* Based on feedback I’ve received, I have decided to edit this post. I never meant to target any one group, nor did I intend to blame birthparents or adoptees for my need to take a break from these sometimes intense discussions. That was not my intention, but it came across that way to certain people whom I did not mean to offend. So, let me try this again.
** I have decided to close comments on this post after receiving word that members of one of these groups are “campaigning against me” to invade my online and personal space and life. These people have been saying truly hateful, derogatory, harmful, dangerous, and disrespectful things about me in this group. This kind of viciousness is toxic to everyone who encounters it and I will not give these people a platform on my blog. **
I want to begin by saying that I have learned so much from online adoption groups. I have benefitted tremendously from these groups and from hearing other people’s experiences and perspectives pertaining to issues that I’m dealing with. I’m truly grateful for all of the people who take the time to participate in these groups.
But these places are not always easy spaces to be in and I think they can sometimes do a person more harm than good. Even the most well-moderated groups can get off track because there are so many mixed emotions in adoption and these groups typically include all members of the adoption triad, (birthmothers/fathers, adoptive parents, and adoptees) all who have different backstories and opposing opinions. This is a good and necessary thing because hearing/reading other viewpoints is how we learn. Ideally, we would all listen to each other with compassion and understanding and gain insight into aspects of adoption that we hadn’t considered.
But it doesn’t always happen that way, and sometimes it can all just be a bit much. When that happens, when people are burned out or stressed out or angry, discussions tend to dissolve. In my opinion, a little time-out to gather your thoughts is the best way to get yourself ready to come back and learn with a positive attitude and your defenses down. Literally, I have been doing this ever since I was a young adult and learned how to control my anger: leave the room, count to 10, take a deep breath, return. It works, and it’s all that I’m advocating here.
Here’s how to tell if it’s time to take a little break from that online adoption support group:
- You start feeling bad about your decision to adopt. A lot of issues come up in these groups, some of which may be hard to hear. If you’re starting to feel bad about yourself for adopting or wanting to adopt, it might be time to take a short break.
- You forget that every adoption and the people and circumstances surrounding it are different.
- You’re angry, and starting to let that anger consume you. I’ve seen so much anger in these online groups and some people don’t seem to be able to let it go. If a group you’re in is upsetting you to the point that you feel this way, it’s time to take a break.
- You’re hearing so many different voices that you have forgotten how YOU truly feel and why you wanted to adopt in the first place. The more noise surrounding you, the harder it is to hear what your heart and gut instincts are telling you. Listen to everyone but when it gets to the point that you don’t know how you feel, you need to take a break even if it’s just to think.
- You’re spending too much time there. Are you constantly replying to comments or engaged in endless, unresolvable arguments to the detriment of the people in your life? These groups can be totally engrossing, and I don’t think that’s healthy. Unplug, log off, put the phone away and connect with the people in your life. Meet some other adoptive families in your community; talk to adoptees and birthparents in person.
If you are nodding your head yes to any of these, maybe it’s a sign that you could use a break. Just a little hiatus. You don’t have to leave the group entirely, but maybe turn off notifications/unfollow the group for awhile and resist the urge to participate for a few days. Then, when you’ve had a chance to gather your own thoughts and emotions, you’ll have the strength/will power to have meaningful dialogue with others.
** Editing to add that if you are part of a group where you feel your personal safety or the future of your business or career could be at stake simply by speaking up or challenging majority opinion or that of the admins, it’s my personal opinion that that is not a healthy place to be. This is my first experience with cyber bullying and/or cyber harassment and, frankly, it was a little scary. I don’t need that in my life. **
68 thoughts on “How to Tell When It’s Time to Take a Break from that Online Adoption Group”
Great point. I read some negative stuff the other day in a comment section to someone’s blog about adoption and I let it consume me for about 24 hours. I had to consciously make an effort to let it go. I know that my adoptive son was placed into my care by his birthmother who loved him enough made a decision that was in his best interest.
Are you saying that if your son’s first mother had kept him, she would not have been able to love him enough?
I don’t think that’s what she’s saying at all. There are many circumstances that lead first mothers to make an adoption plan. I don’t think any adoptive parents would say that it was because their first mothers didn’t love them enough.
I am not saying she would not have been able to love him enough. It takes more than love to raise a child. You need to be able provide basic needs such as a roof over their head and food. My son’s birth mother was in jsil several times during his first year of life. Where would he have been placed during those months? A temporary foster placement would not have given him Amy security or lifelong attachment.
I am not saying she would not have been able to love him enough. It takes more than love to raise a child. You need to be able provide basic needs such as a roof over their head and food. My son’s birth mother was in jaill several times during his first year of life. Where would he have been placed during those months? A temporary foster placement would not have given him any security or lifelong attachment.
