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Support does not always equal agreement…

09 Feb

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.

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10 Comments

Posted by on February 9, 2015 in Adoption, adoptive parents

 

Tags: , ,

10 responses to “Support does not always equal agreement…

  1. yan

    February 9, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    “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?”

    I will tell you, as this is my situation: it looks sad. It looks like not calling for weeks on end because I can’t overcome the extreme disappointment that I can’t be who my (a)mother wants me to be, which is someone who has nothing but happy and joyful feelings about adoption and reunion. I’m not allowed to be conflicted — that’s too hard for her. So when I am, I just don’t call.

    I’m sad about this, but I’m also angry, as I feel cheated. All the assertions of unconditional love and support? LIES as big as my altered birth certificate. Not malicious lies, no, but that doesn’t make them hurt less.

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    • TAO

      February 9, 2015 at 5:32 pm

      Yan – thank you for describing what it looks and feels like, I’m sorry you are living with that. I hope that everyone reads your comment. It’s so very important to be willing and non-defensive about the complicated feelings. Thank you for continuing to add your voice.

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  2. momsomniac

    February 9, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    We often expect bio-kids to have some critical thoughts on how they were parented, but all to often think adopted-kids ought not to do so. If every one of my sons feels free to tell me where they think I went (or am going) wrong, that’s win for me as a Mom. It means they trust me – trust me to listen, trust to me to say I’m sorry, trust me to care about their feelings, trust me to be a person who can grow. I cannot fathom how anyone would want anything less from and for their child.

    In other words – amen.

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    • TAO

      February 9, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      Thanks Mom…

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  3. eagoodlife

    February 9, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    Support does not necessarily equal agreement.

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  4. Raven

    February 10, 2015 at 6:51 am

    TAO, how many times have you and I heard over the years that we aren’t being supportive just because we don’t jump in on the pity party and say, “Poor you…your adopted children or your foster children are horrible little human beings.” I’ve lost count of the times we’ve both been taken to the mat over this subject. It’s one of the main reasons I don’t bother anymore at you-know-where.com.

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  5. Beth

    February 10, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I feel that the loathing and annoyance of mature adopted people is getting very strong at you-know-where.com lately. Very strong. Heck just the hatred of mature humans is apparent there to me, regardless of the link to adoption. I dream of a grand take over, even if it’s just for a day 🙂 I always wonder if we are really outnumbered?

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  6. olivetreeportraits

    February 10, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    I totally agree with you here. I get tired of it too. But, fortunately a lot of parents, adoptive or not, have really strong opinions when their children are small, that they are able to let go of as their kids get older and they realize how little they really know about parenting. Being able to realize that is a huge gift, one I wish I would have understood earlier. It’s the people who dig in and refuse to change that are the problem.

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    • anenomekym

      February 11, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      Olivetreeportraits,
      I agree somewhat with the “it’s better late than never” delayed understanding, and recognize that people learn throughout different life stages, even parents.

      However, strong opinions or not that get toned down as their children grow up is hardly a “gift” when those children were trafficked, kidnapped, stolen, forced, or maneuvered or coerced away from their families who never hoped that their children would be removed, stolen, adopted; children who have lost their language, the language of their ancestors, their culture, their stories, etc; or when children continue to be trafficked, stolen, adopted, etc. by similar types of people. Some things are too precious to just be “fixed” by a surprise “gift”. Some things can never be replaced. Not much solace for these children.

      A fellow adoptee says, “it’s not that you were stolen from your family, but that your family was stolen from you”. Even after time, that’s hardly a “gift”.

      A much better “gift” would be to discourage naïve hopeful adopters, in-desperate-need-of-their-own-support adopt children who now will need tons of support (and their family). Not everyone should be parents and not everyone should be allowed to be parents to other people’s children.

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  7. Raven

    February 11, 2015 at 2:05 am

    Beth, I shall have to go over to you-know-where.com and take a look. I have enough energy today, I think, to put my two cents in the threads. Btw, I miss you so much. I’m mainly on Facebook these days – TAO knows my real name if you’d like to be friends on FB. (Oh, great, now I’m not going to be able to get Mr. Roger’s song out of my head, lol.) I’m seriously thinking of focusing my time and energy on getting rehoming of youngsters either heavily regulated or outlawed altogether. We have enough activists now working on OBCs and adoptee rights, so I’m wondering if I might help make a difference for the kiddos who are being thrown away in the name of their “best interests.”

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