Searching for connections

Since Muppet was born I’ve been frequenting parenting message boards. Sometimes they frustrate me with the judgemental “Mommy Wars” that take place (i.e. “Omg you moved your baby into their own room before 6 months?!?! You must be the worst mom out there!”). But there are times that they are very helpful and informative. Mostly I’m just looking to connect with other new moms the way that I connected with infertiles here.

The other place I’ve searched for connections is Adoption Forums. There really aren’t many that I’ve found that are extremely active but there is one in particular that I frequent. There is also a Facebook group that I joined specifically for Trans-racial Adoptions. I thought these places would bring me comfort and encouragement, but more often than not, I leave them with great feelings of anxiety and fear.

Both these places are designed for all aspects of adoption including those wanting to find out more about adoption, adoptive parents, and adult adoptees. And I will tell you, the latter is by far the most vocal of the groups. For me, adoption has always been about love. Enough love from the birth-mom to recognize that she is not enough for her child, love from the adoptive parents who only want to raise a child, regardless of genetics. I know it is not all peaches and cream. I am very aware of the issues my daughter may face as she grows. I know that someday she might come home crying because another kid teased her about having different skin than her parents. I know that she may deal with issues of abandonment and feeling unwanted. I’m prepared for this. I will do everything in my power to help her through this.

But these forums, they mess with my mind. SO many adult adoptees have such negative views on adoption. I’ve read posts on how a child is always better off with their biological parents, how it is selfish to place the burden of not knowing their own genetics on a child so that an adoptive parent doesn’t have to deal with the burden on not having children, how ignorant it is for a white adoptive parent to assume that they can raise a child of another race even if they try to keep the child’s heritage part of their life, and so many more.

It gets to me. Am I inadvertently damaging my child just because I adopted her?

My head knows better. I know that Muppet’s life is better than it would have been if she had not been adopted. There is a reason that A chose adoption, to give this little girl something that she herself couldn’t give. In my heart I believe that the love that Muppet receives can make up for lost genetic link. I want to believe that I can honor her heritage and raise her to be a strong, proud black woman even though I will never fully understand that part of her life.

But there is still the part of my heart that is so scared that one day all these negative words I’m reading from adult adoptees will be coming from the sweet little girl that I cherish so much.

So how do I deal with these emotions? I know the smart thing would probably be to stop going to these forums, but part of me thinks it is wise for me to be aware of these people and their opinions. I want to be informed of all the possible issues that may arise in our future, but these posts upset me so much. I just want to know that I’m doing the right thing by my little girl.

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15 Comments

Filed under adoption, Baby Girl, Birth Mom, Motherhood, People suck, Trans-racial adoption

15 responses to “Searching for connections

  1. justwedding

    That sounds really hard to read.

    Don’t forget our president is a man who identifies as black who was raised by a white woman. I would argue that parents of one race can certainly raise a child of a different race.

    As for bitterness about adoption, I suspect the millions of adults who are grateful for being adopted are not frequenting these forums, but living their lives. Like most people, I have a close friend (in-law) who was adopted. She’s very successful and seems very happy. I know she had a bit of an identity crisis as a young adult, but many people struggle at that age.

  2. The mommy wars suck. I had to tell myself that the only one who knows whats best for my family is me. Other peoples opinions sure can open up your eyes to issues you may not have thought of and can help you prepare but other peoples opinions are just that. Opinions. Adult adoptees may still be struggling with abandonment issues and it’s not fair to you for them to impose their own struggles on others. Not all of them feel that way. I know several adoptees personally. Some adult, some adolescent, some with the same race of adoptive parents and some not. Some are well adjusted, and some aren’t. But some have been able to make peace with their situation and accept the love they have been given. I know that they don’t all feel this way. But they are not all angry either. People forget what it’s like to walk a mile in other people’s shoes. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re walking in your own shoes wrong. (Sorry for the cheesy metaphor!) But seriously. You have been so brave. And Muppet is lucky to have you.

  3. What just wedding said!! She said it perfectly. ((((HUGS))))

  4. Oh yes, the adoption haters. They are certainly a difficult crew. The thing to remember is that many of them are leaving out key details behind their anger. And it’s always easier to make broad sweeping conclusions about situations then to actually address what is happening.

    As far as making connections, I really recommend connecting with other bloggers. Lori Lavendarluz, Miss Ohkay and Rain @ Weatherin Storms immediately come to mind, but I’m sure there are others out there. They may be able to suggest boards or groups to connect with.

    Regardless, you are doing an excellent job with Muppet. Pull what you can from the sources you’re finding, but also remember that everyone has their own view on life and for a lot of people it is less than wonderful.

  5. I think if the fourms make you anxious thenaybe stop looking at them for a little while. I had to just unfollow a moms facebook group because I couldn’t take feeling like I was failing my daughter each time I looked at it (I mean really I don’t think I should have to justify giving my 18 month old daughter a cup of juice) but I do think that it’s smart to think of the future and not just assume Muppet won’t have questions regarding her adoption and that there may be confusion because of that. Personally (I have a counseling background) at that point I would seek out a counselor that specializes in adoption to help her navigate those feelings so she doesn’t become the bitter adult on the adoption fourms. I also think you are so right that love can conquer a lot and together you and Muppet will figure it out.

    http://apluseffort.com is another blog I check from time to time she also adopted a baby of a different race. Might be worth checking out.

    And finally I also am struggling finding other moms/ friends in my life. After moving to CA it’s been a lot harder finding a group of even one good friend that I connect with. I try to just keep doing things that I enjoy with Molly and trust that true friendships happen kind of organically and I can’t really force it. But some days that’s really hard.

