What I Learned from Walt Disney

I read several blogs by members of the adoption triad. Some by adoptive parents, some by birthmothers, and some by adult adoptees. Some are by people that I usually agree with their perspectives, and some are not. All of them give me a lot to think about. It has been awhile since I threw myself into the fray, although there have been several topics that I have wanted to address, but never gotten around to them. A few of them have popped up on various blogs over the past week or so and, since they all kind of go together in my brain, I’m going to attempt to pull a coherent thought or two out of my currently sleep-deprived brain.

Most of what I have falls under one main theme–something that was a theme in the life of Walt Disney. It is expressed in what, I believe, is one of the greatest movies scenes ever. Yep, that’s right, I’m going to start a discussion about adoption with a clip from (gasp!) Meet the Robinsons:

OK, I guess that maybe there are two themes in there that really speak to me, but the overriding one is “Keep moving forward.” My thoughts, as they apply to this theme (and, I suppose, the other main one–personal responsibility), center around three main topics: bias, corruption, and venting.

With that said, lets start with the National Counsil for Adoption (NCFA). Much is being made of their recently released 4th edition of their Adoption Factbook. I have no intention of commenting on the specifics contained in that book. The simple fact is, I can’t. While I have perused the table of contents (and haven’t seen anything that looks overtly offensive, but do see some topics that look interesting), I have not read the book. And I’m not just going to pick and choose sections, then make judgements based on limited information. I’ve done enough research in my life to know better than to pull information out of its context–it’s easy to get yourself in trouble that way.

What I am going to comment on is the accusations of bias and insinuations of corruption against the NCFA and the adoption agencies that support it. Let’s start with some definitions, compliments of Merriam Webster.

Main Entry:

1bi·as

Pronunciation:

\ˈbī-əs\

Function:

noun

1: a line diagonal to the grain of a fabric; especially : a line at a 45 degree angle to the selvage often utilized in the cutting of garments for smoother fit2 a: a peculiarity in the shape of a bowl that causes it to swerve when rolled on the green in lawn bowling b: the tendency of a bowl to swerve; also : the impulse causing this tendency c: the swerve of the bowl3 a: bent, tendency b: an inclination of temperament or outlook; especially : a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment : prejudice c: an instance of such prejudice d (1): deviation of the expected value of a statistical estimate from the quantity it estimates (2): systematic error introduced into sampling or testing by selecting or encouraging one outcome or answer over others4 a: a voltage applied to a device (as a transistor control electrode) to establish a reference level for operation b: a high-frequency voltage combined with an audio signal to reduce distortion in tape recording

I went ahead and put the applicable information in bold lettering.

So, in it’s simplest form, bias is an inclination or personal outlook that is sometimes (but not always) unreasonable.

And now another:

Main Entry:

1cor·rupt

Pronunciation:

\kə-ˈrəpt\

Function:

verb

transitive verb1 a: to change from good to bad in morals, manners, or actions; also : bribe b: to degrade with unsound principles or moral values2: rot, spoil3: to subject (a person) to corruption of blood4: to alter from the original or correct form or version <the file was corrupted>intransitive verb1 a: to become tainted or rotten b: to become morally debased2: to cause disintegration or ruin

While I think that this definition pretty much stands on its own, there is something that I found amazingly interesting in the context of what I want to talk about. Corruption is based on the tainting of morals.

Why is this significant? Well, one of the biggest accusations I have seen leveled against the NCFA is corruption based on its support from faith-based organizations (Birthmother Ministries, Christian adoption agencies, etc.). Essentially, the argument is being made that NCFA is corrupt because they are counseling expectant women based on Christian values, or morals. People are opposed to this promotions of morals and react by leveling accusations that, essentially, mean the exact opposite (degradation of morals). See the conflict? How can you corrupt morals by promoting them?

Now, that being said, I make no argument against bias. The promotion of any ideal involves bias. Whether that is the promotion of adoption based on the belief that children do better when raised in a two-parent family (wait, maybe that is a bad example since there is research that would take that belief beyond the realm of bias, but you get the idea), or whether it is bias based on an ideal that keeps every child with its biological parents. No matter how much people on either side of the equation may want to convince you otherwise, both positions are motivated by bias.

And I know that some people will claim that the distinction that I am making between bias and corruption is nothing short of semantics. And, to some extent, I can see that. The thing is, leveling accusations of corruption is a very strong thing. And to claim that supporting an institution that does not conform to someone else’s bias is equal to corruption, well, that’s a slippery slope.

Which brings me to me next topic–venting. I was hestitant to even mention why this is part of my post since it came from a woman discussing her feelings on a non-adoption related topic, but she took it into adoption and had so many people agree…

I guess I should explain. The topic of venting came up in regards to how people will sometimes react with a “There, there, they didn’t really mean it” when you get upset over a careless comment. It was taken into the realm of adoption by stating that the majority of nasty comments made about adoptive parents by other members of the triad are, in fact, just harmless venting that should be overlooked. This is the first time that I have seen this idea expressed in these terms, but I have certainly seen plenty of people backpedal from a comment with the excuse that they were “just venting.” While this is sometimes the case, for the majority of what I read I have to (with absolute respect) disagree.

