Oversharing

I belong to a Facebook group that is not about adoption.* However, one of the women is a prospective adoptive parent who sometimes shares information about her adoption journey. She’s matched with an expectant mom and has fallen prey to one of the very common mistakes PAPs and adoptive parents often make: Oversharing about the expectant/birth parents.

I was once an over-sharer. In fact, if you know me in real life, you might think I’m an over-sharer now. I now pick and choose what I say about my children’s birth parents. However, I wasn’t always that way. Specifically, right after Jackson was born, when anyone would ask about his birthfather, boy howdy did I have some choice words about him. Remember, I never even met the guy. I was just going off of what S told me. Fortunately, I figured out before Jackson turned one that how I talked about his birthfather was important, and that he should know some things before anyone else did, so I stopped sharing anything except, “He’s not in our lives, by his choice.”

What are some examples of oversharing?

  • Telling everyone that the expectant/birth parents are drug addicts, prostitutes, or both.
  • Telling everyone the expectant/birth parents’ criminal history. I don’t mean just saying, “He/she is in jail,” but saying, “He is in jail for drug dealing” or “She is in jail for prostitution.”
  • Telling everyone details about the expectant/birth parents’ children. Even putting names out there, when children are concerned, is oversharing, in my opinion. I use pseudonyms for everyone.
  • Posting a picture of the expectant mom’s ultrasound without redacting the personal information on the photo/scan. (Seriously, we all need to know Crystal’s birthdate?) Some people would say posting the ultrasound at all is oversharing, but I think that’s between the expectant parents and the PAPs. I didn’t do it, but I don’t condemn those who do.
  • Telling everyone intimate details of the expectant/birth parents’ lives, such as custody hearings, childhood trauma, medical diagnoses, and so on.
  • Posting photos of the expectant/birth parents and their families without permission from the people photographed. I got called out for this once, but I did get permission to post a photo of Jackson with his birthmother and aunt, so I could tell the person I did my due diligence.
  • Making value judgments about or speculating on events in the expectant/birth parents’ lives. For example, “Well, the birth father probably abused her.”

There’s one standout example of oversharing: a PAP who created a blog and Facebook page with photos and details about the expectant mom with whom she’s matched, and that woman’s children. Monika wrote a post about her. That woman gives all PAPs a bad name.

I think there are some rules of thumb about sharing.

  • If you wouldn’t want someone saying it about you, don’t share it.
  • If your child doesn’t know, and you don’t want your child to find out about it from someone other than you, don’t share it.
  • If it’s a photo, don’t put it on Facebook. There is no privacy for photos on Facebook.

Obviously, there are times when people may need support with a specific situation and may need to share details. I have done that, but in groups that weren’t on Facebook and included people I had known (even if only online) for several years. There’s a line between airing someone’s dirty laundry, and asking for help or support.

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* Actually, I belong to many, but only one is applicable here.

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10 thoughts on “Oversharing

  1. thanks for posting this. i might overshare about my son’s parents as well, but PAPs really seem to forget themselves when it comes to this. i cringe when they go on about someone’s personal problems.

    • It can be really hard to know what to share and when. First time PAPs are probably the worst. I don’t think you’ve overshared anything on your blog, fwiw.

  2. I have changed my sharing habits as well over the years. I’be always tried to be cautious with J but may have overshared about L’s birthmom. I think what changed for me is that most of my sharing about my kids and their situation happens in front of them, since they look so much like us ;). At some point, I realized that I needed to teach them about their own privacy with regards to adoption and their circumstances. They need to be the ones who determine what others know about them, which means keeping my mouth shut. Good post, Robyn.

  3. This is so me! I tend to be an unintentional over-sharer in life as well lol (and then regret it later haha) and I needed to see your post. This is something I’ve been working on in regard to our 2YO daughter’s adoption story/birth family but it’s great to know that I’m not the only one who does/has done this and it’s not too late to change this. Thank you for your post!

    • I still overshare with some people, but I’m constantly working on it, and I’m nowhere near as bad as I was. Still, the first step is recognizing what you’re doing and why. Thank you for reading and commenting!

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