Update: Just in case you don't read the comments for this post, Possum has written a response to this on her blog. While I must be honest and say I do not feel it is a completely accurate interpretation of my thoughts, I wanted to give you both "sides" (although I don't actually think this is a matter of taking sides- it's just a different view. I do agree with several things she says). I felt it would be most fair to link directly to her post instead of just telling you about it. I wanted you to hear what she thinks, instead of just my version of what she said, both out of respect to her and to allow you to get the full gist of her perspective without it possibly being misinterpreted or judged by me. You can read her thoughts on this post here. Thank you, Possum, for your thoughts.
To begin with... I wanted to direct your attention to a blog called Possum's Place , and specifically to the post called The ONLY Way Adoption Should Be, written Mon., June 9th. Awesome post. I loved it, agreed with it wholeheartedly (and I rarely agree with anyone even halfheartedly), and think everyone on earth should read it. There. How was that for an endorsement? A little over the top, maybe? I'm just trying to convey that it's a good, worthwhile read. Go read it. But go after you're done here, because I'm getting ready to say something else. So wait just a darn minute. Geez. Ready to jump ship pretty quick, aren't ya?
As an adoptee, I find it very difficult at times to talk about my adoption-related feelings, especially on this blog. I'm sometimes a little jealous of "Adoptee Bloggers" (like Possum and others, whose blogs offer a view into their thoughts and feelings).
For one: (and I've said this before) Members from all the various factions of my life read this blog, which makes naked, brutal honesty difficult. Oh, how I would love to just let my guts spill all over this blog someday- lol; I could really give you an earful on a lot of different things, not just adoption; get everything off my chest, but... I won't. And several of my family members probably just breathed a huge sigh of relief. A few of my favorite bloggers have recently taken up the practice of protecting certain posts, or even starting a separate protected blog altogether, to allow them to be more open with their readers on certain topics. I can understand why. There are things you may feel like you want or even need to say, but can't when you know certain people are reading. So we remain guarded and only show a portion of our true selves and our lives to the world. Probably as it should be. Honesty can be a dangerous thing! My personal problem with starting a protected blog would be the guilt I'd feel over denying someone the password. If I refuse to give it out to someone, they will know I'm talking about them- Ha! I'd end up giving it to everyone, so as not to hurt any feelings, and I'd wind up in the same boat I'm in right now- guarded.
Two: At 41 years of age, I am still struggling with a schizophrenic mixed bag of feelings regarding my adoption and all parties involved. I could carve my thoughts into stone today by putting them out here to publicly float forever, but tomorrow I
I also struggle with listening to others talk about their own adoption experiences. I don't always agree with everything other adoptees say for one thing, but it's more than that. Disagreement wouldn't be a big enough reason to keep me away from a blog- in fact, that's part of what makes reading blogs interesting, isn't it? Exposing yourself to new and different views, seeing things in a different light, etc... But I think my problem, at least partly, is I have a hard time processing the words and writings of other adult adoptees and birth parents without it affecting me in a very deep, personal way. I get "upset." I do not read any birth parent blogs (and I'm sorry if I offend with my chosen terms here, but I just don't like the term "first parents." I don't care if it's the new, improved lingo. I say "birth" or "bio."). And I don't read many adoptee blogs. I have a few favorites that I feel are excellent, well-balanced and articulate blogs, but just a few.
