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Monday, April 8, 2013

Adoption April: Kinship Adoption, Interview with Kristin

Today we have the first interview for Adoption April! Help me welcome Kristin, who blogs over at NutellandDreams. She is an adoptee, and our interview for kinship adoption!

Hello. Why don't you introduce yourself? - Hi!  I'm Kristin.  I'm a barely 30-year old child at heart, fresh off the plane from living in the Netherlands for three years.    I'm married to a wonderful man, and we have a beast of a cat that does her best to try my patience on a daily basis.  As you have probably guessed, I'm also adopted.

How old were you when you were adopted? - I was adopted immediately after birth

Who adopted you? - I was adopted by my maternal grandparents.

Why? - My birth mother was in high school when she got pregnant.  Children had never really been something she was interested in, especially at such a young age.  She considered having an abortion, but her parents talked her out of it and asked that she put the child up for adoption.  She agreed, and then later, it was agreed that her parents (my maternal grandparents) would adopt the child (me).

Do you think being adopted by blood relatives is very different from those adopted by people not related to them biologically? - I think, like most things in life, it depends on the circumstances.  I was incredibly lucky.  My grandparents have a good relationship with my birth mother, so it was easy (from my perspective).  I was raised to think of my grandparents as my parents...and even now, when I refer to my "parents" I am actually talking about my maternal grandparents.  My birth mother was referred to as my sister, and it was pretty seamless.  I'm not sure how it would have been had I been adopted out to someone outside my biological family.  I would like to think that it would have been fine, and I would have been loved and grown up quite happy, even though I would have missed out on the relationships with my biological family that I have in this circumstance.

Did you always know you were adopted? - My parents (grandparents) were really upfront with me from the time I could understand.  I was probably around 5 or so when they told me.  They kept it simple...I didn't come from my mommy, but from a different mommy, and so I really had two mommies, so I was very special and very loved.  It wasn't until later that I realized not everyone had two mommies.  I just thought it was normal and everyone was like that.

How did being adopted shape your childhood? - I'm not entirely sure it has, to be honest.  I have loving parents like any other "non-adopted" child out there with loving parents.  It was a bit confusing when it was time to do the "family tree" in elementary school...I remember asking my teacher if she wanted the legal version or the biological version.  Otherwise, I don't really remember it making much of a difference.  I think it was just treated as no big deal, so I didn't give it much though.

Since you were adopted by your grandparents, was the generation gap an issue? It was never an "issue," per se.  I think that generation gaps happen regardless of whether you're adopted to an older couple, or if you're just the last child in a long line of kids.  It isn't really a problem with adoption specifically.  And, to be clear, it wasn't exactly a "problem" at all.  My grandmother was 37 and my grandfather was 43 when they adopted they weren't exactly elderly by any stretch of the imagination.  And when I was a child, there wasn't an difference between my parents and every one else's.  However, as I got older, it became something that was more obvious.  My father retired from work when I was starting my freshman year of high school, whereas most fathers were reaching the height of their careers.  Both Mom and Dad started to slow down a little bit more as they grew older...I was the last of four children, and raising kids is exhausting.  I think the hardest part has been now, as I'm nearly the point where I plan on having children.  Both my parents are older now (my father is in his 70s and my mother is nearly 70 herself) and really don't have the energy to get on the floor and crawl around with babies/toddlers.  In addition, my father has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, so he's facing some serious health problems that typically start later in life.  Had they been younger when I was adopted, I wouldn't be facing these circumstances yet (though, to be sure, I'd probably face them eventually...I'm just selfish and want more time).  So, it was never something that was directly an issue.  But, it did result in some differences in how I grew up, as compared to other classmates/friends when I was younger.

Obviously you can't know what it's like to not be adopted, but do you think it shaped who you became in anyway? - I think being adopted has made me very tolerant of "non-traditional" families.  I am very open to adoption, and am pretty liberal when it comes to social family issues.  I'm also very interested in adopting a child when the time is right.

How curious were you about your biological parents? Did you ever have a relationship with them? - I do have a relationship with my biological mother.  Since I was raised with her being a "sibling" we have a normal sibling relationship.  Since she's much older (19 years) it's not a particularly close relationship, but we get along well and talk quite often.  There aren't any hard feelings between us or anything...we get along well.  As for my biological father, I've never met him.  I've never really had a desire to.  He was not interested in being a father, and gave up his parental rights when I was a baby so that I could be adopted.  I wouldn't be opposed to meeting him, should he ever come looking for me, but I'm not planning on seeking him out either.  I don't have any negative feelings for him...he really doesn't ever cross my mind.

What is the most ignorant thing you've ever had happen to you/was said to you, in regards to adoption? - I think the most ignorant thing I've ever heard was the concept that, with adoption "you never know what you're going to get."  As though you're going to inherit someone else's problems.

What do you wish the public knew about adoption? - I wish more people were educated about it.  I think a lot of people thinks it's an easy process, when in reality it can take years and requires a fair amount of money.  On the flip side, I also wish more people realized that there is more to adoption than just the babies.  Everyone wants a  baby, but there are plenty of older adoptable children out there that need a home just as badly, if not more so.

Would you adopt? If yes, do you have any thoughts about how you would like to go about it? - Absolutely, I'd love to adopt.  I'm not sure whether I'd like to do an international or domestic adoption, though I'm leaning towards an international one.  I don't think I would like to do foster, however, as I tend to get super attached and would have a really hard time letting a child go if it were required.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with the readers? - Adoption isn't for everyone, but it's an amazing gift if you're willing to open your hearts and homes to a child.  For any of you going through the process, or wanting to go through the process, I wish you all the best of luck!

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