Venting, in its most literal sense, is to release something from where it is contained. We frequently use the term “blowing off steam” to illustrate the same point. Either way, it is let go and dissipates. The majority of what I read is not intended to just float out into the ether and disappear. Instead, it seem to be written with the intention of the ideas being harnessed and used to steam power a locomotive of adoption reform. Which is fine. Just call it what it is.

But here’s the thing–if that is what you want to do, do something about it. I’m being serious here. Even if I don’t agree with you, I’d rather see you keep moving forward, than just “vent” about what you want to happen.

And don’t tell me that you could never compete with the NCFA because they have millions of dollars in backing. I sincerely doubt that they started out with all of that funding. I’m betting that they started with an idea that they knew others would agree with and the will to make it happen. If others agree with you, you could do the same.

If you want to see an organization to combat the current prevailing bias in the adoption industry, and instead promote your own bias, create one. But don’t just complain about the fact that one doesn’t exist.

In short, keep moving forward.

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31 Comments

Filed under adoption, Soap Box

31 responses to “What I Learned from Walt Disney

  1. sunfish26

    What a great post.

    I especially agree with your points about picking and choosing certain parts of something to make your case. That is, indeed, a slippery slope.

  2. “Corruption is based on the tainting of morals.
    Why is this significant? Well, one of the biggest accusations I have seen leveled against the NCFA is corruption based on its support from faith-based organizations (Birthmother Ministries, Christian adoption agencies, etc.). Essentially, the argument is being made that NCFA is corrupt because they are counseling expectant women based on Christian values, or morals.”

    No, honestly, I think you’ve misunderstood the criticsim.

    The problem is they’re NOT counseling women based on Christian values and morals. Christian values and morals include things like love, service, and grace. The problem with these agencies is that they’re NOT counseling based on those things, they’re counseling (not all the counselors, but enough of them) based on a desire for money, insecurity, shame, and so on.

    So that’s where the accusation of corruption comes from: they’ve corrupted their OWN morals, and it spills over and effects (in rather tragic ways) the women they’re counseling.

  3. Pingback: Anyone want to tackle this one? « Paragraphein

  4. reunionwritings

    In this case, the venting you are referring to is educating the public about the truth. I’m not interested in having these voices silenced, you won’t find criticism about that from me.

  5. Wow.

    Let me introduce yourself to your readers. I’m Judy, the author of the post that you allude to.

    it came from a woman discussing her feelings on a non-adoption related topic

    Well, that’s very coy of you. Why not just tell your readers that it came from a woman who is battling Stage 4 Inflammatory Breast Cancer and honestly her emotions are all over the place, so for her venting really is venting. Thanks ever so much.

    I really dislike it, you see, when someone puts words in my mouth.

    The original post is here at my blog which I guess you’ve been reading, although I don’t recall you commenting there. I’m not saying you never did comment there; I’m just saying I don’t recall you commenting there. Perhaps we should make acquaintance since you’re using a blog post of mine as a large part of your ANTI argument.

    Paragraphein has said it well, and well, you know, some of us mere mortals actually do vent from time to time. Maybe you don’t, but I do, and I know that others do.

    It has taken me years to come to a place where I can read something that is less than positive about adoptive parents and not take it personally because — guess what? — it’s really and truly NOT ABOUT ME.

    But the next time you decide to take over one of my posts, just be bloody honest about it, would you?! Just have the balls to say WHO you are quoting and WHAT the original post was about, and THEN we’ll see if everyone else wants to get on your manipulative I’ll-use-your-cancer-post-and-I’ll-raise-you-one bandwagon!

  6. Pingback: why I can’t « Just Enjoy Him: Ramblings of a Mid-Life Mom

  7. Nicole, I think that you misunderstand my criticism as much as you think I misunderstand yours. Having not only adopted from, but also worked as a volunteer doing outreach to expectant mothers for one of the agencies that you tend to accuse of corruption, I am extremely confident that they are not motivated by money, insecurity, shame, or anything of the sort. They are motivated by the belief that children do better in a two-parent environment. And they absolutely believe in love, grace, etc. Actually, from past comments you have made about their website, I suspect it is how they approach these topics that rubs you the wrong way.

    Again, I see it as going back to personal bias. These agencies see themselves as serving the best interest of the child and, hopefully, the biological mother. Your personal bias views the “best interest” as something completely different from how they see it. And that is your right.

    I certainly can’t speak for every agency that was on that list. Corruption DOES exist (although, can I say, from my personal/family experiences in the past couple of months, our system has NOTHING on what goes on in international adoptions when it comes to corruption and, in both cases, potential adoptive couples very frequently are the ones who take the brunt of it). I don’t deny that there are people who look at a pregnant woman and see a womb with dollar signs. But I think that the majority of what you label “corruption” is just bias. And you can disagree with it, but that is because you are biased, too.

  8. Wow, Judy. I have already addressed on your blog why I did not directly link to you (or, for that matter, go into your illness), and it had nothing to do with cowardice. I actually did start to write that part of your post was about your struggle with cancer, but decided not to since it was not relevent to the part of the post I was adressing and, quite franly, none of my business to be posting about. How I handled things had to do with respect for your situation and a desire to not put you in the middle.

