Saturday, July 14, 2012

Why Are We So Judgmental?

All Moms judge each other.  Cloth diapers vs. disposable.  Breastfeeding vs. formula.  My baby is smarter.  My baby is bigger.  My baby is going to Harvard.  I do admit I compair.  Its hard not to.  We have a friend who's baby is just a few weeks younger and well they will do things around the same time.  Baby girl does a little more in the physical front but she also started out with a strong extensor tone and thus could hold her head up the first day we met her.

I'm also fortunate to be part of a passionate group of Moms.  I'm an Adoptive Mom.  Each of found our way to the path through our own unique journeys but traveled the same road.  We each were given choices about what we would "accept."  We all had ideas about if we wanted open/close adoptions and made agreements with our birthparents.  We all at some point will be (or have been) matched with a baby.  We then all parent.

You would think that once we joined the parent crowd we could just judge each other on the same playing field as all other moms.  My baby is smarter, bigger, faster, breastfed, home schooled,  etc.  I've been surprised though now that I've gone from a waiting mom to an adoptive mom how judgmental the adoptive world is.  So now not only do I have to answer to other Moms I have to answer to the adoptive world.

I've started a post called "adoption isn't rainbows and sunshine" in which I discuss what I have found challenging about adoption and what I wasn't prepared for (I thought I was prepared since I read a lot and attended every adoption support group I could).  One big thing I wasn't ready for was the judgement.

I read on the Adoption Magazine forum today an adoptive mom thinking of closing her adoption temporarily until the birthmom was no longer in an abuse relationship.  The birthmom's boyfriend (boyfriend is not birthfather) is involved in gangs, drugs, and is monitoring all of the birthmoms communications.  The adoptive mom felt unsafe and has chosen to temporarily close the adoption.  A good number of people ganged up on her saying that she couldn't make an agreement with the birthmom to have an open adoption at birth and then close it.  By closing the adoption (even temporarily) wasn't fair and it was taking advantage of the birthmom.  Too often women dont listen to their gut when they dont feel safe.  This Mom felt unsafe and that her daughter was unsafe.  No other mom would be expected to bring her child to visit someone if they felt their child was unsafe- why is an adoptive mom expected to override her motherly instinct and continue to bring her child into an unsafe situation.

Stepping back a little there maybe other solutions besides closing the adoption.  If I were this mom I wouldnt think twice about telling D that we needed to stop visits until I felt we could establish visitation that was safe for my daughter (visits in this case were happening monthly).  I would feel comfortable with letters as we do now sent by way of the agency and would be willing to include pictures in the letters.  D doesn't have access to our facebook accounts so I wouldn't have to end that contact as this Mom needed to.  We have a shutterfly account that allows D to see pictures when she chooses and is dedicates specifically to Baby Girl.

Adoption agreements are important but are made at one snapshot in time.  Many birthparents move into places in their lives where they could parent and could possibly allow an adoption to become even more open.  There are birthparents that dont.  Its not fair to tell an adoptive parent- sorry you agreed to visits- even if you dont feel safe- you have to maintain what you agreed to.  Changes shouldn't be taken lightly.  Changes shouldn't happen just because there is minor disagreements.  If the issues is something that can be worked on it should be and every attempt should be made to maintain contact.  If safety is of concern have it be the birthmom is showing up under the influence, or you feel like the birthmoms boyfriend is a threat.  Its fair to say visits are suspended until the birthmom is in a place that is safe for the child.  

Its not fair to judge each other.  Its OK to suggest alternatives or offer places to receive guidance but I think us Moms are judged enough.  I actually turned off anonymous posting because of some of the strong judgements I was receiving.  I'm OK with a healthy productive discussions and even a challenge to think outside the box but lets stop the judging!


  1. I didn't know you were on the Adoptive Families Circle forums. I saw that post, and responded to the poster privately. I found it baffling how many people said she basically just suck it up. Awful, really.

  2. I have never posted but I do read the forums. I find often people are quick to judge which is in large part why I have never posted. Maybe its just this particular outlet but I have seen this on blogs as well including my own. We are already dealing with a challenging relationship and judging each other only adds to the complexity. We have to remember that adoptions are like fingerprints- no two are the same. So in one case closing an adoption never should happen while in others modifications to the agreement is needed. The child should always be put first. I think it this case the mother presented it as her own fear but the fear was not just for the adoptive mom it was for everyone involved.

  3. You're totally right. I'm not sure why we, as moms, judge, but we do. I haven't found the same judgments withing the adoption world personally, but your points are all valid.

    I think there's a definite line between giving advice and judging and in so many cases, people start off with the intention of giving advice, and it quickly moves into a judging position. It's sad because moms have enough to deal with, and being judged by others isn't something that should be added to the mix.

    I've stopped reading forums (especially Baby Center) because I can't handle how people post how fantastic their kid is and compare them to everyone else's kids. It makes me feel terrible and I start to question things and compare Gus to other kids... and he's one of a kind and can't be compared.

    I agree with your comment about every adoption is like a fingerprint and no two are the same. The mom you're talking about has every right to do what she feels is best for her child-- if that means closing the adoption, then that's what she must do. My question is why was she posting this on the Adoptive Families forum? No need to ask for advice... just do what you think is best. When you open it up to asking others for advice... you're asking for negative comments. I say, unless you really care what a bunch of strangers think, don't ask.