I’ve been sitting on this post for several days. I wasn’t quite sure why I wanted so badly to blog about something that happened. In hindsight, it seemed trivial. It seemed like it was just drama-stirring and I couldn’t justify doing it for any other reason except to get revenge. So, this not being a good enough reason to publicly expose something, I sat on it. I stewed. I couldn’t let it go and finally I asked myself why what happened had bothered me so badly. After taking a couple of days to evaluate the “why,” I have come to the conclusion that this post is not about revenge, at all. It is about the bigger picture and the fallacy that “adoption isn’t like that anymore.”
Let me explain.
There exists this group on Facebook. It is the support group for the accompanied website and non-profit. It welcomes all those affected by adoption or those facing infertility. It is a very large group. For some time, when I entered, I just sat back and listened. Mostly adoptive or hopeful adoptive parents post in this group. It intrigued me to hear their thoughts. What I found was that my stereotypes of ALL adoptive parents were wrong. They aren’t all bad eggs. There were some truly awesome adoptive parents in there and it gave me the courage to start sharing my truths and giving my input, when appropriate. Mostly, my input was not met with strong opposition, but sometimes it was. There were some adoptive parents that didn’t like what I had to say. I would make my point, respectfully, and move along. I actually began to have a little bit of faith in the adoption reform movement and it was nice to see a few adoptive parents seeking my honest opinions and truths, taking them to heart, and applying them in their lives AS adoptive parents. How refreshing, right?
Until it wasn’t refreshing anymore. Until many other first moms began to speak up with their truths, their hurts, their opinions. This group that I thought was so progressive and open turned out to be just like the rest. Maybe even worse. It seems a couple of family preservation opinions, from first moms, were easily tolerated, but when there were several many members didn’t like it. Let me be perfectly clear – none of the posts I have ever seen were ever disrespectful to anyone in the group. No name calling, no threats, no dismissiveness. They were simply stating their truths as women who have relinquished children to adoption. A couple of them were also adopted (which should be the loudest voice that anyone is listening to).
One morning I started seeing posts in various support groups that several first mom and first mom/adoptee members had received an odd message from the owner of this support group. They had been informed that they had been removed from the group for their own good. “It’s too triggering for you to be in there so we removed you.” Some didn’t get messages at all, they were just booted.
So, you may be asking yourself why I’m making a blog post about some first moms getting booted from a mixed infertility group….now you see my hesitance to even write this.
Our truths, our voices, are tolerated as long as they aren’t too loud or don’t make anyone uncomfortable. As soon as those voices become too loud or make the “entitled” or “privileged” (see adoptive and hopeful adoptive parents) feel uncomfortable then our voices are removed. This infuriates me because this is what society has been doing to us for years and years and years. Now, make that a double whammy for the first moms who were removed that were also adoptees! The little faith I was beginning to gain back, thinking that there really were adoptive parents who “got it,” was, again, gone.
I had not been booted from the group, but didn’t feel like I should really say too much anymore in case I might be. I sat and I watched. Over the next couple days I saw some more first moms speaking their truths. I saw a post by a man named Joe Tipton, in regards to the removal of all those people previously mentioned. He went on and on about how great it was that those “troublemakers” were removed. He even included the hashtag #dontbeadouce and #douchecanoe to his post. In other words, the troublemakers were the first moms and adoptees that were speaking their truths and honestly, respectfully, advising members in the group. The owner of this group gushed about her crush on Joe. Comments began popping up in the thread about how they should make t-shirts for the group saying “Don’t be a douche.” He made sure to tag his child’s first mom and rave about how great she was. He also made sure everyone was aware that his wife was a moderator of the group. Of course, his child’s first mom commented on the post. She gushed about how great he was and how privileged she was to carry “their” baby and how happy she was to give said baby to them. An adoptee chimed in and warned that if her first mom had said she was HAPPY to give her up that would have hurt really bad.
What ensued afterwards was a shit show, to say the least. Joe threw out many vulgar comments. He called first moms, that were commenting, douches and douche canoes. He did the same to a few adoptees. He felt he was “protecting” his child’s birthmom. I’m not quite sure what she needed protection from…the thoughts of an adoptee? A warning because the adoptee didn’t want her child to feel hurt if she said the same thing to him? Maybe Joe needed to protect his own interests. His child’s first mom was lovestruck, to say the least, with Joe. The back and forth comments became a little uncomfortable as Joe and his child’s first mom talked to each more like intimate partners than adoptive parent-birth parent. I digress.
After several people were called douches (or some other form of the word), their thoughts dismissed, and voices squashed, by Joe (remember, these are first moms and adoptees), posts began popping up for a moderator to stop him. It was really a long tirade of vulgarity, to say the least. He just kept going. Eventually the thread was closed.
For first moms and adoptees to get booted for sharing their opinions and truths, respectfully, without calling anyone names, because the group was “too triggering” was one thing. For this guy to go on a disrespectful, vulgar tirade, and NOT get removed was another thing.
