Blog talk Radio Transcript: Adoptive Parents Connected from the Start/Sisters Through Adoption/Maintaining The Adoption Connection – Part 3 Air Date: 7-18-17 (you may listen to the podcast by clicking on the audio link, or read the transcript of the podcast below)
In our two previous podcasts, we learned about three families that felt connected from the start. About their Journey together to China to pickup the children they were adopting, and about the relationships they now treasure. (click here for Part 1) (click here for Part 2)
In this podcast we hear from the three adoptive mothers and their three adopted daughters. They talk about how their lives intertwined throughout the years. Although the kids are all grown, and their lives have taken them in different directions, there is a closeness that defies the odds. They will forever maintain their adoption connection.
Jennifer Jaworski: Hi, and welcome to Adoption Focus. My name is Jennifer Jaworski and I’m a social worker with Adoption Associates of Michigan. This is Adoption Associates, premier talk radio blog show. Adoption Associates was founded in 1990 and we specialize in both domestic and international adoption. We provide private adoption services throughout all of Michigan with offices located in Jenison, Lansing, Farmington Hills, and Saginaw. Anywhere in Michigan, you can find a connection to Adoption Associates. Adoption Associates brings knowledge, support, and understanding in adoption. Adoption is not only our specialty, but it is our passion. One of Adoption Associates’ commitments is to this weekly radio show to help educate and support adoptive families, birth families, and the adoption community. We’re really glad that you’re listening in today.
Part Three of Connected From the Start
Today we have been anticipating this particular podcast. It is part three of our summer series where we were talking about connections from the start. This is a really heartwarming and unique story of three families that were connected through the international adoption process in a very unexpected way. If you’re listening in today for the first time, you might want click on the part 1 and part 2 links above to hear the first two episodes of this podcast. In part 1 we talked with three wonderful, funny and fun loving moms who are with us today as well. Then in part 2, we talked with their daughters. And today, I’m super excited to welcome all of them to what is definitely hands down the largest show that we have had. We have with us, Julie, Marianne, and Maureen (known as Mo). Those are our moms. Welcome ladies.
Julie: Hi. Thank you.
Jennifer Jaworski: Thank you for being here. Then, we have your daughters, Holly, Emily, and Kate. Hi ladies.
Maintaining the Adoption Connection
Jennifer Jaworski: Thank you so much, all of you. So we’ve got six people on the podcast and we’re super excited wrapping up what’s been a fantastic two weeks with today’s show. In the last two podcasts we heard from all of you about your relationships, how they began, and why they’ve been so important to each of you. Today we’re going to focus a little bit on the future. I wanted to get us started with this question. As Emily, Kate and Holly will be preparing to go off to college in the coming years, how will you keep the relationships going and what is the plan to maintain the wonderful connections that your families have? Let’s start with maybe one of the moms.
Marianne: We’ve already talked about when we’re all nicely retired and the kids are off. We’re talking about going away for the weekend and having a celebration at a little bed and breakfast. Have pedicures, relax, talk and take walks.
Julie: I was going to say the same thing Marianne said. This past weekend we were all together and that very subject came up. It’s like, “Hey, let’s find a resort, let’s find a place, let’s go.”
Jennifer Jaworski: There’s obviously no question about it. These adoption connections are going to continue. What about Holly, Emily or Kate? Did one of you want to speak to this topic about what the future looks like and remaining connected with one another?
Julie: Yeah, go ahead now.
Holly: We already often get together to go shopping and grab a bite to eat. In the future, we’d probably plan a day to just get together and catch up with each other.
Jennifer Jaworski: That sounds like a lot of fun. So many of us struggle with keeping in touch with our friends and our family. And, in today’s society we’re all so busy and we wear many different hats in relation to our daily responsibilities. What is the glue that keeps you all together? How do you make this work? Do tell. Julie, Marianne, Mo, someone let me know. How are you doing this?
Mo: Well, I think with us, the fact that we’ve had the same experiences and we’ve lived through international adoption keeps us together. Our girls, and our son Joe, are all born in China. The fact that we have this unique shared experience is the glue that will continue to keep us together. It has for the past 15 years and I see it continuing well into the future.
Marianne: Yeah. Our adoption connection is a pretty tight glue. It’s like super glue and nobody’s going to be able to break it.