    That being said, I did not “hijack” your post, nor did I ever say that you don’t have any reason to vent about your illness. I disagreed with your assessment that we should just let it slide when someone calls us “douchebags” (your words, not mine).

    I am having a hard time understanding the level of your reponse to this. The truth is, very little of my post had anything to do with yours. And, while I disagreed with your assessment, I wasn’t even finding fault with you. I was saying that I don’t think the “douchbag” commentors deserve a pass, and that I think that if people want to make strong comments, they should back them up with productive action.

    And I just don’t see what’s so wrong with that.

  9. Of course you don’t understand “the level of my response.” You don’t stand in my shoes.

    Don’t try to dissect it, don’t try to overanalyze it, don’t try to out-logic me.

    I simply felt that including the origins of my post would have engendered perhaps a different response from your readers. And I felt it would have been more HONEST. Period.

    As for not standing in my shoes so you can’t understand? I wouldn’t wish it on ANYONE — so really? — you won’t understand. You can’t.

    So please just don’t try.

    I don’t need the extra stress.

  10. This post seems horribly dismissive to me, of Judy, of adoption issues, I am actually surprised, I thought you were different than that.

    It really upsets me that you would misrepresent Judy like that.

  11. Out of curiosity, Joy, how do you think that I misrepresented what she said?

  12. Mixed Nuts,

    “Having not only adopted from, but also worked as a volunteer doing outreach to expectant mothers for one of the agencies that you tend to accuse of corruption, I am extremely confident that they are not motivated by money, insecurity, shame, or anything of the sort. They are motivated by the belief that children do better in a two-parent environment. And they absolutely believe in love, grace, etc….

    Again, I see it as going back to personal bias. These agencies see themselves as serving the best interest of the child and, hopefully, the biological mother. Your personal bias views the “best interest” as something completely different from how they see it. And that is your right.”

    I have a few things to say about this…

    First, you’ll notice that in my first comment I mentioned not ALL pregnancy counselors allow their counseling to be corrupt. Some are good; some are bad. Are you trying to tell me they are ALL good? Don’t you think that’s probably naive? What on earth would you say to the counselors and ex-counselors there who have said THEMSELVES that there are problems, that they have felt pressure to get placements for monetary reasons, and so on?

    Second, the organization (the agency I relinquished through, and the NCFA also) as a whole (meaning, at a corporate level) is absolutely corrupt. When an organization’s official policy is to be pro closed-records, that’s corrupt. When they actively work AGAINST biological father rights, that’s corrupt. And so on.

    Third, you’re criticizing us for having an opinion on incomplete information… but as far as I can tell, you’ve formed an opinion on incomplete information, also. I don’t NEED any more information, frankly, to know that these organizations are seriously lacking in ethics. I’ve read ENOUGH, researched ENOUGH, to see it. Have I read every single piece of literature they’ve ever put out? Um, no… but a LOT of it; and continue to work on reading more of it. If YOU haven’t read it all, how do you know they’re NOT corrupt?

    Fourth… the bias. Oh yes, many of these organizations believe in the two-parent home. Which, as you say, is their right. But what is NOT their right is to counsel women according to their own belief systems. They are ethically and professionally supposed to check their bias at the door, per the codes of their professions (social work, counseling). So it’s rather shocking to me that you’re saying “Oh they just have bias, no big deal.” Yes it IS a big deal. As a mental health worker, every single time I open my mouth to speak with a client, I am constantly checking myself and examining myself for my own bias, thinking about how to keep it in check, questioning myself about whether I’m somehow pressuring a client, and continually trying to get better. So to just write off bias in the counseling process as “their right” is absurd to me–it’s their right as PERSONS to have a bias, and even as an organization–but it’s NOT their right to use that bias to influence other people. It’s unethical for the field they are in.

    “These agencies see themselves as serving the best interest of the child and, hopefully, the biological mother.”

    And that’s exactly the problem. That’s EXACTLY what makes them corrupt: the fact that they are imposing their own bias in the counseling process. And yes, it IS a perversion of Christian morals to judge some people and families as “not as good to parent” and to judge others as “better to parent,” in this context.

    I’m sorry, but when the NCFA deliberately pours money and research into ways to make relinquishment more palatable to young mothers…. and when they use emotional tactics like the booklet “Birthmother, Good Mother”…. KNOWINGLY trying to imply that the way to be a good mom is to relinquish… that is unethical, that is corrupt, and that is worthy of criticism.

  13. T

    I cannot speak to this any better than N and others have. The moment a highly subjective term like “Christian values” is thrown into the pot (sadly, the KKK believes its existence to be based on said values) it becomes difficult to dialogue. One person’s or group’s moral value system is another’s excuse for some pretty attrocious behavior.

    As far as venting, yes, that occurs on the blogs. But the bloggers I read take it to the next level and have educated many, many people. I regularly see people commenting that they have learned much from them.

    In a climate where those who dare question adoption practices have been censored and silenced for years, the simple act of blogging is a courageous beginning toward social change. It is action, and it has indeed made a dent. I have little doubt that, with time, some of these joined voices will indeed be foundational toward change. Actually, some already have.

