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When Will Adoptive Parents Learn?

18 Oct

I’m not the first adoptee to speak up against adoptive parents oversharing their child’s adoption story, nor will I be the last. We routinely speak up on this issue and have for years. This is a Do Better subject dear to many of us. This is also a Respect Your Child subject we think you should care about. We have lived a lifetime of being adopted and know all too well the consequences for the one adopted, and by extension, all adoptees when adoptive parents overshare their child’s private stories. (do feel free to assume a #not-all-adoptees-feel-that-way.)

This post is courtesy of the latest rendition of oversharing an adoptee’s story on-line, the most recent adoptee video that’s gone viral.

I did a quick search on the blog for posts I’ve done about this over the years; below is a sampling of the many posts on the subject. If this subject matters to so many adoptees – don’t you think as adoptive parents you should take the time to listen, learn a bit, do better?

2015 – Will they ever learn? Short post and link to my all time favorite TED Talk.

2015 – What happens when you ‘share’ your child’s personal story…  Another short post that highlights exactly what happens.

2016 – That cute set of pictures you set to public?  Medium length post on what can happen, the loss of control.

2017 – The Art of Not Oversharing your Child’s Story or Troubles… Medium length post on excuses made by adoptive parents

2018 – Do you really need to share your adoption story to all?  Longer post that digs into the underlying issues.

 

“It is impossible to talk about the single story without talking about power. There is a word, an Igbo word, that I think about whenever I think about the power structures of the world, and it is “nkali”. It’s a noun loosely translates to “to be greater than another”. Like our economic and political worlds, stories too are defined by the principal of nkali: how they are told, who tells them, when they are told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power.” Chimanda Ngozi Adichie – “The Danger of the Single Story”.

 

 
9 Comments

Posted by on October 18, 2019 in Adoption, adoptive parents

 

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9 responses to “When Will Adoptive Parents Learn?

  1. Dannie

    October 18, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this because when it comes to me I’m a natural oversharer, not because of anything, mostly because I’m a flaming extrovert and love people and conversation. Luckily I usually keep it just to just about myself but we have now become a generation of over sharing. While it’s been more of an issue with children that are adopted, now it’s not just those stories. I cringe at time on my fb feed when parents of teens (bio and/or adopted) share the horrible…..because it’s pretty embarrassing or just a bit much. When I share I try to keep it about light hearted stories that make me laugh however I am now questioning if it was too much at times or not. That’s why I stopped blogging all together and don’t go into background stories…..but over sharing leads to bullying, vulnerability, and embarrassment which, why add to a child that is dealing with other aspects of adoption at any given time even more to deal with. Anyways feel free to delete comment if it went a little to (everyone is open to over sharing) however I am seeing a disturbing trend of over sharing and that can be dangerous and hurtful for minor adoptees. I work on myself a lot because I have a lot of weaknesses myself, but I hope my children can say that I didn’t embarrass them beyond the normal after they are adults and look back.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • TAO

      October 18, 2019 at 4:14 pm

      Dannie your comment is perfect as it is.

      I think it’s fine to share fun posts/pics, vacation pics, etc., because I think most now have some level of privacy settings. I’m not a fan of public mode on FB for children’s pics in general though because there are too many creeps and people who steal photo’s.

      The above is far different than telling the adoptee’s private story, in a closed group most try to offer very limited info if they need advice, or have a mod post anonymously – either has some level of protection that viral videos/stories on public platforms never will.

      I do think we will find there’s a price to be paid, school social media searches, employers, etc..

      Liked by 1 person

       
  2. Mari Demint

    October 18, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    I certainly appreciate your thoughts. I too am adopted yet I’m one of the #not-all-adoptees-feel-that-way group of adoptees. I can appreciate the whole privacy issue. I think its crazy when we show pictures of our vacation WHILE WE’RE ON VACATION!!! We’re inviting people to come to our empty home. We probably share way too much about our children’s activities and comings and goings. You’re certainly right; there are a lot of crazy people out there.

    Yet, when it comes to sharing our story, our adoption story, I feel a little different. It may not be our adoptive family’s place to share our story with others, but I do feel it’s not only our place but our responsibility. And I think we should be encouraged to do this from an early age. As age appropriateness allows. If we don’t share our story with others, how will the world know our emotions, our concerns. We, as adoptees have nothing to be ashamed of. If we are told not to share or encouraged not to share, how do we feel as children? How do let the adopted child know they have nothing to be ashamed of if we don’t encourage them to tell others their story?

