Saturday, January 22, 2011
1.The act or process of entitling.
2.The state of being entitled.
3.A government program that guarantees and provides benefits to a particular group:
So I've been thinking a lot lately, about life, adoption, work, and all the craziness that is floating around in the world lately. (Can you all smell the smoke?) As I read a lot of stories, I find myself thinking over and over again...."When did we get so entitled as a society?" At what point did we transform our thinking from "I owe something to the world!" to "The world owes me!" So I started researching it a little, as a general subject, and found some pretty interesting information regarding Entitlement. Check it out...
From Suite 101
People are very aware of their entitlements, some real, some imagined. Whenever a dispute of any sort arises, people are quick to insist on their entitlements, but you seldom hear about the obligations that entitlements carry with them.
Too many people claim real and imagined entitlement to all sorts of things without giving a thought to corresponding obligations.
Every entitlement carries an obligation; even if it is only the obligation to NOT exercise the entitlement when it harms others. If obligations are ignored, entitlement soon deteriorates to just what you can get away with.
Entitlement signals a rejection of the very DNA of America. Our national genetic code, at least at one time, was patterned on respect for the common man and woman. It was sequenced by a belief in the dignity of human life that's not the consequence of having, but of being.
In the end, it's the entitled who, however rich, are truly poor. Instead of knowing life as a gift, life turns into something that's taken for granted -- or worse, begrudged. That's real poverty, and no sense of entitlement can alleviate it.
In my opinion, that's a lot to think about. It made me stop and think, that's for sure. Then, for giggles and grins, I googled "Entitlement in Adoption" since that's the area this blog covers (and the area in life I see it most) and can I just say WOW! There are tons of things to read, but one common thread rang over and over throughout the articles I came across.
Many "Adoption Professionals" (a term I use so very lightly) insist that entitlement in Adoptive Parents is necessary and essential in developing relationships with their adopted children. That worrying about what the child will later encounter in life regarding sense of self actually DETERS the required sense of entitlement. That by empathizing or being overly concerned for the Birthmother's loss will INHIBIT the sense of bonding with the child that Adoptive parents must learn to feel entitled to.
And you know what's even more interesting? I put the dictionary definition of "Entitlement" at the top of this post for everyone to review. But when you use the word in a sentence that includes adoption, the meaning changes. Read on, to see more of what the "professionals" have to say.
Apparently, in adoption circles, the definition of Entitlement goes through a fantastic metamorphosis. Birthmother's are not allowed to feel entitlement. Adoptee's (who in my opinion are the ones who should feel this the most since they are the ones who had the most taken from them) are not allowed to feel entitlement either...ESPECIALLY in regards to things such as original birth certificates, and family origin, as well as answers regarding their stories straight from the mouth of the mothers who started them. In these instances, Entitlement is a bad word and should never be used.
But when you get over into the land of Adoptive parents, the word changes. In AP circles, Entitlement's definition changes. It then means, "Developing a sense that a child "belongs" in the family, even though she wasn't born into it." or "Entitlement, to parents, means that we feel whole in our parenting." or my personal favorite..."Developing a sense of entitlement is an ongoing process of growth rather than a single task identifiably completable, and the success of an adoption is related to the degree to which this sense of entitlement has been acquired by each adoptive family member rather than to its being seen as achieved or not achieved."
I think it's fantastic that adoption is a magic wand that can change the meaning of a word. It's almost as cool as how an amended birth certificate can completely change who a person is. (And that my friends is sarcasm.)
There are lots of great tools to use to build sense of entitlement too, in fact these articles were full of great one liners...here's a few gems:
"I am only doing what I feel is in the best interest of my child"
"I wanted it to be easier than this, so I am going to stop worrying about your pain and focus on our family. That's what you said you wanted."
and my personal "favorite", I found buried deep, deep in the Internet,
"If the court says that it is "as if this child were born to me" then his birthmother is going to have to accept that. The law is the law."
