Mother daughter adoption tattoos

Mother daughter adoption tattoos DEFAULT

Something was brought to my attention and I felt the need to write this down. I am adopted, and I am a birth mom. There is no denying or hiding it. Its a major part of me. And really it is something I would never try to hide or deny. There is no shame in adoption, in being in any part of adoption. And there is also the  minor detail about having an adoption tattoo on my arm in plain sight that I show off proudly.


Growing up I don&#;t remember any single moment that I was told I was adopted. It was a simple fact that I grew up with. When I placed my son for adoption I knew without a doubt that any future children I had would grow up knowing all about him. Fast forward 3 children later and they all know about him. My daughter is only 2, but she has spent every summer of her life with him, and sees him on FaceTime, and sees his pictures around the house. She may not understand, but she knows he&#;s her brother.

No, telling my children that they have an older sibling that was placed for adoption did not hurt them, or scar them in any way. No I did not tell them &#;too soon&#;. Well unless you mean I talked about their older brother even before they could talk, then sure, maybe it was &#;too soon&#; as they couldn&#;t talk about it and join in the conversation.

My children have grown up with the fact that they have an older brother. Being that my oldest son was placed into an open adoption. My oldest son was able to meet my 3 younger children all before they were 6 months old and been able to visit them every few years.

Adoption isn&#;t something to be hidden away, kept in secret, only talked about in dark corners in the middle of the night in whispers.

I am adopted. I am a birth mom. Why should my children grow up not knowing these things?

Yes, my children miss their older brother. Yes, I miss him. Yes, it hurts me to know they miss him. Yes, I have answered many, many, many questions over the years and will probably continue to do so. Yes it is hard, some days harder than others. Yes, we have all cried countless tears. Is it worth it? Yes. My children all know each other and get to grow up together and create their own special bond together. Seeing all four of my children together, I wouldn&#;t trade that for anything.

Adoption should be talked about. All the time. Adoption is not a bad thing. It is nothing to be ashamed about. Adoption is a beautiful thing. Adoption is all about love and family. Because of adoption my family has grown in numbers and love, a love that crosses the oceans.

Just as my kids grow up knowing that the sun rises and sets, they know that they have a brother who has another family and has his own life path to follow, but that he is still their brother no matter where he lives.

~ Michelle

Adoptee, Adoption Support, Birth Family, Birth Mom, Family, Family Time, Kids, Life, Life Is Beautiful, Life Lessons, Life of a Mom, Mom Life, Motherhood, Toddler

It is the day after Mother&#;s Day, as I&#;m sure we all know. And this morning I find myself sitting here trying to sort through all the different emotions that were felt yesterday. It is almost as if I am in an emotional hangover. I felt so many different strong emotions yesterday, my head is feeling fuzzy this morning with it all.

First and foremost I feel incredible blessed that I am lucky enough to actually celebrate Mothers Day from the view point of a Mother. I had three beautiful children wake me up early yesterday. I kissed each of their little perfect little faces and cried a little bit. In that moment of pure joy I was lost in happiness, then it hit me. Like a brick wall. Like an atomic bomb going off. I sat there staring into the eyes of my 3 beautiful children, and missed my other two babies so much. My son I gave up for adoption was out there some where showering his mom in love on this special day, and my angel baby that I never got hold, I would love to believe is watching over us all. Two pieces of my heart were missing, and their absence grew throughout the day, each time I smiled I also cried on the inside. I broke a little more as the minutes passed yesterday.

My son that I gave up for adoption is so blessed. He has a mother that loves him so fiercely that DNA doesn&#;t matter. I know yesterday that he was loved and with his mother showering her in the love and attention she so deserves. His mom is truly an amazing, wonderful, empowering, beautiful soul. He is where he belongs with a mother that loves him. It does make the days easier knowing this. As my heart breaks, this knowledge slowly starts to cover up those cracks. Slowly, but never completely.

Yesterday, outside of my own little experience in motherhood, I felt so much pride. I was surrounded by so many strong woman yesterday. It was very empowering as I looked around the room. I saw my mom. My beautiful mother that has stood by my side through everything, supported me, encouraged me, loved me, her faith in me has never wavered. She taught me what a mothers unconditional love is like. If I become half the mother she has been to me, I will be incredibly lucky. In the room was also my 90 year old Grandmother. She is amazing. Words don&#;t even being to describe this amazing lady. She has 13 children, 30 grandchildren, over 50 great-grand children and 1 great-great-grandchild. I am just in awe of her. She has never forgotten anyones birthday, or anything. She has lived, and continues to live such an amazing life. I just can not even put into words how empowering and wonderful she is. And I can not forgot my aunt. A single mom of 2 girls that she adopted and a foster mom. She loves every child that comes into her home. And continues to open her home and heart up to more children when these kids are placed back with their families. She has so much strength. She such an amazing woman and mother. It is amazing to watch her in her journey of motherhood both as a mother and foster mom. Not to mention all the other moms that were in my house yesterday! I was surrounded by 7 amazing moms yesterday. I could go on and on about all of these beautiful people, but there is not enough time left in the world for that. It was really amazing to be able to celebrate all of these beautiful souls yesterday.

Out of all the moms I had the honour to be around yesterday, my own birth mother was no where in sight. She didn&#;t even speak to me yesterday. My journey to find my birth mother did not go how I had planned or expected, and our relationship was nothing I ever imagined. Her absence was missed, but it didn&#;t break me. I am so lucky that I have such an amazing mom that loves me. My birth mother gave me life, I love her for that, and I would love her for more if she let me, but our journey didn&#;t go that way. And thats ok. I have the best family a girl could ever dream for. My heart is full. I have been loved enough by my mom for the both of them.

Like I said before, I felt a lot of big emotions yesterday. Some good, some amazing, some down right hurtful, and some that broke me. But overall, after all was said and done, as I sit here today in the aftermath of emotions, watching my daughter destroy my living room, I feel love. Love for my children, all of my children, for my mom, for all the amazing moms in my life who have inspired me in one way or another.

It may be a day late, but Happy Mother&#;s Day to all the amazing moms out there, step-moms, all the moms who have lost their babies, never got a chance to hold their babies, or are still struggling to have their babies, and to all the dads pulling double duty.



~ Michelle

Adoptee, Adoption, Birth Mom, Birth Mother, Family, Family Time, Kids, Life, Life Lessons, Life of a Mom, Mom Life, Mother's Day, Motherhood

Roses my Birth Mother gave me the one and only time we met in person

3 years ago, yesterday actually, I found my birth mother. Or she found me? We found each other?

I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was a cold winter day, I was about 10 years into my search, I had made a break through and actually finally found people that knew her, one problem, no one seemed to know where she was at that time. I was trying to clear all the stress and drama while I walked to school to pick up my boys. On the walk back home my phone rang, as soon as I saw the area code my heart stopped, it was the area code from where I believed my birth mother was. I tried to calm myself, telling myself it was probably just some numbers calling me back after I left messages. I took a deep breathe and answered the phone.

On the other end of the phone was a woman asking for me by my birth name. It was her. She was real. She was alive. She was actually on the other end talking to me.

I screamed.

Then I verified her information, made sure it was really her. It was real. It was really her.

I screamed again.

When I got home I didn&#;t want to attempt to get the boys in the house, since they would be so loud, so I sat outside in the cold. (If you know me, that is a BIG deal) I was outside for over an hour. We talked about everything, mostly just shooting off question to question at each other.

The first few days and weeks we talked all the time. There were good morning and good night text messages, phone calls, a constant string of texts, I had to re-charge my phone countless times during the day. I have never used my phone so much or talked on the phone so much.

The &#;honeymoon&#; stage was such a blur. So much information was exchanged, so many questions were asked, so, so, SO many feelings were running around. Then something happened. The phone calls stopped, the text messages slowed and stopped.

3 years later I sit here, trying to figure it all out. Trying to piece together what happened. Trying to figure out why. Why it went this way. Why this all happened. Did I do something wrong? Was I not good enough for her? Was I not what she imagined?

3 years later and she has become a stranger again.

In all the questions asked, I&#;m left with a million more.

I don&#;t know what will happen, I don&#;t even know what happened!

This whole journey has been such a strange, crazy, unpredictable, emotional, rollercoaster. Sometimes I can&#;t even tell which direction I should be facing.

Should I have found her? Yes. Did I ever imagine that something like this could happen? No. Would I change it? I don&#;t know. Because I don&#;t know what I should change. I don&#;t know where things went &#;wrong&#; to lead me to this path. I don&#;t even know if this is the &#;wrong&#; path!

What I can tell you is that I never dreamed it would be like this.

Growing up I had a million different scenarios in my head, none of them even close to this.

In an adoption everyone wants a happy ending. Most birth mothers hope that if and when their child comes back it will be happy. Most adoptive parents want it to go well because they don&#;t want to see their child hurt. Most adoptees just don&#;t want to be hurt, they want answers.

When I think of my adoption journey I almost feel like a failure. I was lucky to finally find my birth mother, I was lucky she wanted to find me. But some where, some how, something, maybe, went wrong. Or maybe this is just how it was meant to be. I don&#;t know.

I imagined that we would have some sort of relationship, friendship. I didn&#;t imagine I would meet her and lose her again. I never thought she would become a stranger. I never knew someone and a situation could cause such confusion, and bring on so many questions, and so many different feelings all at once.

I found my birth mom 3 years ago, and I have even more questions than when I started.

This journey has been so much harder and emotionally draining and confusing than I would have dreamed possible.

Maybe the next 3 years will bring some more answers. Maybe. If there are even any answers to be had.

~ Michelle

Adoptee, Adoption, Adoption Support, Birth Family, Birth Mom, Birth Mother, Family, Life, Life Lessons, Searching For Birth Family

I have an Adoption Tattoo on my arm. I don&#;t try to hide it. I am proud of it, and I am proud of what it represents.


I am an Adoptee and I am Birth Mother and I will share my story with anyone who asks and will listen.

When people see my tattoo they are always interested to know what it means. As soon as they find out I am adopted it brings on a slew of questions and remarks, always good things. Some such remarks I have heard are &#;Wow that is amazing. You are so lucky you found a good home. That is such a beautiful story.&#;
However when those same people that get so excited and happy that I was adopted as a baby find out I am a birth mother everything changes. Those same people will suddenly take a step back, look me up and down, shake their head and walk away. Sometimes they will even say things like &#;How dare you! How could you do that to your baby?&#; and storm off.

As long as someone views me as some helpless baby that got &#;taken in&#; or &#;rescued&#; its sweet and cute even. However as soon as they learn that I gave up a baby for adoption I am suddenly a bad person. I am here to tell you that that is not the case, not even close.

Birth parents are not bad people. We are not heartless. We do care. We do love our children. We did what was best for our children, even if that wasn&#;t what we wanted to do, we had to put our children first.

I had my son when I was There was no way I could give him the life he deserved. I wanted the best for him. I wanted to give him a better chance at life. I wanted him to have a life that I knew in my heart that I could not give him.

Did I want to keep my son? Did I want to be the one that he calls Mom? Did I want to be the one he cries for when he&#;s scared, hurt or sick? YES. A million times yes.
Did my heart break into a million pieces every day of my pregnancy knowing how it would end? Did my heart completely destroy itself when I had to walk out of that hospital empty handed while I watched another woman walk away with my son, her son? YES. A million time yes.

I sacrificed my own heart, my own feelings and my own dreams so that my son could have what he deserved. So he could have more than what I could give him.

I am not heartless, I am not mean, I am not a bad person.

I am a birth mother. I put my sons needs before my own.

I sacrificed everything so my son could have a better life.

So next time you find out someone is a birth mother, think before you speak, find out her story.

~ Michelle

Adoptee, Adoption, Adoption Support, Adoption Tattoo, Birth Mom, Birth Mother, Life, Life Lessons

Roses my Birth Mother gave me 2 years ago

Two years ago I met my Birth Mother and Birth Grandmother for the first time.
Two years later and honestly I still feel just as confused as I did on that day.
On that day I could not find any of the right words that even resemble what I was feeling or thinking. I just could not seem to put this into the right words, and I still can&#;t. This is not an easy situation, it is a lot more complex and confusing than I would have ever thought possible.
So please bear with me through this.

I met my Birth Mom and Birth Grandmother.
This should be a happy moment. Right? Cloud 9. Jumping up and down. Happy dance. All of that right?

