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    Adoptive Parents Want to Hear Only the Positive

    Dawn Davenport

    31
    adoptive parents need to listen to adult adoptees

    Adoptive parents need to listen to all adult adoptees, not just the ones who say positive things about adoption.

    Anyone who questions whether you can have a true friendship with a person you’ve only met online and never in person has never spent much time online in support groups or blogs. Case in point-my friend The Adopted One (TAO). TAO started commenting on my blog years ago, and she always impressed me with her intelligence, insight, and willingness to try to see things from a different perspective. Over the years, we’ve struck up a rewarding friendship of sharing and talking about all topics – including, but not limited to, adoption.

    I appreciate that TAO and I come to adoption from different angles. I’m a mom through adoption and she was adopted as an infant. Just for the record, she has/had a great relationship with her parents and is also quite critical of certain aspects of adoption and how it is/was practiced. These two things can coexist quite comfortably within the same person.

    Last week something online got under TAO’s skin, and she sent me an email asking me to write a blog explaining why adoptive parents seemed to demand to hear only positive adoption stories. I said I’d think on it, but challenged her to write from her perspective why we shouldn’t. She’s always up for a challenge and below are her thoughts. My blog answering her question will be posted tomorrow.

    ~~~~~~~

    Can I ask all of you adoptive parents a favor?  Can the focus on how much you love Positive Adoptee Stories vs. Negative Adoptee Stories stop?  Please?  I ask this because it creates a wedge, an unwillingness if you will, to communicate between groups in adoption.  It is also demeaning to those adoptees that didn’t have very good adoption stories.  It says you don’t want to hear their story.  Their story is less than, and irrelevant, because your child’s story won’t be their story.

    The need for Positive Only Adoptee Stories sets the bar too high and may be at the expense of your child.

    There are no only negative adoptee stories, unless you want to talk about the adoptees like Hana Williams or Lydia Schatz, who I can say with utmost certainty, both had wholly negative adoption stories until the day they died while they were still children.  Those are negative stories people want to pretend don’t happen to adoptees, but they do. Some will suffer less severe abuse, but abuse is not reserved for only biological families.  When you dismiss those adoptee stories, you shame the victim of that abuse, and leave the teller feeling almost like you blame them for causing the abuse.

    There also aren’t any only positive stories for adoptees, either.  If there were, adoptees would not exist because that would be a world where adoption didn’t happen because there would be no need.  A world where there were no losses, health issues, family fights, death, job losses, poverty, war, bullies, and predators.  That isn’t this world.  Every single adoptee starts off life, or at some point in their life, losing their family; it’s an unavoidable truth that can’t be escaped, nor downplayed.  The consequences are similar for all, and why there are defined core challenges adoptees will face.  How each will react, deal with, live with those core challenges will be based on the individual, their personality, their support system, if their parents are present for them and willing to share both the good, and the bad, and ultimately, what other challenges life throws their way.

    Many of you came to adoption because of infertility, or pregnancy losses.  You likely dealt with a lot of pain, tears, angst, anger, depression, days of hope, days of hitting rock bottom. Your journey may have lasted many years.  During that time you probably also had times of being happy in your daily life–going on vacations; feeling joy just from the sun shining or a shared smile; and laughter at barbeques, birthday parties, and spending time with those you love.

    Now imagine you exist in a world where people called for positive only infertility stories, and someone tells their story about how they chose to accept, and transition from the news, with positivity, into living a full life filled with great times and lots of love. They chose a different life, yet no less perfect life surrounded by family and friends they love.  How would you feel to see everyone else thanking them for finally telling a positive infertility story, because there are so many negative stories out there?  Would you feel that your story of pain was being dismissed?  Yes, you had good times as well, but these good times didn’t take away the pain of infertility. If so, you can now imagine how the adoptee that just shared the pain they felt about being adopted might feel when they hear you rave about the positive adoptee story.

    If you didn’t suffer from infertility or pregnancy loss, I’m sure you had other life challenges, that challenged you to the full extent of your capabilities as a person, and hopefully you can imagine the same scenario that I painted above for whatever you have gone through in your life.

    Can you banish the terms positive and negative from adoptee stories, and simply listen to adoptee stories without apply a label, and take whatever the lesson of the story is, and tuck it away, so that just in case you ever need to draw on it, you actually heard it, and understood what could have helped?

