Open Letter to Mark Hagland

So….

At first I thought you were just the king of hyperbole.    Everyone that you didn’t like  was “HORRIFIC” or “HORRENDOUS.”  You spent inordinate amount of time talking about how other people had wronged you , but I do that too (maybe not in those exact words, but I am not immune to being gossipy), so who am I to stand in judgment?

Then you started kicking Adoptees and People of Color out of the Transracial Adoption group for speaking their minds and using their authentic voices and I started to become concerned.

Last December, I became concerned enough to tell you that I would not participate in what you were trying to do to yet ANOTHER Woman of Color Adoptee.  And you threatened to leave the Facebook group you founded. “I can’t do it myself” you cried out as you demanded another woman of color to delete you.  (A person who was going through tremendous personal strife at that time because of a death in her family).  You didn’t care.  It was all about you.  You knew that the begging would start “Oh no, don’t go! We’ll do whatever to keep you here.”  You claimed you were still deleting yourself in the morning.

Which you never did. Morning came, you were still there and you said not one word about the ridiculous emotional manipulation that you just put all of us through.

And at that point, I was over the emotional manipulation.  And  wanted to leave.   I should  have left then.   But I stuck around, for the sake of the “mission” and the “children.”  And I really stayed because I felt like I could actually protect the adoptees in our group from you – especially our adoptees who are also women of color.

It didn’t take long before you were at it again.  And this time, I put my foot down.  And was attacked.  Which is totally fine.  I am pretty immune to APs anger and the belittiling tactics they use.  After all, I had watched them do it to other APs for two and half years.   I have been through gas-lighting, white fragility, pearl clutching white women, so all the things that followed were actually amusing to me.

Especially messing with ya girl, Jenn.  Pray for her, ya’ll.  A big nasty bi-racial adoptee (me) has called her out on being a fake ally and a bitch and she doesn’t like it.  Not one bit “Thank you kicking me when I am down” she cried out to a concerned friend who was trying to talk to her.  As far as I know, she is still defiantly using the “One Drop” name in her blog, because, you know, the voice of a Black woman means absolutely nothing to her.  But at the same time, she is trying to claim to be a leader in how to parent children of color, especially Black transracial adoptees.   You picked a winner there, Mark.  Thanks for using that voice to educate White parents of Black children.  The Black community really appreciates it.

But this time, you stepped in it, Mark.  When you try to diminish my voice and call me “mentally ill” – you have gone too far.

This is a common trope for you.  I have personally heard you call many, many people “mentally ill” as a method of making them look bad.  I never really thought much of it, because I am not mentally ill, so it didn’t affect me for you to say that.

I have since been schooled that it is a privilege to be able to just sit by and let you do this.  I have been taken to task for not standing up and telling you that your words are just as bad as racism or homophobia.  To all of those people that I failed in this manner, please accept my sincerest apologies.  I was completely wrong and I should have called Mark out on this issue much, much earlier.

As for your personal, libelous and false attack on me. I have sat on this for about a week now, wondering what I should do.  After all, you were talking about me.  It’s laughable.  I am sure that somewhere in the DSM, I fall on the spectrum, as all people do, but as far as putting me into the category of people who are truly living with mental illness, you went to far. You diminished and denigrated their real and lived challenges by using it as a weapon against me and you owe all those people an apology.

The words “you are living in privilege by not saying anything” were lighting a  fire under me.  And then yesterday, a friend posted this article “Labeling people as ‘The Mentally Ill’ increases stigma.”   And it threw me for a loop.  I was tacitly supporting you stigmatizing people who genuinely have to live with mental illness by not speaking up.  I started asking around more today and listening to different people’s opinions and  after weighing it all, this is my answer:

You are a really low life scumbag for treating mental illness as a stigmatizing weapon.  You are using other people’s pain and struggle for your own personal gain and satisfaction and you ought to be ashamed of yourself.  You ought to be more than ashamed of yourself.  You ought to be disgusted with yourself.

I am putting you in check for them. And any “therapist” who listened to you talk about a third person and gave you this diagnosis of me, they need to lose their license.  That’s not how mental illness evaluations work.   You both are using mental illness as a stigmatizing tool and that is beyond appalling.

And to any of your minions who lap that stuff up and clutch their pearls because of the word of a person with an agenda: You suck!  You know that stigmatizing mental illness will cause more people who need help to run for the closest and never get treatment.  So, you suck.  You really suck big time.  And I pray sincerely that you aren’t an adoptive parent of a child of color, because you don’t deserve to be in that position.

Yes, I am standing in judgment of all of you.

How DARE you take other people’s pain and use it as a weapon.  What kind of monsters are you?

Mark, you present yourself as a reasonable and rational person when in fact, to me, you appear to be filled with hatred.  You hide in secrecy and lies and manipulation and you really crossed a line that never needed to be crossed.

I’m right here, Mark, my blog has an open and public comment section – you are welcome to tell “your side of the story.”  I don’t want to be one -sided here, after all.

But the people have a right to know.  Adoptees who entrust their stories and their emotions to you by being part of your Transracial Adoption Group on Facebook deserve to know the truth about you.

That you will throw them under the bus if they ever dare disagree with you.

That you will silence them and allow APs to talk smack about them.

That you will resort to the tired old trope of the “damaged adoptee” to get your way.

I feel I have to a duty to let them know because my advocacy of adoptees is not some “foolish notion” or “misguided notion” or whatever crap you said about it to the White Adoptive Parents to discredit my actions.  But let me just end with your own words.  This is something you were telling White Adoptive Parents about adoptees and they were lies.  And it’s a real shame that you as an adoptee would do this to other adoptees.

In the end, it is their decision whether or not they deal with you, but at least they will always know the truth.

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About sjwoods318

Mother of six children - five girls and one boy; wife; community organizer, family chauffeur, philosopher, trans-racial adoptee, Deadhead, person of mixed racial heritage, artist, poet, writer who loves to swim, read, and run around with my family.
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3 Responses to Open Letter to Mark Hagland

  1. Ann-Louise says:

    Dang. So he told his one sided view of you to a therapist and got the therapist to agree w him that you are mentally ill and therefore can be written off and not listened to? That’s awful. I’m so sorry Sara.

    • sjwoods318 says:

      Yes, that is apparently exactly what he did. He has told people that this therapist verifies that I have a mental illness. I am wondering how a person like this can be a practicing therapist.

  2. Julie Enyeart says:

    I had read the other post about the group and was looking for a way to subscribe to your blog when I found this. I’m a WAP and I feel so betrayed by Mark and others. No one should be stigmatized for having a mental illness and then to use a fake diagnosis against you is just sick. I’m in the group Starring TRA and even if Mark starts another group, I’m not going back. I’ve had enough of the manipulation, lies, and silencing. I’m really sorry this happened to you. I’m in awe of your courage! Thank you for helping my son.

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