Friday, August 27, 2010

Adoption Destiny?

"It is a particularly generous kind of parental love that embraces a life one did not give."

"It is one of the noblest things about America that we care for children of other lands who have been cast aside."

These ignorant words appear in a Washington Post OpEd/book review in which Michael Gerson gushes over the book with a title that makes our skin crawl: "Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other" by NPR's Simon Scott. The column is has the equally nauseating title:  "From a broken bond to an instant bond."

I use the word "ignorant" because it seems Scott and Gerson are unaware that 90% of the children in the world living in orphanages and labeled orphans have at least one living parent or family member who visits and hopes to be reunified.  Was it generous or noble of Madonna, for instance, to take two children from families who did want them adopted? If adoptive parents are generous and noble does that not mean their children must forever feel grateful to them for their generous nobility?

What is generous or noble about wanting a child so badly you'd pay any price, usually after jumping through every possible hoop and going through thousands of dollars and a good deal of pain, time and mental and physical energy to try all methods of conception?  What is generous or noble about ignoring hundreds of thousands of children in U.S, foster care and traveling around the world to find a child whose parents are less likely to "interfere"?

Gerson, Scot and others who buy into this sappy nonsense are either unaware or turn a blind eye to child trafficking for adoption in which mothers are drugged, held at gunpoint or otherwise intimidated or deceived as their children are stolen or kidnapped by baby brokers who sell them to orphanages with falsified papers.  They ignore case after case that has been reported in Guatemala, China, India, well as contested adoptions right here in the U.S. many of which involve fathers' constitutional rights being totally denied.

Defying all logic, they chose instead to believe that the theft and kidnappings of children or the dire poverty of their families were all "meant" to be in order to fill their need and make them happy? How egocentric can people be?    

They only see adoption from their perspective and wear impenetrable eyeshades to block out anyone else's feelings - most of all the child who is expected to feel the same "instant bond" they do - with zero consideration for the child's need to mourn what they have lost...even if that is only the familiarity of an orphanage and their native tongue.

The book review/op ed goes on to say:
International adoption has its critics, who allege a kind of imperialism that robs children of their identity. Simon responds, "We have adopted real, modern little girls, not mere vessels of a culture." Ethnicity is an abstraction...
Adoptive "generosity" and "bond" are the real abstractions!! "Modern' children? What does that mean? They were created to be exported?

Adoption suspends all truth, reality and logic and turns it into lies and fantasy while recasting lies as pseudo-truths. It has to make sense of such a totally UNNATURAL phenomenon.

In order to accept the premise that a child half way around the world was "meant" or destined or fated or that it was God's will that they become part of your family, you need to accept that it was fate or destiny or God's will that his or her parents were "meant to" suffer a grievous loss, as was the child who suffered being institutionalized waiting for all your dollars to clear and papers to be filed properly. That her family was "meant" to be simply breeders for your happiness, your generosity and nobility in stripping them of their child; that a mother was "meant" to be used as a vessel or conduit just for you.

You need to believe that your happiness and the fulfillment of your desires to "complete" you and create your family is worthy in the eyes of God - or whomever controls our fate and destiny - of all that suffering. A bit pompous? Arrogant?

Can you imagine for a moment the recipient of a donor organ calling themselves the generous or noble ones in the exchange? Imagine them thinking - much less saying - that their new body part was "meant for them."? The narcissism, and disrespect overflows. Bad analogy? I agree. An organ - human tissues - do not have feelings of loss, do not grieve, do not wonder who they look like or where they got their musical talent from, or why they were given away.

Even people like Sandra Bulluck who tried for four years and had several hoped-for adoptions not come to pass, and says she never thought it would be a boy....yet she still believes it was "destiny" that she wound up adopting after her marriage feel apart. In an interview with the Today show she said: "Everything works out the way the universe wants it to work out." (Give me a break!) The mother and father of the boy she calls Louis might not agree. It's like people who get cured of a horrible disease and credit their belief system...does that mean that those who don;t get cured didn't "deserve" to? It was their "fate" to succumb?

Plus, if it is all destiny and we have no control of this higher force, then what makes it "noble" or "generous" to adopt?  Isn't that having it both ways?  Especially when the truly "noble" and "generous" way to help impoverished children - and their families - is through programs such as Save The Children, UNICEF, SOS Children's Village. Adoption does nothing to ameliorate the poverty of the family, the village or the just exploits their hardships to meet a demand. And those who create the demand create the market.

Scott's book title and notion is an arrogant, self-absorbed and quite frankly offensive and insensitive display of entitlement. As if the whole word revolves around them and their child exists to please them. What a weight that is to the child!

What is noble or generous about benefitting and meeting your needs and desires by being on the receiving end of others' hardships because you feel entitled to do so?  Before we sing the praises of those who create the demand which creates the market and the feeds the baby brokers' greed, we need to see:

The book is also being discussed at FirstMother Forum, Third Mom and Adoptiontalk as well as on NPR.

UPDATE: AdoptTalk says:
Yep, another old white guy heard from, to tell people of color that "ethnicity is an abstraction." Another non-adopted person telling adoptees that their loss of culture doesn't matter compared to what they gained. A white non-adopted person telling adoptees that the bonds of adoption create ties "stronger than race or tribe." Another Westerner extolling Americans for rescuing "children of other lands who have been cast aside." Another ignorant person calling adoptive parents saints, praising us for our "particularly generous kind of parental love that embraces a life one did not give." 

A whole host of distasteful and uninformed international adoption themes is presented here -- the superiority of receiving countries to sending countries, the superiority of adoptive parents to birth parents, the need for adoption as "rescue," a preference for assimilation into dominant culture to maintaining a distinctive racial identity, the "othering" of foreign people who "cast aside" their children, the complete sufficiency of the adoptive family so that knowledge of the biological family ("tribe") is unnecessary.

And this is what passes as a feel-good piece on international adoption. 

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