Who really knows where he would have been placed? Maybe a family member or with his mother after she implemented some changes that helped her support her child? Or, after someone helped her learn to be a better parent? We can’t really say, can we?
Or maybe she truly had no support and a terrible addiction and her child ended up in the foster system year or 18 months later when it proved true that she could not care for him? We can’t really say, can we?
Oh my gosh. Yes. I keep telling myself I can keep scrolling when I see the posts come up, but I just can’t help but read them. And, your first point is so me. I never thought my adoption group would make me feel guilty for adopting! But, wow. Apparently I’m a horrible person for taking custody of a child who’s mother (btw, I’m scared to call her a birthmother or first mother or natural mother bc I’ll get in trouble for anything) willingly made a plan of adoption for him. I feel like if I don’t search her up (against her will, mind you),and pursue an open adoption complete with weekly slumber parties, then I am not fit. Don’t even get me started on the transracial thing. Phew. Ok. Clearly, I need a break. Lol.
Did you adopt transracially? If you get all worked up so easily, to the point that you have to avoid transracial-type discussions on adoption, then I certainly hope you didn’t invite that “awful” topic into your own family. In fact, perhaps you should have thought more about adoption and adoption-related topics before adopting. There are many more people involved and impacted by adoption besides you and your possibly-guilty conscience – the child (soon to be adult), and all the parents and relatives. So, reflecting on your decisions and actions and how this adoption impacts everyone would be healthy and respectful. Disrespectful people shouldn’t be adopting, especially when the children (future adults) can’t decide, but are most impacted by the adopters decisions and actions. Your conscience SHOULD kick in, otherwise you’d be an irresponsible “parent”.
I had actually written something out and then remembered the theme of this blog. I’m so grateful for the reminder that I don’t have to prove myself to judgemental strangers on the internet.
The fact that I was tempted to is *exactly* why I need a break. I have plenty of people in my life who can help, educate, support, and love my family and me. People who know us. That feels good.
You missed that maybe you are missing the point. Perhaps they are learning the truth about adoption in these groups –
* that it is NOT necessary to change a chlld’s birth details and identity to care for it,
* that the psychological distress this causes to the person legally severed from their kin is lifelong and intergenerational.
* that adoptees grow up and have opinions about being transferred between people like property.
Perhaps you missed that staying in these groups is EXACTLY what they need, painful or not.
Thanks for your comment, Sharyn. I didn’t say that people should leave these groups, but rather just take a break once and awhile. I don’t think anyone benefits when people are burned out. Respectfully, your truth about adoption may not be everyone’s, or every adoptees, truth. I think it’s important to remember that.
I think some are burned out when they’ve spent a good amount of energy, time, and resources trying to inform PAPs, agencies, attorneys, and legislators about some of the destructive policies and practices that are embedded in adoption. Blog posts like this one, encouraging PAPs and APs to dismiss these valid, ongoing concerns and lifelong struggles of adoptees and their families, do a disservice to all the people who share their valuable lives and experiences to educate, inform, and change the lack of respect and humanity that some children are faced with, BECAUSE of certain systematic adoption laws, policies, and practices that Sharyn pointed out.
Again, these are systematic problems. The avoidance and dismissal that your post seems to encourage exacerbates the systemic problems. One that’s oft repeated is adopters and potential adopters are encouraged (by posts such as this one) to consider first, foremost, and perhaps only, their (adopters’ and potential adopters’) own wishes, desires, and wants. At the center of ANY adoption should be the children and the adults they will become (perhaps you “forgot” to consider these children, potential adoptees in this post?). Those are the ones most impacted, with their lives, identities, families, and communities altered most drastically, yet they are the least empowered to drive the direction of their futures. Please don’t dismiss these types of systemic issues and problems with false excuses like “not all adoptees may have this experience”. You’re missing the point. This blogpost pushes for exactly this type of dismissal/disrespect of those who are rightfully asking, demanding to be heard to improve systemic practices.
As I mentioned above, their are MANY who are more deserving of consideration during an adoption/thought process than the adopters/potential adopters. It should come as no surprise that adopters/potential adopters should be encouraged to listen and pay attention to what adult adoptees and their original families have to say. It is irresponsible and reckless to lead them away from adult adoptee honest perspectives and insight and the realities of too many adoptions. If they can’t handle the honesty from adults who understand this system more deeply and broadly than anyone else, but instead feel like they have to “fight” them, then they have no business involving themselves in this system.