    I have seen many bloggers speak to the issue of how an ethical system could look. I have seen many do very real and grueling footwork. It begins with bringing all voices forward with equal exposure and accesibility, where public opinion can receive and weigh all of them. Then we go from there.

  14. Nancy

    Wow, what excessive responses and negative energy over someone’s posting their well articulated personal opinion.

    If you want others to respect your opinions, you must respect theirs. That includes their right to say things you don’t agree with without your taking offense.

    Others do not offend us; we choose to be offended. No matter what someone says it is our choice whether or not we are offended. We should not choose it lightly or often, and we should never intentionally seek to offend others.

    I believe adoption is a positive alternative for a child born into a negative situation. The county I live in has a 51% illegitimacy birth rate. A majority of those children will live in poverty, with their mothers receiving some type of government assistance. Our rate of juvenile crime and incarceration is increasing exponentially, primarily with children from fatherless homes.

    Society cannot carry this burden for long. Children do better with a mother and a father. Studies show this. Society shows this.

    Is this a bias? Or is it common sense?

  15. Oy. I responded to you once, Nicole, then had the entire comment disappear thanks to the crummy internet connection caused by our current blizzard status (much involuntary eye-twitching and desires to scream). Let’s try this again.

    You are sooo completely missing my point. Let me try to reframe this for you. I have, on more than one occassion, seen you talk about your personal responsibility in Moonbeam’s relinquishment in terms of the effect that your upbringing, immediate society, Western culture, etc. had on your ability to make untainted decisions. Essentially, your inherent bias drove your actions and, according to you, your decision couldn’t be separated from that.

    I’m talking about the same thing. You can’t just “check your bias at the door.” And the reforms that you have suggested in the past don’t even begin to do that. Requiring women to parent for two weeks before allowing them to relinquish, wanting adoption agencies to have books of birthmother stories that try to talk girls out of adoption, even suggesting that Christian values (and T, I am referring to what is accepted as traditional Christian values, not some whacked-out KKK-type drivel) should be taken out of the equation–all of it is based on your bias.

    And yes, I do think this kind of bias (yours and Christain-based agencies) *can* be acceptable, as long as that bias is disclosed. When an expecting woman walks into a Christian agency, she knows that those beliefs are going to come into play. And, when they do, she can walk right back out the door. My son’s birthmother went to one agency, then a second, and back to the first before going to our agency because she wasn’t going to settle until she found exactly what she wanted. Every woman has that same ability. It’s not like they’re signing retainers.

    And, no, I am not naive enough to think that all agencies, or all counselors, are ethical (did you notice my womb with dollar signs comment?). As in the past, I think that you are overstating it. But, here’s the thing. In the past couple of months, I have witnessed the effects of corruption–true corruption–in adoption first-hand. And it is a very different picture than the one you are painting.

    Of course, I suppose that is a discussion to be filed under “privilege.” I think sometimes people tend to forget just how good our system can be compared to what goes on in other countries. And that is why the charges of corruption seem so absurd to me.

  16. Oh you do challenge me, but not in a bad way, in a challenging way, which is good. Although I don’t want to be embroiled with you, you don’t make me very angry, I just feel very different than you as a person, but have a certain amount of respect for you, because although I disagree with you a lot, you seem thoughtful and over all respectful. Maybe it is your Christian Bias, which I don’t have, I was not raised to be a Christian and find Christian values in their best sense to be problematic, although I have seen certain Christians in my life, my in-laws for one be very much in my mind of people who are loving, just, and kind. Which that last part, I do believe is the goal.

    “I guess I should explain. The topic of venting came up in regards to how people will sometimes react with a “There, there, they didn’t really mean it” when you get upset over a careless comment. It was taken into the realm of adoption by stating that the majority of nasty comments made about adoptive parents by other members of the triad are, in fact, just harmless venting that should be overlooked.”

    She didn’t say this, she said so many of the comments by adoptees and first moms, the losers of the triad are dismissed, and now given her huge, understanable upset, my God this woman is a mother of a young child, news that her health is uncertain, she doesn’t know WHAT is going to happen to her, and naturally feels a whole storm of emotions about her own life, what will happen to her child, her husband etc., She was just saying she knows what it is like to marginalized, keep up the happy face, say what is expected, when her authentic self, that she needs support for is sailing off into the distance to keep people comfortable that haven’t half the stress that she is dealing with every day. She was just feeling compassion for those of us losers of the triad.

    ‘This is the first time that I have seen this idea expressed in these terms, but I have certainly seen plenty of people backpedal from a comment with the excuse that they were “just venting.” While this is sometimes the case, for the majority of what I read I have to (with absolute respect) disagree.”

    I have probably been guilty of this, although you are right, it is probably not true, it speaks to the underlying anger I have of the situation I was placed in.

    “Venting, in its most literal sense, is to release something from where it is contained. We frequently use the term “blowing off steam” to illustrate the same point. Either way, it is let go and dissipates. The majority of what I read is not intended to just float out into the ether and disappear. Instead, it seem to be written with the intention of the ideas being harnessed and used to steam power a locomotive of adoption reform. Which is fine. Just call it what it is.”

