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Adoption Blog: Inconceivable Family
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and while I’d like to blame to busy holiday season for my absence, the truth is, there have been other, weightier issues that have had me negotiating the blogosphere. In the past, I’ve hesitated to post about Anna in any kind of real detail. I have been on the fence about what is my story and what is her story; wanting to share enough to start conversations on adoption, and not wanting to share too much for fear that one day she may feel frustrated at having her story out there for all to see. I wonder, would she be flattered that her adoption, her life, her story has impacted me so dramatically? Or would she feel betrayed that her privacy has been exposed? There is no magic crystal ball here, so I have taken it day by day and topic by topic.
Some who read my words may wonder where it is that I’ll get to writing the story which has brought me to AFC, “a family with special needs.” It’s hard to say, really. But recent happenings are forcing my hand to sharing a bit sooner than I’d like.
The internet… the Pandora’s Box of the 21st century. In so many ways I can both feel blessed and cursed by it, but when it comes down to the bottom line, we are all in charge of how we use it to our advantage or disadvantage. In thinking about our adoption story, I find myself on thin ice with the internet.
Prior to the births of my daughters, the web was a home away from the reality of living silently in my fertile shell. I made friends with so many wonderful people. Some of them were miscarriage survivors, others have since gone on their own way to live a life without children. Whatever their story, I created connections with perfect strangers from all over the world that felt more intimate than so many connections in my material life.
After putting our infertility story out in the public through our little stints on Oprah, The Today Show, and The Empty Picture Frame, I received a lot of feedback that comforted me and got me through some soul searching times. When I read reviews on Amazon from the book I felt like I was part of a community of women like myself who just wanted to be heard and accepted. But there were others people, too, who didn’t seem to share in my experiences. I remember one person on a message board who wished me cancer for having injected myself with hormones for so many years. Mean internet!
In addition to my time on AFC, I have another blog where I write about where our adoption journey has taken us. That blog was once private but came out of the black hole of blogs this year to reveal some intensely personal aspects of our path to a family. I am amazed at how few people respond to that blog anymore, when there were often dozens of responses when it was private. I don’t believe people left me, but I tend to think that there are a lot who like to lurk more than post. Maybe that’s the way it is here?
I have a private blog for my closest friends and family. I have chronicled the happening of my girls’ lives so that those who live far from us can enjoy their progress and feel connected to the stories of their first steps, first teeth, Halloween costumes and all that good stuff. Each month I’ve posted a video on their birthdays so we can watch them grown before our eyes. Sometimes I catch myself thinking morbidly… what if I were to die tomorrow? They would at least have those pieces to read and those videos to watch to know just how deeply loved they both are. I will thank the internet for carving a permanent place for my love for those children.
In the past few weeks, the internet once again has struck me in a sore spot. Up until now, the question to publish any of Anna’s story has been mine alone to make. In spite of readers’ requests on my other blog to see pictures of my family, I have never posted a photo of anyone. I do not name Anna’s birth mother because that is a part of her story to share, not mine or even Anna’s for that matter. Anna’s birth siblings, as well, are not for discussion by name, location or age. That, too, is not debatable. While I myself am highly Google-able, that was a choice I made long ago and I choose not to make that decision for anyone else.
However, the control that the internet has provided me to communicate what I wish and when, is also reciprocal to the birth family. No legal documentation or binding agreement can truly cover the surfacing of information on the other side of Anna’s family tree. While I suppose I could make a case on the basis of the legal aspect of adoption, the agreement for open communication stops me from going down that road. I do not want to play the legal card when so much of our relationship is not just about legal stuff.
This worries me and it is what has kept me at arm’s distance from posting for the last few weeks. How do I navigate these tricky waters when places like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or My Space allow for information to be shared to mass audiences? When I am asked for photos of my daughter so that her birth mom can put them on her wall, how am I to differentiate between her wall at home and her wall on Facebook? How do I share the videos of my child with her birth family and be certain that they won’t later show up on YouTube? Can I be “friends” with Anna’s birth family and not have them emailing everyone else on my “friend” list?
As I have worried about how much information I choose to share through my blogs, it is no longer my place in the blogosphere which has me feeling so cautionary. Drawing the lines between what is appropriate and what isn’t has little to do with the legal paperwork of adoption. For me, it’s more about the respect that adoption brings for all parties. I want our relationship to be one of mutual respect and understanding, and ultimately protecting OUR daughter from the harms that the internet can bring. While I am still feeling my way through those pitfalls, I find myself worrying that there are other people out there who are not constantly questioning the decision of what, how, or when to post.
When is TMI more than just some phrase that is laughed about by teenage girls at the mall?
Related Posts on AdoptiveFamiliesCircle
- 3 Ways I Am #RockingMotherhood
- An Adoptive Mom’s Movie Review of Lion
- 6 Adoption Questions from Hopeful Adoptive Parents
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Jenna NadeauNew Hampshire
I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
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