an adoptee can answer is, “I don’t know.” The eventual fear of hurting adoptive parents when deciding to search for birth parents. The difficult aspect of searching for records about yourself, but they are sealed forever.

 This book is helpful to all members of the adoption triad; the adoptee, adoptive parents and birth parents, or anyone thinking of adoption or in the process of adopting.

 This book brings forth the theme that adoptees are not alone. The author never knew another adoptee until age 24. Her self-imposed feelings of guilt were always associated with being adopted. What the author didn’t know until later in life is that other adoptees went through the same emotions.

 Also included is valuable information and suggestions for adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents, tips for beginning a search, other books recommended for reading, helpful links, and reading group questions.

Touched by Adoption

There are approximately 5 million adoptees, which are in the center, 10 million birth parents and 10 million adoptive parents, add brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, etc., and at least 135,000,000 people are affected by adoption. 

This is not counting spouses, children, grandchildren, in-laws, or friends of adoptees.

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National Council for Adoption

National Adoption Spokespersons

Justin Anthony, Island Pop ArtistJustin_Anthony

ELEVATE Music Group recording artist Justin Anthony is an island pop artist from Miami, Florida. His music pays homage to his hometown of Kingston, Jamaica where he began his music career as a Reggae artist. He is currently working with award-winning and Grammy nominated producer Winston “Blackout” Thomas (known for his work with Nicky Minaj, Jason Derulo, MIMS, Jim Jones, Serani, and Kymani Marley), on producing his debut album in the United States.

Justin was born October 21, 1984 in West Palm Beach, Florida. He was adopted 3 days after his birth by his loving parents Peter and Ann Chong. Justin was raised in Kingston, Jamaica with his younger brother and sister. Justin’s birthmother was 16 years old when she placed him for adoption. Justin is deeply committed to his family and Jamaican heritage, and is grateful to have been adopted into such a loving family.

“I am truly grateful to have been adopted by such caring parents who provided me with exceptional opportunities, love, and compassion. I can’t imagine my life any other way. I am honored to be part of such a wonderful organization like National Council For Adoption. They’re on the front lines of advocating for adoption of children who are in great need of a loving, permanent family. I know firsthand the importance of a family, and am excited to bring more awareness to the cause of adoption.”

Justin Anthony

Growing Up Adopted

I always knew I was adopted. There was not a specific point in time when my parents told me. It was just an accepted fact.

Growing up, I never met anyone else who was adopted, besides my brother whom I grew up with. Not until I was 24 when I started searching. I found a search and support group, and the leader of the group was an adoptee. She was the first adoptee I ever met.

In writing my memoir, The Special Chosen One, I’m trying to remember back to my grade school years. I couldn’t remember talking to any of my friends about being adopted.

So I contacted a few of them to see what they remembered. Amazing the details that someone else remembers. One of my friends even remembers what tree we were standing under on the day I told her I was adopted. I was about 9 or 10 at the time.

I don’t think my brother and I even talked about it with each other, at least not until we were older.

I remember always feeling inferior to everyone else. I was awfully shy. I don’t know if this was because I was adopted or just my nature. But it seemed that after I found my birth family, I developed a higher self-esteem about myself. I felt more confident. It was easier to talk to people. I felt more like a whole person.

What do you remember from your childhood?
Do you remember talking to your friends about being adopted?
Do you remember the first person you met who was adopted like you?

 

Be Prepared when Searching

Be Prepared

After many years of wondering every kind of scenario possible, be prepared for any possible outcome.

Keep your sense of humor.

  • Expect to encounter some rough-going somewhere along the way.
  • You might be searching for a family who were roamers and did not stay in one place for too long.
  • It might be someone who lived far from your present residence.
  • Maybe they have a common name.
  • Or possibly was of a lower social class.
  • And sometimes lived in an area suffering extensive record loss.

Staying Organized & Sane when Searching

Keeping a Correspondence Index

An important beginning of your search is to keep track of all the correspondence you have sent and received.

The purpose of keeping a correspondence index is to keep track of the date you sent the correspondence, to whom, the purpose or request that you have made, the date you receive an answer, and the information you have received.

