Strap on your armor because you need to be tough! There is no substitute for on the job training for a birth mother who decides to go public. Hmmm, come to think of it, maybe we could benefit from a class or two?
There is no real way to prepare yourself for what you will face when you choose to discuss adoption issues on public forums. I am learning fast, but still have much to learn.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Be ready to defend your positions in the calmest manner possible. Depending on your own personality, this might not be easy. However, it is a challenge to be able to present strong ideas so that people will hear you.
2. Expect that you will ruffle feathers sometimes and provoke angry reactions. Even the most benign comments may cause a firestorm of criticism. Be aware too that what you perceive as benign may seem incendiary to others.
Few of us enjoy criticism, but consider it a way to learn. Even the so-called experts do not know everything there is to know about adoption. No one does. Remember too that there is a learning curve for everyone as far as educating yourself about adoption issues.
3. As difficult as it may sound, try your best not to take criticism as a personal attack. Try not to take any it personally. I hate that advice because I know how hard it is not to take either personal attacks or criticism personally. However, it is good advice.
4. Stay strong and remember why you are placing a target on yourself. Know that your motives are pure and solid no matter how much anyone tries to say differently, twist your words or be insulting.
5. Step back once in awhile and think about something else. Read a non-adoption book about something pleasant, take a walk or bubble bath or do some volunteer work. Chocolate always helps as well!
Being an adoptive parent in the public eye doesn’t look like a piece of cake either. However, I have to believe that adoptive parents are not called nearly as many ugly names as birth parents, or treated with such contempt.
Photo by Jan Baker 2007