I Control the English Language, and I Say…

This article is old, but the comments section keeps on going, so I’m gonna tackle it. Says Amanda Kosior:

Dear journalists, scriptwriters, and other members of the media: I officially revoke your ability to use the word “adoption,” in any of its related forms.

No, Ma’am. You do not get to tell all the media in the world to never again use the words “adoption,” “adoptive,” “adopting,” “adopted,” “adoptee” and any others I might have forgotten. That would be a grotesque denial of reality. That would shut down any media, literary, or public discussion of the A-matter altogether, wouldn’t it? And nobody wants that, right?

I believe Ms. Kosior does want that (although I suspect she’d make an exception for ads suggesting women “consider adoption,” because she’s looking to A-word a second child right now). She says The lead story on CNN recently (which was not about adoption in any way, shape or form) pointed out not once, but twice, that a couple adopted their son. In one instance, they use the line, “…[She] carried him out of the hospital in her arms, as ecstatic as if she’d carried and birthed him herself.” A sensation, indeed: imagine, a woman whose name is on her own child’s birth certificate is over-the-moon at the anticipation of parenting her actual son. A banner day for mothers everywhere, to be sure.

Her name’s on the birth certificate. The child is hers. Why so defensive? Aren’t APs usually the first ones to insist that it doesn’t matter, that adoption is wonderful and love is love? Isn’t that what you’re saying? Yet you sound like you’re arguing that there is not enough secrecy in adoption, which is bizarre at best.

My favorite is when the article goes something like this: “Nicole Kidman will begin shooting her movie next week. Kidman, who has two adopted children, one biological daughter, and another daughter born by surrogate, cut her hair for the role.

As my many “celebri-tease” posts attest, I have a problem with articles about celebrity adoptions too: I think they’re insulting and exploitative and need to stop. But Ms. Kosior seems not to like the A-word in this context because she thinks it’s somehow a knock at her as a mother to have it said that raising adopted children is different than raising biological children, which is absolutely true. I repeat, this is absolutely true. Different does not mean lesser, it just means different. (And reducing it to extra ice cream sprinkles is not cute or funny.)

Here’s the thing: People want to know about celebrity adoptions because they want to know about celebrities, not adoption. They don’t care that one of Angelina Jolie’s children was literally stolen; they just want to see photos of her with her Majickal Rainbow Family. I, as an adoptee, am not angry because the adopted kids of celebs are called adopted, but because they are being exploited for entertainment, because their adoptions were often corrupt, and because these corrupt adoptions are being held up as evidence of the celebs’ humanitarian status and their extra-special capacity to love. And that’s fucked-up.

Of course, Ms. Kosior does have a point. It is hurtful as Hell to be referred to as adopted as if it means less-than. The problem is when she jumps from “this is hurtful” to “so shut up about it.” You skipped a step. That step is exploring why it’s hurtful. It’s hurtful because society still thinks deep down that being adopted is being less-than. And you know how you’re not going to change that? By denying adoption and never speaking of it. That’s how we handle things that really are shameful and less-than, isn’t it?

Like so many APs before her, Ms. Kosior is simply denying differences. Denying differences hurts adoptees, and we have known this for a long time now. It’s as hurtful as denying any other differences we’d rather ignore. It does, for instance, matter whether you’re black or white. That’s not a statement about the inherent quality of human beings, but about societal and cultural differences. It does matter whether you’re male or female. And it does matter whether or not you are adopted. Again, that’s not a statement about the quality of child or parent, but a statement about the reality of the way your family was formed.

Know how you can tell someone is really enlightened about an issue? They don’t flinch from talking straight about it.

Why does she deny the differences? As I said before, I think it’s because she thinks the A-words are a knock at her as a mom. She pretends it’s for the sake of her children, saying she wrote the blog post

out of the fear that one day another kid will tease him or her about something over which they had no control or participation based on some nonsense they read on the Internet or saw on Nick Jr.

Well, Ms. K, that’s gonna happen. That is absolutely going to happen. I mean, I think you’re dead-on when you say it’s inappropriate to use the same word to signify bringing a child into your family, acquiring a pet, and cleaning up a stretch of highway. People do say stupid, insensitive things about adoption. And I do sometimes get a twinge when I see someone’s child described in a newspaper story as “adopted” when it *doesn’t seem relevant. But demanding that the world stop doing that right now, and do it by blotting words out of public discourse, is insane.