    P.S. Go on over to The Adopted Ones blog and check out her other posts. We adoptive parents MUST listen to adult adoptees, just as we want to be heard and someday want our kids to be heard.

    P.P.S. My blog tomorrow will answer TAO’s question of why adoptive parents “demand” positive only adoption stories. And yes, I do have an answer and it’s a simple one. To receive notice when I post new blogs, sign up for our weekly e-newsletter below.

    P.P.S.S. (I promise this is the last one) Read my earlier blog that I think sums up the whole happy vs. sad/positive vs. negative adoptee issue–Is There Such a Thing as a Happy Adoptee. It’s one of my favorites.

     

    Image credit: Travel Bee

    03/09/2013 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 31 Comments


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    31 Responses to Adoptive Parents Want to Hear Only the Positive

    1. Mirah Riben says:

      Kate, et al. I find it so very interesting to read that one wants to hear positive adoption stories to counter “all the negative” stories out there! Let me assure you that many of us see that ratio quite differently.

      I for one – having been researching adoption for more than 40 years – see the painful aspects of even the happiest-ever-adoption too often overlooked, sugar-coated and ignored and swept under the rug…or diminished by labels such as “ungrateful” or “bitter.”

      After all, in all but a very few states adoptess still get denied access to their own birth certificates and that has nothing to with how good their aps are! Why then wouldn’t adoptees have a RIGHT to be angry about that discrimination?

      In my decades of experience reading blogs and articles both from those personally touched by adoption and the general public, I observe an overall basic belief that adoption is GOOD, a win-win if you will that takes children needing a home and places them with those who long for a child. I know of no adopter who does not approach adoption without this belief that permeates our culture about adoption.

      The other prevailing belief I blogged about recently at FamilyPreservation.blogspot.com is that the end justifies the means. We see this in the ability of our laws to overlook far too many abuses within the adoption industry including trafficking for adoption. We see it docu films like “Wo Ai ne (I Love You) Mommy.” We see it in the book “Finding Fernanda” – adopters willing to turn a blind eye on OBVIOUS red lights and willing to pay bribes etc.

      Why? Because we believe no matter what exploitation, corruption or coercion it took to get a child out of poverty and to a “better life” in the USA is GOOD in the end. Because adoption DOES in fact move children from lower to higher socioeconomic status and our ethnocentric values see this as a desired result.

      Yet, if you open your eyes and ears as TOA suggests and read the books such as those by Jane Jeong Trenka, for instance, you would see adoption through the eyes of those you have been ‘rescued’ and brought here for a “better life.” Some kinda feel like the little old lady dragged across the street by the boy scout thinking he is doing a good deed, when all she wanted to so was to stay where she was! After all, precious few adoptees ASK to be adopted! (Only some coming from state foster care.)

      Society and adopters see the microcosm – one child who you long to take in your arms and protect and love, like a little lost kitten. WE step back a bit and see the macrocosm – the forest, if you will – that the little lost child you long to save has a family who may be desperate to provide for her and could with some charitable support, instead of being torn apart by adoption because of a huge DEMAND for children.

      Every adoption begins with a tragedy and unless you can open your eyes to that underlying PAIN of loss and separation that brought you such utter happiness and joy….you are doing your adopted child a grave injustice, IMHO.

      You need to hear the pain! You need to allow your adopted children to grieve their losses.

      AND, you need to recognize that they long to know where they came from! It is natural and not an assault on you or your loving.

    2. Lavonne D says:

      There has been some wonderful comments and as one who was adopted at birth and now has 4 adopted from China, and has worked in adoption advocacy – there is always a fine line to what is a good balance.

      I lived in an era where adoptee’s were becoming more accepted yet within my own family i was stereotyped. I had a birth sister born less than a year later… yes another stereo type of getting pregnant after adoption.
      :-)

      I have seen, heard and lived both sides and a view of walking in their shoes is very important. We are individuals with our own stories – not one is the same. As with my 4, my first never lived in an orphanage and was loved – to the complete opposite where another child was completely neglected and rejected and we have had years of issues. Not one is without loss, grief or questions.

      I am a survivor of an attempted abortion yet did not learn this until i was an adult which added more to my story. I could have been angry but as someone wrote, it is how you look at it that makes the difference and as a Christian it was a confirmation of a greater piece to my story – I was chosen! Now I speak and have learned through my own grief, loss and disappointment my story can help others and i hope the same for my children. I can’t dismiss their stories or walk blindly about or i am doing a diservice to my own precious children.