Jennifer Jaworski: Yeah.
Marianne: Yeah. It’s there, you know.
Celebrating Gotcha Day
Julie: I think we make it a priority. It’s something that we know when Gotcha Day comes up that we’re going to be getting together. There’s not a, “Well maybe we should skip it this year.” No, we’re getting together and all the other get-togethers that we have, it’s just part of our social calendar. It’s part of our routines for the year. If we miss it or someone from the group misses it, it’s obvious so everybody makes it a priority to do this. It’s not out of obligation, but rather something we all love to do.
Jennifer Jaworski: Right.
Julie: We want to.
Jennifer Jaworski: Right. Yeah. What it sounds like to me is that everything else has to fit in around these get-togethers. Not that you fit the get-togethers in with everything else. That’s what I’m hearing from you.
Julie: That really is true. I even think, in the future when the girls are off the college for example, and a Gotcha Day comes up and maybe they can’t come, we’re still going to be together. We’re going to keep it going, and I hope that the kids can be at all of them. It’s so important to all of us that I just don’t see it stopping. The adoption connection will always hold us together.
Jennifer Jaworski: Awesome. Emily, Kate or Holly, I’m sure you’ve seen the coordination efforts that your mom’s put into making sure that you all stay connected. What are your thoughts and feelings about that?
Kate: I think it’s really special of them to plan all of this and to put so much into it. Time taking away from their busy lives and making sure that we are reunited and stay in contact with each other.
Jennifer Jaworski: Absolutely.
The Dad’s Perspective
Jennifer Jaworski: We have unfortunately left the husbands and dads out of this conversation about your adoption connection and that’s not because we aren’t interested in their perspective. I would like it if one of you moms felt that you could talk about what all of this has been like from your husband’s point of view.
Mo: The last time we got together, I think the guys were going up to each other saying, “Oh, man. You mean so much to me.” It was hilarious. Then, I think it was Jeff that was like, “Well I just do what my wife tells me do.” .
Julie: Yeah. We have a lot of laughs, which is typical at our get-togethers.
Marianne: Yeah. The moms are the organizers. The guys just follow, as with most things in life, right?
Jennifer Jaworski: Absolutely.
Marianne: There was one mom who wasn’t able to come this past weekend because she had other obligations and the dad still brought the kids. I think that if us moms weren’t able to make it and there was a get-together, the dads would still take the kids.
Mo: Yeah. I think it’s telling that these events are not mother-daughter events. The guys are all there and it’s only in rare circumstances that they’re not present. They’re all there. They enjoy getting together and hanging out together. It’s interesting. At each event, the guys typically gather in one room and the moms are in another. Then invariably, us moms will say, “Okay, we’re going to head out and do some shopping,” and the guys stay behind and take care of the kids.
Marianne: We’ve worked it out that way over the years.
Marianne: We’ve learned to make a quick getaway. Of course, it’s not as hard for the guys anymore compared to when all the kids were little and they were still in diapers. Now they just look up and go, “Okay, whatever.” The kids are pretty independent. They were a little nervous when we used to all take off when they were really little and needed things. We had to make a very quick exit before they actually understood what was going on. We’ve perfected that technique over the years.
Jennifer Jaworski: Yeah, I bet you have. Awesome.
In the Early Days
Jennifer Jaworski: I’m curious about in those early days as you were forming your relationships. I know that’s been many years now, but was the husband’s perspective any different than your perspective in terms of the desire to be connected? I mean, you three ladies just initially were drawn to one another and it just clicked and these relationships happened very naturally. Where did the guys stand with that? Where was this a different experience from them back at the beginning of time?
Julie: Well, I think they have their own time together. On one of the first ladies trip we had a facial at Marianne’s insistence. So the guys, unbeknownst to them, were going to be left with those three babies on their own. Instead of them independently staying in a hotel room or getting out a stroller and wandering around by themselves, the three of them together with the babies. They went down to the playroom and they had their time together with the babies. Also during the early days, just as we ladies were depending on each other to get through this experience, the guys did too.
Mo: Yeah, I agree. I know they were laughing about it at last weekend’s get-together, and they were commenting on how they were in the play room at the White Swan hotel with the three girls. The big anxiety at the time was, “Who was the first daddy who was going to have to change a poopy diaper?” That sense of humor and comradery was there right from the beginning. Any opportunity we had, we tried to be together and that’s continued to today.