Let me back up a little bit. I spent my entire life, for as long as I can remember with certain beliefs about my birth mom. I knew it was silly, and I shouldn&#;t assume things about someone I knew nothing about, but I also felt I was right. Something I knew in my heart to be true. Like we had a connection or something. As I grew older and heard horror stories about Adoption Reunions I knew to always &#;expect to the unexpected&#; so to speak. So I tried my hardest to expand what I believed. There were just certain parts that I could not let go of. My heart just told me they were true. I hoped for the best and prepared for the worse.
My first mistake was thinking my search would be easy. Of course she would be looking for me. All of them would be. Of course there would be an easy trail for me to find. Turns out it was not easy, or quick. My search took nearly 10 years.
Then reality came knocking on my door, more like destroyed it actually. Out of the ,,, scenarios I thought of none of them were true.
I realize this was fully on me, I only have myself to blame. But after believing for so long in something, trusting your heart for so long, and realizing it was all wrong, to have your beliefs&#;, hopes, dreams, thoughts, all crushed&#; It was hard. I had to re-evaluate everything I thought and believed about myself, about her, about everything connected to my Adoption. That connection I believed I had, that I was somehow special because I felt this, was gone.

Throughout this I did, and still do, feel so blessed and lucky that I have been able to actually find my birth mom. That&#;s the important thing here. I actually found her. I am one of the lucky ones. My search was finally over. A whole new journey is before me now.

When it came time to actually meet her, I didn&#;t know what to think. I didn&#;t know what to feel. I was confused before she even stepped foot in my house. Which took me by a giant surprise. I thought I was ready to take this step. I thought I knew what I wanted, how I felt, everything. I thought meeting her would be the next natural step and everything about it would be natural and free-flowing.

As I looked into the eyes of the person that gave birth to me, as I looked into the eyes of my birth grandmother for the first time, my blood&#;. I don&#;t know. In that moment in time, I didn&#;t know what to feel, think or expect. I was shaken to the core from this meeting.

I looked into their eyes and it really hit me, there is a whole family history there that I&#;m connected to it. But I don&#;t feel connected. I should feel connected, right? Should it be an instant connection? We are blood after all. There should be a bond? Something small there at least? Where did that connection go that I thought I had with her growing up? Was that really gone? Or was it just my beliefs that were gone? I thought it was just my beliefs. For sure some connection should remain?

I never thought I would be this confused, I never thought I would feel like this. I never dreamed the emotional roller coaster this would be. I never dreamed it would go on for years.

I want to be able to tell people that this meeting was what dreams are made of. That it went perfectly. That it was wonderful. That it left me with no questions at all. I want to say that we had a connection and are now involved in each others lives. I want to be able to say that, because a part of me wanted it to be like that.
Don&#;t get me wrong. I&#;m glad I met them. It was a good experience. I wouldn&#;t change it for the world.

But the truth is here I am 2 years later after meeting them and I am just as confused and lost as I felt on that day.

Our relationship has not progressed the way I thought it would, and honestly I am not sure where that leaves us, or what it means.

I spent 28 years without her, I spent 10 years looking for her, I realize a relationship will not be built overnight, related by blood or not, this is going to take a lot of work. A lot more than I thought would take for people related by blood, for a daughter and her birth mother.

Thanks to all those who have supported me throughout all of this! Your love and support means so much to me!

Adoptee, Adoption, Adoption Reunion, Adoption Support, Birth Family, Birth Mom, Birth Mother, Finding My Birth Family


Lets be brutally honest for a minute.
I never try to judge another person, especially a mother, especially a birth mother. I don&#;t know their story, their feelings. And some times people say things that I don&#;t agree with, and that is their choice to believe what they want. But sometimes people say things that make me feel uneasy.
When I hear a birth mother say &#;I finally got my son/daughter back after ? years my family is complete&#; I cringe. I can&#;t help it. I feel uneasy. It took me a while to figure out why. It affects me on a few different levels. I will attempt to break it down for you.

When I hear a birth parent say &#;I finally got my son/daughter back&#;, from an adoptees stand point this bothers me. I&#;m sorry, but you can never &#;have me back&#;. I found my birth mother, I never got her back. She didn&#;t come into my life and suddenly become my mother, she is still my birth mom. I have a mother, a very good mother, and she will not be replaced simply because I found the woman who gave birth to me. It doesn&#;t take away all the years that I was raised by someone else. Yes I am in a unique position to have two families, one made by blood, one made by love. My family made by love is my family. Another family may have found me, but they can not have me back and take over role as family for me. I&#;m sorry, for me, it doesn&#;t work that way.

When I hear a birth parent say &#;I finally got my son/daughter back&#; from a birth mothers stand point I still feel uneasy about this. I will never &#;get my son back&#;. I gave him up for adoption, my role ends there, I am a birth mother, not his mother. Just because I know him does not change my standing in his life. I will never be a mother to him in the sense that his mother is to him, or in the sense that I am a mother to my 3 younger children. I love my son as much as my 3 younger kids. All four of my children are my life, they are my world, they are my heart, my reason. But when it comes to my older son, I am on the sidelines watching and cheering him on in his life with his mother, his real mother. I don&#;t get to sit here on the sidelines, wait till he is 16 or 18, and say &#;your old enough to make a choice, come live with me, I want you back&#;. It doesn&#;t work that way. I will never &#;get him back&#;. I will never have a legal claim to him. I couldn&#;t even take him to the doctors if I wanted to, I can&#;t make medical decisions. I am a birth mother, not a mother, and I can never get my roll as mother &#;back&#;. I love him like only a mother can, but I am not his mother.

Even when I found my birth mother after nearly 10 years of searching, I never once said &#;I have my mom back&#;. I have a mom already. I found my birth mom yes, but she is still just my birth mom. I love the woman, she gave me life, I have a great respect for her for what she did for me. But just because I found her, found my half-sister, does not mean I &#;got them back&#; and have some how replaced existing family members, or completed my family. My family was already complete. Finding my birth family was just an added bonus.

Let me just end this in saying there is a big difference between saying someone is back in your life, and laying a claim to someone saying you got them back.

~ Michelle

Adoptee, Adoption, Adoption Support, Birth Family, Birth Mom, Birth Mother, Searching For Birth Family

There seems to always be a heated debate going on these days. Usually it is brought about by a news story that people seem the feel the need to completely pull apart and attack. Then attack each others views and opinions. Oh the joy of the Internet. Where you can insult and hurt people without ever seeing the true effect of your words.


The latest debate I have been reading about has to do with Adoption. Actually not so much about Adoption, but about Adoption terms.

Adoption terms such as: &#;I placed my child for adoption&#; compared to &#;I gave up my child for adoption.&#;
I think these terms are used based on personal preference.

Now as an Adoptee and a Birth Mother I think I have a unique view on this subject.

I was given up for adoption. My birth mother was in no way forced into placing me for adoption. She went into it willing. My birth mother gave up her rights to parent me. As soon as I was released from the hospital I was given to my new forever family.

I grew up with the term &#;given up for adoption&#;. I have never once viewed it in a negative light. My parents have never once used it in a negative way. I have never once felt sad about it. I never even felt different about myself because I was &#;given up for adoption&#;. It is a fact. She signed papers and gave up her right to parent me, to be my mother, to take care of me and raise me. She gave up her daughter, me. She gave up her chance at motherhood so I could have a better chance.

When I was 16 I got pregnant. I made plans to give up my son for adoption and place him into a family.

I gave my son up for adoption. I placed my son for adoption.
At the end of the day it means the same thing, but does it really?

I gave up the chance to be a mother.
I gave up the chance to comfort my child.
I gave up the right to be called a mother.
I gave up the right to be the one to raise my child.
I gave up the right to stay up all night with my new-born baby.
I gave up the right to kiss my son&#;s boo-boos better.
I gave up the chance to hold his hands as he took his first steps.
I gave up the chance to hear my sons first words.
I gave up the chance to experience all the joys motherhood brings.
I gave up the chance to experience all the struggles motherhood brings.
I gave up a part of my heart to someone else.
I gave up a part of me.
I gave up the right to have my name on his birth certificate.
I gave up what my life could have been.
I gave all of that, and more, up because my love for my son outweighed all of that.
I gave up all of that so that my son could have a better life. A life I could never give him myself.
I gave up my hopes and dreams because he deserved more.
I did NOT give up on my son. I gave him a chance a better life.
I gave my son up for adoption, which placed him into a loving family.

By saying I &#;gave up my child for adoption&#; does not in any way, shape, or form, or mean that I gave up ON my son! I loved my son from the moment I knew I was pregnant, and my love for him has only continued to grow. I have only ever wanted what was best for my child.

Adoption is a very sensitive topic. Adoption touches people differently. Some people have good experiences, some have bad.
If you are a birth mom and you prefer to say that you placed your child for adoption. Then I will respect your preference.
However for me, in my life, in my situations, I am comfortable with myself, my choices, and the words gave up for adoption.

To label something as negative, that is what makes it negative.
Do not just throw a blanket of negativity out over a term, and thus over people who use it.
Words and terms mean different things to different people, respect that.

Adoption is about love. Creating an adoption plan. Placing a child for adoption. Giving up a child for adoption. Placing for adoption. Which ever term you use, a great sacrifice was made in the name of love.

But of course this is just my personal opinion on it all.

~ Michelle

Adoptee, Adoption, Adoption Support, Adoption Terms, Birth Mom, Family


There are not many times in my life that I have &#;felt&#; like I was adopted.
There are times that it gets pointed out to me, like at doctors offices when they ask for family medical history. Or on my birthday. Yes my birthday. People feel the need to ask me if I&#;m sad on my birthday, or rather they assume I am. It usually goes a little something like this &#;I&#;m sure this day is sad for you, you know, because your adopted, but Happy Birthday anyway!&#; Um&#;what?!

My birthday has never been sad. My parents, the lovely and wonderful people who adopted me, did a good job at loving me, raising me, and making sure to always celebrate my awesomeness on my birthday.

I don&#;t know what it is like for other adoptees out there, but I can reassure you that my birthday was never sad.
There is however a difference with feeling sad and feeling like something is missing. Or someone is missing. With adoption you do always feel like a piece of you is missing, because it is.

But since finding my Birth Mom a couple of years ago, I have noticed a difference in how I feel on my birthday. My Birth Mother and I didn&#;t have the reunion that I am sure many adoptees dream of. Or maybe we just haven&#;t gotten there yet, who knows. All I know is that at this point in time we don&#;t talk. So now on my birthdays, now that I know her, now that I know she&#;s a real live person, now that she has been in my house, now that she is making the choice not to be involved (as she had no choice before being that it was a closed adoption), that is hard to swallow and deal with. Being rejected all over again.

For the first time in my life I do feel sad and feel like something, someone, is missing. I feel sad that it turned out this way. I feel sad for the woman I have yet to get to know. I feel sad that this woman is missing out on the potential to know some really awesome people; my family.

Yet in saying that it just goes to prove how powerful adoption is, how it doesn&#;t take blood to make a family. My parents love me so fiercely, I am their child, I am loved and we are a real family, and that is enough for me.

So next time you know someone who is adopted and they are celebrating a birthday just say Happy Birthday. That is it. Happy Birthday. And maybe give them cake. Cake is always a good option.

~ Michelle

Adoptee, Adoption, Adoption Support, Birth Family, Birth Mom, Birth Mother, Birthday, Family

Adoption can be hard. Especially when it comes to trying to find your birth family. Personally it took me almost 10 years of searching before I got any answers (And honestly I am still waiting for some). It was such a long emotionally draining journey. But I finally made it, I finally found my birth family.
Here are few things I learned along the way.

1. How important it is to keep up to date information with the agency or government. Always update it. Even if you don&#;t think someone is looking for you. Always update it. If you move for a job, get a new phone number, get married, divorced, whatever changes you make, Please update! My birth mother never updated her information, and even though I had a number and address for her, it did me no good.
And if there is any paper work to fill out stating you don&#;t want to be found, fill it out, don&#;t ignore it, let other person know so they are not left wondering and searching.

2. Don&#;t let fear hold you back. It is better to find out the answers than be left wondering. Don&#;t let the fear of bad news hold you back from what very well may be great news.

3. When filling out paper work, don&#;t just print the forms from online, Call. Talk to someone who works there, have them explain every little thing to you. Then call back again to talk to someone else and double-check. Trust me! It could help save you a lot of time, and ensure you get the right forms the first time!

4. Pray and have lots of faith!

5. Make sure you are actually ready for this, good news or bad news, and know what you want out of the relationship!

6. Make sure you have a good support system around you. People to help you, people you can lean on and turn to. It can be a hard journey, a little extra support and love goes a long way.

