Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Circle is Broken

Circle of Moms. A website for moms, with the tag line, motherhood, shared and simplified.

What a great concept -- an unbroken circle of women who have the common experience of being mothers, something that connects us when nothing else does. Solidarity.  Connection.  Infinity without end. But Circle of Moms broke that circle when they sent the following email to Cassi of Adoption Truth, just as she reached the number 2 spot in the Top 25 Adoption Blogs by Moms contest:
--“Dear Cassi,

I’m writing to let you know that we have unfortunately had to remove your blog from the Top 25 Adoption Blogs by Moms competition. As described on the contest page, the Top 25 Adoption Blogs by Moms contest is open to “mom bloggers who write about adoption or foster parenting in a supportive, positive way”.

The Circle of Moms team” --
That's it, and her blog, voted for by over 100 people, disappears from the list.  Cassi is kicked out of the circle.

Why?  She is a mom.  She is a blogger.  She writes about adoption.  So why is she kicked out of the circle?  Apparantly, the powers that be at Circle of Moms doesn't like what she has to say at her blog or the way that she says it.  She doesn't belong in the circle because she is not sufficiently "supportive" or "positive" about adoption.  This is censorship in its starkest form.  Her speech is suppressed because others disagree with it.  How cowardly is that?!  Circle of Moms is enforcing the norm that the only privileged speech about adoption is speech that sticks to the happy-happy-joy-joy narrative.  That is especially so when the speaker is a first mother or an adoptee.

Which brings me to the second answer to the WHY? question. Cassi is being censored because of WHO SHE IS as much as for what she says. Cassi relinquished her child for adoption.  She writes about coercion in adoption consent.  So do I.  She writes about adoption reform.  So do I.  She writes about open records.  So do I.  She writes about how adoption has affected her now-adult child.  I also write about how adoption has affected my not-yet-adult children.  SO why is Cassi censored, and I am not (or at least not yet!)?  Because adoptive parent speech is the only privileged speech in the adoption triad.  Because I sometimes post photos of my cute adopted kids. And isn't that a shame, that my status privileges my speech, while Cassi's status enforces silence?

When I first learned that Cassi was kicked out of the circle, my immediate reaction was to withdraw from the clearly-rigged contest.  I'm keeping myself from doing so by reminding myself that the only cure for bad speech -- or enforced silence -- is MORE speech.  Or as Justice Louis Brandies said so eloquently, "If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."

Adoption is complicated.  It is not a simple either/or, for-or-against, pro- or anti-adoption duality.  It is complicated, multi-faceted, fraught with ambiguities.  One person's gain is another person's loss.  One person can both gain and lose in adoption.  This complicated institution of adoption needs MORE speech, not less.  Only by discussion ALL perspectives can we explore the multi-layered truth that is adoption.

Here's what I said before when I was accused of being "anti-adoption," the short-hand equivalent of not writing about adoption in "a supportive, positive way:"
Yes, I've adopted and it has brought me immeasurable joy. And it has brought my children loss, pain and grief, as well as joy. It has brought their birth families loss, pain and grief. And when corruption and child trafficking enter the picture, adoption brings everyone involved even more loss, pain and grief. The only joy then is in the black hearts of corrupt officials and child traffickers.

And when adoptive parents ignore the hard truth that their experience of adoption is not the same experience as their adopted children and their birth families, when they ignore the hard truths about corruption and trafficking, they are doing damage not just to their children, but to the institution of adoption as well.

Frankly, it's going to be the over-reaching of the "pro-adoption" folks that bring an end to international adoption, not anything the so-called "anti-adoption" folks do. Haven't you noticed the pattern? A country opens to international adoption. . . just a trickle at first. Then it's push, push, push for more, more, more adoptions from that country. Now the trickle is a flood of money as more and more and more adoptive parents flock to the country. And the money brings corruption. . . . And the country shuts down to international adoption. . . . Wash. Rinse. Repeat. "Pro-adoption?" Really workin' out for you, huh?
So I'm sticking with the contest, and I'm taking Cassi's issues with me, even though I cannot match her eloquence, her passion, her lived experience.  Cassi has asked people to keep voting in the contest, and to vote for the following blogs:
The Declassified Adoptee
Musings Of The Lame
Adoption Talk
Neither Here Nor There
To Tell The Truth – Please Stand Up
I really appreciate Cassi's positive support for my blog, as well as these other fine adoption blogs. So please vote -- before these blogs are also censored from the list!  Let's repair the circle.


Linda said...

Im glad you are not leaving. My first reaction was to say, "I hope all my friends withdraw from this joke of a contest". But, people voted for you because they respect you and enjoy your blog and their votes should count. Unlike the people who voted for Cassi...so unfair. Im so angry with whomever made that ridiculous decision.

