I wrote a while ago that I was going to talk more about the open adoption that has evolved with Colin’s birthfamily. One reason I have not done so yet is because I was not sure how much to share. There are some details about Colin’s adoption that I have written about in password protected posts, but not publicly. However, those details are important to explain the context in which we are navigating an open adoption. After a lot of thought and discussions with Christian, I have decided that I am going to share some of those details publicly. However, I know that some may not agree with my decision, so I wanted to explain my reasons for doing it.
It is hard sometimes to know what is OK to share about my kids on the blog. First, I worry about their safety. There are weirdos on the internet. Four years ago, when I was brand new to blogging, I didn’t really think about it too much. My original blog had our last name in the title and in the URL. When I became more concerned about privacy, I changed the blog to the current one. I also created an e-mail address specifically for the blog that did not have our last name. I think my readers can figure out the state in which we live, but I try not to talk about specific locations. When I take pictures outside, I am careful not to show the numbers on our mailbox or too much of our house. Right now I still feel like the kids are young enough that I can protect them. Besides when they are at pre-school, they are never without me, Christian, or someone else in our family. Once they start going outside to play on their own or they begin to attend birthday parties or events without us, I think I will take their pictures down or password protect everything.
Second, I worry about their privacy. Even though they are young, the fact that Zoe and Colin were adopted means their short little lives already involve complicated personal histories. Those stories are theirs to share, and not necessarily mine. However, my experience as an adoptive mom is mine. Right now, my audience is friends, family, other adoptive parents, etc. In a few years, when that audience could possibly include the kids’ peers, I will probably password protect everything. I certainly would not want them to be embarrassed by something their friends read on the internet about their histories.
For now, I think it’s important to share my experiences as an adoptive mom. First, there is a network of adoptive mom bloggers, and I feel supported when I read their blogs. I hope they feel supported when they read mine. Second, I have talked about things like corruption in adoption, and those things need to be talked about.
A while back, someone sent me this e-mail:
I hope you don’t mind that I email you with a question. I have been reading your blog for a while now and I really enjoy it. I am an adoptive parent to 2 little girls also from Vietnam. We live in Ireland . Our 2nd adoption in 2005 was full of problems and we had many concerns over fees, etc.
Anyway, I saw a link posted to your blog on www.rollercoaster.ie in the adoption section and I am afraid some of the comments against you were very harsh. The thread was since removed. PAP’s thought it was wrong that you would share your daughters’ story with the world, that somehow it was the wrong thing to give all her details. I was just wondering how you respond to these comments.
I myself went public over our facilitator and this is one of the things that gets me, PAPs get very hurtful and say I should have not exposed my daughters story like that.
I look forward to your reply.
Luckily, I get far less criticism than I do support for what I write. (If it were the other way around, I probably wouldn’t think it was worth writing about.) This was my reply:
Hi XXXX-Wow. Thanks for e-mailing me. I wish I had been able to see the posts. Was it just recently? Too bad no one who had harsh words for me had the guts to contact me directly.Anyhow, you asked how I would respond to those who said it was wrong that I share all of the details with the world. There is one post in particular I wrote when we were in Vietnam that I now question. It had the details of the police report, etc., and it is Zoe’s story. However, the one “benefit” of posting it is that many other parents who adopted from the same province told me that their stories were almost exactly the same, with only small details changed – the location, the blanket color, number of diapers left with the child, etc. Knowing that those stories are almost identical has given me a very cynical view of adoptions from VN, and especially from Phu Tho. While sometimes I wish I didn’t know and I could just bury my head in the sand, finding out that other people had been given the same story opened my eyes. When I wrote that particular post, I thought all adoptions were wonderful and I posted it as a story about the brave woman I imagined her birthmother to be. My perspective on things has certainly changed since then. It’s sad that it has changed, but I am glad to have gotten to a place where I realize I will need to be able to say to my daughter, “I don’t know,” when she asks about her adoption. If I give her the touching BS story I had in my head (and our agency perpetuated) when I wrote that post, I would have been creating her history for her instead of being honest about it.Now, do I regret writing about the corruption, etc? Absolutely not. I feel like I have done that by talking about our agency and adoption in general, without being too specific to Zoe. I have said that while I do not know that her adoption was tainted, that I am fearful that it was, and that I have every reason to be fearful. I think there can be a balance between protecting my daughter and speaking out.
Anyhow, my point is that I learned a lot by posting what I did about Zoe’s adoption. Many people contacted me privately either to support the fact that I was talking about it or to share their own similar stories. I’m hoping that’s what will happen when I post about Colin’s adoption. I hope that other people in the same situation will contact me, so that I can develop the same kind of support network that I have for Zoe’s adoption. I also hope that it might make PAPs (prospective adoptive parents) consider children with health conditions or family histories they may have otherwise avoided. We’ll see….