Talking about adoption, birthparents, abandonment, race, and China with my kids. That's not all we talk about -- but reading this blog, you'll think it's all we do!!!!!

Malinda is a winner of Top 25 Adoption Blogs by Parents

Why did you decide to adopt?

My answer isn't noble or saint-like or about saving a child or any of the other things some think about adoptive parents. My reasons were purely selfish -- I wanted a child.

I was single, approaching 40 and neither marriage nor a baby daddy was on the horizon! I didn't feel a deep need to experience pregnancy or pass on my genetic code, so adoption seemed the obvious answer.

What was the biggest challenge or hurdle you faced in the adoption process?

At the time I adopted my first daughter from China, China was starting to change their attitudes about single women adopting. Some single women I knew were being passed over for referrals; the uncertainty kept me in a high emotional state for months until I finally received my referral. Oh happy day!

By the time I adopted my second daughter from China, China had changed its rules completely, allowing agencies to submit only 5% of its dossiers from single women. The uncertainty there was about whether I would be able to get a singles slot from my agency. The agency had received 450 applications from single women and were able to send only 45 singles dossiers that year. I was on pins and needles until my agency called me on Christmas Eve to tell me I had one of the coveted singles slots!

Uncertainty is, I think, a fairly typical challenge for adoptive parents in adoption, but knowing that doesn't make it any easier when you're going through it. . . .

When and how did you (or will you) tell your child they were adopted?

I've told my children their stories from the moment I met them. And the stories always start with their births: "You grew in your birth mother's womb until it was time for you to be born. . . ." Practicing from the beginning, before they were old enough to really understand, was important practice for me. I could figure out what terms I was most comfortable with, work through any issues I had with their adoption stories, figure out the best way to explain the hard stuff -- and all before they could think that my fumblings meant I didn't want to talk about their adoptions.

Not only is it the right thing to do to tell your children their stories from the beginning, it's unavoidable when the adoption is transracial. When well-meaning people look at me and then at my Chinese-born daughters and ask, "Do they know they're adopted?" I'm always tempted to respond, "No, they're just stupid!" I mean, really, how could they not know?!