Lead, follow or get out of the way

Long ago, after I left teaching and was about six or seven years into the technology industry, the little start-up company I was working for was acquired by a much bigger fish. One of the executives who came in to do due diligence spent a good bit of time talking to our team about the behaviors he expected to see from us as the new company moved forward. The advice he gave was pretty simple: lead, follow or get out of the way.

It's good advice that has stuck with me for a long time. There are times when all of us can seize an opportunity to do something for the good of whatever cause we support, and others when its better to sit back and let someone else drive. Never was this clearer to me than in the post below,
Creating Adoption Change Along Unlikely Paths, by the one and only Claudia.

There has been something in the air recently, perhaps because I've been focused on other things and away from online adoptionland for awhile. Unlikely alliances are being formed between former (and maybe still current) enemies, and hard lines are softening. Best of all, adoptees are taking the reins of many adoption policy discussions. They are leading, and it's really good to see.

That doesn't mean the rest of us should sit back and relax, though. There's plenty for first and adoptive parents to do to support the cause.
First parents, I think, can take their cues from Claudia and others like her who are working in a myriad of ways to change attitudes toward single parenting in their communities, across the country and around the world. Look at what Suz is doing with her Chloe & Isabel business, sending profits to worthy organizations that support young mothers, or her work at EHBabes. Or what Lorraine and Jane are doing with their writing and in their communities. Or Mirah's work on a gazillion fronts. And many many more.

There's a lot we adoptive parents can do as well. Many adoptive parents are blessedly getting the message, and are supporting the efforts of adoptees and first parents in small and large ways. Claudia's post shows how one adoptive parent is changing adoption-related policies at the hospital in which she works; this can encourage other hospitals to do the same. Adoptive parents have started groups and organizations that promote openness in adoption and support adoptees and their families. Some are fighting to to change outdated and unfair legislation. Still more are writing, speaking, and blogging a message of openness, equality and reform.

Sadly, some are left behind in the dark ages. I still see them on adoptee and first parent blogs spewing ugliness and stupidity (saw some really nasty comments today, as a matter of fact), and I'm pulled up short every time. These APs are neither leading nor following and don't appear to be getting out of the way, so we will have to push them out. Their time with the mike is over.

Thank you to the leaders in the adoption reform community. Thank you to the followers. And to those who won't get out of the way - no worries, we'll take care of that for you.

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