And while we're on this subject, may I stop for just a moment to caution you guys about reading adoptee and birth parent blogs? I don't even have one certain blog in mind as I say this, so please don't think I'm picking on your favorite blogger. And I would never advise you to stick your head in the sand and avoid reading blogs that may make you uncomfortable (as I do- hee, hee). My own hang-ups aside, I think it is so, so important for us as adoptive parents to listen to what adoptees and birth parents have to say. I applaud any effort an adoptive parent makes to better connect with their kids' feelings and needs, and I think it's just good, healthy parenting to seek the wisdom and advice of those who have the inside view. We can learn so much from their unique perspectives. HOWEVER... Adoptees are not all the same. Of course you know that. While they do often share a lot of similar feelings, they are not all the same. Some are just plain hateful and P*$$ED at everyone and want the whole world to know it. Some have a good reason to be angry, of course, but just like any other group of people- you will have the ranting ones, the chronic complainers, the drama queens, the glass-is-way-too-freakin'-empty types, thrown in with sound, reasonable types, upbeat, hopeful types, helpful types, plain ole normal, nice but boring types, and nauseatingly cheerful, optimistic types. And a few deep-in-denial types . Then there are the ones who are just hateful to the point of being downright scary. Shocking, scathing, or emotional rants and horror stories make for interesting, titillating reading, but it's not necessarily what we should be immersed in. And while these stories can seem plentiful compared to the "good, nice" stories, these types of perspectives are not necessarily the norm (whatever that is), or the majority. Think about it... if you are "normal," happy, and well-adjusted, how often do you talk about it? How much time do you spend thinking (or blogging), "Boy, I feel so normal, happy, and well-adjusted"? Those would be some boring blogs to read, but those kinds of adoptees are out there, too. They may just not feel the need to write about it. It is possible to grow up adopted and happy. I'm not sure how many of us, adopted or not, feel "normal," but it is possible for adoptees to feel emotionally whole, and mentally healthy. We do not all turn out to be hateful ranters who blog about our horrible parents and childhoods! Listening to a steady stream of the negative stuff is not healthy for an AP, nor is it conducive or necessary for good parenting. It's conducive to fearful, insecure parenting- being sure you will screw your kid up, too. lol. As parents, we need to be informed and educated, not frightened and criticized. As with all things in life: There has to be balance. Just be careful of what you read and buy into, is all I'm saying.
As far as keeping my own head in the sand, I am interested in adoptees' stories and points of view. Really, I am. But they sometimes make me feel things I don't want to feel and think about things I don't want to think about. In my own life, I feel that many of my adoption-related issues will never and can never be fully resolved. I've tried to resolve them, but I'm of the opinion that if more than one person is involved in an issue, it takes more than one person to resolve it. When both sides cannot work together to talk, and listen to each other, and arrive at some type of mutual understanding to "fix" the issue, it's just left there hanging. I don't like that feeling of stuff left hanging. I'm definitely a "closure" kind of girl. When you try to talk to someone and they don't or won't hear you, or can only focus on their own defenses and perspectives, and there's no resolution or sense of closure at the end, you wind up feeling even yuckier than you did before you tried to work it out. So... I keep my unresolved issues hidden under the rug, where I don't have to see them very often. When I'm faced with others talking about their own stories, it lifts the rug, so to speak, and again, I get "upset" (and, again, the word Denial leaps to mind). I often feel uncomfortable about the level of anger involved in the sentiments of other adoptees, even though I sometimes share it. On the other hand, I can start to feel almost squeamish if they have a warm fuzzy attitude toward all the parties involved in their own adoption triads, but wish at the same time that I could consistently feel that way, too. In other words, **I'm screwed up. And I find it's easier to enjoy being screwed up when one isn't constantly bombarded with reminders of one's screwed-up state all the time.
(Before I get any *mean, judgmental comments about how I have no business being an adoptive parent if I'm so messed up about it myself, I'll add a disclaimer:
**Of course, I want to nurture the healthiest attitude possible towards adoption for the sake of my child, and I do feel that my efforts to create a healthy adoptive environment for her have helped me to confront, deal with, and heal a lot of my own icky stuff. Having the blessing of her in my life forces me to remove my head from the sand and face my own issues because- OF COURSE- I do not want her to be screwed up, too, and I do not believe she has to be. I try as much as I can to keep my denial and craziness about my own adoption separate from her adoption. And in most ways, they truly are. I hope, pray, and really do believe that in some ways, my screwed-up-ness can help me be a better adoptive parent to my daughter by helping me to avoid, or at least successfully navigate through, some of the pitfalls APs can fall into, and by having a true personal understanding of some of the painful isolation and mixed feelings an adoptee can experience.
Second disclaimer, to counteract the negativity of the first disclaimer:
*Of course, I do not think any of my regular readers would leave me mean, judgmental comments. I did not mean you. I meant someone else.)