Reply to What kind of a job is the media doing?
(Edited 5/25) I posted Ann's request about her media project because I know and respect Ann as an impassioned and hard worker for adoptee rights and because I encourage participation in the project.
I, however, firmly believe that the solution rests firmly with US, not the media. If we say it, they will print it! They - the media and the public - don't know it unless WE TEACH THEM!
Origins-USA s doing a number of things in this regard, and we encourage other groups to do so as well:
- we maintain a media information section on our website, including positive adoption language
- we maintain a speakers bureau to present our issues whenever possible
- we ask all members if they are willing to be interviewed locally or nationally and if they are able to use their name.
- we actively pursue PR opportunities and "piggy back" on any story about adoption as an opportunity to get "our side" of th story told.
As a result of our efforts, we have gotten contacted by several newspapers doing stories on adoption, including the Chicago Times or Tribune when they were covering Juno.
In order for anyone interested in changing adoption practices to get equal coverage with the NCFA we need to have viable organizations representing us and our missions. Those organizations need to have active Public Relations people and get their message out at every opportunity. I do not see that happening except by Origins-USA, sorry to say.
The rest remain a losing David fighting Goliath because we STILL spend more time in-fighting than doing enough. As more of us reach retirement age there should be more of us having the time to put our $ where our mouth is, literally and figuratively. It takes money and it takes our time and effort. No one is going to do it for us! We have spent - some of us - 30 to 40 years TALKING about it, complaining about adoption, etc...and getting some legislation passed. We still have the vast MAJORITY of states sealed. We still have not affected great change in social ATTITUDES and BELIEFS! As long as the common belief is that adoption is BEST, we never will.
If we do not begin to change ATTITUDES about adoption, nothing will change in our lifetimes. If we do not each believe that there is far more wrong with adoption than getting your OBC when you are adult, then forget it! How can we expect the media to get it "right" and treat us with respect if we are not demanding it for ourselves? If we are content to live lives as second class citizens and not recognize our mothers as mothers, why would they?
They call us "biomothers" and the like because they are quoting adoptees! How can we fault the media for that? If an adoptee calls one of his mothers his "real" mother and he is quoted whose fault is that?
When adoptees call themselves adopted "children" and state in their interview that they were not searching for another mother, or that they have the only mother they ever need...or that ITS NO BIG DEAL to have been found or whatever...that hurts our cause.Ad the fault lies with lack of EDUCATION, no with the media, IMHO.
We need to do a lot more work on our own image and PR before we can fault the media. The press would still be calling Blacks Negroes if THEY hadn't demanded a change! Likewise, people with disabilities, etc.
We need to change the mindset that adoption is always a good thing, and the end justifies the means -- even now as chidlren are trafficked worldwide to meet a demand! Until we stand united on these issues, of course the press will reflect the confusion and ambivalence we ourselves are putting out there. How can it be otherwise?
There is no earthly reason for adoption as it is currently practiced in this country. Caring for orphans and chidlren who do not have parents capable of caring for them does not require changing their names and hiding their original identity. It is not necessary in other countries and is a relatively new phenomenon here. When adoptees ask for the crumbs of the right to their OBC AS ADULTS they are accepting a lifetime of lies, and in so doing condoning supporting a corrupt industry.
Falsified OBCs serve only those who see children as a commodity to exchange for $$! if you do not think of yourself as a THING, you need to start waking up and speaking out against the redistribution of children for profit - even if it meant you had a wonderful upbringing as a result.
No mother or child should be separated because of poverty or ignorance or powerlessness. No one should be made to TRADE off genetic heritage, family ties, culture and kinship for MATERIAL THINGS! If you think it is justifiable - then why don't we redistribute ALL children of the poor to those who are wealthier,and those of the upper-middle class to wealthier still and so on...
Don't look at mothers you found and be glad you weren't there with her - and tell that to the reporter interviewing you - because you don't know how damaged she became as a result of losing you! You do not know how you life - or hers - may have been under different circumstances, had you both been given the support you needed. One thing is for sure -- you would not have spent any amount of time searhcing for her (and yourself).
Every time an adoptee says he/she is glad to have been adopted it fortifies societal myths about adoption.
YOU are part of the problem of why the media has no idea what balance is in regard to this issue. If it's all good, what is there to balance? The only pan that gets reported is the pain of childlessness. it is made out to be worse than having no eyes or needing a heart transplant! And heaven forbid they count on (read pay for) a child and are disappointed! My God! It is reported as the world's greatest tragedy.
Yet EVERY SINGLE adoption leaves a mother with empty arms, drenched in tears - is that EVER COVERED? NO! And it never will be until we change attitudes and beliefs about ENTITLEMENT and expectations.
When an adopter kills a baby, it is covered as an isolated anomaly. No statistics are given, cause none are collected! Sam for adoptees killing their adopters and same for adoptee suicides. As long as we refuse to look at the high number of adoptees in institutions of all kinds we do our cause a disservice....and further he happily-ever-after win-win adoption myths.
The choice is OURS, not the media's! We need to promote more honesty, not just happy reunion stories, open records issues, memoirs and historical accounts of adoption in days gone by -- but hard cold reality!
If we remain afraid to speak about the dark side of adoption - about what is WRONG with it - it at our conferences....how, why would the media ever know it to report it??? And how on earth will any of it ever get fixed?
When we have people siting on boards of adoption "reform" organizations - who we call the "good guys" that are profiting from baby brokering and/or who use incorrect OFFENSIVE and COERCIVE language in their speech, writing and on their websites -- calling expectant mothers BIRTHMOTHERS - or potential birthmothers - for goodness sake -- how can we expect the press to be more respectful to us than we are to ourselves?
I am not advocating a return to the word police, censorship and banning people - although as nasty as that was it sure did bring attention to the issue, didn't it? I am speaking however of EDUCATING. We must start within our own circle and educate ourselves and one another as to what words help and what words do not help. And people who have been educated and have not changed need to be - shall we say - "D" listed not continued to be treated as starlets who are so "in tune" and so supportive?
Addition: Many fine individuals are busting their butts in their states to get legislation passed. Ann does a great deal with legislation and her news list, etc....HOWEVER I regret that I do not see one loud clear representative voice speaking for adoptees and adoptee rights. I find that sad. the AAC has not served that purpose, IMHO. BN once did and I hope they rally, get it together, and become a strong force once again.
Adoption: You are either for it and want to see it go on and on taking babies and changing their names etc....or you think there is a better way to protect and care for chidlren and maintain their rights and those of their mothers and fathers. That better way, IMO, is called Family Preservation - as in the name of this blog.
So let's get behind this and support it - every day in every way! let's BE THE CHANGE WE WANT TO SEE!