7. Sometimes what you are hoping for, isn&#;t what you find. Sometimes there are no happy endings.

8. Sometimes there are happy endings.

Hopefully if both sides of the adoption (Birth Family and Adoptee) can remember to do this, their search will not take as long as mine!

If you are searching I hope you find what you are looking for. I hope your road is a smooth one, I hope you find whatever it is your, or who ever it is, you are looking for.

Adoptee, Adoption, Adoption Support, Birth Family, Birth Mom, Birth Mother, Searching For Birth Family

3 years ago I got my first tattoo it is of the Adoption Symbol. The three sides of the tattoo represent 1. The Birth Parents, 2. The Parents Adopting, 3. The Child. All included in the one heart for the love they all share.

I got this on my left forearm, right where my baby&#;s head was cradled the very first time I got to hold him before he was placed for adoption.
I&#;m Adopted and A Birth Mother so this tattoo represents SO many people. First off it represents my Birth Parents, My Parents, and myself, it also represents my Son, the amazing Parents that adopted him, and again myself.

For personal reasons there is no coloring, no extra images, or flare to it. I didn&#;t want anything to take away from the meaning of it. And didn&#;t want anything to &#;glamorize it&#; as being a Birth Mother is not an easy thing, it&#;s the hardest thing I have ever had to do and don&#;t find anything &#;glamorous&#; about it.

~ Michelle

Do you have a Wordless Wednesday post? Or a not so Wordless Wednesday post? Link up below!

Adoptee, Adoption, Adoption Support, Adoption Tattoo, Birth Mom, Birth Mother, Family, Tattoo, Wordless Wednesday

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We hope you find the information you are interested in. On our site you can find many other information about tattoos. In addition, we have a catalog of tattoo artists, as well as a description of tattoo styles. Explore the various pages of our site and you will learn a lot of interesting things about the tattoo design.

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We are still open and offering all adoption services. We are answering questions and supporting our clients, all while staying safe. Whether you are expecting a baby or looking to grow your family, contact us today to talk with an adoption specialist about your specific needs: ()

The Two Tattoos&#;

Written by adoption support center

Sitting across the table from a young woman who recently placed her infant son with an adoptive family, I noticed a tattoo on her inner wrist. “Tell me about that tattoo,” I asked. I was already amazed by her strength and composure. For someone who was deep in the throes of grief and sharing a life history of use and abuse from men, the inked word “Queen”along with a small crown seemed like the perfect metaphor for who she really was.

“I got this when I was with this other guy. He was the King and I was his Queen. So we got matching tattoos. He’s gone, but most of the time when I see this tattoo I don’t think of him. I just think of how strong I need to be and how strong I can be.”

While I was thinking this over, she went on to show me the inside of her other wrist. “This was my first tattoo,” she said. “I got it when I was a teenager. My mom signed for it and even paid for it.” This tattoo was simply a beautiful script with the words “Love yourself.”

“Are you able to follow that advice?” I asked. Her reply was honest. “Sometimes. But sometimes it’s hard.” 

Taking on the role of “post placement specialist” has challenged my counseling skills, my patience, and my reserves of empathy. Yet it has been the greatest privilege and honor I’ve ever had in over 30 years in social work. 

Women who have placed their babies for adoption have drawn on reserves of strength most of us could never find. My goal is to help each woman start to build back that inner reserve, step by step, bit by bit.

Queen. Love yourself. Women—we deserve to be treated with the respect due a queen. But if we don’t love ourselves first, it will be difficult to accept that respect, much less to expect it. 

For birth mothers everywhere, you have my utmost respect. For adoptive mothers everywhere, you are also able to claim that title. And for all of us engaged in adoption, remember to love yourselves. 

Queen. Love yourself.   

Tags: adoption, adoption agency, adoption agency indiana, adoption for my child, adoption grief, adoption option, adoption support, adoptioneducation, adoptionislove, adoptive family, Adoptive parents, birth family, birth mom, birth mom support, birth mother, considering adoption, diversity, domestic adoption, domesticadoption, ethical adoption, ethicalprofessionals, expectant mom, expectant mother, give baby up for adoption, giving baby up, indiana adoption, Open adoption, place baby for adoption, post-placement, pregnancy help, put baby up for adoption, readytoadopt, semi-open adoption, unexpected pregnancy

Come to Find Out&#;

Written by adoption support center

Have you ever had a conversation with someone in which you start that conversation completely at a loss?

It’s like the other person has been talking to you for over an hour, but in reality you have barely gotten past the hellos. 

The fact is, none of us exist in a vacuum. We are surrounded by people and things, and these are constantly changing. Even when we are in a relationship with someone, we don’t spend every waking moment with that person, whether it’s our spouse, child, best friend, or parent. 

One of the tricky parts of understanding the behavior of others is realizing that we might not have intimate knowledge of the precipitating factorsin their lives. 

“Precipitating factors” is a fancy way of saying “come to find out.”

Here’s an example of “come to find out.” Several years ago, I worked as a child therapist in a large, urban, public school district with behaviorally challenged children. One day, around mid-morning, I received a crisis call from the third-grade teacher. “Eric” had just had a disruptive meltdown in the classroom, and in addition to calling me for help, the teacher had summoned school security. 

When I arrived in the classroom, Eric was being escorted from the room by the school security officer. I asked the officer to bring Eric to my office. Once we were there, Eric began shaking and crying. Working backward, I learned that Eric was late to school that morning because his mother had overslept. Because his mother had overslept, Eric had not had breakfast, nor had he had his medication for ADHD. I broke into my snack drawer, and Eric began eating what turned out to be the first meal he had eaten since the previous day’s lunch. 

Continuing the conversation, I asked Eric why he and his mother had overslept. Come to find out, Eric’s stepfather had been released from jail the day before, and his mother, stepfather, and assorted other relatives had been on a drinking and drugging binge until the sun was about to come up.

Is it any wonder that Eric had a meltdown in his classroom?

Navigating open adoption relationships brings its own set of precipitating factors.

Envision a Sunday afternoon phone call between adoptive mom and birth mom. Baby has been colicky and only slept about three hours from Saturday night into Sunday morning.  Adoptive mom’s symptoms of endometriosis have been acting up again, and she is clearly in pain. Adoptive dad had to take an extra shift the previous night. Neither mom or dad wants to mention any of this, because they want birth mom to feel confident that they were the right choice to raise this baby. They want her to think all is going well and that they can handle this. They also want to stay in touch with birth mother, because they genuinely like and respect her.

As the phone call starts, the birth mom seems more quiet than usual. Adoptive mom almost senses a bit of a cry, but then second guesses herself and doesn’t ask about it. Birth mom ends the call almost as soon as it begins, and stares at her phone. On the phone is a text from her brother’s girl friend, who wants birth mom to loan her $ to bail her brother out of jail. Birth mom doesn’t want to do this, and she doesn’t want to mention it to the adoptive family because she doesn’t want them to have a reason to stop communicating with her. Birth mom had wanted to plan the first visit, but her car had broken down again on Saturday, and she didn’t have anyone who could help her get it fixed. She was hesitant to say anything about the visit because she didn’t want to raise her hopes and then not be able to have the visit. 

Neither side of this conversation has any idea what is going on before the conversation starts. Both sides are left feeling unsettled and unwelcome.

Can we ever come to find outall the factors that make for strained behavior or uncomfortable interactions in an open adoption relationship?

The answer is probably “it all depends.”So much depends on the relationship that is developed between those who are in the relationship. 

Are you open to hearing the precipitating factors to behavior that puzzles you? Or do you find yourself thinking those are just excuses? 

Are you willing to be vulnerable and share precipitating factors, at times causing your behavior to be unexpected or unusual?

Are you able to extend grace, understanding, and forgiveness?

For an open adoption relationship to work, the answer to all of this must be a resounding “yes.” Trust is built over time, with stops and starts, but the ultimate goal of open adoption is to create an environment of trust and commitment for the child. 

Come to find out, we all need a little grace and understanding in all our relationships.  

Tags: adoption, adoption agency, adoption agency indiana, adoption for my child, adoption grief, adoption option, adoption support, adoptioneducation, adoptionislove, adoptive family, Adoptive parents, birth family, birth mom, birth mom support, birth mother, considering adoption, diversity, domestic adoption, domesticadoption, ethical adoption, ethicalprofessionals, expectant mom, expectant mother, give baby up for adoption, giving baby up, indiana adoption, Open adoption, place baby for adoption, post-placement, pregnancy help, put baby up for adoption, readytoadopt, semi-open adoption, unexpected pregnancy

Biographers Day

Written by adoption support center

Today is Biographers Day. Yes, for those of you keeping track of obscure reasons to celebrate, May 16 is the day on which “commemorates the anniversary of the first meeting of Samuel Johnson and his biographer James Boswell in London, England on May 16, , and honors all biographers.”

So why on earth is an adoption blogger even bothering to mention this, much less attempt a thoughtful blog on the topic?

This is an excellent question, and hopefully by the end of the blog there is be an answer.

I think this is worth noting because there is a little piece within each of us that wants to be known. Each one of us wants to be connected to another person here on earth. We want to be seen. We want to be understood.

All of this then connects to our own unique identity.

We identify ourselves by our work, our gender, our appearance, our religion, our neighborhood. We identify ourselves by our family affiliation—mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son, granddaughter, grandson. You get the idea.

And then some of us find that we are identifying ourselves by means of how our family was created and our role within that family—primarily by the means in which we came to the role.

Confused yet? How many blogs and books are written about “adoptees?” Or “birth mothers?” Or “adoptive families?” 

Mother’s Day has just gone by for , and Father’s Day is coming. Were birth mothers and adoptive mothers celebrated equally? Will birth fathers and adoptive fathers share in the same recognition on June 16? 

If someone were to write your biography today, what pieces of your identity would be most important? Or would your identity be defined by your roles? 

If someone were to write my biography today, I hope they would include such things about me as my personality. I hope they would include how I made the world a little bit brighter for someone else. I hope they would mention my amazing family—including all the quirkiness and brokenness that has strengthened me and given me insight. If the biographer wanted to mention adoption, I would agree to that being a page, because there is no doubt the institution of adoption has played a huge role in both my personal and professional life. Yet I don’t want the title of my story to be Diane, Adoptive Mother

I think I want the title of my story to be Diane, A Loving Person.

And your biography title? I’d love to share those as well.

Tags: adoption, adoption agency, adoption agency indiana, adoption for my child, adoption grief, adoption option, adoption support, adoptioneducation, adoptionislove, adoptive family, Adoptive parents, birth family, birth mom, birth mom support, birth mother, considering adoption, diversity, domestic adoption, domesticadoption, ethical adoption, ethicalprofessionals, expectant mom, expectant mother, give baby up for adoption, giving baby up, indiana adoption, Open adoption, place baby for adoption, post-placement, pregnancy help, put baby up for adoption, readytoadopt, semi-open adoption, unexpected pregnancy

Celebrate the Love

Written by adoption support center

Sunday is Mother’s Day, the day of honoring and appreciating the women in our lives. It’s the day of honoring those who nurture, encourage, and love us unconditionally.

As a society we show this appreciation with gifts—jewelry, flowers, spa services, and meals in nice restaurants. Typically a greeting card comes along with those gifts, or the card is the gift itself. Greeting cards say what we don’t have the words to say on our own. According to the National Retail Association, Americans will spend $ million dollars on those greeting cards this year.

Greeting cards tend to fall into two categories: sentimental and heartfelt, or funny and smart-alecky. But what if life isn’t sunshine and rainbows right now? What if you aren’t in on the joke and you desperately want to be?

For many families, Mother’s Day is a challenge.

Undergoing fertility treatments or waiting for an adoption takes an emotional and physical toll. Other families have had to say good-bye to their child far too soon, whether through miscarriage, still birth, illness, or other tragic circumstances that lead to the unthinkable.

What kind of greeting card encompasses all the grief? What can be said to make this all be right?

Simply put, nothing can be said that makes all this feel ok. Yet the alternative of saying nothing diminishes the reality of the emotions and the experiences. 

Then what can be said? What can be said to a woman waiting to become a mother, year after year? What can be said to a woman who has placed her child for adoption and is still grieving that loss? What can be said to a woman who will not be able to watch her child grow to adulthood?

All too often we hope that there are magic words that can be said to make these uncomfortable feelings disappear. And if we cannot find those magic words, we don’t say anything so that we cannot say anything wrong. 

