Online publishing

Part 2. Adoptees changing the world

Photograph of Young Pioneer doll by Nell Butler

Blogging as a means to achieve political change: Adoptees and mothers forming groups, changing laws, writing books

The critical consciousness that adoptees have raised in themselves and each other has contributed to concrete outcomes, in further publishing, such as books and articles, and in the formation of activist groups which have changed laws.

I have compiled a small sample of sites where adoptees and mothers have spoken out and organised for change. Please note: I will have left out many important sites, simply because there are so many.

Creating change in Australia

Blogging and social media has been important to developing adoptees voices and activism in Australia. The Australian Adoptee Rights Action Group connects on Facebook and campaigns for a wide range of legislative changes for adoptees. Adoptee members organised an Adoptee Round Table Think Tank in June 2017, and produced this fantastic video. They also established an adoptee-only advocacy group called Change Adoption Australia, National Advocacy Association of Adopted People.

Adoptee Thomas Graham publishes Ipsify, a blog with interviews with both Catherine Lynch, who established AARAG, and adoptee activist Angela Barra. Angela publishes her own blog, and is also one of a number of Australian adoptees who is gaining a voice in the mainstream media, for example in the Huffington Post.

William Hammersley’s blog Identity has published a range of opinions. Hammersley argues for a model of stewardship to replace adoption, so that the child’s identity isn’t changed and welfare checks are able to be provided. Hammersley also published a guest post from Pascal Huynh arguing that gay men who want to adopt should question whether adopting is an ethical act.

Chelsea Bond provides an acute summary of recent discussions about Aboriginal adoption on IndigenousX, a news service with a substantial blog and a popular twitter account. Grandmothers Against Removals are one of many activist groups against all removals of Aboriginal children, whether they are being removed into adoption or state care.

The mainstream media is still not paying attention: Despite the many gains made by adoptees, the mainstream media is still resistant to adoptees voices. Special features about adoption often exclude adoptees voices entirely. This article, Adoption In Australia: Everything You Need To Know, is typical: no adoptee or mothers voices are included, only adoptive parents, pro-adoption lobbyists and professionals.

Creating change in the United States

Writing together, publishing books: Lost Daughters is a US site which was established in 2011, and describes itself as an ‘independent collaborative writing project.’ The writers of this site developed a book, The Adoptee Survival Guide, published in 2015. The editor of the book, Lynne Grubb, first started writing about adoption on My Space, and it includes chapters by Lost Daughters founder Amanda Transue-Woolton. Transue-Woolton also compiled the book Dear Wonderful You: letters to adopted and fostered youth.

By Dory Martin, used under Creative Commons license 3.0

Activist groups: Bastard Nation is a US group which campaigns on adoptees rights to identity records. Many states in the US still have closed records: this means adoptees can’t access information about their birth or their biological family. They have reclaimed the word ‘bastard’ because ‘there’s nothing shameful about having been born out of wedlock, or about being adopted.’ Bastard Nation have successfully changed laws that prevented adoptees from accessing records about their identity in the US states of Oregon, Alabama, New Hampshire and Rhode island.

Reshma McClintock started a blog called Dear Adoption, a site which publishes adoptees writing in the form of letters to adoption, and this led to the establishment of Family Preservation 365, an organisation which campaigns for mothers around the world to be able to keep and raise their children.

The US even has an adoptee merchandise site, with part of the proceeds going to provide DNA kits to adoptees.

We live in a world where adults’ wants and needs are prioritised, and this has led to catastrophic outcomes for children, mothers, fathers, communities and whole cultures. Adoptee blogs provide valuable knowledge that can assist us to change the world for the better.

Drawing by Nell Butler

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