When we started the adoption process for the first time – back in 2005 – I began joining as many adoption groups as I could. In 2008, I reluctantly started using Facebook (specifically so I could see pictures of my friend Kari’s daughter). I branched into Facebook adoption groups relatively quickly. I’m not sure how many groups I belonged to at my peak – dozens I imagine.
About two years ago, though, I quit. I removed myself from all but one Facebook group – the group I moderate. I would still check in at Adoptive Families Circle from time to time. But, other than those two, I didn’t participate in any adoption groups.
I got mean.
- I got fed up with adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents who presented the worst side of entitlement.
- I got fed up with the religious right, meant to be, pray for a baby, take care of “orphans” crowd who shamed anyone who dared disagree with them.
- I got fed up with the “rainbows and unicorns,” “why do we always have to talk about the negatives” crowds of (usually) adoptive parents.
- I was simply pissed off at the (usually) adoptees and birth parents who equated adoption to human trafficking and slavery.
I didn’t even have time for all that. I was wasting energy, basically yelling at people online that they were all idiots and knew nothing.
Yeah… I’m not proud of that time. Although some of those people really were idiots.
I needed a break, so a break, I took.
Then, I started writing for adoption.com again. I decided to rejoin ONE adoption Facebook group: Creating a Family.
It is simply the most diverse group of people in the adoption community I’ve ever found. Most* voices and viewpoints are welcome. While the adoption community is primarily represented by adoptive parents, there are also birth parents and adoptees.
This past weekend, a pregnant woman considering adoption for her unborn child posted, asking for some input. Many of the replies she got were of the relatively neutral variety. She was advised to seek counseling, to not make any hasty decisions, to reach out to different support groups. However, there were also replies that clearly espoused a particular agenda. On one side, “Oh, you’re so amazing to consider adoption. It’s just the most selfless gift you can give!” On the other side, “Please don’t do this. You will hate your life. Your children will hate you. Your dog will die.”
I posted the, what I thought was, very neutral comment:
People are clearly trying to advance their own agendas on both sides. I hope the OP can digest the stories, use what she feels is applicable to her life, and then reach out for impartial, unbiased support.
And apparently, that meant I was somehow insulting all birth parents and adoptees or something. I don’t really understand it. But I was asked, “What’s my agenda?”
And I found that to be an interesting question.
By belonging to and joining in the discussions of these few adoption groups,** what is my agenda?
- To keep up on adoption-related news. I know, sinister, eh?
- To interact with other adoptive families – all members of the triad – and find like-minded individuals who can (and have) become friends. I don’t know many adoptive families in real life. I have a huge network of supportive friends online, some of whom I’ve met IRL, and some of whom I haven’t.
- To publicize my adoption.com posts. I’ll admit it. CAF has more than 6,000 potential readers. I get paid based on the popularity of my posts, and my adoption.com money pays for Cassie’s gymnastics lessons. I do post only those articles that I think are particularly good, though. I do occasionally write crap. We can’t all be Agatha Christie. And, let’s face it, even she wrote The Blue Train Mystery. gah
- To educate people. And this is where I can get mean. I have somewhat divergent beliefs about adoption. I started listing them here, but they made enough for another post. What it boils down to is this: I believe that there is often a clear “right” and a clear “wrong” in many aspects of adoption, and not a lot of people – especially adoptive parents – agree with me. But, where I don’t believe there’s a clear right/wrong, is where other people (birth parents and adoptees, for the most part) usually think there is.
- To listen to and learn from adult adoptees. I’m sorry this is 5th, TAO and CatherineZ.
I’ve been a part of the online adoption community for 10 years. That’s actually a long time for these groups. I don’t want new hopeful adoptive parents to make the same mistakes I did. I want to tell new adoptive parents how important certain actions are when it comes to raising adopted children. I want to let birthmothers know that adoptive parents don’t all just want to take their babies and slam the door. I also want to hear birth parents’ perspectives, just ‘cuz. I want to listen to the people who have been somewhere near where my kids are, and to learn what worked for them and what didn’t. Essentially, I want to learn from other adoptive parents’ mistakes.
That is my agenda, in less than 1,000 words.
* If you hate adoption, if you think it’s unnatural, if you equate it to slavery, this is not the group for you.