Tuesday, March 6, 2012

FAQ: I Would Keep My Trap Shut

I used to get a lot of questions about my perspective on adoption. I probably still get a lot of them in my e-mail but I'm sorry to say I am several months behind on my e-mail. Anyway. There's a question I was asked more than once and I always meant to answer it but I never got around to it until now.

The gist of the question is this - what would I do if I disagreed with how P and M were parenting Roo? Would I say something? Would I try to get them to do things my way?

The very short answer is that I'd keep my trap shut, because how presumptuous would it be for someone without children to offer parenting advice to a couple with two children? I don't know what the heck I'm talking about. I have zero credibility.

Maybe not quite zero. (This begins the long answer, by the way.) I mean, I think I did okay in the time I parented. But before I had Roo, what I knew about parenting could fit in a text message. I didn't know what made a good parent, or what characteristics a good parent would have. When I started considering adoption, I made a list. It was short, but I thought it had the important things on it.

It wasn't until Roo was bigger - more than a year old - and I saw her interact with her parents - that I started to see things that were more important. P and M are good parents in ways that I never even would have thought of before. I find myself almost taking notes, thinking, "If I am ever blessed with children, I want to make sure I do this." It's not always things that seem big, either. It's little things, like the way they encourage Roo to speak for herself, even though she's very small. She is so confident for such a little thing. I know her parents taught her that.

Granted, I don't see or know everything. But I know P and M, and I know they are the very best parents for Roo. How could I think to question their parenting choices? The only thing that I can seem myself taking exception to is spanking. I don't think it's ever okay to hit a child (I know some of you are going to disagree with me here, but that's how I feel). When I was trying to choose a family for Roo, one of the first questions I asked was about discipline. There were a lot of areas in which I was willing to be flexible, but this wasn't one of them. I did not want Roo spanked. Ever.

In this, P and M and I are in accord. They believe there are more effective ways of disciplining a child. I was and am inclined to trust their authority on this because they already had parenting experience when Roo came along. I know that some birth moms want the children they place to be the first in the family, but I didn't want Roo to be the test pancake. I liked that she was going to have a sibling already, and that her parents knew what they were doing!

But even if they didn't, even if I happened to disagree with something or think they should do things differently, I would keep my trap shut. Because it is not my job to tell them how to raise their children. When I placed Roo with them, I did so trusting that they would act in her best interest. I did so, trusting them in general. If I thought they needed my parenting advice, I wouldn't have placed with them!

This isn't to say that I think P and M are absolutely perfect in every way and that I am never, ever going to disagree with them. We're all human; it would be creepy if we agreed on absolutely everything. But it doesn't matter if I would do things differently. It's not my call. I know that they love Roo every bit as much as I do, and if they've decided on a course of action, it's not my place to question them. If I'm blessed with children of my own, I'll do things my way. P and M get to parent their children their way.

I love them, and I trust them.


Que and Brittany's Adoption Journey said...

Besides being completely awesome as a person in general, you are the perfect birth mother. What a blessing you are to Roo, P and M!

Rachel said...

I agree about spanking. Won't do it. Ever.

As usual, great post!