Monday, May 19, 2008

Honesty and Judgment

This past few days have been emotionally difficult. You know, when you open up your heart, when you elect to share so much of yourself and your life with an unknown public as we all do with our blogs, it can have its rewards. Those rewards are that you get to meet some wonderful new people who can enrich your life through their offer of friendship, you can offer encouragement and support to others by letting them know that they are not alone in their experiences, we can all learn from one another and our individual journeys.

But the truth is that you also leave yourself wide open for the judgment of others who think they know you, because they have read about a slice of your life. Assumptions are made, comments are freely cast out that someone would never have the courage to say face to face, and partially read blogs are taken in part rather than the sum total of their months or years long commentary which causes misinterpretations and missed facts. Honesty can be turned and used against you. It is a risk we all take when our blogs are available for all the world to read.

Sometimes I think that those who read the blog forget that it is essentially a running one-sided conversation with my sons about adoption and how it has affected their lives. Do other issues sometimes enter into the dialogue? Sure they do! But often our readers forget that they really are seeing only a tiny portion of our lives, the portion that mainly has to do with adoption and the boys. You do not know anything about my marriage or other aspects of my personal life because that was not the reason the blog was created, it is not something I chose to share.

We have a choice to remain public or to take our blogs private, where presumably only our closest family and friends will be our readers...and will most likely never go on the attack in the way that anonymous commenters feel so justified in doing.

While privatizing our blogs may keep us safe and comfortable, freed from the judgment of others and from the sting of misdirected anger and misunderstood circumstances, it also hurts some people, for they can not learn from us. I remember being in the beginning stages of each of our adoptions, quite literally spending thousands of hours scouring the internet looking for morsels of information that might help calm my fears and explain what was a completely unknown world to me...this arena of international adoption. I learned so much from the emails and web pages of others! No doubt exists in my mind that we never would have stepped forward with adopting if we hadn't had the "real life cases" of others to examine under a microscope to determine if we indeed really could do this, if it was safe, if we were suited to the various trials and tribulations, not to mention the joys and miracles, that would be part of our future.

I have tinkered with the idea at times of being far more vague or fact based with my writing, I have often considered being less revealing as that is far safer. No one could judge us then, no one would likely be inclined to write anonymous attacks with the specific intent of causing pain...for it would be so bland that it wouldn't inspire that kind of reaction.

But if I did go that direction, no one would learn what this life of ours is really like either...no one would be able to take what we have gone through and use it in whatever way is best, either by doing the exact opposite or perhaps coming away with a nugget that might help their family and their children.

Most importantly though, I would not be honest with my sons. They would not have a "real" picture of their life story that I attempt to capture here. It would be sugar coated, it would be false, and frankly, it would be nothing like the mom they know in "real life".

This blog entry tonight is prompted by a couple of comments I received, one posted and one not at the anonymous commenters request, which I honored. As I have gone over these comments in my mind, as I had a long conversation today with someone I trust completely, I was guided to see that honesty comes at a cost. It is not always easy to share our more intimate realities, as there will ALWAYS be someone standing by on the sidelines ready to throw a rotten tomato at you.

I could elect to not share the blessings of our lives, the ways in which others are being used by God to work in our lives, but then that would be taking something away from the most important factor of all of this...Him. When He blesses us, we should not hide it under a rock, we should proclaim it boldly and joyfully!!! And our family is most certainly blessed. Just as those who bless us feel as if they receive much in return, so do we when the shoe is on the other foot. It really is better to give than receive, but if we don't receive graciously and gratefully we take something away from the experience for the giver. Those of us whose lives follow a certain path, recognize that all things come from Him anyway.

But my greater concern has always been that we all be a blessing to others in the ways we can. Are we always successful? No, I am certain we are not...do we honestly try? Absolutely. Will everyone understand that? No, probably not.

As I evaluated all of this on a very deep level this past few days, and with someone else's help, I asked myself "What would those who know us in "real life" say about this? What would those closest to us think?" for anything else that is generated in the cyber world is not based on reality, it is based on perception. I came away from that recognizing that our two way street is wide open, that others see that the give and take is what we are all about, and it is ongoing and an active part of our life. It just isn't something I choose to share much of in the contents of this blog, for that is NOT for public consumption and is unnecessary. It is between our family and God. If we have somehow blessed someone else, and that is something we strive for daily, then that is for Him to know, not our readers. Much as I love you all, your praise is not what we seek. Nor do we desire your condemnation.

Because of that fact though, it is very easy for others to judge, saying that there is a lot of "taking" going on and no "giving". Today I came to the conclusion that it is just fine for others to feel that way, based upon their knowledge of us in this blog. For the One who is the only One who needs to know our hearts already does, and there is no need to justify with Him, no need to explain.

I have always shared as much as I feel is possible with all of you, I have my name attached to every single thing I have ever written, be it here or in online group discussions. I have never thrown out anonymous comments or attacks, either here or on anyone else's blog. You may not agree with me, you may in fact vehemently disagree with me and find me a nutcase. That is ok! What I ask for though, is the same respect I show all of you. Don't fling out hurtful anonymous comments. If you are not proud enough to attach your name to it, then that should be a clue to you that it shouldn't be posted in the first place. I have always been honest with everyone in this blog and will continue to do so for as long as I decide to keep it public. In the future though, I will not allow negative comments to be posted if they are anonymous. If you are not willing to attach your name and your reputation to it, then it is nothing more than mere graffiti on the blog and it will be blotted out, the same as graffiti on an inner city wall.

