Nothing will ruin your online day like a troll, but there is a special breed of troll that is the worst of the worst…the adoption troll
ADOPTION TROLL– Person who seeks out adoption groups and people hoping to adopt then proceeds to tear apart the adoption process and hopeful parents, never offers a positive experience, and rarely is an adoptive/foster parent themselves.
If you haven’t encountered an adoption troll in your journey yet, then you are very lucky. These adoption trolls are most often online but can also be misguided friends and family that troll you unintentionally because of misinformation. I am writing this post today because of an incident on an adoption board I recently saw where yet another adoption troll had hijacked a thread of a woman who was considering adoption to add to her family and was seeking honest advice. The adoption troll in question wasted no time ripping her apart, then the process in general and then everyone else who posted. Again, this was an ADOPTION group that supports people who have actually placed or adopted a child, and clearly this person had done neither, so why they joined the group I have no clue, except to be a pain to us all. I also had a truly awful online experience when we began our journey when I asked how other people raised funds. I got NO helpful info and was so beaten down by the horrible responses that I deleted the thread.
So here are tips to spot adoption trolls and how to handle them because they seem to only have the same basic 4 issues.
1. “If you want to adopt, you should adopt a child from foster care”– Ok, I am just going to speak about foster care in the US because I have no experience with the system in other countries. Yes, children in foster care need families perhaps more than any other child. However, these children have a unique set of circumstances that other children may not because they HAVE been abused or neglected or they would not be in foster care. There is of course the rare instance when children go into foster care because the parent(s) can not provide for them and request care, but this is not the majority of cases. An abused or neglected child has experienced trauma that can stick with them their entire lives, even infants put into foster care at birth because of substance abuse. It takes a very special type of person or family to understand the needs of these children and provide the patience and resources they need. You can’t go into the foster care process without realizing that. The laws very in every state, but most families have multiple foster child placements before they are able to adopt a child from the system and sometimes it takes a very long time to adopt from the system. Any or all of these issues could mean that a foster child would not be the right choice for a family. This does not make that family evil people for choosing to adopt another way. It just means they realize their circumstances and that would not be the best for the foster child or their family. Adoption trolls that use this argument usually have ZERO experience with the foster care system. They haven’t worked with it, been in it, or been a foster parent themselves.
2. “There are so many kids in this country that need homes, why are you adopting internationally?”– This is similar to the foster care argument. Children in other countries often face far worse lives than we could ever imagine just because they are orphans and the culture and economy can’t or won’t support them and it’s even worse for special needs orphans. Seeing them everyday on television and the internet just breaks your heart, how could you not love them? International children are often older and have also experienced trauma and neglect. The situation is very different if you have a closed, international adoption or an open domestic adoption. One situation is no better or worse. You just have to be really honest about what you are willing to do and can handle on a daily basis and you have the right and responsibility to make those decisions.
3. “You should give that money to the pregnant woman so she can keep her baby”– This is an adoption troll favorite and you will see it time and time again. There are as many reasons for placing a child for adoption as their are reasons to adopt. Financial reasons are not the only factor for a woman thinking about choosing adoption for her child. There are many resources available to pregnant women that are provided by the government or local organizations in their areas so that if money is their only issue and they want to raise their baby, they have financial help. If money was the only issue, there would probably be a lot less adoptions. Plus what good would your one time donation of whatever amount really do for this woman in the long run to raise this child his/her whole life? Yes adoption is usually very experience, for a variety of reasons that are a whole other topic, but giving that money to a pregnant woman would rarely have any impact on her decision for parenting. Also, many adoptions give the expectant mother “birth mother expenses” so her finances are not horribly impacted by the pregnancy.
4. “Adoptive parents parents are just liars that say whatever they have to so they can get a child”– This is a big argument against open adoption. I will say that, of course, unfortunately this does happen, but it’s by no means the rule in open adoptions. The decision on how much contact the families will maintain after placement is completely between them. There are also many reasons why families stop contact and that can happen on either side.
That being said, if you are choosing this option, be completely open and honest with the expectant or first mother and your adoption worker (if you have someone helping you) about what you will do in the future, assuming all circumstances stay the same. No one would expect you to maintain contact if a first/biological family became verbally or otherwise abusive or criminal activity started, but if you agree to a certain level of contact, always keep that agreement. If you lose contact because of a lack of communication from the biological family (like they move and don’t tell you where), still keep up your end by giving letters/pictures/updates to your adoption attorney or worker. Things can also change for the better and you end up with MORE contact than you originally agreed to, and that is even better. You honestly won’t know until you meet the pregnant woman (and sometimes family) how open you could be, but always be honest about it. We had agreed to be open with a least letters and pics every so often before we were matched, but once we met Little Man’s other mom we just developed a very open, close relationship and now text almost daily, visit once a month or more and attend each other’s family functions. Do not feel threatened by contact. They placed their baby for a reason and recognize your position. Don’t miss the opportunity for as much contact as you want. it will help your child feel more secure, not confused. Kids are smarter than us and know who is who even before they can talk.
5. “You won’t love that baby like a biological child”– I actually got this from some family members unfortunately. Now I never had a biological child but know many families that have biological children and many with a mix of biological and adopted children. I can’t imagine that I could love my son any more if he had grown in my body. This argument is just ridiculous. You will love any child you raise..biological, adopted, stepchild, or whatever other option, and you will love them all tremendously.
My best advice to you, that is easier said than done, is to not feed the adoption trolls. Even with the most sound argument, you can’t win with then, even when you are correct. They are full of bad information and only focus on bad experiences. Bad experiences do happen and we all need to hear and acknowledge them, but overwhelmingly the good experiences happen so much more often. Just delete and block them and move on with your day. You have love in your heart to share and no one should try to take that from you.