Dear Adoptive Parents or Those Considering Adoption,
I hope that you can bare reading this if I have linked you here. I understand that you might not be liking everything you are reading right now, but perhaps this can help? In any case, if I linked you here, it’s going to most likely be because it seems like there might be some conflict brewing. My hope is that perhaps you can find some insight here.
This is an Invitation
As oopposed to this image, which would be a mockery, this is a sincere invitation actually. Consider this an opportunity to broaden your mind and reach a new level of understanding; not because anyone is saying you are a horrible person, but because this is how it actually happens in AdoptionLand. We know that you have an idea of the way things are supposed to be in adoption, but that ideal is different than the reality of how things all too frequently are. Consider for a minute that it is not the WHO you are hearing from that has got you all a flutter, but it is the WHAT that you are hearing that makes you uncomfortable. Yes, what you might have previously been told or what you just have believed to be true about adoption has been challenged in some way. I am sorry about that, I really am, but please keep in mind that WE were not the people who lied to you in the beginning. There is no contract where the rest of the world is obligated to continue feeding into your belief system especially when it is built on information and fabrications that we know to be untrue.
Side note: If you cannot possible believe anything you see written here, then just please go over here and read what this adoptive mother is sharing about adoption and trauma.
So really, you have a few choices here. You can continue to insist that you know better or whatever other rationalization that works that will allow you to dismiss what you are hearing. Or you can just go away and ignore it all. Or you can just stop for a second and listen.
I hope you continue reading and then maybe you go away and come back to re-read again. And then hopefully, you come back again and read deeper into some of the stuff I am telling you about.
You Just Have a Negative Anti Adoption Agenda
Full of hate, focus on the negative…
Ok, so it seems like this often gets hurled around like an insult. I think it is a silly and dismissive choice of wording, but I don’t think it really will manage to “insult” anyone. However, hurling it about as insult might actually make you look kind of stupid if you don’t really know what it means. So your first invitational reading assignment is to go over here and familiarize yourself with what the main “Anti- Adoption” issues are for me. It would be great if you took the time to read some of the opinions expressed in the comments too. It’s really not THAT radical of a concept here.
Now as for an “agenda”? Not really. There is not a real complicated plan of action and I don’t think any of us wake up in the morning thinking; hmm. What’s on my list? 1) torment a random stranger on a Facebook group 2) make an adoptive mother worry and cry and 3) overall be mean and nasty.
No agenda, but there is a ever growing adoption community and people are tired to keeping quiet. Social media especially has provided a great platform for people to speak out about issues that are important to them. And for many of the folks whose lives have been affected by adoption, adoption is a super important issue, so that is what we choose to talk about online. That’s the world we all have to share and whether you agree with others or not, I can promise you that we are not going away. We’re going to continue to contribute to conversations and state our viewpoints.
You Don’t Know Me
Who I am as a person, what I do…
Please stop taking everything we say so personally. I swear to God we are not out to get you. It’s not even about you, really. It’s not you that is being “attacked”. We don’t know you. We acknowledge that. We have no idea what you are about as a person and chances are you are a very very nice, but it doesn’t matter how nice you are. This is not about you being nice. I can’t say this enough. You can be the greater person alive, but it is not about who you are as a person at all . This conflict is only about what you are doing.. an action, a choice. It is that choice, that action, that others are speaking to you about.
Maybe you have made it obvious that you are wanting to adopt and are advertising with that intent on social media. Maybe you have created a page, a “Dear Birthmother” letter and a website with your profile like the adoption professionals have told you to do. Yes, people will say that is unethical.
Maybe you have a public fundraiser and are sharing that around hoping to get funds to help you pay for the adoption “fees”. You have seen it in the paper; they do such things in your church. Everyone around you thinks it is a great idea, but online you get flack.
Maybe you are contributing to conversations and asking questions, but are finding resistance in what others are saying. It’s true that certain topics, certain choices in wording, can invoke a strong response in other people. Plus there are certain limitations in communicating online; the written word can be taken the wrong way.
Maybe you are commenting on other articles, blogs, or posts and some of the views shared by others are making your head spin. You are perhaps caught off guard and taken out of your comfort zone. Often, the first time you read anything that can be considered “anti-adoption” it takes us by surprise. The natural response is a push back just because you don’t want to believe what you are reading.
