Brouhaha Over “Adoption Truth”

So there was this big Circle of Moms blog contest brouhaha. Essentially, the blog Adoption Truth was removed from the contest for being anti-adoption. Several other bloggers reported this fact. Adoption reform blogs started to win the contest. Circle of Moms canceled the contest. I read a lot of the blog posts about Adoption Truth – about it being a voice for adoption reform, not being an anti-adoption blog. I read several posts on the Adoption Truth blog itself.

The title, Adoption Truth, bothers me, because, to paraphrase Jesus Christ Superstar, “we all have truths. Are mine the same as yours?” But the blog’s subtitle is “My Life… My Experience… My Truth.” So the blogger acknowledges that this is all HERs. Great. Except that she doesn’t write that way.

The blog does call for adoption reform. The blogger makes some good points. However, the blog is, as far as I’ve read, anti-adoption.

In the post, Positive or Negative, the blogger writes:

“Adoption is not a positive thing. Not for a mother or her child. It is loss and pain and grief. It is taking a baby away from the family he or she was born in to and forcing them to become a part of a family that begin as complete strangers to them. It is about a relationship so natural, so much a part of all of us, that is broken in the most unnatural of ways and can never be right again.”

That assertion right there is the definition of anti-adoption. Obviously, I disagree with her. Even so, I have no problem with her blog existing. I don’t particularly care about the contest, and I don’t care for Circle of Moms so I don’t care to learn more about their position either. I believe they shouldn’t have censored blogs, especially if they didn’t explain in the first place that the blog had to be supportive of adoption.

Because you can be supportive of adoption and write about the hardships in it. You can be supportive of adoption and of adoption reform. Adopt Talk is a blog that does this beautifully. The Chronicles of Munchkinland is another blog that talks about the highs and lows of open adoption and being a birthmother. Its author also talks about the need for reform. The Declassified Adoptee discusses adoption reform, and, while I perceive it as being a bit more negative about adoption than positive, I don’t think being negative or positive is the blogger’s goal. (I also find it to be very well written and I tend feel smarter for having read it, even when I disagree with the author.)

The author of Adoption Truth is anti-adoption. She takes issue with anyone, especially other birthmothers, who present any of the positives in adoption. She writes that if a pregnant woman walks into a crisis pregnancy center and says she wants to parent, she shouldn’t be told about any other option. I’m fairly certain that if a pregnant woman walked into a crisis pregnancy center and says she wants to place her baby for adoption, the blogger would very much want that woman to be told of her other options. To her, adoption means sacrificing babies.

She is allowed to tell her Adoption Truth, but she disrespects anyone whose truth is different than hers.

She is entitled to her opinions. I vehemently disagree with them, with the way she presents them, and with the way in which she dismisses anyone with different opinions.

So, yeah, I don’t support censorship, but I don’t support Adoption Truth either.

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46 thoughts on “Brouhaha Over “Adoption Truth”

    • I’m not worried about offending the author of Adoption Truth. She’s obviously not worried about offending anyone who doesn’t agree with her. I don’t understand how someone could read her blog and say she’s not anti-adoption, which is why I ultimately chose to write this post.
      Oh, and thanks for the vote of confidence!

  1. I am flattered by the compliments you gave but I really do not like that my blog was listed in contrast to Cassi’s as if it is somehow better. Cassi is a very good friend of mine. Anti-adoption is not a nice thing to call someone.

    We all write in terms of absolutes from time to time. Didn’t you tell me my own perception of my own birth certificate was wrong at some point in a whole blog post dedicated to disagreeing with the concept that I felt *my* ABC is a lie? How is that any different than how you feel Cassi is representing adoption and not letting it only be *her* truth?

    I’m sorry, I am just really surprised here.