The magic is not in the words. The magic is in the caring and the being there. 

If you know someone who may not be having the best Mother’s Day, let them know of your love and care. If you haven’t been in their shoes, you won’t know exactly how they feel. That doesn’t have to stop you from simply saying “I’m here.”Not knowing exactly how someone feels does not mean you can’t ask questions. It doesn’t mean you can’t listen.

And if you find yourself as one of those who is dreading Mother’s Day because of what you don’t have, take care of yourself this weekend. Don’t be afraid to let those who are close to you know that this is tough for you. If going to church is painful as you aren’t in any group that is recognized, don’t feel obligated to go! Talk about your hopes for your family. 

Celebrate the love you have. Celebrate the love you give. 

Celebrate the love.   

Tags: adoption, adoption agency, adoption agency indiana, adoption for my child, adoption grief, adoption option, adoption support, adoptioneducation, adoptionislove, adoptive family, Adoptive parents, birth family, birth mom, birth mom support, birth mother, considering adoption, diversity, domestic adoption, domesticadoption, ethical adoption, ethicalprofessionals, expectant mom, expectant mother, give baby up for adoption, giving baby up, indiana adoption, Open adoption, place baby for adoption, post-placement, pregnancy help, put baby up for adoption, readytoadopt, semi-open adoption, unexpected pregnancy

Grief and When

Written by adoption support center

Personal losses bring grief.

Adoption is packed with losses, whether it is infertility grief for a biological child that will never be, or the obvious grief for letting a child go to another family. Along with the grief comes the question of “when.”

When? When will I be better? When will I stop hurting? When will the grieving end? When will I feel like myself again? When?

One of the hardest parts of grieving is that it is uncharted. It is unique to each individual. It ebbs and flows. Other people will tell you things like “time heals all wounds,” but they are unable to say if that vague reference to “time” is a day, a week, a month or a year. It is merely “time.”

If only there was a solid road map or path for grief to take. If only it was a matter of looking forward to a year from now and knowing with absolute certainty that your emotions would be in check, that your feelings would not be sending you into the depths, and that the sun would again be able to shine, you could handle the sorrow of today.

You know where this is going. There is no such road map. There is no magic date. 

Healing from a loss is a series of small steps forward.

There will be setbacks that feel as if the world is caving in on you. Keep taking those small steps forward. Disregard those who tell you “just get over it.” That phrase says more about the speaker and their own discomfort with grief than it does your own healing.

Resist the urge to compare your grief healing to anyone else’s.

Another person may look fine on the outside, and tell you that they are fine, but their inside is screaming a different story. And even if that other person really is “fine,” that other person is not you. 

The good news of grieving is that the “when” will come. It will arrive for you at its own pace and its own speed. It may ease into your days, surprising you as you realize the pain has lessened. 

Until that day arrives, know that there are people who will listen and hold space for you. Your grief is your own, but you are not alone. 

Tags: adoption, adoption agency, adoption agency indiana, adoption for my child, adoption grief, adoption option, adoption support, adoptioneducation, adoptionislove, adoptive family, Adoptive parents, birth family, birth mom, birth mom support, birth mother, considering adoption, diversity, domestic adoption, domesticadoption, ethical adoption, ethicalprofessionals, expectant mom, expectant mother, give baby up for adoption, giving baby up, indiana adoption, Open adoption, place baby for adoption, post-placement, pregnancy help, put baby up for adoption, readytoadopt, semi-open adoption, unexpected pregnancy

Siblings are Important in Adoption!

Written by adoption support center

“Even though my baby sister is going to be adopted, can I still talk with her as she gets older? You know, give her good big brother advice?”

Amanda here. This was said by a young man about my son’s age as I sat next to him and his mother. His mother was making an adoption plan for her soon-to-be-born baby, a baby that was unexpected and whom she truly didn’t believe she good give good care and stability.

The “not placed” siblings have always tugged at my heartstrings. In my early years of standing by women making adoption plans, the concept of separating siblings was truly one of the most difficult pieces of my job. I knew that it was hard to watch a woman say good-bye to her baby, but it was more difficult to watch the older siblings say that same thing. 

This difficulty no doubt comes from my own life story.

I grew up in northern Indiana in an extremely small town along with my two brothers. I am the middle child and the only girl. My brothers and I had no choice but to be playmates as there was no one else within miles of the cornfields. My father was a union electrician and my mother stayed home with us. There were no play dates, no activities, no music lessons. If we wanted something to do, we found something to play together. My favorite childhood memories are those times—the three of us together, simply playing. Now that we are all adults, we are very different individuals with our own unique personalities. Those who know us well cannot believe we are all full siblings as aside from our physical appearance, nothing much else is similar. Regardless, I believe much of what makes me who I am comes directly from the childhood experiences and relationships I developed with my brothers. They were always by my side. They always had (and still have) my back.    

When a woman chooses adoption, her decision impacts not only herself and her baby, but the people who love her and care for her as well.

If she has other children, as does “Mama M”, the impact and emotions of those children needs to be considered in the adoption decision as well. Very young children may not notice the growing belly or understand the idea of a newborn baby in their lives. Older children will likely notice and, like the young man who opens this story, not only have questions but want a voice.

One of the best aspects of the evolution of open adoption is that now siblings do get to maintain a connection with one another.

I facilitated a meeting between a prospective adoptive family and an expectant mom earlier this week, and the hopeful dad also came to this realization. “You know, I never really visualized other children being at these visits, but this could be really cool.”And he is right. Other children at the visit ARE really cool.   

At ASC, we are passionate about supporting expectant moms through their pregnancies.

One of these ways is by being with her and her children when they meet the prospective adoptive parents for the first time. I have sat in on hundreds of these initial meetings, watched numerous siblings of the unborn listen to the adults speaking and not know what was about to happen.  It has just always tugged at me.    

Openness in an adoption relationship eases this tug. I am looking forward to watching this young man who reminds me of my own son get to hold and read to his baby sister at their visits. He has promised to continue to get good grades and get into college. He knows his baby sister will be watching.  This is open adoption with siblings.  My heart is smiling. 

Tags: adoption, adoption agency, adoption agency indiana, adoption for my child, adoption grief, adoption option, adoption support, adoptioneducation, adoptionislove, adoptive family, Adoptive parents, birth family, birth mom, birth mom support, birth mother, considering adoption, diversity, domestic adoption, domesticadoption, ethical adoption, ethicalprofessionals, expectant mom, expectant mother, give baby up for adoption, giving baby up, indiana adoption, Open adoption, place baby for adoption, post-placement, pregnancy help, put baby up for adoption, readytoadopt, semi-open adoption, unexpected pregnancy

It’s All in How You Look at It

Written by adoption support center

Perception. Adoption is one of those institutions in which almost every person has a view point. Maybe it’s because they were adopted, or their grandparents were adopted. Maybe it’s because you’re an adoptive parent, or you want to be one. Maybe, just maybe, your view point has been shaped by movies, books or the latest celebrity adoption. Ask ten different people what they think about adoption, and you are guaranteed to hear ten different answers.

Recently we asked families, both birth parents and adoptive parents, to share statements and questions from others that have left them hurt or discouraged.

None of what we heard was anything we hadn’t heard before.

Yet hearing them still, in ,was disappointing. It feels as if no matter how much education is out there, no matter the example our birth parents and adoptive families set, attitudes toward adoption are sometimes holdovers from another era.

Our adoptive families have been called everything from baby snatchers to saviors. Our birth mothers have been called everything from callous and cold-hearted to brave saints. Our adoptees have been called everything from orphaned to lucky. 

Just how accurate are these pictures? 

The answer probably depends on many factors. What generation are you from? What media has fed into your viewpoint? How many people do you personally know involved in the adoption triad? What experiences have you had with unexpected pregnancies or pregnancy scares? What experiences have you had in raising children? Where has the road of life led you?

Just as every individual carries their own unique, fingerprints and genetic code into the world, those touched by adoption are unique individuals as well. To paint any group with a single brush is risking limiting the individuals involved to a stereotype.

So we urge you to have a little compassion. Show a little empathy. Remember that there are individuals behind the stories and the words.  

How do you view adoption?

Tags: adoption, adoption agency, adoption agency indiana, adoption for my child, adoption grief, adoption option, adoption support, adoptioneducation, adoptionislove, adoptive family, Adoptive parents, birth family, birth mom, birth mom support, birth mother, considering adoption, diversity, domestic adoption, domesticadoption, ethical adoption, ethicalprofessionals, expectant mom, expectant mother, give baby up for adoption, giving baby up, indiana adoption, Open adoption, place baby for adoption, post-placement, pregnancy help, put baby up for adoption, readytoadopt, semi-open adoption, unexpected pregnancy


Written by adoption support center

Scam. I’ve been scammed! I sent my money to a Nigerian prince, only to find out there is no Nigerian prince. I sent money to the IRS because they were threatening me with arrest. Only later did I find out it wasn’t really the IRS. I thought I was in love, and my man ran into some trouble overseas and needed money to pay a hospital bill. You know the outcome…it was a scam!

Adoption scams have been around for a long time as well.

Typically, this will involve a woman either pretending to be pregnant, or in some cases actually is pregnant, promising the baby to multiple potential adoptive parents. In the traditional scam, she will take money for living expenses from these families, only to have a change of heart when the due date comes and goes.

Of course, this is highly illegal. It is a Level 6 felony in Indiana. And most agencies, attorneys, and prospective adoptive families are on the alert for these. 

But what if the payoff for the scammer is not money? What if the payoff is your time and attention? 

As the use of social media becomes more and more prevalent in connecting expectant families to potential adoptive families, the possibilities for fraud also becomes more common. Recently the term “emotional scam” has entered the conversation after the promise of a baby being born “in the next couple of days” is offered to potential adoptive families without the request for money.

In these scenarios, an expectant mom reaches out over social media and begins talking with a prospective adoptive family directly. Usually the conversation goes very well and seems to be legitimate. The adoptive family begins scrambling to make plans to travel to another state, engage an attorney or agency in that state, and make arrangements for an adoption to happen! 

Of course, there comes a point where the story falls apart. Maybe the potential family encourages the scammer to contact their agency or attorney. Maybe the potential family suggests a meeting and is met with resistance. Maybe the instincts of the potential family kicks in and they simply block this person from their phone and social media accounts.

No money has changed hands. Where’s the harm?

For anyone trying to adopt, the harm seems obvious. Hopes and dreams are on the line! The thought that someone choseyou, wantsyou, and thinks you will be great parents is the validation you have been looking for! It’s the next step in getting a baby. It’s the next step to parenthood.

For the scammer, the payoff is the attention that is received. It’s the listening ear, the sympathy, the time. 

It’s the mental illness.

The good news is that families hoping to adopt and who are working with reputable professionals have support and emotional reserves on which to draw that will carry them through until their baby is in their home. The time spent with someone trying to scam them will pass and someday be a distant memory. 

The scammer will be left looking for the next attention fix—scouring the internet for the next vulnerable person who will ease their loneliness and pain.

If you are not certain about a potential adoption situation, please contact your agency, attorney, or home study provider. The process of adoption is difficult, but you don’t have to go through it alone. 

Tags: adoption, adoption agency, adoption agency indiana, adoption for my child, adoption grief, adoption option, adoption support, adoptioneducation, adoptionislove, adoptive family, Adoptive parents, birth family, birth mom, birth mom support, birth mother, considering adoption, diversity, domestic adoption, domesticadoption, ethical adoption, ethicalprofessionals, expectant mom, expectant mother, give baby up for adoption, giving baby up, indiana adoption, Open adoption, place baby for adoption, post-placement, pregnancy help, put baby up for adoption, readytoadopt, semi-open adoption, unexpected pregnancy

There is no “typical” adoption.

Written by adoption support center

You will hear it a million times, but it couldn’t be more true. There is no “typical” adoption. When we met our amazing, strong birth mom for the first time, we clicked like crazy, and laughed and talked our way through a two hour dinner. We thought she was due in two months. But when it was determined she might deliver earlier (like, three weeks from that first meeting earlier), my husband and I watched the amazing ladies of ASC spring into action to button up all the paperwork, and answer our one million questions.

Our birth mom generously invited me to be with her in the delivery room, so I could be with the baby from her very first moments.

We bought a car seat, and packed a “go” bag, so we could be ready to run to the hospital the second we got the call that she was in labor. We cleared our schedules and let our bosses know what was happening so we could have some time off when we brought baby home. We were so incredibly excited to be matched with someone that just felt “right”. Then we settled in and nervously waited to get the call. 

