I've added an adoption forum to our forums. For now, it's private and can only be seen by people added to the adoption group — send me a PM on the forum or email me at ken at popehat dot com to be added to it. The focus will be international adoption and related issues, but all people sincerely interested in adoption discussions are welcome.
I've spent quite a bit of time at another forum related to the well-known adoption agency my family used. Why start a new forum? I have a few reasons:
1. The culture of some adoption forums discourages discussion of tough topics like attachment, declined referrals, child trafficking, abuses of international adoption, racism, assimilation, and adoptee anger and discontent. This forum is designed to encourage the discussion of all such issues without the social pressure to address only happy issues and to remain upbeat. I feel that responsible parenting and responsible citizenship within the adoption community requires good faith discussion of these issues.
2. On the other hand, the culture of some adoption forums is strongly anti-adoption and rejects any positive discussion of adoption. Good faith discussion of difficult issues does not require acceptance of any particular criticism of adoption or of society at large. People can and will disagree. This isn't an all-downer forum; it's a forum open to discussion.
3. Some popular forums are sponsored by adoption agencies. As a result people feel reluctant to talk about their experiences with specific agencies, and shrink from posting things based on concerns that the agency or their social workers will read them and it will impact their application. This forum is designed to eliminate those concerns.
4. Some forums have a strong religious culture. There's nothing wrong with that; many people feel comfortable in such forums. But some people have been made to feel unwelcome if their perspectives on adoption aren't premised on faith, or if they are not religious themselves. This forum is open to everyone regardless of faith or lack thereof and has no bias towards a particular approach to adoption issues.
5. Many adoption boards exist primarily for mutual support. That a good thing. Hopefully fellowship will form here as well, and people will find support with others involved in the adoption community. But this is primarily a forum for discussion. Not all discussions will be designed to make people feel good. And while we expect decent behavior and hope for kindness, ultimately people should not suppress meaningful discussion on adoption issues here for fear of being "non-supportive."
We've got a handful of early members and are looking forward to more. If you are interested, send me that PM or email (register on the forums first if you haven't already). I'm looking forward to good discussions of international adoption issues.