Deciding how much to share on my blog

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:

 Hi Tracy,

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….

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9 thoughts on “Deciding how much to share on my blog

  1. I think we all blog for different reasons. And I think that if you blog for an audience, you lose your voice. As for privacy, just imagine your kids in 10 years. What do you think they want out there? That is it. I am on the conservative side on what I talk about and share, but I just dont need that outlet. Live like you want to live, baby.

  2. I am so very thankful that you’re as open as you are. I don’t feel you have ever said anything over-the-line as far as Zoe is concerned. It’s obvious you love your kids, and I think you help a lot of people in situations that are similar to your own.

  3. I enjoy your blog so much And I do look to it for support, I think you know that. 🙂
    I appreciate that you are sharing Zoe and Colin’s adoption stories and all that it entails….
    It’s great to see someone else’s perspective on adoption. If people had issues with you talking about Zoe’s adoption and the possibility that it was ‘tainted’ then I think that it is only because you made them think!….. that their own adoption could also be corrupt. That maybe it wasn’t the fairytale story that they had hoped…..
    I know we (my husband and I) were VERY NAIVE when we started the adoption process with VORFand still when we adopted domestically. There is A LOT you don’t ‘get’ until after the fact.

  4. I too adopted from phu tho, my daughter was born in sept. o6,
    viet tri orphanage, is your daughter from there? I have had the same feelings as you about my adoption, but not a clue what to do about it. i would like to know more about the post you wrote about the police report, to see if it matches the one i have for my daughter. could you guide me towards it or is it password protected?
    thanks for your help.

    • Here is where you can find the information. Also, if you select February, 2007 and March, 2007 from the “Archives” drop-down on the right, you can read about our journey. Amazing how our world has changed since then!!!

  5. I enjoy reading all of your posts and I think you do a great job creating boundaries while also be honest and real. Life isn’t always perfect and it’s pretty darn good sometimes, you portray both sides.

  6. I really enjoy your blog and have learned a-lot. We are in the waiting pool for an open adoption and were in the Vietnam process until it was shut down. Adoption is a long process and can be very overwhelming at times and It’s “nice” (I hope you know what I mean by that) to know that your not the only one going through it. That you can reach out to someone who has been there done that and who can help you during the rough times. Adoption isn’t something most people can understand unless they’ve been through it or have been directly involved with the process (grandparents, etc). Thank you for your blog. It’s given me hope that it will happen and I just have to put in my time.

  7. I was pretty much going to say exactly what Julie did. I tend to share a lot as well. I just wrote a lot more and deleted it. I”ll leave it at that. I think you’re a great mom and a great source of support to other adoptive parents.

  8. Pingback: Colin’s history and our “accidental” open adoption « My Minivan Rocks!

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