But the call that finally came was our coordinator Leah telling us that the baby had arrived even earlier than what we were expecting, and the birth mom had changed her mind about placing her daughter for adoption.

It didn’t sink in what had happened.

All that build up, and all that springing into action, then no baby. Our prayer from the beginning of our adoption journey was not just to become parents, but that the situation with the birth mom felt resolved and right, and we knew she was at peace with her decision. So of course we understood that she had changed her mind, and we comforted each other by saying “this just wasn’t meant to be our baby”.

But it still really hurt. About two weeks after the fall-through, I found myself telling a friend “we lost a baby”, and just saying the words out loud really drove it home. We were back on the waiting list, back to square one, waiting to be rematched, still not parents. Thanksgiving came and went, and we dragged ourselves through it. My husband forced me to decorate for Christmas, and planned a trip for me to visit a friend in NYC to get my mind clear so we could be emotionally ready when the time came to be rematched and go through it all again. 

Instead, we got another call from our coordinator Leah saying that birth mom had changed her mind back, and would we still be open to adopting her baby? My husband said yes right away, but I had so many questions, and honestly, my heart was still broken from the first go-around. I didn’t think I could bring myself to potentially lose the same baby two times! Leah answered literally every single one of my questions.

The adoption was set for the next day.

This baby girl was being placed for adoption. The birth mom really hoped that we would be her parents, but understood if we couldn’t get there that quickly after the fall through. Looking at our awesome daughter now, and seeing how perfectly she fits into our family, I can’t believe I questioned it for even a millisecond.

We truly got the child we were meant to raise, and are so happy we put our hearts on the line one more time!

Adoption day was so incredibly special. We drove to the agency, unsure of what would happen, if the birth mom would go through with it, trying to find the words to write in a card to express our gratitude in case we didn’t stay in communication and never got the chance to tell her again. We knew it must’ve been such a struggle for her to prepare herself to place her baby for adoption two different times, and we had been thinking of her and praying for her during the weeks after the fall through, just hoping she was doing well, and at peace with her decision. As hard as it was for us to go through the fall through, we couldn’t even imagine what she was feeling. 

When we got to the agency, the paperwork had already been signed. It was done! She was our daughter! We walked to the back building, and our incredibly strong, amazing birth mom literally placed her daughter she had been parenting for the past month in my arms. Just like that, after years of waiting for a baby, all the doctor appointments, all the frustration and pain that comes with infertility, all the heartache, she made us parents, made us a family of three. It was such a powerful, and amazing, and surreal moment. The gratitude we felt (and still feel) is really indescribable.

One of the best days of our life was probably one of the worst days for our daughters birth mom.

Her strength in that time is something we are excited to share with our daughter when she’s older, so she knows without a doubt that the decision to place her for adoption came from absolute love. We all sat together, talking and laughing about what super awkward new parents we were, our birth mom’s friend teasing us about how bad we were going to be at doing our daughter’s hair. We will always treasure that time we got to share together.

When our daughter&#;s birth mom was ready to go, we said our goodbyes, spent about twenty minutes figuring out how to buckle her into the car seat like total nervous new parents, and headed home.

It really is amazing how quickly you can fall in love with your child.

By the time we got home, a switch had flipped, and she was our daughter! The next couple of days were such a blur. We literally became parents overnight! With so much help from family and friends, baby gear and supplies showed up at our house, and we began to settle in. The lights on the Christmas tree my husband forced me to put up turned out to be a great way to calm a fussy baby. Friends and family visited, and everyone called her our Christmas miracle (and she was!). The trip to NYC was cancelled and my google searches switched from “cute winter boots” (to pack for my trip) to “best baby bottle for one-month-old”. With no planned maternity leave, our brand new daughter just slept in a swing next to me while I finished work projects, and we figured out how to work out this unexpected parenthood. It was such a crazy, sleepless, hard, amazing, joyful time! 

We weren’t sure if we would hear from our daughters birth mom or not, we had left that decision up to her. After about two weeks, she got in touch, and was ready to see some photos and just check in. I was so scared to share photos with her. What if she wanted her back? What if this child we had already fallen in love with wasn’t going to be ours anymore? What if it was too painful for her to see her baby she placed with new parents? It didn’t matter that all the paperwork had been signed, and everything was official, that crazy strong (and sometimes irrational) maternal instinct still kicks in.

My husband and I remembered what we had been told in our pre-adoption class about honoring our birth mom by keeping our promises, so I took a deep breath, and sent a bunch of photos. And we got the most amazing response (we saved it to share with our daughter when she’s older). “I love the pictures. You just don’t know how happy I am that you two took her in as your own. Words can’t explain how I feel. Thank you for the pictures.” And it clicked. We were just three adults who will always be unified in wanting the absolute best for this little girl.

It is such a powerful and amazing thing to be a part of.

Literally one of my favorite things we’ve gotten to do as human beings. My husband and I both feel so lucky to have experienced what we can only imagine is adoption at its best.

Our daughter is now two and a half, and we look forward to our visits with her birth mom. They are always the best, most joyful days, and we continue to be in awe of her strength in this decision, and her dignity and grace. We are so glad to be able to give her the opportunity to see firsthand how happy and healthy her daughter is. And, of course, we are so, so very grateful that she chose us, and we get to be the parents of one awesome little girl!! 

Tags: adoption, adoption agency, adoption agency indiana, adoption for my child, adoption grief, adoption option, adoption support, adoptioneducation, adoptionislove, adoptive family, Adoptive parents, birth family, birth mom, birth mom support, birth mother, considering adoption, diversity, domestic adoption, domesticadoption, ethical adoption, ethicaladoptions, ethicalprofessionals, expectant mom, expectant mother, give baby up for adoption, giving baby up, indiana adoption, Open adoption, place baby for adoption, post-placement, pregnancy help, put baby up for adoption, readytoadopt, semi-open adoption, unexpected pregnancy

Book Review—Girls in Trouble by Caroline Leavitt

Written by adoption support center

So much is written about adoption, but little of it is non-fiction. And the fictional books about adoption tend to be romanticized orphan tales—think Anne of Green Gables. This is unfortunate, because often times a good story is easier to remember than absorb than merely facts.

The novel Girls in Trouble steps into the gap and weaves an intricate story about open adoption that succeeds in portraying the emotions of one set of birth parents, adoptive parents and adoptee. Ms. Leavitt narrates the book from the stand point of sixteen-year-old Sara, “older” adoptive mom Eva, and eventually a teenage Anne, the adoptee. Along the way, readers catch a glimpse of the feelings and actions of others involved, like Sara’s parents, adoptive dad George, and birth father Danny. 

Overall, this is a great read for any fiction reader with an interest in adoption. There are limits to the story, of course. To move the story along there must be tension and drama. To that end, Ms. Leavitt creates situations that are the nightmares of both adoptive and birth parents.

The book was published in , before the takeover of smart phones and social media so prevalent in our culture. This is also an interesting challenge for the timeline of the story, as the story should be opening in approximately , long before open adoption was widely practiced. This could explain why no one in this story was really prepared for an open relationship. 

This is definitely worth the read. If you take the journey, think about with whom you most sympathize. What would you have done differently in that person’s shoes? Does this story give insight into a different perspective? Is there a part of the grieving process that especially rings true?

Diane would love to hear your thoughts if you would like to share them. Send them to [email protected]

Tags: adoption, adoption agency, adoption agency indiana, adoption for my child, adoption grief, adoption support, adoptive family, Adoptive parents, birth family, birth mom, birth mom support, birth mother, considering adoption, domestic adoption, ethical adoption, expectant mom, expectant mother, give baby up for adoption, giving baby up, indiana adoption, Open adoption, place baby for adoption, post-placement, pregnancy help, put baby up for adoption, semi-open adoption

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When my year-old daughter, Laurie, proposed matching wrist tattoos two years ago, my mouth said "yes" before my brain could object. Swept into the spontaneity of the moment, I never imagined explaining our inked cherry blossoms to grocery checkers or first dates.

"This? It celebrates my bond with the daughter I placed for open adoption. We reunited a few years ago and she's changed my life in a thousand unlikely waystwin tats included."

Back in , Laurie had secretly located her birth certificate and Googled my name. She discovered my public Facebook profile and the grief-centric Tumblr I'd launched after my year-old husband died of a sudden heart attack. She knew we'd been married three years and had no children together. Among my blog confessions, she found details of her birth and adoption: I was a pregnant high-school senior, her something biological father didn't show for any prenatal appointments, and I'd chosen her adoptive parents, who'd graciously kept in touch with me via letters and pictures.

After stalking me online (her words!) for two years, Laurie exchanged her anonymity for a Facebook friend request. After that goose-bump moment, my intense joy was followed by fear: how would I answer the hard questions she had for me? Could I offer her any satisfying explanation for why I'd given my own child away? This anxiety was fueled by my only adoption reference point: my father, an adoptee, had reunited with his own birth mother when he was years-old. He greeted her with loads of questions, and judging by the still-lukewarm state of their relationship, he was less than charmed by her answers.

Mercifully, my fear of Laurie's fact-finding mission was misplaced. Our earliest Facebook messages were gushy and vulnerable. Her curiosity was centered on my wedding day, travels, and PR career in New York City. We devoured each new photo in each other's digital albums, and our families began friending each other. After a few months of correspondence, Laurie and I reunited in her North Carolina hometown with the blessing of her adoptive parents.

Our reunion knocked me wide open. Nothing prepared me for the immediacy of our connection. From our voices and posture to the nearly identical décor of our teenage bedrooms, the similarities overwhelmed me. While I didn't know what being a mom was supposed to look like, I felt a bursting-at-the-seams fullness in her presence. It became impossible to imagine a life that didn't include her. The feeling was mutual--in a package that arrived around Mother's Day that year, Laurie wrote a note to me that read: "I'm so grateful you're in my life, and I can't wait for us to have more adventures!"


Tattoos mother daughter adoption

Why a Generation of Adoptees Is Returning to South Korea

Amy Mihyang Ginther with her birth mother, Park Jeong-hee, at Park's home in Gimcheon, South Korea.

Laura Klunder’s newest tattoo runs down the inside of her left forearm and reads “K,” a number that dates to her infancy. Klunder was 9 months old when her South Korean mother left her at a police station in Seoul. The police brought her to Holt Children’s Services, a local adoption agency, where a worker assigned Klunder the case number K It was only two weeks into , but she was already the th child to come to the agency that month, and she would go on to be one of 8, children sent overseas from South Korea that year. Klunder became part of the largest adoption exodus from one country in history: Over the past six decades, at least , Korean children — roughly the population of Des Moines — have been adopted into families in more than 15 countries, with a vast majority living in the United States.

Klunder, who is 30, has a warm goofiness and a tendency toward self-deprecation. (“I was the chubby kid with glasses wearing Lisa Frank T-shirts,” she said, shaking her head at the memory of her middle-school self.) But she also resonates intensity. She chose the tattoo of her case number as a critique of adoption, she told me. “I was a transaction. I was a number in the same way that people who are criminalized and institutionalized are given numbers.”

Klunder, who was raised in Wisconsin, moved back to South Korea in , which is where I met her one night last February along with three of her friends, all adoptees from the United States. We were at a restaurant in the Hongdae section of Seoul, known for its galleries, bars and cheap restaurants. Outside, the streets teemed with university students, musicians, artists and clubbers. The neighborhood is also a popular spot for the approximately to adoptees who have moved to South Korea — primarily from the United States but also from France, Denmark and other nations. Most lack fluency in the language and possess no memories of the country they left when they were young. But they are back, hoping for a sense of connection — to South Korea, to their birth families, to other adoptees.

That night, Klunder and her friends passed plates of bibimbap (rice topped with meat and vegetables), soondubu jjigae (tofu stew) and pa jun (scallion pancake) around the table and ordered bottles of beer and soju. Everyone there was a member of Adoptee Solidarity Korea, or ASK. It was started as a reading group in by a handful of politically progressive Korean female adoptees (and one man) in their 30s, who began to discuss why Korean single mothers felt pressure to give away their children — 90 percent of those who place their children for adoption are not married. They talked about a culture in which single mothers are often ostracized, one in which employers typically ask women about their marital status in job interviews; parents sometimes reject daughters who raise their children alone; and the children of single mothers are often bullied in school. They also questioned why the government offered little aid to mothers to help keep their families intact. At an adoption conference organized a year after the group was created, members handed out fliers that read, in part, “ASK stands in opposition to international adoption.” They sold T-shirts, designed by Kimura Byol-Nathalie Lemoine, an early adoptee activist, that depicted a wailing baby with a large stamp on its rear end: “Made in Korea.”