      I read, attend wonderful conferences and have worked in the orphan non-profit sector – so get exposed to a lot. Education is key to be equipped in becoming prepared. Spending too much time can slant your view over time so balance is key.

      I know even as an adoptee and after reading in my home studies i was still not ready at adoption #2 to deal with my own child’s RAD and was quick to dis-miss as having toddler issues. But later i had to face the facts and make up for lost time. This was lost time in healing for my child because of my unwillingness to accept my childs own hurt.

      So thank you for writing – a great topic and some great responses!!!

    3. TAO says:

      Christy said: “I don’t always feel comfortable commenting on “negative” adoption stories because I don’t always know what to say.”

      Respond in the same way you would for someone who experienced any challenge in life. I’m sorry. That must have been terrible for you. Get specific in what you believe went wrong. Speak from your heart.

      And, just like you would never tell someone who experienced something terrible, or was hurt badly in any other situation – don’t tell the writer that other adoptions didn’t turn out that way, or, other adoptees don’t feel that way. (not saying *you* would do that – but many have and seem compelled to do so.)

      • TAO, good point–especially about not always pointing out their experience is not universal. I’d like to get your thoughts on the following. Some who have had a bad experience in adoption, have a tendency to extrapolate their experience to all others. I understand this is human nature, which was my point in the blog I wrote on Why Adoptive Parents Tune out the Negative Adoption Stories. Just like adoptive (and non adoptive) parents gravitate to the positive for reassurance, when we have had something bad happen to us, we all tend to assume that our experience is universal because, if nothing else, it makes us feel less alone. I usually take the approach that if someone is hurting, they don’t need me to point out that their experience isn’t everyone’s experience. They need understanding. But what about if they are condemning an entire institutions because of their bad experience, rather than challenging the aspects of the institution that they think are harmful. Any need for us to comment then?

    4. TAO says:

      Dawn,

      Painting anything, or any group, with a broad brush is problematic…why the only positive or only negative in adoption stories irks me as well. Nothing in life is either / or – black or white. Adoption is not all bad or all good.

      Adoption can be done better – any industry that I have ever worked in strived for continual improvement, learning from the stakeholders where the process broke down, and putting fixes in place. I don’t see that happening with stakeholders from all segments collaborating in the domestic (non-foster care) side – I see it only from one side and that saddens me. You know I am very critical of specific things in adoption, and will continue to speak out because otherwise I am condoning it by my silence. And yes for your readers, I believe wholeheartedly that adoption must be first and foremost finding a home for a child who needs one – otherwise it is market driven, and adoptees are human beings so it is far too important to do otherwise, and can then become a race to the bottom, instead of to the top.

      For those who paint with the broad brush – hard to answer. If you wanted to comment you could say well we have common ground on this point (even if it is to say you agree that there is a segment of people in X group like that), but I can’t agree with the other points you raise. No one should agree for the sake of politeness – but I would hope that there are always points that agreement can be reached because adoption is not perfect, and at least it starts the conversation by acknowledging the there are flaws. Sometimes that’s all it takes…

      • TAO, I wholeheartedly agree![Painting anything, or any group, with a broad brush is problematic…why the only positive or only negative in adoption stories irks me as well. Nothing in life is either / or – black or white. Adoption is not all bad or all good.] I think that’s why both “sides” make me uncomfortable–as you said, nothing is all good or all bad.

        If you thought I suggested agreeing for the sake of politeness, I must have misspoken. I don’t ever suggest that or practice that, although I do suggest not always feeling the need to say anything at all. Sometimes the person is just venting or talking to their own audience and my inpput would be intrusive. If am going to comment, my preferred approach is to look for common ground

    5. Kimberly says:

      I enjoyed reading this blog and I look forward to Dawn’s contribution too

      I think part of the issue lies in the necessity to not only understand but to embrace the duplicity of adoption. If you are a person who was adopted you’ve had to learn this or struggle with it or live it your entire life. For many adoptive parents until they adopt, that duplicity of emotion is an abstract idea that I don’t think can be fully grasped.

