Well Damn, I ruined ADOPTION LAND, MY BAD
Well Damn, I ruined Adoption Land. My Bad!
How many people are apart of FosterCare and Adoption Facebook Groups? Some are aware they can be a very informative and comforting place and then there’s parts of it that are not so inviting.
What I’m about to share is my experience as a Facebook group Administrator, What I’m going to post are my posts as an Admin. I’m making semi-changes to names to protect others privacy, even though I’m not given the same courtesy at times.
Now, I have a few groups I’ve created on Facebook but recently I took over as Admin for a group I’ll call “Adoption Vents”. The original creator decided to archive the group due to numerous individuals creating an non-productive atmosphere among members. Due to myself being apart of the group for a few years, I decided to offer the creator my services to take over the group until they are ready to return. The situation itself was so disheartening. Here we have an woman who’s an Adoptive Parent, her goal when creating this group was to bring all sides of Adoption together to better help children. She wanted all voices to be heard, but in a respectful way; how dare she try to do this right? What an awful human being she must be!
As I stated before, I’ve been apart of this group for a few years so I was aware the atmosphere was usually calm. But around early November I noticed some unusual interactions within the comments. The responses seemed to become more combative and hostile. Moderators were more active within Posts trying to enforce the rules they had put in place. The group Admins constantly making posts altering members of the rules. It was ridiculous, in my opinion. A few weeks later I returned to the group and noticed the Admin was gone and two new Moderators were put in their place. Guess what? The group remained a toxic place. I returned a few days later and boom the group was Archived!
I’ll get back to my experience but let me give everyone a little side note first. When you decide to join any Group you agree to abide the rules that were put in place BEFORE YOUR ARRIVAL. You ARE NOT entitled to be in any group you did not create yourself, no matter what you bring to the table, nor are you forced to stay. If you do decide to stay, you do not get to make the rules to suit your beliefs. Sorry. It just doesn’t work that way.
Once I noticed that the group had been Archived, I reached out to the creator to offer my assistance. I’ve seen this happen to groups before, usually groups that are experiencing conflict among members pushes an admin to archive do to frustration. It’s understandable, Admins volunteer their time to sustain their groups, so dealing with other individuals issues and abuse it’s really not worth it in the end. It’s not worth stressing yourself over, that’s for sure.
When the creator decided to give me control of her group, I knew what had to be done. I had to remove the individuals (and their associates) who were breaking the rules of the previous admins. Surely, I’m not expected to put up with the disrespect and passive aggressive comments, right? So yep, I removed them with no warning. Warnings were given by previous admins and that was good enough for me. So why did I remove their associates? The biggest reason was their associates carried the same “energy”. A very negative presence. They were out to shame and judge anyone who didn’t agree with them. One of the ways they would try to shame others was posting screenshots of others who they felt were unethical or “idiots” on a public page or in their own groups to be ridiculed and judged, supportive right? What’s more disturbing, is within their groups they carry same no screenshot rule and want the same protections as every other group, but won’t give the same courtesy? Anyone with common sense knows those are HYPOCRITICAL actions.
Now, word was getting out that I had taken over the “Vents” Group, I decided to introduce myself and why I was taking over, here’s what I said:
“Hello There Everyone! For those of you who are not aware, I’M TAKING OVER THIS GROUP. Don’t worry Sandra is still around but she’s in much need of a break. Hopefully she will fully return one day to this amazing space she created! Until then you will have to deal with me 😀. Im no Stranger to some of you or Adoption Land. To learn more about my family and myself Visit https://www.barryfarmer.com/about/ .
Let’s get down to Business! We want this group to be OPEN and to have a SUPPORTIVE ATMOSPHERE as it was intended when Sandra created it and that’s what’s going to happen. The rules will be posted and enforced once the group reopens in a few days. Until then, I would like everyone to make themselves aware of the rules. If you do not agree with the rules or the changes you may leave Voluntarily, if you decide to “push back” and ignore the groups rules (due to the size of this group) I will remove you involuntarily, no questions asked. Im sure there are other groups available where Adoption is Uncensored 😉 or have You Facing Reality 😉on a daily basis. I wholeheartedly encourage you to find them and be educated even further about Adoption Land. There are some harsh realities that we must make ourselves aware of to help our children but we will talk about those issues in a respectable Manner as adults. The rules presented here are very fair, this is a SUPPORT GROUP not a BATTLEFIELD.
There is no Us Vs. Them mentality. You are not going to agree with all the changes, that’s a given. We can’t please everyone nor will we attempt to try. We are all adults trying to find the best ways to serve children who have been placed in a situation they did not ask to be in.
The group will reopen in a few days
I look forward to interacting with everyone here!”
Seems reasonable right? It explained everything. Well I soon got word that the individuals where in an uproar over their removal. I was officially the bad guy out to ruin Adoption Land. According to them I’m trying to “Silence their voice”, I’m a “Fragile, self serving, conceited, Dictator Admin” who wants to paint Adoption Land with rainbows and unicorns because I’m intimidated by them (Their words not mine). And you know what ? I’ll be whoever they need me to be, even if it’s far from the truth. But as an Admin of any group, I will not be a referee. Furthermore, since I’ve went viral a few times in the past few years I’ve been attacked by thousands for being a African America who Adopted White children with hate messages and all, so what’s 30-40 more, you know.? I can’t control how anyone feels or how they feel about me, I’m not responsible for their feelings, that’s on the individual to control.
