January 4, 2011
When a colleague at the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute suggested about a year ago that I write a blog, I responded with (how shall I put this gently?) respectful skepticism. Why on earth, I asked, does anyone need yet another voice in the growing chorus of activists, birth and adoptive parents, adopted persons and adoption professionals expressing their views about the array of concerns that affect our lives? What could I possibly add to the mix?
When the publisher of my forthcoming book suggested a few months ago that I write a blog, I replied with the same questions and, at first, I politely declined. Then an answer hit me, which I’ll explain in this initial commentary and will strive to put into practice in subsequent ones.
Here’s the idea: Rather than focusing primarily on my fellow travelers in the adoption world, I’ll use my bit of cyber real estate to explain why everyone – repeat everyone – should care about adult adoptees’ access to their original birth certificates, post-adoption services, birthmother rights, family reunification, older youth aging out of foster care, the nose-dive of adoptions from abroad, gay and lesbian parenting, and a host of other issues that most people assume are too narrow or unimportant for them to think about, or simply are about somebody else.
Well, they’re not. In some cases, including almost anything to do with foster care, how we respond or don’t respond as a nation has enormous financial and societal consequences for us all. In other cases, for instance relating to the treatment of children who genuinely need new families, of adult adoptees and of birth/first parents – I’ll discuss the language of adoption in a future blog – our actions have personal implications for tens of millions of Americans. And anyone who cares about social justice and equal rights should be up in arms about the unfair treatment, stigmas and ignorance that too often characterize adoption-related laws, policies and practices.
So what I will attempt to do in Adoption Nation Journal is offer solid information, careful context and reasoned arguments – drawing heavily on the fine work of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute – with the goal of expanding the circle of people who understand that our issues are broad and vital, not narrow or unimportant, and that they simply are about us all.
Educating more readers isn’t the ultimate objective, however. Rather, it’s to reform laws, policies and practices so they genuinely serve the children and adults they ostensibly are designed to benefit. The unfortunate reality today is that, too often, they do just the opposite. It makes sense that enlisting more enlightened souls to join in the good efforts of activists and organizations around the country will inevitably lead to more progress, more quickly.
So, okay, I’ll write a blog.