Adopting in the era of social media

One of the things that we’ve discovered during this process is that social media can be a phenomenal tool to connect with other people and families and a great way to share our story. The goal of this blog has been to share our experiences for families who are or who will go through the process of international adoption. Social media has helped us do just that. We have heard from people in other states and other countries who are thinking about adopting, who are in the process of adopting, and who have already adopted internationally. It has been a wonderful experience in that regard.

However, we recently encountered the ugly side of using social media to share our story.

As we have mentioned, we were recently blessed to be able to share our story on the news. When we were approached for the story, we were initially hesitant because we didn’t want the story to be only about us or to convey the message that we are uniquely put-upon or that people should feel sorry for us. After speaking with the reporter about the story, we agreed to share our story because so few people outside of the adoption community truly understand the costs and challenges associated with adoption, particularly international adoption.

The story turned out well, and the response we received was overwhelmingly positive. However, when the news station got around to putting the story up on their Facebook page, it attracted more negative attention than we expected. A dozen or so fairly committed, uninformed, and angry people decided that our story was “disgusting” and that we must be “selfish” or “lazy” or that we are adopting a “designer baby” – whatever that means. One man likened our GoFundMe efforts to something as frivolous as buying a Ferrari, and one woman literally said “there [sic] lazy look at them”. The Facebook experts agree that we should be fostering-to-adopt domestically because it’s “virtually free” and/or that we should not adopt until we can “afford it” (presumably, that means until we can cut a check for $52,000 without a second thought).

It was a punch in the gut, though, honestly, one that we half-expected given today’s social media climate. Keyboard cowboys decided within seconds that they know everything about us, our situation, and our motives and intentions. None of the comments were necessary to begin with, but many of them could have been avoided had these people bothered to read our blog or even contact us. Instead, their first instinct was to publicly judge and harangue people they do not know anything about and draw outrageous conclusions about us and our adoption journey based on a 3-minute news story that was, essentially, to raise awareness about the costs and challenges associated with adoption. There’s at least a little irony in there somewhere under the bile.

Those people did not sit and comfort us during our infertility struggles. Those people were not there for the appointments and the tests and the bad news that we received again and again. Those people do not understand the emotional, spiritual, and financial burdens that come with infertility. Those people did not pray with us that God would guide our efforts to start a family. Those people have no idea about who we are, what we’ve been through, or why we are adopting internationally. Yet, somehow, they are very sure of all these things they know nothing about. Welcome to 2019.

God has blessed us very richly in our lives and we do not take for granted anything He’s given us. Though He has blessed us, we are not in a position to write a check for all of the costs associated with international adoption. As we’ve said since the beginning of our GoFundMe effort, we do not expect or demand that anybody give us anything. Everybody’s family and financial situations are unique.

We are beyond grateful for the support we have received. Every conversation, call, text, e-mail, Instagram comment, and Facebook message has meant the world to us. Every single donation has brought us to tears with gratitude. We sincerely desire to be in a position to support others who will walk in these shoes in the future. We want to be in a position to give as generously to others as has been given to us. Hopefully, for now, those of you reading this who are in the middle of your adoption journey will find at least some support and comfort.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – Romans 12:12

Pro Gloria Dei.
Chris

 

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