Friday, September 11, 2009

Mia Culpa trying to do a good thing can turn really, really bad very quickly.

Yes, I am guilty as charged. I confess to one and all here and now that it was I who created, designed, bankrolled and maintained for two whole days the Adoption Resource Center website, putting in probably a hundred hours of labor.

I am guilty of
creating a situation which allowed the ownership of the site to overshadow its purpose and detract from what it might be capable of accomplishing.

Most of all I am guilty of having lied to an old friend...and someone who defended me as being truthful. She was the only one who asked me outright in a personal email and I denied it to her. It is something I am ashamed of, truly regret and I have apologized for.

What Happened?

Unaccustomed as I am to lying, I am a very poor liar and so immediately, within hours of setting up the website I erred in replying to two or three emails from the wrong account, unintentionally revealing myself. When I realized two of the errors, I asked those two people to please not let it go any further and explained why I preferred to maintain my anonymity re this one project. Me, who has been out spoken and public since the 70's...on national TV etc, knowing the importance of showing my face and using my name in order to dispel the myth that mothers who lose children to adoption want anonymity.

But just this once, for this one project, I felt it would be more beneficial to the project to do it silently and not take the credit - or the heat - as stated on the FAQ of the website (see EDIT below). Some have agreed with my logic and reasons, others believe it was in a very faulty decision.

As lies will, it backfired, and it backfired very very quickly. One of the two people I asked to contain it, chose instead to immediately go public with their "gotcha" revelation.

Today I discovered a third person received revealing email who believed I had "good intentions" but nonetheless accused me of having "outed myself" intentionally to get the word around! A promotional gimmick for the website! It amazes me that anyone could possibly think me capable of such calculated deceit.

The same person also said that I had "established an on-going tradition of frequent self-promotion so, fairly or not, your Pay Pal link was bound to be viewed in that light as soon as it became apparent that this was a Mirah project." One of the issues I was trying to avoid.

Of course this was based on the belief I was attempting to illegally solicit funds proper to being a 501c - despite the PayPal link being inoperable and the website stating in a couple of places that it was intentional and funds were not sought for at least the first year. But why read when you can jump to conclusions and make wild accusations based on preconceived notions of my self-promotions.

Point is: I - and the website - were damned if I did and damned if I didn't because of said pre-conceived notions or and "established traditions."

I screwed up. But I believe my biggest mistake was not attempting to be anonymous or denying it. My biggest mistake was forgetting how divisive some are determined to remain. Those who believe such negative things of me, as well as those who have issues with other factions likely would not want to be part of the website either way, and still won't and that's fine. That's each individual or group's choice to make.

My biggest mistake was forgetting that the adoption reform movement suffers from extreme polarization with some strong hateful feelings about people and groups that always work to shoot itself in the foot. There are those who HATE anything that boarders on or sounds like it is anti-adoption. CUB hates Origins. Some hate adopters. Two groups in California disagree on how to approach an"open records" or equal access bill.

Others won't go anywhere near the web site regardless, because it already has the "b-word" on it!! People label one another and refuse to stand together and that's why we never get anywhere. And it always seems there are folks who have more time and energy to spend on infighting than on any real reform. Shame. Talk abut the road to hell.

What happens now, I don't know.

What happens now in terms of the website is unclear for me at this juncture. I have received kudos, enthusiasm, offers of help and compliments on the website's concept. Will the site survive? Only time will tell.

I have come clean and cleared the air and we will see what happens next...Let the rumor mill mull this confession over and see if it changes anything. Will those who said the site was a good idea and were just opposed to the anonymity and or the denials come aboard now?

Now it's known that I am behind the ARC website and we will see if that makes anything worse or better. If anyone wants to take it over - free of charge - and do a better job than I apparently have, it's all yours! If you want to offer to help, we can discuss that, too.

EDIT 9/13/09:

The following is the section of th FAQ referred to above which has since been removed:

Why is a website that supports openness and honesty not being transparent about ownership?