      By duplicity of emotion from the adoptive parent perspective it meant feeling overwhelming joy in having a child and gazing into her eyes and at the same time feeling a deep deep grief at the loss she and her first family experienced. Holding these two emotions side by side at the same time for the first time in my life was surprising (even having education and even reading widely others’ experiences) and confusing. As a parent I wondered how do I move forward with this duplicity? How do I parent a child for whom I feel so much grief? Then I quickly jumped to how is SHE going to come to terms with these emotions? It’s her story and her situation and if I feel so strongly how might she feel at some point?

      To be honest, I don’t know the answers for her ( or any if my children) She is her own person. For myself (whether its right or wrong) I let all those feelings be ok. I hope I communicate that to her. It’s ok to feel and live in that duplicity. It’s ok to love your adoptive family and feel angry, sad, or whatever about your life situation.

      And so it goes with reading/hearing any adoption story from any person who was adopted, any first parent, or any adoptive parent….the nature of adoption requires us to grapple with duplicity of emotion happy and sad and angry and all the emotions in between. I maintain that it’s a difficult concept to grasp from your spot in the adoption circle until you are in the trenches. For adoptive parents we enter that circle last relative to first families and adoptees. So for a season perhaps we can only truly understand adoption stories as one or the other (happy or sad/angry).

    6. c says:

      . I often will even write: “I’m sorry, that must have been hard”, or something similar, but in those situations

      Christy, you’re OK :) You’ll often find that the people we are talking about say things like “Im sorry you’ve had a bad experience but not everyone is like you. Why I know millions of adoptees who are thrilled to be adopted and are thankful everyday that they have been removed from their families.” (unsaid – “why can’t you be more like them?”)

    7. TAO says:

      Kimberly,

      I just wanted to thank you for such a perfect explanation of the contradictory feelings. “Duplicity of emotions” and how it is abstract until you live it.

      “It’s ok to feel and live in that duplicity. It’s ok to love your adoptive family and feel angry, sad, or whatever about your life situation.”

      I do think some adoptees (including myself) get especially triggered by comments like “I’m sorry you had a bad experience” coupled with we know so much more than in your era – i.e. blaming our parents…is how it comes off to some of us. Which then will make anyone who had good parents get upset…no matter how much you struggle to defend the assumption is firm in that person’s mind…it’s your parents fault so I don’t need to know what it felt like for you because obviously I will be a better parent and my child will never have any of those worries.

      Thank you for that…

    8. Christy says:

      I agree with what you’re saying and I often feel I don’t express myself well when writing, so I apologize. I often will even write: “I’m sorry, that must have been hard”, or something similar, but in those situations I don’t identify myself as an adoptive parent because in some of the blogs I’ve read there *appears* (I know it may just be my perception) to be hostility towards adoptive parents in general. So while I may comment, it is anonymous, the person doesn’t know me, and doesn’t know where I fall in the adoption community or if I just read a lot of blogs and came across it.

      I completely agree not to say to the person “not every story is that way” – obviously this is the individuals story, but I have seen very similar things written on blogs too and it seems like someone is trying to pick a fight. I appreciate the calm discussion we can have here. :)

      • Christy, thank you for that. I too really appreciate the ability to discuss with respect hard issues here. I hope and pray that this place will always be a safe place to discuss. I especially appreciate The Adopted One for her guest post that has sparked this great discussion.

    9. c says:

      “I disagree that all adoptive parents only want to hear “positive” stories. I think that’s a stereotype in itself.

      I think that people considering adoption, or in the adoption process, are more likely to want to hear “positive” stories because of where they are. Taking the IF example, when you’re doing IVF, do you want to read about all the failures or do you want to see the cute pictures of twins?

      I tend to agree with Sue’s point. It reminds me of a quote, “If you know one adoption, you know one adoption.” I think it’s Joyce Pavao… The point is, everyone has a unique story, and all of us – adoptive parents, adoptees, birth parents, and the public at large – should be open to hearing all of them”

      You make a good point, Robyn. I’ve definitely found that it is often prospective adoptive parents who only want to read “positive stories” whereas the parents who have children over about 8 are often more interested in hearing the different viewpoints. I say “over 8″ because often APs start to see in their own child that things aren’t always so “straightforward”.

      That’s not to say all prospective APs only want to hear “positive” stories – many do want to see all points of view, as they find that helps their decision.

      Sometimes, so-called “negative” stories can be of benefit to a prospective AP – eg if the “negative” story is re irregularities that the adoptee has discovered in theis or others adoption process, then the prospective APs may say to themselves, “I need to watch out for that”.

