I define integrity very simply – the ability to stand up for what you believe in despite pressures to go along with the rest of the majority. That belief in your cause and the integrity to not bend down to societal pressure, is what has ensured society has continually evolved into a more compassionate, aware, tolerant and better world.
Adoption was discussed in our home and like every other topic was an open subject that could not be stigmatized or put into a stereotypical box and the good, bad, and ugly were all up for discussion. Nor would our other set of parents be stigmatized, put down, dismissed from the equation, or put into a stereotyped box. We were taught by mom and dad to stand up for change when something was not right and not bow down to societal mores that dictated inhumane treatment of others. They had the ability to look at something and see what was wrong and believed that by speaking up, change could happen.
Yesterday that stereotypical box opened and Cassi from Adoption Truth got put in it by Circle of Moms. The lid was slammed closed and sealed tight. I have reviewed the FAQ’s relating to the contest as well as the opening statement:
Are you a mom who blogs about adoption or foster parenting? Whether you’re an adoptive mom, foster mom, adult adoptee, fostered adult, or mother who placed a child for adoption, we’re looking for mom bloggers who write about adoption or foster parenting in a supportive, positive way.
Cassi is a mother…and writes posts in support adoptee rights and rights for mothers. I consider that supportive and positive.
If they had wanted to ensure only pro-adoption status quo mentality was the requirement the sentence structure should have been: We’re looking for pro-adoption as it is practiced today bloggers who write about adoption or foster parenting in a supportive, positive way.
Do the Top 25 lists and Circle of Moms support “Blog With Integrity“?
Yes, we do. Most especially, we support the second item of “Blog With Integrity”: I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.
Cassi attacks ideas not people. She has integrity in her beliefs and works to change the way adoption is practiced.
I am baffled that Cassi has been singled out when several/many of the adoptive mothers, as well as the adult adoptees on the list have all spoken out about the ethical reforms needed in adoption, how corruption is part of adoption, how family preservation should always be the first choice when possible, and how adult adoptees should have the same rights as all other individuals. Different styles, different individuals but many on that list have the exact same concerns and have expressed them publicly on their blogs.
Something was still nagging at me that perhaps I was missing something.
After mulling for a bit I got to thinking well perhaps my understanding of integrity is different from what Circle of Moms is, so I went to Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy to read up on it and trust me, it is intense. Salient points in #8 are below, but best to read as a whole to ensure my bias is not limiting your view.
8. Integrity in relation to Social and Political Conditions
Susan Babbitt (1997, p. 118) says that an adequate account of personal integrity must:
…recognize that some social structures are of the wrong sort altogether for some individuals to be able to pursue personal integrity, and that questions about the moral nature of society often need to be asked first before questions about personal integrity can properly be raised. Questions about integrity may turn out to be, not about the relationship between individual characteristics, interests, choices and so on, and a society, but rather about what kind of society it is in terms of which an individual comes to possess certain interests, characteristics, and so on. This does not imply that questions about personal integrity are entirely moral, not having to do with idiosyncratic characteristics of individuals; instead, it suggests that the very meaning of personal integrity in particular cases sometimes depends upon more general considerations about the nature of the society that makes some idiosyncratic properties identifying and others not. The pursuit of adequate personal integrity often depends, not so much on understanding who one is and what one believes and is committed to, but rather understanding what one’s society is and imagining what it could be.
If society is structured in such a way that it undermines people’s attempt at either knowing or acting upon their commitments, values and desires, then such a structure is inimical to integrity. And if integrity is connected to well-being, then adverse social and political conditions are a threat—not merely an ultimate threat, but also a daily threat—to well-being. The twentieth century technical term for this mismatch is alienation. Alienation results when people are so confused or conflicted—are relentlessly exposed, for example, to the social manufacture of incompatible desires—that they take on roles they mistakenly believe they want or deceive themselves about wanting.
Those who are oppressed seem to be in a paradoxical relation to integrity. On the one hand, members of oppressed groups would seem to be deprived of the conditions for developing integrity: the freedom to make choices how to act and think. As Babbitt (1997, p. 118) notes, one needs to be able to make choices in order to develop the kinds of interests and concerns which are central to leading a life of integrity. On the other hand, oppressed people are often able to reflect on political and social realities with the greater insight because they do not benefit from them. They have no incentive to adopt self-deceptive/self-protective attitudes about circumstances of oppression or to see past them with convenient blindness. Oppressed groups therefore have all the more scope to think about social reality with integrity, and to act out of this understanding with integrity. A capacity for reflection and understanding enables one to work toward integrity even if it does not ensure that one achieves an ideal of integrity.
Any attempt to strive for integrity has to take account of the effect of social and political context. The kind of society which is likely to be more conducive to integrity is one which enables people to develop and make use of their capacity for critical reflection, one which does not force people to take up particular roles because of their sex or race or any other reason, and one which does not encourage individuals to betray each other, either to escape prison or to advance their career. Societies and political structures can be both inimical and favorable to the development of integrity, sometimes both at once.
I am guessing that Circle of Moms definition of Integrity is different from mine…