Category Archives: totally taboo

The Argument We’re Not Supposed to Make…

Sometimes I feel like I’m just slamming my head against a wall trying to get some people (okay, mostly adoptive parents – I just hate sounding like I’m picking on one side of the triad, especially when this is NOT to be generalized to mean “all adoptive parents”) to understand the first Mother experience. To understand why some first Mom’s don’t like the term birthmom. To understand the emotions of placing a child. To understand that feelings don’t just shut off with the signing of TPR or some arbitrary timeline elapsing.

Yet I keep coming up short. I keep failing to find the words that give someone their every own lightbulb moment. Despite all of my efforts, I fail.

Repeatedly.

At some point in this masochistic experience, a tiny little thought creeps into my head. I want to say it, but I don’t want to say it. I don’t want to offend. I don’t want to give the low blow. But….maybe, just maybe, there’s something there?

So I’ll hold my breath, squint my eyes shut and prepare myself for the retaliation that might follow…..

Could it be that some people just truly don’t understand because they’ve never carried a child and given birth?

Now that I’ve said it I feel like a total shit again!

I don’t know where else to say these things though….I’d love to be able to have a civil conversation about a topic like this, but I fear that opportunity will never come. It’s just too hot button a topic for me to believe that I could say that publicly and not be completely blasted for it.

I don’t know….I mean, my sister-in-laws get to throw around the fact that I’m not parenting to prove how I don’t understand raising children. I can’t possibly wrap my head around discipline because that’s not something I live with day to day. And it’s not my place to give any kind of feedback, advice, or hell, to even have an opinion to some extent.

So maybe something there goes both ways? Can you truly understand what that must be like? I don’t know….I think some people can….but maybe others can’t? I’m the first to admit that my life changed dramatically after giving birth. In ways that have little to nothing to do with placement. The physical act of carrying another person for nine months, of bringing them into the world, it changed me in more ways than I can articulate.

Just as parenting a child must change you, so too does pregnancy, labor, delivery.

I’m reminded often that I’m not parenting. I get it. I’ve never once felt the need to remind someone else that they were never pregnant. It’s a cruel reminder for too many, and one that I’ve never felt a desire to provide.

That’s not the point.

It’s not about hurting someone else, it’s about understanding our perspectives. Including all of our experiences that got us to where we are.

I’ve never experienced the struggle of trying to get pregnant. I’ve never experienced the heartbreak of losing a child to miscarriage. I try to be there for my friends that have. I want to understand them and be there for them in whatever way it is that they need – and understand that it’s not the same way for every person. But at the end of the day, I can’t understand their experience the way someone else that’s lived it has.

I think that many of us try to understand each other. I think some of us find it so hard to understand that even trying is a struggle. We debate and argue and fight and try to make square pegs fit into round holes. But they don’t. We all need to stop trying to make others lived experiences fit into our preconceptions about what we think there experience should be. We need to understand that my experience is not your experience (and it isn’t necessarily your kid’s first Mom’s experience either!), and vice versa.

Maybe that’s something we just need to accept….

Maybe at some point we need to stop trying so hard to understand someone else’s experience, to make it fit into that box, but rather just accept it.

Lord, I think this community could benefit from a whole lot more acceptance….

And as usual, I’ve veered wildly off course. What started as a desire to have an open and honest and not violent conversation about the unique experience of pregnancy and birth turned into a big picture about acceptance. I think both are important, but as I mentioned before, I fear we’re along ways away from being able to have either.

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Filed under all things adoption, blah, brutal honesty, deep thoughts with TG, drama in cyberland, totally taboo

Thank You Ricky Gervais!

Ricky Gervais was a guest on Piers Morgan’s new show last week, and while I didn’t catch the whole interview, I did hear one clip that gripped me immediately. Gervais was explaining his motivation for making some of the jokes at the Golden Globe’s that people deemed inappropriate. He said,

“Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re in the right.”

