Adoption Trolls (& Other Beastly Beings)

Adoption Trolls (& Other Beastly Beings)

Once upon a time, there was a little adoption agency that found itself waging a valiant online struggle with adoption trolls (& other beastly beings.)

It started innocently enough. The little agency had found a news story about a teen mom considering adoption, which used archaic language that dated back to the orphan train era.

The little agency posted it on their Facebook page, with a comment about the headline using outdated language.

adoption-trolls-and-other-beastly-beingsAnother group shared the post on their Facebook page. (Fair enough.)

Suddenly, strangers who are not a part of the little adoption agency’s group began posting ugly accusations accusing the little adoption agency of everything from puffery to trickery to child-trafficking.

The little agency struggled to figure out if– or how– to respond?

Staffed with therapists and social workers, the little agency wanted to believe that the people behind those ugly posts actually meant well, and simply misunderstood the little agency’s intentions.

Efforts to enter into dialogue, however, were simply met with some even more slanderous claims.

The little agency didn’t want to censor visitors to its page. Yet it knew that the things being said were not just offensive to the agency; they were potentially injurious to the agency’s adoption community, good people who have done nothing to warrant such unjust attacks.

So what’s a little adoption agency to do? The little agency decided to read each comment from the perspective of an underage adoptee, and delete only those that were potentially harmful or confusing to Abrazo’s minor adoptees and all the parents who love them most.

Is Adoption Good? Or Is Adoption Bad?

Undoubtedly, anti-adoption activism is on the rise, and it is largely indisputable that the adoption industry itself has often deserved such critical scrutiny due to questionable ethics, egregious acts and sometimes (sadly) unchecked greed.

Adoption in its purest form is meant to be a good thing, but even in its goodness, we must never lose sight of the fact that adoption is born of loss, and must therefore be a choice of last resort for parents who cannot raise their children and for children who cannot grow up in their family of origin. How we do adoption– and when and why we do it– must always be child-centered from start to finish, and our efforts and actions must be beyond reproach, because ultimately, it is the child to whom we are all accountable.

And even then, we must be mindful of the fact that adoption (yes, even the “best” of adoptions) will leave some scars of varying degrees, depending on the needs and/or vulnerabilities of the people involved. Every human life is potentially marred by varying forms of trauma, and the primal wound of an infant or child being separated from his or her original parent is bound to impact both on some level. And that impact may continue to affect the lives of the adoptee and the birthparents and the adoptive family, in ways they may or may not anticipate over the years.

This is not the “fault” of the birthparents nor the adopting parents nor the professionals they hire, yet it is imperative that all the adults must absolutely be aware of this painful truth. The temptation is to minimize it, because we all want to protect the children involved, but in order to protect those who must become adoptees, we must have the courage to be honest about this, with them and with ourselves.

It’s a normal inclination to want to throw the baby out with the proverbial bathwater by seeking to abolish adoption or condemn it as kinship genocide or to point fingers at those who promote it or even who seek to defend it. And for those who see themselves as having been victims of adoption, it may even be therapeutic to speak out against it.

It’s also normal, if one wants to see adoption as being virtuous or positive, to want to label those who oppose it as adoption trolls (or other beastly beings.)

But if we are ever to make adoption better for those for whom it must occur, and if we are to build any bridges of healing for those for whom it did not work well, then we must find some means of working together, and that will requires empathy and mutual respect and, yes, healthy communication.

Take the Little Adoption Pledge

And towards that end, we must resist the impulse to label each other– whether as adoption trolls or babysnatchers or breeders or angryadoptees or babysellers, or whatever ugly taunts folks throw at each other when they’re feeling threatened. (And yes, that goes for us, too. We all have the potential to act beastly at times.)

So we challenge you (yes, you– along with all of us) to take this little adoption pledge. Raise your right hand and read aloud, if you will:

“I pledge to work towards the betterment of adoption, not for the sake of any program nor entity, but for the welfare of children and all the parents who love them. I will strive to hear those whose opinions differ from mine, and to not be baited nor respond to those to who seek merely to insult or offend, rather than to promote healing and reform. I pledge to honor those who have been adopted, whether they perceive themselves to be victims or victors of that experience, and to embrace their right to their own truth, whether or not it reflects my own. I pledge to set aside my own bias, to whatever extent possible, in order to be fully-vested in being an agent of change for the better.”

Because adoption trolls (& other beastly beings) exist only in our minds, and it’s going to take all of us to banish them and to focus instead on working towards a happier ending to every child’s story.