I’ve heard potential adopters say this (adoption) is a personal decision – okay, it’s a personal decision, then leave everyone else out of it. Leave these children and their families alone. Don’t ask for donations. Don’t seek or accept tax breaks, subsidized by hard-working taxpayers for their personal dreams. Don’t get offended if others don’t see their personal decision the same way. Don’t get angry and vindictive if the child they adopted doesn’t view his/her own lived experience in line with the adopters’ “personal decision”- after all the adoptee is a separate human being, with his/her own mind, just like the adopters.
Potential adopters have the personal choice to not involve themselves with adoption. The adoptees do not have this liberty or personal choice. If they feel the need to take a break from adoption “stuff”, maybe they should reconsider whether adoption is the “right” personal choice for them. Once adopted, the adoptees never have the liberty to “take a break” from adoption. Adoption becomes embedded in their identity, their “DNA”, their relationships, how the government treats them, their legal and human rights, their medical and emotional health, their own “personal decisions”, while being denied access to their “personal information and history”.
Again, systemic issues affecting individual adoptees personally.
If they suffer from “adoption burnout”, then that might be a sign that they aren’t cut out for the complexities that go along with adoption. Not an insult, but everyone has special attributes and shortcomings. No one should adopt while ignoring systemic, long-ignored issues in adoption.
All that I was trying to say is that adoptive parents, or birth parents, or adoptees should, if they are having a tough time, just take a break for a couple days and come back refreshed. Think of it like a weekend. Thats all I’m saying. I didn’t say anyone should ignore anything – if you read the article, you will see that I said I’ve learned so much and that I really want to, etc. So your comment kind of makes a mountain of no hill. All I’m saying is it’s OK to not participate for a few days if you find yourself feeling really angry. You know, for your mental health.
Ugh you do not know what you’re talking about. Please read again without your defensive filter. adoption is also now “embedded in my DNA” as well as my sons. I never said I wanted to take a break from “adoption stuff”nor did I encourage that we don’t learn from other viewpoints. Quite the opposite really. What I meant is that breaks from aggressiveness and arguments like this is healthy. You are over reacting.
I am so glad to see I am not the only person out there who is thinking the same thing. Most of us adoptive parents had a baby placed with us willingly and we were chosen by the first mom, birth mom, biological mom (whatever the PC term is this week) and yet we are the bad people who raise these kids, give them all of the love in the world and willingly would trade our lives to make sure they are better taken care of than most kids in the world. Somehow we are horrible people. I have finally come to the conclusion that the ones posting how horrible AP’s are, a very small amount of people who sadly are unhappy and want the rest of us to be miserable too.
Wpw. M Sutton, way to be grotesquely dismissive of the woman who grew this child for 9 months and made you so happy. Being snarky about “PC” is deeply insulting to all women who can’t raise their children. Would you make such a comment to your son’s mother to her face? No, I didn’t think so, So why do you think it’s okay here?
I am the adoptive mother of a brother and sister who are both 50 plus. They both arrived at the age of ten – eldest son first, then my husband and I had a baby, then his sister arrived and then we had another two babies. Our two oldest children had a mother and father who were not together and a sister and brother older than they were, and a brother and two sisters who were younger and in and out of their parents’ care. Their mother died a short while after the adoption of our daughter – and we found that out from two of their uncles who we met by chance. We met their oldest sister and her children and visited back and forth. We met two of their younger siblings who were adopted and had visits back and forth. The Children’s Aid Society, who manage foster care and adoption in our province encouraged us in these visits and a couple of times placed our son and daughter’s siblings with us for a week or two. We made visits to their First Nation community and met their father. Year later we went to his funeral at the First Nation. After our son and daughter had finished school they each spent some time at their First Nation Community and we visited them there. Our daughter married and had two children and they often visited us often. They live at a distance now but I am still in touch with them. Our son worked at jobs in urban areas south of our area. They both came to their father’s / my husband’s funeral some years ago. Then a few years ago oldest son called me and said that he would come up for a visit soon. A month or so later there he was at the front door, and has been here ever since, working for a local builder and helping around the house. I organized a 50th Birthday Party for each of them and most of their siblings attended each party. My daughter did have some issues as a teenager but we eventually overcame the problems. I don’t think that they have any serious negative feelings about their adoption but they are also very glad that they have met their birth siblings and other relatives living at their First Nation community. These connections have also been very positive for our three birth children who when they were young would come home and tell us about the un-informed comments re aboriginals that they heard from their schoolmates. They tried to provide their own answers to their schoolmates. I am very thankful for having had my two oldest children in my life, as well as my three younger children. All our lives have been different because we all became members of one family – and I think we have all enjoyed the lives that we have had – and how can we tell that our lives would have been better or worse if that path had not been chosen 45 years ago this spring.
Thank you for so much for sharing your story, Joanne!
