Lois Melina has been a voice of wisdom and authority in the world of adoption for decades. We connected with Melina upon the publication of her latest book, The Grammar of Untold Stories,a collection of personal essays, to discuss immigration and international adoption, transracial adoption and the Black Lives Matter movement, and the many ways adoption and infertility continue to surface in her writing.
Understanding Open Adoption
In an open adoption, you meet your child’s birth parents and maintain contact after placement. Find open adoption information and stories here.
Thank You, Bàba
Six months after she came home to us, our daughter stopped speaking. As I searched for clues as to her sudden silence, I became profoundly grateful to her Chinese foster father, a man I had never met, for teaching me a valuable lesson about selfless love.
Ask AF: Letting a Preteen Take the Lead in a Birth Parent Relationship
“At what age should we start letting our daughter take the lead in birth parent contact? I know that my daughter will be able to call her birth mom freely when she gets her own cellphone, so how do we step back responsibly?”
Ask AF: Should We Tell Our Child She Has a Birth Sibling if They Can’t Be in Touch?
“Would knowing that somewhere, out in the world, she has a biological sister—but one she can’t get in touch with or live with as a sibling—help our child, or be harmful?”
“A New Path in Our Adoption Journey”
For years, my daughters’ birth mother dropped in and out of our lives as she battled a drug addiction. Now she is back in our lives, back in her own life, and I can’t wait to see what the future will bring for all of us.
We all imagine different ways our lives could have played out. For adoptees, these fantasies may seem particularly compelling: ‘What would my life have been like if I had not been adopted?’
Ask AF: Should I Try to Contact My Children’s Birth Siblings?
A mother who adopted from foster care seeks advice about contacting the adoptive parents of her children’s birth siblings. Fellow adoptive parents weigh in.
Parents Share: Birth Sibling Connections
We asked “Does your child have a birth sibling who lives with another adoptive family?” Parents respond and explain how they keep in touch (or why contact isn’t possible).
Ask AF: Worried My Daughter Will Think Her Birth Mom Is More “Fun”
“My nine-year-old has been asking me about her birth mother. I was able to find her on social media, but I’m worried about sharing the photos I found.”
[EXCERPT] Those Three Words
Christine Bauer’s revealing memoir begins when she hears those three words (“You are pregnant”) and faces an unplanned pregnancy, and takes readers through her open adoption decision, and the ensuing three decades as a birth mother and mother. In this excerpt, Bauer relates the complicated emotions that accompanied her second pregnancy, 11 years after placing her daughter for adoption, and the birth of her oldest son.
How Adoption Grew Secret
Our kids deserve to know who their people were.
Parents Share: “Our Open Adoption Over the Years”
Adoptive moms and dads share how their open adoptions have changed over time — whether they became more or less open, and why.
“Back to Bucaramanga” – Meeting My Daughter’s Birth Mother in Colombia
We set off on the 3,400-mile journey to meet my daughter’s birth mother in silence, our questions too big to put into words. In Colombia, communicating through an interpreter, but also through smiles, tears, embraces, and shared sensory experiences, all of us began to find answers.
Ask AF: Doesn’t Our Child Have a Right to Know About Her Birth Mother?
We have a closed adoption, per our child’s birth mother’s request. How can I ever tell my child that I know who her birth mother is, but can’t share that information?
My love for my youngest child, who was born to me, takes a different timbre from my love for my twins through adoption. Accepting this helps me understand the inimitable bond they share with their birth mother, and the ache she must feel.
Ask AF: When and How to Tell Our Child She Has Birth Siblings?
Our daughter knows she was adopted, but doesn’t know she has younger half-birth-siblings. I worry about telling her, but I also I don’t want her to feel like we were hiding information from her.
At a recent gathering, an acquaintance made a comment based on the astonishingly misguided and downright vulgar assumption that my child’s birth parents are unworthy or subpar. Here’s how I responded.
“Meeting Jennifer” – Opening a Foster Adoption
After adopting my children from foster care, we eased into contact with their birth mother. She and I—a conservative, suburban mom—couldn’t be more different, and I’m glad that’s the case. The kids have a special relationship with her that they can’t have with me.
Ask AF: How to Ask My Children About Trauma in Their Past?
“I know that my children’s birth siblings were abused by their birth parents, but my children don’t talk about trauma in their earlier lives. How should I talk with them about this?”
Ask AF: How to Share Sad News About a Birth Parent?
“When my daughter was in her teens, we sent a letter to her birth mother via our adoption agency, but never heard back. Yesterday, I got a social media message from her birth mother’s sister, which shared sad news. How do I break this news to my daughter?”