      One thing that I think can help prospective APs in their journey when they are trying to “do the right thing” is to say to themselves “If I make this decision/choice, will I feel comfortable explaining it to my child in the future”? If they feel uncomfortable about it, then they should rethink that particular decision.

      • Great advice: [One thing that I think can help prospective APs in their journey when they are trying to “do the right thing” is to say to themselves “If I make this decision/choice, will I feel comfortable explaining it to my child in the future”? If they feel uncomfortable about it, then they should rethink that particular decision.]

    10. c says:

      Btw I think there can be a very wide definition of what is a “negative” adoption story.

      There are those who believe that a “negative adoption story” is one where the adult adoptees decides to have a relationship with their biological parents. Yes, seriously. It doesn’t matter how much the adoptee states how much they love their APs – the very fact that the adoptee has sought reunion is apparently a sign that the adoptee is disturbed. I hae had a discussion with one AP who said to me something along the lines of “I don’t believe you when you say you have a good relationship with your APs. If you didd, you wouldn’t be wanting a relationship with your bfamily”. It didn’t matter how much I explained that it actually had nothing to with my feelings for my APs, they wouldn’t believe me.

      In fact, many online adoptees have separated their adoptive family situation from their actual “adoption story” and if one reads the adoptees stories carefully without bias one will see that in fact, most of the time they love their APs – they just have issues about ethics – i.e. they don’t believe that the end justifies the means.

      What can be hard is that too often, we adoptees are told about people’s “friends” who “love their families so much they don’t need any other family” – which almost always shows that the person quoting these “friends” has no idea why we adoptees go searching for bfamily. We also often feel like we are being told about these “friends” to keep us in line.

      • C, you are so right that we have a ways to go in educating the general public and adoptive parents that love for your family and wanting to know your bio family can, and very often do, go hand in hand. They are two separate issues. Other than continuing to talk about it, do you have suggestions on what else we can do? I should also add that we need to educate the adoption community that a decision not to want to search and have contact with bio family is also not necessarily indicative of some deep mental anguish and does not necessarily lead to an unfulfilled screwed up life. Just had an interesting discussion about this on the Creating a Family Facebook Support Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/40688106167/).

    11. Robyn says:

      I disagree that all adoptive parents only want to hear “positive” stories. I think that’s a stereotype in itself.

      I think that people considering adoption, or in the adoption process, are more likely to want to hear “positive” stories because of where they are. Taking the IF example, when you’re doing IVF, do you want to read about all the failures or do you want to see the cute pictures of twins?

      I tend to agree with Sue’s point. It reminds me of a quote, “If you know one adoption, you know one adoption.” I think it’s Joyce Pavao… The point is, everyone has a unique story, and all of us – adoptive parents, adoptees, birth parents, and the public at large – should be open to hearing all of them.

    12. Greg says:

      I’m someone who has learned a lot about adoption by reading the so called “negative” stories. It’s taught me that adoptees while they appreciate and love their adoptive parents still have hurt (which I think was Tao’s point in using the IF comparison). They have also taught me that respect for expectant and birth/first parents is important for adoptive parents to have. I’m not sure whether my wife and I will pursue adoption let alone become adoptive parents but I feel better prepared having read these stories to be an adoptive parent than I would if I didn’t read them.

      I am thankful and appreciative for the adoptees and birth/first parents who have the courage to share their stories no matter how much their hurt is. By doing so they are helping the next generation of adoptees.

    13. Kate says:

      Speaking for myself, I like to hear positive adoption stories because it counteracts all the negative ones that are out there. It’s not that I’m burying my head in the sand – all of our training has more than made sure we won’t do that – but its that I need to hear the flip side of the story. My quest for positive adoption stories is to simply add a little light at the end of the tunnel, to remind myself why I’m doing this when it gets tough. Not to dismiss or ignore all the negative ones that are out there. Not only that, but it seems that the negative stories are way more readily available than the positive ones.

    14. TAO says:

      Hi Kate,

      Of course you would want to hear the happy ever after stories – everyone does. At the same time have you ever heard a story where there wasn’t any bad parts? I can’t think of a human alive who hasn’t had bad in their story. That’s what I was trying to explain and perhaps failed too.

