Learning from others and creating change

From another thread, a new reader/poster had the following to say about the way in which PPL presents itself, and how PPL, as a free informational resource, can improve:

What you offer should not be on the fringe or beyond. Meaning the content. Niels' concern with the original article - namely it's bias - is also apparent in what he wrote. I'm not suggesting we can't write in a way to express our own experience. But we have to be constantly aware of how our audience changes and if we want connection with them, we must change how we communicate.

1) attacking adoption itself - the values that it requires - will get you black sheep status
2) expressing personal pain in an angry or in-need-of-therapy way will not gain you friends from the happy-with-adoption camp
3) consciously avoid expressing even implied solidarity with groups that don't need your support, but will garner you the ire of adopters (in this case DoS and USCIS)

Since behind-the-scenes work is being done to improve both the format and user-ability of the site, I believe this is a good time to discuss what can be done to bridge two very different sides found in Adoptionland, without going OT within a post that originally critiqued an article written for The Christian Post

One of our regular members, an abused adoptee, had this to say in response to the above three observations:

I love it when APs offer unsolicited -- also predictable -- advice to the Angry Adoptees™ on how we must communicate with them in order to spare them the indignities of having heard a perspective different from theirs, or one considered socially beneath theirs. Especially when it's the same old shut-ups that characterizes our entire experience as adoptees in the first place: SHUT UP YOU DUMB BASTARD and behave like we tell you to, or else.

"Adoption itself" has not been "attacked" at PPL, though practices of the industry and related state agencies are regularly critiqued. Even if it ever was, those who are overidentified with the adoption industries promises of family-making and beast-building need to learn better communication skills to express their frustrations, while posting here.

Expressions of personal pain are part of the range of human emotions. When adopters such as the cases found in the annals of PPL stop being the progenitors of such pain, APs overidentified with the promises of the adoption industries and related state agencies won't ever have to hear them.

As for the ire of adopters, who's afraid of it?

In the spirit of opening communication, I'd like to add my own thoughts to the points both parties made.

First, I agree with both people in the sense that there is no need  to attack adoption itself; doing so serves no purpose other than creating a sense of unnecessary alienation.  However, that is not to say adoption practice itself is above criticism.  Another person posted a link to an article about the difference between adoption, as an institution, and the adoption industry... readers ought to review it as it's a pretty interesting look at how other countries approach adoption as a legal arrangement, without the use of privately owned/operated organizations.  See: http://readerinternationaladoption.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/attempt-to-answer-a-readers-recent-question/

Second, I believe the personal expression of pain and anger is very necessary, when showcasing what happens after faulty and problematic adoption practice. I think the visiting AP's remark related to those "in-need-of-therapy", and whether they should speak-out, or not, is very telling.  Such a position indicates to me how little so many newcomers read when they visit the PPL pages.  After reviewing our abuse archives alone, I can't imagine any adoptee put in such homes NOT requiring extensive specialized therapy to help undo the damage caused by many people "on a mission".  Unfortunately, not that many therapists are trained adequately enough to deal with many of the more complex adoption issues that exist post bad adoption experience.  The same truth applies (there is a lack of effective help) to those who have been victimized by child trafficking, father's rights violations, disruptions, deportations, wrongful removals/adoption, and wrongful medication cases. What fascinates me most about this particular topic is the one-sidedness that gets perpetuated by the adoption industry and their very powerful adoption lobby, itself.   It seems as though few adoption advocates have a huge problem with the angry criticism and frustration voiced by fed-up adopters, (or those who want to adopt) especially those who are single, homosexual, infertile, or follow an extreme form of a religion.  In my mind, many stories covered by the media featuring angry and upset adopters are examples of individuals who'd do far better in long-term therapy than at home with an adopted child. [After all, I believe one must try to fix and heal his own unresolved issues and problems before he tries to fix or help some one else... especially a child.]  So if media is going to cover anguish and pain, as it's experienced in Adoptionland, it behooves all media outlets to expose ALL sides that have experienced anguish and pain, not just those who, by some means, help fuel the multi-billion dollar adoption industry and the pro-adoption movement.

Last, I'd like to address the ire of certain members of the pro-adoption community, and how PPL is perceived.   Organizations like DoS and USCIS do a dis-service to all touched by adoption when they don't address some of the more disturbing facts featured on PPL.  I think we very much need first the interest then the formal support from such groups.  In fact, such an arrangement has always been my personal goal:  "our side" meeting with "their side" so a sense of same-page solidarity can begin.  I have told Niels, my co-founder, many many times, I would LOVE it if Pertman or better yet, DoS invited (and dare I dream, hired) us to be part of a think-tank that worked and studied the more serious adoption issues.  In my fantasy, reports generated by people like Niels and myself could be published and discussed openly, making their over-all efforts much more comprehensive.  Given the power, the support, and resources available to these pro-adoption groups, much can be done to make real radical adoption reform a reality. But first, those groups need to acknowledge the information archived on PPL is truthful, it is ugly, AND it has real value.

