Response to a comment
I woke up this morning to a comment on an older post of mine – a post I made back in April of last year that was in answer to a question I was asked about my interactions with my son’s family on Facebook.
I don’t interact with my son’s family via social media, which is what that post was about. But I also frequent his Dads’ Facebook pages to see if there are new pictures posted, etc. I also very knowingly leave my own Facebook page open to public viewing so if they are curious they can do that same.
The comment I received was I believe either a new reader or someone who just happened upon that specific post on my blog so maybe they didn’t understand my perspective when they commented but her comment was read through my own lens of adoption and if you choose to comment on a blog written by a birth mother that is what you should expect. Since it was buried back in a post in April I decided to do a post towards reacting to this comment, this is in know way to negate what the commentor feels or thinks, but rather to show how I read it.
The comment read:
We did now think that our adopted son’s grandparents would come “hunting” us down on facebook. They were nowhere to be found during the 7 years our son was in foster care. Nor were they anywhere to be heard from in the 7 that we have had him as our son. Now, F’n facebook has a crazed women lifting pictures of our family off facebook posting them on her sight and making rude comments. Our families have BLocked her since, but we wish she would just go away and leave us in the peace we knew prior to her trying to pry into our lives, uninvited. Our son now 14 wants nothing to do with a person he has never met and niether do we.
So first – I have no empathy for anyone who posts pictures or information publicly on social media and expects others to not see it, or even copy it. I post on this blog knowing anyone could read it, I do the same on Facebook. I choose to leave my Facebook public so my son’s parents can access it if they want, but if I didn’t want anyone to access pictures, I would make my profile private. This was true prior to my being involved in adoption but now that more people have a reason to have interest in me because of my biological connection to my son, it’s even more true. I don’t don’t care if it’s tomorrow or ten years from now, I live by the assumption that M&P realize I can view their public pictures and I not only look at them, but save them and sometimes print them out (a couple have ended up in a calendar I make each year of my son). I would never classify what I’m doing as hunting or stalking, now if they made it private and I created a fake personae to try to get them to friend me so I could view things they were not releasing, that is hunting or stalking. But it doesn’t seem like the comment that is what happened.
The other things that bothers me about this post is I’m wondering how this person actually knows photos of her child were posted on someone else’s site unless she was viewing it herself. I don’t believe there is a way to track if someone has copied a picture from your profile, and if you can’t do that then the only way to know if pictures were posted from your page to another is if you were looking at the other page. So my question is what is the difference. I hear all the time adoptive parents talking about how they have copied pictures of original family members from Facebook to be able to show their children, and I understand that and support it, what I have issue with is when there is a double-standard that if an original family member does the same somehow they are a stalker or are doing something wrong. In the comment above it seems obvious that the woman was viewing her son’s original families’ pages and I don’t understand how that is crossing the line any less than the original family looking at her page.
I also want to point out the tone of this comment really bothers me. She calls her son’s original Grandmother a hunter, crazed and that she is prying into their lives. It’s obvious from her tone how she feels about her son’s other family and I am sure after hearing from adult adoptees that the attitude of an adoptee’s adoptive parents in relation to their original families rubs off – and I’m sure in this case the reason her son is disinterested might in part have to do with the anger he can see emanating from his Mom – I’m having a hard time seeing how he could say anything but exactly what he said without fear of hurting his Mom. I’m also super curious as to what dictates a rude comment – is it something that openly insults the child? Too often I’ve seen adoptive parents complain about comments made by the original family and those comments are things like calling the child “my son” or “my grandson”, or bragging about him to their friends in a way that seems to take credit for the child they are. I know these might be hard to deal with as an adoptive parents, but I think this is not a malicious statement intended to hurt anyone. I don’t know what sort of comments this woman was speaking about, and its possible they were completely off-base, but I also have heard of complaints by adoptive parents about how original parents are overstepping and the actions they are complaining about are things I would do myself and would never think of them as overstepping (and neither would my son’s Dads).
The final point I would like to state is that I believe this comment perfectly illustrates why I believe openness is SO IMPORTANT not only for the children but for both families as well. I think a scenario like this could look very differently if openness was the end goal with everyone working towards it. If this child, when adopted at the age of 7, was given an opportunity to connect with his original family in a safe way with boundaries, then when this child is 14 maybe his grandmother wouldn’t have to steal pictures from a public facebook page but would be given pictures that she could show off to friends and family. Maybe she wouldn’t make comments that would be considered rude because she would have clear boundaries of what all parties were comfortable with. And if she did overstep, maybe she wouldn’t lose all access to any snippets of information she could gather about her grandchild because his parents blocked her from social media without ever reaching out and setting those boundaries.
Open adoption isn’t a magic word that makes it so no one’s toes are stepped on, rather it is a path to communicating when toes are stepped on the damage isn’t permanent. It is a way to see those people who also love your child as real people, people who are just trying to figure out how to love and care about the child within the bounds set by everyone.