    • You’re talking about this post:https://chittisterchildren.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/an-amended-birth-certificate-isnt-a-lie/
      You’ll notice that I respectfully disagreed with those people who regard amended birth certificates as lies. I used the time honored “I believe” to ensure that we all knew this was my opinion. I didn’t question the right of your blog to exist. I didn’t say your blog, or the blogs of others who believe the same way, are dangerous. I didn’t call your blog propaganda. I didn’t insult you. Adoption Truth does all of that to any birthmother who portrays adoption in a positive way.
      Every post I read on Adoption Truth was written from the perspective that the author’s is the only correct perspective. “Shut Up and Listen” is not a post that inspires open minded, thoughtful dialogue about adoption.
      “Adoption is not a positive thing.” That statement, like many others from the Adoption Truth blog, is anti-adoption.
      Again, I don’t question the right of the blog to exist. I don’t think Circle of Moms was correct to censor it. But I don’t see how anyone can read Adoption Truth and say it’s not anti-adoption.

      • “Anti-adoption” means different things to different people. What most people commonly associate it with is assuming that someone wants to shut down any opportunity a child has to get out of a bad situation and into a good one e.g. “this person wants kids to stay in orphanages.” Because of that, I don’t use that label, for anyone. I personally have had people say very nasty things about me and to me as a result of someone putting it out there on the internet that I’m “anti-adoption” and because of that experience I don’t use it to describe others.

        Yes, that is the post I was referring to. It is probably my my sleep deprived brain but it reads a bit different than I remember it. Yes, you did say “you believe” toward the bottom half of the post. But this was after you linked to me and stated the facts that proved those whom you disagree with wrong. When I read it, I perceived it as not being a matter of a difference of opinion but that you were saying, flat out, that I and anyone who has the opinion that I do is wrong. And I’m not saying you were wrong to do that or that it’s not OK for you to think I’m wrong.

        My point being, *everyone*, not just Cassi, has opinions that something is either right or wrong that their experience or research or evidence brings them to a place where it is just a fact, plain and simple, rather than just a belief or perception. Everyone.

        I feel like I’m rambling now but if what I said at all made any sense, that’s all I was trying to say. Thanks for listening and have a wonderful evening.

        • Amanda, if my birth certificate post made you feel that way, then I am sorry. I tried my best to be respectful.
          Everyone does have their own opinions, but not everyone openly insults those who have different opinions or questions the right of those with different opinions to voice those opinions. That’s the difference between, say, my blog and Adoption Truth.

      • ““Adoption is not a positive thing.” That statement, like many others from the Adoption Truth blog, is anti-adoption.”

        Um, no, its not. That stament is a true statement for thousands of people the world over. And it is from a different perspective. Not everyone who is actually right about something is going to share your perspective and just because they don’t doesn’t make them wrong. I get you think adoption is wonderful but then from your perspective as the person gaining everything and not really losing anything, you would. However if you were in the shoes of an adoptee or a mother of adoption loss, you would most likely feel differently.

        I notice the list of blogs you have by other “birth” mothers… and I know those blogs well. They tow the acceptable line and for now, they are happy in their choices. But whose to say their children will feel that way? Again, its all perspective.

        You take issue with Cassi because she challenges the accepted “birth”mother line. And no, she doesn’t set out to insult people… again, that is YOUR perspective and desire to believe that. It isn’t fact.

        • OK. You want very desperately to be right. I offered three examples of how the “Adoption Truth” blog is anti-adoption. Please find at least three examples of how the Adoption Truth blog is supportive of adoption. That is, find at least three examples in which the Adoption Truth blog recognizes the right of a woman or man to choose to place her/his child for adoption.
          I don’t think you “get” me at all. Your statement about “gaining everything and not really losing anything” shows a lack of understanding and respect for adoptive parents. Given your situation, I think I can understand that, but still.

  2. Adoption is complex, it has many facets, many stories and holds the experiences of all who were adopted. Adoptees according to David Brodzinsky go through 5 stages of the adopted life in which they express different views of adoption, none are untrue for them and all reflect different viewpoints on adoption.But the I expect you knew that.
    COM has done us all a big favour by showing how lacking in integrity it is.
    http://eagoodlife.wordpress.com

  3. Actually, that’s not anti-adoption, it’s at most, anti-child abandonment. Me, I’m 100% anti-adoption because forcing a child to grow up in a life of legalised lies is mentally abusive. Get rid of the legalised lies, and many of us’d stop being “anti-adoption”, since adoption’s nothing more than the legal side of stuff.