These are great points, that everybody who has a stake in adoption needs to remember – it’s an emotionally charged subject and everybody has an opinion, it can be vicious. I’m an older adult adoptee, and I think it would be helpful if everyone remembers WHERE they’re posting in online groups. There is nothing worse than a troll, even an accidental one. I don’t join adoption groups for adoptive parents or parents of adoption loss and start raging on, so I detest it when adoptive and natural parents join groups for adoptee’s only and then get riled and offended by the issues that we discuss (not all adoptee’s who are against adoption are ungrateful or psycho and not all adoptee’s who are for adoption are “in a fog” or in denial) I get that some adoptee’s are natural parents or adoptive parents, but when you’re in an adoptee group, remember that. Adoption is difficult, because at it’s core a child has been removed from his or her family and placed in another family and that’s hard. It’s hard for a mother and father who have lost their child, even if they may have chosen it, because I think we can all acknowledge that the choice is not straightforward and agencies (and some potential adopters) do employ some tactics that are considerably manipulative, but outside of outright kidnapping or legal removal by children’s services, it IS a choice, that may become more difficult to accept as the years pass for some. It’s hard for a child, who is growing up knowing that while they have a loving family (hopefully), it is doubtful they would have those parents if they should have been able to have a child of their own (not universal, but frequent) and that they were once part of another family that let them slip away (even when it was done by parents who wanted the best for their child). The feelings of abandonment, anger and grief can be difficult to identify and integrate (also not universal, but frequent). It’s hard for adoptive parents who have to parent and guide a child into adulthood who has to spend time making sense of all of those issues (in addition to regular childhood issues) and get little or no guidance from the agencies that were eager to accept large sums of money to facilitate the adoption, but have nothing to offer if there are difficulties. Feelings of insecurity (and even anger) would seem natural for adoptive parents who are expected to do all the heavy lifting of parenthood, but then are expected to “share” the child with natural parents who don’t share any of the responsibility or have to watch the child experience anguish when they are gone. It’s time we start acknowledging some of the harder truths about adoption rather than pretending they are not there, and then blaming each other for them.
Yes, yes, yes. Thank you for this. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I want to learn. I want to hear other viewpoints. I want to have civil, respectful discussions with people so that I can give my son every chance at a happy, fulfilled life. I empathize with all of the birth parents and adoptees in these groups and appreciate, so very much, them taking the time to share their perspectives with us.
I’m an adoptive mother, I’m so ashamed of this. I hope that not everyone thinks all adoptive mothers are as ignorant. We are greatful. We want to learn. We want to do better. But it’s not about is. We can take a break. Go back to denial and the support from people who are exactly like us. Shame. Shame.
That’s all I was saying – sometimes it’s good to take a breather and come back refreshed and ready to learn or dialogue.
The time to “take a breather” would have been before finalizing an adoption and parenting a child who doesn’t have the luxury to neither partake in an adoption, nor to “take a breather” from adoption identity issues. For adopters who “need a breather”, then they aren’t cut out for the complexities of adoption nor the responsibilities of parenting an adopted child/future adopted adult.
Once again, what I said was to take a breather from an online group. Not from being part of an adoptive family, or even thinking about it. Just because we choose to not participate for a few days in discussions doesn’t mean that we are taking a break from adoption all together. PLease calm down.
Thank you for another insightful comment. But I think you’ve gotten your panties in a bit of a bunch. I don’t want to take a breather from being an adoptive parent. What I meant people should sometimes take a break from are these intense/hostile discussions with many different viewpoints, argumentative and sometimes nasty people, about adoption at all hours of the day like adults sometimes do on Facebook. I didn’t mean anyone gets or takes or wants a break from being adopted, being a first mother or being an adoptive parent. You’re reading too much into my post and looking for ways to fight with me. i don’t want a break from adoption or from thinking about adoption. But a break from this is healthy once and awhile. Let’s not argue for the sake of arguing.
I’m confused as to how you could say that I am not grateful. I am super grateful and started the post saying just how grateful I am. I want to learn. And I want to do better. just like you. Not sure how that didn’t come across. I was just advocating for occasional breaks because this stuff can get super intense and I am a big believer in gathering your thoughts and thinking on what you’ve learned before engaging out of anger or spite. That’s all I’m saying. Thanks for your comment.
Something I have noticed that often goes missing in online discussions are the questions? Someone posts something that makes you angry or frustrated instead of assuming the worst why not ask a clarifying question without judgement? People don’t join discussion groups because they don’t want learn…and in order to learn people need to feel safe. If someone writes something you don’t agree with and after asking the clarifying questions the poster is still missing the point- saying “I believe that you joined this group to better understand______, but when you say ______it gives the impression that you _________. Which may not be what you are trying to say and which is definitely counter to what we are hoping to learn in this group.”