When I heard this quote, I sat back and had a “whoa” moment.

I was taken aback by how incredibly right he was. I was pleased with how incredibly concise he was. I immediately began applying that statement to a million different scenarios. I was excited to use that quote in my own life!

I have offended people.

People have offended me.

That’s the way the world works. You can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time and it’s just not worth it to die trying. Now I don’t think that we can take this statement and use it as an excuse for bad behavior or for intentionally offending folks, but I think it’s important to remember that just because you offend someone doesn’t mean that you aren’t making a valid point. Or that just because you’re offended doesn’t mean that to which you took offense isn’t valid!

Can you tell that this concept still makes my head spin???

It’s just so incredibly simple! And TRUE!

In many ways, it’s made me reflect on things that have offended me. Take for instance, my recent post about the whole adoptive fundraising thing. It’s something that I find a little offensive. And in future posts about something offensive, it’s helpful to keep the reminder that it doesn’t mean I’m in the right in my back pocket. I don’t think that I used the post to say that adoptive fundraising is WRONG or that no one SHOULD do it, just that it’s not for me. But if it works for you, then by all means go for it! (Okay, maybe I didn’t emphasize that last part so much, but I’m working on this!) That doesn’t mean that I can’t (or won’t) ask questions about it, either to myself or to others. It doesn’t mean that it’s an off limits topic because someone was offended. So if that, or another topic, offended you – I apologize. But that’s the nature of the beast. And it’s why I used to have a category called “brutal honesty.” (And why I started that category here as well!) It might be a little brutal, but it’s honest.

The reverse side of that is that if you were offended by my blog post, doesn’t mean that YOU’RE right! I don’t say that pointedly at anyone, just in general – and the caps were not yelling, just emphasis. 🙂 Adoptive fundraising might be for you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everything I said was total rubbish either.

It’s kind of awesome that way….two opinions, two people offended by different things, and it’s OKAY!!

Now, in other ways, this quote has allowed me a freedom that I’d taken away from myself in a way. Look, I don’t WANT to offend people, but dang it, sometimes that’s what happens when you speak honestly! And I’m getting to the point where I’m tired of being nervous that I’m going to hurt someone’s feelings by speaking honestly about my experiences or opinions. I will absolutely continue to be respectful in posting about my opinions, but I think my confidence in that area has been dwindling significantly. And really? That doesn’t serve anyone. All it does is stop conversations, sometimes before they even begin.

I can tell that I’ve been feeling self-censored recently because I’m a little afraid to even post this topic. I don’t *think* that this topic if offensive, but I am a little nervous that the next time I’m offended someone will say, “BUT just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right!” (Or, in other words, “shut your pie hole, you asked for this”.) But I guess that’s a risk that I’m willing to take…I’m ready to be an adult about this concept, and I can only hope that others are too. 🙂

Okay, I think I’m going a little round and round in circles here and getting to be repetetive….so I’ll wrap this up with these final thoughts.

What does this all mean? Well, here’s what I take away from it:

1.       If you’re offended, think about the “why” – AND still consider the statement that offended you.

2.       If you offend someone, know that it doesn’t ALWAYS mean that you’re in the wrong.

3.       If you offend someone, think about the “why” – maybe you ARE in the wrong.

4.       Do NOT use this as a defense in purposefully offending others. As if to throw at them, “Hey, just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right, so there!” This is NOT a hall pass for bad behavior.

5.       Someone being offended doesn’t need to be the END of a conversation. As in, “I’m offended, so stop talking about that.” Maybe it can be the beginning of a conversation.

6.       Even when dealing with “offensive” topics, we can still be civil, respectful, and even productive!

Okay, that’s my piece for the day. Off I go, trying not to offend, but realizing it’s not the end of the world – or hopefully the conversation – if I do!

