drive by

I had thought about it. I had imagined and even half expected it. I assumed it could be somewhat inevitable. 

I had seen them around, read them on other people’s blogs. I had bubbled up in outrage at the ignorance displayed, and silently reveled at the pointed and eloquent responses by those targeted.

But in nearly a year of blogging, I had never, until now, been the object of a nasty comment.  

I suppose it was inevitable, writing about issues so personal so publicly, that someone was bound to pass judgment and not silently. I’m not talking about a respectful disagreement. I’m talking about a misdirected, inappropriate, ill-intended, judgment-laden attack on my personal choices. I’m talking about someone (aside from my husband) questioning how we should build our family.

Since we put it all out there, here in the blogosphere, we open ourselves up in a way that invites others to express their views. Usually this is by offering support, sharing personal experience or another viewpoint, or simply by listening and abiding as we struggle to find our way through our own personal journeys. Because that’s just it — no one can find my way except me. 

But that won’t stop some people from trying, I guess. 

To be honest, I’ve wondered whether it would be one of my posts about the persistent pain of infertility or other people’s pregnancies or families that would spark ire, or writing about our new path into adoption that could incite a negative remark. Looks like adoption it is.

I did not post the comment, but I will share it with you here, along with my reply. It was not in response to a particular post, but posted on the “about me” page. You know, for broad applicability. It wasn’t necessarily a unique comment. I’d seen these types of statements before. See for yourself:

“What about all those children needing a home right now? Do you REALLY want a baby? Or just another person’s new baby? Or could you open your heart? a little bit?”

Hmm. My first reaction was outrage — i.e., who the fuck does this person think she is, suggesting she has a right to tell me how to build my family? My second reaction was that this woman (and yes, it is a woman) has not read my blog. The next reaction was that she has no fucking clue what she is talking about.

There were so many issues raised by this ignorant little comment, I didn’t know where to begin.

As I said, this was not a respectful disagreement, or even an innocent remark tinged with just a bit of ignorance or judgment. A respectful dialogue with diverging viewpoints is welcome here. And we’ve all seen statements that may be well-meaning yet are still inappropriate. Those stand too. No, this was a misdirected, ill-meaning attack on me and my personal decisions about the way to build my family — ignorant judgment, plain and simple. This was a drive-by. 

I decided to reply, but I knew this person was not worth my time. I figured if she had anything valid to say in response, she still could. Here’s what I wrote:

“How dare you presume to know anything about my heart. You should be downright ashamed of yourself, questioning me and my intentions. I might be inclined to ask how many children you yourself have adopted, but I really don’t care. Since when is it the responsibility of infertile families to adopt all those supposed “children needing a home right now”? From your outrageous and ill-willed statement, I presume you don’t know the first thing about adoption in the U.S.  And I know you know nothing about me, aside from your own judgment.”

What would you have said?

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~ by luna on October 10, 2008.

31 Responses to “drive by”

  1. I don’t know what I would have said, but I do know that the commentor’s ignorance is laughable. I’m sorry you were on the receiving end of that. You’ve been honest and open and heartfelt in your blog and certainly not deserving of that kind of attack. Probably anonymous too, which is typical.

  2. As someone who IS trying to adopt “children needing a home” I have nothing but respect for people who are doing other things and doing them ethically and thoughtfully, which is clearly your goal. And, y’know, it says up there on the heading of the blog that you’re aiming for a baby, so I took you at your word.

    I don’t know what you’d say to your mystery comment leaver but I’d thank you, Luna, for opening your heart and your thoughts to us readers. I loved your Frida Kahlo post. I haven’t had to deal with fertility issues but I’ve always felt very connected to her art because of my own body-betrayal related to my spine, and it was great to see someone else’s connections. It looks to me like you’ve been working through your pain here, getting yourself ready to be the best parent you can possibly be to the baby who will become yours. So to you I’d say congratulations for all that, and I’d hope that the non-anonymous positive comments you’ll get can counteract the drive-by.

  3. It is like taking a crap in the middle of someone’s living room. We all know not to do it and we’d never want it done to us. I’m sorry, sweetie. It’s just…for lack of a better word….shifty.

