There is a lot of negativity in the adoption world. It seems I’ve been running into it more and more lately. I had reason to speak to an adult adopted person and she told me that she prefers to use a negative approach to speak for adoption reform instead of a positive one. There are people that have had negative experiences with their own adoptions that have preferred to focus on the negative parts of their adoptions instead of the more positive aspects. Then of course there’s all the negative stereotypes about birth moms and adoption in general that were publicized by the atrocious TLC show, “Birth Moms.”
I know that it seems easier to focus on the negative especially if you’re in a situation that seems to have no positive aspects. If your child’s parents have not kept up their end of the agreement at relinquishment or if there was no openness to begin with then it seems there’s no positive. I’ll admit in such situations that it would be very hard to focus on the positive.
So with all the negativity, why not just join in? It’s the more difficult path to walk when you decide to focus on the positive things. This does not mean you can’t speak out about the negative aspects of adoption that need reform or at least addressing. I’ve spoken out about negatives that need changing in my own blog. But even if my own situation was less than the positive situation that it is, I would hope that I would still concentrate on finding the positive.
Maybe it’s just my personality. I tend to think of myself as fairly grounded in reality but I also like to view the more positive side of the equation. I also think that change isn’t accomplished negatively. I believe wars don’t really accomplish much other than killing people. Certainly you could say that people might change eventually just to get the squeaky wheel oiled, so to speak. But it’s rather like discipline to me. I’d rather have a carrot motivating in front of me than a stick beating from behind. When speaking of adoption I think it’s especially important to be a positive motivator for change. Birth moms in general over the years have been viewed as an unknown enigma meant to be feared. The stereotypes about us are all negative and I believe if we focus on the negative when advocating for change or even in our own situations that we will simply add to the negative view of us as a whole. I don’t personally know a single birth mom that fits the stereotypes of us and I think the more of us that don’t fit those stereotypes, the more that society will be less likely to want to cram us all into that feared box.
How do we focus on the positive? I can’t tell you the specifics of how because I don’t know your own situation. If you aren’t able to watch your child growing in updates and/or visits, trust that he or she is growing up in the family you wanted for him or her. Come to peace with the factors that affected your relinquishment. It’s too late to change them now, and allowing yourself to focus on the negative will eventually affect your life negatively. In my own relinquishment I’ve come to peace with what happened and that has helped a lot. I’ve owned up to the parts of the equation that I could control and let go of the parts that I couldn’t. Believe that even the negatives in your own situation can and will eventually work for the positive if you let them. When I made the decision to marry my ex-husband it wasn’t one of the best decisions of my life. But if I hadn’t met and married him I wouldn’t have met the man with whom I believe I will spend the rest of my life. Yes, sometimes it takes hindsight to see the positive and sometimes it’s hard when you’re still in the situation as you are when speaking of adoption. Adoption is a lifetime circumstance. But I also believe that a daily inventory of what has changed positively about your life as a result of relinquishment and what you know that you desired for your child that’s come true can go a long way toward changing your focus and your attitude.