    Also, point to note: Anti-adoption NOT = anti-child protection. It’s entirely possible to raise someone else’s child without falsifying their birth certificate and severing them from their own history. Any parent who “needs” the birth certificate in their name in order to be comfortable adopting, shouldn’t be adopting in the first place, as they’re already refusing to put the “best interests of the child” before their own.

        • I disagree with the premise that an amended birth certificate is falsified. I also disagree with the premise that adoptive families sever their children from their histories, although some do. So I suppose I do agree with the statement “It’s entirely possible to raise someone else’s child without… severing them from their own histories.” Of course, I would argue that, while my children are someone else’s, they’re also mine.

      • [I also disagree with the premise that adoptive families sever their children from their histories, although some do.]

        Alrighty. So how does the legality of having to transfer rights work, then, if not by legaling severaging one lineage to graft onto another?

        • Adoption doesn’t change or erase my children’s histories. It doesn’t change their genetics or biology. It’s interesting that you use the word “graft”. Like many adoptive parents, I realize that my children will have two family trees, one for their adoptive family and one for their birth families. Adoption didn’t “sever” my children’s lineage. Adoption terminated their birth parents’ legal rights and makes our children “for all legal intents and purposes” our children, and we have all of the rights and responsibilities that we would have had to biological children. I also think that adoptive parents have extra responsibilities, including ensuring that children know their histories, and, unless it’s truly unsafe for them to do so, know their birth families.

      • (Having read the rest of the replies in this little bit o’thread…)

        This is why I said legally severing. Doesn’t matter if it’s an open adoption, the child is still legally severed from their own history.

        As for the bit about BCs being falsified or not – if you had bugger all to do with the birth of the child, then you shouldn’t be on the BIRTH certificate, period. If you want to adopt a child, then instead of pretending your details are the trufax for the OBC, how about do the sensible thing and get an ADOPTION certificate instead? It’s what we do over here in the UK, and have done for decades – and I’m sure other countries do it too (they’ve gotta, since I don’t believe that the UK’s the only ‘sensible’ (in this respect) country in the world, ’cause the UK ain’t =that= good).

      • I’m confused as to how you can disagree with a legal issue?

        Adoption IS a legal severing of familial ties. It’s not something to agree or disagree with, it’s just a fact of the nature of the legalities of adoption.

        Or am I misinterpreting which bits of what I said you’re disagreeing with (’cause I know even someone as brilliant as me can still get stuff wrong on occasion ;))?

      • “It’s a legal severing of parental rights, not of familial ties.’

        Respectfully, you are wrong. Legal child adoption as invented in 1851 transfers three things, parental rights, inheritance rights, and perhaps most importantly — filiation. Filiation is who is legally related to whom, it IS family ties. If you want to transfer just parental rights, there is permanent legal guardianship, which is used in many other nations to provide substitute care for a child.

        But with adoption, the child is no longer at all legally related to the natural parents, those whom they share generations of DNA with. Instead the child becomes legally related to “genetic strangers” whom they are not related to. This is why it is called “fictive kinship.” Adopted children becomes legally “as if born to” the adoptive parents, but before this their natural parents become “as if dead to” them. Hence the new, falsified, birth record. So, adoption legally dissolves one family to create another.

        Filiation is extremely important. If you are not filiated with someone, you are no more related to them than the next stranger who walks past you on the street. If filiation were not important, adoptees would not be terminating their adoptions and natural parents adopting-back their adult sons and daughters to restore it once more.

  4. Perhaps you could explain why it is alright to change a child’s name and to alter their birth certificate when they are adopted so that we understand where you’re coming from with this.