Your son is going to hear the dreaded A-words, your son is going to be questioned and teased, and if you don’t prepare yourself to deal with that when it happens, you won’t be doing him any favors. Kids tease other kids about things they have no control over all the time. (I got teased about being adopted…and having freckles and the way my mom chose to cut my hair and being female and being white). Adults go so far as to kill each other for similar reasons rather often. This is the planet you live on. To pretend otherwise is to be the AdoptoLand equivalent of people who use phrases like “post-racial America” or “sexism is over” without a trace of irony (or self-awareness, or any sort of awareness really). And the adoption world is already so awash with such people and such levels of denial it’s hard to have a conversation about it at all, let alone examine it and see whether we can improve it. And you want to make this worse even though it directly hurts your son? Then it’s not about him, it’s about you.

I mean, how can you point out how crappy people are to adoptees without realizing that shutting down the conversation entirely is simply another and worse form of shaming? HOW? How can you make this all about you and your legal ownership papers?

The fact is, parenting is parenting. There is no asterisk next to my name on my son’s birth certificate. My “Mom” necklace is not surrounded by quotation marks. In the eyes of my country and God, I am my son’s mother.

Yes! Yes, you are! Why, then, are you so damned defensive about it? (Also, did anyone else read “ME ME ME ME REAL MOMMY ONLY MOMMY ME MOMMY ME ME ME!” just now?) I think somebody’s jealous. That’s a shitty thing for me to say, but it’s written all over this article. If you can’t deal with your child having parents who are not you, don’t adopt, because those other parents are part of the definition of adoption. And that’s why you want the words to go away, and that is so sad for your son (and so so so fucked up).

Say, you know what? I have a better idea. Since it’s the notion you didn’t give birth to your child that apparently distresses you so much, why not forbid the media to use the word “birth” in any of its forms? No “born,” “newborn,” “birthing,” “maternity ward,” or “midwife,” no birth notices in the papers, none of it. Your feelings about birth and adoption are more important than recording reality (and raising children to deal with it), so what difference does it make which words we ban?

Yes, let’s do it that way. Dear Media People: Quit Using the B-Words! Our society sometimes acts as if it is very ashamed about sex and how babies get into the world, so it makes perfect sense. It’s just as stupid as getting rid of the A-words and just as unlikely to happen.


*But why doesn’t it seem relevant? I hope to address this in my next post.


Filed under AdoptoLand, The Adoption Process Moral Pedestal, WTF?!

A Strange, Sad, Question I Hope No One Has Asked

Do Adoptive Families Respect Birth Mothers? is an author-not-listed page on a not-at-all-coercive baby-trolling site called “Adoption For My Baby” (sorry, “ADOPTION FOR MY BABY”). This essay is horrible. It’s really, truly awful. Content warning: “Birth mother,” “birth mother” used to signify a woman who has not relinquished for adoption, coercion, falsehood, mountains of smarm, and disregard for any and all forms of human decency.

This bizarre question, essay aside, makes the spiky urchin very sad. It makes me sad because I can’t imagine asking it unless I were already half-coerced into doing an adoption I didn’t want to do. I can only imagine a woman thinking: OK, I’ve accepted that my baby will be better off without me because I’m single and/or poor, like society says. I’ve accepted that the solution for this is to pick a pretty couple out of a book, let them lovebomb me for a few months and then give them my child and let them name it and raise it, possibly with some input/contact from me.

I’ve accepted all that. I very possibly feel dead inside. But…but will they at least…respect me in the morning? Is there just one tiny emotional crumb I can get out of them in exchange for my flesh and blood?

Any woman who has ever asked herself this question can judge how respected she’ll be by noting that this article about how respected she’ll be starts out by talking about someone else’s feelings:

All girls are born with the same dream.* By playing “house” and with baby dolls, this dream is acted out at a very young age that follows them into adulthood. Then one day the girl awakes from her dream as a woman and finds herself as what she has always wanted to become: a mother. But […]

You may be wondering about now whether I was wrong and this really is about the “birth mother.” Wonder no more:

But what happens if the dream of being a mom is crushed because of problems with infertility? Where does the woman turn next?

Yanno, just the other day I was talking to a friend about a thing I did that I’m not proud of. I asked, “Do you still respect me?” and she said, “Do you have any idea how wonderful and deserving this other person is?” and let me tell you, it perked me right up.

And we all know where the woman turns next: Anywhere, in sheer desperation. If she has money, maybe she’ll pursue IVF or a rent-a-womb in India or the adoption of a real true orphan from an exotic, foreign land.

