The problem with agency-sponsored forums . . .

. . . is conflict of interest.

I've always been a nervous discussing adoption reform on agency-sponsored forums, and now I can put my finger on why.

I'm not really surprised, but I AM really disgusted.

The tagline on Bethany's forum says "Views presented here may not represent Bethany's views." Why, then, would they feel it necessary to edit a user's post to remove their URL?

The reason, of course, is that, in spite of the aura of openness that forums give, agencies really DO want the views on their sponsored boards to represent their own. Ultimately, an agency-sponsored forum is first and foremost a venue for peer support for the agency's clients. Stray too far from the party line, and see what happens?

Any forum can choose to gag its participants in any number of ways. I'm sure many have, and some of you may have even been the targets. But there's something particularly insidious about an adoption agency taking these tactics, particularly when the person speaking out is a first mother.

Like I said, I'm not surprised, but I am disgusted.


MomEtc. said…
Yep, adoption agencies are businesses and the bottom line is the dollar! Their attitude is to heck with everybody else. I'm not surprised either.
Cheryl said…
Well, I have first hand experience with an agency that took the posts that I posted on their BB and read them back to me via the telephone. Funny thing, after a problem with them I started copying my posts too so I read along right with them...think that surprised the heck out of them.
Margie said…
Good grief, Cheryl, unbelievable!

I think, too, that the fact that agency forums start as a place for a-parents and prospective a-parents to get peer support sets them up for later discord. Someone who knows nothing about adoption, and is in that glowy initial phase is NOT going to want to hear anything hard. So the minute someone does a reality check, there are fireworks.

That does nothing to further real dialog, it just strengthens the walls between people.
In March I posted an entry on my blog titled "Why does it all start the same way?" In it, I used an unidentified quote from a new PAP to the Bethany Domestic Pre-Adoption forum.

Using that quote ruffled the feathers of several members who then baraged me with PM's...even though I didn't name the forum or the author of the original quote. In fact, I pulled the quote so I could mirror my own emotions from the same time of our adoption and then expound upon how education about the domestic adoption industry has completely changed my worldview.

I went back and edited that post, to again re-emphasize my intent of the original entry. (Just in case my point was many it wasn't.) Again, more PM's. I responded to the main author of the PM's telling her I wasn't going to remove the post from my blog, and that I felt I had the right to post whatever I deemed necessary in my own blogspace.

The next day, Bethany deleted my URL from my postings, citing the use of profanity on my blogsite. In their defense, I had just posted an entry "I'm an Asshole," however, site is far from "riddled with profanity."

I was told if I went back and edited my site to their standards I "might be permitted" to repost my URL.

Within the week, Nicole posted her well-written Rails against the Agency entry and is censored as well.

As long as the views at Bethany are portrayed in a rose-colored light, Bethany is fine. But don't you dare have an opinion of your own and express it in your own space...then it becomes a problem.

Sorry for the rant. Writing about that little incident seems to have touched a nerve this morning! ;-)


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