  6. I highly recommend Lori’s blog (Lavender Luz) as well as her book about parenting an adopted child with an open heart. She gets all of what you’ve described, and gives beautiful, useful advice.

  7. We all need connections and support. Here is an adoption blog you might check out – and I am sure she would be happy offer support and encouragement (http://leigh-onedayatatime.blogspot.com/). Also – I have heard great things about the organization Created for Care (http://createdforcare.org/) in terms of supporting adoptive moms!

  8. I’ve read those very polarizing comments before. They seem to forget that not every adopted adult feels like they do. My brothers were adopted from another country (I was not), so we are a transracial family. One brother clearly struggles with abandonment and race issues. The other does not and never has. The one that struggles had a very different experience as an infant and toddler which I think contributes to his difficulties today as an adult. I think it is ignorant for anyone on any side do the triad to make a blanket statement. There are so many other things that factor in. You seem to be very in tune to things your daughter may face as she grows. This will go a long way to helping her become an adult. 🙂

  9. I can’t comment on adoption, but I do know something about the issue of race, specifically being a different race than your parent(s). My mother is white and my father was black, but I was raised by just my mom. People who have been around someone of mixed race before tend to guess that I’m mixed, but to your average Joe, I look black. I grew up in a mostly white area, went to a mostly white school, and had a mother with straight blonde hair and blue eyes. She is my biological mom and I do actually resemble her quite a bit, but you have to look past our skin color and hair color/texture, which many people don’t or can’t do. I got a lot of comments as a kid about being adopted from other children, and I remember asking my mom about it and her telling me no and explaining why we looked different, and after that I didn’t think of it as much of an issue. It was never a big deal in our house. But probably the biggest thing I remember from being little, and this is to my mother’s eternal credit, was just being told all. the. time. that I was the best. Seriously, my mom was kind of out there, but she would walk down the street with me at the age of 3 or 4 and she’d say, “Say it loud” and then I would shout, “I’m black and I’m proud!” (for context, this was early 80’s NYC, so not as weird as it might have been in some other places, although I’m sure we got some looks). She told me she loved me all the time, told me I was great, smart, funny. My point is, yeah I got made fun of, like all kids at some point, and it did sometimes focus on my race, but I feel like I had a very strong base of self-esteem and confidence, and looking like a different race than my family was mostly a non-issue and no more upsetting than getting made fun of for being chubby (which sucked, but again, I think very few people emerge into adulthood without a little bit of schoolyard bullying in their past). I have no idea what it’s like being adopted, but I do get the feeling of otherness that can come with being different than the people around you. I think if you give your girl a foundation love, support and self-esteem, she will be able to weather those storms. If being adopted by a loving family is the worst thing that happens in a person’s life, I’d like to hope they can find a way to accept it and feel lucky.

  10. ds

    Are you part of the Creating A Family Facebook group? 99% of the interactions there are positive and there are many different people who built their families many different ways and plenty of mixed race families that can offer support. There are even adult adoptees and birthmothers who give honest and gentle feedback. Email me if you need the link to join or friend Dawn Davenport who is the owner of the group and sister website. She is great!

  11. I read the forums and adult adoptee blogs because I think I should (and I do learn from them). But I also feel defensive because their experiences are so different from how adoptive parents are taught to think about adoption and specifically transracial adoption now. It’s all so complicated.

  12. Megan

    I just found your blog Trisha and I have to say it’s SO nice to connect with people who have faced the same infertility-and-then-adoption journey. We were blessed with a bio child after a year and a half of trying (and MANY years of infertility fears) in 2008. When we started trying to get pregnant again I [very foolishly] thought that meant we would be able to have another bio child. Now after almost five years of trying for Baby #2 we have finally decided to stop the insane roller coaster of TTC and instead to pursue a domestic infant adoption. We’ve been listed with our agency since the end of October and while the waiting can be difficult at times, at least I now know that eventually we will be bringing a baby home. And that has made allllllllll the difference to my mental health:) However, we are keeping things about the adoption very private right now so only our immediate family and a couple of very close friends know…so it does get a bit lonely at times.

    I look forward to looking into the resources listed above because I find myself also freaking out about the pain and anger felt by adult adoptees and all of the issues anti-adoption folks site as reasons adoption shouldn’t ever happen. And I just hunger for people who truly understand what it means to be right ***here*** in the midst of healing the heartbreak of infertility and the tentative hoping of the adoption journey.

    Thank you for putting your story out there – and I look forward to following your mommy journey!

  13. Linda

    I raised my daughter from India as a single white adoptive mother. As a twenty something adult she’s a college graduate, works, is comfortable with people from all kinds of backgrounds. As a child she wanted badly to find her birth mom, which Isn’t possible. That seems to have been her biggest concern about adoption. She wants to adopt also someday.
    She has always been comfortable with her Indian ethnicity. I think this is because I made such an effort to include India and its culture into our lives. We read books about India, attended every India related festival, museum exhibit and music/ dance event that i could find. We joined an Asian Indian church where my white son and I were among the few non-Indians.
    We lived in a largely Hispanic area where her skin color wasn’t unusual. We associated with other adoptive families with children from India. When Indian neighbors showed an interest in her I was pleased.
    I’ve read some of those bitter posts by maladjusted adopted adults. I think they are very much the minority of adopted people. With love and reaching out to the child’s ethnic community I think most cross ethnic adoptions work out well.

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