Here’s a sentence I see sometimes on the Internet, whether on blogs or forums.
“Our [child's] birth mother keeps making bad decisions.”
I actually received an email with a similar sentence this past week and it made me think. It didn’t bother me, as much, to see it in an email. It also wouldn’t bother me, too deeply, if I was having a one-on-one conversation with an adoptive parent on the matter. It does, however, hit a big nerve with me to see it in written form on a public Internet forum, be it blog or actual forum.
A Google search for “birth mother” makes “bad decisions” brought up 1,250 results, though not all were an example of what I’m discussing now. If you remove the space in birth mother to make it one word (birthmother), it brings up over 28,000 results. While it may not be the most frequently discussed thing on the Internet, I still have an issue with the how and why of it being discussed in such a public forum. Again, not everyone is doing it but I find it necessary to discuss for a moment.
Let’s switch it up and create a hypothetical situation. If I was to talk about the (imaginary) bad decisions on this blog, or any other, that my daughter’s adoptive mom made, I would be hung out to dry. As she is doing the parenting and I, quite simply, am not, I should not cross the boundary to dissect her parenting or other pertinent life decisions. I wouldn’t do it to her in person, unless I felt she was harming my child, and I certainly wouldn’t air her dirty laundry online for everyone to poke at. And yet, it’s somehow acceptable to discuss the so-called bad decisions of birth parents online. I can’t quite figure out why other than the adoptive parents do hold the power in the relationship.
I wonder how the birth parents in question would feel if they happened upon the forum and blog postings with such topics. Would they feel unfairly represented, as only one side of the story is being presented in these things? Then again, I know that birth parents have discussed things they dislike about the adoptive families. So, maybe it’s fair. Maybe it’s not.
Here’s the fact though: we all make bad decisions. Adoptive parents, birth parents, adoptees, social workers, attorneys and Joe Schmoe. We all do! I don’t share pictures of myself in college because I had a really, really bad hair decision. There was also that one time in college that I had an err in judgment and ended up in a very dangerous situation. As a parent, I once forgot to buckle my child’s carseat in right because I was in a rush based off of bad time management and a series of poor decisions earlier that morning. I am not, however, identified by my bad decisions either in my life or in how my daughter’s mom discusses me with her. I hope that those venting on the Internet (because, let’s be honest, we’ve all vented on the Internet) are merely seeking some comfort in others and not also portraying their child’s birth parent in such a negative manner.
Of course, there is the fact that the Internet retains all. What you write now or have written may come back to haunt you at the fingertips of your child’s intelligent mind. I am cognizant of that when sharing information about my grief process, my daughter’s family and life in general. I hope that other families are thinking the same when they share things on the web, too. It’s a fine line, these boundaries of adoption speak. I hope maybe we can all learn from them.
All this said, I am going to talk about a bad decision that I have seen other birth parents make and why it would behoove birth parents to avoid such a thing. Tune in!