The fact, is that no one is out to get you. We didn’t go hunting for you; but somewhere, someplace, in the online world, someone from within the adoption community and you interacted; maybe you came to us, maybe it was neutral ground, or perhaps you invited the public, or you had mutual friend, group, or page in common. I don’t know and really, it doesn’t matter. I know you don’t understand. It’s out of nowhere. You feel attacked. Victimized. I get that. And really, no one is out to get you, personally.. it’s just, again, what you are doing that is making people speak up.
Why Are You All Attacking Me?
I didn’t do anything to deserve this.
Let’s just touch base on this whole idea of being “attacked”.
If you feel attacked because you are the only one voicing a certain point of view, then perhaps it is your choice of venue that is to blame. There are some places where the overall theme is not that adoption is a beautiful, but a tragedy. If you come bouncing in there like Tigger without getting a feel, you might find yourself on the outs. Recognize where you don’t belong. I don’t go looking for super “I love adoption” places to just hang out in an terrorize people. I know my POV will not be welcome there. Now that won’t mean that I will never ever contribute to a conversation there should I feel compelled, but I will choose my words carefully and try to be as gentle as possible. It’s just a matter of knowing your audience and not being a jerk.
Now, does “attack” translate to “disagree” for you? There is a good chance that there will be no resolution for many of these conversations. Like I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you will not convince that adoption is a beautiful thing and I should be quiet about what I know. The chance of you telling me something that is suddenly going to make me shut up and change my mind is pretty much close to nil. So am I attacking you, or am I just not being swayed by your opinion? Is it an attack or am I just not doing what you want me to do and saying what you want me to say?
If you are feeling attacked because there are a lot of people joining in the conversation who you find you disagree with, perhaps it might be your point of view that is at fault? Perhaps, dare it be said, that you are just wrong? Or even if the conversation is so awful and you just don’t agree, you also have the choice to stop engaging. You, too, can walk away from the conversation. You don’t have to keep on arguing your point with a hostile audience. It’s is bound to be frustrating. Just stop. You can’t control what other people do or say, but you, you can control yourself and decided to not continue.
I am sorry you don’t like what is being said to you. Obviously this isn’t really a place you want to be, but now since you are here; but is there any possibility that you could stop telling us how we are so wrong just long enough to hear what is being said?
Don’t Blame Me
It’s not my fault
Listen, I know it’s not really your fault that you don’t know this stuff. No one is blaming you for what you think you know to be true about adoption.
The media doesn’t accurately portray the realities of adoption at all; it’s either sensational news horrors stories, or warm and fuzzy feel good stories of creating a family though adoption, and then, sometimes, they capitalize on a reunion story and imagine everyone living happily ever after.
Sadly, adoption is not really studied in school, even when one is focused on psychology, or social work, or counseling on an advanced level. There is little in the way of scientific research studies and there is not even one government agency that is tracking accurate numbers of the parties affected by adoption.
We know that most things you will read about adoption comes from an adoption professional or is from the perspective of an adoptive parent. If you are involved, or getting involved in adoption, they will be the trusted source for most of the things you think you know. And of course, you want to believe that these folks know what they are talking about. There is no reason that you would not trust these sources. In fact, that’s a huge part of the problem. The fact is that there is a whole lot of crappy information around and many of the “acceptable adoption practices” really are ethically questionable. You are not expected to automatically know that you have been lied to as well.
I Know ALL about Adoption!
I’ve read this or that, Been here, done this, done my homework, research…
I know that if you have just really “begun your adoption journey” or, honestly, if you are like five or so years in, there is a good chance that you just really do not know quite as much as you think you do. After all, we know where you have been getting you information and we don’t really trust those sources like you do. We know better. Sadly, there is a heck of a lot important stuff that is vital in adoption which you end up learning too late. I know you are horrified by what is being said to you, but honestly, we are trying to do you a freaking favor and spare you the painful learning curve.
Most people share a general ideal that adoption is a good thing where a good family gives an unwanted child a much needed home. Birthparents are, again, in general, either vilified or sanctified, sinner or saint, depending on your personal views. Mostly though, people don’t really think about the birthmothers or the adult adoptee at all. Adoption was this “thing” that happened once a long time ago, and to be continually affected by the past is seen as a sign of a personal weakness or something. Society prefers to see adoption as a win-win situation and just the idea that there are losses involved makes many people uncomfortable. It is understood that these new ideas can be challenging.