    Here you are suggesting that the author, (Judy) is being duplicitous, no one is, I can’t speak for Judy, she doesn’t have the same values I do, although many of them intersect, Judy adopted, it is highly unlikely that I ever will. What I understand is Judy is a supporter of ethical adoption, necessary adoption, she probably has some key differences from me, I don’t believe in Americanizing names or changing names and this is very important to me, although I live my life with a changed name.

    “But here’s the thing–if that is what you want to do, do something about it. I’m being serious here. Even if I don’t agree with you, I’d rather see you keep moving forward, than just “vent” about what you want to happen.”

    Judy is not a part of the adoptee rights movement that I am aware of except in a supportive point of view, which is not to be discounted. It is very healing to have adoptive moms support not only our rights but our true well-being as people who were adopted.

    On the other hand, we are doing things all the time. No, we are not as big as the NCFA, but we are telling the truth and I for one think that is more powerful than money.

    We will win.

    The result will be a greater focus on children, necessary adoptions almost exclusively(nothing is perfect), life-long support for families that do adopt,accurate information for relinquishing moms, a ceasing of identity changes.

    So to make a short story long, I did feel like you dissed my girl, Jud, but I also want you to know that the above paragraph, I don’t think from what I have read of you before you are so at odds with, I think you are a good mom who wants the best for her kids. That is the weird thing, despite our huge differences we aren’t that different. I want the best for kids and so do you, although the Robinson’s thing, way to simplistic for me, and I would so love if that was true, if adoption was a thing I could put in the past, I have no one to blame for my own adoption, it was closed, the 1970s, but the loss of my mother, lives in me every single day of my life.

    Sucks for me.

    Oh well.

  17. reunionwritings

    Can I just add that adoption was definetly NOT a Walt Disney experience for me……

  18. Joy,

    Now that I understand where you are coming from, I can respond. You misunderstood something. Out of that whole post, there were only two sentences that addressed Judy’s blog–in the first paragraph on venting. And I don’t think that those sentences misrepresented what Judy said. Specifically:

    “If someone really does say, “Adoptive parents are douchebags!” and they are simply venting, what’s the harm? I know that I’m not a douchebag. So really, what’s the harm? Obviously that person is venting; let him/her vent.”

    None of the rest of it was addressed to Judy, or attributed to her. I would never suggest that she is in a place right now to organize a united movement. Starting a non-profit is a lot of work.

    Basically–brutal honesty here–the rest of my post was inspired by what I have seen from several other people. Yes, Joy, you are one of them. As are a few other people who have responded here. People who are quick to point out what they think is wrong (sometimes nicely, sometimes not) and how it COULD be fixed, but don’t actually DO it. There is a difference between talking about it and DOING it. That was the point I was trying to make. And, honestly, I have no doubt that you and the others that I am addressing have enough passion to organize something if you put as much effort into doing it as you do talking about it.

    And the Robinson’s thing–he wasn’t talking about adoption in the clip, and neither was I. I know you can’t just ignore it (and I certainly don’t try to do that with my son–did you read my “Knock Me Over with a Feather” post?). The point isn’t to forget the past, just to take what has happened and do something productive with it. Keep moving forward–from here.

  19. reunionwritings

    You write birthmothers as one word and adoptive parents as two. I noticed that, I am not saying it’s either good or bad.

    Are we to understand that you don’t think the adoption industry is corrupt?

  20. “They are motivated by the belief that children do better in a two-parent environment.”

    “Society cannot carry this burden for long. Children do better with a mother and a father. Studies show this. Society shows this. Is this a bias? Or is it common sense?”

    So what’s next – can we expect these ethically-motivated agencies to start removing children of divorce from their homes? Or maybe the children of widows and widowers? Those aren’t, after all, two parent homes? What makes those homes better than the home of a single woman?

    Our judgement of the woman.

    The Judeo-Christian standards of morality that prevail in this country give us the tools to say she is unfit to parent and to make it stick. In my opinion, until adoption is removed from the faith-based arena and adoption practices judged from the civil rights point of view, arguments like the one here will continue.

    And to add to the sadness, those standards of morality give us the tools to punish the child, too, by hiding his or her identity.

    Christian? Hardly.

  21. I would disagree that I don’t “do” anything about it, first off I admin and founded (with 4 others) a large and very active forum for adoptees. Personally, I am more concerned with adoptees well-being than their rights, although obviously they are interwined and I support their rights, there alreay are large and effective org.s for that.

    I am currently doing legal research into laws on privacy and property to write a cogent argument for the unsealing of records, which is time consuming.

    My blog alone has been read than more than 100,000 times, I am sure there are plenty that disagree or loathe it, but that it did open their awareness that at least some people feel this way, so perhaps down the line if they run into someone struggling with adoption issues they will be more open and less dismissive then what I have had to deal with.

    What I am NOT doing is taking anyone’s money and therefore it would be superfluous to open a non-profit, because I don’t pay taxes on my volunteer work as it is.

    If I decide to take people’s money, which I don’t feel is necessary but in fact exploitive over these types of activities then I would have to form a non-profit.

