I have an adoption dream

I’m an epic junkie. I was just able to get over the end of the Olympics because the Democratic convention gave me another spectacle to watch. There’s no secret, I think, that this is my party, so you won’t be surprised when I say that Barack Obama’s acceptance of the nomination brought me to applause, cheers and chills, and to my feet, even though I was watching alone at home.

No matter your views or politics or this man, you must agree that last night was a historic moment. I was just old enough to understand the significance of Martin Luther King’s speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. It was the first in the string of civil and international ‘60s events that shaped my attitudes toward race and politics. Barack Obama’s nomination presence and role in this convention says to me that Dr. King’s dream, which I’ve watched wither and nearly die during the last two presidential terms, is both alive and shared. Whether it’s just the glow of the aftermath of this rekindling of my ideals or a real sign that I’m not as alone in my point of view as I’ve been feeling these past years, I feel hope again for that dream. Hope.

There was, and undoubtedly will be next week in the Twin Cities, a lot of talk this week about bringing America’s dream to everyone, regardless of race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. I want to see the issues we talk about here – stopping coercive adoption practices and opening adoptee birth records – elevated to this level, human rights. But the community experiencing these inequities is fragmented. Individuals and organizations, where they exist, vie to be the mouthpiece of this movement that doesn’t exist, or exists in bits and pieces, scattered across the country.

Which is exactly the kind of fragmentation that every other movement to end oppression has experienced. Oppression, after all, culls its victims from the mainstream, and separates them from others with laws and customs that apply to them alone. They are denied access to the rights the mainstream takes for granted – to the podium, even, to speak the truth. Without the truth to get in their way, those in power make up their own, and embed it in the national consciousness.

It takes a strong, true message to bring about change, even when the inequity and injustice are clear. It takes a rallying cry. In my opinion, we don’t have that yet in the adoption community. We talk about what we all know is wrong, like the separation of families and the closure of birth records, but we haven’t figured out how to talk about them in ways that make the average person get it. That person may see adoption as a laudable charitable act that deserves special treatment under the law to protect the privacy of women, or as a way to improve the lives of poor children. In my opinion, we need a message that makes it crystal clear to these same people that laws that separate people from their genetic background and connections are unjust. When they get that truth, the details will fall into place.

Think of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which prohibits discrimination based on disability and is founded in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Although today it seems completely obvious that people with disabilities should have equal rights and protection under the law, but that clearly hasn’t been the case, nor was it the case that the groups working independently on this issue were on the same path. Wikipedia’s entry on the ADA says this:

The ADA is notable because many disparate groups came together for a common purpose.
It could happen in adoption, too, but we need that message. The speeches of the last four nights gave the context, I think. We need to find the words that raise a person’s right to know their genetic identity and connections, regardless of current family status, to the same level as race, national origin, and the other characteristics to which we give particular attention in our legal code.

Of course, finding such a rallying cry has been and probably will be a problem for some time. But with the potential of a new administration on the horizon that just might open its eyes to adoption’s inequities, we in the adoption community need to put our heads together to find the words. We need to come together in spite of our differences in forums that focus on the injustices of adoption, and use our collective contacts to bring the message to the media and the Hill.

Honestly, last night watching Barack Obama speak, I honestly saw the possibility take shape. For the first time in a long time, I feel hopeful.

Comments

Last night I sat here in tears watching his speech, and came away with thoughts very similar to yours. I don't know if its just me, but did you feel the connections like I did? I felt like he was calling us to speak out about adoption, and that he would listen roflol. Nothing positive comes from a mother losing her child... he had an ordinary childhood, but didn't find himself until he searched for his past... there were so many "HELLO!" moments for me last night. I completely agree.

When we were in New Orleans people really seemed to understand "discrimination" for the issue of sealed records. That really snapped it into peoples heads quick, they understood and they supported almost instantly.

What we found most is that most people not effected by adoption, don't even "know" about the discriminations that are being done. They have no clue. They believe all of the marketing you see which is understandable. If they haven't been explained anything different, why would they know?

shoot! gotta go, i'll bbl
Well Barack "Third Mom" Obama, that is a fine speech you just made too.