I waited to see if he would be removed. After the mass exodus of my friends and acquaintances in adoption land new rules were posted there. One of them specifically stated to show respect and not call names. Joe was clearly in violation of this rule. Yet, he remained in the group for hours after his tirade…as well as all his douche-y posts and comments.
I had enough. It made me sick to my stomach that all of these first moms and adoptees had been victimized by this group of people. I was not going to allow myself to become a victim with them. Society has done enough to us already, we don’t need some infertility and adoption group carrying the torch.
Before I left I posted a goodbye letter. I know, I know…I hate when people do that too. I couldn’t help myself. The hypocrisy was driving me insane!!
After I left, Joe WAS removed. But, it was temporary. Today they let him back in.
I guess its okay to call people douche bags, douche canoes, and other names when you don’t like their truths or their opinions in that group. Especially if the owner has a crush on the dude doing it and his wife is a moderator. I guess its NOT okay to share your truths as an adoptee or first mom if it makes too many adoptive or hopeful adoptive parents uncomfortable. So much for this great progressive group, huh?
I am SO sick and fucking tired of adopters controlling the narrative. This is how they do it! Every. Single. Fucking. Time. This is why I was outraged. It wasn’t really about making their group “safe” or removing people who were being too triggered. If that was the case the guy who called multiple people horribly nasty misogynist names would have been removed as well. Permanently.
Before Joe’s removal he even made ANOTHER post about his name-calling. It was a “sorry not sorry” post in which he continues to call those he disagrees with douches again. It remained up in the group for quite some time – until they purged everything. In the comments of this post, another moderator tells him that he may get booted from the group but “it will only be temporary.” Because, you know, they all love him so much.
Even more interesting is a post on Joe’s personal facebook page directed at a very young woman’s boyfriend. Apparently the boyfriend became very uncomfortable with Joe’s contact with the young woman and told him to stop talking to her. Joe decided to call him a douche too.
Pot meet kettle.
I’m debating on whether to show the screen shots of the entire conversation here. I have no problem with it. It’s not like I give two flying fucks about the privacy of anyone in there after the shit show that went down and how my friends were treated.
Here’s a few.
(Degrading and spiteful?? Degrading is, apparently to Joe, an adoptee saying they would be hurt to hear their first mom was happy they couldn’t parent them)
AND HERE’S ONE OF THE GOOD ONES (adoptive parent) POINTING OUT HOW OBVIOUSLY WRONG JOE WAS.
(And apparently you’re a douche if you say anything about adoption is unhappy)
Oh I have so many more….I could tell a story if I want, but I trust that you trust me.
10 thoughts on “Creating a Family: Talk About Infertility and Douche Canoes”
What an asshole! Many adoptive parents don’t want to hear from us, adoptees or first mothers. How can they? They took us form our parents! How do you live with that? You justify.
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I am SO glad someone wrote about what went on in there. Kudos for Musings of Birthmoms to pick up pen and paper and (give us that were booted out of that horrible group), a true voice. I think that Dawn, a moderator of that group should step down. NEVER in my life have I ever seen Birthmother’s telling their own story, put down like the one’s who were in that group. I was able to see a lot of Adopters true colors. A few were very polite, but very few. I hope everybody learns from this. We as birthmother’s always get silenced. Especially if we tell our own story and some adoptive Mother’s start to understand our truth. I was appalled at Joe Tipton for how he was putting Birthmother’s down, and the name calling! Then to hear a supposedly Moderator of the group, Dawn, say she has a crush on him, instead of booting him out, she booted all the birthmothers out and let him continue his ranting and calling woman Douches. Creating a Family is supposed to be a support group for God’s sake, not a circus, but a circus it is!!
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THIS. IS. HORRIFYING. Inexcusable and devastating. ENRAGING.
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Dawn Davenport is a horrible person–I’m not surprised by this at all–only that she had the audacity to show her true colours so publicly. Good on you for writing this & exposing them for who they are.
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How terrible. I often cringe at the power dynamics within “mixed” adoption support groups, and stay far far away.
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Barf. So sorry this happens. Thank you for speaking your truth. May more adoptive parents learn to sit in their discomfort.
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Both sides were wrong but there should have been equal weight placed on both sides in terms of being removed from the group. Joe should have been removed from the group permanently.
I do think all sides of adoption should have an equal voice in that forum as long as it is presented in a constructive way. At times it becomes a venting session with a passive aggressive attack on another group. Other times in the case of Rhonda’s post it was a misunderstanding in the intention of the original post.
Dawn can do a better job of coming down on everyone equally but she also has a point about the lack of civility at times.
It seems to me Dawn is just as lacking in civility. Are you justifying her behaviour?
I don’t think she’s lacking in civility. I think she has double standards and needs to come down harder on APs who aren’t civil.