Monday, April 21, 2014

Haters Gonna Hate

We've had an amazing outpouring of love and support since we started this adoption journey (again). Putting yourself out there can be challenging and humbling. With an agency, they are doing a lot of the behind the scenes work for you and they are in contact with organizations that work with expectant parents thinking about adoption. When you pursue private adoption, you're trying to connect with someone yourself. Which in turn, puts you in contact with those that are anti-adoption or have strong opinions about what you are doing. I am not even going to mention scammers at this point because we haven't encountered that yet. We were warned by adoption professionals that these people will seek you out. Even though we received more well wishes than I can count, those handful of hateful messages really hurt.

The Internet allows people to make comments to anyone without any repercussion. I can see why cyber-bullying is out of control. It removes the filter of social etiquette and allows people to say things that they would never say face-to-face. Cowards can leave ugly comments from the safety of their locked down accounts. You can't respond or even see what this person looks like. In about a week, we received comments like 'disrespectful', 'disgusting', 'whores', that we want to 'buy' a baby, that we are trying to 'steal' someone's baby, we can't afford to give a baby a good life since we have fundraising on our site and on and on. After the first couple of days, I broke down and cried. It's not in my character to want to publicly shame and defame anyone. Who are these hateful people? Their comments rattle me. I am not sure if their point is to convince us not to adopt or if they just enjoy making us feel bad. I think if they wanted to make a difference, they could channel that energy by doing something more productive.

My first instinct is to defend myself. To say in no way shape or form, do we want to buy or steal anyone's baby. In fact, I am in total agreement that adoption procedures need a major overhaul. There are some dishonest tactics being used and money is being made off of people's desperate desire to have a family. There are good eggs out there as well and we try to align ourselves with those professionals.  Yes, we have placed ads and set-up social media accounts. If we aren't with an agency, you have to put yourself out there. If you don't, there are hundreds of other families out there that will. If we meet someone that is thinking about adoption, I want to get to know them. I want them to get to know us. I want them to feel confident placing their child with us. We need to be a good fit with each other because we will share a bond and a relationship for the rest of our lives.  It's about making a connection. I can't really respond to these unkind comments though. Either these people have their accounts locked down or I'll expend a lot of negative energy having a Twitter war with a faceless stranger. So, I just absorb the negativity,  delete the comment, and block the person.

I reached out to my adoption support community for help on how to deal with this. They had some good advice and I felt better. There are so many raw emotions associated with adoption, you could easily unintentionally offend someone by simply not knowing. They reassured me that what we are doing isn't wrong. They helped me look at this with compassion. Maybe these people were hurt by adoption, had a bad experience or have some unresolved feelings. This is the only way they can express those feelings. I am sending out a big hug to those that are hurting. My perspective on adoption has evolved since we began this journey. I am still learning everyday. One thing that hasn't changed is that we are a nice couple who want to have a child to love.

If you or someone that you know is thinking about making an adoption plan. Please feel free to contact us or share our story. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Phase One

We rolled out phase one of our networking efforts this week. Since we are forgoing working with an agency this time, we have to actively look for an adoption situation ourselves. That means getting the word out by any means necessary.

We created a Facebook page for our adoption. Go LIKE and SHARE it. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. If you share it with your friends and they share it with their friends, we could potentially reach 1,000s or even 10,000s people in a short amount of time. You never know who will know someone thinking about adoption and then think of us.

Please Like and Share our Facebook page:

We also placed targeted ads on Facebook. You can set a budget and perimeters for the ads. You can use up to six different photos for the ad and we directed the click through to our personal website, It's interesting to see that one photo of us is more popular than another. That's really useful information.

Next, we went old-school and placed newspaper ads. One ad ran in our hometown newspaper in Virginia and the other two ads ran in small local papers in New York, but outside the NYC area. We'll run them for a week or two and see if we get any response.

We can't leave out Twitter! Introducing our new Twitter account, @MarlonJennAdopt. You know the deal, go follow us. I am not sure how I am going to keep up with three Facebook and Twitter accounts. I need to get a social media system or an intern.

We've been listed on the Adoptimist website for awhile. We switched to a Featured account (which you pay for) to see if we get more looks this way. We need to freshen this page up with some new pictures. Soon...

I feel like we are starting over, yet we've been doing this for almost three years. Waiting and (not)adopting has been such an emotional roller coaster. We want to be a regular family, gushing about first steps, snapping photos on the first day of school, going to dance recitals, soccer games or whatever they are into. You know, sharing laughs at the dinner table or tucking them in at night. As each day passes, I start to doubt if it will ever happen for us. Maybe expectant parents won't like us because we live in NYC or that we aren't super rich. I see other people's ads "promising" that the child will have a happy life and will go to the best schools. I don't think anyone can really make those kinds of promises. We can promise that we'll always parent the best we can, love them with all of our hearts and honor their adoption story. The rest is the surprise of life.

I am excited about the possibility of another match, but really nervous too. The disappointment and heartbreak of losing the twins was almost too much for us to bear. I keep thinking about the advice we got from an adoption conference that we attended - the next situation isn't the last situation, so keep an open mind and open heart. So with that, we move forward.

Look out for phase two!

If you or someone that you know is considering adoption, please don't hesitate to share our information or contact us. Click here for more information about building our family through adoption. Thank you for thinking of us.