Stop the Blame Game

This anonymous post has been written for our BlogIess Blogging section where people without blogs can write, or people with blogs can post anonymously. If you’d like to write for this section, please do contact us.
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I started Tweeting for me. It was a personal thing. I found a broad group of people involved in adoption – adoptees, adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents, wider family, kinship carers…all sorts.
This circle of tweeters became an additional support network for me, initially at a time when things were tough at home with my adoptive children.

I tweet a lot. Sometimes snippets of my life. Sometimes links to longer blog posts. Sometimes I retweet things that are interesting, or that I can identify with. And I read lots of tweets, and blogs, from all sorts of people.

What I’ve been surprised at, as an adoptive parent is the attitude of some adoptees and some birth parents towards me personally. I tweet to get things off my chest and to reach out for support. I get an awful lot of support, but I get a fair bit of abuse too. I’ve been called the worst names, things I couldn’t repeat here, really properly vile, evil names. And not just on Twitter, via Facebook groups that weren’t properly moderated, in real life and on my personal blog.

I just want to say – I DIDN’T ADOPT YOU – I adopted the children who are upstairs in their beds right now. And I’m doing my damned best to right the wrongs that happened BEFORE we came to be in each other’s lives. Their birth parents abused them. The institution of adoption may have damaged them. But I DIDN’T. I don’t suggest I saved them, because I didn’t. I’m just prepared to love them and keep them as safe as I can. I have a life semi-planned in my head, I have hopes and dreams, and ideals for them. That doesn’t make me a bad person, it means I care. I don’t deny them their pasts, we share and talk about those pasts, we talk about their birth parents, we’re in safe, managed contact with members of their birth family that want it, but mostly I try to live in the present, in order to give them a future, that may or may not include their birth parents.

And to birth parents – I DIDN’T TAKE YOUR CHILD AWAY. Social Services took your child away. Focus your anger at them if you have to. I am aware that sometimes children are removed when they needn’t be, but I do know the history of my children, and I do know that it was right they were removed. Adoption isn’t always the best thing, but it was the best option at the time for my children. I don’t project my sadness and anger about the behaviour of my children’s birth parents at you (or anyone in fact), please don’t project your anger at me.

Often my life as an adoptive parent seems full of justification. I have had to justify my past to a social worker, I have to justify my parenting skills to other social workers, I have to justify my parenting to other parents, I have to justify the decisions I make on behalf of my children, when they’re older, I’ll have to justify to my children why I took those decisions. But do you know what…all I ever wanted was to be a parent, who are you to judge me? Who are you to question me?

It’s hard enough raising traumatised children without accusations, abuse and judgements. If you have something useful and constructive to say that will help me parent my children, then by all means share it, but aiming your frustrations and anger at me makes my job even harder…it’s a shame because I think we could all teach each other something if we were prepared to listen more and shout at each other less…

What do you think? Could we all learn from each other? Have you experienced problems with people from different sides of adoption? Or have you found it easy to reach different groups of people? Leave your comments here…

7 thoughts on “Stop the Blame Game

  1. Lindsay

    Wow, I think I’m a pretty regular user of blogs and twitter and the like but only once did somebody comment on my blog something that was hurtful (and I chose not to publish their comments:). It’s really a shame that you have gotten such flack from people; I guess all I can say is that my suspicion is that these mean comments are coming from a place of hurt, or anger, or fear…but like you said, it gets tiring trying to justify things all the time never mind other peoples’ actions. Try not to let the negativity overshadow the amazing, supportive, adoption community that lives on social media and here at The Adoption Social. Take care,

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  2. Sally

    I am horrified that you have been at the sharp end of this abuse. It is really unpleasant to receive, especially as you say when you are traumatised children. I have seen a little of what you write about and have blocked very quickly. I too am interested in the views and feelings of adoptees and birth families but don’t respond to abuse.
    Your feelings of having to justify yourself to everyone ring very true to me. But as time goes on I know I’m doing the right thing and I sweat a lot less over it.
    If you receive any abuse on twitter do call out. Always happy to support.
    x

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  3. Laura

    How unpleasant for you that you’ve been on the receiving end of these hurtful and angry communications. I think what you have written will resonate with many adoptive parents who are just trying to do the best for their families.

    “I think we could all teach each other something if we were prepared to listen more and shout at each other less…”

    I really agree with that very insightful phrase. It would be great, but there will always be people too blinded by anger to engage – and it’s a shame that they are unable to get the support they need elsewhere so they resort to hurling abuse at you!

    I hope you have found enough TLC to help you get over what must have been a very horrid experience.

    Reply
  4. Amanda Boorman

    It’s horrible that you should receive negative comments when you are being honest and brave. I agree that if anger and hurt can be put aside we can all learn so much more from each other. I always try to join in and defend others when i see this happening but with certain people there is no shifting from their default position. Hopefully your powerful writing will make a change to how us adopters are viewed. X

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  5. Suddenly Mummy

    The internet can be a cruel place, and I’m sorry you’ve been on the receiving end of this sort of comment. I haven’t experienced it, but I have seen it around on comments under articles, and suchlike, and it saddens me that so many people are so entrenched in their viewpoints, often with only very limited understanding of adoption and what it entails.
    In my work, I spend a fair amount of time around birth parents, and I know that many are unable to come to terms with the reasons why their children have been taken away, and perhaps never will. Post-adoption counselling is offered, but many do not take it up. Then I see comments in the internet about ‘forced adoptions’ and ‘child snatchers’ and I can see where that is coming from. It’s a side to adoption that I hadn’t considered before I got involved myself, and it is awful to think that people view adopters in this way. I hope it doesn’t stop you tweeting and blogging.

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  6. claire

    I’m so sorry that you’ve been bullied like this. I too have spent 3 years feeling like i’ve needed to justify my every move to family and friends and even some adopters I’m sad to say.

    So I can empathise, I can’t however tell you the best way to handle it, I’m not sure it ever gets easier, it never has for me anyway.

    Hold your head high though my friend! 🙂

    Reply
  7. Gem

    It’s horrible to feel that you are being targeted. I experienced some hassle on Twitter which I tried to engage with for about a month before hitting the block button. I wanted to listen and open a dialogue but I realised that it wasn’t possible because both people need to listen to have a conversation. I feel stronger now about hitting “block” on Twitter and have all my comments set for moderation on the blog so I can control any troll issues. There are a lot of damaged people out there who shout very loud and we are easy targets because we care about our children and want to help people. I cannot comment on their stories and I know that sometimes SS get it wrong but I also know in Katie and Pip’s case they did not. We do not need to justify that in any way, shape or form. I would just block them and know that you are doing all you can to prevent your children becoming bitter and angry as well.

    Reply

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