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Archive for the ‘Entitled to opinions’ Category

I wrote the other day about a ghastly new law that allows Afghan husbands to starve wives that refuse sex … a story that garnered outrage and inspired an onslaught of “united condemning”, as utterly useless as that may be, from many corners of the world.

Fine.

Dandy.

Aren’t we in the developed world just oh-so-smug in our condemnation of those who trample on women? Or are we?

A couple of stories in today’s news slap back that idea a tad.

First, from the UK … and Gordon Brown was amongst the loud singers in the anti-Afghan choir … this little ditty on domestic abuse in that country and how they are just getting around to, and falling short of, protecting women from beatings.

The Home Office says conviction rates among those cases which make it to court have risen from 60% to 72% over four years. However, some charities have previously noted a rise in reports of domestic violence as a result of the economic downturn.

Refuge, a charity which helps victims of domestic violence, has welcomed the changes to the rules on restraining orders. But it says it is essential the government provides the courts and the police with the resources and training to implement the orders effectively.

Well, there’s a thought …

And from a society that considers itself very well behaved, this out of Japan:

… the world’s second-biggest economy ranked 54th in the world in terms of gender equality.

It was concerned over the low legal penalty for rape and the widespread availability in Japan of violent pornography …

Add this to a 6-month waiting period between marriages that applies only to women, “unequal laws on marriage, the treatment of women in the labour market and the low representation of women on elected bodies”, and other facts of life faced by women in Japan daily, and that modern culture can stop thumbing its nose.

I am in no way condoning what’s going on in Afghanistan, but shaking my head over … and my finger at … a gender gap that exists in 2009. And what is with that?

Come on, ladies … we outnumber them, so why do we still put up with this shit in huge numbers?

I’m as guilty as the next broad, I know, when it comes to buying into the “less-than” bullshit, and that pisses me off with me.

It dawned only recently that, contrary to what my ex rammed down my throat, I actually CAN speak Creole and drive at night … even at the same time when required. Go figure! Yes, he had me convinced that both were beyond my tiny capabilities and that I needed him to talk and drive for me.

BOLLOCKS … on a plate, chopped and salted …

Why did I buy this sack full of bogus and limiting shit? Ya got me, but I did, and for a long time.

So, slap me sideways and call me a pussy … and while you’re at it, wake the power within and help the world’s women to put on their big girl panties. We’ve been wimps for way too long.

And, you know what? Those men in charge? They’re nothing special …

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My name is Sandra, and I’m a smoker.

There. That’s out of the way.

I started smoking when I was thirteen, but strongly suspect that had anyone stuck a fag in my gob at the age of, say, three, I would have puffed away quite happily.

Even when I’m not smoking … and I’ve gone as long as 14 years without lighting up habitually … I’m a smoker, and although I’ve attempted to examine the motives behind my infatuation with filthy cancer sticks I have yet to come up with the ultimate attraction.

Until today.

This report from the BBC does strike a chord, I must admit. Apparently, my addiction has something to do with the fact that I’m pissed off a lot, and if I could get over that, ciggies would have less appeal.

Researchers hypothesised smokers were more likely to be people prone to anger and said tackling this could be a vital part of smoking cessation services.

“Anger management” lessons are being considered for inclusion in stop smoking services by the NHS in Britain, and I think that’s a plan and a half.

I’m wondering, however, how well those lessons would take in a world where this story shares the page with the calmy-downy-stub-out-that-butt article.

Plans to promote medical treatment for homosexuality at a religious conference have been criticised by doctors.

The event will hear from prominent American psychologist Dr Joseph Nicolosi who said he had helped many people to become heterosexual.

… Dr Nicolosi said he had been helping people to “increase their heterosexual potential” for 25 years, and put his success rate among men at about two out of three.

He said he was offering a choice for people who were unhappy being gay.

Yeah … I know. I just jumped from fags to fags. Got a problem with that?

Anybody got a light … ?

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Please click here to fill out a few little boxes that may lead me out of some of my cluelessness …

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I had so many comments … both on the blog and privately … on yesterday’s post that I reckon some addressing is due.

