Monday, November 11, 2013

OAB Interview Project; Meet Judy Miller!
I am honored to once again have the opportunity to participate in Open Adoption Bloggers' Interview Project. This is something I look forward to every year, not only for the chance to meet and get to know other open adoption bloggers, but it always gives me the opportunity to re-live so many aspects of our own journey to and through adoption.
This year, I was matched with Judy Miller and I have found myself enthralled by her experiences in adoption, intimated by her knowledge of parenting, and so thankful for the chance to get to know her!
Judy is the mama of one 'home-grown' and three adopted children. Her life experiences include travelling through infertility, losing a child through miscarriage, adopting internationally, writing and publishing a successful book, and teaching courses to adoptive parents in the throws of their children's adolescence, among so many other things. You can read Judy's thoughts as she wanders through her own childrens' adoption stories on her blog, Parenting Your Adopted Child; Tweens, Teens, & Beyond. You can also access and purchase her book, What to Expect from Your Adopted Tween... a book I intend to read cover to cover soon ;-)
I know you'll enjoy reading through my interview with Judy... her insight is profound, her emotions are raw, and the knowledge she has to offer those of us in the beginning stages of adoption or parenting is not something to be missed!
(Be sure you click over to Judy's blog, too and read through her interview with me ;-))
I want nothing more than for you to absorb Judy's wisdom and I've decided to split her interview into two parts to be sure you're able to do just that. SO...
Without further ado... meet Judy; Part I!
Lindsay:     What led you to build your family through adoption? How old were your children when you brought them home?
Judy: We made decision to adopt prior to marriage; we just didn’t realize how it would unfold. We were led to adopt internationally. That was always the plan, as was being a multiracial family. All of our children joined us as infants.
Lindsay:   Our adoptions were both domestic, making open adoption a very simple and reasonable option. I love your references to the ‘ambiguous loss’ your children face as they get older. How has your experience with international adoption and limited biological background information affected your tweens? How do you address those questions and possible confusion as your children process the parts of their lives that might be missing?
Judy: Ambiguous loss is very, very difficult to address. Period. There is no, “just get over it,” or, “I’m just going to love them through it.” Any parent who has either or both of these mindsets will have their eyes opened at some point.
We were aware we’d have to help our kids grapple with the unknowns—the lack of information and family and genetic history. And we’ve dealt with ambiguous loss, countless times, as well as discovering what events and situations events trigger feelings about adoption. Knowing this has helped us to be proactive.
Without going into any of their stories (because my kids’ stories are theirs, and I’m a stickler about keeping those private…), due to the nature of our kids’ adoptions, I can share there are missing “pieces.” We strive to be truthful, compassionate and supportive. We rely only on the facts we know, and we are fortunate to have enough that each of our kids has been able to build a foundation. Their frameworks sit, within the historical facts and contexts of their cultures of origin. They may decide to add to their stories in their futures, and we will be there to support them.
Lindsay:    You teach classes and write books on the joys and challenges of parenting an adopted tween and you offer advice to parents who may find themselves struggling through the tween years. As the Mama of tweens yourself, who do you turn to for advice with struggles you face at home? Do you think you hold yourself to a higher standard of parenting because of what you do?
Judy: Advice; I wish I could say my mom, but she passed away just after my oldest daughter was born. I turn to friends who are:
·         Adopted adults.
·         Adoptive transracial parents, whose kids are the same age and older than mine.
·         In interracial relationships/marriages and raising multiracial kids. 
·         Not white, nor are any of their family members.
·         Bi- and multiracial friends who are raised by parents that don’t “match.”
·         Who have immigrated into the U.S. and, when going “home,” are viewed as too American by their culture of origin. They’ve become Third World Kids (TWK).
·         Raising teens and young adults.
·         Who are of the same ethnicities as my kids.
·         Adoptive parents
I encourage parents to build a tapestry of support and diversity for their kids and themselves. I’ll share that we’ve tried to make sure our kids, including our homegrown son, have an expansive diverse groups of friends, role models, experiences, and exposure as possible. Diversity and exposure are inroads to creating openness, compassion, empathy, and understanding.
 I don’t feel I hold myself to a higher standard of parenting, however I do feel I am a very informed, proactive, open parent because of the work I do.

Lindsay:  Being the mom who supports other adoptive parents in their parenting techniques, how do you think your ‘profession’ affects your relationship with your own children(their openness with you, their ability to discuss their thoughts and feelings with you, etc)?  
Judy: My profession—work and advocacy—has helped me appreciate the complexity of adoption, and that of parenting the adopted child. I’ve come to embrace openness as a tool to unlock secrecy, shed light on shame, and face and walk through fear. And through modeling this, teach my kids to do the same.  
I’ve realized that being open in mind and heart is true compassion and support, further serving to “open” my kids and their abilities to communicate their needs as well as promoting our trust in each other and solidifying our relationships. I’ve learned the parenting journey is the toughest “job” I’ll ever love and is fraught with challenges because of the complexities of adoption. I’ve also learned that there are many optional tools to use for raising kids, which is so important, as they all are different.
~~~~Head over here to read Part II of my interview with Judy!!~~~~

Click here to read through dozens of other Open Adoption Blogger Interviews!


  1. Thank you for your wonderful and fearless questions, Lindsay. :) Readers/followers of On Loan From Heaven can read my interview of Lindsay at:

  2. Oh, MAN, how I love this:

    "I’ve come to embrace openness as a tool to unlock secrecy, shed light on shame, and face and walk through fear. And through modeling this, teach my kids to do the same."

    Really enjoyed Part 1, Lindsay.

  3. Wonderful questions and answers! It has been a joy to read all the wonderful interviews. I'm off to read your answers now. :-)


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