Really. We get that. Heck, there is a ton of us who also once thought that adoption was a completely good thing, too.
Again, there is no blame for thinking you know a thing or two, the problem occurs when you refuse to add new and additional information to what you already know. The issue is when you have real live people opening up and really telling you like it is and you spend all your energy focusing on telling them that they are wrong and or crazy, probably both. THAT is what you get blamed for.
Not All Situations Are Like That!
That’s only your experience, adoption has changed, in my situation…
Really, you do NOT need to explain your whole situation just we know that you are NOT like THAT.
If we are discussing someone else and you aren’t “like that” then fine. No one said you were all being painted guilty with the same brush. If the shoe does not fit, please stop trying to cram your foot into it! I don’t understand why, but sometimes it seems that there are some folks who just cannot tolerate ANY adoptive parent being criticized. Like at all. Even when they are doing some really nasty stupid things that ANYONE in their right mind should find despicable, because this person is an adoptive parents or sometimes infertile, their bad actions are excusable? How about we don’t just defend a person based on what place they hold in the social hierarchy, but instead talk about what said person is doing.
And please.. we all know that there are MANY people who are just THRILLED with whatever situation we might be talking about. And yes, you yourself might have a completely different viewpoint about adoption. That’s OK. Yes, in the vast array of the human experience, there are always exceptions. So I don’t at all doubt that you happened to personally know the one single example that is exactly the opposite of the situation at hand, but it doesn’t change the fact that other experiences exist.
Well, My Cousin’s Fiancée’s Uncle’s Babysitter is…
Perfectly happy, thrilled to pieces, not at all like you…
Yeah. It doesn’t matter. I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t.
For one, you have basically just told us that your knowledge is based on superficial social observation. I know for a fact that the greater majority of adoptees and birth families do NOT speak openly and completely candidly with every person in their lives about the full complexity of adoption.
Even if you consider yourself close with the subject, in one way you are still basing your information based on a handful of personal stories. I hate to get all superior, but there is a whole bunch of us who have been talking to many, many other people in the adoption community for a very long time and overall, our stories support what we are saying
And then there is this: adoption is not math based. You could take 50 people and ask them about adoption; assign a +1 if they feel adoption is a positive thing and then a -1 for the negative thinking. And perhaps, even, there will be 40 people who are happy adoption is in their lives and only 10 that are mostly unhappy. That doesn’t mean that adoption is “net 30”. The positive 30 “points” will not remove the negative connotations from the experiences of the 10. You could produce 1000 happy people and that one person will still have a very real and valid perspective. Their story will still be true.
What Gives You the Right to…
Say these things, speak to you like that, bust your bubble?
I’ll ignore the blatantly obvious answers like it’s a free country, the right to free speech, and all’s fair in love and war and the internet.
The simple fact is that you might see our viewpoints as uninvited, the validity of the statements made and facts repeated cannot be as easily eroded. In a certain sense you are asking what gives us the rights to speak what we know as the truth. I hate to sound like this, but sorry, I really do know my adoption stuff and there are a good many people online who know a lot more than I do! You might not understand the actual compulsion most of us feel to do this work, but it is what we choose to do. Perhaps it sounds like crazy talk to you if I was to say that I feel I have a moral obligation not to stay silent, but your feelings do not lessen the sincerity of my intent. Seriously, oftentimes it’s a bad cowardly thing in my book NOT to speak up.
And please, if you can, look to who you are wanting to silence. My guess is that you are coming up against the options of other birthmothers who are often the very people you are wanting to attract, engage in and then build a relationship with. Or you are trying to shut up the voices of adoptees and I don’t care how super awesome you are there is no way to ensure that someday your very own child might not think the same things. Now, I know that is scary, but that should give you even more reason to listen to what the adult adoptees are saying. They are speaking for your child!
How Dare You Judge Me!
Just because someone is adopting, or infertile, or wants a baby
Yeah, I’m definitely not judging anyone dues to infertility issues. You might not believe that, but the great majority of folks have understanding and sympathy. And it’s not the desire to have a child, adopt, want a baby that will get you in hot water either. Again, it’s either the actions you are taking or the things you are believing that are causing some friction.