  • In order to provide the administrators and all other volunteers protection from any potential arguments or retribution for rejecting a site or adding one that another may disagree with.
  • To avoid any appearance of any possible of conflict of interest with any other work, paid or otherwise.
  • To avoid any association with any ideology that might, rightly or wrongly, be associated with a particular individual based on anything possibly discriminatory, such as triad status, religious or political views, or ideologies about adoption that offend another.
  • In order to be free of any discrimination or ill feelings to or from any member of any subgroup or contingency within the the wide diversity of organizations, groups and individuals, some of whom have splintered off from other groups or organizations because of ideological or philosophical differences, personality conflicts or other disagreements.
  • Neither the owner/creator nor the webmaster need nor seek any credit recognition. This site is yours, the members who participate and support it, not ours. We offer their services free of charge, as a public service because of our desire to increase the strength of all of our grassroots efforts; all the Davids fighting a Goliath mega billion dollar adoption industry.


Jane Edwards said...

Good Mirah,

Nicely written Mirah. I hope this will clear the air and we can all move forward on adoption reform.

Anonymous said...

This is about as sincere and compelling an apology as the ones we have heard from politicians caught with their pants down. I reminds me of Sen. Craig. Sorry, Mirah. A "wide stance" just doesn't cut it. I agree with the person who talked about your incessant self-promotion. What you did was wrong, deceitful and just another grab, by you, for the title of "Supreme Adoption Expert." When you start allowing others with a different viewpoint from yours to express those viewpoints without your august personage starting in with a barrage of emails telling them how wrong they are and how right you are, then, I might believe that you truly regret your actions. Personally, I think you just regret getting caught.

Anonymous said...

An "apology" that is mostly justification of the original bad action and crying that others have supposedly done worse is not an apology at all. It is an embarrassment. It makes a bad situation worse.

Anonymous said...

Mirah, your apology is not an apology at all. Your recent apology, is only yet another time where you maintain Your Rightness and the Wrongness of other women and groups. Actually I feel terribly sorry for you, with your constant seeking of importance. As if you are The Great Equalizer, The Grand Dame Birthmother in the Land of Adoption. You aren't Mirah and never will be. You don't know how to get along with other women nor in groups that will not see nor accept you as The Leader of The Birthmother Band. I can only assume you are a very lonely woman, and as the woman I am with a measure of compassion for other women in general, I do feel very sorry for you. I hope one day you can make some peace within yourself, and accept that which you are, just another lonely, hurting woman. You might have been able to enjoin many other women, if for one minute you would lay down the superior attitude you hold towards and over many other women. I would say to you, 'Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged'.

AdoptAuthor said...

To the many Anonymous':

I am sorry you feel that way. That is your prerogative and you are likely not alone.

What I did in setting the webite up as I did was in no way illegal, unethical or immoral. It was done in order to keep a clear and firm line of demarcation between ARC and me, Mirah Riben, The Stork Market, etc,,,and ARC. I wanted ARC to be a place where people from all ends of adoption reform spectrum would feel comfortable and not be concerned about which side of what fence who is on.

It's good business practice to avoid any appearance of co-mingling of funds, or using one vehicle (ARC) to promote my book or whatever (notice my book is not even on the site).

I realize in hindsight that what I did with good intentions, triggered issues of openness, honesty and transparency for this community and for that I am sorry. (There was in fact, in fact, transparency of funds spent.)

Once I goofed and the secret got out, for approximately 48 hours I first tried to shove it back under the rug, I was embarrassed at my mistake and thought I could maintain my goal and go on. It took me a while to think through how to handle it and onbviusly didn't make the best decisions.

I regret the mess I made of this and something that could have been good has at least temporally and maybe permanently ended. Something I had hoped would compete with I wanted this for all of us, not me, personally, and wanted no recognition or credit for it.

I used poor judgment BUT NO ONE WAS HURT or in any danger of being harmed in any way. The paypal button came with the page setup package. It was INOPERABLE and it says so.

Can we please just try to put things in perspective, take some deep breaths and maybe get back, as Jane suggested, the real work that needs to be done.

I AM SORRY that this has caused so many to be so upset.

I screwed up, I apologize.

Bernadette Wright, President Origins-USA said...

Very well said Mirah. It is so sad that some mothers who lost children to adoption choose to spend their time being drama queens and divisive against other mothers. Fortunately, those few loudmouths who do nothing but criticize and hate do not speak for all of Origins-USA or for all of CUB. Fortunately, there are many mothers in both groups like yourself who know that the real enemy is the adoption industry, not other mothers.


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