Many years ago at the small kitchen table, where I have carved the names; first, middle, and last of all four kids in the family, I sat eating a summer salad Mom had made. I remember sitting quietly while the rest of the family ate and talked. I was engrossed in plucking out the raisins from the salad. The salad had a mayonnaise base and had shredded carrots, diced apples and raisins. On my plate was a stack of raisins, a mound of carrots, and a small hill of apples. The raisins and apples I would eat one by one and the carrots I would shovel to Trixie, our pet Collie, who hovered near my seat under the table. The combination of the tangy mayo and the sweet fruit was a taste I savored. The carrots, I was not so fond of , so I chose this time to practice, “giving unto others.” Trixie and I became close friends because she was always hungry and I was always extra generous at the dinner table.
As I walk through this life of adoption and as I learn more and more it is easy to see me evolving and changing. My posts are more challenging to adoptive parents and I see the resistance to my more challenging line. In each post, by some comments, I can see the moment a right turn is made away from the more painful topics. So a thread of comments begins about words instead of about the pain that can come with adoption.
I can relate with that.
Several months ago, as many know, I received a not so favorable review(John Raible’s review ) from someone I respected in the adoption community. As I read the review, initially, I went numb and then over the next few weeks it was like someone was peeling away my skin piece by piece. It was painful, it hurt, I lost sleep over it, and I was pissed about it. I wanted to pin the reviewer up against the wall and send shots to his abdomen and throat with my raw fists.
Today, I look back on that review and although it still stings, and I must admit some of the scabs have not completely healed, there is a truth that is also painful to admit. In some areas he was right; saying this is like pouring alcohol on a paper cut. This was and is a very important painful part of my journey.
Part of my job and responsibility, as I evolve, is to challenge and push parents to do better, do more, and consider things on a deeper level.
As I sit and pick over that review, I sort things like I did at the kitchen table. I set aside stacks of comments, some sweet and some bitter. I ingest some, and some I dismiss and let the dog take them away. There is another pile that sits on the corner of my plate that I am not sure what to do with yet; they float between sweet and bitter and I don’t have the energy to decide which they are today.
My hope is that those who read my more challenging blogs will do the same. My fear is that once one comment is said that doesn’t sit right the whole dish will be passed under the table. My prayer is that instead, a pile will be created on the corner of your plate and as it marinates there it will be revisited and eventually chewed. My challenge to many is to hold on to the bitter especially; hold on to the comments that really really piss you off because over time as they marinate they may become even sweeter than the pieces you ingested right away.