I see both prospective and adoptive parents post asking for advice on how to deal with something related to their adoption, or about adoption. This post is only for some of those posters, if you don’t recognise yourself, it’s not about you.
They are posting for support for their position, only. Sometimes you can identify them right off bat as they ask for only supportive responses, aka agreement.
Whatever the reason was that caused the post in the first place, when the responses aren’t what the poster wanted to hear, they get angry and storm off in a huff. What does storming off in a huff say to me? They aren’t willing to dig deep because doing so may make them realize that they could be part of the problem and their attitude needs adjusting.
I’m getting really tired of seeing this play out, repeatedly. If you don’t want to hear anything but you are right in all situations about adoption, then I hope you will read this post.
From my point of view as having once been an adopted child growing up with adopted siblings, being an adoptive parent doesn’t get easier as your child ages, it gets harder as the differences, feelings and questions emerge. If you can’t admit that you could be wrong in anything adoption related, whether the relationship with your child’s family of birth, or that your child may have big feelings about being adopted that don’t mirror yours – what does that tell your child? If you can’t be the bigger person when your child is still under five years of age, what are you going to do when your child says ‘you aren’t my real mom’? Run off in a huff? What will you do if you see your child crying because they miss their birthmom? If they even let you see their feelings, because, a child learns quickly what is acceptable to you. Will you even be able to see that your teen’s acting out may have more to do with processing being adopted, than typical teenage angst? If you do see it, will you make it about yourself, and your needs, and get mad at your child and blame them, for causing you pain?
If you aren’t willing to see why you need to be open-hearted and accepting of the complicated feelings being adopted can cause, what then? Or, that a birthmom may also have complicated feelings, and sometimes, won’t be able to meet your expectations of how she should act, simply because, grief hits you without warning and can take you to your knees.
Being an adoptive parent is different from being a biological parent. If you don’t believe me, just wait till the teen years come into play. Either you accept that your child has two families instead of just your family, and may have big feelings, or questions that need answered, you will likely have problems in at a least one developmental stage, if not many. How open you are to all of your child’s feelings about their other family (regardless if it is an open or closed adoption), may play a role in whether your child has a close relationship with you throughout their life.
It really is your choice to sit with the comments, and see, if you play a role in what is causing you angst (or anger) at whatever caused you to post in the first place. Can you look at the comment that isn’t what you wanted hear, and see if there is any validity in it? Sometimes it will, other times, not so much, but you won’t know the answer to that if you don’t sit with it first.
If you aren’t willing to look inside and admit that you are human, and need to continually grow into being an open-hearted adoptive mom (or dad), what does your long-term relationship look like if it only exists out of loyalty, because, they can’t be free to talk to you about every part of who they are? You can change it, and start by admitting you are human too, and like all of us, need to continue to grow and tear down our defensive reaction to being asked to look in the mirror to see if we are the one creating the problem. I’m not saying it is easy, it isn’t, it’s hard to look in the mirror and admit you were wrong.
Remember that support does not always equal agreement…if you only get comments that agree with you, you are living in an echo chamber and you might as well just talk to the mirror, nod your head, and tell yourself what you need to hear.
Note: I typically do not use Birthmom but I did for this post.