  4. I worked for Children’s Services. I have seen some of the children that need a home. And they do need a home, desperately. But why, because my body kills my children, am I responsible for taking on a terribly difficult circumstance. Why is it, that because my body doesn’t produce children on demand, that I should have to house a child that needs intensive therapy, that is ravaged by the effects of alcohol or drugs? Why is it my responsibility? Because I am damaged, I am only worth a damaged child? Because I can’t have a baby of my own, I should have to take children that “normal” people don’t want? I wouldnt’ drink or do drugs in a pregnancy, but my children still die, so I should take the child of someone who did drugs and drank? How is that fair? How is that not punishing me?

    And I’m sorry that a troll found your bridge to camp under. I’ll happily help you evict her.

  5. Word Mrs. Spit.

    Also Luna – I would have told him/her to f**k off. Pardon my French.

  6. Even though your head knows this person has her own issues, getting an ignorant comment like this can leave an impact.

    Anyone who knows the least bit about you knows that your heart is open and that you have compassion and understanding for those who have experienced any part of infertility and adoption.

    Glass houses, regarding that person’s comment to open your heart. Hers sounds pretty brittle and closed. At least at the moment she entered your living room anonymously.

  7. I’m confused as to what the problem is with adopting…

    What would I say? Probably nothing. You can’t reason with stupid.

  8. Personally, I *do* want to know how many children this woman has adopted. I want to know if she has experience with infertility – personally or through someone close to her. I want to know if she’s been through anything as heart-wrenching as the loss of a child (of any form).

    I would like to challenge her to explain herself. If she is so brave as to leave a judgmental, mean-spirited, ignorant comment than she should be so brave as to answer OUR questions. Unless she’s an anonymous bully who is too cowardly to speak up.

    What pissed me off was how she questioned your open heart. That demonstrates how small her little brain is because anyone with intelligence understands that surviving infertility, loss, and braving the adoption process REQUIRES an open heart. A wide open gaping heart, in fact.

    Luna, you are an inspiration. Don’t let a pathetic troll get under your skin, not even for a second.

  9. Ugh. I am sorry you got just mean spirited comment. Some people seem only capable of spewing venom and judging people they know nothing about.

  10. OK, I would never have the guts to say this . . . but what I would want to say to someone like that is why doesn’t SHE (shut her mouth and) open her heart and adopt an older and / or special needs child herself if she feels so strongly about it??

    She was way out of line.

  11. Wow. We were just presented a text book example of ignorance at its finest. I’m sorry you had to deal with that dimwit. Some people should just not have access to oxygen.

  12. I couldn’t have said it better. Well done.

  13. I would not change a word, Luna. Your response is rightfully righteous and perfect, just as it is. I’m sorry you were subjected to that idiot and her judgment.

  14. Great response to an asinine assertion. I have had this asked of me:

    Why don’t you adopt waiting children right here in Canada?

    And I’ve said:

    “Probably for the same reasons you haven’t”.

    Sigh.

  15. Wow. Wow, wow, wow. I’ve been reading awhile and don’t know if I have ever commented or not, but WOW! I would have flipped my lid! Actually, I am flipping my lid for you!

    The nerve of some people. It is really sad the judgement that is passed. CLEARLY this person cannot even begin to fathom what a person goes through with infertility and adoption.

    I LOVE what you wrote and I am going to copy it and save it in my back pocket just in case I ever have to answer back to anything like that. I also will include gigi’s 4-letter expletive.

    I want to spew a whole serious of childish insults and equally jugdmental profanities at this person, although it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. I’m sorry you had to deal with this and I hope you don’t let it get to you at all!

  16. Your response was spot-on. I don’t know where people get the gall to write things like that. I’m sorry that you had to deal with a drive-by.

  17. Oh, I’m so sorry. It is ignorance pure and simple and nasty sanctimonious judgmentalness (word?). It’s funny because I got my first nasty comment on an adoption post last week too. I have been considering a post to respond, but I’ve been too mad. I think you handled it beautifully.

