So in the last few weeks I’ve had an opportunity to shift focus. Instead of writing, I’ve spent more time reading. I’ve been a little more active on a couple of online support groups (long time followers know I think these spaces can be a bit iffy). I’ve rested my brain. I’ve found new stories, learned about new foster care/adoption organizations, followed the #NAM2015 and #FliptheScript movements. It’s all been fascinating, largely because I’m a voyeur/people watcher-studier at heart.
Amazingly I will be getting some more time in a few months to have this breather when I have my other hand surgically repaired.
Of all my internet cruising, I found that there really are a few culture wars going on within the adoption community.
Though culture wars are fascinating, they are rarely pretty.
Where oh where do I begin?
How about the #ShoutYourAbortion/#ShoutYourAdoption trend from a couple of weeks ago? OMG, seriously, folks can’t have nothing. Folks who aren’t necessarily a part of the conversation have to clapback about ish that is really not their business.
So, in an effort to remove the stigma from abortion, a hashtag was born- #ShoutYourAbortion—because well, isn’t that how “movements” are launched nowadays?
Anyhoo, not to be outdone and/or ignored in a story, folks launched #ShoutYourAdoption as a response to all the abortion shouting in hopes of apparently reminding folks that adoption is an alternative to ending a pregnancy and shouting out all the families who apparently “saved” kiddos from inevitably being aborted.
Yeah, I get it. I do. Um, ok. But why come?
The conversations became ugly and corrupted, because well, adoption is actually *not* the opposite of abortion, and because this is what happens when critical conversations are reduced to less than 200 characters. As someone who’s been on both sides of the conversation, I would understand how it might serve to push more women who question continuing a pregnancy into a closet and away from meaningful support systems that could lead to different choices.
We all have belief systems, view points and experiences that allow us to sort information/data into categories—good or bad. This hashtag culture war about shouting to remove stigma resulted in exacerbating the frictional relationship among women. Ugh, messy and more disturbingly stigmatizing.
Really, really unnecessary.
Oh, then there was the American Girl drama.
So, AG profiled an adoptee in a two dad household. Amaya looks happy and healthy and is surrounded by lots of love. Some folks went nuts because the story dared to tell the story of the girl’s family—namely the part about two dads. They were offended because reading the AG newsletter and being “confronted” with an adoptee story that features parents in a same-sex coupled relationship was tantamount to an “agenda” being forced upon them through the pages of a voluntary read magazine.
Fo real doe?
Oh good grief, just stop it.
The child was in need of a home with lots of patience and love, she found one. She found one with two dads, and if that’s the worst thing that happens to her moving forward in her life, I’m going to assume that her future is looking pretty bright. She is on her way and apparently doing well. But the adoptee and her future is lost in all the hullabaloo about gay parenting and the emphasis is put on the love lives of her parents.
Or rather the love and sex lives of her parents, because isn’t adoption all about the parents and not the adoptee?
And like I do in this post, those protesting make reference to a larger culture war at play; however, their argument advances a theory that we are all being hoodwinked and bamboozled into the fall of Rome, because of all the gay folks running around.
For me, this is just another distraction from a focus that should be on the foster children and adoptees. I’m not saying that folks are not entitled to their own values and opinions, but really, can we really, focus on making sure kids who need homes find homes with stability and love and not get hung up on a bunch of foolery?
And finally, it’s National Adoption Awareness Month in the US; it’s [always] time to #FlipTheScript. I personally love to hear adoptees tell their story and discuss their trials and triumphs in being adopted. I am interested in hearing about them, from them. I’m also interested in hearing from birth families and first parents. But dang if I’m still not seeing support group posts about adoptee gratitude, about feeling defensive and threatened, about how their adoptive child isn’t so pissy about being adopted. Sigh.
Just because everyone’s story isn’t palatable to the ear, doesn’t mean the story isn’t true, isn’t valuable, isn’t worthy of you just listening and being empathic for all one stinking month of the year.
And because we *can* actually walk and chew gum at the same time, you can meaningfully listen to adoptees flip the adoption script while still celebrating your adoption, your adoptive family and whatever else you want to celebrate during the month year.
Before I became an adoptive parent, I never would’ve guessed that there was so much drama in the adoption world. I was certainly naïve since it’s really just a microcosm of the world as we know it.
Adoption has been a beautifully difficult path for me. It would be nice if the community could treat each other with kindness and respect. So many of us really do live with some real challenges related to adoption; it isn’t easy. These culture wars and others mean that we end up living in relative silence; there’s no more air and space for the challenges to get the support that families need.
My wish for NAAM2015 is that we just be kind and supportive to one another, no matter what brought us to this journey or even if we made choices that didn’t bring us to adoption.
End adoption culture wars. Don’t try to be kind and supportive, just be kind and supportive. Life is hard; just do it.