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Rob Reed  
An unexpected ally of sorts
11/4/06, 1:07pm (Last Edited: 11/7/06, 8:20am)
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[Edited: 11/7/06 -- I received an email from the adoptive mother, who indicates that this is not the natural mother of her adopted child

"That's not my Jessica. That's not an adoptive mom, a first mom or an adoptee. My Jessica doesn't comment on my blog and she'd be horrified to see this credited to her"]

The adoption blogosphere is an interesting animal. The entire blogosphere for that matter.

I was thinking on this as a result of the email situation, and why it was so easy for me to send out without giving much thought as to emotions.

The way I have always visualized my own blogs was quite like my own home, where I put up signs announcing my opinions or thoughts on a particular issue. People can drive by. They can throw tomatos at the sign. They can write in the space below my comments on the sign, because I have put a pen out there.

When I do this, I leave open the possibility for some hurtful nastiness of disagreement.

Now, if I posted the promotion for the video on these blog entries, I would agree that this would be tacky.

But, I sent emails which, to me, was akin to knocking on the door of someone who put a sign out in the front of their house (with a pen) and privately telling them: hey, guess what... I am involved in adoption, as well. I passed by the sign in the frontyard of your house... maybe you would be interested in talking about this? I would expect to get a door slammed on my face. I might get some polite response from people who were in similar situations (even if there was disagreement on the video, itself)... but I didn't expect that then the people would start posting signs in front of their houses about how terrible I was for knocking on their doors.

On another blog, someone actually posted the video. A day later, they took it down because of an ADOPTEE friend who was angry at the email (and who kept a public blog on adoption), believe it or not.

I guess it bothers me a lot that I was put into the same class as if I publically posted on their sign in the frontyard (or worse, put up a sign of my own on their yard -- probably akin to me posting a promotion within a blog entry having nothing to do with adoption or YouTube).

Okay. That rationalization out the way, this comment, below, from the blog of the adoptive mother who was done with me, is not done with me, is done with me again, was forwarded to me, and it is absolutely worthy of mention.

You wouldn't guess who it is.

You know what, [name removed]? I actually think they’d make pretty decent adoptive parents, even though they don’t know it yet. I’ve kept up with their blog on and off for about a year now, and I think theirs is a case of rhetoric engendered by fear, being mainly on the surface, and quite a bit of compassion underneath. The “extended family” has made my jaw drop on quite a few occasions, (acually, every time they write!!) but even they mainly seem fiercely protective of their “kids” and would probably come around.

They haven’t researched adoption as they should, (again fear) and at this point would probably have an easier time with an international program that involves no first parent contact, but easier isn’t always better. I think that once they actually meet and interact with the first parents they will realize that most of their fears were just chimeras, and that others are quite real and need to be worked through. That video was stupid, and I don’t for the life of me understand why they didn’t run it by you, if they know you, and sending it to first mothers who are grieving is - well - let’s not get into that. Dumb doesn’t cover it. But I, too, have botched up things pretty thoroughly in my life now and again, and depended on forgiveness. Of cource that is entirely up to those that were injured, as always.

To me, they seem two things - overly anxious to have a child (understandable) and afraid. Somehow, I get good vibes from them that they’d be able to deal if actually in the situation, and would not let the child down, or the first mother. Or themselves.

There are others that talk sweeter and frighten me more, because there seems to be a ruthlessness much deeper buried. Those are the types that I can see closing an adoption down the road, breaking their promises, etc.

By all appearances (I can't say for sure), this appears to be the birthmother/firstmother of this blogger's child. I am so in awe... and yet, more appreciative.

If I am honest, the email experience has strayed me away from openness in an adoption. My thinking is, if I make a mistake with an email, how is a firstmother/birthmother going to react when I make a perceived mistake with 'her child?'

Take this adoptive mother's blog. She recently blogged about this extremely uncomfortable situation where her adoptive daughter was taking a photograph with the birthmother and the birthmother's boyfriend. The photographer, pointing to the birthmother and the boyfriend (with the adoptive mother in the background), asked the little girl: "Come to your Mommy and Daddy!" Doh.

Now, what if this happened to me, and I was perceived as insensitive for matter of factly coming out and saying "Oh, no! blah blah blah [explanation inserted here]"... and somehow this explanation came out, perceived as "insensitive," "tactless," "clueless," what have you, when my intention was not that at all (or I simply didn't think it through enough)?

Would my nose then be rubbed in the "poopy of insensitivity" for weeks on end?

Why would anybody want this?

There have been only a small few of sympathetic responses from birthmothers that acknowleged my hastiness and resultant stupidity (I will only concede BRIEF stupidity, of course... Marie won't side with me there, I suspect) but who did not feel the need to place my feelings (I do have them) into the "feelings shredder."

But, to see a response from this young lady (with, as you can expect, no public comment from this adoptive mother in the comments thread), was very helpful to me. She probably will never see this. But, I'll thank her anyway... for seeing beyond a mistake... and not making me feel like I belong in the Daddy Hall of Shame before I even start.

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"Treat the Earth not as if it was given to you by your parents, but as if it was lent to you by your children." - Kenyan Proverb

"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw
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