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Filed under brutal honesty, drama in cyberland, totally taboo

Gently Tackling a Touchy Topic

Sometimes there are topics that are nestled inside larger topics that I’m hesitant to touch with a ten foot pole. I don’t want to offend someone. I don’t want to hurt someone. And honestly? Sometimes I just don’t want to open myself up to the comments and responses.

But sometimes these are the topics that keep me up at night. These are the topics that have me emailing back and forth with a friend all day working through them. These are the topics that create an uneasy feeling in the pit of my belly. And so I suppose they’re worth talking about.

Today’s uncomfortable, controversial, don’t-know-how-to-broach-it topic?

Adoptive Fundraising.

It’s a topic that intimidates me to the point that I really don’t know what to say next. So I’ll go with my instincts.

I’m not a fan of adoptive fundraising.

Maybe I just don’t “get” it.

Now, I work in the fundraising field, and I generally spend my time raising money for diseases and/or the people that have them. I’m currently working on raising money for one of the deadliest cancers that there is, with one of the lowest survival rates. So I understanding fundraising, it’s power, and it’s importance. I’m not above soliciting money for something that I’m passionate about. I’ve asked friends, acquaintances, strangers, companies, you name it, for donations. But I’ve always done this in the realm of dealing with a certificed 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

I also understand that there are other legitimate reasons to fundraise. I know that lots of people do personal fundraising for all kinds of things from getting new band uniforms for the high school to being able to go on field trips. Personally? I didn’t participate in those kinds of fundraisers because my parents didn’t like them, so I was to raise money on my own by doing odd jobs, babysitting, tutoring, etc. Raising money that way didn’t happen overnight, but I earned that cheer uniform by working hard for it.

Recently, Long Board and I have spent a lot of time talking about money. We’re getting down to the nitty gritty and comparing actual incomes, expenses, and have spent countless hours talking about our future and how to budget for it. (I highlighted some of the more interesting encounters in budgeting last week.)

The fact is that at this point, there are things that we can afford and things that we cannot. We need to prioritize what those things are, and work our tails off to make sure we can afford the things that we do need. Like a place to live together. A place, which we thankfully found, and are currently sticking to a very rigid budget so that we can afford.

At this point, working our tails off includes me hitting my goals so that I can get my annual bonus. It means talking about looking for a waitressing or bartending job a couple nights a week. For Long Board it means focusing on his PhD so that he can graduate and get a job where he makes real money. It means potentially taking on a side gig as a reviewer reading/grading undergraduate’s submissions. It would be a lot of work for both of us, but it feeds into our long term plans of having children, a home, etc.

The one thing that we haven’t discussed is fundraising to accomplish this goal. I can’t imagine asking people to donate to us so that we can live this part of our dream. I can’t imagine playing to someone’s emotions about us living in a total dump unless we can raise some money. I can’t imagine asking for that kind of support and assistance.

And I couldn’t imagine doing that to have a baby either.

I understand that adoption has a lot of costs associated with it, but so does giving birth to a child. Long Board would like to have a child tomorrow, but he knows that we aren’t financially ready for that. Raising a child is a huge part of our future goals, but we know that we need to wait. We’re so ready to be awesome parents, and at this point really the ONLY thing that stands in our way is that we can’t afford it. So in theory, if we collected donations and could raise the money? We’d be set! But I just can’t feel good about that.

I don’t say all of this to make people that have done their own adoptive fundraising feel badly. I don’t say all of this to launch any personal attacks on people that are currently fundraising for a future adoption. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around it.

And I suppose somewhere underneath the general confusion about asking people for money to afford having a child is a frustration with the people that are donating. Because in the case of adoption, I can’t help but wonder if that same donation couldn’t keep a child with his Mother. If the same donation couldn’t help keep a child healthy and happy in his home country.

I have more to say, but I shouldn’t. I should stop there….because I know this is tricky territory, and honestly? I don’t feel like getting slammed today.

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Filed under all things adoption, totally taboo