  22. Joy,

    I wasn’t aware of the website (is that with Gershom? I had considered mentioning her as someone I see doing something) and the research. That IS the kind of stuff I’m talking about. I’ve just not ever seen you talk about it (I’ve only been around for a few months, so I only know what I’ve seen during that time). Kudos.

    The last time I looked, you had locked your blog down. I guess I should check and see if that is no longer the case.

  23. Kim and Margie:

    Hmmm, and I get accused of convoluting people’s words.

    First, Kim: I write the titles the way that I do because that is how every book, article, and professional I read wrote it when I entered the adoption arena almost six years ago (and I think most still do, now). I’m not into activism through labels. And I have already said that I DO believe that corruption exists, I just don’t believe that it does to the extent that is being claimed. I have recently watched someone close to me affected by corruption in adoption. That is a large part of why I wrote this post. To go off half-cocked making broad claims of corruption cheapens the word when it really is happening. And that frosts me in a big way.

    Margie: No one (not even the adoption agencies) is claiming that children should be forcibly removed (unless, of course, there is an abuse issue). There is a big difference between counseling a woman (who VOLUNTARILY went to a Christian agency) based on Christian values and saying who has the right to parent based on some standard of “fitness.” And divorce and adoption are completely different situations. But, yes, for the most part, children would be better off if their parents stayed married.

    I do find it interesting, however, that you would lecture me on topics surrounding domestic adoption when you have no personal experience in dealing with the issues surrounding it. I am in a totally open adoption and have a great relationship with my son’s birth family (no, Kim, I don’t know why I put a space on that one, but I do). Which, of course, would also make the charge of robbing a child of his or her identity an interesting one coming from you. Not that I am critical of international adoption–I have relatives who are international adoptees (one, even, from Korea). But for you to come at me from the standpoint of someone who chose to adopt in a way that removed the birthmother from the equation entirely, well, I just don’t know what else to say.

  24. No lecture, but as this is the internet and this post touched a topic that I believe is deeply dangerous to ethical adoption practices, I responded. I did not convulute your words, I extrapolated.

    I therefore think you may have missed the point of my comment, which is making a two-parent family superior in adoption practice is unethical. A two-parent family may be desirable, but it is not superior. Using this argument in adoption practice creates an adoption class system that values material affluence above the first mother and her connection to her child. Suz’s post “The Cost of College” http://writingmywrongs.typepad.com illustrates what I mean. It’s also important to remember that two-parent families can become one-parent families through divorce or death, sometimes in the blink of an eye.

    Also, coming to an adoption agency may look like voluntary action on the part of a pregnant woman, but could be the result of fear, familial pressure, or lack of resources.

    As to my choice of adoption – what’s your point? Are you taking the moral high ground because your adoption is open? Or do you honestly think my children’s mothers are “out of the equation” because our adoptions are closed?

    Being in a domestic open adoption is not a prerequisite to understanding what makes domestic adoption ethical, anymore than being in a closed transnational adoption is a prerequisite to understanding ethical intercountry adoption practices. On a practical level, international agencies work with U.S. affiliates, and the practices of each affect and influence the other. The line between domestic and international, open and closed, is in fact quite blurred. From the perspective of a woman’s human and civil rights, it doesn’t even exist.

  25. Pingback: Joy to MY world « Just Enjoy Him: Ramblings of a Mid-Life Mom

  26. Oh, Margie, your first paragraph has had me walking around all morning humming about tomatoes and potatoes. Quite annoying, actually. Kind of like the Small World song. Anywhoo…

    The fact is, research has show that a two-parent family is far better for the stability of a child. To withhold that information would be dishonest, if not unethical. That is, after all, skewing perspective by not offering all available, relevent information. And you are right, it is horribly difficult on children who have lost that structure to divorce. I’ve watched it with my own nieces and nephews. I’ve seen its effect. And it sucks. Especially because they already have very strong common bonds and experiences with both parents, and that common history is being disrupted.

    Next–Parenting can appear to be “voluntary,” too. But I have seen people (here, and in life) who are all too willing to put extreme pressure on a girl to NOT place. And they must be doing a decent job, since only 2% of single parents choose adoption. I watched a girl that I grew up with be put in this position. Six months later, she decided it wouldn’t work and placed the baby for adoption. Tell me how that was good for anyone. Especially the child, who did now have that strong attachment.

    Next: My point is not a moral highground. It is that you are going off about women’s rights and children’s identity when you chose a method of adoption that could arguably have a much greater effect on both. That being said, I have NO objection to international adoption–I think it is a tremendous blessing to the lives of many children for whom the future would have been quite grim otherwise. Of course, that goes back to what I was just saying. Having a nephew adopted from Korea, I happen to know that if he had stayed with his unmarried birthmother both she AND HE would have been shunned by society for their entire lives.

    But we’re the ones impeding on women’s civil rights.

    Which brings me to one last point. Your “judgement of the woman” arguement is an extreme red-herring. To make it on the basis of a comparison between single motherhood and a two-parent household is lopsided, at best. For it to begin to be accurate, you would need to be comparing single motherhood to single fatherhood. Ahhhh, but that doesn’t make your point, does it? If it did, it wouldn’t be so stinking difficult for a father to get sole custody of children in a divorce. The fact is, our society shows every day that women are judged much MORE favorably than men when it comes to the ability to raise a child. It isn’t solely the absence of the man that is in question–it is the absence of the team, the differing influences that come with the presence of both genders.