Anyways, just some food for thought. We (me included) all suffer from the disease of entitlement. Here's to hoping we find a cure...
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
So...my last post seemed to really get people fired up.
I wrote about the blessing/curse of Statcounter, my favorite blog stalkers, and how I was trying to get over stalking what my stalkers were doing. Just me venting a frustration on a blog thats purpose is for me to vent my frustrations. Nothing new. It was the comments that really took me by surprise. No matter what side of the fence they were on, a lot of people REALLY got pissed. At me, at them, at whatever. It's America...we have freedom of speech, and so I posted each comment-one by one. Even the one that stung. The one that made me cry. The one that made me think. The one that rebutted that one. The one after that. And on and on. And you know what I decided? I don't want to moderate comments anymore. It's your world people...speak your mind. It's too much power in my little hands. I don't want to be in the postion to referee. I just want to hear people's perspectives. I don't ever comment back when people leave their thoughts because I don't want to A.) Start a comment war, or B.) influence another's raw opinion. It doesn't mean I don't love each and every comment...but I always feel like I threw my views out in the post...the comments are for others. Just in case you were wondering....
I also removed StatCounter from the blog. It seems like the only healthy way to continue blogging. I can't worry about who is reading what. Or why. I just want to blog. And guess what...I have a quote for it...
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. For if you gaze too long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche.
That's how I feel about StatCounter. The abyss was not only gazing...it was drowning me. Swallowing me. And I couldn't do it anymore. So it's gone.
Now what does that have to do with Adoption being a business transaction??? The answer is nothing. I just needed to get that off my chest. Moving on now....
So back to the business of it all. The comment that started the uproar is the feature of this post. Apparently, this reader held very strong views of me and how I am proceeding on my adoption journey. I am featuring it here...not to trash their opinion...not to agree or disagree with their point as a whole, but merely to share another person's view of adoption...one that I especially do not agree with. Here goes.....
I have spent the afternoon reading your blog. After years of fertility problems I became pregnant. Then I lost the baby to an incompetent cervix. Now I'm fortunately pregnant again. My husband and I have contemplated adoption. I hear your pain, and it frustrates me. You made a solid decision to put your child up for adoption. Your decision has blessed M and L so much with this gift. Now you need to let them form their family and leave them alone. Please stay in counseling. You chose a closed adoption, so accept your decision. Your husband has and I hope you will too in time. You need to focus on your other children and take comfort that the youngest is being well taken care of by her loving parents. Stop being selfish and focus on your other kids' futures.
An adoption is a business transaction. You need to realize that except for the baby, you and M and L would have probably never had met in real life and were even less likely to be friends. It's over with and has been so for 1 year and 9 months and 6 days. Move on. Start by taking that ticker off of the top of your blog.
The baby is fine with her loving mommy and daddy. They will always appreciate you for your loving gift. The baby may seek you out one day when she is grown, and if she does that will be her choice.
After reading your blog, I honestly understand why so many potential adoptive parents prefer a closed adoption or an international adoption. I am glad you have this blog as it gives you a creative outlet. Take that creativity and expand your horizons. Please look toward your future. You are in my prayers. "
Her opinion is no more or less important than anyone else's. As a mother myself, I feel sadness and sorrow for the child she lost. And I will say nothing negative about the child she and her husband are about to bring into this world. I will say, however, for the sake of the child they contemplated adopting, and for the sake of that child's mother that I am VERY glad they are "fortunately pregnant" again. I wish them the best with their future biological children. And I am happy that while this is a very passive aggressive comment, at least she will be including me in her prayers. That I got her thinking, just as she got me thinking. In all honesty, there are a few things she said that really hit home. There are a few things the other commenters said that did as well. I won't say that this Anonymous commenter is right or wrong as a whole. But I do want to say a few quick things.