Jennifer Jaworski: It sounds a lot like that sense of, “We’re all into this together and we’ve got your back and we’re going to help you.” That’s one of the things that I just really, really love and take away from your story. As you know, this is our final podcast in our three part series. And I think at least one or two of you have mentioned to me in the past few weeks that participating in this podcast has forced you to clear the cobwebs, so to speak.
Old Memories – How the Adoption Connection Was Made
Jennifer Jaworski: You’re recalling feelings and remembering stories that maybe you haven’t thought about in a while. Will you share some of those with us? What has this podcast series brought back to the forefront for you? What has it made you remember about your adoption connection?
Marianne: For me, it was just going through all the pictures and you realize how far you’ve come. Anytime you’re raising a child, they always say, “Oh, you’ll remember this,” or, “You’ll remember that,” but life gets so busy. You forget all those little things. Then going through all the pictures you’re like, “Oh wow, I remember this one.” Mo, you sent the picture of the kids in the chef hat that I made and I had forgotten all about that.
Marianne: It’s like, “Oh yeah, I remember that.” It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come. And all the miracles that we’ve seen, and how the girls are all well adjusted. They’re all busy with their lives. You look at the first pictures and you remember all the anxiety and thoughts like, “What are we going to do?”, or, “What’s going to happen?” Then you think, “Oh, we made it.” As they say, the days drag and the years fly. And then it’s just like, oh my goodness, it’s already been 15 years. The girls are all driving and talking about college. You’re like, “Oh, wait a minute. Where did this time go?” It’s just been nice being able to look back and realize how far we’ve come and what we’ve got to look forward to.
Mo: Yeah. Agreed.
Marianne: It’s just a bit of remembrance of what a blessing these relationships are and how fortunate we are to have these. I never realized it was so unique until we started talking about it. Then it was kind of like, “Well yeah, I guess not everybody has this relationship with their travel group.”
Mo: Yeah, you get busy with day to day life and you’re wrapped up in that. What the podcast has done for me has made me take a step back and go, “Oh that’s right. My daughters are adopted.” We’ve moved so far past that and it was a good opportunity to go back and go remember the whole adoption experience because it really has for us become such a nonissue. It’s just not something we think about day to day. We’ve moved on to just regular, busy life. This was a blessing to look back and see how adoption has changed our lives and how much fuller our lives are as a result of it.
Jennifer Jaworski: That’s really nice to hear. Thanks for sharing that. Julie, did you have anything you wanted to add here?
Julie: Well, I think one of the things that looking back from the early days after the adoption was that there was no question that these kids were adopted, but they were my kids. Now I’m seeing that starting to shift to people forgetting that the kids are adopted, and forgetting that my kids are from a foreign country. Then sometimes it shifts again like when we’re at a store or at a restaurant and people look at us like, “Are you together?” Like they’re not even recognizing that we’re a family. When those little issues come up, I’ve got these two ladies I can call and say, “Can you believe this happened?”
Jennifer Jaworski: Right.
Julie: It helps to keep you grounded. It helps to reinforce that you’re doing everything okay. Even if you’re not doing everything right, you’ll get through this. It just helps having these two ladies together, helping me get through all of the changes.
From the Daughters
Jennifer Jaworski: I want to try and engage here with Emily, Kate and Holly for a second. I’m sure you girls have heard a lot of these stories over the years. It’s my first time, but not yours. I was wondering if you could share the earliest memory of adoption, or family, or something about these stories that really connects with you. Something about your adoption connection that you’d be willing to talk about for a moment.
Kate: Well, I think that they’ve been our parents for so long. We don’t really think about how we’re adopted. We came home when we were ten months old. It’s not like we’re thinking about our other parents a lot. Sometimes we talk about it, but we don’t really think about them as not being our parents because they’ve just always been there.
Jennifer Jaworski: Sure.
Kate: They’re our extended family, like Holly and Emily are like my sisters.
Jennifer Jaworski: Of course. Absolutely. Has it ever really struck you? Your moms were saying that this has just always been the norm in terms of these connections that you all share. And recently because of the podcasts, they’ve looked at it differently and said, “Oh wow, I guess we do have a really special, unique relationship.” What are your thoughts about that? Has there ever been any talk about how cool that really is?