Because of my purge of these individuals, it seemed in reality not only did I take over the “Vents” Group, But I unexpectedly took over their groups too, because every time I’d post it would be screen-shot and ridiculed for days within their groups. Even as I write this blog post, still Hot Topic. They won’t like that I said that, but it’s all facts. I feel as long as they have time to criticize and discuss my every move I’m in complete control of their groups. Not that I want it, but it is what is. Seems like an echo chamber to me. I know rejection can be hard, but there are over 100 groups (literally) that focuses on FosterCare and Adoption topics, they should simply move on.
Let’s talk about Privilege Voice
In some Adoption and FosterCare groups Admins allow “Privilege Voices”, in a nutshell certain voices are held to a higher regard than other members. Now I’m about to say something that’s going to piss a lot of people off, but this just my opinion and my blog. Here goes, Privilege Voices can destroy groups. It depends on the group of who has a Privilege Voice. But here’s my protest, not everyone can handle the privilege! There are those who blatantly abuse the privilege. In my opinion, Privilege voice is no different than White Privilege. Let’s not forget, when White Privilege was Brantley allowed that left a entire race abused and oppressed for hundreds of years! And they way I see it this is another form of that happening within Adoption Land. Listen, I agree Foster and Adoptive need to consider voices of Adoptees, Former Foster Youth and even the feelings of Birth Mothers. But when there is Privilege among one group somewhere there is another group being silenced and oppressed and that’s not productive, which is why I don’t allow those practices inside my groups. No one wins, there always a battle over the pettiest of things. There are experiences on all sides to be shared and considered because we use that knowledge to raise our children the best way we can. That’s what Support groups should be for.
I’ll leave you with a message from one of the individuals I removed from the Vents Group who reached out to me and my response will follow. I heard her out and explained why I took the action I did. As of now I have yet to receive a response.
“Hey Barry, I know you’ve blocked a lot of people so I’d like to take this moment to say one thing. A lot of the so called “trouble makers” (to use a term Rhonda used) are APs. And most of us were where a lot of new posters are now- overwhelmed, dealing with infertility, wanting a family so bad, etc. But once we informed ourselves about adoption, and started to listen in groups with more expectant/ birth moms and adoptees, some of the blinders fell off. When you think about the fact that adoptees are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide and represent more of the prison population than non-adopted/ foster folks, you can see why some of us are urging people to do thins ethically and not dismiss adoptee voices. I’m sure you understand being a foster dad- how many times have you been told that foster kids are damaged, that there’s no saving them? Don’t you educate people? That’s what was going on- that’s it. When you know better, you do better. Even Sandra agreed with me when I said that a couple of times.
Also, for the record I don’t think you’re self serving or fragile.”
“Hi Jen P.
I appreciate you taking time out of your day to reach out. I dont view anyone I’ve blocked as Bad individuals because I dont know them on a personal level. But as the Admin, I want the group to have a supportive atmosphere with less combative interactions so I swept out the group. Jenny you very well may be great person but My Grandmother always said “You are the company you keep”.
In response to your message (I’ll admit I had no intentions on responding) I just want to let you know my goal is not to Silence anyone or be combative with anyone on any side of Adoption Land, (I know that’s the rumor that going around) but support groups such as vents is where many come to seek comfort and hopefully will learn a few things from others experiences. I spent 95% of my life in KinshipCare(similar to FosterCare) with a grandmother I didnt know, away from all my siblings and Bio parents so I share the same experiences and feelings the same as Adoptees. And now as a Foster Parent and AP of 3 boys, I have another perspective. I do however have an issue with screenshots of private groups being posted publicly and in other groups to be judged and ridiculed. Those individuals creating the same screenshot rule, then allowing it to be done to other groups seems Hypocritical honestly. Doesn’t seem that’s very productive and in my opinion if you are associated with it you condone it. As an Admin, I dont need members to agree with everything I say, What I need is for members to deliver their experiences and resources with tact and respect. I have no issue with Expectant Mothers wanting to keep their children or changing their minds to do so, it’s their right. I have no issue with SOS providing EMs with resources to help preserve their families, it’s amazing. I’m aware that there are Adoptees/FFY who have been mistreated by adoptive families and rejected by bio families, I want their experiences/voices to be heard, no doubt, but to educate there has to be a understanding in the end the adult will do whatever they feel is best for the child in their care whether others agree or not. This includes mothers who decides to place their children. I believe ethics are extremely important. But I don’t view everyone that disagrees with me as Unethical, that’s the perception those individuals give to others, maybe some are actually ignorant to how things work but not always unethical. Let’s be honest, in Adoption Land there are dark parts on all sides, APs who forcing religion and name changes on older youth, Foster parents only taking in children just for a check, EMs scamming individuals desperate to have a child, Haps so desperate for a child they will illegally obtain them over the Internet, APs adopting children with trauma then not having a clue what to do so they give them a “Second Chance” with another chance with a family they’ve hardly done a background check on, Haps doing a bait and switch on Birth Mothers. The list goes on and on, so I do get it. But if others are going to claim to educate the should first improve their approach because the advice, experiences and provided resources will fall on deaf ears once they become aggressive, or blunt, whatever they want to call it. Again, No disrespect intended to anyone, if I’ve offended anyone, my apologies to you all.
Thanks again for reaching out. Take care.”