Friday, October 16, 2009

what NOT to say.


The reason I chose this picture....
because Andrea is usually the person I go to when someone has offended me, because she can relate... and she is always SO supportive. Everytime.

I'm going to try really hard to

1- not be offensive
and
2- get my point across

with this post.

For the last couple of weeks I have been thinking about making a list of things not to say to a birth mother.

Well,
I'm at least going to try to make it a list.

For the most part I have the most amazing people in my life.
The most amazing supporters.

95% of the people I come across and interact with each day know exactly what to say to me when we talk about adoption.
They are GREAT and always make me feel so good about myself! (lol)

But of course,
there are always those few people that say some offensive things or that don't think before they speak.

I'm not one that is super sensitive about the things people say.
in fact,
most of the time,
people say something that might be offensive and then back track or try to fix it because they think I was offended. Most of the time, I'm not. At all.

But,
there are times that I am.
There are times where I just have to smile and nod and hold back the tears while I'm talking to them. (then when I go home I cry and write an angry blog post about how I can't believe someone would say that to me...but then I don't publish it and usually erase it after a couple of days when I've cooled off!)

So,
this post is just simply to educate the few that MAY sometimes say things that they don't think about before saying or just simply for the people that don't know what COULD be offensive.

(I will probably be adding to this list every now and then when someone says something to me that is shockingly insensitive :)...and a link to this post will be put on the my sidebar)

Okay here we go,
Remember, this is what NOT to do/say.


1. Don't say things like: "Why didn't/don't you just give me the baby? Obviously you don't want 'it'"

There is little that someone could say to me that would offend me more than this statement. The funniest part about this, is that the first girl that said this to me was 18 years old and still senior in high school at the time. I was so angry with her that I let her know how much she offended me and was quite blunt. Usually I don't tell someone when I've been offended by them... She hasnt' talked to me since.

2. Don't say "Well I had my child out of wedlock and parented as a single parent...and they turned out just fine."
in other words you might as well say, "I can't belive you placed your child for adoption in a home with BOTH parents. That was seriously the wrong decision and I have less respect for you because of it." If you do not agree with my decision to place, either ASK QUESTIONS about why I placed...nicely...instead of being downright rude, or keep your opinions to yourself. If you ask me questions, I will be more than happy to honestly answer. I want more than anything to educate those people that are not aware of the miracle of adoption on THE MIRACLE OF ADOPTION.

Anyone that knows the truth about adoption, can't have negative feelings towards it. I don't see how that is possible. However, there is opposition in all things so I guess you never know.

3. don't say: "I can't believe you gave your baby away"
First off, I didn't 'give Avery away' I placed her for adoption. There is a difference. A huge difference. and Second, giving something away means giving it to someone that you (most likely) don't know and never wanting anything to do with it again. That's not the case. I knew Dustin and Andrea well before I placed Avery into their arms, to be adopted by them, so that she could have a family to be sealed to and two parents in the same home that love each other. AND I definitely want A LOT to do with Avery. That is why this is an open adoption. I love her more than anything and I always ALWAYS want to know how she is doing.


4. If you are married, pregnant and parenting this baby, do NOT complain to a birthmother OR an infertile couple, about your pregnancy.
Don't complain about how long you have to wait or how uncomfortable you are because I can GUARANTEE that when you DO complain to these people, you are causing much grief emotionally on their end. When I was pregnant, I complained about how long it was taking because I knew I wasn't getting anything in the end except more pain and heartache. I want more than anything to be able to create my own child and carry him/her for nine months and THEN parent him/her after he/she is born. It's hard to explain, but it's very hard to hear an expectant mother complain to me about how miserable she is. I just want to strangle her when she does and I'm sure infertile mothers feels the same way. I just want to say to her "At least this is YOUR child and you're not going to be dealing with incredible emotional pain after she is born."


5. Don't complain about being a mother
I'm sure this goes for adoptive parents too. I know that when the time is right for me to have my own kids, I will be so eternally grateful that I can be their mother. I will cherish every moment with them. So don't complain to me about how hard motherhood is. It's harder to give birth to your child and then willingly relinquish your rights as a mother. Until you have done that, don't complain.


