|Dr. Martin Luther King|
Here's a few recent criticisms directed at FMF from a couple of sweet-as-pie women, who claim they have no problem with FMF's message but FMF's methods send them up a wall. A would-be adopter who goes by Single Infertile Female (S.I.F.) writes:
"There is simply a level of vitriol there [at FMF] that is uncomfortable to witness. The years (decades) of hurt and anger are palpable (and even understandable); a mix of emotions splayed across the screen that makes it difficult to look away, but can also be off-putting and I think ultimately – detrimental to their cause.
"The authors are clearly intelligent and their writing is well-researched and easy to follow." (FMF appreciates the flattery.) "It seems to me that they could actually be capable of effecting a lot of change, if it were not for the way the anger oozes from their words and distracts from all else – including their ability to see the issues surrounding adoption from any vantage point but their own."S.I.F.'s post was picked up by adoptive mother, "Rain", ("Rain brings all good things ... and makes me feel happy. I have always loved rain more than sun") who wrote:
"…[T]here seems to be a theme that somehow wanting to adopt a child is somehow wrong, immature, and greedy. That hurts.
...[W]hile I’m sure that unethical adoptions still happen, they are far fewer than in 1950. Yes, we should do what we can to stop unethical and coercive….well, anything…including adoptions. But, to say that the adoption industry hasn't changed in over 60 years is just uneducated.
...Some of the birth mothers ... have regrets about giving their child up for adoption. Okay. I’m sorry. I simply can’t imagine the pain of giving up a child. ... At the same time, [pain] has very little to do with adoption. You made a choice, a hard choice, but a choice. And every day, everywhere, people make horrible choices. And, taking responsibility for those choices is part of being a functioning member of society. (Emphasis added)"
To say mothers "choose" to surrender their children today is a gross over-simplification. A quick review of adoption websites clearly demonstrates that this "choice" is often dictated by sleek advertising campaigns trumpeting the rewards in giving your baby to strangers (euphemistically called "making an adoption plan"). As for writing that pain has very little to do with adoption, we don't even know how to counteract that, it is so preposterous. Loss, and pain from that loss, is at the heart of adoption for both (birth) mothers who relinquish and the children so relinquished. Adoptive parents are the ones who do feel not the pain of giving up a child, the sense of loss and abandonment that being given up generates.
S.I.F.'s and Rain's claim that they support adoption reform is reminiscent of white moderates who claimed to support civil rights but urged Dr. King to go slow. Dr. King's response, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," has become a classic:
In answer to the questions "'Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?'" Dr. King wrote: "[Negotiation] is the very purpose of direct action....It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored."
"I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: 'I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action'. Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will."
In other words, until you get their attention, you can't effect change, and you can't get their attention by being nice when the facts cry out for rage. Until the voices of first mothers and birth fathers become so loud, and so disturbing, that the media cannot close their ears, parents and children will continue to be separated needlessly. Incidentally, Letter from Birmingham Jail was initially commissioned by the New York Times Magazine; when it came in, however, editors from the South at the paper found it too inflammatory to run. If we have ruffled feathers with our rhetoric, at least we have gotten someone's attention. It is a start. --jane and lorraine
Single Infertile Female, now what?
I didn't do anything wrong
Letter from a Birmingham Jail
Encyclopedia of Alabama, The Civil Rights Movement
I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World, Special 75th Anniversary Edition (Martin Luther King, Jr., born January 15, 1929) --A fine collection of texts by Dr. King. Coming in at less than 300 pages, this is a concise but meaty book, and includes the text of "Letter from Birmingham Jail"; the "I Have a Dream" speech; his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.
Utah Supreme Court delays return of Baby Teleah to her father
What We Think About Adoption
How the Internet is changing adoption: "One of the most disquieting aspects of adoption on the Internet (as well as through other venues) is the way services are sometimes marketed. ...Some [sites] commodify children and/or women, essentially describing them as products to be marketed, others provide only partial or questionable information," according to a new report, Untangling the Web, from the Donaldson Adoption Institute, an adoption think tank.
Harvey Shapiro, an editor at the NY Times Magazine, commissioned the Letter from a Birmingham Jail when Dr. King when he was in jail, Harvey was a friend of Lorraine's. He passed away January 7. Harvey Shapiro dies at 88