The flaming and attacks get old. It is sad to see adults bullying each other….that gets exhausting.
I totally agree. I wrote this post originally just to try to say” let’s all take a deep breath”. I feel like people sometimes approach these discussions immediately on the defensive, which puts everyone else on the defensive. I am super grateful, like I said, for all members of the triad speaking out. I have learned so much. But I have also noticed that sometimes discussions get out of hand. Maybe after a breather, we can come back and be more patient and respectful.
I agree, and that is why I wrote this. No one does this. These comments are a perfect example.
AP to AP to take information from a closed group and use it in a blog post is beyond low. If a first mother says she was coerced she was coerced. You don’t get to decide if it’s apparent coercion or not. Not your place. This was low and a slap in the face to the people who have taken time and bared their soul at our expense to educate us.
Ashley I’m really sorry but I’m not sure what you’re talking about. I didn’t reference any one person. And I never said anything was an ‘apparent coercion.’ If people are feeling defensive about this post, I’m not really sure that’s my fault. I was just trying to advocate that everyone (not just APs) take a breath once and awhile if they need it.
Well, as a black child being raised in a while family I am never going to assume that my daughter gets “breathers from thinking about her adoption”. If she does I am glad, but I need to be realistic too.
And as she ages life will become more complex, my hope is that what I learn now will keep the doors open for honest dialogue between us for as long as possible; and she and I will continue to learn from each other. Because I know the age is coming when she may choose to stop sharing, and our children will be dealing with much more than the average teenage angst.
Not talking about my child, obviously. And I realize we can’t take breaks from our lives. No once can do that. But we can take breaks from groups that are making us feel upset, angry, defensive, etc so that we can come back and do the real work. A break from an online group does not mean that I’m taking a break from adoption – it is my life. I am not an idiot. I don’t think my kid can take a break from being a black kid in a white family. You’ve misunderstood.
The problem is, and what is being missed, is that the *only* member of the adoption triad who has the choice to take a breather is the Adoptive Parent. That is why you are seeing some anger, frustration and people questioning the tone of this written piece.
This champions our AP perspective, most online adoption groups are there to support AP and are run by AP’s. We have the most support, resources and books available to us, after care by many agencies are offered to us and we have conferences, courses and classes too. We are often set up for success, with more books, resources and research becoming available to us every year.
We can choose to walk in and out of groups (online or in real life), or away from topics and feelings. There were so many things I had never thought about when I started adoption, some I was enlightened to and even more I wasn’t. In the beginning of joining the online groups I understood and agreed with most of it, and like those that posted I was angered by much of what I read. But sometimes I was made to feel uncomfortable- I will admit to having rolled my eyes once or twice, honestly thinking people were really sensitive.
Four years later, I sit in agreement, nodding, offended, hurt, disturbed. I see the choices of wording that is used and think “oh noooo” because I get it now. I look at the articles, I hear the language, I see the pictures and I see my daughter’s face. I think of it all from *her* shoes. I listen to it and think how would she feel, what would she think; and how would I respond, how would I guide her.
I choose to maintain a balance in my time spent online, but I have come to learn that just when my skin gets prickly and I start to feel really uncomfortable it is likely that moment that a really valuable lesson is coming.
If my daughter doesn’t get to have a breather, neither do I.
I agree with you so very much about everything except that I think breathers are healthy for everyone. Your daughter get’s breathers from thinking about her adoption. All the time. It’s OK to have diversions and to give yourself a day or two to just feel good about who you are and the people you love, and then come back to learn and absorb and make it count.
Allie, you couldn’t be more wrong about our kids getting breathers – and maybe if you had waited to start dishing out advice until your kid was oh, at least in elementary school, you’d realize that. They go to school and people say “wait, that’s your mom?” They are too white to be black and too black to be white. They are constantly sideswiped with family tree assignments in grade school and genetics assignments in high school bio, where even if their fabulous, wonderful adoptive parents have intervened ahead of time to make sure that the assignment is inclusive (which no one else’s parents have to do) they feel othered and abnormal. They grow up being raised just like their friends – except that clerks don’t follow their friends around in the store. These things *will* happen to your kid – and he won’t be able to turn them off or take a breather. Ever. So shut your mouth for a while and live in discomfort, so that you can be a better parent to your child when he inhabits a world where he is always living in discomfort, always the odd man out. We shelter our kids in an umbrella of privilege when they are little, but the older they get, the more they move out into the world and the smaller our umbrellas get.
And seriously? – how can you tell someone else (Michelle), who has been an adoptive parent a lot longer than you have, that her daughter gets a breather when her lived reality is that she doesn’t? Perhaps instead of telling her what she should think, you should be quiet and listen.
