The Outward Effects of Adoption Infighting

The Outward Effects of Adoption Infighting

A cross-country dispute has got us thinking about the outward effects of adoption infighting.

This isn’t the first battle of its kind, nor will it be the last.

The adoption community is infamous for eating its own, sadly, because the emotions run so high and the issues run so deep.

For a community so dependent upon the tenets of family bonds, we have a tendency to fight like in-laws.

You can find it in any “mixed group” online, in forums that welcome what are called “adoption triad members” (adoptive parents, birthparents and adoptees) and in Facebook groups such as Adoption News & Events, that draw those who see a need for adoption reform as well as those who would much rather just abolish it.

What if righting the ship takes everyone down?

The latest salvos have been those fired between a movement named “Right the Ship” and the long-challenged American Adoption Congress.

We’re not sure what started the battle, but it’s been brewing for awhile. The American Adoption Congress is an advocacy group founded by and for adoptees, but in recent decades, it has come under fire for board instability and alleged financial mismanagement.

Bastard Nation, a guerilla-type adoptee rights group (for lack of a better descriptor) has long been at odds with the AAC, primarily, it seems, because of deep-seated differences in legislative priorities; the-outward-effects-of-adoption-infightingthe AAC has typically sought legislative change for adoptee rights even if it’s conditional, while BN insists on “clean bills or die” and actively works to oppose partial change bills, even against the dedicated efforts of adoption reform activists who believe that any change is better than none.

Abrazo has long-supported the AAC; our agency has held membership in the organization in the past and has attended its conferences for years, because we recognize the importance of its mission. We have likewise referred our clients to the Bastard Nation site, even when their leadership has been publicly critical of our leadership, because we know that co-founder Marley Greiner’s commitment to the cause of adoptee rights is true and tireless. Rumor has it that AAC and BN have been moving towards detente, which worries some factions and pleases others, but now Right The Ship is promoting adoption conferences scheduled at the very same time as AAC’s and alleging nefarious connections between AAC and a residential treatment center called Calo, and the whole thing is getting, well, ugly. (Or… uglier.)

We don’t know what the answer is, because we recognize that all sides are passionate about their cause, and that’s a matter of honor. But all this infighting makes us incredibly sad. Years ago, a popular poster came out with the caption “united we stand, divided we fall” and this seems to be a timely warning for the adoption community, as a whole.

Can’t we all just get along, for a change?

There are vast differences of opinion on a whole host of adoption-related issues. There’s the pro-adoption movement versus the anti-adoption movement. There’s the domestic adoption contingent versus the international adoption crowd. There are birthparents against adoptive parents, and parents vs. adoptees, and adoptees vs. nonadoptees. There’s closed adoption proponents versus open adoption believers. There’s everyone versus the adoption industry. There are adoption professionals versus adoption trolls. There’s adoption agencies versus adoption attorneys versus adoption facilitators. There’s public adoption versus private adoption versus foster-adopt.

We don’t have to all agree on everything all the time, of course. And that’s okay, because healthy discourse can lead to needed changes, which can be a good thing. However, adoption done the right way and for the right reasons has the power to protect children and transform lives, and that should be a truth we can all get behind– shouldn’t it?

Abrazo strongly supports the adoption reform movement, and the quest to change the laws to grant adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates– not because doing so is in any adoption agency’s fiduciary interests, but because it’s the right thing to do, which makes this the right time to do it. Our advocacy has not always been welcome by those who view adoption professionals as the enemy, but the most progressive of adoption reform agents are those who recognize that it’s going to take all of us working in unity to the right the worst of adoption’s wrongs.

The outward effects of adoption infighting, more often than not, hurts the cause for those who most need adoption support; for their sake, we would all do well to find a good way to work together.

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