1. Adoption (for me) was NOT a business transaction. Lauren did not have a UPC barcode on her butt when she was born. I was not handed a receipt, and I most CERTAINLY was not informed of any return policy. I do think that Adoption can be a lucrative business (especially for agencies), but when contemplating adoption...when choosing adoption...and while being forced to live with the fallout from this adoption...I never once thought of it as a business transaction. If anything, I would have sold my soul to not be in the position to place her with anyone other than us.
2. Children are not gifts. Lauren was also not born with a big red bow on her head. I didn't create her in order to give as a gift to some upper middle class white woman so she would feel better about her own infertility. I am sure she will provide her parents with many gifts in the future (I know mine do), but she herself was NOT a gift. She was a baby. She is a person.
3. I love my ticker, and I will NEVER remove it. Every day that passes I am able to be glad I survived another day.
4. At an adoption conference I attended (Yes the one where I spit out the phrase "Crack Whore" amongst a room full of shocked LDS Members) an adoptee stood up and tried very hard to make it a point that Adoptive Parents NOT WAIT until the child is an adult to tell them their adoption story. To anyone considering adoption, please look into this prior to adopting. I am obviously not an adoptee, so I can't speak from firsthand experience on what is right or wrong. I am simply saying educate yourself.
5. If Lauren seeks me out or not, it will be her choice. Based on her desires, not what was taught to her, or told to her. Taryn is living proof that children will come to their own conclusions about how they feel regarding their stories. Brainwashing doesn't work. DNA is thicker than an ammended birth certificate. But above all, even if she doesn't...it'll be her choice.
6. Last but not least...here's some free life advice in regards to adoption. This line irritated me almost more than any other...You need to realize that except for the baby, you and M and L would have probably never had met in real life and were even less likely to be friends. When I read this, I couldn't help but think, "Is this what THEY think?" Her statement was full of truth...except for saying I "didn't realize" this. To everyone reading...I FULLY REALIZE THIS. For the record, I didn't need any new friends. I didn't get pregnant to make new friends. In fact, the adoption killed the majority of the friendships I had prior. And it built me some of the most amazing ones ever after the fact. I have no doubt they try to be the best parents they can be, but rest assured that I don't view them as such amazing people that my life would have never been complete if we hadn't faked friendship for seven months. And on top of that...I hope they realize that except for me, and my lack of education, my own ignorance, and my poor decision...they would have never been parents. I hope EVERY potential adoptive parent that feels the way this commenter does about birthmothers realizes that simple truth...no crisis pregnancy=no paper pregnancy.
So that's all for now. I am worn out.
Any thoughts? Feel free to comment....the moderation is off! :)
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
I have been asked a lot lately where I've been, what I've been doing, if I am OK, and more so than all the others combined...when am I planning on blogging again. On Facebook, on Formspring, via text, via phone, via whatever. The simple answer would be to say that I was busy with the holidays, both personally and professionally.
But the reality of where I am is a lot more complex. I am here...but not really. I have plenty to say, but not at this time. I want to scream in outrage at a lot of things that are happening in my life, or with adoption in general. I want to celebrate some of the amazing things that have happened as well. About my New Year's Epiphany of the gifts each of my children have brought to me. Of the ridiculous Mother and Child movie I watched seven times last week. Of the AMAZING book LifeGivers that Kelsey recommended that provided so much wisdom and clarity.
But my voice is silent. I open my mouth to speak, and nothing comes out. I sit down to type, and my fingers refuse to move.
Those of you that truly know me, know what a crazy notion that is. I never run out of things to say. Silence makes me more uncomfortable than any other action on the planet. I will talk about nothing for hours at a time just to avoid the silence. But now it surrounds me, envelopes me, and prevents me from venting, educating, or blogging. Why? The answer is simple.
THEY have found the blog. They being L* and M*.
They know what I think. They know how I feel. They are aware of the ache that almost ripped my family to shreds. They have known since July, right after they refused the help of a friend who lives in a successful open adoption. And it is apparent that nothing I ever say or do will sway them to see things from this side of the fence.