I realize all of this and am very concerned about it. This post was not about that. I said a bunch of times, I just meant a break from actively engaging is a good thing. I’m not dishing out advice above that.
I’m quoting directly here, Allie: ” Your daughter get’s breathers from thinking about her adoption. All the time.” Can you explain to me how that statement is *not* you telling Michelle that you have a better grasp on her daughter’s reality than she does?
I just meant that children don’t partake of these intense discussions with many different viewpoints, argumentative and sometimes nasty people, about adoption at all hours of the day like adults sometimes do on Facebook. I didn’t mean they get a break from being adopted, and I don’t ever want a break from being an adoptive mother. I just think breaks from intense thinking and discussions is necessary. I would never presume to know anything about Michelle’s daughter. Let’s not argue for the sake of arguing.
I’m glad you wrote this. It was smart and brave and accurate. Obviously you’re taking some heat, and that is sad. I get that you are wanting to learn. So many adoptive parents come from a place of good in trying. In some of these groups if you’re not begging for their forgiveness for adopting a child they verbally attack, saying how your child will be doomed and you are ignorant by refusing to learn. I get so sick of it, everyone has a story doesn’t mean their perspective is correct to your tale. While they rant and rave in anger if anyone pushes back perhaps they are the ones who need to step back for a moment and take a break. Truth hurts and sometimes these groups perpetuate for birth mothers the mentality that they were victims when in reality they made their choice whether it’s life style or putting their baby up for adoption. For them having a platform to rage against all adoptions is crap. Your blog couldn’t of come at a better time because I’ve had my fill. I want to learn for my child. I want to be sympathetic but I’m tired of being the target for angry first moms who now regret their choice. Obviously I need to log off too.
I agree, Matt. Since publishing this I have been attacked my members of a group that I was in for reasons that aren’t even valid. I learned so much from that group but they blocked me now because I violated the rules. Some person is convinced that I was talking about her and I wasn’t even talking about that group or any one person. They’ve been on the attack since yesterday. Time to take a break.
This “group” is on attack all over Facebook. They have a huge problem with groupthink and are pretty much headed towards cultish activities.
Thank you for your comment, Matt. All of these comments is just more proof that breaks are needed. I want to learn and be the best parent I can be, but not at the sake of my mental health. For that reason alone, breathers are important. Everyone needs them. It’s not healthy to get so wrapped up in these groups that you give yourself an ulcer or worse.
Matt W – nail on the head! I also considered adoption for my 1st born and I felt the pressure while talking to the agency. But ultimately it was MY choice. I knew keeping her was the only choice I wouldn’t regret. But if I had signed the papers they shoved down my throat, no way in hell would I blame the adoptive parents or the agency. Put on your big girl panties and take responsibility for YOUR decisions.
I really love your blog. And I think what you have said here is ok. It has made people defensive because, well, I’m just going to leave it there. Thank you for being an encouragement to so many. I’ve read back several posts and can relate to what you feel, wonder, worry about.
Thank you. I appreciate that very much. I think a lot of these comments are really proving my point about people needing to take time-outs once and awhile. Ahhhh, anyway. Thank you for very much for your support!
You may need a break from these comments! Being an adoptive mother who blogs doesn’t mean you deserve a target on your head. I’m really surprised at the outright meanness here.
No being an adoptive mom who blogs does not deserve a target. Taking conversations from closed groups and bringing parts of them here to a public blog then denying it when several members of said closed groups call you out on it and not apologizing is what gained the target. You can blog and blog about taking a break and yes people need them at times but the problem remains that it could have been done without that information.
Like I said before, I did not share anyone’s conversations. I said that there had been a lot of talk about coercion lately in groups. That’s a general blanket statement. And a true one, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with saying that. I thought the whole point is to make people aware of coercion? Anyway, I do understand that I didn’t need to include any particular issue and that’s why I removed it. But it’s not my fault that a certain person read too much into my post and got defensive and assumed it was all about her. That is not my issue. I don’t even know her story. This post was not about her. It wasn’t written for her. I am sorry that she was unintentionally offended but she quickly proved herself to be a vicious bully. And honestly, I think she quite enjoys that role.
There were some insightful comments that have been deleted. Can the author specifically address why?
I deleted comments that I found to be overly vicious and bullying. This is my blog, my right and I want to keep things semi-civil in this space. Profanity and name-calling are not allowed here nor is outright meanness.
The fact that you have chosen to silence the one commenter who was a birth mother and who gave a very personal response to the slight wording you chose to ‘edit’ (birth mother coercion) is very revealing to me. You chose to delete her comments but not others who challenge your view. Her responses did not appear to me to bullying or mean but angry because she felt you had used her story to perpetuate the view of adoption you choose to blog about. It seems to me, that it was just not something you wanted to hear or think about. If it wasn’t about her personally, why did you choose to edit those words out? Are you yourself uncomfortable with the feelings of birthmothers?
