First, please tell us a bit more about yourself (name, age, where you live, what led you to making an adoption plan, and anything else you feel comfortable sharing).
My name is ShaNae McCleskey, I'm 20 years old, and I live in Orem, UT. A lot of things contributed to my decision to place my daughter for adoption. But a few of the most important were religious. I believe my daughter was entitled to certain spiritual blessings that I couldn't give her as a single, un-wed mother. Another factor was finances. I had no way of supporting a child financially and my family was never in the position to help. My daughter and I would have been living place to place, or even homeless.
When and why did you begin blogging?
A friend of mine recommended it while I was pregnant telling me it was a good way to sort out my thoughts and feelings. That immediately appealed to me since I was already an avid journal writer but could type much faster than I could write. So, I used blogging as my outlet, but also as a way to let my family and friends into my adoption story, especially the ones that live farther away. At first my blog was private, but I had more and more people wanting to read it so I eventually opened it up to the public.
Tell us more about the title of your blog. Why did you choose it?
The title of my blog is "My Adoption Journey." I chose to call it that because it's simple and to the point. It lets readers know right off the bat that my blog is all about adoption, or related to it in some way. I chose 'journey' because it implies that the blog sorts through my story chronologically. So, if someone just wanted to read about the day of placement they could click on the month that it took place and read that post.
Has the response to your posts been mostly positive, mostly negative, or a mix of both?
I've had mostly positive responses. If there have been any negative, I haven't heard them. Though I wish I knew so I could take them into consideration. However, I have been pleased with the number of people who have been able to relate to my posts. It's also become an excellent way to spread word about adoption and hopeful adoptive couples. I do lots of adoptive couple spotlights that always seem to get plenty of positive responses.
What post on your blog do you consider a “must read” for people visiting your blog for the first time? Or what post(s) from your blog is (or are) your favorite(s) and why?
Probably the number one post I tell people to read is the one from June, 2010 titled 'Sophie ShaNae Matheson'. It's the one that describes placement. Or the one from May, 2011 titled 'Checking Off YearOne'. It reiterates placement but also talks about what it was like when Sophie turned one. Another one I tell lots of family and friends to read who are seeking to understand adoption is from August 2011 titled 'Both Sidesof the Fence'. I go back every now and then and read old posts and sometimes think to myself, “Man! I'm depressing!” or “Wow, I took happy pills that day because this sounds like the script from a Barney episode.” But I leave them all up because it's what I have to refer back to of how I felt that particular day.
Do you have any advice for someone thinking of starting their own blog?
Make it personal, but not too personal. I think a lot of people forget that a blog is an ONLINE journal. And just about anyone has access to it. So, be careful. You have the right to express your thoughts, feelings, and ideas but you must then understand that everyone else has the right to read it.