During National Adoption Awareness Month, I will introduce you to numerous guest bloggers, highlighting many parts of the adoption journey. Today’s guest blogger is RG Adoption Consulting’s Project Manager. Although Connie hadn’t had a background or experience in the adoption world, I knew she would be a great asset to our team. In fact, Connie is the one who managed the entire blog series project this month. She does so much for us, while also being a pre-med student! Having done most of our social media, I love that she chose this topic today. Her insights are spot on.
By Connie Shakro
Social media seems to be ever so present in our day to day lives now more than ever. We are creatures of curiosity, as we constantly want to see what everyone is doing all the time. Many say it has become a plague to our society- a place where everyone wants to carefully curate an image to portray to the world. Is social media just a reflection of our narcissistic tendencies? Is it just a canvas for us to show the world the best parts of our lives?
I am the first to step up and say that I love sharing my best moments to Instagram, whether it be a photo of my latest vacation or my aesthetically pleasing dinner plate. Feeding into the shallow, materialistic aspects of social media allows for instant gratification- something our society emphasizes so diligently.
However, my role at RG Adoption Consulting has shifted my perspective and use of social media. Adoption and social media seemingly go hand in hand. But before I go on, I want to be fully transparent – prior to my work with RG Adoption Consulting, adoption did not play any role in my life. So it’s been interesting to look at adoption from an “outsider’s perspective.”
I think using social media to spread the word of adoption means using these platforms as they were intended: to connect with people. It could be a way for a hopeful couple to try to find information about a birth parent, or an expectant mother’s way of getting to know a prospective adoptive parent a little better. In another sense, a transracial family created through adoption can post to spread encouragement, offer tips, and of course, learn from others.
By posting a motivational quote to Instagram or our Facebook page at least once a week, I get a flood of people responding with a “thank you” or “I really needed this.” A simple act of positivity on social media can emit such a light on people going through the same things as you. Everyone has their struggles and you never know the impact a little inspiration can have on someone.
With adoption, you find yourself in a very personal process of preparing to bring a baby home, possibly long periods of just waiting and struggling with the idea that there are no guarantees. Support and a sense of community become very important for many during this time. For our clients, we thought to create a community where they could ask questions, share moments of both joy and grief, and rely on one another for added support.
We created a secret Facebook group which became a way for our clients, both past and current, to connect and grow through one another in a safe space (which isn’t always the case on social media). Often you will find that people become highly critical when there is a screen protecting and allowing them to be judgmental of others. This is another reason why we fostered our smaller community that promotes acceptance and support above all else.
This community is not some form of materialism and self-absorbed ramblings as people tend to label social media, but rather a support group for our clients to have another few sets of helping hands through the difficult, often daunting journey of adoption. There are other such groups on Facebook, such as this one and this one, that are more public in nature as well but are meant to serve the same purpose.
Social media has a bad reputation that most of us only contribute to, but after considering how the adoption journey works into all of this, I would like to think these platforms can serve a much greater purpose.
Among all the internet trolls, overzealous Instagram models, and political debates in the Facebook comment sections, we find a beacon of positivity and love among all the hate. Don’t get me wrong- there is plenty of negativity and stigma surrounding adoption on social media. Yet, I think this negativity serves the purpose of helping us all grow in our understanding of the complexities of adoption. I’ve learned some of the most useful information from people that post angry, negative, or unsupportive posts. Information such as, what language not to use when discussing adoption, or the different degrees of open adoption and how people often struggle with that idea.
Adoption communities, support groups, forums, and Instagram pages are tools to help educate and bring together all those touched by adoption – complexities, struggles and all! It just sometimes helps to know you are not alone. I think adoption makes the world, especially the digital world of social media, a better place.
Currently a student at Loyola University Chicago, Connie is studying English and Spanish while pursuing the pre-medicine track. Connie is the project manager at RG Adoption Consulting . Click here for her full bio.