Stat Counter is a funny thing. With just a little bit of information, I can tell who looks at what, when they look, and how long they stay. For example, I could have told you what time Lauren naps from their viewing patterns, long before they ever shared that information with me. I know when they vacation or at least take a five day haitus from reading. I know that when one of you makes a pretty blunt comment on a post that they go and check out your information. And then check the blog for follow-up comments, over and over and over again.
At first it didn't bother me. I blogged away, thankful for the therapy that it provided. Thankful for the other perspectives it brought into my life. Hoping maybe something would make them stop and think twice about their actions or lack thereof. Happy to hear once in awhile that something I wrote persuaded another set of adoptive parents to not treat their birthmother as I had been treated. Proud to be featured or to guest blog on another site because of the views of my own. But then it changed. It started to eat at me. It began to bother me and that bother began to turn into hatred. Hatred turns into vengeance. Vengeance turns into something evil...something in the opposite direction of the forgiveness I am seeking, towards them, and more importantly for myself. (I will be using that all year Von...Thank you!!!)
In trying to maintain my daily life outside of the black cloud of adoption, I cancelled memberships at several adoption sites. I backed away from spending my evenings on the computer seeking answers to questions that had none. I spent time with my amazing family and rediscovered how much I love being their Mom. I patched things completely with Taryn, who coincidentally may be moving back with me VERY soon. (So much for the brainwashing...lol) Life was good. My grief and my pain surrounding my personal adoption experience had not found closure, but it had finally found containment. But soon enough I found myself checking StatCounter more and more frequently, until it became an obsession of its own. The worst times were when they and I would be on the blog at the same time. Ahhh...if only I were telekinetic, more than one screen would have blown up in their faces. Instead, I simply printed all the stat counter reports, and placed them in my Pandora's Box...one more thing to show Lauren in later years that I tried to be somewhat involved, in some small way, and it was they who refused.
My irritation didn't fully boil over until Christmas. I enjoyed the entire day with my family, and avoided the computer. That evening, long after my kids were in bed, I checked my special email box, thinking that there was no way in the world they could be heartless enough to ignore that day. That even if they wrote nothing to me, that human decency would not allow them to neglect sending a picture. I know they set up a stupid schedule, but really....who can ignore Christmas? But the inbox sat empty. Nothing was sent. But there, in my Statcounter report...their IP address...what they looked at, and for how long. Enraged doesn't begin to describe where I was. How could they take the time on Christmas to blog stalk, but not send a picture? I vented briefly, cried a few tears, and then swore to not let this set me back. After all...the blog is technically public, anyone can view it, and so I shouldn't be upset that they were on it...at least, that was the "please don't freak out" feedback that was given to me. If I wanted to continue to use it as therapy, I could make it a private blog, send out email invites, and just go from there. But I don't want to do that. Private blogs are a pain in the butt, and I would be sad if someone missed out on a random bit of usefulness I wrote. But I cannot use it for therapy anymore, since they read it. Welcome to yet another rock and a hard place. They took my trust, they took my love, they have Lauren....but now I feel they have taken the one thing I have left...my blog.
Technically public.....what an interesting concept. Really, when you think about it, it's crazy. And lots and lots and lots of information is technically public. Names, addresses, phone numbers, relatives, Facebook pages, Traffic Tickets...the list goes on and on. But there are still boundaries in this life. Invisible lines we aren't supposed to cross. The blog is mine. Their "privacy" is theirs.
I wondered for a long time how they would feel if I did a whole post on the public information I have on them. The completely public information ANYONE could accquire on them. All of the things they purposely didn't share with me, but were found in a matter of minutes and only a few clicks. I know from personal experience, some of you would love that information, if only to share a piece of your minds. Technically public right? Of how they would feel if I gave that information out and then sat in my living room laughing at the mess it would make, just as I envisioned them laughing at me on Christmas Day.
Instead, I did nothing. I just stopped blogging. It is empty...it is souless...and it is tainted, like everything else in this experience has turned out to be. And I have other things to worry about.
Thank GOD for personal growth. Vengeance is not mine....forgiveness can be.