I deleted her comments because this post was not about her and she and other admins of the group we *were* in together immediately reacted to this post by being abusive on my Facebook page, within the group, and on this blog. I came to be aware that she and other people in that group were/are “campaigning against me to invade every aspect of my online presence and personal life”. I received an email from someone who was worried about my personal safety after reading the nasty names and hateful, hurtful things that she and other members of this group (you might be one of them?) were writing/saying about me. This person suggested that I might want to call the FBI.
I will NEVER give the person you reference a platform on my blog This post was not about her or her story, yet she has made it all about her by insisting that it is. She is clearly an attention-seeking bully who likes to play the victim and is in desperate need of counseling. I hope she gets it because she clearly is not well. I will not engage with you about this any longer – this will be the last comment of yours that I approve.
Also, I’m not uncomfortable with the feelings of birthmothers at all. Just the feelings of dangerous, unstable, and threatening people in general.
Oh Allie! My heart is breaking for you sweet mamma. Your blog has been such a light for me (and I know many others) as we navigate this emotional adoption journey. I’ve a loyal reader since waaaaaay before Miles joined your family – and I can’t tell you how many times your words have resonated with me.
Time after time you have shown your heartfelt desire for knowledge and understanding for all aspects of adoption (not just the easy-to-hear parts!!) – and your utmost love and respect for EVERYONE in the adoption triad. The links you provide. The articles you share. The truth of your heart for adoption and trans-racial families. Your love for Miles. You don’t deserve these personal attacks. They have clearly taken small points in this one post and blown them WAY out of proportion. If someone were to read even a handful of your posts they would understand you as a true advocate for knowledge, openness, research, communication, respect, and love.
This bottom line is this: it IS ok to take a break from the online world. Period.
Big big hugs honey!
Megan, thank you so much for this note, and for your support. It’s been an interesting couple days, that’s for sure.
Allie, I don’t know you- but like you I am an adoptive mother.
I will do my best to be civil and polite in the hopes that you will not delete this comment.
Taking a break from hearing difficult things is akin to putting your head in the sand. It doesn’t make the difficult things go away, it doesn’t make the challenging conversations cease to exist.. it just makes it so you don’t hear or participate in them. As adoptive parents, we cannot be afforded the luxury of putting our heads in the sand and ignoring these conversations. To do so, is a disservice to our children. Does that mean that we have to comment, or participate in every Facebook thread? No! But we must remember an respect that our children don’t get breaks from the lives they are living as adoptees. As adoptive parents, we shouldn’t get to take a break either.
Additionally, you apology feels insincere. You acknowledge that your inadvertently may have caused harm to some people through your posting.. but then your comments directly contradict any apology- In the comments you note you feel bullied, and picked on by members of an adoption group who have read your blog and you agree with comments that support your original position.
Also, I’m uncomfortable with one of your comments that may have disclosed personal information about your son’s history (your response post that maybe your son’s mother was struggling with an addiction)- One day your son might not want this information posted for the public to read. These are things you need to consider every time you make a posting online.
I sincerely hope you reflect on the postings and comments made by people you have called “bullies”. While you might disagree with the delivery of the comments, the messages seems to be consistent and worth reflecting on.
Thanks for doing your best to be civil. I don’t know why you would be any other way, though. I don’t know why we can’t always be civil to each other, even when we disagree. Anyway I’ll answer your comment point by point:
+ Once again, I did not mean taking a break from being an adoptive parent. I think about that 24/7 — it’s never not on my mind. It’s not easy being an adoptive parent. I worry constantly if I’m doing a good job. There is really never a second that it is not on my mind. I’m sure you feel the same. It’s not like I can just turn that off, nor would I want to. But I stand by the fact that I can take a mental health break from an online FB group whenever I need it, especially if it’s affecting my mood to the point that it’s affecting the people in my life. We can agree to disagree here. I’m through arguing this point.
+ If it feels insincere, it’s because it was not an apology. I don’t feel like I did anything wrong. I edited it because people took offense and I did not mean for that to happen, but these same people immediately attacked me here, on my Facebook pages, and in the group that I belonged to with them. They made this personal. I stopped feeling sorry for hurting anyone’s feelings the minute I read the attacks on my Facebook page with the misdirected anger towards me. I came to be aware that the person who claimed I told her story (not true) and other people in that group were/are “campaigning against me to invade every aspect of my online presence and personal life”. I received an email from someone who was worried about my personal safety after reading the nasty names and hateful, hurtful things that she and other members of this group (you might be one of them?) were writing/saying about me. This person suggested that I might want to call the FBI. That’s scary, and insane. So, yeah, I call that bullying. Actually it’s cyber harassment and there are laws against it.
