09 September, 2010

The Lessons We Learn...

So I did something that I never thought I would do today, I caused someone I don't know to call me untrustworthy and, even worse, accuse me of trolling! Now, I haven't had a blog for very long, and I don't know too much about the ins and outs of blog etiquette, but one thing I do know is that being a troll is very, very bad. We all hate them. I haven't encountered any here, but I do write about party planning, so trolls aren't common (never had even one). But I do read numerous political and civil rights blogs and the consensus is, "If you don't know enough about what you're talking about, then shut your ignorant, privileged trap!" So, you know what? I do. On all sorts of topics, I wait until my initial feelings subside, regroup, read-up, then comment. One subject on which I believe I am able to comment accurately? Adoption. Or so I thought. (By the way, I am totes going to cross the "no more than 250 words" rule, but this is important)

So, adoption is something that wasn't much on my mind when I was little. My parents were honest with me about the process and the concept as a child, so it never really crossed my mind in any significant way. It made me feel special, like I was someone my parents chose to love. Out of all the other little souls out there, my parents chose me. That's how I felt. Some of those feelings changed when I started school. I have been told how to feel. I have been ridiculed. I have been ashamed to be adopted. I have been ashamed to be myself. I promised myself, after a particularly ugly moment in 3rd grade, I would never be ashamed again. Fast forward 15 or so years.

I'm great. My life is great. My family is great. The reality of adoption never crosses my mind until I need a bio fam for something. Medical records? I don't know. I'm adopted. The realization that, hey I am a biracial person in a modern world? Oh, yeah. I'm adopted. All the life I have and part of my identity is wrapped up in the fact that I am adopted.

Fast forward again, if you'll indulge me to two years ago. I stumbled across a blog crying foul on the adoption industry. Outlining its injustices, its evils, its harms. I was shocked. A wave of emotion flooded through me, my heart sank, my stomach churned and I nearly passed out. I have had few reactions quite like it in my life. I kept reading and reading, until I was physically and emotionally drained. I coped (and by coped I mean I blocked the knowledge out completely)

Today I read a blog (a comment on teen parenting) that led me to another blog (written by a bio mom), that had a post that for whatever reason, brought back all those awful, unhealthy feelings. And do you know what I did? I flipped. I completely lost any composure, or sensitivity or, common sense. I fired back a response so quick, I didn't even stop to think about what I was saying, or more importantly, how I was saying it. What a maroon, huh? Well, it gets worse. When she replied, a reply that I totally deserved, instead of fully getting the hint, I fired back with more ignorance, anger and stupidity...only I didn't just come out and say it, I sort of sarcastic-ed it in there. To which she kind of flipped, justifiably. So, I apologized. Finally. Probably not very well or very elegantly, but I apologized. I am appalled at how I handled the situation. I also didn't know that using an alias was a bad thing. Some of the other blogs I frequent have them, so I thought it was generally okay (now I know, not so much...) Needless to say, I took a chance to learn from someone with something very important to teach and royally cocked it up.

If she were here now, I would tell her how sorry I am and properly this time. The way I was taught to apologize to someone I have wronged. I would apologize for attacking her in her own space. I would tell her that even though I reacted badly, the experience has taught me a lot about her side of the issue. I would also tell her that even though my head knows adoption isn't perfect and needs reform, my heart can't believe it. My heart needs all those families out there to find their own little souls to love. My heart needs happy endings. My heart needs happily open adoptions as well as happily closed ones. That even with everything I know, my heart just isn't ready.

So why tell you all of this? Because we are responsible for our actions. For our words. Our emotions should not control us and when they do, we should be able to handle the consequences. When we make someone feel invalidated, marginalized and dismissed, we need to apologize for it. I have learned an important, albeit uncomfortable truth about myself. She said something that I find is sticking with me tonight:

My story does not dismiss your story nor does your story make adoption full of butterflies and rainbows. There is room enough for both of us.

She's right, you know. And hopefully someday, when I can check my privilege at the door, there will be.

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