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Can We Please Stop the Adoption Mommy Wars?

~ By Elizabeth Ehlen

Have you heard the term "Mommy Wars?" Originally used to define the tension between stay at home moms (SAHMS) and working moms, it has turned into vilifying any parenting choice that may be different from someone else's, regardless of circumstances. Recent popular topics have included breast vs. bottle, vaginal vs. c-section, cloth vs. disposable, young vs. old, homeschool vs. traditional school.

Stop the adoption mommy wars

Unfortunately, the mommy wars have spread to adoption, or at least we have applied that all or nothing terminology to various aspects. Adoption mommy wars erupt over issues like domestic vs. international, infant vs. older, open vs. closed, and transracial vs. same race adoption. Of course this extends to birth parents too; and I'm utterly stunned at how much judgment they receive not just from society at large, but other birth parents and adoptive parents. They have already made an insanely hard decision, and they made it with the best information they had at the time. Shaming them for not knowing or the decision they made or being honest about the experience they had is unconscionable. With the prevalence of social media and "support" forums for adoption (some of which are anything but supportive) the adoption mommy wars have escalated to the point of ridiculous. There will always be people who judge you for the choices you make and truth be told you probably don't agree with theirs either. Guess what? That's ok.

What? It's ok to disagree? Why no, everyone must believe what I believe or they are abusing their children.

Yeah, that's what you sound like.

Sometimes in the same breath that you utter a statement espousing tolerance and peace and love for all creaturekind. In my ebook, Adoption Options: For Prospective Adoptive Parents I write:

"During this process, you should evaluate what type of adoption works best for your family. Every family is different, and once you decide which adoption is the best method for you don't let anyone try to sway you from it. Many people will tell families pursuing international adoption that they should adopt domestically because of all the kids here that need them, just to lay down some cosmic guilt trip. We have also heard the reverse argument that kids here are well cared for compared to those in overseas orphanages, so why aren't you rescuing a kid who really needs you? The reality is that not every type of adoption works for every family, and as long as you are accurately assessing your families' strengths and weaknesses and choosing the adoption that will work for you, it is okay."
You should probably consider what actually works best for your family, not what someone hiding behind a Facebook page or a Twitter handle thinks.

Dont hide behind facebook

Don't misunderstand, I'm all for information gathering. You can actually find valid information on Facebook and websites, but shockingly, not everything you read on the interwebs is true. More importantly, the information you gather has to be used to make a decision that works for you. Many of us get information paralysis, where we just can't make a decision because of info overload. If you want to adopt (or place a child for adoption, for that matter) a decision has to be made. At some point, life has to happen. And that life will be filled with mistakes.

That's also ok. Making mistakes is part of how we learn, and no amount of information will prevent them. So adoptive mommies let me tell you it is ok to ask questions, it is ok to make mistakes, and it is okay to disagree with each other. Birth mommies let me tell you that the type of family you wanted to place with, the type of contact you wanted or wanted to change later, the experience you wanted your child to have growing up is ok. It's ok if you love or hate your experience, and it's ok to inform others in case they want to follow or avoid your path. What is not ok is to SCREAM at someone, call them nasty names or refuse to validate their experience. Just don't assume that their experience will be yours or vice versa. Live your life; live your adoption.