      Everywhere people are bombarded by how wonderful adoption is – it’s the best solution – the best choice – the way to become parents, the mothers are brave, selfless, for choosing adoption so their child will have a better life…what could be finer…only it is just a different life in reality, and for some it was the better choice and others not so much.

      Adoptees telling their stories are telling you that it comes with a cost to the adoptee throughout their life. Why many (including myself) say adoption must return to finding a home for a child who needs one – not finding a child for a family who wants one (and yes, they can work in conjunction, but only when the first point is the deciding factor).

      I am the prime example of the happy adoptee story – but the darker side still existed for me at different stages in my life. People didn’t see that side. If you had known me as a child growing up you would have never guessed those feelings existed – I was the success story you all dream of having…but it wasn’t all positive. And, that is what people just can’t seem to understand with adoptees, yet can see that with every other segment of the population and what they live through – the good and the bad combined in one persons story.

      Asking to only hear the good parts of the story leaves an incomplete understanding of the whole story. What can you learn from that?

    15. Sue says:

      This is interesting, because I just commented on an article over at Adoptive Families that made me uncomfortable. The title of the article was “Do Adoptees Have More Problems: Common Psychological and Emotional Effects of Adoption” the article post was focused on the negative psychological and emotional effects adoption. As an adoptee myself, I feel that sometimes these stories just fuel and reinforce the stereotype that all adoptees are damaged goods with emotional problems and it just doesn’t sit well with me.

      Frankly, sometimes it feels to me like adoptees are the one last “group” that society has decided it is okay to stereotype, make the butt of jokes, etc. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people spew misconceptions about how all adoptees are children of drug abusers, or are all emotionally damaged, etc. We aren’t “all” anything any more than any other group in society is all alike.

      If you’ve met an adoptee – you know ONE story. I don’t speak for other adoptees – nor do I minimize the stories of adoptees that might not be all rainbows and unicorns – but that doesn’t mean we all have that story!

      TAO does a brilliant job of creating awareness that adoption isn’t “either/or” either all happy or all sad. Like with any story, there can be good parts and bad parts – and that doesn’t make it all good or all bad. That said, I don’t feel like we necessarily need more negative stories – I think there are plenty of stories that fuel the stereotypes, and that society hears far more negative adoption stories than positive ones already.

    16. Kathy says:

      My favorite comment in the above: “If you’ve met an adoptee – you know ONE story.” I feel that way about my kids — each one has their own story, and they have the right to be happy, sad, angry, bored, whatever about it… and they have the right to change their minds about that feeling whenever they want… because it is their story, not mine, and it’s unique — and so are they.

    17. As is almost always the case when I read Sue’s comments, I want to give her a standing ovation. She has a way of summing things up and adding insight that feels spot on.

    18. Sue says:

      Gosh, thanks Dawn, I’m blushing.

    19. Sue says:

      Today I also read another adoptive mom’s beautifully balanced and honest blog post about year two of their international adoption, and it had some good insight. I particularly did a little happy dance reading this part – because it acknowledged that she is just talking about and sharing their journey – which may or may not be like anyone else’s journey! She wrote: ” As with all retellings, this is our story, and it may bear absolutely no resemblance to yours. We adopted older, unrelated children from Ethiopia who were relatively healthy. Adoption has many faces: babies, foster, siblings, toddlers, domestic, no other kids at home, billions of other kids at home, older parents, first-time parents. This is not a template but simply our experience. There is no one-size-fits-all here.” http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2013/09/03/the-truth-about-adoption-two-years-later

    20. Kate says:

      TAO, I do definitely agree with you – asking ONLY to hear the good stuff, is ridiculous,leads to a lot of misconceptions, and, like you said, hurt. I think adoption is an area where people can become really black and white about things, and its important for both sides to be heard.

      I think when I read your post I misunderstood it a little, we’re on the same page when it comes to having a healthy balance.

    21. Christy says:

      I read all types of adoption stories and I’m thankful for them. I don’t always feel comfortable commenting on “negative” adoption stories because I don’t always know what to say. I read them, try to learn from them, and sometimes I thank them for their honesty, but sometimes I move on silently, so I know from the outside it may not look like I want negative stories, but I do, I learn from them. I’ve read some very angry ones that are very anti-adoption and I still read them but do not feel comfortable posting anything on those. I know that they have a right to their feelings, and I spend time praying that somehow that won’t happen to my child and that I can parent in a way that will show him love. The balanced views are fantastic. I tried to share some of the difficult times we had when our son came home to help other adoptive parents realize (when it’s their turn to bring their child home) that they are not alone. I did not share everything, only what I’d be comfortable having my child know that I shared one day. But I did try to be honest that there is loss in adoption and it is rough at times.

