It was really weird that the entire time my friend was visiting, you couldn't see a single gator no matter how hard you looked. The best we were able to do was sight some of the gentle eddys they leave behind when they submerge.
Nevertheless, I had to constantly ensure her that, yes, there are many, many alligators in Florida waters, but sometimes they are hard to spot. Often, at certain times of the day, they will be lurking, just under the surface, doing their predator thing. It was so comical that, driving back from the airport after dropping her off, I crossed Lake Jesup and counted 5 gators swimming north. I don't think she will ever believe me. She told me when I showed her a gator, she'd show me a leprechaun.
That "lurking behavior" turned my mind to the more destructive forces on the Internet adoption circuit. Some of our own can be our worst enemies. Just like a gator can lie in the water and look like a floating log until it finds prey, the mixers and users can blend in and seem to be just another adoption-affected person until they show their teeth. Self-promotion and attempts at recruitment are just a couple of the things they can do to mess up our fondest dreams.
Pro-adoption factions, agency personnel and adopters, also often lurk on adoption activism sites, just under the water where the shadows hide them while they observe and try to find the weaknesses in our ranks. That's not paranoia....that's facts. They are the big gators...the ones with the money and the pull with congressional reps and judges. If it looks like we are starting to make a difference, they can call in their spin doctors and, "Chomp! Chomp!," we're gator food.
We have a little rule of thumb, here in gator-land. We never go walking close to wild water alone and we don't let little children and small pets close to the water's edge. Alligators can move quite fast on land...especially a female with a nest. The joke goes that if you are careful and walk with a friend, when the gator comes at you, you trip your friend up and then run. The gator will make herself busy with your buddy so that you can get away. That sounds like some of the Internet poseurs who call themselves our "friends and sisters." That's the self-involved mom-gator.
But with the adoption-gator, we do have to guard our small, precious loved ones with steely resolution. They are there, just under your radar, waiting for you to feel the least bit insecure about your single pregnancy, or taking a break from a day of housework or just looking for information. They swallow infants and toddlers whole and then smile at you and belch.
Guard your precious cargo, mothers, Remember that the log by the shore could be a vicious carnivore.