So the question has to be asked:  is PPL, created by two people, not doing it's part in reaching out so future bridges can be built for a greater good that keeps a child's best interest in mind and heart, or are the pro-adoption camps not doing their share in doing what needs to be done to help resolve the most serious of all adoption issues?  If they are not doing their part in bridging gaps and engaging in open, yet sometimes very difficult communication with sides that reveal very different (not desirable) experiences, what is their reason?  Problems #1 and #2? 

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how disappointing, yet...

On so many levels
I really wanted to believe that this post from Kerry would create some stir. But with an uncannily calm title, it has been three days, and nada.
I now know that the "in-need-of-therapy" phrase is a lightning rod. Despite how I used it to describe a method, a way of expressing things to newcomers or folks that might not share the prevailing views of this site. If I had known its strength I would have kept that sword sheathed.

I would like to celebrate this:
Organizations like DoS and USCIS do a dis-service to all touched by adoption when they don't address some of the more disturbing facts featured on PPL.
God YES!
and yet that's not all. They do a disservice to all touched by adoption when they craft policy and communication that reduces all ICA to the level of commodity trading - and thus, by default, to human trafficking. They set the stage for so much further discussion to be couched in economic language. When we use language that can only handle certain topics, we will begin to forget there is more to it. It may not be fog. It may be a gradual dimming of the lights. Describe it as you will, refusing to look at the whole of ICA bypasses the heart of the matter. People care most about being loved and loving. Not the stuff policy is made of, at least of late.

Far easier to have a dismissive attitude and reduce contributions from across the water (where the fog rolls in) to "the same old tune". True for the view from both sides of the water, I'm afraid...

Far easier to stand atop a box that looks a lot like the anti-patriarchal one from radical feminism (which I actually still hold dear to my heart, if you can believe it!) and yet not understand that the forces in this world will not stop just because you see a pattern. Those forces of a child's need, a mother's (& father's) need to fill that need, and all the evils and tragedies that come between them, won't just reconcile or come to a lasting peace by standing once. Nor by standing again. But only by connecting. If we get to stand together after that, we can celebrate together too :)

There is a larger community beyond this one that desperately needs your testimony - to hear what you have felt. APs are negligent if they are unwilling to listen to that testimony - it can only help them love their own child more deeply. APs are weak if they cannot handle some of the pain present here. But understand, please, this is new to so many of them. And contrary to DEEPLY held beliefs, common sense, and shared narratives. Don't judge them so harshly and directly. If you are going to ask them to stretch their beliefs and listen, have compassion on them - stretch your own beliefs about what you can do and how you do it.
Adoption will need reform until ... It is stuck where it is now because many of the stories here have been wrongly dismissed. But don't, please don't, give in to anyone who frames such a complex and deeply revealing activity as anything less. Adoption processes need to be better. Human decision making needs to be better. That is the responsibility of humans, not of governments. We all need to have access to the failures - and you have the light. Care Fully.

Who are they?

I read that in another post some posters suggested that you get your facts correct, read up on the archives and such. Well...I have to agree with them.
You are constantly bringing up DOS and the USCIS. Are you aware that some of the people who wrote the Hague policies have ties with adoption agencies?

It is all here

It is all here. All this info on PPL has been here for years.

How do you make APs read adoptee blogs, adoption news on kidnappings, corruption, falsified paperwork and the effects that adoption has on an adoptee?

Yes I agree, why hasn't any AP posted on this thread?

There are a few APs who do post, their children are much older, so they have walked the journey already that you are just starting on.

Maybe you can tell your fellow APs to read PPL.

What exactly is the point here ?

Dear Barry,

as a fellow adoptive parent, I have been following this discussion with interest. I would have gladly participated if I had known what exactly it is you aim at.

Is it that you want to make a suggestion for improvement of communication,
is it that you mean to criticize what you read here,
is it that you want to say that you have some important contributions to make?

I just have not been able to figure this out. So, may I suggest you just ask a simple question and then maybe it will be easier to answer it.

Kerry, sorry about adressing Barry first in the thread you opened.

B.

I don't have a simple question :(

Kerry went out on a serious limb - whether you view it that way or not - to solicit member feedback on the direction and scope of this site.

She wants to know if this site is a forum that can build bridges to other communities. Personally, I think it would be invaluable.

OT, My point is to not jump too early into envisioning a relationship with DoS or USCIS. I have shared my single perspective on these two agencies in the other thread and how that results in my opinion of them as using a commodity model for adoption. Please try to treat it as you would any other contribution to this site about wrongdoing by an organization. I am not alone in either experience or perspective - much of the larger AP community agrees with this perspective. It will be a nearly insurmountable obstacle to add to what will be a rough and tumble transition for much of the adoption community.

