Some questions have come up regarding the last post and whether or not we should just let those who are unintentionally removing expectant mothers considering relinquishment from their children have a free pass or not. You know, because they aren’t intentionally offending.
My answer is a resounding, loud, “NO!”
Ignorance is not an excuse. It’s just not. It is especially not an excuse when you factor in the point that adoption agencies should be educating families (expectant, birth and adoptive) on how words do affect others, respect and proper communication. That’s the real problem, folks.
And I have a problem with the “roll over and ignore it” attitude simply because the offender didn’t know they were being offensive. No. It’s not going to happen. If we did that, there would be no reform in adoption. Quite honestly, if you look back at the historical etymology of adoption words, terms and phrases, if no one ever spoke up for change when it came to unintentionally offensive terms, the phrase “natural mother” would still be in use today. Why? It was the term most frequently used in past legal documents including the Termination of Parental Rights (TPR). Because someone spoke up that the term itself was offensive to adoptive parents, we’ve formed new terms. And the world magically continues to turn. Didn’t know that? You can thank whomever stood up for those offended adoptive parents, spoke loud enough to be heard and demanded some change.
But when a birth parent speaks up in defense of expectant mothers considering adoption, it’s not okay? These mothers don’t know any better yet. They don’t know that they can ask for someone to refer to them solely as the child’s mother and not as a birth mother which is what the majority of agencies are doing still. They don’t know that they can put their foot down and say, “I’m not comfortable with how you’re addressing me.” They’re acting in crisis mode. They’re afraid. Most likely they’ve had no experience with lawyers or adoption agencies and there’s a sense of intimidation. And you want me to let them fight their battles on their own?
If no one speaks up, these mothers are going to continue to be invalidated. They will continue to be coerced and lied to if we stop pushing for reform. They will continue to suffer in the post-placement weeks, months and years if someone doesn’t push for agencies to offer better post-placement counseling for both sides of the adult triad. They will continue to be crushed if someone doesn’t push for changes regarding the legalities of open adoption contracts.
And, you know what? I won’t sit idly by while they’re treated like that. I’ll champion for them every time. And I’ll champion for adoptive parents to get that counseling that they deserve, that their future children deserve. And I’ll champion for adoptees to finally be treated as regular citizens and get their Original Birth Certificates (OBC).
You can sit idly by if you wish. But I probably won’t be quiet. In fact, I’ll probably be the loudest. Because I’m tired of watching the unethical adoption industry members treat all members of the triad as their pawns. I will see adoption reform in my day. I will!