Mr. O even had this Canadian blogging about him today - although on another topic. However after I did I went on to his website. There was a comment right at the top that said something like - I don't want you to think what I can do for you but what you can do for yourselves. And that made me think about adoption because I have been having the same thoughts you have just expressed so eloquently/

I somethimes think (and I don't mean to offend anyone with this analogy) that adoption is where child abuse used to be. No one did anything about chid abuse not so many years back because no one wanted to believe that it existed. I think it is the same with adoption everyone is focused on the image of a baby being placed in some couples arms and no one wants to think about the other issues.

Great post TM! Here we are an adoptive Mom, an adoptee and a birth/first/natural mom. (You guys are lucky you only have one handle.)
Margie said…
Thanks, guys - and Gershom, I felt that connection, too. I really feel hopeful!!

UM, how about this: Mom. You are a mother, and I think that's all the handle you need :)

I'll be posting on this again, but you can set up a blog on the Barack Obama website, we need to be over there posting!
imtina said…
I have an adoption dream too Margie. I felt very invigorated and hopeful after this weeks' speaches. We can take that energy and bring it to adoption reform. It starts with us!

You're great Margie.

Tina
Kate from Korea said…
It is historic to have a black man finally nominated for President of this country. It's just a scary thought to think about all of the connections he has to oppressive, militant groups and a friendship with an individual (Bill Ayers) who has committed terrorism against the United States. How can we trust someone like this?
Sandy Young said…
Well said, Margie. I appreciate your words, and I too felt the thrill last night.

Your comments on there status of the movement are also right on. Oh, so very right on, unfortunately.

BTW, I posted a letter that ACW has sent out to all their customers. Interesting, and an update on Stephanie Bennett. I haven't forgotten your kind post on her behalf. Thank you again.

Sandy Young
Senior Mother
SMAAC
Margie said…
Kate, the Bill Ayers connection is incredibly tenuous. Quoting the Washington Post:

"The only hard facts that have come out so far are the $200 contribution by Ayers to the Obama re-election fund, and their joint membership of the eight-person Woods Fund Board."

Barack Obama and Bill Ayers are not friends, although it's pretty clear to me that those who oppose him will do everything they can to try to create a "relationship" between Obama and Ayers when there is no more than two paths crossed. I would also point out that Bill Ayers was never convicted of a crime and is currently a professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

As to the militant connections you reference, do you mean Ayers and the Weather Underground or Malley and his contact with Hamas? If the former, that's a non-starter. If the latter, Obama fired him immediately. That issue looks exactly the same to me as John McCain's connection to DCI Group through two aides who were paid $348K to represent the dictatorship of Burma in 2002.

Everyone will form their opinions as their consciences guide. For me, the connection the press is attempting to draw between Obama and fringe groups is so tenuous, particularly in light of his record, as to be almost laughable. Employing people who would take $348K to work for really bad guys is a whole lot scarier.
AdoptAuthor said…
BRAVO!

I too have a dream and thought about it even in the days before Barack took the podium...when his wife, Michelle spoke. I blogged about it http://tinyurl.com/6hlwku

My hopes and dreams are of a world in which every child is a wanted child and every mother and father have all they need to provide for the health and safety of their children.

I dream of a world in which everyone knows their genetic heritage and to deny anyone that is a criminal offense because it violates their human rights.

I dream of a world where no human being needs to sell or rent any part of their reproduction genetic material for money.


Like all other civil rights causes, to make our dreams realities we needs to walk side by side. Adoptive parents, like you, Marge, alongside adoptees and mothers who lost our children to adoption...just as whites stood with, and walked with, Blacks!

We need THAT kind of unity between us and among us to realize our common dreams.

And yet, as I write this and see the names of others who have agreed...even we who agree cannot get along.

Divided we fail.

When we insist on focusing on the difference among us, we fail ourselves and the causes we believe in.

Hate and diversity have no part in any vision of human rights. They are counter to it. If the Blacks had focused on the different shades of brown in their pigment, or whether they were from Jamaica or Africa...they'd still be picking cotton today!

We need to put aside petty differences and work toward the goal of ending adoption corruption. Join together and get the profiteering out of adoption.

Flush out the money making flesh peddlers who flourish on our pain and sorrow.

And that means, too, that we join hands and stand and march, too, with those within the "profession" who give lip service to the same goals so to never let them get soft on or compromise their goals.

Mirah

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