Taking a Break. Have you ever taken a break from adoption related things such as blogs, forums, or groups? If so, how did it help you (if at all) and why did you come back? If not, what is the biggest draw for sticking around for long periods of time without a break?
I have, and more than once. There are a few forums I’ve left outright, either because they changed hands, because my feelings were hurt, or for soopasekrit personal reasons I won’t be discussing. For instance, About.Com has or used to have three adoption forums, one for adult adoptees, one for adoptive parents, and one for first parents. IIRC, one was not to post on forums representing groups one didn’t belong to, and I loved that. (There are plenty of other forums where these groups can talk to each other; I liked having an adult adoptee-only space, and it’s insane how rare these are on the internet.) Then the moderator left. An adoptive parent took over all three forums and opened them all to all triad members. Suddenly I couldn’t say “It sucks not having my OBC” without hurting some adoptive parent’s feelings. Screw that; I left and haven’t been back.
I left one support group for adoptees and first mothers because once, when I had a particularly bad birthday, a first mother broke out the “I can see why she gave you up” line and I never posted there again. Yes, I was complaining. I may well have phrased something in a way that she found personally hurtful, I don’t know. But once that had been said, there was no way I could talk to or trust anyone in that forum again. I’ve never felt so hurt by anything anyone posted to me online. The way I remember it, no one really defended me, although people told me via private messages to ignore this person, or asked that I please not leave the forum. I don’t remember anyone defending me or calling her out in the forum itself, although I could certainly be wrong. The upshot was that I didn’t feel supported, and it ruined that forum for me.
In other cases I’ve taken a break from the internet adoption community/certain communities and come back, and I think this is pretty common. Sometimes I feel I just can’t take being an adoptee on the internet anymore. I just get worn out. Or I read something that makes me aware how little attitudes about adoption have changed, and I despair. I get hit over the head with the fact that attitudes haven’t changed much all the time, but once in awhile something is worded such that it really gets to me, and I have to back away because I feel like all my skin just got peeled off. It feels like self-preservation. This kind of hiatus helps me feel safe and calm down. When I return to the fray, I’m stronger and, hopefully, more rational.
But sometimes, and I can’t say what I mean by this, adoption just…recedes. It becomes a little less important in my life for awhile. It isn’t that other things come in to take its place or push it into the background; it just fades, and I devote my internet attention to other things. I’m not sure why this happens or what it means. In these cases, backing off for awhile doesn’t make me feel any better or worse. It doesn’t feel like it accomplishes anything; it just Is. It’s more like hibernation than self-defense, I guess.
I do tend to stick around for long periods with only occasional withdrawals/departures. The draw for staying, for me, is community. I don’t know many adopted people IRL. My a’bro doesn’t particularly want to talk about it, and a great deal of the non-adopted world thinks I’m nuts. People who don’t know how being adopted feels just plain don’t know how it feels, and many of them aren’t really willing to try. I’ve had other adoptees to talk to online for well over a decade now. It’s too big a part of my life to walk away from forever and completely, and I wouldn’t want to. But sometimes I need a break, whether or not I know why.