"Just as love is the private attitude you express to a personal friend or family member, courtesy is the proper public attitude that you express toward strangers. Courtesy engenders the sympathy and understanding that others are not perfect, that they make mistakes. Courtesy engenders the politeness with which we treat others whom we do not personally know, even as we accept that their intentions are probably good." ~ Believe it or not, online comedy traffic school!
This was so simple, I had to read it several times. Oh how this advice given when driving a car could make the world of adoption on the Internet a more insightful place. I have been contacted more and more by birth mothers who are at their wits end with all the negative comments regarding their decision to relinquish their rights, just shattered by words that are so harsh, so disrepectful it hardly seems possible that someone would say such things to a stranger. I have been asked how I handle this behavior
I follow three rules when talking adoption. They are simple, and have so far helped me reach many out there who need a soul to connect to, that has been in their situation so to speak.
Number one. Listen. Just as you have your story to believe in, so do they. They are going to fight tooth and nail to get their point across so that you understand that it was different for them. What happened in that generation of twisted thinking about women pregnant out of wedlock...God forbid!...and the coercion that happened, the sins against human beings simply because they were women? Disgusting! There were no reasons of choice. Many were forced to do it, and that would leave anyone ready to fight for a lifetime for it NOT to happen to other women. Women of choice, women who had the fortune to actually make a choice for themselves see adoption in a different light, I know I do. And for many there will be no point in arguing with them because it will only lead to pain, frustration and a bad taste in one's mouth. That's okay though, because they feel the same way about you.
Number two. I know how I feel, I know who I am and no one is going to change my mind about how I perceive my journey. I feel very strongly about what I went through and what could have been done differently. Adoption is such a personal choice that there really is no way to lump all birth parents, or all adoptees or all adoptive parents into one group. Too many stories and variations of what adoption is, it would be just too vast. But the birth mothers view, that is I think the MOST personal view in all the triad. All adoptions start with the birth parents, we are the ones who set everything in motion. So with us lies a very deep need to explain and understand what it is that we have done. It is a huge burden to carry. Sure, raising the child and being the child are also important, but it is the birth parent that will always be expected to have the answers, to explain why. Ours is a vulnerable position in the grand scope of it all and, therefore is an easy target for disgust. What someone thinks of you, unless it is your children, well it really should not affect the person you are. Don't let anyone convince you of something you are not, or that you do not want to be. I think that could be considered coercion, just saying.
Number three. If something is said that pisses me off, or comes off the wrong way, I give myself 24 hours to react. Yeah. A whole day. Letting your fingers do the flying when you are overly frustrated or hurt is not always such a good thing. (Sure I have started to do it, this post is the end result to a very nasty remark made on another blog.) I think some anger is healthy. You have to believe in something in order to make a change. But throwing off insults or hurtful words in a moment of frustration is not so healthy in the long run. I sit back, think about what it is that was said that made me so mad. Was it a personal attack? Was it an attack on a friend? Was it the tone of the question or statement? Was it the harsh thought that I had not considered before? It really helps to think about your reactions to things said as much as it helps to think about what was said to begin with. I mean, how can I ever learn someone else's story if I react defensively? Oh I know, there are many who do not think this way. They would rather speak their minds right then and there. I do it, react off cuff. But not when I am seeing nothing but red. Step back. Figure out where you are coming from before you respond, other wise you will loose what it is you believe in. That vulnerability has a way of working against you in very dangerous ways.
Let me end this by saying as always...this is my point of view. I do not speak for all birth parents in the world nor would I try to do that. I am just speaking my mind in the hopes of helping those who feel the way I do, I just want to let them know that they are not alone.