    • Thank you for saying it! I spent many hours pondering a name for my child, and when she was born I knew it was the right name. Why is it ok to change everything and then deny the OBC? Why is it ok to change true medical fact on a birth certificate? Why on earth doesn’t the ABC say adoptive mother and father? I too know Cassi well, and really her blog is the truth for so many of us. I don’t think her blog is any more anti-adoption than many others, in fact I would call it pro-family preservation. CPC’s most often try to one thing other than talk a young woman out of an abortion, and that is adoption. There should be no information given on adoption before parenting has been discussed, and adoption should always, always be a last resort, and stranger adoption should always come last. Pre birth matching, paps in labor and delivery, or even in the hospital are coercive in and of themselves. Adoption is not all win win, in fact adoptive parents joy, is predicated on the mother and childs pain. IF just one person had been there to explain to me the ramifications of signing that piece of paper, what the life long consequences would be for myself and my child, I would never, ever have signed no matter what I was told. (And believe me I was told so many lies my head still spins and my heart races when I think about it) I am happy you have one of your kids OBC’s, and are working on the other, but what will you do when your child wants to find their mother and other family? Will you like my daughters mother make their life hell for having the temerity to search, and want a relationship, or will you get out of the way, and be supportive? I hope the latter and from the little I have read here, I am right to hope so. But you must understand that the secrecy and lies have caused so much harm and so much pain to so very many that the cost in incalculable. I am not here to try and bash you for having your opinion, we all have truths as you have noted. Our truth is simply so much different than your own that you can’t fathom why we feel as we do. I love that you are brave enough to question and try to understand, but as I will never understand what you have been through, (although I can empathize) you will never understand what our children or ourselves have been through. (Although you can empathize) I have not blogged in a long while, I have been busy working on my MSW, but perhaps it is time once again to write, and share what I have learned over the years. I have many good friends who are adoptive mothers. IN fact I read the ones you linked to in this post. I adore the chronicles. I need to poke my head in more often and read more. And while obviously you do read, perhaps you might read some of the books we have read and helped to write. Ann Fessler and The Girls Who Went Away is still very relevant, also there are a number of phenomenal scholalry works out there written by both natural mothers and adoptees if you have the time and access to the databases often found on University websites. I actually wrote one last year on the increased incidence of suicide among the adopted. (It is higher than the general population, and astoundingly I found the abuse rate in adoptive homes in 84%! I was flabbergasted to say the least, and wish I could find the link to that study for you right now) I know we all want to believe that adoption has changed since Roe v Wade and the BSE ended (Well it really hasn’t it has just changed to a subtler form of shaming and coercion) but the simple fact is, it hasn’t changed all that much. *sighs* And now I have to step off my soapbox because this has really strayed from what I intended to write. I will come back when I have had some sleep and can actually stay on topic and be coherent.

      • So much to reply to. First, thank you for taking the time to comment.
        – If you read my post on birth certificates, you will see one adoptive mother’s response to being identified as such on a birth certificate. Adoption is only one reason why birth certificates are amended. At one point, I proposed the terms “Legal Mother” and “Legal Father” or “Legal Parent.” (I think it was in a post I wrote when I blogged for adoption.com.)
        – My children have contact with their birth families. I’m friends with them on Facebook. My son calls his family relatively often, for a 6-year old. They won’t have to find them. As far as I’m concerned, they’ll always be around. I have a “birth family” tag if you’d care to learn more.
        – I recently read an article about the abuse rate in adoptive homes, and it wasn’t any higher than in the general population for the US.
        – “The Girls Who Went Away” is on my reading list. I went through a period where all I was doing was reading about adoption. I took a break from that and went to religion, then Twilight, then parenting in general, and now I’m reading mystery/fantasy. I have a feeling I’ll be back around to adoption by the end of the year.

  5. “Everyone does have their own opinions, but not everyone openly insults those who have different opinions or questions the right of those with different opinions to voice those opinions. That’s the difference between, say, my blog and Adoption Truth.”

    Well you negated that when you blogged this post because you ARE openly attacking the blog and more so the author. Cassi hasn’t actually set out ever to insult people. She has responded to opinions and discussed common myths on her blog. Just because you don’t agree with her is neither here nor there really. You can disagree with someone without feeling the need to write an entire post dedicated to labelling someone who you want because they don’t fit your box.

    And your use of the word truth is way off base. Truth is fact based, not experience based. Your experience of adoption is a particular way, Cassi’s experience is another however she also speaks about alot of truths about the whole industry with her experience. The fact her experience is almost identical to so many other mothers, supports her facts and thus she is not speaking her “truth” but the THE truth about certain happenings within the adoption industry.

    Truth is not about a point of view. It is not about an opinion. Truth is based on factual happenings and while people can experience things differently of an event, there is generally only one truth – and various experiences.

