Sunday, September 03, 2006

Ahhh, Divisiveness

I don't claim to be an expert or a sociologist, what I have written has received very narrow publication, and I am not a doctor and I don't play one on TV. BUT, I think I have seen into the muddled face of divisiveness within the adoption activism community and have gleaned an insight or two. What I have seen are human beings dealing with two of the most human failings there are, egocentricity and fear and the upshot of these things which is defensive anger.

Fear is the Big Nasty. It's what pushes us to compromise when we shouldn't, that tells us not to "rock the boat," that only speaks what the establishment wants to hear and clothes the fearful in a faux cloak of adoption-industry and adopter-approved "righteousness." It keeps us from facing the truth of our deepest inner pain and insecurities, letting us float in an activism limbo on a shallow barge in the river of Denial. It allows us to hold on to outmoded but AAC-approved ideas and ideology and causes us to attack when someone thinks outside the conventional adoption box. When emmeshed in this fear, the only "reform" that is possible is that which is approved by the very entity that we see as being in need of reformation.

Then there is the "I, Me" factor. Those, who often refer to themselves as "The Old Guard," who have coasted along on the, assumed, "top of the heap" don't want to give up the adulation of their so-called (self-annointed) "expertise" in the world of adoption. They might not get very many ego strokes from the mom or adopted person who is in favor of justice, redress and preservation of the original family, but boy, do they love the kudos of adopters, the industry and the timid and on those shaky foundations, they build their "kingdoms." The egocentric among us fear evolution and change because that is not the premise on which they based their superior standing. I have seen such people as these strike out with astonishing vitriol against anyone with a new idea or attitude and, by all means, don't confuse them with facts.

Back to fear. There are also many moms and adopted people who just don't want to have their house of cards fall down. They have built their self-validation on the myths of being "chosen," "making a decision/choice," and they don't want to have to face the fact that there is and was unnecessary pain. It's easier for a lot of adopted people to hate all moms. It's easier for some moms to "fear" contact with the children they say they "gave up" (God, I hate that term) for their own best interests and to keep their "shameful secret." Moms of this ilk have built a tenuous persona on the adoption industry's pallative of there being some form of heroics involved in surrender. Adopted people find it easier to think of their mothers as uncaring and rejecting rather than mothers who truly loved them and still do. It upsets the known quantities in their lives and causes them to question what is fearful to question.

I could go on and on, but I think you get my drift. As long as there are people who are immersed in the idea of their own importance, as long as there are people who react out of fear rather than facing the facts, we will have factions and disputes and the lack of cohesiveness that is just what the industry likes to see. When we can put aside our fears and self-interests, then we can get something done.

I see a lot of us, all over the world, embroiled in this divisiveness. The UK has a horrible feud going on right now, with vicious vendettas directed at both organizations and individuals, challenges and very annoying disruptions of many of the US-based adoption boards (it still boggles the mind about what just a few self-involved troublemakers can do). Two of the most visible organizations in the US are at odds over language and personalities. Ann Fessler's book, "The Girls Who Went Away" seems to be a major threat to some of the earlier published authors whose works did not receive the attention and positive reviews outside the adoption arena that Ms. Fessler's book has, deservedly, received.

Ego, fear and their side-kick, anger, can break us if we don't start thinking with the good brains that our maker gave us and face our demons in the company of our peers. We shouldn't fear positive evolution and we're never to old to learn new tricks.

Think About It.



sheri said...

I came here by the way of Claude's blog and I'm so glad I did. I want to welcome you to the blog world and tell you that I added your link to my own blog.

I have a feeling I am going to learn a lot from you.

Anonymous said...

I am so in awe of you. This is wonderful. Fear is the BIG reason I have kept my mouth closed for so long. I will keep reading here and learning.
Mother of 5
the first one was stolen

Third Mom said...

Hi, Robin, welcome to the blogosphere. I found you from Claud's blog.

When I began my blog, which really started as my effort to make sense of the strange turns one of our children's adoptions had taken, I discovered the most amazing community in the first moms who blog. They have been unbelievably gracious in their willingness to help me understand their experience.

I'm looking forward to reading more.

Unknown said...

Robin, How wonderful to see you here! Eery word of your posts rang true to me. Stop by my blog too

Keep speaking Robin we need your voice!

msholiday said...

I too came over from Claud's blog. All I can think of to say is "Right On".

Ms. Holiday

Carol said...

Kudos to you Robin - Motherhood Deleted is a perfect name for a blog which speaks to the issues of the girls who went away.

I particularly related to this commentary about the devisiveness amongst otherwise intelligent people who consider themselves activists. It's so disheartening that some of what you refer to as the *Old Guard* cannot put aside their disagreement with particular nuances that differentiate some First Mother Groups from others. One would think we would have similar goals, and that should be all that matters, but a small handful of these dissenters spend all their time and energy on trying to discredit anyone who doesn't blindly follow their lead.

It's difficult enough to stay optimistic about life after having lost a child to adoption. There was so much damage to our self-esteem and our very soul. Perhaps that's what happens to some of these women - they just stop believing that their experiences will change things so they find fault with anyone who has a fresh or different point of view.

Your excellent writing skills and ability to fairly and objectively see both sides of an issue will make this a very popular blog, I suspect.