    22. Lisa says:

      I almost didn’t comment but since you are soliciting viewpoints I will give mine. I think both our backgrounds skews our vision. You see only happy adoptive stories and I see constant bashing. Because I have seen so much bashing I am overly sensitive to adoption talk and intent behind it. I am for open discussion of issues. I am against bashing. I am probably naming the blogs wrong but I’ve been on pound puppies, korean adoption blogs, followed their recommended blogs out, read gruesome accounts, read the trashy comments online, been exposed to trashy comments in person, seen the flyby nastiness in multiple forums, saw crap at newspaper, government, and ngo levels some truth, some lies, and some slanderous large paint brushes painting large groups of people, read books, read human rights records including our own, read pro and con articles from various sources, yada yada yada so I am one of those rainbow parents who smiles at you and discusses footwear while I have all of that running in the back of my mind. That does not mean I do not know about it, have opinions or concerns on it, or am not active in some way or have been active in some way when I had more time. Some boards have been attacked and shutdown by people who “didn’t believe in adoption”. These were support communities and guess what shutting them down shut down one of the few support venues for people who needed them or were advocating for their children. When a parent doesn’t know how a policy is going to impact their childs well being they don’t want to hear other peoples philosophical thoughts, again, and again, on adoption. When we don’t know whether our children will be turned to the street tomorrow we don’t want to really read about peoples thoughts on interracial adoption. Just stuff like that is unbelievable at times and when it can impact your child, your family, and other children and families it fuels a level of rage back at the world you would not believe. We talk about that stuff in private forums. Some of that is because we are the only ones we can talk to and if its personal then a decent parent wouldn’t be posting it all over kingdom come at the future embarrassment or wishes of privacy of their child or others. Just because you may not see it doesn’t mean its not there. And we have people bringing it to us thinking we are completely ignorant of it. Constantly. I do not know how any AP can say they haven’t seen this on a regular basis. I’ve read horrible horrible truths and those truths should be exposed I am 100% for it. I’ve read quite a bit of it and or listened to it. Many of these truths also apply to bio families. You don’t see people demanding all women on earth have their tubes tied when there is a bio crime. Sometimes I just want to have a break and become resentful because it becomes too much and we are an acceptable bashing party. I think there is a need for openness and to discuss what went wrong to try to protect or make better. I also think, you know what, sometimes I want to worry about whether my son is going to like his new shoes or what my kids had at lunch today and have a moment of familyhood. Isn’t there a middle ground where we can hear the issues without being told we are horrible people or should feel guilty for adopting? Some of the bashing is coming from grownups. They are grown up. I had a crappy childhood and I was bio but I don’t get a pass for going to parenting forums trying to make current parents feel horrible. I get tired of people painting APs as having these ignorant blissful smiles on our faces all the time with no knowledge of the hardships in this world. I know very well the conversations APs have openly and privately. If you want to truly make a difference or get people to listen you have to find a way to do it thats constructive or not alienating. A lot, but not all, that I read is alienating. It doesn’t help that there is bashing because it makes us predisposed to view any comment as bashing when it might not be. You have families out there dealing with trauma issues, fetal alcohol syndrome, attachment issues, etc so I say if they want to have a rainbow and lemonade day let them have it. You should be supporting those families and provide support not constantly bashing because you see some rainbows. While we need to have awareness and efforts to address any and all family issues regardless of how those families came to be the families also have every right to sunshine. Offer good and bad with realistic solutions or sincere attempts to look for them. If its just a sounding board to vent your frustrations out on strangers because you can’t take it to the source.. I think it taxes the families to deal with. My views. Off to lemonade land for awhile all of you have fun.

    23. Sue, you beat me to the punch (yet again :-)) I just sent this blog to be posted. I loved it.

    24. Christy, you raise a good point. I think when reading a hard story by an adult adoptee sharing their less than positive feelings about adoption, many adoptive parents are not sure what to say and/or don’t want to say the wrong thing or something that will incite a controversy, so they remain silent. This may lead to the impression that they aren’t reading the stories, but they are simply trying to learn silently and keep a respectful distance. Such a good point!

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