It’s my story, too – Why I write about adoption

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I struggle with writing about adoption and motherhood all the time. That might seem like a funny thing to say, considering the words “adoption” and “motherhood” appear in the tag line of my blog. But, it’s complicated.

I write for a variety of reasons: to clear my head, to document life, to earn money, and just because I like it. The “connecting with others” aspect of adoption writing is fulfilling. It’s nice when I get a “yeah, me too” comment or email. I get a warm fuzzy when people tell me their adoption stories and I like the kinship and community I feel with other adoptive families…even if they’re different from me in just about every other way.

But, I struggle sometimes. I wonder if my transparency will come back to bite me one day. And by transparency, I mean oversharing. Transparency sounds so much better, right? Do I reveal too much about my kids, our lives and my own feelings? Words on the internet are forever, like a bell you can’t un-ring.

It's My Story Too - Why I Write About Adoption
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Adoption isn’t sunshine and unicorn farts. There are hard days. Writing about the hard days helps things make sense in my head. Sharing the words with others makes me feel connected and not so alone…and maybe my words sometime helps someone else feel connected and not so alone, too.

I’ve taken criticism from other adoptive families for sharing too much. Don’t I consider what my children will think if they read my words someday?

My answer to this? Duh. I mean, of course I do. I don’t put anything out there for public consumption unless I’ve given it some thought (those passive-aggressive Facebook statuses don’t count, right?) Although I can’t know what will or won’t cause ripples in the future I can at least consider the consequences of sharing information that might cause someone else pain or embarrassment.

But here’s the thing.

My kids are growing up with the complete understanding that their mother has flaws. Lots of them. If I tried to hide my shortcomings from my children, I doubt I could fool them for very long. Being their mom isn’t always easy for me, and as they get older they’re going to know that.

International adoption is hard, sort of weird way to bring a kid into your family. I had my time where I really struggled with everything: bonding, attachments, my child’s health issues, post adoption depression and in general feeling like I was a sucky mom.

Telling my story has helped. It’s helped me and it’s helped others in the process.

I try to consider my family’s privacy. I know my son may not enjoy someday reading about my struggle to feel like his mom. But it’s who I am. It’s part of my journey to be the mom I am to him today. Sometimes, life is messy. Sometimes it isn’t. I don’t intend to hide the mess from my kids.

It’s my story, too.

There are parts of my family’s adoption stories that I don’t tell. Distinguishing between their stories and my story is a fine line and yeah…sometimes, I get it wrong. But it’s still my story. My story is woven together with the stories of other people…that’s called family.

I’ve taken some criticism from birth parents and from adoptees. I’ve been flamed and trolled and Twitter bombed by people for not considering their stories. I mostly write about life as I know it. I understand there are other sides to my story, other viewpoints. I see our adoptions as a happy event but I understand that my kids may one day see things differently. I respect those other viewpoints. I even try to be sensitive to them.

But my story is still my story and I find release, validation and grace in telling it.

It’s my story, too and it’s still being written.

Thank you for reading.

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11 Comments

  1. Beautifully put. It is their story but being an adoptive mom is ours too. Your courage to share those imperfect adoption moments give strength to the rest of us! Keep sharing sister!

  2. This is so well said Jill! I can really, really relate to those feelings. I always try to think back and reflect on what I would have been comfortable to have my mom sharing when I was a kid. One of my kids is more private than the others, so I tend to share less about that child. Which of course means I’ve been accused of having favorites by disgruntled readers. I feel so much solidarity when I read your posts. I think knowing I’m not alone makes me a better parent. Also, as candid as you are about your own story, I have never thought you overshared anything personal about your boy’s stories.

  3. I love how you admit your kids know you’re imperfect. We do and will continue to make mistakes. I clearly remember telling one of my kids I made a mistake (he was probably 4) and he couldn’t believe it. “But Mom, you’re perfect! You can’t make mistakes.” I couldn’t believe it was new information. If I’d known his thoughts, I would have told him much earlier. Setting the expectation appropriately is extremely helpful.

  4. Keep sharing. I know I write about the less than perfect because I wish I’d read other less than perfect stories before our second adoption. All I had heard was tales of how scary it was meeting a shut down child in China, and how the kid totally blossomed once they got home/got medical care. That was not how our story ended. So I share. Even when I get backlash for doing so.

  5. Yes. It’s so tough to find the line between our stories and our children’s stories. To walk that tightrope between writing because it helps you (and potentially others) and sharing what you will one day wish you kept private. We’re all just doing our best… beautiful messes, one and all.

  6. I struggle with this as well and have noticed when I share something about me and adoption on FB, I get tempted to customize the privacy options so my daughter doesn’t see it. Right or wrong….”But it’s my story too!” sounds like a great title for an entire book you could write on this issue! Thank you.

  7. I really appreciate this topic. I am not an adoptive mom but I can connect with the struggle of oversharing vs. telling MY story. My twin sons have special needs (Asperger’s and ADHD) and I’ve blogged a lot in the past year about how I have learned, struggled, come to terms, and accepted this new information about my boys. I, too, struggle with the “what if they read this” (I try to be loving in everything I write) or “am I sharing too much” (I try to be careful embarrass or hurt others. I’m fine with sharing my own flaws) but the struggle is real. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  8. I’m adopted myself (I’m 44, so things were different back when I was recruited, so to speak), and I would love to read my mom or dad’s thoughts about the process from way back when. They can tell me things in the present, and they have, but that relies a lot on their memory, and is surely leaving out the better part of what they were thinking/feeling/happy about/afraid of at the time. Unless, of course, they’d written “I hate this baby and wish we’d gotten a different one.” But even that might be sort of funny. Anyway. I think what you write is great and I think your children will one day love it.

  9. Thank you so much for this! I am a new blogger, mom of six (3 adopted, 3 bio.) I have been struggling with how much to share or not to share, and your post and comments have been really encouraging. Before adopting and even afterwards, most of the stories I found on adoption were the feel good kind. I wanted to find just one mom who would be real about the struggles so I wouldn’t feel like our struggles were all just because I was a failure at this mom thing. I am glad you are sharing! I and other adoptive moms need to hear your stories, so thanks again for blogging about your life.

  10. I am so happy you said this! Everyone processes feelings differently but I believe that sharing is a great way to help us articulate and manage our experiences. We have also found that in the sharing (not on a blog but via YouTube), we actually have ended up encouraging others in ways we never would have thought possible. Thank you for your openness- it has helped us a lot!

    Michelle
    Our Second Chance Story on YouTube

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