  18. I’m angry on your behalf. I am most angered by the implication that you are a cold-hearted wench for preferring not to adopt an older child. I think I would have ended up saying something similar to what you said, but only after having taken the proper time to word something a bit more diplomatic than “screw you and the self-righteousness you rode in on.”

    I hope she’s still here reading here and finds her heart opening. Just a little.

  19. I have had a version of this comment said to me in my real life – from a family member, no less.

    I love, love, love your response as much as I am sickened by that comment.

  20. Probably nothing that nice. Your response was great.

  21. Clearly, that comment came from someone who has never tried to navigate the adoption system, either domestic or abroad.

    I’d have followed up with asking her in reply, “Do you REALLY wanna be a b*tch? Or just a b*tch to another person? Could you open your heart? Just a little bit?”

    Seriously, this probably falls into the 95% category of people who think they are making a well-intentioned, even helpful comment, but just don’t know any better.

    I think it’s amazing you are open to “open adoption.” HULLO?! That’s pretty f’in OPEN in the opening of hearts standard! Open adoption was not something that hubby and I were comfortable with, but for others it is a good choice (and by others I mean adoptive parents and birth parents).

    Adoption is a giant opening of the heart. And filling it right back up again with something greater.

  22. Love your response, and dreamingsoul’s–perfect

  23. It continues to amaze me how thoughtless and judgmental people can be. And to not even keep it to themselves, but feel they have the right to condemn or criticize anyone directly.

    Sorry that happened, but I think you dealt with it well.

  24. Couldn’t have said it any better Luna. I just hate that you had to address it – to see it – at all.

  25. I would have said nothing. People like this aren’t worth responding to. I know what it’s like to be the target of an ignorant woman’s judgment. You never know who is out there and what their baggage is. Press delete and move on. There is enough war in the world; no point firing back an inflammatory comment. Rarely do people hear you when you do.

    I have the utmost respect for anyone who adopts. Screw those high and mighty people who think you should adopt any kind of child. It’s your right to chose what kind of child to adopt.

  26. Oh Luna. I am so sorry that you should have been on the receiving end of such a cruel, hurtful and ignorant remark. But I am also angry that you were subjected to such a cowardly attack. It is perfectly plain to anyone who has followed your journey thus far that this woman has not read a single word of your blog. From your writings, I know that you are an extraordinarily open, honest and self-aware individual.

    I think you showed amazing restraint in your reply – my own would probably have included a far few expletives!

  27. I didn’t read all the comments, but I love what you wrote and also what Mrs. Spit wrote.

    Personally, I wanted a baby – to birth, to nurse, to watch grow from the ground up. I also wanted the chance to influence a child from conception on. What’s wrong with that? Why am I not entitled to that like most fertiles are?

  28. ooohhh! ooohhh! me! pick me!
    my response:

    thanks so much for pointing out the obvious, gee after all these years of tests, procedures and the loss of my baby, that never occured to me. but why should i be the only fortunate one to solve the world’s problems? how about you help too! you can dedicate yourself to the plight of the world’s orphans, world hunger, AIDS, cancer…etc.
    some people are just fortunate enought to be ignorant.
    why can’t that be me?

  29. [expletive deleted.]

    You, and the above, said it much more coherently and nicely than I ever would have.

    Sadly, though, I don’t think you can win these types of people. If you’re suffering infertility, maybe you “weren’t meant to have a baby?” If you’re adopting internationally, “don’t you know there are children here in the US?” If you’re adopting here, don’t you know “there are children suffering worldwide — are you opposed to a child of a different skin color?” If you’re adopting young, they want to know why not older, if older why not younger. If healthy why not with problems, and on and on and on.

    What they’re really questioning is how it is someone’s heart can be so large and so open because I think they deeply fear the small size of their own. They know they’ve done nothing to either suffer or grow so all they can do is pick at others knowing in their own hypothetical universe they would do things differently. That’s just sad.

  30. You’re a braver person than I am – I’d have cried and then just tried to ignore it. What a nasty thing to say to someone as wonderful and amazing as you. What a nasty thing to say to anyone…

  31. I’ve had a few of those too. Mean people suck.

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