Adoption Bloggers Interview with Amy Thompson

On a whim, I signed up for the Adoption Bloggers Interview Project, which is exactly what the name describes ~ a chance for people who are connected to adoption to get to know each other.

For the project, I was introduced to Amy Thompson, a prospective adoptive parent who lives in Athens, Georgia. Amy and her husband Chris are in the waiting process for a domestic open adoption, which can be a difficult time of anticipation and apprehension. Thanks, Amy, for answering my questions and giving us a window on your family!

Have you always wanted children or was it something you came to gradually?

I have always wanted to have children. In fact, it has been the one constant in my life that I have always been sure about – I want to be a mom! When Chris and I married, our number one priority was to start a family. We have been working at it for about six years, but our commitment to parenting has never wavered. We know that we want children even though it hasn’t come easily for us.

What was your first introduction to open adoption?

Many years ago (maybe 12 years ago) I saw a television program on adoption. One of the families that was profiled was pursuing an open adoption. The concept was completely foreign to me. I remember initially feeling intrigued by the idea and feeling like there was something very honest and loving about the family’s commitment to openness. Having the birth mother present in the adoptive family’s life seemed to benefit everyone.

What drew you to decide on open adoption as the course for your family?

When we first started researching adoption, Chris and I both felt drawn to open adoption. We intend to be open and honest with our children and feel like our children’s birth parents will always be a huge part of their lives. I want our children to know their history as much as they can and not feel any shame or confusion about their adoption.

Going through the adoption process, we have met so many adoptive families that have been able to maintain openness with their child and build solid relationships with their child’s birth parents.  I feel so encouraged by this.  I think it will be very powerful for our child to experience their birth parents’ love firsthand.

What have you learned about adoption since you embarked on this journey that you didn’t expect?

I have been surprised and encouraged by how many people’s lives have been touched by adoption. I can’t believe all of the stories people have shared with us about their cousins, nieces, parents, neighbors, etc. and their adoption experience. Even complete strangers that run across our adoption website or see our information on Facebook have reached out to us with support. I knew, of course, that there was an adoptive community out there, but didn’t really realize how deep and wide it really is.

On the flip side, I think because so many people have some experience with adoption, at least on some level, we have sometimes felt overwhelmed by all of the advice we receive.  I wasn’t expecting that people held such strong beliefs or opinions about adoption and how readily they would share them!  We have definitely received LOTS of advice.  Sometimes I have felt like I need to defend our decision to adopt, our decision to adopt domestically, our decision to adopt an infant, etc.  In the end, it has only affirmed where all of our initial research led us in the first place.  We know which path is right for us.

How are you dealing with the unknown wait time before you become parents?

I am a huge planner that loves to work off a timeline.  For me, the hardest part has not been the wait but the nebulous timeline.  My approach has been to do enough preparation so we can manage a last minute “meet us at the hospital” type of phone call.  We have a little bag packed, a pack-n-play, a car seat, and dog sitters lined up ready to go if needed.  I know our family and friends will completely come to our rescue if we need them in a pinch.

In the meantime, we are just living our lives and keeping busy.  Chris has recently returned to school to complete a nursing degree. He will be finished in May.  I work full time at the University of Georgia and volunteer as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) in our local juvenile court system.  I am currently assigned to be an advocate for a little boy that is in foster care. As his neglect case works through the juvenile court system, I work with him, his mother, his foster family, all of the different agencies and services assigned to help them and then report back to the court on his progress and try to represent his best interest . I have tried to be a consistent and constant presence in his life during a difficult and confusing time.  I find the work to be extremely challenging, but obviously very rewarding.

This may be an odd question, but do you have a sense of your family’s mission or purpose? (I’m thinking along the lines of what Simple Mom talks about in her post Create a Family Mission Statement.)

I love this idea!  At our staff retreat this summer, I lead my co-workers through a similar exercise related to our office, the way we serve students, how we support one another, our collective values, etc.  We then created an “office code” that we have hanging in our break room.  I really do love the idea of doing this type of exercise as a family and creating a family mission.  Although Chris and I haven’t formally had this conversation, we have talked a lot about our parenting values and the way we want our family to live. Some themes that I see emerging are:

1.       Communicate openly. 

Chris and I have very different approaches to life (we are opposites in many ways) and really have to remember to check in with one another and communicate effectively.  As long as we remember to TALK we have found that our differences really complement one another nicely.J  As I mentioned before, we also want to talk with our children openly about adoption and how we became a family.

2.       Live simply.

We do really value living a simple life – managing our stuff, organizing our home, reducing the clutter in our lifestyle and schedules, using resources wisely, spending time with family/friends doing the things we love. It is easy to get lost in the frantic world around us – we try to keep it simple.

3.       Respecting our planet. 

We love the outdoors and really want to expose our kids to beautiful places, fun and healthy activities, and being good stewards of the environment.

4.       Be creative. 

Having some sort of creative outlet is really important for us.  For Chris it is photography, music, cooking, and writing.  For me it is knitting, gardening, baking, and making beads/jewelry.  One of the things I look forward to the most about having kids is exploring ways to bring more creativity into our home. I love the idea that being creative helps instill the habit of being self-reliant and confident in your ideas and decisions.

All the best to you, Amy and Chris!

You can also read Amy’s interview of me on her blog, or check out over a hundred other interviews for the project, which is organized by Heather at Production Not Reproduction.

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