First, I’d like to thank everyone who has voiced the opinion that my voice is still valid in the adoption world. That is tremendously encouraging. The fact that even Coco lent encouragement is huge for me … thank you, Coco … and I’ll tell you why.

The online adoption community is notoriously fractious, and in my years of writing on the subject I have made no few enemies … some who have taken their level of vitriol so far beyond the realm of polite reason that mud blobs with my name on them stuck to the net will outlive me.

So much of this has felt counterproductive from the early days of my writing on the subject, and I refuse to pussyfoot my POV, as healthy debate has always seemed a good way to forge links that might eventually provide foundations for bridge building.

A conversation with Gershom, an adoptee who wrote what for all intents and purposes … and title … was anti-adoption, ended up in a dialog that encouraged everyone involved to participate in supporting the right of adoptees to their identity, and I’m pleased to say that she and I have developed respect for each other … a friendship, even

Coco and I also have had issues, but although we differ greatly in attitude, we have found the common ground and mutual respect that will eventually provide the only means to true reform that will protect those needing protection without cutting children needing families out of the equation completely.

Both of these relationships forged in fire where the inspiration behind the formation of Adoption Under One Roof, the community I helped found … then felt unworthy of continuing to contribute toward (although I hope and plan to reenter soon) … that was based on the idea of bringing all notes in the adoption triad together to learn to sing harmoniously, rather than harp on discord … or dis”chord”, as I think of it in these terms, “triad” also meaning a group of three notes on a chord, not simply opposing positions of those whose lives have been touched by adoption.

Of course, I also thank the adoptive moms that formed the backbone of my readership years back and continue to grow in numbers that form a protective circle around me as they close ranks and ‘get my back’.

And I’m pleased as anything to find new readers like Peter … an amazingly talented musician and writer with no adoption affiliation, as far as I know … adding his related experience to the mountain of support I find myself clinging to these days as I lurch my way up and out and toward the light that leads from the depths to the heights.

Thank you all.

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This post began as a reply to a comment from Gershom on yesterday’s post.

I didn’t mean to accuse Gershom of ignoring the suffering of children, but to point out this as one of the reasons for my strong advocacy.

Of course families can be “adopted”, and if everyone who could supported just one other than their own the world would be a better place. Millions of dollars are spent daily by organizations and governments who have been charged with the duty to care for the people they cover, and some actually do spend a portion of that money helping, yet every year the orphan numbers increase.

Adoption “as we know it today” is a very big umbrella, and to oppose everything under that umbrella seems simplistic and short-sighted to me … rather like that “throwing the baby out with the bath water” thing, especially with so many “babies” in the “bath”.

Changes to the various systems, reform, providing other options in addition … all are necessary and some are happening, albeit too slowly in many opinions. It seems arrogant, however, to demand immediate changes by developing nations when the foster system in the US is a train wreck that is ignored year after year. It’s real people lost in the lurch when programs close, and although some might consider them collateral damage, rest assured those taking the hits don’t look at it so cavalierly.

I also must add that not all bio families should be preserved, that biology does not a good parent guarantee, and that many more children than do would benefit from adoptive families. And contrary to some thought, not everyone who conceives wants to parent, and those that don’t deserve options.

I know this will rub many the wrong way, but in my view a world with more adoption, not less, would be a better world than the one we have now. If every child beaten, abused or neglected, every child victim orphaned by war, by AIDS, by famine or abandoned by need or greed could be placed in a safe and loving family … in my mind, the closer we get to this idea, the closer we are as a species to showing our worth.

Given the huge numbers of children in the circumstances described, however, reaching any more than a tiny fraction isn’t possible. It’s that tiny fraction I hold out hope for and argue in favor of.

World peace, an end to global hunger and grinding poverty, wiping out corruption and discouraging cupidity are all noble goals, and I support any and all efforts toward accomplishing these and more. Once again, however, holding out hope that any of this happens on a grand scale in my time rather disputes the lessons of history and ignores too much of the base nature of humans.