  1. Clearly define in your own mind the specific facts you want.
  2. Do enough research to learn who can most likely furnish those facts.
  3. Learn something about the organization first (services provided, fees charged, etc.) 
  4. Do not ask others to gather or compile facts which you can do yourself.
  5. Keep communications short and simple.
  6. Routinely request names and addresses of others who can help you.
  7. Send along a self-addressed stamped envelope. Send sufficient money to cover any expense involved.
  8. Make copies of ALL letters you send.

 

Here is an example of a correspondence index:

     CORRESPONDENCE INDEX

Date Sent   Description                              Response             Date Received

01/01/98    Courthouse requesting         Received info      01/21/98
nonidentifying info

03/03/98    Adoption Agency                     Negative              03/15/98

________________________________________________

________________________________________________

________________________________________________

Special and Chosen Adoptees

Most adoptees grow up and frequently hear that they are “special.”

More often they hear that they were “chosen.”

As an adoptee, I heard the above throughout my life growing up. Somehow when I thought about “being chosen” or “we got to choose you” or “we picked you,” I would get this picture in my mind:

—————————-

They hold hands as they enter a big room with oodles of babies.

They wander around with their index finger on their chins and ponder their choices.

This one has black hair. That one over there has blonde peach fuzz.

Oh, look at that one. She has long fingers—she’ll either be a piano player or a thief.

Which one looks most like us?

This baby boy looks sickly.

I think she looks healthy. I wonder if she’ll be smart.

That girl over there looks perfect.

I am the one they choose. They pick me. I’m special!

And they named me Susan Marie.

 

Get Organized When Searching

Keeping a Diary

I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping a diary. This forms the basis of all the information to show you what avenues you have been on and what information you have gathered. You will be surprised at the amount of information you gather in a short time.

  • This will also prevent you from doing twice the amount of legwork on your search.
  • Provides a good source of information to use so you do not need to rely on your memory.
  • Provides a plan to go by. There are times during the search that your mind becomes so boggled down with information, that it is hard to remember what all is said or done.

And there are times, in later looking back over this diary, that one little bit of overlooked information may suddenly turn on a light that was never seen before. Or a trivial fact in the past might later become the most important detail in your search.

A diary will also provide you with a keepsake to share with your new-found family once your search has been fulfilled.

There will be times in your search when you will become so frustrated you don’t know what to do or which way to turn. You will be very surprised at how helpful re-reading your diary can be.

You will also find other times when you were at that breaking point and about to give up, and then you will turn the page and see how everything was resolved. You will feel encouraged being able to see in black and white the progress that you made from the very beginning.

The diary will also be a place where you can write your innermost feelings, either good or bad. It will show you from the beginning of your search to the end of your search how much you have grown.

  • Look in every possible source of information. This will not only check facts you already have, it will often uncover details not found elsewhere.
  • Obtain forms. Fill them out using what you know and are able to learn from family members, recording the source of each fact.

Accuracy requires the sound organization of data. Beginners are surprised at the amount of data they soon accumulate.

Meeting Birth Mother

At the age of 24, I found my birth mother in November 1978.

One week later she flew from California to Michigan. I went with my aunt and uncle to the airport to meet her. When she stepped off the plane, all she could do was lean against the doorway. I knew she was about to faint, but I stood frozen, unable to help. I wasn’t able to do anything else but just stand there and look at her.

When we finally did reach each other, we could not let go. We cried and held each other, and every few seconds, we would pull away and look into the other’s face to finally be able to see the resemblance in flesh and blood.

YES, we were related.

Newspaper pic

Adoptee’s Children

Before I searched and found my birth family, when my first child was born, I was so overwhelmed by the fact that she was the first blood relative I had ever seen in my entire life.

Have any other adoptees felt the same way when they had their first child?

An Adoptee’s Journey

Discovering Over 400 Years of History

Sharon Annette McCuddySharon Annette McCuddy, Yahoo! Contributor Network

As a young child, “heritage” did not have any meaning to me. When I was in middle school, during a science lab experiment, I discovered I was adopted. Suddenly, the heritage I’d taken for granted, with the nonchalance associated to youth, was stripped away. My adoptive parents had destroyed any records they had about the adoption, believing that I would never find out that they had adopted me. As a result, I had nothing to connect me in a biological sense to anyone in the world.

Read More…………….

Restorative Justice & Overseas Adoption

By Park Hee-jung

In the 10 years I spent providing interpretation and managerial services for international adoptees on a volunteer basis, I witnessed the pain of many international adoptees. Today, I am still providing consultation to adoptees raised in the U.S., and I served as the manager in some facilities in which adoptees stay in Korea to learn the Korean language and culture.

