When she says that adoptive parents should understand that that post and conversation isn't about them -- especially happy adoptive parents -- I didn't read that as a simple exclusion. But rather that she was deliberately creating a safe space for unhappy adoptees and birth parents, for marginalized groups to speak about their pain. In exactly the same way that we create safe spaces for women, or for people of color. Because the overall cultural discourse is so hostile to those groups.
It may help to keep her background in mind -- what I gather from reading some more of her posts are two things. One, is that most of the site focuses on rape issues; she was a teenage runaway, who ended up in a violently abusive relationship for years. So her site has a strong focus on creating safe spaces, deleting / banning folks who would derail the conversation, etc. That's the mode she operates in. And then professionally, she works in domestic foster adoptions, which as Catherine noted, is a particularly tense and difficult field of adoption services, and understandably leads to some specific tensions around international adoptions.
So the framing she sets up, saying that post and comments aren't for happy adoptive parents, I think it's analogous to saying, "Hey, this is a safe space for rape survivors. And if you have a loving relationship with your wife, and you have fabulous sex all the time, that's great for both of you, but please don't come into this discussion and talk about it, because it's going to be seriously disruptive to the conversation we're trying to have here."
For that post, which focused on international adoptions, she was saying that there are some serious issues here that get heavily glossed over, in part because there's a lot of money in the mix, and in part because people don't want to face the possibility that these children's parents may have been coerced or forced or simply had their children kidnapped. That's tough stuff to handle, and I have to imagine really difficult for international adoptive parents not to get defensive about. So she's trying hard to head off that defensiveness, which maybe means just plain excluding them from the conversation.
For what it's worth, back when Kevin was firmly no-kids, I seriously thought about adoption. Started doing research, started saving money. I was initially leaning towards international adoption, not because I was scared of domestic adoptees and their "problems" (I didn't really know anything about that at the time), but just because I thought it would be easiest on the child if they shared my ethnic background, so I was looking at first Sri Lankan adoptions (no luck, because they require you to be married), and then Indian Tamil adoptions. I didn't get very far down that path, because Kevin changed his mind.
And it was only after we had Kavi that I started reading some of the birthmother / first mother blogs, and became aware of just how often domestic birthmothers were coerced or outright forced (by family, by friends, by seriously unethical adoption agencies) into relinquishing their children. I know there's a book on the subject, which I've been meaning to read, but I'm blanking on the title right now. It's more of a historical text, but I gather practices haven't improved all that much recently. Some.
Anyway, I'm not saying any of this would stop me, or should stop anyone, from adopting. I don't think Harriet's saying that either, given that she works for adoption services! But Kev and I have talked on occasion about maybe fostering some older kids, once our kids are grown, if we're not utterly exhausted by then. (We'll be about 55-60 -- I don't even know if they let people that old foster parent). And I feel like I'm just starting to learn about the whole complex of issues surrounding the subject. If we do eventually go that route, I just think we'd have to do the best we could to do it as ethically and humanely as possible.
In the meantime, I think it's worth thinking about Harriet's point that for the money I would have spent on an international adoption ($20K or more), I could have donated funds such that several birthmothers who actually wanted to keep their kids, but were facing serious financial barriers, might have had a better chance at managing it. Of course, then I wouldn't have a child to raise myself, and I'm probably not that altruistic. But it's worth thinking about.
I'm pro-choice. I believe that if you get pregnant, and want an abortion, that's your decision, and shouldn't be stigmatized in any way. I don't weep about it either -- I'm not sentimental about fetuses, even after having two kids of my own. But at the same time, I think that if you get pregnant, want to stay pregnant and then raise the child, and are facing financial and social barriers to that choice, then as a society we should be helping you. I think whether you're pro-choice or pro-life, helping people who want to keep their children keep them is a purely good thing. (Excluding abusive parents, of course, where staying with their birth parent(s) would be an actual danger to the child.)
I read a lot of infertility blogs too, and I'm always really happy for the women who eventually choose adoption and end up with happy families as a result. And I suppose a consequence of what Harriet's discussing might be that there'd be far fewer babies available for those people who want children, but for whatever reason, can't have their own biologically. But maybe that's a worthwhile price to pay, to make sure that every parent who wants to keep their child and raise it well has the resources to do so? I don't know. Hard stuff.