8 Responses to “Adoption Trolls (& Other Beastly Beings)”

  1. A mother says:

    Adoption does not need to exist. There are a million ways to care for kids without having to force them to swap their family out for strangers

  2. gert mcqueen says:

    your link was shared on twitter, where I have an account,
    my birth sister Joan M Wheeler/Doris M Sippel is one of the most vocal and dangerous anti-adoption ones out there, she has lied about, exposed and exploited my parents and everyone in both families and this is so wrong. I myself adopted my child with 2nd husband and was condemned for it (see link below for that story).

    While I agree that communication is best there are some that WILL NOT communicate because well…they are mentally ill and only want to destroy adoption, they are blinded by their hate.

    …please take time to see my sites. My sister Ruth also as a blog…

  3. Mari Steed says:

    “This is not the ‘fault’ of the birthparents nor the adopting parents nor the professionals they hire…”

    The last line of this sentence – “the professionals they hire” – negates any other relevant thing you might have had to say in this otherwise well-meaning piece. You admit that the adoption industry (the “professional”) are often what gives adoption a bad name, yet claim any negative impact is not their fault? Perhaps you’d like to revisit that comment. A nearly century-long history of fraud, corruption, coercion, broken promises and laws say otherwise.

    I’m not an “anti-adoption activist.” I’m a pro-child, pro-family preservation, pro-adoption civil rights activist. But suggesting that agencies – even “little” ones – and the industry itself are not at fault for the negative impact adoption has had on thousands of lives is beyond disingenuous.

  4. Abrazo says:

    We are so glad you have figured out a million ways to help, and we do hope you’ll share them with the world, because there are over a million children in desperate need of care, all around the globe.

  5. Abrazo says:

    Mari, thank you for your articulate response. We’re disappointed that out of 975 words calling for unity within the adoption community, you found five words with which you differ, and that you are willing to discount everything else as a result. But we genuinely appreciate your feedback, and the time you took to read our blog, even if you disagree with us.

  6. Abrazo says:

    There is obviously an enormous amount of pain in your family, as reflected in your writing and that of your sisters, Gert, and our hearts go out to all of you.

  7. Ruth Pace says:

    I am the younger sister of Gert McQueen, who commented above.
    Yes, there is a lot of pain in our family – we had to deal with our mom dying when we were little, our baby sister be relinquished to adoption, due to child care issues, joy in reuniting with her when she turned 18, pain when realizing a few years later that she basically was not a moral person (lies, trouble-making, thefts) – and more pain, when because of these things, she was told not to come around us. More pain when in retaliation for us telling her that, she decided to embark on a campaign of hate and harassments that continue to this very day (from 1980 to now!)
    Pain when this sister, now turned adoption troll, wrote her “autobiography” when in fact it was a manifesto of hate against anyone who made her angry.
    I started my blog to refute every lie I found in her book. Then I sent copies of police and court documents to the publisher of her book and was successful in having the book pulled from publication.
    The pain continues as she has now self-published the book on amazon’s kindle. She troll-brags that she has never been sued for libel – I didn’t have to, as I said, I sent documents directly to the publisher. As for suing her, she is basically poverty-striken, why should I spent $$$ for a lawyer – and her book is not exactly a “best seller” on kindle.

    There is also pain when recently in her troll-like anti-adoption rants she posted on her website a picture of her two dead birth parents as her personal mascots. May I remind people that they may be her mascots to flaunt that ‘she’ was deprived of them due to her adoption – but those are MY parents – MY mother who died when I was three years old, and MY father who died 6 years ago.

    Adoption trolls think they are they only ones in a family that feel pain – they care NOTHING of other people’s pain.

    In the case of what is causing the continued pain in my family – our adopted out sister hates the fact she was adopted out, but our father kept us. WE were not adopted out, but SHE was. And she is out to punish us for that. That is it – pure and simple.

  8. The Creation of incentivized adoption in the United States has been the biggest desecration to the American Family since slavery.

    Children are taken from families, not because they are abused but because they are adoptable. Placing an adoption subsidy payment on a child is not much different from selling human beings into slavery, the sex trade, and human trafficking.

    The ridiculous notion that slapping a payment on the head of a child would create more families who adopt for the noble cause of assisting these children, needs to be halted.

    Instead abused children are overlooked in favor of “adoptable” children.

    I hardly need to remind you that the sale of human flesh was outlawed in the United States with the end of the Civil War.

    Family court judges that make their decisions to separate children from their family and siblings in order to garner more Title IV AND Federal Adoption Incentives should be charged with felony child trafficking, abduction, and jailed.

    Multiple millions of children have suffered incredibly because of the adoption industry….not because they were orphans…..but because our government put a price on the head of a child IN the adoption market.

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