Where do we (Mike and I) go from here?
Joanne Wolf Small asked:
So, where do you go from here?
The answer deserved a post of its own, though I’ll let Mike find his own voice in his own timing and post whatever he adds as a guest blog.
First of all, we settle back in here at home after the trip Mike and I were on when all this unfolded.
I’ve come home to both an office full of the work I had been doing on many states, including Rhode Island, and a home dotted with bits and pieces of our time with BN and the friendships that have been central to that.
Grieving some of those losses is going to take some time.
Thereafter, or more likely as I go through that process, I’m faced with a multitude of decisions not only about the nature of this work, but about how/when/or even if I decide to work with others- individuals, groups, etc. again.
I don’t expect to have that ‘all figured out’ anytime soon.
I know that my work, and my writings here have had value, both personally and to others.
Part of how we go forward, whether I particularly enjoy dwelling on some of all this or not, still involves spending some time on what just happened with Bastard Nation and Rhode Island. I’ll touch on it here and later decide to what extent I want to write about such further.
Going forward is also going to mean a careful assessment of what was lost as part of that process of our separating ourselves from BN, and the role it was playing in the broader adoptionland ecosystem.
Bastard Nation was in many ways the only domestically based (inter)national adoptee rights group that was genuinely working on these issues from a human rights perspective.
When it endorsed the Rhode Island legislation, tragically, we view it as having joined the ranks of what Marley had termed “deformer” organizations. Such was not a ‘done deal’ until the Governor signed the bill into law, but at that point it was irreparable for me, personally.
As Mike pointed out on BN’s email list, even BN in the end, (again, to our perspective,) fundamentally left the human rights framework, rendering its tagline “The adoptee rights organization” a relic of the pre-Rhode Island bill era.
This left us with no organizational ‘voice’/no existing structure left to work within.
(And no, am I not in any way shape or form inclined to attempt to begin some form of new organization from scratch. In other fields I’ve both worked with and even co-founded such once upon a not so very long ago. But the world is very different now. I’m even less inclined to attempt such anywhere near the adoption field.)
For the moment at least, the extent to which I decide to continue to work in the realm of Bastard civil/human/identity rights will be, just as I’ve always been, as a GDI, or “god-damned-independent.”
BN was Mike and my idealogical home politically in relation to Bastard rights. It was formative to our thinking and gave political voice to much of what we already knew to be true.
To my view, BN itself organizationally (but also in through the voices and actions of a number of its members both current and former) moved away from many of the views originally expressed in the organizational core documents.
Part of the problem Mike and I faced was that we had had no reason to believe those original writings did not still hold true until we found out, well after the fact, that we were still holding them as core when others clearly did not.
In terms of various other organizations out there, both industry driven or deformers of various other stripes (or the merely completely incompetent,) none of them speak for us.
We are independent voices.
There may be some individual state organizations still attempting to hold the line, but at this point, I hesitate to personally endorse any of them, (all the more so in light of this recent example of how rhetoric can in the end mean nothing when it matters most.)
To that end, I’ve removed the links from my right hand sidebar section labeled “Activists Working for Adoptee Rights- State by State.”
Instead, I’ve added a new page tab to my header- “statement on working with other orgs/activism” and linked it in my sidebar as “BLC statement on working with other orgs/activism.”
Dealing with this aftermath in terms of my Blogroll and other links is an even more painful proposition, a set of decisions I’m not inclined to deal with in an immediate time frame.
At the moment, I’m still deciding what I want to say publicly and privately about our decisions to resign from BN.
Furthermore, I have no intention of merely providing fodder for those who already hate or reject BN and its positions and would wish to utilize anything we say as some means by which to build up their own ineffective and broken capitulating organizations steeped in Bastard-phobia. (American Adoption Congress, the National Council for Adoption, the Adoptee Rights Demonstration, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute/(Adam Pertman/Spence Chapin), the various CARE groups/or here, etc. among others.)
Mike and I were always simply, genuinely about achieving full Bastard human rights and ending the stigma, cruelties, and human rights violations that Bastards (and our families) endure under this existing adoption system.
We worked to support good legislation, and worked to fight back bad bills (and anything else) that would cause harm to class Bastard, our families, and our human rights.
The rest of this inter-organizational squabble about whose ‘approach’ or ‘language’ was ‘correct’ or who passes the most bills/who has the most states as notches in their bedpost, who was liked or disliked meant nothing to us.
None of this was about building a social group or any form of political tribalism to us, which is why in any number of circumstances across adoptionland I’ve spoken out for those left behind, regardless of the personal consequence.
We cared about effectiveness as measured against the goal of full Bastard human/civil/identity rights. That was why we were here in the first place, and it’s why I’m sitting here writing now.
So ‘where to from here?’
We do what we can to over and over again attempt to ‘go back for’ those left behind in Rhode Island and the other states like Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts, etc.
As for the rest, we go the same place we’ve always gone: support unconditional Bastard rights for all, work against whatever and whomever stands between where we are now and where we need to be.
Only now, I do so without organizational or institutional voice, speaking ‘merely’ with the authentic voice of one of those directly affected when I do.
Any legislator, individual, or organization that sells us out, or stands as an obstacle to our rights is certainly “in bounds” for criticism.
As to how much Mike and I personally still have the stomach for such, well, that remains to be seen.