Wednesday, September 30, 2009

On the Boards

Margie at Third Mom wrote about a recent experience on an adoptive-parent forum, empowered by O Solo Mama's post about her recent adventures AP-Land:
I wasn’t going to tell you about this, because I know you’re sick of how I complain about the forums. But I was reading a really good post at O Solo Mama this morning that talks about the issue of international adoption search where she mentions her forum escapades, so I feel empowered.

Yeah, I got thumped again. . . .

Boy, do I sympathize! I've managed to stay off the adoptive parent boards for quite a long time, but in the past few weeks I've been motivated to look at some of them when someone lets me know there's a conversation about talking to kids about adoption. I feel I might have something to add, so I go look. And at one forum I posted a link to the L.A. Times article about birth planning officials in China confiscating children from parents and turning them over to an orphanage for a share of the fees adoptive parents pay. Seemed the sort of thing adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents from China would be interested in.

Well, in that thread and in others touching on corruption in the China program, I have predictably been accused of being anti-adoption. I'm kind of used to that one -- any criticism of adoption, no matter how mild, no matter how justified, almost inevitably leads to that charge. But I've also been accused of all manner of evil and stupidity. I've gotten personal hate mail from several (and admittedly, some super-supportive personal messages, too), including someone who disagreed with something on this blog, who instead of posting a comment here or using the contact email here, decided to track me down on the forum and contact me there. (Am I crazy to think that's weird?!)

My favorite line from someone who disagreed with me was, "Reading comprehension a struggle for you or something?" Zing! Sorry to sound egotistical, but that isn't very hurtful to someone who is so over-educated as to get the label "perpetual student!" LOL! My reading comprehension skills are just fine, thank you! Do you recognize the rhetorical device of ad hominem attack, the last refuge of scoundrels?!

Well, after that thumping, the moderator stepped in -- to tell me to take my thumped-upon self out of there and stop bleeding on other people and inconveniencing them!

I'm not claiming that all adoptive parent boards are dysfunctional. Here's one of my favorite boards, completely welcoming and open-minded and interested in free discussion: adopttalkcanada. They let me join even though I'm about as far from Canada as I can be and still be on the same continent!

I've posted before Margie's suggestion for how adoptive parents should respond to allegations of adoption corruption, but it seems to bear repeating now:
There is, in my opinion, no other response for an adoptive parent to make to allegations of the existence of intercountry adoption corruption than to agree. We then have a further responsibility to get under what that means, learn to recognize it, speak out against it, and understand our role in it. This neither diminishes our families nor undermines ethical transnational adoptions.

It would do my heart good if one day an article like Graff's could be met by adoptive parents with praise first of all for shedding light on this problem, followed by reasoned critique and dialog on how we collectively can bring intercountry adoption corruption to an end.
If I were to encounter that reaction on most AP forums, I'd know I'd crossed over into an alternate universe!


Mei-Ling said...

Omg. Adopttalkcanada. At first I misread it for "Chinaadopttalk" and was like "Why are people posting controversial links about adoption ethics?"

And then my memory from 4-5 months ago and kicked in and I was like "Holy crap I haven't been here in ages!" @_@

Wendy said...

As you know I have had my share of thumping on the boards, I no longer read them. It took the last attack to make me realize that sheep can only follow the heard even when a wolf is lurking.
Thank you for keeping me reading here, I appreciate the honesty.

mama d said...

Any group self perpetuates based on commonly held ideals. It takes a calm, patient, egoless person to introduce different ways of thinking and perceiving. Margie is one of these folks, and even she gets thumped.

This is why I made the decision to be brutally honest -- in my little group of me.

Margie said...

Aww, thanks for the shoutout. You know it's a topic near, if not dear, to my hear.

Maybe if we start going into the forums in pairs, we'll have better luck.

Anonymous said...

I have to confess that I've never visited any of the adoptive parent forums. Frankly, I assumed they'd be all about waiting times, costs, etc. so I didn't think I'd be too interested. But really, you posted a link about adoption corruption and you were harrassed?! That's nuts! Wouldn't every AP and PAP WANT to know if there is child trafficking in certain countries/regions? Everybody knows about the huge problems that have occured in Cambodia, Vietnam, Guatamala, and in parts of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. We need more information about the practices in the "sending" countries, not less. Who in the world would want to adopt a child who may likely have been trafficked?
Courtney AP to TRA (Korea)

Wendy said...

You would be surprised Courtney, by posting you are messing up "their story" and not allowing for their denial, too many people bury their heads in the sand and believe the agency or sensationalized saving stories above all else.

holly said...

Seriously Wendy! You just said what I was thinking.
Can't go to that forum anymore. I end up so pissed off & frustrated, that smoke would come out my ears.

joy said...

I know, and the weird thing is they are especially viscious to the beloved "adoptee" . I left a rather mild comment to a woman who was sobbing about her infertility and had tattooed, "hopeless" in large letters on her abdomen and claimed she hated other people's children.

This man said he would not allow someone like myself in his home, which was really funny to me.

I thought well avoid adoption, avoid someone like me...

Wendy said...

Totally agree Holly, I am gone from them for that very reason--my blood pressure cannot take the spikes!

Wow Joy, what a story. If she has not dealt with her infertility she is setting herself up for great disappointment an unhappiness--you cannot and should not replace the child that never was.

Anonymous said...

I never read those forums I guess - I don't even know quite what you mean! Does Adoptive Parents China yahoo group count?

Malinda, and Wendy (especially) - I read the original reports about the family planning officials taking children very, very closely. And I specifically did not see any mention that the officials, in fact, took part of the orphanage donation. Maybe they did. But that wasn't included in the accounts I read.

And, since all of us knew perfectly well that there was an orphanage donation, if the officials didn't take any of it, then the story was set up to sensationalize and make it seem as if they did.

Maybe they did. Maybe those specific children would have been raised at home were it not for monies skimmed off the orphanage donation by these officials. But I never saw anything that said so.

And if these officials were carrying out a policy, and didn't take a penny of the orphanage donation, then the situation is exactly what we all signed up for. That doesn't make it right either. But it is a very different kind of wrong.

Wendy said...

Iam not sure why you are addressing me. I didn't discuss anything about orphanage fees.

malinda said...

Anon -- there's more than one person in the world named "Wendy!" ;)

The original reports inside China said that the family planning official and the orphanage split the fee. That statement has since been removed from that reporting. Ah, the Chinese media!

Wendy said...

Thanks Malinda. Lately I am being confused with another Wendy (Mailman). We both have had birth family searches, mine is a for sure locate and hers is in the works and a possible family, I believe.
However, I know there are more than two Wendy's who follow this blog alone! Hi Wendy N!

Anonymous said...

hi Malinda, this is Anonymous from 10/03 at 10:02 am again, thank you for addressing my question.

Did they definitely say that the fee was split? Because the things I've seen strongly implied, but never came out and said so - leaving me with the impression that there was extra sensationalism about this.

Wendy - sorry - indeed I thought I was writing to Wendy Mailman

Wendy said...

No problem :-)