Bad Feelings

Last night, a friend informed us of the existence of a Facebook page dedicated to our family.  Unfortunately, the site was devoted to the topic of how the author was sick of our family’s Adoption Bull Sh!t [sic].

The page was launched in early 2010 and apparently it was only active for a short period of time.  The fellow who launched it was a “troll” — according to the Urban Dictionary, “One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.”  There really weren’t that many followers of the site.  Thus, its overall impact was limited, at best.

Running Girl and I put the link up on our Facebook pages because we thought it would cause our friends to shake their heads and laugh at this man’s pathetic use of his hours on this green Earth.  Unfortunately, our actions did not have the intended effect.  Instead, several people became upset over it.

Let me back up for a second.  For those of you who don’t know our story, prior to Island Boy’s adoption being completed, Running Girl was in Port au Prince for a visit with our son.  She was there on January 12, 2010, when the earthquake struck.  Her story is recounted here in a post written for the one-year anniversary of the event.

On that fateful day, once I learned that Running Girl and Island Boy were safe, I realized that I had to act quickly to get both of them out of there.  When I contacted my elected representatives, all of them told me that there was no way that the U.S. Department of State would allow IB to enter the U.S. without papers.

I refused to accept that answer.  It was solely for that reason that I went to the media with our story.

From January 13 to early February 2010, our family’s plight and eventual triumph over adversity was one of the lead stories in the local news market: in the newspaper, on line and on television.  It was a media frenzy.  Everyone knew us.  They stopped us on the street and in supermarkets.  Random hugs were delivered by unidentified church ladies.

It worked.  RG and IB came home safely.

But the story didn’t stop there.  It became a national and then an international story.  Scott Simon of NPR’s Weekend Edition interviewed us the night RG got home and right after we were finally able to bring IB home.  Jon Manel of the BBC did likewise, and the story went world-wide.

Not all of the feedback was positive.  In this internet age, readers and viewers are encouraged to provide comments to stories.  Locally, people like the fellow I mentioned at the beginning of this post complained that we were getting too much attention.  We quite agreed.

Nationally, on line CNN readers debated the merits of removing children from their native lands through international adoption (as if they had a dog in this fight).  To a person, none of them had the facts needed to add intelligently to the debate — they had not been to Haiti either before or after the earthquake.

Internationally it was worse.  Jon Manel informed us that people in the UK were not as restrained as Americans in expressing their opinions.  “Americans have a need at least to appear to be nice,” he explained.  The BBC stories began garnering comments from people accusing us of pedophilia.

For these reasons and others, we grew tired of the pressure of dealing with the media.  After a while, we wanted to be left alone to form our newly-expanded family and to overcome the obstacles that lay ahead.  Turning on the radio and hearing a familiar voice, only to then realize that it’s your own, is kind of creepy.

Returning to the present, learning of the troll’s Bull Sh!t Facebook page did not shock or alarm us yesterday.  Instead, it made us go: “Oh yeah.  Remember that?”

It also gave us the opportunity to show our friends that some of the feedback that we received was really ugly.  For, most of our friends just can’t conceive of how anyone would judge us negatively for the good act we were doing, and in light of the extraordinary obstacles we had to overcome to be together as a family.

But, instead of everyone having a good laugh at the troll’s ridiculous assertions, some of our friends became very upset.

Don’t get me wrong, we appreciate the continued love and support.  Loyalty to your friends is among the most admired of human traits.

But, I really hate the fact that I stirred up so much righteous indignation on our behalf.

At the beginning of this adoption journey, we set out to do good.  The impulse was pure: We can’t save all the kids.  How about one of them? 

Either God, the universe, Mother Haiti or simply good fortune placed in our hands a beautiful child who needed a family.  There was never a question over whether he should remain in Haiti.  There was nothing there for him.  Particularly after the Earth shook.

While we never anticipated that people would directly criticize us, we prepared for what we viewed as inevitable — racial prejudice.  Fortunately, we have not yet encountered this.  But, we know that check is in the mail.

In thickening our hides, we have come to accept that we cannot change the ugly way some people feel.  That’s beyond our control.

Nevertheless, I feel it would take away from what we are trying to do if people who support us hold bad feelings on our behalf.

— The Major


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by marsha on August 6, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    such judgment by others will only come back to bite them in the ……..


  2. Posted by huh7600 on August 6, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    “The BBC stories began garnering comments from people accusing us of pedophilia”

    Link please.


    • Did you actually read this post?

      The contents of the negative comments are beside the point. They will only generate more negative feeling.

      Request denied.


  3. Posted by Lisa N on August 6, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    My daughter has dealt with her share of bullies or just “catty/mean” girls. She asks me over and over why some people are like that. I told her last night about “positive & negative” energy. I told her how i work hard not to let people who exude that negative energy bring me down. I said to her honestly, im not sure why some people are wired that way- maybe passed on from generation to generation. Then I shared your story with her, about the FB page – “you see, some bullies, just grow up to be adult bullies. Its really sad- with all the good in the world they waste all their energy being being mean”
    My point in sharing (if its of any help) is to show how i used the example in a good way- I feel bad for you guys, but worse for him. I KNOW your family will be ok, even if his words sting- its sad thats how he chooses to waste his life.


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