Like it or not, the frustration at "yet another" of me comes through in many of the member posts here. I'm hardly suggesting you will have to be prepared to kiss AP ass. But building bridges means engaging with a level of tolerance to their condition (ignorance, chosen or not, stupified, etc.) PAPs won't come anywhere near you if they smell the remains of a previous visiting PAP who took offense.

This might go so far as to populate a thread for visitors and newbies - perhaps staged or designed to guide real readers through the facts that lead to your perspectives. 1st time PAPs I would think would be the audience for this - before completely under the spell of the agencies. Written to appeal to my audience.

So, to answer Kerry's call - I would suggest this more complex question:

are you willing to put up with more visitors like me, and even ones more vocal in their defense of all that they think you undermine?

Huh?

You are asking for tolerance, yet you seem intolerant. Sorry if you explained yourself better in some of your posts. I did try to keep up but may have missed something in the ramblings.

You ask:

"So, to answer Kerry's call - I would suggest this more complex question:
are you willing to put up with more visitors like me, and even ones more vocal in their defense of all that they think you undermine?"

Don't APs have a ton of back-patting-self congratulating-rah-rah-saving blogs, sites and forums already? Some APs/Adoptees have TRIED to post the news and links about adoption issues on those sites and they have gotten ridiculed, edited and banned. If by chance you have somehow missed all this, I wonder then how up on your advocating/reform reality are you?

Indeed, they do

Don't APs have a ton of back-patting-self congratulating-rah-rah-saving blogs, sites and forums already?

One would think.

But that's not enough. PPL must become one, too. The whole world must conform to the self-righteous do-gooder AP's perception of reality, or else it will earn their ire. Otherwise, they're walking-wounded victims of of double standards 9_9

Responses from others

Truth be told, I am glad you didn't hold back in terms of using the descriptive phrase "in-need of therapy", as it would be applied to some of the more angry posters found on PPL (and other sites that feature unresolved adoption issues). I believe this more honest strongly held sentiment is felt by many who wish to dismiss the complaints made by victims trying to speak out. In addition, I believe this attitude is held by many who refuse to acknowledge and validate many of the problems that DO exist in Adoptionland. In fact, I think this is one of those belief-systems that prohibit the very open communication that's needed to ensure better practice, in the form of reform, takes place.

This leads to the comment about AP's who remain negligent and unwilling to allow witness/testimony that goes against their own experiences and beliefs about adoption and the adoption industry.

There is a larger community beyond this one that desperately needs your testimony - to hear what you have felt. APs are negligent if they are unwilling to listen to that testimony - it can only help them love their own child more deeply. APs are weak if they cannot handle some of the pain present here. But understand, please, this is new to so many of them. And contrary to DEEPLY held beliefs, common sense, and shared narratives. Don't judge them so harshly and directly. If you are going to ask them to stretch their beliefs and listen, have compassion on them - stretch your own beliefs about what you can do and how you do it.

I think it's largely assumed that ALL APs are loving, patient, and willing to work with an adopted child who has been traumatized. Many of our abuse cases feature a very DIFFERENT type of AP, and this type of poor-parenting style needs to be recognized as a truth, and not some figment of some maladjusted person's imagination. For instance, many times an adoptee may come-out and confess the way in which they are treated at home, and their story is not believed because the APs are seen as wonderful people... pillars of their community. All too often, in cases where a so-called wonderful adopter is accused of wrong-doing, it is much easier to say the child "has mental problems", or is a manipulative liar, than acknowledge the truth -- the truth being the AP is NOT as loving and patient as he/she needs to be. In cases like this, more compassion needs to go towards the child-victim than the abusive AP living in denial.

With that, I think it's imperative that APs recognize not every adopter is as healthy and well-adjusted as we'd like them to be. I think once more can get on-board with what is deemed healthy and effective parenting, more can see the many ways adoption agencies fail the very children they claim to help and assist.

Confusion

Kerry,

You say:

"I have told Niels, my co-founder, many many times, I would LOVE it if Pertman or better yet, DoS invited (and dare I dream, hired) us to be part of a think-tank that worked and studied the more serious adoption issues. In my fantasy, reports generated by people like Niels and myself could be published and discussed openly, making their over-all efforts much more comprehensive. Given the power, the support, and resources available to these pro-adoption groups, much can be done to make real radical adoption reform a reality. But first, those groups need to acknowledge the information archived on PPL is truthful, it is ugly, AND it has real value."

I wish so much this dream of yours could become reality. It would be so very helpful.

(I am not sure, though, if it will ever come true. )

Until that point, I really hope you will keep on the work you are doing here, for the sake of so many people.