So, while striving to create a world that is fair and bountiful and loving, more than 200 million children suffer, and if a few thousand of those can be adopted by families who adore them hope lives and a few more resources are freed for others.

Adoption is so often an apples/oranges discussion … while I’m picturing five-year-old Cambodian sex slaves someone else has in mind a 20-something American woman being coerced into relinquishing. My favoring more adoption so fewer children are sniffing glue to keep warm under Romanian streets is interpreted as an encouragement to grab babies from loving mothers in crisis.

Conversely, when someone demands family preservation, what comes to my mind are children ending up dead because a bio family was given one more chance too many. Insistence that reform means governments take control of adoptions has me thinking of deeply imbedded corruption that has and will continue to blithely sacrifice children in favor of political milage and blatant greed.

Calls to end the option of adoption for the children of the world rarely come from the uninvolved, and usually sound very much as if they issue from those with an axe to grind. When such calls come from adoptees, and especially strident calls that sometimes go as far as to claim anyone is better off dead than adopted … this is not an unknown claim, although certainly not universal, as Gershom shows … it can appear as an attempt to capture some sort of higher ground that others aren’t entitled to. When it’s birth mothers making demands to end adoption, sour grapes are the most likely flavor suspected. The contingent of adoptive parents rallying forces to end adoption seem to many to be wandering around in those hair shirts I wrote about not long ago.

Although everyone is assuredly entitled to their opinions, attempts to impose those opinions on everyone else should not come under any perceived mandate, and a ban on adoption is one fell swoop of an imposition.

Those of us advocating for adoption would never presume to insist that everyone adopt a child or hint than any family who has yet to do so is intrinsically evil or stupid or selfish. We will never insist that every orphaned, abandoned or neglected child in the world be adopted, and that the failure to make this happen is a criminal act of global proportions, and it is difficult for us to understand the vociferousness of those for whom the opposite is a strong enough urge to create the sort of venom that is so often injected into what should be reasonable discussions about the welfare of children.

Once more, the apples/oranges conflict comes into play, and a conversation that begins in one mind as a levelheaded approach to serious social issues translates to an attack on all that is sacred in the American family.

It seems that the key to many of the closed doors that separate the adoption community from itself should be the children. Sounds simple enough, but when one take has it that the corrupt practice that tainted their adoption experience is reason enough to halt all adoptions while others point their focus toward the huge numbers of children for whom adoption has been or could be wonderful, the conversation tends to break down. Add voices of those considering themselves permanently damaged and others longing more than anything for a child to love and the resulting cacophony puts the kibosh on any but the loudest and least equitable confabulation.

So, where does all this leave us?

Unfortunately, for as long as we are here we’re stuck with the world we have; a world in which war and poverty and hunger and cruelty are facts of life for many, rather than few, where my view gets preeminence on my blog just as Gershom’s does on hers, because we are humans and humans are a contentious species that more often than not self-focuses to the exclusion of anything not within personal apertures.

At least those of us popping in and out of discussions on adoption are coming to the table … even when it all ends in messy food fights, still something has been exchanged … although I am as convinced of my rightness as others are of theirs, as conflicting as those may be.

Since this is the first day of a new year, I find myself wondering how 2008 will unfold regarding adoption. I’ll admit to being less than starry-eyed with optimism … after all, the 6th anniversary of the suspension on Cambodian adoption passed just a bit over a week ago … but concern for the present and future of children in the world will continue to bring me to this table. Preserving the option of adoption is one of my passions, as putting an end to it is for others.

As long as we continue to spin … and I’m talking about the planet here, not attempts to control information … some people will disagree with other people; some will take those disagreements far enough strap explosives to their bodies and blow themselves and anyone unlucky enough to be within shrapnel range to smithereens, or drop bombs, or commit genocide.

When all that is taken into account, the name-calling and snideness on adoption blogs seems pretty tame, and when the irrevelant, the fringe, the just-plain-nasty, is ignored … on those occasions where real dialogue does take place … hints of consensus do present. If that will ever lead to triad-wide warm fuzzies, I doubt, but that isn’t really the goal, is it?

