Meet Natalie of Our Old Southern House

This month’s blogger interview is with Natalie, author of Our Old Southern House (and what a gorgeous house it is!). Natalie is one of several bloggers on the Open Adoption Blogroll who writes from a dual perspective in the adoption constellation: she is an adoptive mother and was adopted herself. If you don’t already know Natalie through her blog, reading through her thoughtful interview–spanning everything from reunion to infertility to making her own butter–will give you a glimpse into her lovely heart.

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Tell us about yourself and your connection to open adoption.

My name is Natalie and I’m a wife and mama-to-two 24/7 and a reading teacher part-time. I love taking pictures of my kiddos, sewing for my kiddos, and doing projects around our historic home…and I’m adopted…and so is my son.

A little about my adoption: I was adopted domestically as a two day old infant. It was a completely, 100% closed adoption. I knew just three facts: she was 29, a teacher, and wanted to name me “Christina” (turns out, it was “Krista”…so technically I only knew TWO things!). This was when the belief was that if you loved your adopted children enough then they would not need to search for their birth families. My whole life I questioned and begged for more information or for help finding my birth mom, but I got none. Finally, when I was 29 I decided to search on my own. I contacted GARR (Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry) and began my search. Four months later they found my birth mom a state away and we started communicating and now, three years later, we are a part of each other’s lives. Living a closed adoption first-hand made me a firm believer in open adoption. I don’t do secrets.

{And something I don’t mention very often in my story, but something I think I can say here since I’m being 100% honest, is that I would not have been able to adopt unless I had met my birth mother. Until I met her and found out my history my heart was not healed. I did not love–nor embrace–adoption. I felt incomplete–like I was missing a puzzle piece. Once I met her my heart was magically (and yes, it actually did feel very magical–it was instantaneous to seeing her face…to hearing her voice…to know her name) put back together and for the first time in my whole life I felt that adoption was a beautiful thing. I realized that it was all about love…and not abandonment  And I realized that I could adopt myself and that it could be different from my own adoption. That my son could feel love from me and from his birth family and that if he wanted to call them up on a random Tuesday afternoon and chat about his next baseball game he could. I could make adoption something altogether different than what I grew up experiencing.}

My son was adopted domestically. We were matched with our son’s birth mom three months before his birth. She wanted an open adoption because she was adopted too. (I love that us adoptees think alike.) My husband and I were there for the delivery and I even got to cut the cord. That experience was surreal, and wonderful, and the most emotional thing I’ve ever done. I have so many feelings swirling around in my heart when I try to describe the experience of being chosen, developing a relationship, being there for the birth, and our relationship since he was born…but I honestly can’t find the words. My heart is so full. I hope one day I can adequately describe these feelings, but for now all I can say is that we love. Love really big.

What has been the most unexpected or surprising aspect of open adoption so far?

For myself I would have to say how similar my birth mom and I are. You always hear about the nature verses nurture debate and while, yes, I’m like my [adoptive] mom and we are best friends, my birth mom and I are so very much alike. Yes, we look very similar, but we also walk the same way, we share a love of history, and we’re both teachers–plus lots more random things. I think that reunion rocked me to my core because for some crazy reason I never thought we would be even remotely similar. That was a complete shock.

For my son’s adoption I would have to say the relationship we are developing with his birth dad. We don’t know who my birth father is so for Moseby to get to know his birth dad? Well, that’s pretty dang awesome in my book.

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How did you start blogging?

I started blogging in early 2004 (what, it’s been 9 years?!) right after my husband and I started dating. In 2008 I switched sites and started talking more about the restoration of our historic home. Over time I shared more about our infertility, then my crazy-rough pregnancy with our daughter, then life with a newborn, going through infertility again, starting the adoption process.

What influence has the blogging/online world has on your family’s adoptions?

Blogging makes you feel not alone…there is someone, somewhere, that is going through the same thing as you. It can the infertility stuff, or the home study stuff, or being a transracial family stuff. The blogging world helped me find out about Created for Care–an adoptive mama retreat every winter right by my house–that has provided so much encouragement to me in my life.

