Entitlement is often spoken and written and blogged about in the adoption community. We know it fuels adoptions. But...do we recognize how deeply it motivates through justification.
I was watching a re-run of an old crime show on TV. The detective on a murder case commented on how feelings of entitlement - I deserve it (whatever "it" is) - especially when combined with feeling it unfair that others have what you feel entitled to, can lead to justifying most anything. The "it" could be a promotion, a husband or wife, wealth, fame... or a child.
Think about it. Rapists often it feel it unfair that women tease or simply say no after feeling they were led on. They feel entitled and take what they want, even with force.
Child molesters justify their action because the children want their "affection." They believe they are being "good" and loving to the their victims.
Thieves, too often feel a deep sense of injustice that others have wealth and possession they cannot afford but feel entitled to. Same with white color criminals. they're just - in their justification - leveling an unfair playing field.
Men who feel their wives are not giving them enough sexually, feel entitled and justified cheating. Women who catch their husbands cheating likewise use it to justify their doing likewise. It's only fair!
Injustice, unfairness, entitlement.... put them together and they justify taking anything by any means.
Infertility builds strong resentments and immense feelings of unfairness. Why can other women get pregnant so easily, even when they don't want to or are not ready, but they can't? UNFAIR! Monumentally unfair when you "know" you would make as good or better a parent than teens who get pregnant... Infertile women and same sex couples hear about women aborting and they think how UNFAIR! They read about mothers who abuse, neglect, abandon and they know it is UNJUST! Entitlement is joined by it's first cousin: resentment, bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.
In adoption, this attitude and way of thinking is what allows prospective adopters in Finding Fernanda to ignore blatant signs of corruption and illegalities such as seeing multiple photos of the same child with different names or seeing the same name labeling photos of different children. They know it's not right and they ignore it because it might harm their chances of getting what they want, what they lust for and feel entitled to.
It is illustrated vividly in the documentary Wo Ai Ni (I Love You), Mommy that follows a woman as she goes to China to adopt. And there, in a hotel room, she counts out piles of cash on her hotel bed and says: "I know this looks wrong, but it's just how things are done." The essence, the very definition of justification!
Adoption differs however from crimes that are committed based on entitlement, resentment, envy and justification because adoption is not just socially accepted, it is encouraged and promoted. Those who adopt are treated as heroes. .
Bonus - adopters not only get what they long for, they initially receive compassion for the loss of their fertility and after adoption, society's admiration for rescuing an 'unwanted' child! Win-win for them!
Society buys into "the ends justifies the means" hook, line and sinker. It matters not what bribes are paid, how mothers are coerced, how children are trafficked, or who is exploited... We - actors and society - ignore the exploitation of "them" as "other." "They" - destitute and desperate mothers are not "us." The public can identify with the longing for a child to parent and care for, but cannot identify with being coerced or pressured, or merely lacking the resources to provide... They become "other" -- dehumanized - like enemies in war.
And their children? The end up going to "better" homes. Our social mores and our laws put their seal of approval on anything goes tactics because the end justifies the means - any means.
The US State Dept even turned a blind eye when Guatemala revoked an adoption after affirming that Anyeli was kidnapped from her mother, Olga Rodriguez. DNA testing to deny or confirm the kidnapping allegation and was never orders and the adoption of Anyeli Hernandez Rodriguez by Timothy and Jennifer Monahan's of Missouri was declared "legal."
Kidnapping justified by not just the perpetrators, but by the highest law in the land. Kidnapping justified by ethnocentric enlistment and the belief that the end - an American life - justified the means. (Similarly, many contested adoptions involve two states fighting for entitlement.)
Reversing these motivators is no easy task. Simply exposing the exploitation and corruption has proven to have very limited effect. One country closes, another is targeted. Nothing will stop until the social justification ends.
Reducing infertility would also help reduce demand, but we as a society do virtually no preventive education. Why bother, when you can "always adopt"? Why prevent a problem that supports two multi-billion dollar industries - infertility and adoption? certainly those profiting have no reason to help with prevention of infertility or family preservation.
The severest cases of adoption entitlement are seen in contested adoptions. The audacity of adopters to go to the lengths they do to fight loving, capable parents. The become obsessed in their belief of themselves as superior and more entitled to the child than th child's blood mother, father or both. They seem never to think how they will justify it to the child later in life when the child eventually reads the details and/or meets the loving/capable parents who fought to keep their child.
And the cause of many contested adoption are are broken openness promises once the adoption is finalized.