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Funny how things work out. At the beginning of this month when I started the whole NaBloPoMo thing, I would not have suspected November would end up with an obscenity of the XXX variety, but it has.

It seems that budget constraints and an abrupt shift in editorial policy, or something, has prompted Adoption.com, one of my employers over the past couple of years, to terminate the contract of their highest paid and most uncompromising blogger: me.

I have not been provided with any official explanation; in fact, there has been no explanation at all no matter how many times one is asked for by me or other bloggers confounded by my sudden departure. A change in editors in October did signal changes in the wind, however, and the handwriting began to appear on the wall when I decided to discontinue the assistant editor role I had stepped up for.

Is it a money issue? (They did bounce paychecks recently.) Has my advocacy for adoption been more than the site is willing to support?

It most certainly can’t be my lack of dedication, as I have been the most prolific of all writers having posted hundreds of well-researched blogs over the past two years.

It can’t be a lack of talent, because I can put words together well and keep to topic.

It can’t be for lack of readers, because before Adoptionblogs.com began hemorrhaging bloggers and listing dead blogs by the dozen I was topping out at more than 100,000 hits per month.

Yes, I did manage to piss off a few people along the way. The looney fringe of the adoption community whipped themselves into a frenzy over some of my posts … and, yes, I can hear them jumping up and down, elated over my temporary departure from the adoption blogging world. (Enjoy it while you can, ladies. Oh! and those three guys.)

Should I mention that the new “editor”, someone who freely admits on her personal blog that she can’t write … Whose bright idea was it to put someone like this in an editorial position? … is a birth mother? Should I read anything into this? (I don’t want to. I really don’t want to. But so many of the personal attacks, the truly hideous assults I have suffered over the years, have come from that angle of the triad and I can’t ignore the connection.)

Since she removed my access to the blogs before I had an opportunity to adios my wonderful readers there, I’ll just invite you all to continue to join me here.

I’m rather sick of the adoption world for the moment, however … rampant abuse and nastiness tends to do that, and XXX feels as bad as it looks and leaves one sore … but, as always, I’m happy to help out when I can.

It is a bit strange that after writing so much about abuse in the world, I find myself the victim of those who provided the platform. I’m still trying to figure out what that says about them, but I’m sure it isn’t pretty.

I do know the real world, however … I’ve seen first-hand how cruel, how base, how downright evil people can be … so I should not be surprised by bad people doing wrong things.

No matter how old I get, though, I’m still side-swiped by petty meanness and a tendency to behave badly. I simply expect better of people.

I’m happy about that part of me.

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Anyone who reads my pro blogs with any regularity … avec their morning dose of prune juice, for example … has sensed that I am not terribly keen on the United Nations.

My International Adoption blog features an entire category dedicated to taking the UNavailing organization to task and encouraging folks to look forward to a time when it is defUNct.

Most recently, the issue was Burma and the idiotic take the UN’s “special envoy” … and just exactly what does make these people so special? … was spouting.

I didn’t see the press conference, but I have to assume that it was conducted upside down, as there is no way that praise for changes in Burma could come from anywhere other than someone’s ass.

Now, Ibrahim Gambari, the UN butt talker, is playing tag in Cambodia with Burma’s prime minister in what can only be another typically UNsavory move to run up the travel budget while appearing to have some concerns over the jUNta.

If you have interest in this issue, which at it’s foundation is the bones and blood of human rights … the supposed mandate of the UN … take a look at this report from The Heritage Foundation which carefully points out the relationship between the UN and the brutal jUNta that rules in Burma.

Here’s a taste:

The United Nations was founded in 1945 to maintain international peace and security and undertake collective measures to remove threats to peace; to promote equal rights and self-determination of peoples; to help solve problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character; and to encourage “social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.” In the Charter, member states pledge “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women.”[1] U.N. treaties and conventions, such as the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which the General Assembly passed in 1948, form the core of international standards for human rights.

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