  27. heythatsmymoney

    I can’t really add anything to your last post, Mixed Nuts. I think you have said it all.
    You are very respectful and articulate. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog.

  28. reunionwritings

    Dare I add that the two parent family you are praising comes with the loss of the first family and means being separated from one’s own mother. Not to mention the life long grief that we mothers have to live with.

    We need to look for other ways to help children that doesn’t involve them being removed from their mothers. We need to help these one parent families.

    What would Jesus do?

  29. heythatsmymoney

    I suspect that Jesus probably would have encouraged the people to get married and raise their child together….

    That is something I have often wondered. Why do agencies not encourage marriage so that the ENTIRE family can stay together. To me, that is the ultimate family preservation. Not just a mother and a child, but a mother, a father, and a child.

    KimKim, just curious…are you a Christian?

  30. Heythatsmymoney:

    Exactly. And that is the stance of the adoption agency that I used (LDS Family Services). From their own website:

    “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by parents who provide love, support, and all the blessings of the gospel.

    “Every effort should be made in helping those who conceive out of wedlock to establish an eternal family relationship. When the probability of a successful marriage is unlikely, unwed parents should be encouraged to place the child for adoption.”

    In a perfect world, all children would stay with biological families. Of course, in a perfect world, the answer to Kim’s question would be a matter of following the commandments.

    I think I remember the answer to your question to Kim, but only she can give it for certain.

    What I WILL say, though, is that there are plenty of people out there who have absolutely no religious beliefs who are more than willing to try and turn yours against you. THEY don’t necessarily believe what they are saying, but they hope it will be enough to shut you up.

  31. I’m going to respond to your comment paragraph by paragraph.

    “Oh, Margie, your first paragraph has had me walking around all morning humming about tomatoes and potatoes. Quite annoying, actually. Kind of like the Small World song. Anywhoo…” WHATEVER.

    “The fact is, research has show that a two-parent family is far better for the stability of a child. To withhold that information would be dishonest, if not unethical. That is, after all, skewing perspective by not offering all available, relevent information. And you are right, it is horribly difficult on children who have lost that structure to divorce. I’ve watched it with my own nieces and nephews. I’ve seen its effect. And it sucks. Especially because they already have very strong common bonds and experiences with both parents, and that common history is being disrupted.” DECISIONS MADE ABOUT THE MOVEMENT OF CHILDREN FROM ONE FAMILY TO ANOTHER MUST BE MADE ON THE BASIS OF THE SAFETY OF THE CHILD AND THE RIGHTS OF THE PARENTS AS DEFINED BY LAW. YOU CAN FIND A RESEARCH STUDY TO PROVE PRETTY MUCH ANY POINT YOU WANT, INCLUDING THOSE IN OPPOSITION. SO UNLESS ENOUGH STUDIES ARE PLACED IN FRONT OF A MOTHER TO ENSURE THE UNDERSTANDS ALL OF HER OPTIONS – NOT JUST THE ONE YOU WANT THE AGENCY WANTS HER TO UNDERSTAND – THEIR USE WILL BE UNETHICAL.

    NO QUESTION THAT FATHERS’ RIGHTS ARE AN IMPORTANT ISSUE. HOWEVER, IF THEIR RIGHTS HAVE BEEN RESPECTED UNDER THE LAW AND THE MOTHER IS MAKING THE DECIDING BETWEEN PARENTING AND ADOPTION, THEN THE MOTHER’S RIGHT AND THE CHILD’S SAFETY PREVAIL.

    “Next–Parenting can appear to be “voluntary,” too. But I have seen people (here, and in life) who are all too willing to put extreme pressure on a girl to NOT place. And they must be doing a decent job, since only 2% of single parents choose adoption. I watched a girl that I grew up with be put in this position. Six months later, she decided it wouldn’t work and placed the baby for adoption. Tell me how that was good for anyone. Especially the child, who did now have that strong attachment.” TWO POINTS: FIRST, THE FAILURE OF SOME WOMEN TO PARENT IS NO LEGAL REASON TO PRESUME THAT EVERY WOMAN WILL BE UNABLE TO DO SO, AND IS THEREFORE AN UNETHICAL ENTICEMENT TO RELINQUISHY. SECOND, LONGER REVOCATION PERIODS ARE DESPERATELY NEEDED TO GIVE WOMEN TIME TO MAKE TRULY INFORMED DECISIONS.

    “Next: My point is not a moral highground. It is that you are going off about women’s rights and children’s identity when you chose a method of adoption that could arguably have a much greater effect on both. That being said, I have NO objection to international adoption–I think it is a tremendous blessing to the lives of many children for whom the future would have been quite grim otherwise. Of course, that goes back to what I was just saying. Having a nephew adopted from Korea, I happen to know that if he had stayed with his unmarried birthmother both she AND HE would have been shunned by society for their entire lives.” SO YOU ARE SAYING THAT THOSE WHO ADOPT INTERNATIONALLY DON’T ABOUT WOMEN’S OR THEIR CHILDREN’S IDENTITIES. NICE.