6. Don't say "There are people out there who have it worse than you"
Frankly, this shouldn't be said about ANY trial a person is going through regardless of what it is. Saying that does NOT make the pain any easier. Saying that to someone is completely belittling their trial and that is SO wrong to do. I'm sure the person going through it doesn't think they have it worse than everyone else in this world, I know I don't. But it still hurts. Belittling it does not make them feel any better in fact for me, it makes me feel worse.


7. Don't treat someone placing their child for adoption as 'not that big of a deal'
I heard a story the other day. A good friend of mine had just BARELY placed and she was showing her coworkers pictures of her. One of them walked up to her and said "Cute baby, too bad you gave her away." and then walked away. WOW. That's SOO insensitive. Apparantly this person has NO idea what she had just gone through.


That's all for now.
I am sure I will add more later.

Please don't feel like you're walking on pins and needle's when talking to me about adoption though.
I LOVE talking about it and most of the things said don't upset me.

These things are quite obvious, but you would be suprised by some of the things I hear.
I really hope that nothing I said has offended anyone because that is the last thing I am trying to do. I am just hoping to give some insight on some of the things that I have had a very hard time not taking offense to.

(Birthmoms and Adoptive Families, Please feel free to add to this list by leaving a comment!)

31 comments:

birthMOM said...

here's one ive encountered.....

I COULD NEVER DO THAT.

well, do you love your child(ren)? would you sacrifice everything for the safety/betterment/benefit/protection of your child(ren)?
oh you do/could? then YES you could 'do that'.

Cami said...

thanks for the post!

Anonymous said...

I'm Buffie's mom (Our Happy Family)and so I know how insensitive people can be. Buffie is very protective of Baylee's birth mom and she loves her and keeps her in her prayers EVERY day. People don't realize the bond that an adoptive mom and the birth mom have with one another. I know that they knew each other in the pre-existence and loved each other then too. I admire birth mom's so much. The love that they have for their sweet babies is the unconditional love that our Savior has for us. They aren't thinking of how they will feel when their empty arms will ache, but what is best for that sweet little spirit. I just wanted to thank you and all those unselfish birth mom's out there for placing your sweet babies in the arms of your "sisters" who have also had arms that ache to hold and love a baby. Baylee has brought so much joy and happiness into our whole family. We will forever protect birth moms. We love you all. Love from a very proud Pawme

Andrea said...

Well said! Love you Andee.

Val said...

I really appreciate this post! #4 hits home & I'd never thought of #5 (which is very airhead-ed of me.) Your posts are so heartfelt, real and applicable. Thank you!

StefanieJinelle said...

I agree with this whole post. If this was on Facebook. I would "like this."

And I agree with birthMOM the, "I could never do that." People with/without kids. What do I even say to that? The people with kids you feel dumb like, I'm glad things worked out for you then. Or without kids, I'm pretty sure you could if you were in that situation. Sometimes when I would tell people when I was pregnant I was placing and they would say that I would think, "Well, if they couldn't do it... they'd parent." And I'd always rethink my decision. It'd always go back to adoption.
It's difficult all around.

Mary (MEM) said...

A couple of months ago when I was getting my hair cut it came up that my daughter was adopted. The hair dresser said, "I could never give my baby up". Although I didn't say these exact words (which I learned from the r house) I said something to the effect of "Most people aren't capable of loving that deeply!"

brittany michelle said...

great job.

Erika said...

I appreciate your post. Stefanie is my sister and I don't want to be insensitive to her.

However, I do have one point to make. I believe that it is a little unrealistic and a little unfair to expect a mother not to complain about being a mother. To expect that is actually belittling, in my opinion. It's basically saying, "Well, you don't know what TRUE sacrifice is because you have never had to place your child, so I better not hear about how you have a hard time raising your kids." The fact is that being a mother (birth mom or not) is HARD and it can be overwhelming. Not to say that I don't "cherish every moment," but there are some moments that I'd rather not have to cherish. Those moments tend to be the ones where I learn that there are certain things that I don't like about myself.

That being said, I try to be careful about what I say to my sister so I don't hurt her. And I do try not to complain about being a mother. I'm just not perfect and I hope that she (and other birth moms) realize that we can't always be careful in everything that we say. I hope that my comment doesn't offend.