    • We’ll just have to agree to disagree about the philosophical nature of truth.
      I chose to write about Adoption Truth because a number of bloggers took umbrage with Circle of Moms saying that she was “not supportive of adoption.” As I’ve said before, I don’t understand how anyone could read her blog and say that it isn’t anti-adoption.
      I never questioned the right of her blog to exist, said it was propaganda, told her to shut up, or many, many of the other tactics Adoption Truth uses when talking about anyone who disagrees with her version of truth. For as many people who may have had experiences similar to those written about at Adoption Truth, there are at least as many who have had experiences like those of the blogs she attacks. I also completely disagree that she never sets out to insult people.

  6. All experiences are unique.Cassi’s experiences are unique and indeed quite unusual in the world of adoption.I know of very,very few women in her situation who did what she did and then have the courage to write about it.She deserves our respect, our support, a fair hearing and certainly not judgement from those who’s experience of adoption is limited, short and categorising.Why is it that if you express views about adoption that don’t follow the party line you are labelled anti-adoption? Isn’t life far more complicated than that for children, adults and families?

  7. I am a 45 year old mother of 2 children and an adoptee. I need to get a working with children card so that I can help out at my sons school and attend excursions. My amended birth certificate prevents me from obtaining the card, as the Australian government will not accept my ABC as proof of my identity. An ABC is a fraudulent document according to my government….. so yeah…. as far as my life experience goes it is a huge LIE! If you are not an adoptee you have absolutely no clue and no right to comment on our experience of life. Adoption has taken so much from me and my children and I wish people would just step out of their fantasy lives for a minute and LISTEN to adult adoptees. Adoption really does suck for adoptees!

    • I’m sorry for your experience with your ABC. I do believe that OBCs should be available to all adoptees and donor-conceived individuals. I’m sure that adoption does suck for some adoptees.

  8. Well, being that I’m a recipient of one of the “amended” birth certificate, I can attest that it is indeed….fake. And it’s got nothing to do with my feelings towards my adoptive parents, or natural parents, or whatever….it’s fake and it makes me feel like crap. I hate feeling like my “birth” certificate does not reflect the actual day I came to be. It DOES matter, and regardless of who the “mother” is (which I consider that I have TWO), that document should be a reflection of who gave birth to me. The fact my real one is sealed by the governent ads insult to injury, It’s a rediculous practice that never should have came to be….the idea to take a kid from another family and pretend the other family never existed by means of falsifying a document and hiding the original away (ideally forever if they had they’re way) is downright atrocious.

  9. It is rather obvious that there are quite diferent views on adoption depending on whether you are a birth parent, birth grandparent, sibling, adoptee or adoptive parent , the experiences that you have had and your current perception about where you are at at the time. Some of these views are positive and some are negative and that is the reality. Accordingly if one really wants to get a balanced view of adoption all of these need to be considered and censorship of any of these views (pro or anti-adoption) minimises understanding. Possibly what really should be exercising our minds is how to achieve the best outcomes for ALL (capitalisation so nobody misses this point) involved. Not an easy job as the needs of each group often appear to conflict.

  10. I am an adoptive parent, and I am extremely sad that we do not have our childrens’ original birth certificates, or even copies of them. It is a piece of their history we would like very much to be able to give them, along with the amended birth certs we got at finalization. For crying out loud, they know they weren’t born to us, and they deserve to have any and all of their history we can give them. OBCs included.

    • I am very fortunate that we do have our son’s OBC and I’m trying to obtain my daughter’s from our lawyer. The records shouldn’t be sealed.
      “For crying out loud, they know they weren’t born to us, and they deserve to have any and all of their history we can give them.” I like that quote.

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  12. Unfortunately in many places records are sealed and adoptees have great difficulty in obtaining their birth details. Birth mothers also can often be an impediment as many refuse to divulge the identity of our fathers. If you have noticed how emotional people become on such programs as ” Who do you think you are” when tracing their family tree just consider how important it is for adoptees to be able to do the same thing. Lobbying for access to birth information for adoptees from birth mothers and governments/institutions will always be much appreciated.

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  14. Interesting too that when adoptees or mothers speak the truth of adoption that others do not want or hear or acknowledge it becomes ‘negative’ whereas comments supporting the beauty and joy of adoption are ‘positive’.It’s all adoption in it’s complexity and with many sides.

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