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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…