At the end of a long hard day of work, after the little people in our house have new diapers on and are sleeping soundly in their beds, my wife and I like to relax to a little bit of television. I like to watch my sports and my nerdy science documentaries while she prefers to watch 16 and Pregnant or other reality shows. We usually compromise on something we both like, which often ends up being an action drama of some sort.
A funny thing happens within our little human brains as we watch the same type of show over and over again- we start to think that what we’re seeing is “normal”. In reality, if television shows reflected normal everyday life, would we watch? I mean, how entertaining are good role models? How interesting is it to watch a reality show where the children eat their vegetables and go to bed without a fuss?
That’s the same type of problem we bloggers and social media people face every time our fingertips touch the keyboard. How do I try to make my post relative to everybody whose eyes might follow my words. The fact of the matter is that some subjects make that nearly impossible.
So where does that leave us? The only thing I can really do is to make sure I speak from the heart and tell how it really is… FOR ME. More important than that, though, is that the reader needs to read our words and NOT think, “Oh, is that always how it is?” because that’s not how it always is. My way is my way. Someone else has their own way. More specifically, I write a lot about open adoption, but that topic is left open to a very very wide range of interpretation. What does open adoption really mean and how open should it be?
People need to read and learn as much about open adoption as they can. I can’t stress that enough. Failure for an adoptive couple to learn as much as possible BEFORE going into an open adoption is unfair to the birth parents, the child, and will only cause more stress. On the other hand, just like how I don’t watch an episode of some family on TV and think, “Oh, is that how I’m supposed to resolve my issues?”, it’s important to note that people out there in the blogosphere aren’t always NORMAL. My wife and I have a really open adoption. We talk on the phone with our children’s birthparent about matters that have nothing to do with adoption. We have had them sleep at our home (the ones that are from out of town). We’re not “the way it should be done”. Nobody is. What’s right for me isn’t necessarily right for you.
I will continue to say how it is for us and I hope you will always want to read my words. I love to share and I think I have a lot of good things to say. Still, the people who tend to do the most blogging and social media writing tend to be the people who are the most open and extreme with their adoptions. If that’s not right for you, there’s nothing wrong with that. Learn as much as you can. Get as many points of view as you can. Most importantly, handle things the way it’s most healthy and comfortable for your own home. Be yourself and don’t worry about how others do it.
-by Russell Elkins, author of Open Adoption, Open Heart: An Adoptive Father’s Inspiring Journey