An interesting observation has been made in the MPB household in the last few weeks.
We have been part of the real life infertility journey for a few years now, and part of the infertility online community for months now. In the real world we have found that people are often unable and/or unwilling to support us in a meaningful way. I firmly believe that the hurtful comments are not said with an intent to hurt, rather people just have no idea how to respond appropriately to the news that we have had a miscarriage, and another one, and then yet another one. People have no idea how to respond to the news that we have had an abortion because that was the best “solution” that our medical system offered us when my life was at risk. Really, people just don’t like to talk about dead babies and crushed dreams. We have found that people are scared, and most seem genuinely afraid of recurrent pregnancy loss and all the accompanying emotional baggage. People don’t know what to say, and often even if they are trying to say something supportive, they end up putting their foot in the their mouth. Heck, months ago, one of my first posts was on the least supportive things people have said to us.
Yet, the online infertility community through the blogging world and twitter has been completely different. In the online community we have received absolutely nothing but support as we have been navigating the world of recurrent pregnancy loss. As we’ve worked through the highs and lows and chosen our next steps in life, the online community is continually supporting the decisions we (and others) make as individual choices that are unique to each couple. I have made friends who will undoubtedly be part of my life well beyond our shared current challenges. I have met a few in real life, I have received special tokens of love, friendship and encouragement, and I have received an unbelievable amount of love and support through comments and emails, and I also know that I have received many unspoken well wishes. The love, encouragement and support has been a beacon of light as we’ve navigated the waters.
And now that we are entering the world of adoption, we have observed that an interesting twist is occurring.
Amazingly, our real life friends and family are being overly supportive and loving of our choice to adopt. We are continually receiving exciting and hopeful comments from our friends and family. Some are asking questions about the adoption process (i.e. how long until we will have our child, how much will it cost, how complicated is the process, etc.), and the few adoption related inappropriate comments we have received have simply been due to a lack adoption education. While confused at times, on the whole we are finding the real life adoption community to be overly supportive and loving.
As for the actual real life adoption community, those who have actually adopted or who are adoptive children themselves, have shown us an unbelievable amount of encouragement and support. We have met with a 2 real life families who were complete strangers (posts on those experiences are here and here) to learn from there adoption experiences and both families we met with have been amazing in opening their homes, experiences and hearts to us. Those that we have met who have adopted, have been very forthright in sharing, and in encouraging us to make the decisions that are right for us while knowing what we can and cannot handle whether it be in relation to amount of drug use, race of the children and openness of the relationship with the birth parents. There seems to be a really strong belief that there are no wrong answers for our family, we simply need to understand the short and long term implications of each one of our decisions.
And at the exact same time, much to our surprise, the online adoption world is not being as friendly as we’ve become accustom to with the infertility community. First, let me be clear, many in the online adoption community have been very supportive and wonderful. I have received many comments and emails of support which have moved and touched Mr. MPB and myself each and every time. And, I am also not saying I am perfect, I may get things wrong from time to time and I absolutely appreciate respectful dialog.
Yet, for the first time, I am also finding that I am now receiving more negative and overly judgmental comments regarding our family adoption decisions, all of which have been the result of months of research and personal reflection. While some comments have been shared in a constructive voice, others have not.
In the last few weeks, we have begun facing:
Judgement for not being open enough with an open adoption
Judgement for being too open with an open adoption.
Judgement for choosing the USA and not a third world nation.
Judgement for not adopting locally.
Judgement for not fostering.
Judgement for not trying more things (i.e. surrogacy, medications, etc.) to have a biological child.
Judgement for turning to adoption as a result of infertility and not out of the desire to save a child.
Judgement for not wanting to take on fetal alcohol syndrome.
Judgement for selecting races that we are open to (selecting is an adoption requirement not a task driven by personal choice).
Judgement for apparently condoning modern day slavery (as a side note, in no-way-shape-or-form do we condone any sort of slavery and nor do we believe that adoption is slavery – and yes, I am saying we, as in this circumstance I feel very strongly that I can speak on behalf of Mr. MPB).
I am not blind, and I am not going to pretend that adoption is a perfect system. Like all systems – political, electrical, education, medical, etc. – adoption is not a perfect system. There are faults with the system, and it does not work perfectly. There is clearly room for improvement. Yet, I believe the adoption system is substantially better today than it was in the past. I have a lot of respect for the Hague Convention and I fully believe that anyone adopting (either as an adoptive parent or a birth parent) needs to be working with a Hague accredited country and agency to help reduce the adoption nightmares that unfortunately can occur.
In so many ways, the online adoption world has been mean, maybe even cruel and at times even perplexing in the last few weeks. And, some of the comments I have received have actually fuelled some really interesting conversations between Mr. MPB and I, often about the state of our world.
But, these aren’t the comments that stick with us. What sticks, are the comments of love, support and encouragement. The comments and emails where people share their experiences (good and bad), share their words of encouragement and share different ideas. Mr. MPB and I have learned so much from so many of you, and are so thankful for your willingness to help show us the way. And, we are blessed with your love, support and encouragement to help us continue down the challenging adoption road. We are thankful each and every day for the positivity and the love.
And, in spite of the negative comments and judgements, I will continue to share, as I firmly believe and hope that by sharing my experiences, I may just help someone else through their own struggles. Since day one, this has been the intent of My Perfect Breakdown – and so long as I am the author this intent will never change.
And so, today, I want to say thank you to everyone in our real lives and in the online world who have shared positive thoughts, words of encouragement, love, and support with us. We are truly thankful and are so fortunate to have you in our lives!
To the less then positive people, no thank you. I would like to decline your negative, unsupportive and even hateful words. They have no place on my blog, in my heart or in our world.
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