. . . on behalf of all my fellow TRA’s and adult adoptees – pay us what we’re worth.
We are really tired of being asked to speak on your panel, write for your newsletter, contribute to your organization, all pro-bono.
You appeal to us by telling us how much it will mean to your children.
How much it will mean to you.
We like hearing that, to be sure. But you guys are exploiting us!
Trust me, we’re completely used to being asked to be an Adoption Poster Child. Of course we want to help out. We even dig deep, talk about the saddest times in our lives, the hardest times when we dealt with feelings of abandonment, racism, strained relationships with adoptive parents. We give you advice, we talk about what would have been better for us, we answer your questions, we allow ourselves to be under the microscope.
But if we’re traveling across the country for one of your conferences, so that you can hear those pearls of wisdom from our lips, remember that we’re taking time off of work, leaving our homes and families, and spending the money to go where you are. The least you could do is compensate us like you would Mr. or Ms. Social Work/Adoption Professional.
Especially since we’re supposedly giving you the information that means so much to your kids.
The extra guilt trip bestowed on us for not caring enough about our future TRA sisters and brothers is hurtful. That’s why for so long, we’ve gone out of our ways to help you guys out. It’s kind of irritating that now that I’ve got that alphabet listing behind my name, I’m credible and certified enough to get paid invitations, but I still get solicitations on a weekly basis to help out my fellow – adoptee? Except that it’s not the adoptees who are asking. It’s the adoptive parents or the adoption agencies.
Money is an issue for everyone – I know that we are in time of cutbacks and belt-tightening. But it’s wrong to ask adoptees to come, bare their soul for you, share all the hard things they’ve experienced, and lay themselves vulnerable – all for the "gratitude" of being questioned, disliked and sometimes even harassed for speaking up.
So, on behalf of my many friends who email me, asking me if they should participate in yet another panel, another newsletter, another workshop or another conference for an adoption agency or adoptive parent group for free, I am speaking out for all of us.
How many of you are willing to lay your life bare and raw for an audience for the compensation of a handshake, parking validation and perhaps a stale cookie and coffee in the back of the room?
So when we say no, it’s not because we don’t care about your children. It’s not that we don’t care about the future adoptees. It’s just not our job to be at everyone’s beck and call to help out adoptive parents or adoption agencies for free. The irony is that for many of us, once we’ve spoken once or twice, people start to refer us to other parent or agency organizations. Some of us get requests on a weekly basis. Not only did we have no choice or say in our adoption experience, those of us who want to help others now have to deal with the politics of choosing who we are willing to work for free.
Most of us are willing to do a panel once in a while, or a piece for a newsletter. But remember, please. We just shouldn’t have to do it all for free. We want to be taken seriously, and with respect. And if you really want to hear what we have to say, you’ll put your money where your request is.