If you could go back to the beginning of your adoption experience and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?

About my own adoption/reunion: Prepare yourself that you may look and act just alike and that you might just like the same stuff too. See, I’m so much like my [adoptive] mom that I didn’t think I would/could be like my birth mom. Daily I wonder ‘Did I get this from J. [birth mom] or is this just something I’ve learned to like/do?’ It’s so weird and so hard to explain unless you’ve been in a closed adoption and reunited. Also, I’m an only child so I really wanted to instantly bond with my [bio] sisters. Turns out, that just wasn’t in the cards and that makes me sad. My whole life I dreamed of siblings and I just assumed once my birth mom and I reunited that I would instantly have them. Which didn’t happen.

About my son’s adoption: I would go back & tell myself: “It WILL happen”. I was so worried we wouldn’t get chosen. And then I was worried that his birth mom wouldn’t go through the adoption. Turns out we were chosen and the adoption did happen. But hindsight is 20/20. I’m hoping when we start the adoption process again (when my son is two; early spring 2014) I won’t worry about it….yeah, right. HA!

Pick a few favorites to share with us.

Favorite post: My favorite post from my blog is when we announced we were adopting. It was such an exciting time–letting go of that infertility noose and embracing adoption and just being so dang excited to meet our baby.

Favorite thing to do in your free time: My favorite thing to do in my free time is to take pictures of my kids and to sew for my kids. I made little girl clothes for so long that my husband says everything I make for my son is girlie. What, you mean little boys don’t wear polka dotted pants with a flower hem? Oops.  In the summer my mom and I will spend my whole break canning up a storm. We sell them at a local farmers’ market and at our Christmas tree farm. I’ve always said I’m an “old soul” and my biggest day dream as a kid (and who are we kidding…teenager too) was being Amish or Laura Ingalls Wilder. Uhm, yeah. I’m a complete dork who sews, cans, makes her own butter and cheese.

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Thank you so much to Natalie for answering our questions! You can check out past interviews with other bloggers from the Open Adoption Bloggers blogroll here. Have a blogger you’d like to see us interview? Let us know!

About the author:
A mother by open adoption, Heather Schade is the founder and editor of Open Adoption Bloggers. She writes at Production, Not Reproduction.

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7 thoughts on “Meet Natalie of Our Old Southern House

  1. great interview! I love how Natalie shares how critical meeting her birth mom was to her own decision/ability to adopt. I’ve met many adoptees who felt very strongly one way or the other — ie, that they were very committed to adopting or would never adopt — so it was interesting to read how one woman’s mind and heart were set.

  2. I can’t believe I’m just finding your beautiful blog through this interview! I’m from GA originally and went to c4c for the first time last year! I was not adopted, but my best friend in high school was and I remember, like it was yesterday, the sleepless tearful nights as she craved and yearned to know anything about her birth family. It was very significant for our adoption journey to choose and embrace openness for our families. Thank you for sharing your heart and beautiful family!

  3. Hi Natalie, thanks for sharing your story. We are a couple waiting to adopt and it does feel like it will never happen. We are so thankful for people who share their stories. It gives up hope and patience, that it will eventually happen for us. You have a beautiful family. Thank you again, Robert and Prentice

  4. I have followed her blog for quite a while but it has disappeared and I get some weird Georgia.com thing. Help, I love to keep up with her precious children.

  5. Hi Natalie! I so enjoyed reading your blog. Prior to this, I was unable to do so as I did not have a real computer! I am so proud of you, Natalie and all the love you have brought into our large family! you are a gret Mommy and it is such a blessing to know you and to love you. We all need to take lessons from you. Mary Margret and Moseby are adorable, Wish I lived nearer and could watch them grow up.
    Dont ever change,Nat! I love all of you! Love, ,Aunt Margaret. Chas. SC

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