Read More

State Adoption Laws

A Mess of Adoption Laws

Now all in one place; a simple chart and map to see where each US state stands in regard to restoring the civil rights of adopted adults.

Adoption Info-graphic: OBC Access by US States

Adoptee Rights Demonstration 2012

Living the Dream since 1971

Adoption Search Registries

Here are a few links to some adoption search registries:

Finding My Parents Adoption Registry

TxCare Adoption Registry

Adoption Reunion Registry

Adoption Registry Connect

Adoption Database

Find Me

Birthline Reunion Registry

GS Adoption Registry

International Soundex Reunion Registry

Worldwide Registry

Adoption Reunion Registry

Adoption Search Angels

Reunion Story from Birth Mother

Marie Anderson
Lovely Reunion Story from Birth Mother, Ann, who just found her daughter, Kathy just a few days ago!
Ann’s story:
I was a college sophomore, with no skills or job, when I delivered my daughter – and my minister and my doctor suggested a private adoption – to a family that would love her – and needed some help themselves. Unfortunately, the darling little girl was not enough to hold the mariage together – and I found myself signing papers again – even harder the second time! – so that my daughter could have a loving family.
This time she was filling a niche left vacant by a SIDS disaster – and this time it worked. I found ALMA and started my search – but thought that ALMA had disbanded (thank goodness I was wrong!) – and the little girl, now Kathy, started her own search.
One recent Sunday I came home from work to a message on my machine – and I made a VERY special ‘phone call – to find myself smack in the middle of my search again! AND – less than twenty-four hours later, another ‘phone call – with ‘phone numbers – and one of those leads let me, at last, hear the voice I had been waiting to hear for fifty-four years! Although I had planned to be calm, I blurted out my news to the woman on the ‘phone – and we were reunited!
It happens! keep looking – and know that those of us who have found are ALL on your side!! TOTAL THANKS TO ALMA!! Ann

Submitted with permission from Ann by Marie Anderson, Coordinator, The ALMA Society!

Push on CT to Open Adoption Records

By Joe Amarante
Register Staff
jamarante@ctcentral.com

Old secrets, new fears and emotional highs and lows — they all come into play when you talk about adoptees finding the truth about their roots.

And the feelings were running strong in Providence, R.I., July 1 when Gary Osbrey of Putnam and four other adoptees were handed their original birth certificates by the governor there after Rhode Island changed its law on sealed documents.

“I thought I was better prepared, but instead found myself overcome with emotion upon reading the information on the original birth certificate,” Osbrey said. “It was surreal to stand in front of a group of strangers and open the envelope containing information I have waited 50 years to obtain. It was stunning.”

The Ocean State this month joined New Hampshire and Maine, who in recent years changed their laws to allow adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates. Connecticut remains anchored in the past, but it wasn’t always this way.

 “We had open access in Connecticut, until 1974-75, that legislative session,” said Carolyn Goodridge of the Connecticut Association of Foster and Adoptive Parents in Rocky Hill. “[A legislator] actually had an amendment attached to a related bill that closed it. So it never had a public hearing, there was never any chance for anybody to be aware it was happening.”

Rhode Island Secretary of Health & Human Services Steven M. Costantino said in a release that “these birth certificates — these passports to the past — empower the recipients to uncover their identities, their nationalities, and to discover the very core of who they are. In some cases, they will have valuable medical history information as well.”

Connecticut’s most recent legislative efforts to change the law failed, partly because the Judiciary Committee was up to its eyeballs in the death penalty and marijuana debates, and because there is belief in an oft-stated contention that birth mothers were promised privacy. Not so, says Goodridge.

“We’ve got a lot of birth mothers who have come forward in this movement,” she said, “and they’re saying they were not made any promises.”

She said unwed mothers weren’t accepted in the 1940s through 1970s and faced a big societal stigma.

“If they became pregnant out of wedlock,” said Goodridge, “they were sent away and their families told them ‘You’ve got to give away the child because no one can know you were pregnant.’ Their church told them ‘You’ve got to give up the child.’ So, they felt so much guilt, shame and fear that they never did talk about it. … It wasn’t that they were made promises by anybody.” Continued…

Read more at http://www.americanadoptioncongress.org/stories.php

Should adoption be revealed?

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