Momma C said...

Good grief- The three posts I listed in my Circle profile- one is about white privilege, one is about racism and Disney and the other is sort of a sunny adoption post with a lot of actual truth mixed in- hope they don't read them- they might come get me next.

Hoping everyone who blogs about issues and not just sunshine and roses makes the top 25

maybe said...

I voted for you and all the other HONEST bloggers, like the ones you listed. Honesty is not always supportive and positive, but it is REAL.

zhou.and.mc said...

I think what Cassi posts is her truth but that does not mean it is the truth. I think that is true for all of us. I view it has very negative but it has made me think and I have needed to think.
Adoption is complex.

Reena said...

I think what most bloggers post is 'their' truth-- which isn't the truth for everyone. Isn't that a main point of blogging?

I think what Cassi posts on her blog is the truth for too many women/mothers/adoptees/people. I don't view her posts as negative so much as being sad and shameful.

Her story and the story of too many other mothers and adoptees are sad and it is shameful that our society has perpetuated these situations. Given the amount of information there is about adoption- from ALL triad members-- why is it that only the rosy, happy-happy is relayed to PAP?

Really, how many other APs and PAPs are there out there whose adoption agency and/or SW directed you or encouraged you to read about adoption from more than one viewpoint?

Why is that?

zhou.and.mc said...

I completely disagree. I meant that the negative truth of adoption for one person is not negative for another. I know adoptees who adopted because their life experience has been so positive (that does not mean they did not have to struggle with being adopted).

I do not believe it needs to be all happy happy rosy rosy - that is not life for anyone I know - adopted or not. I think both sides need to be presented. I think both sides are presented by many adoption agencies.

My agency encouraged us to speak with others who had adopted, take classes on attachment, speak with adoptees, read about adoption, read websites, etc. I knew it was not all rosy but nothing in life is. My friends who worked with other agencies were also encouraged to learn all the could about adoption.

I disagree there is one viewpoint.

Reena said...

Zhou that is great! Do you mind sharing which agencies. Maybe things are changing in the past couple of years since we adopted our youngest child.

I have worked with two different adoption agencies and know several people who worked with other adoption agencies and it was not suggested that we talk with adoptees-- most books suggested barely scratched the surface of adoption-- similar for the websites.

Our SW, not affiliated with any adoption agency, is pretty liberal minded and ethical, IMO. An example, she quit working with adoptions of domestic newbornes because she feels there is still too much coercion taking place.

She provided us with some, but limited, info that portrayed more of the not so rosy aspects of adoption. We remain in touch and I often forward to her information and viewpoints I find that are written by adoptees and birthmoms who describe their grief. She has indicated that she is "thinking about" sharing some of this material with PAPs.

A couple of adult adoptees whom I know personally have two very different viewpoints of adoption.

Is there ever just "one" viewpoint to anything in life?


Kristen said...

I love your Blog Malinda. I love the positive and negative because it's balanced and truthful.

This is one of the first posts i have read anywhere online that talks about this. Thank goodness someone is brave enough to post about reality!

Thank you for reality.
WE have enough red thread fairy tales. We need the truth.

You are not anti-adoption. But there are quite a few people out there who want to stay in denial.

Thank you for your blog and keep posting.


Cassi said...


I tried to respond here but I think it's better I write a blog post instead about some of the things I would like to say. I do understand though that I don't speak the truth for everyone, that is one of the reasons the title of my blog states, "My Life . . . My Experience . . . My Truth." I also know that some of the things I write isn't easy to read. Many times it's hard to write them as well.

Malinda - Thank you so much for this. I don't have the words to tell you how touched I have been these last few days with all the wonderful support and love I have received. I'm glad you stayed in the contest. I think it means much more if the blogs stay and we continue to vote instead of allowing what happened to silence anybody else or turn others away from supporting the blogs they believe in.

Karen said...

Agree or disagree with viewpoints, I think calling it censorship is a bit strong. Circle of Moms is for public viewing but they really do get to decide what kind of blog they want to promote. IMO, censorship would be if blogger.com were to dictate that she cannot blog about her own life, the way she chooses to. Censorship is not whether or not an online "magazine" chooses to give her blog attention.
Frankly, I think the circle of moms contest is a bit of a joke, anyway. It's all about how many times you can get someone to click on your blog per month. IF someone could only vote ONCE, then THAT would be a contest for the best. But the way it is now, it's more of a contest to find out how many people have the contest set to their favorites, and do their ritual clicking. I never quite understood how that makes for the best blog, or cutest child, or anything else where there are the "most clicks" by the same people daily.

Susie said...

Great post!