As we get more public on social media there is a trend to share our lives. For whatever reason, and I’m not saying it’s all bad, we put a public face out there. It is not the same as being known, it is a piece of ourselves that we are allowing the world to see, a piece of ourselves that we approve of. We are the owners of our story, and we want to tell it.
Often, when a couple begins the process of adoption, the paperwork and waiting and financial strains, they share. It’s good. They need to know they are not alone. They need a community to rally around them. Sharing our lives helps us connect.
It’s an emotional rollercoaster that we ask the social media world to ride with us, and for the most part, they do. So, when that little bundle of joy (no matter the size/age) comes home we continue that sharing. We have a whole new list of struggles and questions and we need love, empathy and connection. Unfortunately, too often, I see the sharing bleed into the child’s story.
“He was found under a bridge in this city/country.” “She was left in this specific hospital.” “They found her on the lawn of a government building.” “He was left on the steps of an orphanage.” “His parents didn’t want him.” “His birthmom was an alcoholic.” “She was born addicted.” “He has mental illness in his bio family.”
While all of that may be true, it’s not your story. If you don’t have permission from the child, you shouldn’t be telling it publicly and if your child is too young to understand or think through it, just don’t share. Sure, you are going to have people you talk to, and that is not bad. You need a core group of people, but when that group is more than the size of a basketball team, we should be concerned.
Even positives should be censored. Would you tell the world that your best friend got engaged before she has the opportunity to? No matter if it’s good or bad, it’s simply not yours.
What happens when we tell another person’s information without permission on our public pages and in public forums, is theft. We take from them the discovery, telling, and ownership of their personal story. We tell the world (and often without meaning to, we tell them) who they are, leaving little room for growth. Labels can be sticky, ugly things.
Our children are growing up with digital footprints.No longer are they merely contending with the books about adoption or awkward family photo albums in their home, but the stories of their lives posted for anyone who wanders by as well. They are asked to navigate extra sets of misunderstood relationships and find their identities in a time when most of their parents’ “friends” on Facebook know part of their story better than they do.
This is a problem. These children will grow up. They should have the rights to their own stories. If we give our child’s story away, he will stop trusting us with it when he gets older.
We have to be more careful, more protective. We have to hold these stories dear and value them. We carry knowledge that is only meant for our child(ren).
Friends, I beseech you, whether you are a birth or adoptive parent, this is applicable. Please, think about your child before you give away his/her details. Sharing given/adoptive names, birthdates, birth places, birth/adoptive parents’ names, birth/adoptive parents’ issues, birth/adoptive/foster home circumstances or information, ect. on social media is grossly overexposing an already open wound.
Do not ever underestimate the consequences of oversharing your child’s story.
Inviting people into your journey on social media does not equate to owing them all the details. You have a story of your adoption process, your child has a different story. Keep it that way.
And if your adoption isn’t final, even if you have been ‘matched’, this post isn’t for you because you are still in the place of praying and waiting. Hold off on sharing anything until you have the security of a legal document, and when you have that, think long and hard about how and what you will share.
Be well, friends. Be well.