how to kill a blog, part one (or guilt about becoming part of the noise that drowns out the voices we should be listening to)


I abandoned this blog to wither for several reasons. The first has to do with guilt.

Last summer I had a post that went a little “viral” in some adoptive parent communities. It was about waiting moms. I should have put “parents” because I got so much grief for leaving the dads out. For the record I wrote it about myself and a few moms I’ve become close too. It wasn’t meant to be the end all be all of explaining things. It was a deeply personal reflection on the life I led for three years.

I still like the post. A lot. The mistake was agreeing to let Huffingt*n Post republish it. And then not objecting when they put it under the tagline of “12 things everyone should know about adoption” (or something like that) and took off the postscripts I had made. Looking back I should have complained to them about the tagline and not allowed the changes. To be fair to myself it happened the day my husband had oral surgery and we ended up waiting for hours in an emergency situation because they thought a piece of metal might have gotten into his lungs. I had a barely 1-year-old and barely turned 2-year-old. I thought we’d be out for two hours, we ended up being out all day. We were exhausted and tired and I was stressed out of my mind. So I didn’t handle it like I should have. And then the noise became overwhelming and I ran away emotionally.

For awhile I couldn’t figure out why this one post gathering so much notice bothered me so much. Of course the attention was a bit overwhelming to someone with a teensy tiny blog, I actually had some mild panic attacks over it. When the post hit 5k views an hour after I published it I texted my husband and said I was going to delete the entire blog. I meant it too. If there was any doubt I was an introvert this is the moment that laid it to rest.  But then when the attention faded away, when I realized most of the 60k-some people who loved *that post* weren’t interested in anything else I had to say my pride stung a little. That post isn’t my favorite. It doesn’t even make my top five.

It’s also the most narcissistic thing I’ve ever written.

And that’s my regret. Not that I wrote it, or published it, but that I let it go bigger than that. I loved it when other adoptive mothers shared it on their blogs and on facebook because it tells some of our story. And knowing other people feel something we feel is always comforting. It helped me even though my children were with me when I wrote it. Because there’s no way I could have written it while in process. I was too nuts. But writing it after the fact brought some understanding to the process.

But MY STORY is all it tells. It’s not the story of adoption. Not by a long shot. The postscripts I added to it tried to clarify that. I regret using the word “home” in it. I had been so careful before they joined our family, because the word makes me so uncomfortable when it becomes used to indicate possession and not acceptance. There’s a nuanced line between the two. I tried to flesh it out in other posts, but not that one. But that’s the one people liked. And I have guilt over that.

I have guilt because I fear that I became part of the noise that drowns out the voices we should be listening to. The voices of the adult adoptees. THEY are the ones to be telling us “12 things everyone should know about adoption” and too often they are not the voices that we hear. They are not the voices that are considered the experts. We are. Does that make sense? Not at all. I’m not delusional enough to believe that adoption will affect my life more than it affects my child.

I’m going to continue to write here on this blog. I think. Maybe. But I had to get this off my chest because when I started this blog I wanted it to be different from some other presentations of adoption I had read. There are some things that make me cringe in the adoptive parent community: 1) Painting the adoptive parents as heroes/saviors and the child as the rescued. 2) Using adoption as something to brag about and show off religion with. A living sermon illustration with the parents as the messiah-figure. 3) Not believing that first parents are an incredible important part of the child’s life and that adoption should be a last resort. –I could go on but I won’t.

I wanted this blog to be about love and broken hallelujahs, about understanding I’m not their only mother, about finding my place in motherhood in relation to the greater story of their lives. I want so much for my children to feel understood by me. Regardless of if they agree with the choices that were made for them or not I want them and their experiences to feel respected.

So mostly I regret the thought that an adoptee could have read the post and thought I was another adoptive mother who believes her experience to be more harrowing and difficult than her child’s. Who believed that her child’s adoption and story somehow belonged to her and not to them. I worry that I might have caused pain. I’ll be honest and say I’m not sure exactly what all I should have done differently. But hopefully expressing regret is a first step. Even if it’s being done months after the fact. I’m a slow processor sometimes.


12 replies »

  1. As always, your words are just perfect. I hear your heart and know how you must’ve struggled with all of this. I have (many times) wanted to hide out under a rock with my little family and just turn off all of the noise. It’s so hard to express your heart and intention in every single post or interaction online. I’m sorry you had this guilt- you shouldn’t. Your blog is a beautiful representation of the brokenness and the beauty of building your family through adoption.

