How does it work?
The Interview Project is open to any blogger who writes at least occasionally about adoption, is interested in meeting a fellow writer with different views and experiences, and wants to welcome someone into their own online space.
Bloggers are paired off at random. They get to know one another's blog and interview each other by email. On November 17, they will post the interviews on their blogs. Come back on November 17 to be introduced to over 120 fabulous adoption bloggers!
I'm going to be honest about this..I was scared about the whole random pairing part of this project. I was terrified that I would be matched with someone who had completely opposing views or that I just didn't get along with.
Imagine the sigh of relief when I was matched with Jenn from Insert Bad Movie Title Here. As we chatted I couldn't believe how much we had in common. I felt like I was catching up with an old friend, it was awesome.
And then I read her blog.
I started at the beginning, and the next thing I knew I was reading the latest post. I laughed, I shook my head in confusion, I got mad on Jenn's behalf. By the time I finished reading, I was in awe. Jenn is amazing and so strong and I am so impressed by her. Just check out her answers to my questions and see for yourself...
What's the best advice you can give me, from an adoptee's perspective, about raising adopted children?
I think the advice I would give it to keep an open mind and realize it's a lifelong thing. I know that for me, I dealt with adoption differently throughout my life. My parents were very open with me and were great about everything when I was a kid. I mean, seriously, they had an adoption story book, answered all my questions, and made it seem almost like a fairy tale how I came to be their daughter. Then as I got older, those things went away. I remember asking my mother a question one day, she didn't have an open mind and it showed. She answered shortly in a way that told me she didn't want to talk about it. I didn't ask her about my adoption again for years. She made it seem not OK for just a minute and I remembered that. Looking back, she probably just had a bad day and I asked the wrong question. But afterward, she never brought it up. I assumed we couldn't talk about it. That wasn't the truth. But that's what I thought. So I guess the point is, Pie will probably process things differently as she gets older. And she may not always want to talk about it. But she might, and she might not know how to bring it up. I know I certainly didn't. As Pie's mother, it would probably be best to keep an open mind so that if she asks a different sort of question, you are able to process in a way that lets her know it's OK to ask those questions, and bring it up every now and then so she sees its OK. If she doesn't want to talk about it fine. But if she does, you opening that door will mean more to her than you will ever know.
I have three siblings and very much want Pie to have that kind of unique relationship. Did you ever struggle with seeing your adopted sister as your sister?
My adoptive sister is my sister. She stole my Barbie dolls. I pulled her hair. She helped me get ready for my prom and gave me a hug when I came home after having a horrible time. I answered my phone at three in the morning when she called me crying because she got into a fight with her boyfriend. We are sisters. We share history. We share memories. I still have a scar that she gave me that's never going away. That being said, we have a different relationship now than we used to. She's my sister and always will be, but she's very jealous that I was able to find my first family and that I have other sisters. I never understood that because my sister has two biological brothers. I always wanted a big brother, so I was pretty excited for her. But somehow she didn't see my little sisters as a good thing for her. Just as people who will take me away from her. I don't think that love is something that we only have a finite quantity of. I think that we have as much love as we need. If there are more people to love, we just grow in capacity. Anyway, she doesn't act like my sister right now. She's going through some things. She needs to work it out, and I'll be here when she does. I'm hoping she will eventually come around and we can resume our former relationship. I have hope for the future. Because she's my sister and she always will be.
Since you consider family a group of people who care about each other without necessarily having a biological tie, has that made things easier or harder in your romantic relationships?
Has being adopted, and the reunion process, changed your feelings about marriage and children?
I used to think that it was my destiny to grow up and become an adoptive parent. I asked my boyfriend about it after we'd been dating for a year. I asked if he'd ever be OK with adopting a child with me. I was very upset when he told me he would rather have his own children. I didn't get it. I didn't value biology at all. I tried to explain to him where I was coming from but he really didn't get it. It was like we were speaking in different languages. So we shelved that conversation. After I entered reunion, I started to get it more. I started to deal with some of my own issues, and I started to see that biology does matter. It does matter to a child to see people they look like. It matters for those children to see where they get there personality traits. And it's very helpful for them to know that they don't have to be ashamed of where they come from. I'm a huge fan of open adoptions because I do believe that these things would have helped me growing up. But back to the point... Now I don't see myself adopting. I'm not saying it could never happen, but I'd like to try to have biological kids at this point. I'm not scared of my biological background like I used to be. That was the main reason why I wanted to adopt. I was scared of what genes I might be giving to my kids. Now I know there's nothing to be scared of. I've been warned that when I have kids, it's going to hit me like a ton of bricks. Something about figuring out the bond between mother and child at birth and the fact I never had that. Should be a party... In terms of marriage, that view has never changed. My adoptive parents have been married for over thirty years. My first parents have been married over twenty. I have two great examples of marriage in my life (not to mention grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc). I just have one more set of people to look up to now.
