I read a rather epic rant posted to social media by a family member of an adoptive parent. It was lengthy and had breathless energy and urgency as though they were trying to communicate the whole idea without stopping.
I do not know the writer nor do I know the adoptive family personally. There is no way I can understand the circumstances they are experiencing. While one of my first thoughts was, “maaaayyyyybeeeee this would have been better said in person”, I think this family member was trying to reach us, the adoption community. I think they were trying to grab the adoption cheerleaders by the pompoms to say “Hold up! You don’t know!”. When a non-adoption person goes to such lengths to reach into our community and say something, we should pay attention. So let’s take a glance at a few points they made.
Adoption as an Addiction
I do not completely disagree with this concept. Again, I do not know the situation this person was actually writing about, but let’s discuss it as a broad concept. Addiction is all about chemical responses in our brains – actions, activities, words, and thoughts causing chemical releases that make us feel something we like. There is no way anyone could equate a child with an addiction. The adoption process is so stinking hard and so much work, it certainly is not addiction-causing. But think about the attention, the compliments, the successful fundraisers (or those who commiserate with unsuccessful fundraisers), and the sense of being a purposeful human being. Adoption is such a good and beautiful thing. But it is absolutely easy to get carried away within the adoption community. We must begin to protect each other as we cheer each other on. We must carefully examine our own motivations for adoption.
Less-than-realistic Social Media Presence
Y’all. Your real life is between you, your family, and Jesus. You get to decide how much you make public and what kind of information you share. If you want to give your kids names like Little Bug and Warrior Prince to protect their identities in the future, you get to do that. If you want to real-life it and post pics of the laundry piling up, go for it. You get to decide what the public image of your life looks like.
But so does everyone else.
The adoption community is super connected (and opinionated!) and often a bit quick to comment in favor of adoption, whatever it may look like. Let’s begin to be more aware that we do not know each other. We can support and encourage, but until we get down in the ditch of someone’s life and are actually willing to show up physically, in person, dollars and shovels in hand…our opinions are just words. Consider who your words may impact. Consider the impact may reach farther than the person you are talking to. It could reach into the wallet of senior citizens. It could reach into the arms of a biological mother.
Yikes. Real or not real? Maybe real.
Don’t be offended by my repeating this. It is kind of a good point.
If you log into websites with pictures of children available for adoption and take the time to look at pictures and pray specifically for that child, their biological family, and their future family – by all means, proceed. If you look at the websites to see cute kids or to see if YOUR kid is on the list somewhere, well, it may be a type of catalog. If you found your child or children by seeing their pictures on a website – hooray! I love that. We found ours on a website. I am not putting it down or dismissing it. Perhaps we should consider our motivations though. Perhaps there are better ways to promote adoption and better ways to seek out “our” children.
Conclusion – Compassion
I do not know how connected, thoughtful, stable, supportive, or correct the family member who posted to social media is. I certainly do not know the life or situation of the adoptive family.
What I know is this: We need to pay attention. Listen up.
The adoption community is not known for our compassion towards each other – just ask me, two years ago. But we can change that. We can learn to be compassionate to those who are wounded by adoption. Sometimes the wounded are not the immediate adoptive family, but the extended family. These hurting family members need to be heard. How can we, as the adoption community, show compassion to family members? How can we show them we love them and care about their opinions and how their lives will be changed with our adoptions?
Adoption is good, but not all is good with adoption.