Support groups are supposed to be a safe place. A place where members can express themselves freely without fear of retribution, right? In my opinion, apparently, privacy and safety only apply to people that Haley Kirkpatrick, who, according to her bio at adoption.net, runs the Facebook page Adoption: Share the Love, agree with. Supposedly, recently Haley posted on facebook, and blogged, about a 16 year old mother who terminated her parental rights to an LDS family in Utah. The story was full of rainbow and glitter and stuffed fat with everything unicorns. It was my opinion, from this young mother’s words, that she had been brainwashed big time. She even claimed that she “was” adoption. That she was living proof of a successful open adoption. Even though she was less than a year into her open adoption and the baby had not yet been “sealed” to the adoptive parents. In the LDS world sealing is the belief that a baby can be sealed to his parents for all of eternity. Here and the after life, permanently. I cannot tell you how many LDS birthmoms I know who have been screwed out of their open adoptions once the sealing has occurred. I digress…
I shared the blog post and quote from this young mother and added the my truth to it. She wasn’t adoption, her son was. She cannot claim a successful open adoption less than a year in. I told her these truths as I see them. As hard and cold as it was. Someone needed to tell this girl and prepare her for any possible negative outcomes (and, from what I have seen, the negative outcomes – adoptions closing on birthmoms – heavily outweigh the positive ones). Did she get upset? Probably. However, a member of the birthmom support group I admin reached out to her, privately, to prepare her for all outcomes and lend an ear. Supposedly this poor girl had been fed a fantasy, la la land. It is important that this delusional fairy tale she had been painted be addressed. For her own emotional sanity. She needs to know that its okay to be hurt. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to know the truth about adoption – that there ARE negative outcomes.
Supposedly, Haley, took it upon herself to message this member of my group who reached out to this young mother. I’ve seen the messages. She told her that she was attacking the young mother and had been blocked from posting anything on her page. Supposedly, according to Haley in these messages, someone within our private, super secret, support group had taken screen shots of my member’s opinions on the matter and sent them to Haley. Instead of leaving it there, privately, Haley decided to share, on her PUBLIC facebook page, that this young mother was being “attacked.” Haley claimed she had to change her name to protect her privacy. Privacy seems to be something really important to Haley. I am wondering why this young mother’s name was even given in the first place by Haley via her blog. Certainly a 16 year old girl is very vulnerable and may not even understand what she is consenting to by giving permission for her story to be shared via Haley.
I took it upon myself to post what really happened, in the comments section, of her facebook page. They were removed within seconds and I was blocked from commenting further. I think Haley didn’t want my truth being told.
Who is Haley? (theredsandi.wordpress dot com) Haley is a fairly new birthmom – 8 years in, again, according to her bio on adoption.net. She is also one of those birthmoms who, in my opinion, fell for the whole self-validating blog for adoption deal. This is when birthmoms are made to feel how great adoption is by being given a paid blog (sometimes unpaid) by pro-adoption groups (such as adoption.net – where Haley blogs) to toot the horn of how adoption is great. This is usually pretty easy to do. It makes the birthmom feel good, it validates that she made the right choice, even if her heart has doubts. And it gives positive media attention to the adoption industry as a whole, further procuring womb fresh newborns for adoption agencies to “sell.” (Yes, I used sell. Agencies profit from babies. In my opinion, that is selling.)
No? Well, let’s look at adoption.net. This is who Haley blogs for. Adoption.net’s executive director is Shirlee Davidson. See her LinkedIn profile here. Notice that Shirlee lists working in “corporate sales” in Gilbert, AZ as a previous employment position. What else does Shirlee Davidson do? She used to run FamilyAds.com. What is FamilyAds.com? Per there description: FamilyAds.com represents adoption and fertility related websites and markets the advertising on these sites to Adoption professionals. We specialize in providing focused advertising options and resources to adoption attorneys, adoption agencies, adoption search firms, & other adoption professionals. Using a results-driven approach we help professionals focus on their target audience with effective ad delivery systems, tested ad designs, and custom advertising to maximize the return on their investment. Please, feel free to contact us with any questions that you may have. This was most likely Shirlee’s “corporate sales” position.
Brilliant, isn’t it? Adoption.net hired someone who specializes in advertising for people who want to adopt babies. And maybe, just maybe, Shirlee also knows that she could get those birthmoms to blog about how great adoption is. As a Marketing student let me just say, this is a brilliant marketing plan. If that is, indeed, the plan, as it seems to me.
All of these things are marketing ploys. Adoption is an industry. It is a business. It is CORPORATE SALES. Those of you who have believed that your rainbow and glitter blogs mean you are making a change in the world have had the wool pulled over your eyes. You are being used for the industry while the industry is saying how brave and selfless you were. Tooting your horn, making you feel all warm and fuzzy so you don’t have to deal with those unsure feelings. You know the ones. The ones you push down deep and don’t give the time of day. Yes, I know because I was once you.
If you would like, please go tell Haley, via her facebook page, how you feel about what she has done, emotionally, to a whole group of women who now do not feel safe expressing themselves, and their hurt, within our secret group. I warn you, though, if you post on her page you will most likely be blocked and the comments deleted. You may also end up with your facebook profile reported by her or a cease and desist letter for speaking your opinions. Apparently, this is how things operate in Adoption: Share the Love. Makes you kind of wonder, doesn’t it? Has the industry has trained her well, and she doesn’t even know it? Or is she purposely perpetuating the silence of women’s stories that she does not agree with? I have no idea.
EDIT** Even though all dissenting comments are immediately removed from Haley’s page, I have chosen to not do the same here. I am not afraid of what people have to say to me.