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.
As I prepared to adopt my second child, I welcomed the home study worker into a perfectly clean and ordered home. The scene that greeted her at her post-placement visit was, well, different—but much more real.
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.
As my children move into the world without me, I can’t protect them the way I could when they were little. I can’t assume that their lives and actions will be cloaked with the same privilege I was born with.
Adoption allowed me to fulfill my dream of finally becoming a mother, and my flexible work schedule allows me to be the mom I’ve always wanted to be. Here’s how you can make it work, too.
Once, I grieved the loss of a biological child. Nineteen years later, as I watch my son leap and soar (literally) into adulthood, I am at peace with my role of nurturing the many gifts built into his nature.
For years, I felt ambivalence about becoming a parent, and worry that I wouldn’t be a “perfect” mother. In an open letter to my daughter, I look back on that moment of calm and utter clarity when we met.
Fifteen years into parenting in a transracial family, I thought I had heard it all—with appropriate comebacks at the ready—until an interaction with a racist (former) boss left me simply dumbfounded.
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?’
The day we became a transracial adoptive family was the day we lost our anonymity in our community. We’ve learned to handle the extra attention with some advance prep before going public, some choice words, and some perspective.
As parents, our goal is to raise independent, self-sufficient human beings. But, truth be told, it hurts like a %$#* when you realize you’ve done your job.
My older son is off at college, and I’ve been heartened to see that his “new normal” includes a maturing and strengthening of the bond between us. I look back to the day I met him, just over eight years ago, and our years of attachment struggles, even as I look to his future, and ours, with hope.
Most prospective adoptive parents don’t get cards or baby showers, or even much excitement. It’s time to change that. Buying something for your hoped-for baby won’t ‘jinx’ your plan to adopt, and 11 more things I wish someone had told me during the wait.
Amazingly, the number one question we’re asked about being a foster family is: “Are you afraid of what they'll teach your children?” So, what have my kids learned? To start—to be open, generous, non-judgmental, thankful for their warm home….
When I adopted my two sons eight years ago, they couldn’t separate themselves fast enough from their “old” life in Brazil. As I prepared to visit my oldest son two months into his “new” college life—a lifetime for any freshman—I wondered to what extent he might have compartmentalized his now “old” family life.
I adopted my son as he was entering his teen years, and now, too soon, I have seen him off to college. How will his still tenuous attachment play out when I’m no longer a constant, physical presence in his life?
Isaac is 14 years old, but he’s six feet tall and almost two hundred pounds. He’s also black. He hasn’t been a discipline problem since the day he came home, but someone who doesn’t know him could see him as a threat. So what was I to do on a recent evening when he asked to bike home alone in the dark?
A trip to the doctor's office reminds me of the love inside my son's perfect heart.
Years ago, when my son and I were at the kitchen table, a work-related call interrupted our conversation. He said sadly, "Mom, you spend more time helping people have children than you do with your own."