To those who have been avid followers of the blog, to those who understand that God is working in really amazing ways in our life right now and we have no control over it other than to surrender to it in spite of how difficult, uncomfortable and scary that is, to those who don't need an explanation, to those who know us in "real life" and shower us with your love and allow us to show you our love, to those who have managed to glean something from this story about a family that is helpful, thank you all.

To those who don't understand....well...I guess all I can say is, I wish you could.

11 comments:

Karen said...

Cindy, I love your blog! The anonymous commenters need to get a life and get over their jealousy. Life isn't fair -- but when that special someone can help make life a little bit more fairer, then that gives me hope in mankind.

Chandra said...

I'm so glad you're not going to go private. I don't recall if I've ever commented on your blog, but I have been reading it for over 6 months now. We have been trying to adopt from Vietnam, your blog is the ONLY adoption blog I have found that is so honest about the attachment process with your children. It has been SO great to read your blog from beginning and realize that it is not all easy and instant love like others portrait in their blogs.

Please know how much your blog prepares adopting parents for the realities that they may face with their children. Not only that, but it shows us the joy that we will face when things are overcome. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Cindy, Just wanted to know that you are helping me on my journey through motherhood via the blog. We have "talked" through e-mail a while back when Grant was going through some sleeping issues, etc. You were a help then and a help now. I'm not looking to you for perfection in any way. I wouldnt expect that of someone. But your thoughts on your blog have definitely given me insight when raising my son. It's similar to when I was a first time mom with my daughter AND the stay-at-home title was given to me. If I hadn't surrounded myself with a very supportive playgroup (of imperfect moms, I might add), I would have gone completely crazy. Instead, we learned from each other and supported each other. I learned so much from those ladies. I don't even know if I got my point across in this comment. But just want to thank you for the thought provoking reads. I still LOVE seeing pics of the those handsome boys though! Absolutely adorable and such nice little gentlemen!
Heather Wood

Hilary Marquis said...

Cindy,

I'm sorry that you've been hurt. You didn't deserve that at all. You've been nothing but honest and allowed others to learn from your experiences. None of us is perfect, none of us has all the answers, that is not our job, it is HIS. But, each and every time time we get knocked down it is a good time to stay on our knees for a little while, and allow God to pick us back up. Thank you for keeping your blog public, I have learned so much from you as a mother and as a Christian. You may not be perfect my friend, but you are a shining example.

Blessings,
Hilary

Anonymous said...

Hi Cindy,
Post this if you want or edit it any part of it. If you do post it, I hope it doesn't cause you any more problems. But I had to say something. (cn)

This is to the anonymous commenter who felt it was their business to comment on the vacation/money. I happen to be one of the ones that made an offer to Cindy & her family for their trip. It was an offer - not requested, not expected. It is really none of your business where the money came from or who offered - for this or for any other money matters.
There is joy in seeing those who touch our lives being able to enjoy the things we have or to have an opportunity they would not otherwise have. There is happiness in seeing and hearing about others excitement. Unfortunately, you are not experienced in that joy.
I am thrilled that Cindy and her family took me up on my offer. It is none of your business nor do you have the right to put a damper on such a happy and exciting time.

C...

Stephanie said...

Hi, I just found your site through adoption blogs -- Clicked on you because my middle name is "Joy" and I said, what the heck! I want to tell you how remarkable I think your site is -- your candor, honesty, details and genuine-ness is remarkable and so much appreciated. I will be flagging your site to refer to again and again as we navigate the initial phase of international adoption.
Best,
Stephanie
www.ourjourneyto5.blogspot.com

Elizabeth and Bill said...

Cindy,

I've never posted a comment on your site although I check for updates constantly! We are traveling on Friday to meet our 3 1/2 year old daughter and reading your stories has really helped us in this journey and will continue to. As I started to read I was terrified that you would choose to put your blog private, what a loss that would be for so many of us. I do know that this blog isn't for the rest of us, but instead for those handsome boys of yours but I am glad you are going to continue sharing! You write in such an amazing honest way that moves me, and others. Noone should be judged for the small piece of their lives that they choose to share, instead they should be honored for being brave enough, and caring enough, to open themselves up day after day. Thank you for the time you put in to your blog and thank you for allowing us to glimpse a piece of your life.

Elizabeth

pam b said...

Cindy,
Keep up the honesty, because it is your personal blog. I too have learned a great deal from your posts and friendship in the short time we have known you and your family. God is good and I am so happy to see your sons growing up with this very important principle. Keep your head up and enjoy Disneyland-- I expect to see a few pictures :).

pam b

Cheree and Mark said...

Aaah, my dear friend Cindy! I raise my last McDonalds Diet Coke (of the evening) to you, Domby and your beautiful family.

We've been there from the very beginning before you donned your beloved title of "Mommy". We know how much you have given to others and it is your turn...you all deserve this, just enjoy it!

We love you, we support you and we can't wait to hug you all!

US

Beth said...

Cindy,

I am an occasional "lurker" to your site and an adoptive parent to 2 Kaz cuties myself. I just wanted to thank you for blogging so honestly about your parenting experiences and your beautiful boys.

I must also say how excited that I am for your boys that they are able to go to Disney -- it is a magical experience for kids at that age and I KNOW they will have memories they will cherish for a lifetime (I still do!)

Enjoy your trip! And keep blogging!

Beth

Tapsalteerie said...

Well Cindy, you know it wasn't me ;) I own my disagreements with you even if it does garner me some most interesting mail afterwards.