Over time, ASK backed away from its message of ending adoption. It was too polarizing, adoptees said, and “hard for people to hear anything we said after the word ‘stop,' ” Jenny Na, one of the group’s founders, wrote in a history of ASK. But in recent years, members — along with other Korean adoptee activists — have built an improbable political campaign, lobbying for legislation that has helped reduce the flow of Korean children overseas. In the process, they have emerged as leaders in a movement to question the very concept of international adoption, one that has galvanized other adoptees around the world.

Some of those leaders, including Klunder and her friend Kim Stoker, who was also at dinner that night, want to stanch the flow of Korean children entirely. “I get parents’ desperation to have children,” said Stoker, who at 41 was the oldest of the group at the table. “Accepting diverse families is great,” she said. But, she added, “I don’t think it’s normal adopting a child from another country, of another race and paying a lot of money. I don’t think it’s normal to put a child on a plane away from all its kin and different smells. It’s a very modern phenomenon.”

Neither Klunder nor Stoker believes international adoption will stop in South Korea any time soon. But ending it is what they want. As Klunder put it, “Our goal is to make ourselves extinct.”

In , a couple from Oregon, Bertha and Harry Holt, went to a local auditorium to watch a presentation by World Vision, the Christian relief organization, on Korean War orphans. At the time, South Korea was hobbling to recover from its brutal war with North Korea. “We had never seen such emaciated arms and legs,” wrote Bertha, a nurse and fundamentalist Christian who wore round wire glasses, “such wistful little faces looking for someone to care.” Federal law prohibited families from adopting more than two children from abroad. But in , the two senators from Oregon sponsored the Bill for Relief of Certain Korean War Orphans, which Congress passed specifically to allow the Holts to adopt four boys and four girls. Reports of Harry Holt, a farmer and lumberjack, coming home with eight children appeared in newspapers around the country, and soon prospective parents flooded the Holts with letters, saying that they, too, wanted to adopt war orphans. Within a year, the couple had established the Holt Adoption Program in the United States (followed later by a Holt agency in South Korea), the first and still one of the biggest international-adoption agencies.

During the ’50s, most children available for adoption were of mixed race — “the dust of the streets,” as they were called — whose fathers were American and U.N. soldiers. Some of them had turned up at orphanages, lost or abandoned; in the postwar chaos, it was unclear if their parents were still alive. But in other cases, mothers relinquished their mixed-race babies because they feared that their families would be treated as outcasts.

By the s and s, the country had industrialized and urbanized rapidly; divorce and teenage-pregnancy rates climbed. Poor and working-class single women with babies struggled with little, or no, support from the government. Most of the children placed for adoption at the time were fully Korean. In the meantime, the number of babies available for adoption in the United States in the s dropped, as birth-control was more readily available, abortion was legalized and single motherhood became more socially acceptable.

South Korea, by this point, had passed the Special Adoption Law, which created a legal framework for adoptions and approved four agencies to process those adoptions. From the beginning, though, there were problems. Adoption paperwork was sometimes fraudulent — a grandmother or an aunt might give up a baby without the mother’s consent (while she was working or looking for work), because they thought the mother and the child would be better off. Agency workers often didn’t verify information — about a child’s health or age, or whether the mother had truly consented to adoption — in order to expedite the process. Eleana Kim, associate professor of anthropology at the University of California, Irvine, and author of “Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging,” explained that though most women weren’t directly paid, adoption agencies set up homes for unwed pregnant women and took care of medical expenses with the expectation that the women would agree to have their babies sent overseas. Workers at adoption agencies sometimes told mothers that they would be selfish to keep their children, who would thrive in affluent, two-parent households in the United States. In the s, adoption became big business, bringing millions of dollars to Korean agencies. The government benefited, too. For each child South Korea sent away, it had one fewer child to feed.

By , the year Klunder arrived in the United States, South Korea had earned the reputation as the Cadillac of adoption programs because of its efficient system and steady supply of healthy babies. The number of adoptions reached unsettling heights, with an average of 24 children leaving South Korea each day. The continued growth was all the more striking because South Korea’s economy had improved significantly. That year, its G.D.P. ranked 20th globally, just below Switzerland’s, and continued to climb over the next decade. During NBC’s coverage of the Seoul Olympics, when the world saw a newly democratic country lined with skyscrapers and freshly paved highways, Bryant Gumbel noted that South Korea preferred to keep quiet about its “exportation” of babies. North Korea also criticized its neighbor for its liberal adoption policies.

Embarrassed, the South Korean government promised to reduce international adoptions, in part by providing subsidies and extra health care benefits to South Korean families who adopted. But the government showed far less interest in helping single mothers keep their babies.

People in the United States, meanwhile, began adopting from all over the world. Though only 7, children were adopted into the United States in , by — the peak of international adoption — that number had risen to 23,, with children arriving from China, Russia, Guatemala, South Korea, Ukraine, Colombia, Ethiopia and dozens of other countries.

I was among that wave of adoptive parents. After several miscarriages, my husband and I adopted two children — one domestically, one internationally. We chose domestic adoption initially because we longed for a newborn and wanted an open adoption, in which children and birth families can remain in contact. (Studies suggest that open adoption — far more common in the United States than in international adoptions — is psychologically more healthful for adoptees and birthparents.) In , our older daughter, who is part Japanese and part African, was born in California, where we lived.

But by the time we signed up to adopt again a couple of years later, my husband and I were in our early 40s, and we feared that another domestic adoption could take years. Instead we looked to Guatemala, where adoptions often occurred more quickly and most children lived in foster homes, receiving more one-on-one attention than in orphanages. Unlike in China and many other countries, in Guatemala, adoptive families could also meet birth families during the process and stay connected afterward through photos, letters and visits.

I began scouting agencies with the most ethical reputations. I heard repeatedly — though mostly from agencies and other parents — that there were safeguards (DNA tests of mothers and children; social-worker interviews with birth mothers) to protect adoptive and birth families. But almost as soon as I arrived at the Westin Hotel in Guatemala City to finalize the adoption of our daughter, I felt queasy. Everywhere, it seemed, there were lawyers and agency representatives handing over brown-skinned babies, born to impoverished mothers, to white, wealthy parents — some of whom might never return to Guatemala again, who might make no effort to encourage a link between their adopted children and their country or their birth families. My husband and I were eager not to be “those parents.” When the adoption was complete, instead of leaving the country, we drove with our daughters to a nearby city, where we spent several days. One night at a restaurant, a well-dressed Guatemalan man in his 50s or 60s passed my new daughter and me and muttered, “There goes another baby taken from our country.”

His comment might have referred to corruption: It would become increasingly clear that Guatemala’s adoption system was, like those in Ethiopia, Vietnam, Cambodia and elsewhere, plagued with illegal payments, coercion of birth mothers and in some cases outright stealing of babies. (Guatemala’s program shut down seven years ago.) Or maybe he was thinking about the fact that birth mothers, typically indigenous women who faced discrimination, had little access to counseling and no official waiting period after birth during which to change their minds. He may have been imagining what would happen if the thousands of dollars each family handed over to their adoption agency was used instead to help children stay in Guatemala. And then there was the issue that Kim Stoker has since raised: Should adopted children be brought up by people of a different race?

“No parent wants their child to be discriminated against,” Stoker told me one night in Seoul. “But I think as a white parent in a white society — even if you’re in a multicultural neighborhood — you can’t protect your child when your child walks out the door. You provide all these economic resources, but there are all these other things that you haven’t experienced as a white person.”

My husband and I are of a generation that is supposedly savvier and better educated about raising adopted children. We have done some of the “right things”: traveled with our kids back to Guatemala and to Japan (where my older daughter’s birth mother lives). We’ve advocated for open adoptions (with mixed success) so our daughters would have access to their records and contact with their families. Our daughters’ friends and their school are diverse. And my husband and I try not to shy away from talking about the complexities of adoption and race.

Still, my daughters don’t see themselves reflected in my and my husband’s faces. They will confront racism in their lives, which neither my husband nor I ever have. My children are happy and deeply attached to us. But while the predominant narrative of adoption focuses on what is gained, each adoption also entails loss for both the child and her biological family. It’s a loss I can’t fully know and one I can never entirely heal.

Perhaps that’s what the Guatemalan man meant when he saw me with my daughter. I had love and financial advantages to offer her. But she was yet another child who, through no choice of her own, was leaving her biological family, her country and her culture behind.

Before Laura Klunder left South Korea as a child, she lived with a foster family with whom she learned to take tentative steps holding an adult’s hand. She could say “omma” (mommy) and understood other Korean words. Then on April 27, , nine days after her first birthday, she boarded a Korean Airlines flight with an escort provided by the Holt agency and flew 6, miles to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

In Franklin, Wis., a largely white suburb of Milwaukee, Klunder attended a Lutheran school where she was taunted by one boy for years: “Why is your skin so dirty?” “You look like a black Barbie.” “Did you fall in the mud?” Her parents had good intentions and, Klunder says, “were loving in more ways than they were not.” But they didn’t acknowledge how central race was in their daughter’s life. “My parents told me they didn’t see color,” Klunder said. “They couldn’t engage on that level.”

When I recently talked to her mother, she said: “I could see how upsetting certain things were to Laura. But I said, ‘You can’t let these things bother you so much; there will also be people like that in the world.' ” When the issue of adoption came up, Klunder’s mother told her that her birth mother loved her very much but that God had a different plan for her. As a teenager, furious that her parents didn’t understand her feelings and experiences, Klunder repeatedly lashed out at them. They were angry, too. When she was in high school, Klunder told me, her father would say: “I didn’t sign up for this. Send her back.” (He says he remembers saying something like that only once.)

This was in the late s and early s, when adoption experts had already shifted from telling parents to “assimilate” their adopted children, instead encouraging them to talk openly about adoption, to acknowledge racial differences and to embrace their children’s birth culture. Some parents signed up for “homeland tours” to Korea or sent their children to Korean summer “culture camp,” where kids gathered in the woods of Minnesota or California to study the Korean alphabet, dance to Korean pop music and learn taekwondo.

Klunder’s family occasionally ate dinner with friends who had adopted Korean children, and they attended an annual Korean adoptee picnic near Chicago. Klunder felt ambivalent about it. The food was delicious, and the Korean women who danced in their hanboks were beautiful, but she didn’t identify as Korean. “They were telling me this is my culture, but I didn’t see myself in that traditional dress and tight bun.” And though she knew one other Korean adoptee as a child, by the time Klunder was a teenager — when difference is a stigma most kids work to avoid — “I wanted nothing to do with adoptees.”

In a survey of adult adoptees by the Donaldson Adoption Institute, more than 75 percent of the Korean respondents who grew up with two white parents said they thought of themselves as white or wanted to be white when they were children. Most also said they had experienced racial discrimination, including from teachers. Only a minority said they felt welcomed by members of their own ethnic group. The report recommended that parents do more than just celebrate multiculturalism or sign up for culture camp. Adoptees should have “lived” experiences related to adoption and race: traveling to birth countries, attending racially diverse schools. Those things might have helped, Klunder says, but only if she had parents who were willing to be honest about racism. “You need parents who can talk about white privilege, who can say: ‘You might experience some of this. I’m sorry. We are in this together.' ”

In college, at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Klunder found a group of like-minded friends and joined the multicultural student coalition. After receiving a master’s degree in social work, she took a job at Macalester College in Minnesota, advising minority and feminist groups and working on the school’s response to sexual assault. Her immersion in those issues served only to make fights with her parents more disheartening. “I knew that I was the only person of color in their life, and it was too easy for them to invalidate my point of view as another ‘anger issue.' ” At some point, she said, “I felt hopeless to create change in my adoptive family.”

Eight years ago, she stopped talking to them, though she says she hopes that will change one day. Her mother, who misses her daughter, said: “I’m sorry for anything we didn’t do correctly for her. But we didn’t know how she felt. I couldn’t get her to talk about anything important or what was inside her.”

In the summer of , when Klunder was 26, she went to Seoul to join more than other Korean adoptees from around the world for an annual event known as the Gathering. For many — some of whom never had Korean adopted friends before — it was a heady experience. They ate together, drank together; some stumbled back late at night into hotel rooms together. They spoke in shorthand about their American lives, sharing their stories about being told by strangers that their English was very good and about meeting men who assumed that Asian women were up for anything in bed.

