An interview with Deb Gallagher about her experience creating a family through “the messy miracle of international adoption.” Deb first talks about the degree of homophobia she encountered as a lesbian seeking to adopt a child both domestically and internationally. She describes the way she had to enter the closet for the first time since age 15 in order to have the chance to adopt a child. She describes her grief at bringing a child away from her home culture and language to a country that is so racist. She observes the many ways that her daughter’s experience of being in this culture is so different from her own as a white person.
An interview with clinical social worker and birth mother, Marilyn Bronzi about giving up her child for adoption. Marilyn describes the sense of secrecy and shame that surrounded out of wedlock pregnancy in 1966. “It was like having a relative in jail.” She describes her process of making the decision and making peace with it in different ways over the years. Marilyn describes not talking to anyone about the loss for 23 years for fear of judgment. She also describes the experience of reunification with her daughter Lisa, and the ways that she and Lisa’s family have been able to come together. Marilyn affirms that giving up her child was an expression of loving her child, and wanting her to have the best life she could have.
An interview with psychologist, researcher and author, Diane Ehrensaft about the psychological experience of parenting children conceived through the assistance of a donor. Diane describes the challenges parents face in coping with “genetic assymetry” between the parents, and fears that disclosing to the child will undermine the bonding with the non-biological parent. Diane also speaks of the challenges for the child who may experience, “genealogical bewilderment” if the donor is anonymous, and their own need to establish a sense of identity and belonging. Diane affirms the value of open discussion in families that decrease the potential shame and ultimately affirm the deep bonds that parents have with their children.
An interview with author, adoptee and clinician, Joyce Maguire Pavao about parenting an adopted child. Joyce describes the changing demographics of adopted children, and how adopted children are increasingly older and may have experienced trauma as well as the loss of their birth family. Joyce asserts that “adoption doesn’t fix anything, ” and that each member of the adoptive relationship will still need to grieve their losses. She describes ways that families can honor the birth family and reassures parents that their child will not be confused about who their parents are, because they know so well who has raised them. Joyce describes the importance of early disclosure to adopted children about their own origins, and also tells her own story of finding and reconnecting with her birth family, with the support of her parents.
An interview with social psychologist and author, Susan Newman about the stigma and misinformation about only children. She describes studies that not only show that only children do not suffer from the lack of siblings but show improved academic achievement. She reports that the stereotypes of being spoiled, bossy and lonely do not hold up to research and that only children families are the fastest growing type of family in the US and in many parts of the western world, approaching a quarter of all families. She describes the factors that lead parents to have one child including wanting to give the child the best of their limited resources and time, wanting to avoid favoritism and rivalry, marriage and child-bearing happening later in life, secondary infertility, and the economy. Her books are Parenting Your Only Child, and The Case for the Only Child: Your essential Guide.