There were several posts that showed in bright red bold CAPITAL LETTERS that APs and PAPs can be downright cruel. I'm trying to put my finger on it - is it pure entitlement? deficient preparation? something else? I just don't know. I do know, though, that this cruelty adds insult to the injury that adoption can do, and has to stop.
First, please go read these posts, and be sure to read the comments, because in some cases that's where you'll find what I'm talking about:
- From Out of the Fog:
Oh Yes, Please Save My Soul
The Fourth Blog of Shame Award..Yes, You Read That Correctly
- From Living the Shadows:
Love and Abandonment
- From Letters to Mrs. Feverfew:
Now I Have Heard it All
And yes, I chose those words abuse and bullying on purpose.
If you've been reading here for awhile, you know this is a hot button for me, as well as topic of a number of posts - the two that best describe how I feel about this are here and here.
The net of those two posts is that adoptive parents aren't the stars of the adoption show. By and large, our experience is marked by gain - a child added to our family, parenting added to our life experience. Adoptees and first parents, on the other hand, can never live adoption without loss. They may find ways to keep it from derailing them, but it's never gone from their lives.
At any rate, the posts and comments I found this weekend demonstrate a pattern of verbal and emotional insult that have become rampant in the online adoption world, and maybe in some real-life adoption communities as well. The trend is disturbing.
Let's start with the preaching, shall we?
We live in a country that guarantees religious freedom for our citizens. Whatever faith you choose to follow and how deeply you choose to follow it is your personal decision. It should be a private matter, but in our increasingly religiously-charged world, plenty of people think it's perfectly OK to share their beliefs uninvited.
With the "Christian adoption movement" (which makes the, in my opinion, unreasoned case that since there are references to God's adoption of humanity in the Bible, we are all called to adopt children) I'm seeing a lot more overt religion in online adoption dialog. It scares me at the best of times, because I personally believe this notion is way off the theological mark. It's one thing for religious organizations to encourage their members to adopt children truly in need; everyone should have a care for others. But it's another thing entirely for them to try to make the case that God had anything like current adoption practices in mind when He inspired the scriptural passages that speak to huiothesia, the Greek word often translated as "adoption."
Add the Bible's judgment of sex outside of marriage to the belief that you've been "called to adopt," throw in some bad manners, and you've got the perfect recipe for an AP bully pulpit that is increasingly out of control. I don't know where adoptive parents get the idea that they have the right to inform unmarried first parents of their "sinfulness," to judge them, or to offer to save their souls. We have no such right - none whatsoever.
Now on to the bullying.
Language is powerful. It can wound as deeply as any knife, and when used to harm, can drive people to dispair and even suicide. Words can trigger wonderful memories and bad ones. Nowhere is this truer than in the adoption world.
It is simply not OK for ANY adoptive parent or would-be AP to resort to terms like "breeder" or (my jaw is still on the floor with this one) "brood sow" or "uterus" or any other such words to label first mothers. It's cruel, it's wrong, and frankly I'm sick of seeing it.
What utterly shocks me is the fact that you can find APs using this kind of language publicly and with impunity. Do they stop to think of what their child's mother might think if they saw it? Or their child? Worse still, maybe they don't care. I honestly don't get what any AP could possibly think makes this acceptable. No heated dialog, no difference of opinion, nothing justifies it.
Please, everyone, when you see this going on, stand up and say something. We need to send the message loud and clear that adoptive parent preaching and bullying are wrong.