There is a huge chance that you are unknowingly participating in an adoption practice that is either ethically questioned or deemed as exploitive in some way. Again, while you might have very well been instructed by an adoption agency or attorney or another professional to do things a certain way, there is that moral obligation to provide you with additional information so you can see the full impact of your path. Do you always react this way when you are presented with additional information? Is it really about you?
And again, look who is talking to you? Usually birthmother and adoptees? The very people who have been affected by actions or attitudes such as yours. So if anyone was to actually judge you, we are kind of the ones!
People Have a Right to…
Have an opinion, do what they want with their lives, create a family how they want
Yeah, they do. And I greatly doubt that expressing an opposite of challenging point of view online is really infringing upon anyone’s true constitutional or God given rights. Really, I might emphasis right now that there is no constitutional right in America for all people to have children. I’m pretty sure that there are a whole bunch of meme about God given people what they can shoulder, too.
I also know for a fact that nothing said online can force a person to actually stop what they are doing. Like I can tell a person 1000 times that APs in the labor room is coercive, but I cannot handcuff them and make them miss the birth. And yeah, you can disagree with me till the cows come home, and you might not change your opinion, but your right to your opinion doesn’t mean I ever have to agree.
And I don’t buy into this whole “people can do whatever they want and you have to right to say anything.”
Don’t we, as a collective society, determine what is socially acceptable or not. Isn’t that the description of civilization? And isn’t that how change comes about? Look at slavery, domestic abuse, homophobia, discrimination and civil rights? Were not all these things once consider in the realm of acceptable social norms at one time and because people spoke out and collectively said, we don’t want this in our world, that things started to change?
You Need Help
You can’t see past your stuff, need to get a life, mind your own business.
This is where you get in your dismissive rationalization. As in, you find something wrong with the messenger, so you can ignore the message. So you can say we are too angry, or crazy, or need help or need to get a life. You can accuse others of being miserable human beings because you think we delight in making you upset. (we don’t.. not really about you personally.. remember?)
My favorite is the catch all, “Just because you had a bad experience”. Which is why I had to go and write this blog post about my literal happily ever after perfect adoption experience. In general, we are really experienced at this and it will not get you any points no matter how you try to dismiss. In fact, it’s pretty much a sure fire way to get us to actually judge you.
Instead of trying to find a reason why or a way to tell yourself that we should just be ignored, just try listening for a second. I know not everyone is being super nice ( we try, we do, but’ it’s hard. That anger and frustration that you feel.. that shaking as you type, yeah, that’s a normal reaction and tends to be shared by everyone. We all have to do a better job keeping our cool. ) , but if you can, take out the emotion and look at the facts that are being presented. Listen to the other point of views and reactions, even if it hurts to hear.
I Don’t Need to Listen to You…
No, you don’t. It’s true that you can just stick you head in the sand and NOT listen to anything that you don’t want to hear. But here’s the thing. . .there will come a day when your child is an adult and you will have to answer to them. There might come a time where you child is suffering and you won’t know what to do. There is a chance, however small you might think, they your child doesn’t feel 100% happy and grateful about their adoption. And then really, the question you need to ask yourself is “DO I want to really be the BEST mother I can for this child I love?” because I dare say that acknowledge the really hard and yucky stuff WILL make you a better adoptive parent.
The simple fact is that these “negative” feelings about adoption DO exist and are VERY REAL. And while I understand that society and the media and the adoption professionals have not prepared you for this, if you are choosing to enter into the world of adoption, you actually don’t get to pick and choose a version of reality that you like best. Again, you can choose not to listen and hear them, but it’s all still here. We are not making this stuff up.
When you hear something that horrifies you and every bone in your body want to push it away, just stop.
Hear what is being said and please, again, remember it’s probably NOT about YOU, personally. You can acknowledge what someone is saying a simple response:
- I never heard of that before.
- I’m sorry , this is new information for me. I have a few questions.
- I’m sorry that you had such a painful experience.
- I never thought of things that way.
- You have given me a lot to think about.
Or something along those lines that. Then, you can make your graceful exit and never think about it all again, or even better, open your mind and learn. I recommend you start here with the truth about adoption.