I was paired with Lynn of Open Hearts, Open Minds. Lynn and her husband Tim have a fantastic little boy Elliot who they adopted at birth three years ago. It was terrific getting to know Lynn through her blog and our email correspondence. Lynn lives in Michigan so geographically we are not that far away. Talking with her made me think of the four years I spent in Windsor. In particular the two years I lived directly under the Ambassador Bridge to Detroit. Oh university life... lol.
Lynn is a writer and among other projects has written a few children's books, one based on a story she wrote for Elliott about his adoption. Lynn's blog was a joy to read. She talks not only about her open adoption with Elliott's birth family but also about raising her son, travel and life in general. I found her posts on bilingual parenting especially interesting since I would love to teach myself and Gaby Italian. Lynn is teaching her son Spanish and has an amazing grasp on it herself even though it is not her first language.
Below is my interview with Lynn. If you would like to read her interview with me you can find it here. Heather has posted a list of all the interview project pairs on her blog if you are interested in exploring any of the other interviews.
Me:In response to an open adoption bloggers prompt that stated "open adoption is about information sharing" you spoke about how you felt open adoption was about love. Over the years has your opinion on this changed at all? Why?
Me:You have said that you do not have and would not have wanted an open adoption agreement. In Ontario it is required that an open adoption agreement be signed. It is part of the paperwork reviewed by the ministry of child and youth services before granting finalization of an adoption.
Lynn:Elliot’s birth parents do not fit any of the popular stereotypes, but people often assume that they do. In the beginning, people would often ask, “Are they really young?” as if assuming this would be the only reason someone would decide not to parent. When this has happened, I’ve simply explained that their age didn’t have anything to do with their decision and that they simply had never wanted to be parents…so, they made the wise decision not to be. People generally seem surprised, but they always “get” it.
Me:In your blog you discuss how at times it is difficult to determine when it is important to tell people Elliot was adopted and when to leave it alone. You make a great point in saying that eventually it should be Elliot's decision who should be told and in what circumstances. It is his story...
In part because all of the important people in our lives obviously already know that Elliot joined our family by adoption, it’s not something that comes up nearly as frequently as it used to. When Elliot was a baby, I felt that I needed to tell people that we adopted Elliot -- sometimes, because people in the neighborhood suddenly saw us with a baby after I hadn’t been pregnant; sometimes, when other mothers were sharing stories about their birth and breastfeeding experiences, which I couldn’t relate to.
Today, the fact that Elliot is not our biological child really only comes up at doctor’s appointments. It’s not a secret by any means; it’s just not relevant to our day-to-day lives.
I anticipate that the topic may come up more when Elliot is older. When he’s old enough to understand, I plan to discuss with him how and when we should deal with any questions that may arise.
I would like to say thank you to Lynn for participating in the interview project this year and also to Heather for all of her hard work. Without her there would be no interview project.