  2. Wow, I had no idea this was happening for you and I feel so bad for you. Seriously, online is starting to feel like it is full of lynch mobs. I just don’t get everyone getting so up in arms about someone else’s words if they don’t match their opinions to.the.letter. I am glad you are here again and I feel your pain and I extend a virtual hug for however that might help. I sincerely hope you stick around.

  3. Thanks for sharing. I have a good friend who wrote a blog post a few months ago that blew up (in good and bad ways), and I know the wrestling she’s done about that post, both before and after. I hope that you keep writing and that you find grace from others and, perhaps from yourself, in the process. 🙂 ~ Laura

  4. Please don’t give up writing your blog. You are a wonderful and thoughtful writer, and have put into words many of the jumbled thoughts and feelings I am only just discovering as an adoptive mother.

    I really liked that blog post, but also all the comments and postscripts, because it does reflect how it is for so many of us as we wait.

    But I also like so many of your other blog posts because they are so well considered and do try to look at the picture from many different viewpoints. You also have a sense of humour and come across to me as a real person (although I don’t know how you manage to write and bring up your little guys! Wonder Woman I say!)

    It must be overwhelming to have all that attention put on you in such a short time, and there will always be those who take things the wrong way. But please know that I look for your words, as I’m sure many others do, and I think they are well tempered and wise. Hugs from an Australian adoptive mum.

  5. I think you should continue to write your blog. You have the right to express your thoughts, opinions, ideas, musings, experiences, etc. The press will twist everything you say (and that is being kind). I know that I found your blog through a friend of mine, both of us are adoptive mothers. And, I’m not writing fathers because yours is the viewpoint of a mother…a particular mother…yourself. Don’t let the bullies stop you from following your heart and your bliss.

  6. Please accept our grace. None of us are perfect and life is messy .It isn’t always easy to put that into words in ways everybody will agree with or not take too deeply to heart. But know that your words are inspiring and they have touched alot of people in positive ways. I pray God will give you peace and if it’s his will you will keep writing. We’re waiting for our girls to come home and there is comfort in some of these blogs for me because it can be a very lonely road to travel. God Bless.

  7. Oh Wendi. I wish I would’ve known this in March. I’m so sorry you felt this way but am so glad you are back to writing. We need your voice too.

  8. Mom and Dad here. We couldn’t be prouder of you. We believe each of us has at least one gift given by God. One of your gifts, daughter, is clear, meaningful, insightful writing from your inner being. You express many aspects of God’s heart. Your words give courage and hope. You help us see with new eyes. We love you.

  9. I understand where your guilt is coming from. I’ve had a post similar to your viral one queued up for over a year. A part of me wants to post it, as it is real and honest with how I feel, but I’m not sure I want to infer that I speak for all adoptive parents.

    But here is the thing to remember: as adoptive parents – and especially as adoptive parents of kiddos who do not share our pigmentation – anything that can cut through some of the general public’s ignorance is a good thing.

    Let me put that another way: if your post prevented a waiting mom from hearing a question or comment that caused her pain, then I truly believe that post was a success (even if I agree that it is not your finest work 🙂 ).

    I hope you continue to utilize this space, as I absolutely enjoy your writing, your beautiful children, and how you remind me of the big picture with adoption.

  10. Adoptive parents are a strong breed. So are writers. Blogs are personal, so readers should interpret them as such. I’m an adoptive mother, and I agree completely with the points you made above (messiah figures, importance of biological family). I’m also a writer, actually a humorist writer, so I get in “pickles” all the time. Be fearless in your love for your children and your encouraging words. We are all flawed, but God uses all of us to do amazing things for one another.

  11. That post went viral because it spoke to so many, but I understand your regrets and concerns about it. Though I like having a blog audience, I would have a full-on panic attack if one got that big too 🙂

  12. Thank u for your stand. I enjoy reading your posts. I am an adoptive parent as well, and we need to stand up for one another. I am constantly defending that I am a real parent (even if MY child didn’t exit my uterus) and OH the looks I get going through some very NON hipster white communities in MN! So, I as you imagine, also am a parent of a child with very different pigmentation, and have a biological family that I am very protective of my child from stereotypes that they have…thanks for making me feel a little less alone.

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