First things first: dinner tonight will be a cranberry bean stew and then tabbouleh. I’ve decided to take a page from Thanksgivingmom’s book and join the Open Adoption Roundtable. The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community.
Figuring out boundaries is difficult when you write about your personal life. Any on-blog mention of family, friends or co-workers risks invading their privacy. Bloggers who write about or post pictures of their children are accused of exploitation. Where is the line between your own experience and other people’s personal lives? What information is yours to share and what rightfully belongs to someone else?
Add the overlapping relationships of open adoption to the mix and you’ve got yourself a potential ethical and personal mess. And yet it’s impossible to talk about one’s open adoption experience without mentioning the people involved. Where do you draw the lines–on your blog and in your personal life–and why? What, if anything, don’t you tell?
The only person who knows about this blog is the birthfather, my husband, and he doesn’t have the address. Ruth and Nora certainly don’t know that I blog, nor does any of my family. That makes me feel more personally free to write, to whine about things that make me look petty or brag about tiny triumphs. I get to make decisions on their behalf about privacy, and I think they’ve been good ones; I use pseudonyms, and the occasional picture will be password protected. Of course, the one person I haven’t mentioned is my son–if, when Cricket is older, he wants to read this blog, I will give him the address. I don’t write with that possibility in mind, however.
One of the reasons that I want to feel free to say whatever I want here, without worrying about hurting anyone’s feelings, is that I try to be super, super careful in my relationship with Ruth and Nora. Right now we’re disagreeing about the movie Juno–I told her that I don’t like it, she told me why she disagrees with me–and now I don’t think I’m going to talk about it anymore, because it’s not worth the possibility of creating real conflict with her and then never seeing Cricket again and oh God. I know that’s not the likeliest outcome, but why would I risk it? I told Mr. Book the other night that I don’t think Ruth, Cricket, or Nora will ever see the real, complete Susie. “Why not Cricket?” He asked. And that’s the question that I’ll be looking at for the next couple of decades, I guess. I do like it, though, that his question assumed that I was right about Ruth and Nora. It’s not that I’m lying, exactly–I’m just being a heavily expurgated version of myself. I don’t mean that I’m avoiding doing thinks like smoking crack or firing guns around them, either–heck, the other night Mr. Book and I shared a beer and only got halfway through. I am essentially harmless. But I can be extremely silly, and incredibly sad, and many other things that I don’t think belong in my relationship with my son or his parents. Or, hey, here’s one: If I had it all to do over again, right now I would choose not to do an adoption. Why would I ever tell Ruth and Nora that? But I sometimes feel that I need to say these things or I’ll just lose it.
I grew up in a family that didn’t talk about some important things, and it’s left me with a need to say what’s going on. I tried things their way, and it didn’t work out so good. My adult compromise is to say everything–but not to everyone. My blog is a place for me to say everything without hurting anyone, which seems to me like the best of all possible worlds.