Klunder skipped the bars. She was too nervous to perform at noraebang (Korea’s version of karaoke) or to get naked with other adoptees at the jjimjilbangs (Korean saunas). Instead she stayed up late talking with a couple of other women. During the day, conference sessions delved into everything from searching for birthparents to the isolation of single mothers. Then Klunder heard Kim Stoker give a lecture about learning the Korean language as an avenue to “belonging” in South Korea. Raised in Colorado and Virginia, Stoker has lived in South Korea for 15 years and has the maternal presence of someone who has held the hands of many something adoptees during their first months in Seoul. Living there is the most meaningful thing she has done in her life, she says. “We didn’t have a choice about what happened to us,” she told me, referring to adoptees being taken from their country. “So to come back, to live on your own terms. . . .” she said. “I do really feel like these are my kin.” By the end of Stoker’s talk, Klunder felt, as she put it, “invited to come back.” And before leaving South Korea that week, she decided that she would return to live there.

Over the year that followed in Minneapolis, Klunder was anxious about her impending move to a country where she had no friends, no employment and no fluency in the language. Still she quit her job and said goodbye to the boyfriend she loved (“an anti-racist white man,” as she described him). She packed one large suitcase with clothes and two carry-ons with shoes, handbags and books, including works by Gabriel García Márquez, Saul Alinsky, Bell Hooks, along with South Korean adoption memoirs. Then she flew back to her birth country on a one-way ticket.

By the time Klunder moved in , Seoul had become home to hundreds of returning adoptees. The Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link, the largest and longest-running adoptee group in Korea, made it easier for adoptees to live in the country — helping them find language classes and translation services and organizing social events. Most important, GOA’L, as the group is known, successfully lobbied the government to offer adoptees F-4 visas, which allow them to live and work in the country indefinitely. Now adoptees can also apply to become dual citizens.

Like many before her, Klunder spent some of her early days at KoRoot, an adoptee-only guesthouse in Seoul with cheap rooms and communal meals, run by Pastor Kim Do-hyun, along with his wife, Kong Jungae. At the two-story brick-and-stone house, Kim encourages new arrivals not only to explore Seoul but also to think about the larger political issues around their adoptions. In the ’90s, as a pastor in Switzerland, Kim began working with adoptees after one committed suicide, leaving a note that said, “I’m going to meet my birth mother.” Later, as a grad student in theology, Kim wrote his master’s thesis on birth mothers.

In , Kim and his staff from KoRoot joined forces with the organization Truth and Reconciliation for the Adoption Community of Korea and one of its founders, Jane Jeong Trenka, to try to amend South Korea’s adoption law to help discourage overseas adoption. Kim and Trenka, who was raised in rural Minnesota and returned to South Korea in to be closer to her birth family, spent three years meeting with public-interest lawyers, government officials, nonadoptee activists and a member of Parliament, Choi Young-hee, who agreed to sponsor the amendment. ASK and two other groups, Dandelions (a group of Korean birthparents who had placed their children for adoption) and Kumfa (an organization for single mothers), joined the effort as well. They lobbied government officials, wrote and rewrote the proposal’s language and drew attention to their cause by installing a piece of artwork in a government building, featuring 60, hanging paper price tags inscribed with a number representing each Korean adoptee.

In August , they succeeded in enacting an amendment to the adoption law, implementing curbs on adoption that would have seemed unthinkable decades ago. Women must now receive counseling and wait seven days before placing a child for adoption. All adoptions must be registered through the courts, which gives adoptees, who often struggle to make contact with their families (only a small percentage of Korean adoptees who search for birth families ever find them), an avenue for tracing their history.

Detractors say the law now creates too many hurdles for women who genuinely want to put their babies up for adoption and slows the process. Since the law was passed, the number of abandoned babies has increased — though whether that’s a direct result is unclear. They also note that Koreans are generally not comfortable “raising another’s child,” as Koreans say, and finding adoptive families can be difficult. (Some Korean families who are willing to adopt keep it a secret.) Adoption supporters in the United States and elsewhere question the very idea of making adoption more restrictive around the world, especially in deeply impoverished countries, where birth control and abortion are taboo and there is little government will to help children, including those who languish in orphanages.

For better or worse, the amendment seems to be having its desired impact in South Korea: Adoptions to other countries, already on the decline since the s — hovering around 1, a year between and — dropped to in The activists also see the amendment as an acknowledgment that their views matter. “The law incorporates the opinions of the people actually affected — adoptees, unwed mothers,” said Trenka, who is 42 and now a mother herself; she and her partner, Luke McQueen, a year-old Korean adoptee from Colorado, have a 3-month-old daughter. “And it’s proof that Korean adoptees can be taken seriously and effect change.”

For Trenka and other Korean activists, their engagement with these issues extends beyond Korea’s borders. In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti in , Trenka publicly warned that adoptions from Haiti were vulnerable to the same sorts of problems — fraudulent paperwork; children designated as orphans when their parents were alive — that existed in postwar Korea. Kim Stoker joined other adoptees from around the world issuing a statement protesting the “fast tracking” by the U.S. government of Haitian adoptions.

More recently, Trenka, along with Vietnamese, Indian, Ethiopian and Colombian adoptees, criticized a bill before the United States Congress last year that aimed to make international adoption easier. They argued that adoptees were not consulted about the bill and said — along with Holt International Children’s Services, which publicly opposed it — that it would eliminate adoption safeguards and reallocate foreign aid from international programs that help children.

Trenka has also met with activists from other countries, including Jenna Cook, an adoptee from China. Last year, she came to South Korea for a conference and talked to Trenka about adoptee rights. A recent graduate of Yale, Cook is one of more than , children adopted from China since the early ’90s, the second-largest group of international adoptees. She and other adoptees want the Chinese government to respond the way South Korea has and offer F-4 visas so they can return for the long term. “It’s important that we are recognized as a diaspora,” Cook says. “We are going to come back as highly educated middle-class Europeans and Americans, with brain power and economic capital.”

While some Chinese adoptees are now in their 20s, those from other countries tend to be much younger. Since the late s, roughly 29, children from Guatemala and 14, from Ethiopia have been adopted into the United States. Most of them have yet to reach high school. Compared with Korea — a democracy and a developed country — Guatemala, China and Ethiopia may prove less welcoming, at least for now. But as adoptees grow up, Korean activists hope that they will demand more information about their histories and the adoption process from agencies and governments. Perhaps cities like Beijing, Antigua in Guatemala or Addis Ababa in Ethiopia — already popular destinations for adoptees and their families — may become their own mini-adoptee communities and centers of activism against international adoption.

Around 8 p.m. on a chilly Saturday night last February, more than a dozen adoptees gathered at several pushed-together metal tables at Hongik Sutbul Kalbi, a Korean BBQ restaurant in Seoul. The room filled with conversation and smoke from meat sizzling on open grills. Nights like this are a fixture of adoptee life in South Korea, flowing from BBQ or bibimbap restaurants to a bar for soju and beer, to another bar, culminating with singing at a noraebang — till 2 or 3 or 4 a.m. That night the gathering included a woman in her 20s, who moved to Seoul a week earlier, and others — from California and Utah, from New York and Massachusetts — who had lived in South Korea anywhere from six to 10 years. Several at the table weren’t involved in adoption politics — or even especially interested in it. Adoptee socializing in Seoul often divides along political lines. Hollee McGinnis, whom I met the day before, was one of several people who told me that the most ardent adoption critics make some adoptees uncomfortable. “If you’re pro-adoption, you can feel Pollyannaish,” said McGinnis, a former policy director at the Donaldson Adoption Institute, who is researching her dissertation in Seoul on mental health and educational outcomes for children growing up in orphanages. “I’m not an advocate or detractor of adoption. I see it as a choice and a trade-off with relative losses and gains.”

At the barbecue dinner, Benjamin Hauser said he shared this view. “I understand there could be potential problems with adoption, but I know positive cases too.” Hauser, who is 36 and has lived in South Korea since , is a manager at an English-language school and is writing a children’s adventure book featuring Korean adoptees. Unlike many adoptees, he remembers his early life in South Korea: He lived with a foster family for five years and spent two years in an orphanage before being adopted by a couple in Rochester. His parents then adopted two more boys from South Korea.

Throughout their childhood, he and his brothers had a fairly diverse group of friends, and their father, a professor of Japanese history, cooked Korean food and took the kids to Korean restaurants. At the end of high school, when his parents asked Benjamin if he would like to go to Paris or Seoul for his graduation, he picked Paris. “I grew up as an American,” said Hauser, who wears a small earring and has spiked hair that juts out in several directions. “My parents are Caucasian. I didn’t identify as Korean. I wasn’t mature enough to realize I could explore that side.” Before moving to Seoul, he never had an Asian girlfriend. “It was part of my feeling of wanting to be white.”

Ten years ago, when he was working as a manager at Otis Elevator Company in Albany, he realized “this job would be the rest of my life — and something was missing.” He remembered his goal when he was in the orphanage — to return to the dairy farm where he lived with his Korean family. (He later learned that it was his foster family; he has never found his birth family.)

But he feared that searching for his Korean roots was a betrayal of his adoptive parents. “I thought they might say, ‘We were the ones who took care of you; why do you feel like you need to look for your foster family?' ”

Eleana Kim, the author of “Adopted Territory,” says it’s a common anxiety among adoptees who often dread “coming out” to their parents — whether it’s in the form of birth-family searches, returning to birth countries or criticizing the adoption system.

In Hauser’s case, his parents were not upset. “I was mostly worried that he might get hurt,” his mother, Susan Hauser, told me, referring to adoptees who can’t find their families or discover the families don’t want to be found. “But he was an adult, and it was his decision.” She and her ex-husband also supported his move to South Korea. Benjamin’s father, William Hauser, said: “I understand how parents feel it’s a rejection, but I don’t feel it at all. In a sense I’m much closer to him since he’s been in Korea.” He and Susan Hauser are in a tiny minority of parents who visit their children each year — their son Zack also lives in Seoul, where he’s a chef.

Instead it was Benjamin’s middle brother, Aaron, who was offended — at least at first — by how much his brother loved South Korea. “I thought Ben’s Korean pride diminished his American pride,” he told me recently. That changed when Aaron visited Seoul, took Korean classes and hung out with Benjamin’s friends. He realized that spending more time there made him feel “more Korean,” and that was gratifying.

Though Benjamin and his brothers feel close to their parents, many adoptees told me that closeness isn’t the only relevant issue. “It’s not just about me and my personal experience,” said Amy Mihyang Ginther, a voice coach who wrote and starred in a one-woman play that she performed in Seoul and other cities, taking on personas of adoptees and birth mothers.

Growing up near Albany, Ginther attended playgroups with other Korean adoptees and culture camp, which she loved. When Ginther was bullied in school — kids called her Chinese and Japanese and said her parents couldn’t be her “real” parents — her adoptive mother came to speak to the class about Korean culture and adoption, with Amy as her co-teacher. But her love for her parents didn’t keep her from longing to connect to her birth family and to South Korea. In , she reunited with her birth mother (her adoptive father came with her on the trip). Then two years later, she visited again, living with her birth family for a month. (Her Korean mother was so protective, she barely let her outside the house.) In , she moved to South Korea and has lived there on and off since. Ginther, who is 31, now sees her birth mother about every other month in Seoul or in her birth mother’s hometown, Gimcheon, a couple of hours south of the city.

“My life in the United States, no matter how good it was,” she told me one day over lunch, “never made up for my omma’s grief.” As Ginther understands the story, her parents were struggling financially when she was born, the youngest of three daughters. Her father told her mother that he would leave her if she didn’t relinquish Amy. (He later left anyway.) “Her choice,” Ginther said of her birth mother, “was no choice at all.”

Adoptees, of course, also had no choice, and many resent the idea that they should simply be grateful — that they are somehow better off than they otherwise would be. As Trenka writes in her memoir, “The Language of Blood”: “How can I weigh the loss of my language and culture against the freedom that America has to offer, the opportunity to have the same rights as a man? How can a person exiled as a child, without a choice, possibly fathom how he would have ‘turned out’ had he stayed in Korea? How many educational opportunities must I mark on my tally sheet before I can say it was worth losing my mother? How can an adoptee weigh her terrible loss against the burden of gratitude she feels she has for her adoptive country and parents?”

