Friday, October 24, 2014

Why Adoptive Parents need to stop blogging about adoptees

My adoptive mom Edie didn't blog about me. They didn't do blogs back then.
OK, it’s a free world wide web. No one can control who blogs. But if you are an adoptive parent (abbreviated: APs), you may have missed the memo: Don’t post photos and stories about your adopting a child and raising your child since your adopted child has a legal right to privacy.

WHAT? I’m sure some of you reading this blog will say that’s ridiculous but according to a panel at MIT, at the International Adoption Conference I attended in 2010, it could cause APs (moral and legal) issues down the road. One panel I attended was Secrecy, Openness and Other Ethical Issues for Adoptive Parents and Writing and Publishing about Adoption.

Now I know this post is going to upset some people. But remember adoptees are too young to even know what a blog is or how their adoptive parents have blogged personal photos, details, etc. - the experts say that is not cool. In fact, the panel said there should be legislation to end it once and for all! One of the big topics at MIT was privacy - the adoptee will grow up and find blogs by their APs - in essence the panel said it should stop immediately - there is no legitimate excuse to violate an adoptee's privacy. (It was noted that many adoptive parents use blogs to solicit money to adopt again - using their first experience to raise funds to do it again.) (Not ethical or moral either.)

As an adoptee, I do have my voice now and I do blog about ME but it took several years to lift the FOG - the smoke cleared as I went into reunion. If I had found a blog with my baby photos, and notes about my childhood (she’s crabby, a monster, a hand-full, a darling child), how they adopted me from Catholic Charities, details of my personal psychology, I’d have blown my top.
“HOW DARE YOU!” I never said that’s OK to share my personal information. I was a MINOR! Who or what gave you the right? (Those comments would have come out of me)

Adoptees need protecting, not publicity. But that’s just my opinion.

And honestly, I realize there are a few APs like Rachel Garlinghouse (http://www.whitesugarbrownsugar.com/) who make a living off adopting black kids then blogging about it as an “expert.”

Really? Really. She even was on TV: http://www.msnbc.com/melissa-harris-perry/watch/when-your-children-are-black-but-youre-not-41691715574 (and she has a book out about adopting three kids.)

Obviously for her, adopting is an $$-making industry and loads of free publicity!

Then you have APs like Tina Traster, the author of the memoir Rescuing Julia Twice, who writes about her AP status in national newspapers: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/18/youre-not-my-real-mother/ (I can’t comment since I am too perplexed.)

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I asked some of my writer friends on Lost Daughters to send me links about this topic and why Adoptive Parents need to stop blogging about their adopted children. 

Amanda's Blog: 

** A comment on Amanda’s post:
Your post is so insightful. The narratives and definitions of "best interests" in adoption are being defined by adoptive parents and brokers who profit or professionals who are contracted with those who profit from adoption. Adoptee's voices are pathologized from the time they are young, and because of sealed records laws, they continue to be disenfranchised into adulthood.

IS IT MY STORY OR YOURS??

The Fine Line

And lastly, here’s an adoptee answering an AP who writes about their adoptee.

What I would like to tell adoptive parents:

One last thing, APs. If you must blog, blog for your family only - send them a link to your blog but keep it private, not public. Adjust the settings or delete the blog entirely. The web is wide open to everyone, including pedophiles, in case you forgot. You are not protecting a child by blogging their personal information and photos. In fact, you crossed the line by violating their privacy! Blogging about us adoptees is not in our best interest, or yours.


Trace Hentz (formerly DeMeyer) is a Split Feather-American Indian-transracial adoptee, journalist and the author of One Small Sacrifice: A Memoir, Two Worlds and Called Home: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects. She blogs at Lara and American Indian Adoptees

Footnote: Trace began to teach about blogging two years ago in western MA where she lives. The apparent danger in blogging is connecting to social media when strangers can locate where you live and essentially track your children.

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