As many of you know, I am a blog addict. Especially adoption blogs. Of course, like pre-adoptive parents everywhere, I love to read the sweet "bringing baby home" blogs that give off that great endorphin high. But I've also developed a real penchant for the darker stories. The true tales from biological families and adult adoptees who have something to say about their lives. Before you quit reading or write this off by saying, "Well Rosemary must be made of sterner stuff than I. Those stories are just too difficult for me." Please, let me finish. It was not always this way! When Bri and I first started our adoption research we were wide eyed and bushy-tailed like everybody else. Full of optimism and convinced that adoption was nothing more or less than a thing of beauty.
However, we are both deeply analytical people and before long we started to fiddle with that emotional Rubik's Cube. After a couple of twists nothing matched up anymore. Then we almost decided not to adopt. I no longer wanted cute little stories about bringing home baby. I wanted someone to tell me about the other side because this is one of the unarguable truths of life: every view has an opposite horizon. That's when I found Third Moms Blogroll and she introduced me to a lot of intelligent people who were all writing about their side of the Rubik's Cube. I immersed myself in anti-adoption blogs, forgotten first mothers, baby-scoop-era botched adoptions, and the frustrated, adult-adoptees of transracial families gone awry.
There were times when I sat in front of the computer and cried for hours. There were days when Brian came home from work, closed my laptop and said, "That's enough." Our adoption decision remained on ice as we worked our way through a lot of new information. It was not information that had been packaged by a social worker for "adoptive parent training". It was raw, unfettered and not really meant for our consumption. Blogs, unless otherwise stated, are simply writing exercises for the purpose of helping the person writing to feel better. Nothing is creepier to me than adoptive parents who go on blogs, where people who have a personal experience with adoption are discussing their own reality, and then try to argue with them about the life that is theirs to own. Isn't that the definition of truth silencing? But I did read and learn and allow myself to be changed. Sometimes I argued with the screen. Sometimes I let go of my own silly, little dreams of how my family would act or look. Sometimes I nodded my head in vehement agreement and then read aloud to Brian or the dog.
Four months later we decided to go ahead with adoption. Everything had changed though: our adoption plans, our parenting plans, our vocabulary, our social and political opinions, and most of all our hearts and minds for the experience of adoption - as it feels for our children the people being adopted - had changed.
If you are also a PAP and you haven't yet really waded into the pool of "the other side" please consider respectfully learning from them. They have so much to teach us about what our children and their first families may feel in the course of the adoptions we are all equally involved in. There is so much to be learned about how we can create the best families possible. We all know that there is no manual for parenting but adoptee blogs have become my CliffsNotes. What is the good in having someone tell us comfortable lies while we starve to death? I would much rather hear unpleasant truths that will feed my family.
So this is a THANK YOU to all the brave first families, adult adoptees and outspoken adoptive parents who have gone ahead and now share their stories with all of us! Thank you for giving us a fighting chance at being more understanding parents. Thank you for scaring us to death and then reminding us that it's worth it.