H2K FAMILY BLOG said...

Andee,
Thanks for this post, a lot of the same things are said to adoptive parents and it makes me crazy how people who know so little about adoption have opinions.

To Erika, it isn't that you can't complain about being a parent, but don't complain to a birth mother or an adoptive mother about parenthood. Because it comes across insensitive to those of us tho have spent hours on our knees praying for the chance to raise a child. My sister has at times vented to me her frustrations with parenting, and I have to end the conversation because it hurts too much to hear.

It isn't unrealistic or unfair to ask you be respectful about motherhood, when you are talking to a birth mother or adoptive mother. Surely there are other people in your life you can vent to that aren't as sensitive to the subject.

Be grateful, you have never felt the heavy burden of empty arms.

Amstel said...

Andee,

Awesome post. I just came across your blog today. I'm a 23-year-old birthmom to Deanna Marie (age 4), and one of the things I absolutely despise hearing is, "What if you aren't able to have any more kids?" or "What if you have all boys and never another little girl?"

I'm not sure how to respond to that..."I will?" But the truth is that we never know for sure how the future will turn out. That doesn't just apply to adoption, but to every single aspect of life! We don't know what's ahead, but we can only put our faith in the Lord and know that He has a bigger plan for each of us than we could possibly imagine. It certainly doesn't help when people put "what if" thoughts into your head. Thanks for standing up for all of the birthmoms out there!

Amy Hutton
http://amstel-life.blogspot.com

Katie BQ said...

Thank you- DITTO to all of this! Great post. I agree with the others who have added "I could never do that". It's insulting, and insinuates that I loved my son less than you would have in the same position. Ridiculous. I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't realize how much love it takes to make such a difficult choice possible AND positive. To immediately assume you couldn't do it either discounts your own strength or discounts the eternal value of adoption. Either is unacceptable to me!

:)

TomandSteph said...

We adopted our daughter and adore her birthmom more than words can say. This was such a beautiful post and one I think a lot of people need to hear. Thanks for sharing!

Savannah said...

My jaw just dropped with a few of those comments. I am so glad it's only a small percentage of people you encounter that are hurtful and that you have so much positive to counter balance it.

Great post, thanks for doing it. I found it educational and I am glad to say I thought to each one, "I would never say that!" Yet, knowing me, I will still no doubt end up sticking my foot in my mouth sooner or later.

Our Happy Family said...

I loved this post and I really think I am going to put this post on my blog also.
I see my mom made a comment about this post and I completely agree with what she said: We will forever protect birth moms.
That is one thing that when people start asking about our adoption I am very protective of our daughter's birth mom/birth dad. If it was not for you wonderful birth parents out there then us adoptive parents would not have a family.
Thank you Andee and thank you to all of you birth parents and for your loving choice you made.
Buffie

Jewls said...

Andee--
I just found your blog over at the R House. Just want to say that I think you're amazing! My husband and I are working on our adoption paperwork and it has been such a journey! I feel like I've learned a lot and I am so excited to meet our birth mother! Thanks for sharing all of these things to be sensitive about!

P.S. Do you mind if I add you to my adoption blog? I think that your blog could be a great resource for mothers deciding whether to place or not!

Julie

Malone and Brittany said...

Hi! I stumbled across your blog from another person's blog, and I just love this post! Not long ago, someone said something very hurtful to our birthmom. They told her that she was just placing her daughter because she was selfish. My husband and I were livid! We couldn't believe someone would actually let those words come out of their mouths. So thank you for your work in educating people about the miracle of adoption. We try to ignore the rude comments we get, but sometimes it's just too much.

Que and Brittany are adopting a baby boy! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kyle and Jessica said...

Hey Andee, my husband and I have our papers in with LDS family services right now, and you said that all so well! I really can't believe people say things like that to birthmothers! Anyways, I just want to thank you for sharing your story. I think you are an absolutely amazing girl, and look up to you SO much!

MrsKish said...

Thank you! All your points were well said and perfectly to the point.

Jen said...