    I guess I’m thinking if we hold back as children, do we grow up misunderstood or do we become shamefully withdrawn in our thoughts on adoption? Of course, it is a personal journey for all adoptees. And my wish always is for a positive outcome.

    Forever adopted, Mari

    Like

     
    • TAO

      October 18, 2019 at 10:49 pm

      Hey Mari,
      But you think the deeply personal aspects of an adoptee’s story or feelings should be shouted far and wide, wide-open to the public where you no longer control the narrative? I have no concerns when an adult adoptee shares their story, feelings, or a family shares they adopted and keeps it high-level on the details of why their children needed adoption. I have a huge problem when adults decide for their little child that it’s okay to say her mother was a meth addict and the father was one of her customers, and the rest of the family have criminal histories and more, or like in the current viral video, shares without control a pretty intimate video of a little one, who is likely, repeating the story told to her – those cross my line, share with family, share with close friends, but respect that your child may grow up and not like that every tom, dick, and harry in multiple countries viewed her story, especially if she’s struggling with big feelings.

      Liked by 1 person

       
    • beth62

      October 21, 2019 at 3:29 pm

      Hi Mari,
      I’m curious, so I’m asking 🙂 sorry!

      I’m curious about what you said about responsibility to Adoption.
      Mainly, why do you think the Adoptee, or Adopted family, is responsible for encouraging Adoption to the general public, or anyone? Is that what you mean?

      I’m having a real hard time not seeing many of these families webpages as advertisements for Adoption! Sales sites, some even look like spam. It’s usually questionable behavior to me. I fuss at young single childless people about over sharing themselves online, probably daily, so there’s that. It’s way more fun to share! Way more risk of social backfire, and danger too.

      I was raised a happy and proud Adoptee.
      My Adoption was in the newspaper, with pictures and details of our new family. I’m very glad there was no internet then.
      We didn’t hide it, certainly nothing to be ashamed of… Of course that’s what everyone keeps saying anyway! Especially parents who are working on their own shame with Adoption.
      I’ve learned whenever people say that, nothing to be ashamed of, you probably will rightfully find shame to deal with. I try to deal with it head on, it’s never really worked out for me trying to deny shame. It is what it is. It taught me how to show no shame, not so much how to deal with it.
      Shame is real too, having it is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s how we carry it and where we leave it that’s important.

      I get it, but in the end for me, I experienced and now see plainly a very defensive and defiant happy and proud that denied, diminished, and dismissed many real feelings and concerns, and people.

      I guess it’s a hard and foggy path to follow. I think some new road work is needed there.

      The “defiantly real and unashamed” found in Adoption doesn’t work for me so much anymore.
      That ground is too shakey, even violent, it gets me into trouble, it’s a power snack for my rage.

      Now that I’ve realized how that can work, I try not to suggest it for anyone else. But I do have a strange sense of responsibility to share that with the Adopted community 🙂

      Mari, I’m not trying to pick on you or call you out, or argue, or anything like that!
      Just interested in this subject, and curious what others find and think on.
      Honest discussion and positive outcomes is our goal I believe.

      Plus I’m just soooo nosey, very interested in what everyone will share
      I share too much here, but it makes TAO happy sometimes, so that helps a little with my over sharing shame.

      Hey, all of mine are adults now, does that mean I can finally tell their fabulous and spectacular stories yet?? I guess they could sue me now tho, especially the lawyers? Haha, see how I snuck that plural over sharing in 😉

      Like

       
  3. Tiffany

    October 18, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    Amen, TAO!!!! And that is all I have to say on that.

    Like

     
    • TAO

      October 18, 2019 at 10:39 pm

      So happy to hear from you Tiffany – hoping all is well and the invite to guest post is always there.

      Like

       
  4. Lara/Trace

    October 19, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    I wrote an op-ed on Lost Daughters blog quite a long time ago about not sharing ANYTHING about adopted kids who are minors. They have a legal right to privacy – according to experts at the Int’l Adoption Conference held at MIT that I attended. And when I shared this news in writing, the shit hit the proverbial fan on the LD blog. The Lost Daughters had to defend me? They did. It was shocking to even consider this for some adopters. Even adopters who are adoptees.
    We have a LONG way to go – legally and emotionally on this topic.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • TAO

      October 19, 2019 at 8:39 pm

      I’m sure it did. Wish LD had found a way to keep going.

      Like

       

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