In honor of Father’s Day, this month’s blogger interview is with Brandon Slider, writer of Statistically Impossible. Brandon’s is a voice we do not hear as often online, that of a birth father in an open adoption. I’ve appreciated his participation in various roundtables and interview projects over the past few years.
For those of you who already follow Brandon’s blog, I hope you enjoy this opportunity to get to know a bit more about him. For those who haven’t yet discovered him, I’m glad to have the chance to introduce you.
Tell us about yourself and your connection to open adoption.
My partner and I placed our son for adoption in 2009. We were living together at the time, but our relationship was still quite young. The most important bonds in our relationship were forged as part of the adoption process. In retrospect it is the same intensity and severity of those experiences that linked us together that were ultimately responsible for our relationship ending in the winter of 2012. Despite that, I have been an active part of my son’s life from the very beginning. We see each other regularly and he usually proclaims it’s “a great idea” to play trucks with “my Brandon”.
The short version is this; I’m a birthfather. Like all birthfathers my story has sadness, conflict, and loss in it. Unlike many, I also have love, happiness, and satisfaction.
What has been the most unexpected or surprising aspect of open adoption so far?
I’m most surprised by how comfortable I am participating in an open adoption. There were times it had been strange or uncomfortable. The relationships in a family built in open adoption begin very quickly, with extreme intensity, and more vulnerability than anyone in their right mind wants to expose themselves to. But, in my case, everyone moved forward with a lot of integrity and compassion. We built real relationships. That’s why I can be genuinely comfortable when we barbeque, go out to dinner, or play in the front yard.
How did you start blogging?
I began blogging in response to the dearth of information about and for birthfathers. When my partner and I began seriously considering adoption I started looking for resources. I wanted to know what other men had been through, what I could expect, and how to get through it. I found out very few people were willing to talk about birthfathers at all. The exceptions were an out of date activism site specific to California and a handful of furious diatribes about the birthfather scum that refused to marry the mothers of their children. I started writing about my experience hoping that I might give the perspective and support to another man I wish had been there for me. It’s always been my focus to tell as many birthfathers’ stories as I can. I have been very pleased to learn and share other men’s stories with my own. That allows me to add their perspectives and talk more broadly about male experience, not just my own.
What influence has the blogging/online world has on your adoption?
Blogging has given me a place to focus my angst and anger about adoption as an institution so those ideas don’t inappropriately bleed over into my family relationships. It has also shown me how varied others adoption experiences are. I have a lot more compassion for the adoptive parent side of things now. More than anything it has allowed me to learn from adoptees, which I may value more than any other aspect of my online interactions. While that hasn’t directly affected my relationship with my son yet, I’m quite certain it will in the years to come.
If you could go back to the beginning of your adoption experience and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?
There’s nothing I can say or do to make anything better or easier. Your family won’t support you the way you need. Your friends will question everything you do. You will feel utterly alone. You will fear you are destroying any chance you or your son have for happiness. But you’re giving everything you have every day. That’s all anyone can ask. Because you’re committed to doing this right, one day, you will look back without regret, without isolation, and your son will give you a kiss good night.
Share a few favorites with us:
Favorite post from your blog: I don’t know that I have a favorite post from my blog. I don’t reread something once it’s written. The most important post I’ve written was probably The Disappearing Birthfather: Myth and Reality. I try to dismantle the idea that all birthfathers disappear by choice (I have direct accounts that involve shotguns) and that those who do are, by default, scumbags.
Favorite book: As I think about my favorite book I realize I just don’t think about things in terms of favorite and least favorite. But for the sake of argument I’ll mention a couple that I highly recommend reading which provide context for my thinking and cognitive development.
- Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind – Shunryu Suzuki
- Pilgrim’s Regress – C.S. Lewis
- The New York Trilogy – Paul Auster
Favorite non-adoption blog/online diversion: Something most people online don’t know about me is not only do I obsessively make things, I’m also a giant nerd for bicycle tech and development. The perfect synthesis of these passions is the Velocipede Salon forums. The Friday Night Lights section highlights the process of building custom bicycle frames. It is populated by boutique builders making truly beautiful and often quite innovative frames and forks.
Favorite meal: Favorite meal is a difficult question to answer. I’ve turned into a hopeless foodie. I cook a lot, making nearly every meal from scratch, and never keep recipes. My current obsession is perfecting my “clearing-out-the-fridge fish tacos” with home made tortillas, oregano and parsley sauteed tilapia, cabbage, balsamic vinegar fried brussel sprouts, fried pepper, and potatoes. They pair well with a Chenin Blanc or a low acid Italian Pinot Grigio (not Californian Pinot, trust me).
Thank you to Brandon 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.