Hey, I found your blog through a link... I just wanted to say, I'm sorry people are so rude, and I count myself pretty lucky to be surrounded by such supportive people. Maybe it's just where I am, because when I was pregnant in NJ, I came across a lot of those rude comments as well... especially #2 and #3. People would see how sad and frustrating it was for me, and actually think they were HELPING by making me question my decision! I'm glad I didn't listen to them. Thanks for sharing.

The Millers said...

I have always been very careful about who I tell, which is probably the reason why I have never heard anything insensitive come my way when I tell people I placed a baby. When BF stopped my adoption, one of the things he told me was #1 "why don't you just give the baby to me, you obviously don't want it". Talk about a true shot to the heart, I could have strangled him, and I would have wanted to strangle anyone who might have said that to me.

A few weeks ago a lady who was inadvertently working with a young pregnant girl (who kept her baby) said that she was given a letter from an obviously clueless relative who basically advertised themselves to her and asked her to give them the child. How can people be so stupid?

This list is awesome! I am fortunate to have never been in a situation like this, but I have hear MANY because I have many birthmoms as dear friends.

Anonymous said...

"Don't complain about being a mother
I'm sure this goes for adoptive parents too. I know that when the time is right for me to have my own kids, I will be so eternally grateful that I can be their mother. I will cherish every moment with them. So don't complain to me about how hard motherhood is. It's harder to give birth to your child and then willingly relinquish your rights as a mother. Until you have done that, don't complain."


When I read this, my jaw just dropped. What gives you the right to tell other mothers that they can't complain about motherhood in front of you because you made the decision to place your child for adoption? Don't punish other people for a choice you made that was NOT out of your hands. Nobody forced you to do this! I am not saying that it was a wrong decision AT ALL. It was your decision to make. We are all human! Of course we are going to complain about being a parent at times!! That is normal! And for you to say that you won't when you have children of your own is a total joke! You don't know that!! It's an extremely rewarding, but extremely hard job that never ends! If it was an easy job that only gave you blessings, you probably wouldn't have had to place your child. It is NOT easy! It takes a lot of work!! I just think that it is so unfair for you to get angry at people or tell the that they can't complain about parenthood! Not fair at all!

Andee said...

Anonymous,
I never said being a mother wasn't easy because I know it's not. But that does NOT mean you should complain to me. I never said you couldn't complain to OTHERS, but it's really hard for ME to hear.

Complain to others all you want. I could care less. But I don't want to hear it. You can be angry if you want, but that doesn't change the fact that IT'S HARD FOR ME TO HEAR. I want to be a mother. I know it's a hard job, but I want to be a mother. It's as simple as that.

So don't complain to me about it because I don't want to hear it.

Patricia said...

Anonymous,
I don't think Andee (or other birthmoms/adoptive moms/infertile couples) thinks she has the right to tell mothers they can't complain about motherhood; I think she's just giving you insight into what people involved in adoption feel, so you can be aware of how people feel? Perhaps you could be more sensitive to the feelings of other people.

It would be like complaining to someone in a wheelchair who can not walk about being sore from playing sports or even working. A comment like that could be really hurtful to them and you probably wouldn't think of saying that. You need to think of who you are talking to. Don't you think it would be more appropriate to talk about that with someone else?

Andee, I don't know you, but I completely understand where you are coming from. We are trying to adopt and I've had to gently remind people that it's a blessing to have kids and that they should focus on the good parts of raising children. I've actually had someone thank me (with tears in her eyes) for that reminder.

Anonymous said...

Pamela-

I think the wheelchair analogy would be perfect if we were talking about somebody who was infertile, miscarried, or lost a child in a tragic accident. But from my understanding & what I have read above Andree had the opportunity to have a child of her own, but WILLINGLY placed her for adoption. Maybe a better analogy would be somewhere along the lines of complaining about your legs being sore to someone who was in a wheelchair because they cut off their own legs. I just think it is very self-righteous to say that relinguishing your parental rights is harder & deserves more praise than actually parenting a child for 18+ years. Of course at the end of the day, we all are entitled to our own opinion.

StefanieJinelle said...

Anonymous- I'm guessing you aren't reading the same post as everyone else. Because I'm not reading anywhere that it says, "Placing my baby for adoption is SO much harder than you raising your children for 18+ years so praise me and leave your family out of my personal life."

