The conversation with Gershom continues, and a plan may be forming to attempt unification among those with adoption in their lives by working together even though we come to this from different directions. Although she generously offered to liaise through email, I’m thinking a public discussion could prompt wider participation and some great ideas.
In her comment on yesterday’s blog Gershom mentioned that her focus for the next few months is on the Adoptee Rights Protest scheduled to take place in New Orleans in July. Since the adoptive parent block seems a likely group to be fully in support of rights for adoptees … adoptees being our kids that we’re willing to fight tooth and nail and walk through fire for on every issue … it occurs to me that this could possibly provide an opportunity to find out if olive branches can be construction material in bridge building.
I’m guessing that a casual observer, someone stopping by this blog looking for tips on tropical holidays or such, would assume an easy relationship between adoptive parents and adult adoptees … some for all the reasons many find infuriating, certainly … but Gershom and I won’t make that mistake. We both understand how shaky the ground is, especially after the sort of seismic activity that has been taking place recently and that treading cautiously is important to any walking together toward a common goal that is to be done.
In the early stages of thought on this … and I’ve not yet heard Gershom’s response, so may be completely off base by even beginning to consider a strategy … I’m thinking my contribution will begin with encouraging all adoptive families to make it a priority to investigate the issues surrounding open records, original birth certificates, access by adoptees to information on their identities and such, and to form an opinion; if that opinion agrees with those who fight for adoptee rights, join in the efforts to help them gain them.
If I could be so bold as to suggest a beginning step for Gershom, it would be to ask her to inspire adoptees to think about how they feel about accepting offered efforts from adoptive parents … if they want us in this fight in the first place. It won’t help a bit if our exertions are to be taken as attempts to step on toes, and since this is an adoptee-driven project they get to say who can climb aboard.
(I do know there are many, many adoptive families very involved on all levels of the open records fight, but I’m speaking here about those who may have been intimidated by, turned away from or turned off to adoptee issues by some of the more strident and aggressive, and those who have not yet begun to consider how the prevailing climate will eventually impact their children. Bastard Nation may just be missing a family or two with the message, after all.)
If there seems to be a consensus that joining forces for this event, this specific issue, is acceptable, then we all have to drop the rancor and get out of the habit of bitchy backbiting and “…but what about me?” ing. By beginning with this narrow focus, might we not filter out a lot of the miasma of misery that so often muddies the waters between us with “my pain is bigger or harder or more painful than your pain” contests, and simply accept the fact that all of us come to this table with a hunger for something gnawing at our guts?
(For those so compelled, the rancor and backbiting can still continue unabated as long as it’s kept away from this one issue. Does that sound fair?)
I can’t help but have niggling at the back of my brain the thought that someone reading this is ready to jump down my throat out of an assumption that I’m trivializing something somewhere, an idea that illustrates just how tentative steps may need to be, but we’ll get nowhere if we don’t start somewhere.
We don’t need to agree now on whether adoption is all or partly good or bad, if it should be banned or honored, if it helps more than it hurts or hurts more than it helps. We’re nowhere near ready to sit down at one table to discuss legislative improvements to the process or definitions of reform. BUT we can decide if we will or will not work together toward a goal that focuses on adoptees gaining the rights to their identity and a date in New Orleans in July that will highlight that goal.
If it turns out that we can, the chances of making progress on the other issues improves dramatically.
I am open to all suggestions … as long as they don’t involve impossible contortions for self-gratification. Ach! What the heck? I’ll take those, too, at this stage …