Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sharing Ourselves

Since my closed adoption I have struggled with many issues. One specifically has been how and when to share and how much to share. As I've shared my story with others, I can see for some it has been a burden. For that reason, I have become increasingly sensitive to them. Some people are curious and want to know more. Some people judge me and my actions and motives. I've learned that if I'm not feeling particularly strong or confident in that moment in that situation, sharing my shortcomings is not my best move.

So how do we know when to share? And what to share? I think first we need to be willing to tell others about the parts of us that are not so pretty. After building up a friendship or two, start sharing about your story. Start small. Maybe you still don’t share every wretched detail of everything. But share the main point and a lesson or two you’ve learned along the way. You may be surprised that when you are vulnerable enough to share, your friend is empowered also.

Years ago my husband and I were on vacation with another couple. The gal and I didn’t know each other that well but the way the arrangements worked out, she and I were alone in a car for several hours that weekend. We spent time talking and getting to know each other. We had just had our first baby after years of trying, and she and her husband had tried for years but still didn’t have a child of their own.

Normally I am very open about my first pregnancy, but for some reason I was slow to share that with her. Anyway, on the return trip, I took a chance and told her about my pregnancy at 15. What came out of her mouth next could not have surprised me more. She confessed to three previous abortions and was convinced that’s why they weren’t getting pregnant.

Now, in that case I may have gotten more than I bargained for BUT I never would have known that about her if I had not taken a risk and shared. Because I had that information, I knew how to better pray for her and support her during all of her fertility treatments.

Your adoption experience has purpose. Even when we don't understand. Be sensitive about who to share what with, but do take courage and open up when the opportunity presents itself.

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