+ The comment was not about my son’s birthmother at all, but unfortunately that is a reality in some situations. I would never and have never mentioned any details of my son’s first family on my blog. I would never do that. That is not my story to tell. I love and respect them and my son too much to ever do that.
+ The messages in these comments are consistent because the majority of these comments are coming from a group of people being riled up by someone who has made this post all about her. They made an orchestrated effort to harass me.
I understand when people say, adoptees cannot “take a breather” from their adoption and taking a break can be denial, but I have to respectfully disagree: Adoptees can and do take many breaks from adoption just by not focusing on it. No, it doesn’t mean I’m not an adoptee when I’m not focusing on it, but being an adoptee is only a portion of my identity. Adoptee’s are also parents, spouses, coworkers, bosses and underlings and friends. We are also the son’s and daughters of both natural and adoptive parents, but that is no more or less important than our other identities and sometimes, things just need to get done. I don’t think this article is talking about “taking a break from being an adoptive parent” or ignoring issues that your adoptive child may face in their future in respect of his or her adoption, it’s about re-focusing on being a parent, and being all of the things that you need to be, without becoming bogged down by all the negative, angry comments that adoption forums seem to attract (due to the emotional nature of adoption) without becoming enmeshed in those opinions (yes, they are all just opinions – even this one). Once you have adopted a child, that child is depending on you to be brought up and you need to look to the community for support to bring up that child – and while you can’t expect all sunshine and lollipops, if an online group of people you haven’t even met is eroding your confidence and making you feel miserable – you owe it to yourself and your child to at least take a break (if not outright leave the group). If you are part of a group that has devolved into posts and responses that are overwhelmingly negative and where members are not expected to be at least somewhat civil to one another, then you may be doing yourself a disservice by remaining in that group.
Thank you for this post! I am also a member of that group and the anger there is palpable. People go off on others for simply wording something wrong and it seems the attacks are never-ending – as if people are just waiting to pounce. While I remain a member to gather knowledge and see other perspectives of the adoption triad, I definitely need to take breaks from that kind of toxic environment.
I couldn’t agree more Linda. They are waiting to pounce on even the slightest mistake in wording. We are humans. We are not perfect. I can respect an opinion that something may be hurtful, but not the cursing and rage over an error. I left the group because they are ridiculous in the misplaced anger department. And yes, unstable.
Thanks for the thoughtful post. As an adoptive father of an amazing little girl I have to say I feel everyone who has posted a negative comment on here should take a step back and re-read this post. To me, this post correlates with anything in life. Sometimes we get blinded because we are all so passionate about the topic, i.e. adoption. We are all passionate in our own way because our own situation is so very different from someone else. If we were not so passionate about the topic, i.e. adoption, how would we ever find joy? Passion sometimes leads to anger, frustration, “blindness”, lack of caring, etc. because we feel so strongly in some way or form. The post, at least to me, is saying from a personal stance that we often allow ourselves to stoop to a level that we are uncomfortable with and that is not true to ourselves. Could some of the hurtful comments before this one be your true self or are they because you are so passionate? I tend to lean to the thought that many of the rude and negative comments are not fueled by your personality but fueled by your passion. In which case, maybe you should have stepped back and counted to 10 or stepped back and just let it be….
I am sure many comments will come from this post, but let me finish by saying this. However we all ended up in adoption, whether we are birth parents (first parents, or whatever you call it in your life/location), adoptive parents, or an adoptee, we are all in this journey together. We have all had different circumstances bring us to this point in our lives, but these circumstances have made us who we are, made us who we will be, and they have influenced the way we go through this world. Let’s all remember that we should all treasure the opinions of other, even if we don’t agree.
Finally, let me throw some more truth at you, if you do not like this blog, no one is forcing you to read it. Unsubscribe, close the browser, ignore. You have the choice to read this blog, so if you disagree use that choice to keep your hurtful comments to yourself because at the end of the day you are using the internet to spread hurt and fear to others because you do not have to do it in person. I ask myself some questions every time I comment on a post, blog, Facebook, etc; Would I say this to someones face? Would I hurt someones feelings by making this post? Is it worth sacrificing myself and who I am to make a comment under the veil of the internet?
Thank you again fro the great blog. It has helped my wife and I navigate our way through trans-racial adoption and brought both tears and joy to our lives.
Well said, thank you for your thoughtful and insightful perspective.
Thank you so much for this, Brian. I truly appreciate it and agree with you so very much about respecting each others’s opinions. I have to admit I felt attacked and responded a little harsher than I should have to some of the commenters. There’s absolutely no reason we need to hurt each other. Thank you again for your kind words and best wishes!