From Disney to DC

This post is dedicated to a 12 year old girl in Guatemala who was prostituted by her family for the purpose of conception. Upon birth, her child was sold to salivating Americans all too eager to give their money to a corrupt society so they could be parents.

Madeline Freundlich opened up the session with a statement regarding the 1999 Ethics Conference compared to the 2007 one.  In her statement she referenced Disneyland to DC.

I assumed, perhaps erroneously, that the last conference was at Disneyland.  Regardless, her statement painted a great visual for me and was a very good analogy. Reflecting back on the beginning of the conference now that it has ended, Disney land to DC seems apropos

Without question, the overall sentiments, for me personally, upon leaving the Ethics conference, were those of change and hope.

If the last conference was indeed in Disney, it seemed to echo the change we have seen, saw and continue to hope to see.

In years past, adoption was a bit of an amusement park.  Adoptive parents and natural parents entered the domain created by society and adoption agencies and many of them were taken for rides. They thought they were going to have fun and they were going to do something enjoyable.

For some the rides were indeed fun. For others they were the Tower of Terror.  Many were forced inside the park while others paid for their own admission.

Admission ticket fees varied based upon your ride and the part of the park you might be visiting. In some parts of the park there were white children, in others there were Asians, and in still others there were black.

Regardless, you were always, always taken for a ride. Sometimes, if you are lucky and you stayed in the park for a very long time, you may get to the front of the line and enjoy the Rollercoaster of Reunion.

Many exited the park with souvenirs in the form of newly purchased children. Exiting the park with their children on their hip instead of balloons in their hands, they were thrilled. What a wonderful glorious park this was!

But what of those left behind? What of those that were stuck in the park and could not get out? What of those that were had their wombs raided by pick pocketers? What of those souvenir babies who would never know what park they came from or why there in the park to begin with?

What of those that were still trying to find the money to afford entrance? Those fractured and wounded adults who stood outside the park gates looking in at all the fun being had by others.

And the mothers that entered the park with children in their wombs or their arms? How did they get out of the park? Could they really get out? Even if they did leave they were leaving with a part of their own soul left behind? Did they know when they bought that ticket into the fun house their souls would be damned there forever? Did they read that fine writing on the entrance sign? What if they did not read English?

Yes, Madeline’s reference to Disney was appropriate. So too for her reference to the present location. The land of movers and shakers and legislators and policy makers. Oh sure, it is still a bit of an amusement park. Filled with clowns and games and coin tosses. Yet even with the similarities, for me, I saw hope, I saw progress. If location, location, location is everything in real estate, surely holding an Ethics conference in DC means something to adoption reform.

A great deal of information was shared. Outstanding food was consumed and in many cases rivers of tears were shed. But in the end, for me, the final feeling was positive and one of hope.

A few lists I wrote during the conference support this.

A few thumbs up to:

  • Ethica – Specifically, Trish Maskew, Linh Song, Melissa Griebel. Kudos to them for embracing, inviting and seeing the value of those of us in cyberspace discussing adoption trauma and reform daily.  I wonder which one of them read the Cluetrain Manifesto?  Experts are more than those that have studied the experience.  They are also those that have lived it. You don’t need letters after you name to know the reality behind the experience.
  • Regina Reeves Solomon – For having the strength and determination to fight for her child and for what is right. If I had an ounce of her strength twenty years ago, my own daughter might be by my side.
  • Joyce Pavao – “Pathologizing leads to pathology” and “not everyone needs therapy”
  • Margie Perschied – Great host, amazing adoptive mom, and dear friend.
  • Adam Pertman and Evan B. Donaldson for addressing language issues. Specifically for reinforcing that a pregnant woman considering adoption is an EXPECTANT mother not a BIRTH MOTHER.
  • Bernadette Wright, Mother, for standing up and speaking out on behalf of the mothers in Guatemala who had no voice in this conference.
  • Linh Song for noting that our children’s fathers are under represented and their voices need to be heard as well. We really could have used Brad or Rambling Bdad.

A few thumbs down to:

  • Certain Adopters – past, present and future overdosed with entitlement who use “best interest of a child” to mask their own selfish greed to obtain a child at any cost.
  • Individuals who don’t understand that just because something is LEGAL doesn’t make it ETHICAL.
  • The PAP who failed to realize that paying the expenses of an expectant mother is coercive. Please note that child is not YOURS until the papers are signed. And even then you are told to act “as if”.
  • Lack of books addressing the experience of mothers who surrender their children to the adoption machine. If they are out there, they need to be made available for purchase. If they are not, they need to be written. Like NOW!

More to come.

7 Thoughts.

  1. Yay! thank you for the report, Suz. I was anxious to hear more about how the conference went.
    I really am so encouraged after hearing what you and Claud and Mirah have said. Change is coming…
    P.S. It was AWESOME to finally meet you! You live up to your blog.

  2. Great recap, Suz. Thank you. And thank you for attending. How did the blogger panel go?
    I was pleased that labels were addressed, even though I also don’t take offense at the b-words — they are sometimes the quickest path to clarity. Still, people need to be aware of how the words they choose affect others and respect that.

  3. Thanks for the kudos Suz. I so enjoyed our time together (and the bottle of wine!), and I wished I could have heard your story in addition to Claude’s. I’d like to hear it sometime if you care to share.

  4. It was just plain awesome to see you again, and to have time to talk talk talk! What a couple of days it was – I was completely EXHAUSTED for the rest of the week, and also found myself unable to decompress. There is still so much swirling around in my head, which will be the topic of many posts to come.
    I’m so glad you were there, Suz!!

  5. Hi;
    I came across you blog and thought I’d let you know I’d stopped by.
    I am not sure how I fit into your blog readers, but I am a mama with 6 children, 5 of whom are adopted.
    I thought you might like to see how we came about our adoptions…in case you want another thought on adoptions.
    mama to 6
    one homemade and 5 adopted

  6. Hi Suz–
    I just found your blog through Nicole’s. I’m an adoptive parent who started off drinking the koolaid, and got a well deserved wake up call when I found Nicole.
    I’ve been reading your blog posts for these past few hours. Thank you so much for putting everything out there– these kind of sites really do help. At least one person I know has decided to parent after reading them.

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