Some comment on this current discussion, which seems to be about many things at the same time
(provided I am fully understanding it):

First, archives and documents: I dare say everyone interested in a serious, reliable and well documented coverage of issues in ICA and adoption in general will turn to your site for background information, regardless of his status (PAP, AP, interested public....even agencies, maybe??)
I would be very surprised if anyone could find any fault with your standards of collecting and archiving material. I have never come across any complaint, or doubt, from any party.

Second, anger: Some might have the impression that, if there are statements made from "an angry" point of view, this approach might somehow lessen the quality of the statement, and of the facts presented. If these people took the time to study the facts carefully, this impression would prove wrong, and pretty quickly so. The mixture between archive and personal contribution might be a challenge for a reader, depending on what he wants to find; the facts are always there, if he is interested.

On the other hand, it is hard to imagine that some of the things presented here (as facts) should not be met with an angry reaction. As long as comments are invited, that is, and this is the choice you have made.

There is this old fashioned idea of site-ownership: It is generally the reader's choice what he wishes to read, and the site owners, what, and how, he wants to present.

As an adoptive parent, I do not like the idea of fellow adoptive parents assigning therapy goals for (adult) adoptees on a site that is owned by adult adoptees.

If this is the style of the communication improvement suggested, I can only shake my head.

(While I am writing this, I am well aware that I have tried to enter into discussions about building bridges and avoiding the black and white-thinking in adoption related discussions, too. I hope the attitude behind it appeared respectful).

In the end, when it comes to seeing what "strategies", what sort of "parenting" is within the range of some adoptive parents, Kerry says: "Many of our abuse cases feature a very DIFFERENT type of AP, and this type of poor-parenting style needs to be recognized as a truth, and not some figment of some maladjusted person's imagination."

This may be something hard to believe for some adoptive parents, especially when confronted with the issue for the first time. On the other hand, there are publications by adoptive parents who are not in the least in denial of these facts - see the examples and plenty of background information within the work that REFORM Talk-people have been doing for over a year in their "Hall of Shame" -collection. Obviously, the topic of abusive adoption settings is becoming an issue more advocates for reform are concerned with.

Best,
B. (adoptive parent)

Eh, he might as well

Truth be told, I am glad you didn't hold back in terms of using the descriptive phrase "in-need of therapy", as it would be applied to some of the more angry posters found on PPL (and other sites that feature unresolved adoption issues).

One thing that makes me laugh, cringe or both is that Angry™ moniker and the subsequent "in need of therapy" type of dismissal we can always count on from certain types. And to be frank, I really don't give a tinker's damn what indignant, self-righteous AP labels me angry in need of therapy. They can bet I've been called far worse in my lifetime.

As a self-identified Angry™ In Need of Therapy, I would posit it's a lot of do-gooder APs with their pretentious entitlement issues and supremacist attitudes towards we, their adult peers, that is genuinely in need of therapy, since such types have a falsely-elevated, delusional view of themselves.

Perhaps if more of them got therapy prior to adopting we would not be reading case after case of abused foster children, children in care, and adoptees.

Name calling

Barry, just what do you wish to accomplish on this site?

Your contributions have not been enlightening. I hope that you can see how your postings can be perceived as some warped pity me whining dribble so descriptive of so many APs because "their" case was delayed and not as fast as the agency said it would be, even after x amount of years. Are your suggestions only to better ICA for the purpose of APs needs? Sadly, if so, then they are not backed up by research... nor reality.

Do you have a question? Or is name calling the only thing that you plan to do? Do you think by doing so that "reaches" the adoptee or anyone else more familiar with adoption issues than you?

I am quite taken aback by your attack on fellow readers/posters/ adoptees AND even other APs on this site.

For one thing, that is not what this site is about.

Well said!!!

Well said Marion!!!

Barry, who and what do think caused adoptees to be "in-need-of-therapy" in the first place?

If you guessed APs and foster care/adoption, then you guessed correctly.

I agree with Marion, there are ALOT of APs that need therapy as well.

From an "in-need-of-therapy" reader.

DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY ARE

DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY ARE CHATTING ABOUT THESE THREADS OFF THE SITE IN PRIVATE EMAILS? JUST SEE HOW MANY READERS THE THREADS HAVE. SOMETIMES PPL IS NOT FOR ALL TO READ, THERE IS EVEN AN ADMITTED ONLY SECTION.

Enough, pls

But understand, please, this is new to so many of them. And contrary to DEEPLY held beliefs, common sense, and shared narratives. Don't judge them

Oh god.

Dontcha get it?

Niels and Kerry can correct me if needs be for speaking for PPL, but the site is not about catering or conforming to the emotional needs of APs, and what they need from adult adoptees and fosters.

Pound Pup Legacy