I was given the opportunity to read, review and connect with Rachel Garlinghouse about her book The Hopeful Mom’s Guide to Adoption.

This is a guide for mothers-to-be via domestic infant adoption. The book outlines all of the ways that being a first time mom through adoption is different, special, and beyond beautiful, even if the people around you don’t get it. Rachel makes you feel valid in you concerns, understands the complicated emotions, and endorses all the carbs.

I literally felt like I was having a conversation with someone who I’d want to be best friends with while reading this book! As I was reading, I was writing in my own experiences. Very “Oh yeah, listen to what happened to me!’” I’m not used to connecting over the journey to motherhood. Motherhood via adoption has been at some points very isolating for me.

My book is filled with highlighted sections and little notations. In all honesty, Rachel’s book is going to help so many mommies to not feel alone and to be validated in all the overwhelming feelings along the way.

I followed up with Rachel to get some more details about areas I am working on.

How did you start your support group? All the details PLEASE! Our agency, over the years, has tried to connect the waiting families to build some peer-to-peer support with no luck. I have tried personally too and everyone seems hesitant. In contrast, we are also a foster family, and other foster families are all for the peer to peer support.

We were attending a small church of 250 people. Oddly, there were TEN adoptive families in the congregation. My first baby was six months old, and I decided to ask the other (adoptive) moms if they’d be interested in meeting up. They said yes! In nine years, our support group has grown from ten to almost 450! We used to meet monthly, and now we just “meet” in our private Facebook group. I have found that online interactions mean more people can chime in, especially since our local radius is about one hundred miles. Moms were struggling to make the in-person meetings, so an online group works well for us.

I really admire your approach to privacy. You have found the balance between keeping things private and being very vulnerable and open. How are you teaching your children those values in regards to their stories (like oversharing with their friends) and the difference between keeping a secret and something being private?

We tell our children that secrets are bad. There is no such thing as a secret. But surprises are okay. Also, keeping information to yourself is also okay. We have taught our kids that an adult has no right to use their size, status (as an adult), or authority to bully answers out of our family about adoption. Our kids can tell their friends whatever they want about their adoptions; it’s their choice.  

Rachel also writes on her blog White Sugar, Brown Sugar which is where I first encountered her wisdom and wit. If you are in the trenches of building your family through adoption, or know someone who is, buy this book for them!