Hi, Everybody! Know what? A’dad Andrew McDougall is better than you are. Not just richer, oh no. Not just more entitled to the children of others: certainly not! More virtuous. More actually, factually Good–and now far too Good to help anyone else who might need it. (Send five pounds to the starving kid I saw on TV? Nope, fuck that “life I could have saved.” I’m helping society by raising a child of my own! …just like almost everybody else.)
That’s right: Since at least late 2012, Mr. McDougall has considered himself super special for raising a child he didn’t contribute that one precious cell to. Why is that nobler? Is it because adopted kids are defective and require extra special love, or because the real reason to have a child is so you can look at your own face all day without walking to a mirror every time? Sorry, but I don’t think those are good reasons to parent. I think parenting is about wanting to raise a child, period. So the fact that you are raising one “not your own” makes you…a dad! The fact that you accomplished this by adoption makes you…a (damned lucky and privileged) dad! The fact that you filled out all the forms and waited and hoped makes you…a dad! The fact that you wrote an article about “the adoption process moral pedestal” (and I hope you made that phrase up just now) makes you…an asshole. Congratulations! I’m sure your child will be thrilled to learn about your “moral pedestal” once s/he’s old enough to Google his/her own name.
(Seriously: “Daddy, what’s a pedestal? …If you weren’t standing on one, would you still have loved me?”)
You, Mr. MacDougall, adopted in January of last year, so you’re an expert. (What about your wife, who is *no doubt doing all the heavy lifting? She’s mentioned in the article exactly once, and as “my wife.” But I digress.) Of course, your Year-Plus-Eight-Months Adoption Experience-ence-ence-ence! doesn’t mean you’ll think of the rest of us as lesser people for not adopting. Heavens no. That would be
wait for it
Is it that my adoption story sees me sit on the moral high ground pouring judgement down upon those of you who haven’t adopted – shame on your having your own children, the fires of hell await?
What? Why is your adoption story spying on you? While we’re at it, does your adopted child have an adoption story which is in any way separate from “your adoption story”? Didn’t think so.
Or I could opt to patronise you and say that ‘not everyone is cut out for adoption’.
Which is, of course, absolutely true.
No of course that isn’t my view.
Of course it isn’t, Mr. McD. This is a parody, right? And now my commentors and I will have the joy of deciding what to call the adoption debate equivalent of Poe’s Law, won’t we? You’re making fun of the dialog currently surrounding international adoption, aren’t you?
Aren’t you? I mean, it’s hard to tell, because you keep contradicting yourself and because your writing confuses me:
This adoption process has (rightly or wrongly) given considerable boost to the feeling that my contribution to society has allowed me to stand proud at the summit of my moral pedestal.
“If I write it poorly enough, I can write this sentence so it says ‘the adoption process’ is an active subject that runs around forcing people to do and feel things, rather than a process I initiated. –Oh! is that a pedestal? Do I have to climb it, Mister Adoption Process? To its very summit, even? [blushes, titters] Thank me so much! But really….”
As the adoption process fills more of my life, the greater the realisation that this was meant to be.
Someone paid you to write this, didn’t they? They need their money back. Look: the common English construction here is “The more X, the more Y.” You could also have chosen “as X, so Y.” Instead, you went for the mixed construction while again choosing to frame “the adoption process” as a subject which acted upon (a passive, implied) you, all on its own. This is so symbolic of the way we talk about adoption I could just eat it up with a spoon (or belt it one, I’m not sure which oh yes I am).
So my adoption pedestal helps me hold my head high, and saves me a few quid, but it is not license to bark my pseudo new moral army of beliefs at people.
What a wonderful man you are, Mr. McD, to write an article about how much better you are than non-APs in the name of protesting that you’re no better than non-APs. You’re an arrogant ass, but that’s not what infuriates me about your article.
You imply that raising a kid in the UK somehow costs less than sending, what was it, five pounds per month overseas (for some lousy kid you don’t even get to name and coo over and climb a pedestal about). That’s not what infuriates me about your article, either.
What infuriates me about your article is the fact that it is still so indicative of the way we think about adoptees. Adoptees are castoffs, mistakes, bad blood. It takes a very, very special person to care about the likes of us. And it takes a super special person to not only care, but to call his caring nothing special while waving it around like a winning Powerball ticket.
Cynical as I am, it had never occurred to me before reading this article that there is an “adoption process moral pedestal” APs get to climb whenever they see a TV ad for a charity because they already scraped some let’s-face-it gutterkid out of the gutter.
If my a’dad were alive, Mr. McD., he’d be ashamed to share the title “dad” with you. He never talked of helping society by taking me off someone else’s hands. He talked of being lucky to have me and my a’bro in his life. And you know what? He was a good dad and a good man. I could write paragraphs of support for that statement, but they’d probably tip off someone as to his identity, so I hope you’ll take my word for it.
He published a fair few articles, too, but none were about being an adoptive dad–perhaps because he had a crazy thing like his children’s privacy in mind. Still, at his funeral, I think I shook the hand of half the population of [my region of my home state].
I keep rereading this article and hoping it’s a parody. And I really do wonder if Mr. McD. didn’t mean to be somewhat, somehow light-hearted here. But I can’t tell, because I can’t laugh about this:
…[M]y adoption pedestal [...] is not license to bark my pseudo new moral army of beliefs at people.
Then come down off it, Sir. Because making others feel less than you is the one and only thing pedestals are for. And here’s what is carved on that thing:
I AM A WELL-OFF WHITE WESTERN MAN WHO IS SO MUCH SMARTER THAN YOU ARE THAT I CAN FOOL BOTH MYSELF AND YOU ABOUT MY BRAGGING WHICH IS TOTALLY NOT BRAGGING.
*I got this wrong: He’s a stay-at-home dad, and is therefore doing a good part of the heavy lifting. (My point remains: When a dad does childrearing, it’s bragworthy. When a mom does it, nobody notices.)