How do I respond to anti-adoption comments?
I was shocked to discover that there is a group of people out there who actually, actively hate adoption. How do you respond to people who say that all adoption is bad, that all adoptive parents are baby stealers, and that all birth moms are dupes?
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My initial response is one of defense. As a person who has always stood up for herself, I find it very hard at times to say nothing, do nothing, when people are being mean or hurtful to me or my friends.
I am guessing I am not alone in that line of thinking, right?
But in this instance, is it better to fight or—in a very real sense—take flight and back down? What is the best path to take?
First off, trying to reason with people who are actively anti can be a lost battle in and of itself. Some may be thinking that's not true, and you may be right. However, in my experience, people who are anti in any way really can't be turned in the set course they are moving in. I liken it to trying to stop a moving, fast-flowing river. You can talk and shout all you want at the river, but is it really going to go anywhere? In the end, have you stopped that moving river from going in its course?
It's a harsh reality, but people who have such deep set feelings and strongly oppose anyone really can't be reasoned with at that time. You won't be able to change their opionion, and getting in a fight will not help anything. It will only make things worse. Both sides will feel deeper pits of resentment which will fester and grow till consumption.
So to answer your question, "How do I respond to anti-adoption questions?" I feel like the answer is you just have to bear your heart out about how adoption is a beautiful thing and that you believe it with all your heart and then end the conversation like that. They'll probably respond and tell you you're an idiot and that you're a baby snatcher, but you have to just let those comments roll away. They're not true. You know it; we know it. I know it's hard to do, but really, that's the best way. You just can't let comments like that hurt you and your family.
Someday, overtime, that raging river will thin and slow down. Maybe then, if you ever have an encounter like that again, you will be able to change the course of their thinking. But it really has to be done in a way that is nonconfrontational. Maybe try standing at the edge of the corral and shaking the oats at the horse instead of running at it, oats flying out of the pail. The point is, aside from all these metaphors, you win more friends with sugar than you do with salt. A more positive experience with a person who truly understands adoption may one day change a person who feels resentment and hate towards adoption.
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I agree with Caroline, comments like these are the worst. As a birth mom, a lot of the ones I get are about what a terrible person I was to just "give away" my child. I know a lot of adoptive parents who are shamed for not having 'their own' biological kids, or demonized for 'taking babies away from their moms'. And for adoptees, how 'messed up' they are because someone 'didn't want them'. Adoption, for some, is just so unnatural and terrible.
Something that I try to keep in mind is that most people who say these things have had a bad experience with adoption, or are simply uneducated. IF I have the time and I think it will be helpful, sometimes I ask them why they said that. Oftentimes that opens a conversation that helps me to understand where they are coming from. Sometimes the result has been great, and I've been able to help people understand that their bad experience or impression of adoption isn't the way it always is, and sometimes just talking about their experience heals some of their adoption-related pain.
Other times, people aren't able to give me an answer when I ask them why they made a negative comment about adoption. Those people are often simply uneducated, and I've been able to have some productive conversations to gently educate and help people understand and have a more positive view of adoption.
However, like Caroline said, there are just some people who are stuck in their ways. Most people won't be swayed from their opinion, no matter how wrong it is. With these people, there's no sense wasting your time and energy trying to convince them otherwise. In situations like these, you just have to remind yourself that they are coming from a place of either hurt or ignorance, and move on. You can just say "You know what? I don't think this conversation is going to be productive and I'd rather talk about something else". It's hard, but it's all you can do. If you are close to the person who is making the comments, it might be best to just avoid the subject with them altogether.
Eventually you get a sense for which type of person you're talking to, and whether it will be worth it to have a discussion with them. It takes practice and a lot of trial and error, but as time goes on you get better and better.
This article might be helpful for you.
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I agree with the sentiments above whole heartedly! I also wanted to add that I follow many of these groups to gain a bit of perspective. Much of what they state is very hard to read. However, it is clear that those posting these things are coming from a place of hurt. It is also important to recognize and admit that some things they are stating may be true in their situations. For someone who has had their child essentially kidnapped by the foster system, they may believe that adoption is kidnapping. While their generalization is not true, their experiences and feelings on the subject may be very validated.
In reality, going into
and trying to "fight back" will not work. They are not stating this hatred because they want their minds change. They are very firm in
what they believe
. The best thing to do in this situation is listen. On one group, an adoptee brought up how they felt sad because they did not have a copy of their original birth certificate with their birth parents names on it. She felt very much that she had a right to this and that birth certificates should remain original. I took a while to put myself in her shoes and could understand where she was coming from. Because I had something positive to say, I wrote, "As an adoptive parent, I have never thought of this before. Thank you. That makes a lot of sense." The simple acknowledgement that her feelings were valid was received quite well.
The only "changing of minds" you will do is through positivity and validation. Look for those opportunities. I am reminded of the quote, "You do not have to attend every fight to which you are invited."
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