Emily: Yeah, I mean, nobody else can really say that they were brought home with their best friend from another country. Our adoption connection is very special.
Looking Into the Future
Jennifer Jaworski: As we focus on the future, I’m interested in hearing what your takeaway is from these relationships and these experiences with one another? Kate, why don’t you go ahead and tackle that one for us. I’m just going to go right down the line here. What’s your takeaway from these experiences with one another when we’re thinking about the future?
Kate: I don’t really know what to say about this.
Jennifer Jaworski: That’s okay. Emily or Holly, either one of you want to take a try at that question? I know it’s a little bit difficult, but I’m just curious if there’s something that’s important that really stands out. Or, sometimes it’s something new that we learn that we want to use in our future. Anything like that that either one of you feel moved to talk about? Julie, Marianne, Mo, anybody?
Holly: I think that why it’s so difficult for us to answer is because we don’t really see our friendship or our bond together as being sisters so different because of the adoption connection. We don’t see adoption as why we’re connected because we forget that we’re adopted. We don’t struggle on that. And, we don’t think about it every day. We just think of each other as being sisters just because we’ve grown up with each other.
Jennifer Jaworski: That’s an excellent point. Excellent point.
Julie: Good job, Holly.
Jennifer Jaworski: Yeah, for sure.
Julie: That’s my baby.
Jennifer Jaworski: Well said. Julie, you want to add anything to that?
Julie: Well, we’ve got this on our refrigerator and I think that Katie had made one for Holly and for Emily. It’s a magnet that’s got all three of their names on it and I think it says, “Forever friends,” or, “Friends forever,” something like that. They understand how special their connection is. Every time we get together it’s reinforced. They’re not friends because they have to be – they’re friends because they choose to be. They get along so well together and they’ve got so much in common. But, they’ve got enough differences that they’ve got always something to talk about and different things that they’re bringing to the relationship.
Marianne: They each have their own gifts and their own talents.
Julie: Yeah. Yeah.
Unique Sisterhood – Connected By Adoption
Mo: I think they look at each other too as their relationship being more than just a friendship. It is a unique sisterhood because they came from the same orphanage. They all have their birthdays within two weeks of each other. It’s just a really unique sisterhood that they share with one another.
Jennifer Jaworski: I think you’re right about that. When they say, “Well, we’ve always been friends and our moms and dads brought us home and this has been our life.” This is the life that was given to them and they enjoy it. This is what I find so special about all of your stories is that this connection has been there from the beginning. Not because it was forced, but because you wanted it. That has served all of you in such a beautiful way and I hope that we’re doing justice to your story in our podcast.
You were in a travel group together like a lot of other people have been in a travel group together. But, in your case, here we are 15 years later and there’s this fabulous story and this history that you all share. Sure, it began as an adoption connection, but that’s not really the root of why you’re still friends.
Julie: Well, I think one thing too that people may not understand is that we never met at the adoption agency. Mo and Marianne and me and spouses all went through different branches of this agency.
Jennifer Jaworski: Okay.
Julie: We never met in the lobby. We never met in the hallways. All of our dossiers were sent at the same time by chance, providence, however you want to think about it. It wasn’t even anything that we could have said, “Oh, we’ve met them, we want to go to China with them.” This was just what happened.
Jennifer Jaworski: I so appreciate all of you coming on today and trying to paint this picture for everyone else to see and understand. I’ve had a great time hearing your story and spending the last three weeks asking you questions. I am very appreciative to all of you for doing this and being a part of our podcast. You guys are great.
Jennifer Jaworski: For you, listeners that are looking to connect with Adoption Associates, you can reach us at 800-677-2367. You can also connect with us on the Web at adoptionassociates.net. We’re also available on Twitter and Facebook. Again, a big thank you to all of our ladies today, Julie, Marianne, Mo, Holly, Emily, and Kate for for spending the last three weeks sharing your story with us. For now, this is Jennifer on Adoption Focus. I hope you all have a fantastic day. Bye bye.
Marianne: Bye bye.
To learn more about becoming an adoptive parent, and adopting in Michigan, click HERE.