Watching the Olympics I am often reminded of my journey through life as a birth mother. What? What's that you say? Olympics and adoption? What do they have to do with each other? Leave it to Kelsey to make the connection. Follow along with me...
I first noticed the parrell when I was watching figure skating last week. It came when the Men's Short Program began, and not even 30 seconds after the first skater began, the commentators started criticizing his program...JUST 30 SECONDS! I thought, 'WOW! Good thing the skater cannot hear them talking, he would probably just give up'. There would be a beautiful jump, just gorgeous to watch, and I would hear "ooooooo ... touch down slightly with the right foot, there will be a deduction for that". I didn't see it. The skater would start a wonderful series of spins that I could never do in a million years, and instead of just watching and enjoying, "he just doesn't have the speed of so-an-so, his spins look a little flat". These masters of the ice were picked apart at every part of their program. A lifetime of work, hard training, sacrafice, dedication, repetition, and most of all love for the sport has brought them to the Olympics, only to be criticized and judged from begining to end.
I started thinking in my head..."Geez, give him a break! Let him finish skating and then you can judge what he's done." Let them shine, let them do their thing and enjoy what they have to offer. That is what I think when I see them, watch them pour their hearts out, the way they show you in their movements how much they love their sport. Yet, before they were finished with their programs there had been so many citiques I couldn't help but make a connection. I have been skating the long program of life as a mother. I have attempted jumps where I have fallen, but turn around and spin a series faster than anyone. Still not clear? Okay, let's leave the sports out of it.
In my life I have barely muttered the words "I have children that I placed for adoption",and I am thrown to the lions. Those words have lead to intense, one sided, and sometimes very critical conversations with people that will not let me get a word in before they start with another critique. I face critics everyday who wonder why I am so happy with the life changing decision I made all those years ago. I have faced critics who say I really did not have a choice, I did not decide to place for adoption. I have faced critics who ask why I am so open about my life and my story. I have faced critics who disagree with my positive point of view in my quest to raise awareness for adoption. I have faced critics who say I should not speak so highly about adoption because I will be deceiving people into thinking everything is always sunny. I face critics who have not been in my shoes and think they know what was best for me. I have faced critics at every turn, every corner, and every stage of my life. Before I really have a chance to tell my story, there is a critic who jumps to conclusions, starts to make assumptions about my character and deducts points from my program for technical issues.
Watch the whole program before scoring the perfromance. Give them a moment to shine, a moment to be proud, a moment to just be themselves without any judgement. See what they can do. Watch how they handle the bobbles before critiquing them so harshly. Watch the personality come through, making the performance theirs. Among a sea of competitors that are equally talented, equally devoted but spectacular in their own way, just give them the opportunity to show you who they are before you judge.
So far I have landed a triple sow cow and a double toe loop.