Thursday, November 16, 2006

Blowin' smoke

It’s nice to see so many new faces dropping by to comment on my sad attempt to share my thoughts. It’s truly appreciated. Feel free to drop by the place anytime. New faces and new ideas always welcome.

For those who have been following along in the comments section (and I know you have…. you never know when there’s going to be a quiz)… you may have seen an interesting comment that seemed out of place. I’m not going to give shout outs to the writer; there’s no need. I just thought I’d provide a bit of insight as to my obvious faux pas… or was it?

Jumping around the blogosphere as I’m apt to do rather than work, I come along various pages. I read one, follow a link on a comment, find an interesting article… and two hours later I’m on a completely new topic leaving comments. Anyone else do that? Yeah, just me… right.

Obviously my blog is focused on all things adoption right now because that’s where my brain is at. I’m sure eventually I’ll get to ranting about my nut job family and my sorry ass job. Until then, it’s adoption. I’ve spent HOURS reading blogs, newspaper articles, e-zines, and peer-reviewed journal articles on the subject. I can’t get enough information. I try desperately to glean as much knowledge from as many different places so that I can make informed decisions. I’d like to think other parents are doing the same thing. (Although given the constant tragic comedy I witness at WallyWorld on a near daily basis, I’m guessing not….)

One of the hardest things for me to read is the blog of a first mothers / birthmother / woman who relinquished her child for adoption. Whatever their title, these are generally painful stories. Hubby can’t figure out why on earth I would want to read them. I’m usually angry and in a funk for awhile after I share what I’ve read. I remind him that I can’t learn a damn thing if I surround myself with like-minded people. What good is it for us all to sit around blowing smoke up each other’s hoo-has? Preaching to the choir is an exercise in futility. And so, I return to my painful reading.

My personal opinion is that the majority of the stories I read are of women who are obviously angry. When I read their stories, I’m try to place myself in their shoes and I find myself understanding way they would feel the way they do. Regardless of my opinions though, it’s their story and they’re free to tell it as they see fit. I can’t tell them how to feel. Not my place; not my right.

For several months, I’ve dropped by a particular blog every once in awhile. The writer relinquished her daughter for adoption many years ago. Her daughter is now an adult and, by mother’s report, appears to be doing well. They are building a relationship after all these years. It’s obvious that this writer does not have many positive thoughts about adoption nor her daughter’s adoptive parents.

Ironically, I found this blog on an adoptive mother’s list of “must reads.” The writer posts comments on the adoptive mother’s blog on a regular basis. She shares her viewpoints and even comments on other comments. Great! Dialogue!

I set this stage to explain that during these many months I have read numerous posts by her and read the comments left by her readers. I admit that I disagree with most of her posts and generally all of the comments. However, they’ve given me much food for thought. My views have been challenged. It’s altered a few of my views and reaffirmed others. All in all, a satisfactory process – give and take.

A few days ago, I found myself on her blog and read a post I didn’t understand. I tried very hard to follow the logic but I just couldn’t make the connections. So, I sat down and composed a very brief but highly cautious (and what I thought was sensitive) comment requesting further information. I’d seen posts from other people – including adoptive parents – and it appeared that the writer was more than willing to share her views. Imagine my surprise when I dropped by later on that day to find my comment deleted with a chastisement that I needed to learn how to post a sensitive comment and if I could learn that, then my questions would be considered. Wha- at? I was shocked. What on earth could I have done wrong? I thought about my comment, my question, the words I’d used… I couldn’t figure it out. So I decided to post again. This time I explained that I truly meant no offense and that I was really just trying to understand the process better. I apologized for having offended if I had, but also included that I’d been reading for a while and did not understand where I’d gone wrong. I knew the comment would be deleted but she’d left no email address on the blog by which I could contact her privately. Sadly, I decided this was just a blog that I wouldn’t frequent in the future. Obviously, it wasn’t the place for me and I’d offended the writer. C’est la vie.

Later that day, I received an email from the writer as I have left my email address for private contact (my choice entirely, I realize). The writer is kind enough to share a few suggestions on how to find answers for my inquisitive mind. However, she explains to me that I’ve stumbled across the wrong blog. Her blog is not intended for the purpose I’m attempting to use it. It’s not for adoptive parents at all. She can’t help me find the answers I’m looking for.

At first I was okay with that. Mistaken identify, that’s all. I’d walked into a bar to order a drink but didn’t realize it was members only. I get it. No offense. I’ll just move my business to another bar... mea culpa.

But herein lies the rub…….. if I was bringing my questions to the wrong blog, that’s fine. But why was I chastised for not framing my question correctly? (I hadn’t been sensitive and needed to learn how to ask a question correctly, remember?). I even noticed when I’d dropped back by and found my comment deleted, that another adoptive parent’s question was posted AND answered. I was confused… where was the difference? How was her question better worded than mine? How was it more sensitive? If the blog wasn’t for adoptive parents to ask questions, then why was that one answered?

And then it hit me…. it became glaringly obvious….

I’d asked the wrong question.

It wasn’t that I phrased it wrong. It was the question itself. As long as I made sure not to ask any questions that hurt or challenged the writer’s ideas, then my questions would be okay. But if my question even hinted that I didn’t agree with her thoughts or questioned her logic, my questions weren’t welcome.

That, my friends, is completely okay. That’s what blogs are for. Their authors choose what is posted and who comments. Freedom of the press instantaneously! But do me a favor … if ya don’t like my comment, just delete it. Don’t blow smoke up my hoo-ha and tell me it’s one thing when it’s another. And do us all a favor and be honest with yourself.


erinberry said...

That's a real shame that she blew you off that way. She lost an opportunity to share her point-of-view with someone who cared enough to try to understand.

I occasionally read blogs by birth mothers and adopted children who are unhappy with their adoption processes. They are often hard for an adoptive parent to read, but I do so for the same reason you do: to try to learn and perhaps avoid mistakes that the adoptive parents in their situations made.

Hope if you post comments to that type of blog in the future, you get a less rude response. Absolutely, it's a blogger's right to write about what she chooses, but common courtesy should still apply when someone is asking something in a genuine way.

MAMB said...

I tend to find my blogs through other blogs and I haven't yet come across birth mom or adopted children blogs. I also haven't tried to seek them perhaps that is my fault.

As for blogs - I think of them as being public domain so I welcome anyone's comments. But it's easy for me to say that because I haven't had anyone challenge me in my comments. At the same time, a blog owner can do what they wish so I guess if they want to keep their audience homogenous that is their right. Seems odd to not welcome comments from anyone who is being respectful though.

Third Mom said...

It's really hard, because sometimes no matter how you try the words are wrong. I've gotten them wrong plenty, and have had my hand slapped several times because of it. But hopefully that's helped me learn, and given me another viewpoint.

I'm also trying to learn when NOT to comment at all, although I'm not very good at following my own rules. Even though blogs are in the public, many people don't see them that way. They view more like their own private domain. So sometimes even a perfectly normal comment raises hackles because the writer just doesn't want an a-parent there.

I'm enjoying reading your thoughts, glad you're sharing them.