    I CONCEDE THAT THE SITUATION FOR SINGLE MOTHERS IN KOREA IS MORE PRECARIOUS THAN IT IS IN THE US. HOWEVER, IT IS CHANGING RAPIDLY, LARGELY DUE TO THE WORK OF ADOPTEES (LIKE THE MEMBERS OF ASK AND G.O.A’L), ADOPTIVE PARENTS (LIKE RICK BOAS WITH GIVE2ASIA) AND KOREANS (LIKE THE ORGANIZATIONS KOROOT, INKAS AND MINDULAE) THAT ARE LITERALLY BLOWING KOREAN ATTITUDES OUT OF THE WATER. I SUPPORT THOSE ORGANIZATIONS, I ACTIVELY WORK ON THEIR BEHALF, AS WELL AS US ORGANIZATIONS WORKING FOR AMERICAN MOTHERS’ RIGHTS.

    I “GO ON ABOUT” WOMEN’S RIGHTS BECAUSE I NOW GET THE PAIN MY CHILDREN’S MOTHERS HAVE EXPERIENCED. I RECOGNIZE MY COMPLICITY IN IT, AND HAVE THE GUTS TO SAY SO. YOUR COMMENT ROLLS OFF MY BACK, BECAUSE IT’S NOTHING COMPARED TO REALIZING, ON THE DAY I MET MY FIRST CHILD, THAT HIS MOTHER HAD ABSOLUTELY NO. OTHER. CHOICE. BUT TO SURRENDER HIM, AND THAT I MADE IT POSSIBLE. THAT’S MY ADOPTION REALITY, AND I THANK GOD EVERY SINGLE DAY THAT I WOKE UP AND UNDERSTOOD IT. AT LEAST NOW I CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT NOW, RATHER THAN PRETENDING THAT, BECAUSE THEY’RE HALF A WORLD AWAY, MY CHILDREN’S MOTHERS DON’T EXIST.

    But we’re the ones impeding on women’s civil rights. THERE IS NO “WE” AND “THEM.” THERE ARE ADOPTION PRACTICES THAT ARE UNJUST AND UNFAIR, AND THEY NEED TO BE REDRESSED. THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU OR ME.

    Which brings me to one last point. Your “judgement of the woman” arguement is an extreme red-herring. To make it on the basis of a comparison between single motherhood and a two-parent household is lopsided, at best. For it to begin to be accurate, you would need to be comparing single motherhood to single fatherhood. Ahhhh, but that doesn’t make your point, does it? If it did, it wouldn’t be so stinking difficult for a father to get sole custody of children in a divorce. The fact is, our society shows every day that women are judged much MORE favorably than men when it comes to the ability to raise a child. It isn’t solely the absence of the man that is in question–it is the absence of the team, the differing influences that come with the presence of both genders. AHHHHH, YES IT DOES MAKE MY POINT. FIRST OF ALL, THE COMPARISON OF SINGLE AND TWO-PARENT FAMILIES, WITH PREFERENCE GIVEN TO THE TWO-PARENT FAMILY, IS YOURS. WHY DO YOU THINK I ASKED IF THE CHILDREN OF DIVORCED AND WIDOWED PARENTS WERE THE NEXT ADOPTION AGENCY TARGETS? TO SHOW HOW WEAK THAT ARGUMENT IS, NOT BECAUSE, AS YOU INCORRECTLY THOUGHT, I SERIOUSLY BELIEVE AGENCIES WILL COME AFTER THEM (ALTHOUGH STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED.) I HAVE SAID THE OPPOSITE – THAT COMPARING SINGLE- AND TWO-PARENT FAMILIES IS INAPPROPRIATE IN THE CONTEXT OF RELINQUISHMENT.

    AS TO FIRST FATHERS’ RIGHTS – THEY CLEARLY NEED ATTENTION IN THIS COUNTRY. BUT IF I UNDERSTAND YOU CORRECTLY, YOU ARE SAYING THAT THE INEQUITY BETWEEN MOTHERS’ AND FATHER’S RIGHTS IS A GOOD REASON TO ENCOURAGE A WOMAN TO RELINQUISH INTO A TWO-PARENT FAMILY. MY RESPONSE TO THAT IS, NO – FIX THE FATHERS’ RIGHTS AND SUSTAIN THE MOTHERS’. TWO WRONGS DO NOT MAKE A RIGHT. AND AGAIN, IN THE CONTEXT OF RELINQUISHMENT, COMPARING FAMILY STRUCTURES IS INAPPROPRIATE.

    ONE MORE POINT, FROM YOUR LAST COMMENT ABOVE: “What I WILL say, though, is that there are plenty of people out there who have absolutely no religious beliefs who are more than willing to try and turn yours against you.” I AM A PRACTICING CATHOLIC WHO TAKES HER FAITH VERY SERIOUSLY. MY FAITH TEACHES THE IMPORTANCE OF WORKING FOR JUSTICE, AND ADOPTION AS IT IS PRACTICED THE WORLD OVER, NOT JUST HERE IN THE US, GIVES ME AMPLE OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO.

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