Haters. Our society is filled with them. No matter where you go, you're bound to encounter a hater. They wear their hate like a badge of honor, prepared to argue with anyone who disagrees and quick to pass criticism. Haters are quick to anger, scoffing at ideas they announce are naive. But one thing is clear with all haters: they all are deeply afraid of what they hate.
Since being diagnosed with infertility, Grey and I have encountered our fair share of ART haters. Both of us have been lectured about how immoral and selfish our actions are, how we are overpopulating the world, how our infertility is G_d's way of telling us we are unfit to parent, etc. Over time, we've both become hardened to this hate. The hate from those who are clearly ignorant about infertility and the pain of miscarriage. But we've also learned that there is more behind this hatred than presented; the need of the individual passing judgement to feel superior, the inability of the hater to empathize with our pain, the lack of love this person may be experiencing in life.
Being at the crossroads have introduced us to a new breed of haters, the ones few expect to encounter: the adoption haters. These haters are ones that I've been well aware of for some time. Being from the midwest, I'm aware of the white-trash value that "no loving parent would ever give away their child," but for Grey this hatred is new. His family's embrace of adoption and the assumption that love can conquer all has shielded him from these people. So initially he poo-pooed me, assuming my observations were simply a by-product of an abusive past. And then he began finding websites. He began reading the lies these cowards spread; the fear that they try to instill in others. And like most, Grey responded to the haters in a way most of us do. He responded with anger and rage, condemning them for their bitterness. If he would have been allowed to persist, the haters would have won.
So how does one counter hate like this? Honestly, it's something I've been struggling with since I first began becoming the focus hate and being the subject of attack. With the ART haters, I found it easier to confront them when necessary, but mainly I've been quiet. Partly because I've been tired from battling everything else in life in the pursuit of children. Partly because it's been easier to be quiet, since ART haters are some of the most misinformed individuals out there. But with the adoption haters, it's become evident that I can no longer be silent. Because it's no longer just about me; these people will attack my children. So, even though I'm not holding them in my arms, it's now my job to counter this hate, to defend my family.
In order to understand how to counter hate, one needs to understand the anatomy of a hater. And in order to illustrate this best, I need to share the topic of my recent therapy sessions with Dee. I need to share the truth about something that has been haunting me; something very dark.
It's no secret that this recent miscarriage broke me, causing more damage than anyone could have predicted. The salt in the wound was the pregnancy announcements following the miscarriage. I found myself able to be at peace with the announcement from Grey's close friend. He had no idea our struggles nor of the previous loss. The announcement from BIL has been harder. BIL knew about our struggles. BIL knew about our pain. Yet when news came in April that we had lost our children, he didn't call for two weeks. And when he did, it was to share the news that they were expecting again. Meaning they decided to trying during the same time we were actively in treatment. And though I believe that no one should put family planning on hold because of others, this was a huge blow. Because now I will have a niece/nephew who will be a reminder of what could have been.
So how does this example relate to someone filled with hate? Well, hate is breed from pain and fear. Most anti-adoption advocates have had something happen related to adoption to be so bitter with the process. Some may have been forced by family and religious officials to give up their children and during the process, they may not have been able to properly say good-bye nor process the emotions surrounding this decision. Others may see themselves as victims for losing custody of their children, refusing to analyze why the state decided to terminate their parental rights and pull the children. And then there's the adopted children who may not have been able to attach with their adoptive parents, resulting in them romanticizing their birthparents. You get the picture. The point is, there is pain and fear from loss.
The truth is, like these haters, I now have the elements to hate my BIL and his wife. If I chose, I could easily develop arguments painting them as selfish and conniving beings. But what stops me is this hate will isn't productive and is actually very destructive. What is to be gained from villainizing this couple or those that can conceive easily? This hatred will not bring my children back. In fact, going this route turns me into a person my children would be ashamed of.
And that's where I struggle to be different from someone who hates. A hater has been wounded, but they never find peace. They refuse to forgive, assuming that forgiveness absolves the offending party of the pain they afflicted. And, as time goes on, they expand their hate. They blame everyone who questions them for their fear and pain. Because it's easier. It's so much easier than confronting yourself and making the decision to move beyond the pain. It's easier to hide than to chose to live.
What this journey towards our children has taught me is that easier is not always better. Thank the universe for Dee. We've already spent three sessions with my anger over this news mixed in with my grief of losing both these pregnancies. And we likely will spend many more sessions. Honestly, healing will take time and the pain will probably never go away completely. But I work daily towards peace and forgiveness.
So, knowing this, how do you counter hate? Some argue that love is the best solution. This can work, but wrapping people who are hardened with hate in love usually isn't enough. What I've been trying is love and information. To apologize to those who are so angry for being wronged and then to counter with examples of why they are incorrect. Honestly, the best responses I've gotten has been silence and/or the hater turning tail. Not once have I witnessed them resolving their pain or being willing to admit that maybe they are wrong. Still, I have to try. It's all I can do to resist the urge of slapping some sense into them.
In the end, I'm still learning. I'm learning to deal with haters, learning how to counter their poison. I'm also learning to forgive those who cause me great pain. But, for me, understanding the anatomy of a hater has made it easier to confront haters as well as to find peace. It reveals that these monsters are human. Scared, hurt humans who have allowed their hearts to be poisoned. It doesn't mean they are any less dangerous, but it does mean that if one choses they can be cured.