As I talked to dozens of adoptees in Seoul about what drew them back, the conversation, inevitably, shifted to what might push them to leave. For many, the experience of living in Seoul veers between warm familiarity and occasional alienation. (A different version of growing up as an Asian adoptee in a white family in the United States.) “Korea is home,” Amanda Eunha Lovell, told me. “But it’s not one I’m completely comfortable in.”

Lovell, who is 36, teaches English to elementary-school children and is a graduate student working on a documentary about adoptees returning to South Korea. She grew up in Ipswich, Mass., and has lived in Seoul for six years. She has an advantage over many adoptees: She speaks Korean fairly well, which makes her feel more at home. But like every other adoptee, she has had to adjust to different social norms, including Koreans’ well-intentioned bluntness, especially when it comes to women: How old are you? Are you married? Are you tired? Why don’t you wear more makeup?

Lovell doesn’t know if she’d be willing to raise children in South Korea, with its hypercompetitive school system. In addition, many women told me that they may leave because of the dearth of romantic partners. Male adoptees have it easier — they are seen as more masculine than they are in the United States — and live in a “frat culture,” as one woman told me, filled with drinking and a wide choice of women: adoptees, other expats and “Korean Koreans,” as native Koreans are called.

Lovell was one of the very few female adoptees I heard about with a Korean boyfriend. He’s a musician who tells her he is “not a typical Korean guy.” Still, “he scolds me, saying, ‘You should be doing this,' ” she said, imitating a paternal voice. Laura Klunder also pointed out the various ways gender roles are ingrained in daily life: Female adoptees are often viewed as masculine when they wear clunky shoes and carry their own bags of groceries — a sharp contrast to the young Korean women in high heels, short skirts and meticulously applied layers of makeup. Koreans also consider it unladylike for women to smoke in public. And if a handyman arrives at a woman’s apartment to fix something, he will often ask to speak to the husband. “In the U.S., I feel my race,” Lovell said. “Here I feel my gender. This is what it must have been like in the United States during the ‘Mad Men’ era.”

For many adoptees, those cultural divides — coupled with the fact that they can’t speak the language, a frustrating and often heart-wrenching obstacle in their own birth country — solidifies the feeling that they hover in between: not fully American, not fully Korean. Instead, they live in a third space: Asian, Western, white, adopted, other. It’s a complicated place but not always a bad one. “I am, maybe, in a way, proud of my in-betweenness,” Lovell recently wrote me in an email.

It is a space I expect my children will share with Lovell, and with so many other adoptees. Both of my daughters’ birth families and their roots tug on their hearts. If they eventually decide to live in the countries of their birth mothers for a year or five years or more, I hope to support — even encourage — them. If living there fills some void, creates some peace, fosters a sense of belonging, how could I not want that for them?

In the years ahead, I also expect my kids will have tough questions for me. Perhaps they will ask why my husband and I thought we were equipped to raise a child of a different race. My youngest may ask why we chose international adoption. Did we understand its failures? Did we do anything to fix them?

I hope to answer without defensiveness — and with candor and empathy. I hope, too, that I remember two things may be true simultaneously: Our daughters’ love for us and their need to question why and how we became a family.

mother daughter tattoos

People get tattoos to look unique or to honor someone significant in their lives. As the tattoo is forever, it is usually dedicated to the most intimate relationships in our lives. These are the relationships which made a huge impact on us, and we cannot imagine our lives without them.

One such relationship is that of a mother and her daughter. If you want to declare your love for your mother or daughter, then do it through a tattoo.

To help you pick a unique tattoo, MomJunction brings you these 35 unique mother daughter tattoo ideas.

Cute Mother and Daughter Tattoos

If you are looking for small mother-daughter tattoos, then here are some cute designs.

1. Heart Tattoo:

This is an adorable tattoo idea. It has as a mother and baby giraffe whose hearts are united. It is a cute way to say that a child is a part of the mother’s heart.

2. Mother Daughter Symbol Tattoo:

This is a unique symbol which has a mother holding her daughter. You can get this tattooed on your wrist and have the words ‘love you forever’ written below.


3. Elephant Tattoo:

Elephants are said to have strong maternal instincts. So this cute mamma elephant and baby elephant locking trunks is the perfect mother-daughter tattoo.

4. Mother Daughter Celtic Knot Tattoo:

This tattoo has a unique and intrinsic design and belongs to the Celtic culture. This tattoo symbolizes the unbreakable bond between a mother and her daughter. It also signifies the beginning of a new life for the mother and daughter.

5. Infinity Tattoo:

Infinity tattoos are the symbol of unlimited love. If your love for your mother/ daughter is infinite then choose this tattoo. You can also add words ‘mother’ and ‘daughter’ or your names along with hearts to make it more special.

6. Like Mother Like Daughter Tattoo:

Do people say you look exactly like your mother or your daughter looks exactly like you? Do you both share some unique and quirky habits? Then this tattoo idea is to say that you are proud of each other. To make it more personal, get the fingerprints of each other inked in the form of a heart.

7. Butterfly Tattoo:

Butterflies are believed to be a symbol of hope, change, and endurance. Why not get this meaningful mother-daughter tattoo, which says that the mother is the one who gives wings to the daughter, and she also teaches her to fly.

8. Flower Tattoo:

A lotus flower signifies divine beauty and purity. It also symbolizes attachment and detachment (they float with long stalks attached to the ground, and water drops cannot stay for long on the leaves). This is an excellent idea for a mother-daughter foot tattoo.

9. Disney Tattoo:

Mrs. Potts and Chip from the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast make another cute mother and daughter tattoo. The mother can have the teapot tattooed while the daughter can have the teacup.

X-O Tattoo:

This is a sweet mother-daughter tattoo idea, where both of you can have an ‘X’ and ‘O’ tattooed on your wrists to symbolize hugs and kisses.

Meaningful Mother Daughter Tattoo:

This is a simple, yet a meaningful idea. The mother will get a heart tattoo, which has a smaller heart inside it colored in red. The same small red-colored heart will go on the daughter’s wrist. This shows that the daughter is a piece straight from the mother’s heart.

Classic Mother Daughter Tattoo:

You can get a classic mother-daughter tattoo design and give it a modern twist. The mother and daughter can get hearts tattooed with either each other’s names or just ‘mother’ ‘daughter’. Use contrasting colors to bring out the details.

You Are My Sunshine Tattoo:

This is another tattoo which can stand as a symbol of the unique bond. This tattoo has the lines ‘you are my sunshine’ and ‘you are my only sunshine’, which tells that no matter what the mother and daughter are always there for each other.

Sweet Memories Tattoo:

Memories are the most precious moments in our lives. With this tattoo, you can preserve your mother-daughter memories forever. For example, if you both have been on a holiday, then get the most significant part of the holiday tattooed.

Moon and Star Tattoo:

In this tattoo, one has the moon and the other the star. Just like how the moon and stars are always together, this is a perfect symbol to show the connection between a mother and her daughter.

Bird Tattoo:

This is another adorable mother-daughter tattoo idea. You can get a mama bird and a baby bird sitting on a tree branch tattooed on each other’s wrist.

Heart Knot Tattoo:

This tattoo has two hearts intertwined and tied into a knot, signifying the intimacy and strength of a mother-daughter relationship. This unique design is sure to grab attention.

Mother Daughter Matching Tattoos

These matching tattoos are a unique way to show the world your love for each other. These tattoos have two parts, which carry significant meaning, just like the bond between a mother and daughter.

Always-On-Mind Tattoo:

This is a cute mother-daughter matching idea. One can get the words ‘always on my mind’ and the other ‘forever in my heart’ tattooed. This tells the world that you and your mother will always love each other forever.

Tree Tattoo:

This tattoo has a deep meaning and is perfect for a mother and daughter duo. In this idea, the mother and daughter are like the two branches which form two parts of a heart. They share the same roots signifying the fact that no matter how far they are from each other, they always stay connected.

Quotes Tattoo:

This tattoo idea perfectly reflects the emotional bond between a mother and daughter. To make it even more personal, you can create a heart with your fingerprints and get it tattooed.

I Love You Tattoo:

This is another cute mother-daughter matching idea where you both try to compete in your love for each other. The daughter can get the lines ‘Mom, I love you,’ and the mother can get ‘I love you more,‘ tattooed on the wrist or hands.

Yet Another I Love You Tattoo:

This is another tattoo idea to show off the love between a mother and daughter. The daughter can get the lines ‘I love you, Mommy’, and the mother can get ‘I loved you first’.

Everlasting Bond Tattoo:

The bond between a mother and her daughter is unbreakable. It forms the day the mother knows she is pregnant. This tattoo signifies this everlasting bond.

Pinky Promise Tattoo:

With this tattoo, you can promise each other that your bond is forever.

Wings and Anchor Tattoo:

In this tattoo, the daughter will get a feather and flying birds with the words ‘I’ll be your wings,’ and the mother will get connecting birds, an anchor along with the words ‘and I’ll be your anchor’. This tattoo signifies that the daughter will fulfill the mother’s dreams, while the mother will support her throughout her life.

Lock and Key Tattoo:

She is the mother’s precious little girl. The daughter is the key to the mother’s heart. And this tattoo signifies exactly that.

Congruence Sign Tattoo:

This is a mathematical symbol used to show the relation between two equal things. You can get this symbol tattooed to show that you both are similar to each other.

Mother Daughter Mandala Tattoo:

The word Mandala means ‘circle’ in Sanskrit. This tattoo is usually flower-shaped and filled with squares and triangles. It is a symbol of unity and completeness. The mother and daughter can get half each of the Mandala tattooed such that when they are united, the circle gets complete.

Matching Lines Tattoo:

Sometimes a simple tattoo can also convey your love. If you want to get a subtle tattoo and do not have any particular idea, then you can ask the tattoo artist to suggest some matching symbols or lines.

Deer Antlers:

This has a deep meaning. According to Celtic mythology, deers are considered the protectors of the forest. By getting this tattoo, you can tell the world that you both will always protect each other.

Long Distance Tattoo:

This tattoo works for those mothers and daughters who live far away from each other. The tattoo has two ladies having a tin can call. Have each lady on one end of the tin can on each other’s hands or ankles, such that when you put your hands together it would complete the call.

To The Moon And Back Tattoo:

This phrase means you love someone abundantly. And is a perfect idea to show the love between a mother and daughter.

Animal Lovers Tattoo:

If you both have a soft corner for cats, then show off your interest through this tattoo.

Turtle Doves Tattoo:

Turtle doves stand for friendship and love. Get this tattoo, in which two turtle doves are holding a string that knots in a heart symbol.

Unconditional Love Tattoo:

Mother is the epitome of unconditional love. She can go to any extent to protect her children. If you have one such super mom, then honor her with this tattoo.

When you feel letters or quotes are not enough to express your love for your mother/ daughter, then get an adorable tattoo, which will stay forever. You could get it done on a birthday, Mother’s Day or any special occasion.

Do you have a mother-daughter tattoo idea? Share it with us in the comments section below.


Now discussing:

People Are Getting This Symbol Tattooed After Adoptions and This Is What It Means

Every parent's journey to adopting a little one is as unique as their family. And while moms and dads may be thrilled to share the details of their experience with others, it doesn't hurt to lean on art to tell a story, as well. As evidenced by a recent viral post on Reddit, many parents have taken to getting a tattoo of a special symbol for both domestic and international adoptions: a triangle intertwined with a heart. 

According to the Adoption Network Law Center, the Birth Family, the Adoptive Family and the Adoptee each represent one side of the triangle and the heart intertwining each side of the triangle represents the love that is involved in an adoption. They point out that the symbol is often used not only in tattoos but artwork, jewelry, and on clothing.

The Redditor who shared this info posted a photo of her adoption tattoo, explaining, "I just learned last year about the Adoption symbol. This is my variation. It&#x;s a messy heart because my adoption story is messy. Purple and Green are my favorite colors."

Other parents chimed in and expressed their affection for and experience with the symbol.

One wrote, "I love how you personalized it! I adopted my sons and wear a necklace everyday with their initials and the adoption symbol. A few years ago a waitress at our fave restaurant asked about our family, then said she was adopted and showed us her adoption symbol tattoo. That was the first time I learned about the symbol."

Another shared, "I love your design! My adoptive parents and I all got the symbol tattooed in "

Here are just a few interpretations that have popped up on social media.

The meaningful symbol is clearly one cherished by many. What a beautiful way for pay tribute to adoption, for both parents and children alike.


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