Is this situation made harder or easier by the fact that your biological parents ended up marrying each other? Would you have preferred them to go their own ways?
I was really happy that they were married. It made it feel like I came from a good place. I was afraid of who they were because I'd been told horrible things growing up, like that my mother was probably a prostitute and my father was probably no good (kids in the school yard can be cruel). So the fact that they were married, had jobs, raised two more children, made me feel like things were going to be alright for me. So I've been happy about that. And it did make it easier to find them when I was searching. That being said, it makes things harder right now. My first mother is having trouble dealing with the fact I got in touch. It took her a while to figure out that she didn't really want to be talking to me, but she finally did. My first father and I have a great relationship. So it's a problem. They had to figure out how to make things work for their family (because their other children don't know about me and my first parents can't agree on when to tell them). And it makes things harder because she blames me when things don't go well between them. I've been accused by her of ruining their marriage, and told by him months later that I saved it. That's a lot of responsibly to put on me. Even though their marriage is their own and honestly I want nothing to do with it. It would have been easier if they went their own ways. But even after everything, I'm happy they are together. I'm happy that my full biological sisters have parents who are together. It makes me happy that they do have a family unit that's together and when things get bad, I just remember that they are together and happy. Even if I can't be there with them. It's still a nice ending. Or that's how I picture it in my head anyway.
We talked about the Triad sounding like a gang name. What would your role in the gang be, kingpin, enforcer, etc? Why?
What an interesting question! My role changes depending on the situation. I'm a chameleon like that, fitting in as best I can. Most of the time I'm the enforcer. I've always been that way. I believe everyone should play by the rules. The world doesn't work that way, but I believe it should. If I see something that's going on that's wrong, I speak up about it. I have been known to put people in their place. Then again, sometimes I'm the kingpin. Not so much online, but I tend to be a take-charge person in a lot of situations. Not as much lately, but some of that shines through at times. I guess it all depends on the situation.
I know one of your favorite songs is Brown-Eyed Girl, what about favorite movies and TV?
My favorite movie is Ever After. You know, the one with Drew Barrymore. Cinderella was always my favorite fairy tale. I loved it! I would watch it all the time, had the Barbies with the outfits (such a beautiful dress) and even had paper dolls that were Cinderella themed. I was obsessed. Then as I got older, I resented that she needed a man to rescue her. And then I saw Ever After. Same story, but she saves herself at the end. Her prince shows up after she frees herself from the evil dude (with a sword too!). That's the movie you are most likely to find in my DVD player. As for TV, it keeps changing. I really like Grey's Anatomy. I like the characters. Not loving this season though... I also like Glee because I'm a huge sucker for singing and dancing. And I think that Lea Michelle is amazing when it comes to singing (plus she deals with a lot of the same things I do, and those episodes were on around the same time I was dealing with it) and Cory Monteith is hot. But I don't cry if I miss an episode. I'm more into reading these days.
If there were one thing you wish people knew about adoption what would it be?
Just one? Adoption is different for everyone. I think a lot of people lose sight of that. I've heard adoptees who swear that adoption is the worst thing that ever happened to them, and another adoptees say it's the best. I've processed things differently over the last 24 years and I'm sure I'll process them differently in the future. So I guess my point is that even if you know someone who's thrilled they were adopted and had a great experience, don't discredit the person who hasn't had the best one. That happens a lot online. It's just different for everyone and all of us deserve to be respected for our individual roles and perspectives. Just like I'm sure that not all adoptive parents see things the same way. Or all first parents. You get the point...
You've mentioned that your life has a Lifetime movie quality, if they did make a movie who should play you?
I was told Anne Hathaway. I never liked her. But apparently she's the person who should play me. I've been told this now by several people. Go figure. Then again, Lifetime doesn't use actresses like Anne Hathaway. She's too good for lifetime. I personally love Catherine Bell because I used to be obsessed with JAG. And she's been in Lifetime movies before. She'd have to play grown up me though. Personally I could cast everyone else, but not myself. I'd have to trust someone else to do it.
And I have to throw in one that's completely random...would you rather be a ninja or a pirate? Why?
Pirate. 100% pirate. I love ships. I love the ocean. I'd love to just sail around all day and get a tan. Ninja's don't tan; they are too covered up. Plus, have you seen Orlando Bloom dressed up like a pirate? 'Nough said ;-)
See what I mean? Amazing right?