You chose a very poor argument in that wheelchair analogy. It's not like any birth mom is willing to "cut of her own legs." If we put it that way. It's giving someone legs, if they didn't have any. It's VERY different when someone was born without legs and you are complaining about walking.
It's not like when any young girl who finds out she's pregnant out of wedlock the first thought is, "It's going to be SO much fun putting myself through hell physically with pregnancy, labor and delivery. And emotionally with placing my baby with a family that can't have kids of their own."

Forgive us birthmothers who don't get the special reward of being a mother but let another woman take all the credit for us.
Like what a previous comment has been said, "Be grateful, you have never felt the heavy burden of empty arms."

Be grateful that you got to be able to walk out with every single child in your arms out of the hospital and take them home with you.
Be grateful that you still get to hug, hold, kiss, and watch that child grow up everyday before your eyes.

It's hard for us birth mothers to watch mothers be ungrateful for those experiences that mean so much to us since we have yet to experience them. I think what Andee is trying to get at is that she doesn't think it's harder she just wishes that moms would appreciate what they have as being a mother instead of complaining how difficult it is because, even though it was willing, it's difficult to hear what we want more than anything to be in the world. And that's to be a mother.

Such as an adoptive mother wishes to be pregnant and have children of her own. It's not like you're going to complain to an adoptive mom about how much pregnancy sucks because pretty sure any woman who can't get pregnant wishes to be in your shoes right now. Or at least wishes to complain about her own pregnancy. Like someday, I wish to complain about motherhood as well, as you simply show your complaints and given the right to do so because you are a mother.

But I appreciate your very insensitive and childish comments. Thank you.

Lechelle said...

Annonymous,

It isn't that hard to be compassionate. Try it sometime. Like right now. It might take a little humility, but it won't hurt you.

Andee has graciously shown you another point of view different from your own. You have the opportunity to learn from it, and even apply it to your life when you come in contact with other birthmothers. Or you have the choice to continue in your own ignorant little world, insistent that your point of view and your experiences are the only right way. Even if you don't completely understand Andee's point, please try to. She is an amazing, brave girl for putting her feelings out there and sharing them with strangers.

I am a hopeful adoptive parent, I have lost two precious babies that I love more than anything to miscarriage and I now have empty arms that ache. Andee is a birthmother, she placed her baby girl because she loved her more than anything, and now she has empty arms that ache. Our experiences are different, but we both loved our babies more than ourselves, and we both walked out of hospitals with empty arms. And we both ache endlessly when we hear parents complain. Word like that can stab deep.

So try a little compassion. You might not think birthmoms deserve it, but you don't have the experience or knowledge to judge that. So just try some compassion. Maybe you still won't get it, but it might make you feel a little closer to Christ and a better person than you were before. Isn't that kind of the point to this life?

Anonymous said...

Lechelle thank you for your point of view. I very much understand what you are saying. I would like to apologize to the original blog owner/poster for the previous comments I made. I didn't mean for them to be as offensive as they came off. I think I may have taken some of the context the wrong way. I don't think adoption is a negative, selfish or easy thing to do at all. I was just offended by the thought that someone would suggest it was easier than parenting a child. Anyway I will leave it at that as what I say seems to rub a lot of people on this blog the wrong way. :/

Krista Eger said...

It's funny right before I read this I was thinking about what an amazing person you are and now I think that even more!!!! I will never take motherhood for granted ever again!!! Seriously this reminded me how much of a blessing motherhood is! You are one of the best moms I have ever come across in my whole life and you have done something for your daughter that is completely selfless and incredible!!!! Your blessings will be numberless because of it!!! I really don't think there is a better way to show God how you feel about one of his children Than by giving her a life with two happy parents!!! I'm so glad you started working at IMC and I got to meet you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jaclyn said...

Andee, I have recently come across your blog and am now a blog stalker. You sound so much like me. Our experiences are so similar. I'm so grateful to have found you. When I found out I was pregnant my "best friend" said, "my mom got pregnant with me before she was married, are you saying she should have given me away?" It's been almost 13 yrs since I placed my Addy, but those words still hurt.