But if she isn’t willing to settle for anything less than a white, healthy, newborn, and if she must…if she MUST…she’ll turn to you, or any other pregnant woman/girl who isn’t sure how she’ll get along after she has her baby. You, or her, or that lady over there, or someone else. Whoever picks them out of a book of Superbest Wannabe Adopters. You feel respected already, don’t you?

She turns to you, the birth mother of her future adopted child – the one who can once again make her dreams come true.

That is, after all, your purpose in life: The production of a baby for people more worthy than you are. Have you ever felt more respected?

For all of us, the more we struggle to get something, the more we value it and the less we take it for granted. This is undeniably true with infertile couples who see their baby slipping further and further away after every unsuccessful course of fertility treatments. Many infertile couples spend years and tens of thousands of dollars seeking help from a fertility specialist […].

And this is why, in the history of Everything, there have never been any adoptive parents who went to all that trouble for bad reasons (Hi Masha Allen!), or went to all that trouble and then ditched the kids with strangers (Hi excellent series of Reuters articles!), or put them on a plane back to Russia, or killed them outright (Hi 15-20 Russians and scores of assorted other dead adoptees!). No, USAians love our mone–um, er, our children more than that!

And yes, this essay did just compare your child to any other purchased item or monetary investment. Your child is like a house or car. And not just any car: a car people promise not to mess up because, while they totally didn’t buy that car, they did have to wait in line at the DMV and pay taxes and they will have to spend a lot on insurance and maintenance the way people who did buy cars have to do.

However, once they decide to pursue adoption and when they finally receive a child, the fertility treatments, years waiting and money spent was all worth it, because of you.

Don’t you feel sorry for them, very possibly-poor and single and desperate “birth mother”? Those tens of thousands of dollars they spent–and no baby, which they are obviously owed because it is obviously theirs. You can feel the waves of respect washing over you, can’t  you? Do you suppose they would have felt the same kind of “respect” for their fertility doctor had the IVF worked? I mean, like you, and like the test tubes and laboratory equipment, the doctor would have served his or her complete purpose by producing a baby for them, right?

Naah. Doctors are actually, already, nigh universally respected. A medical professional who did his best to get a couple a baby and failed to deliver while taking tens of thousands of their dollars expects respect, even takes it for granted. Maybe women considering relinquishing a child should, too.

Every adoptive family is exactly the same in one very important way: Their adopted child is the light of their lives.

Yes, every single one, as we discovered above.

They love the child as much or even more than they would a biological child because of the painful journey it took to finally become parents.

Every. Single. One. Every adoptive parent is not only as good as, but probably superior to, a natural parent. And yet most people, while claiming to want what’s best for their children, refuse to give them away. Funny that.

Also, this “painful journey” stuff…does it also mean that women who were in labor for the longest time love their kids the most? Does it mean that parents who fucked without birth control three times before she conceived love their kids three times as much? What if a woman were in a car wreck on the way to the hospital and she gave birth in the middle of the road with a broken arm, a ruptured spleen and a concussion: best love ever, right? If that were true, then PAPs who wanted to love their child lots and lots would selflessly decline at least the first child they were offered…so as to make their journey even longer and more painful…so they could love the next kid that much more.

That is why any family you choose will place your child on the highest pedestal

Stop that. No human being belongs on a pedestal. Also, shouldn’t the very respected “birth mother” be standing there if anyone? This article is about her, right?

and will provide him or her with as many opportunities as possible. Your child will have loving parents, a stable household, a good education and countless other opportunities that adoptive families literally can’t wait to share with your child.

Swimming pool, pony, blah blah blah. You can’t buy those things, can you, “birth mother”? You couldn’t even trap a man to help you raise your little bastard (sorry, but how else am I supposed to interpret “loving parents” and “stable household”?). You can’t even afford private school, you worm.  But we respect you so so so much. Nope: Tearing a woman down is not respecting her. This should be obvious to anyone.

There is one opportunity, however, that is bigger and requires more love than all of those combined: The opportunity you provided your child by deciding to place him or her for adoption.

Again, your inability to send your kid to **Stanford makes rich people respect you very, very, much. That’s how our patriarchal, capitalistic system works: It values the poor and the powerless above all others. (And gosh, we’re not asking you to do this to make US happy, no, no, no! do it for the baby! do it for YOURSELF! Help us help you.)

This selfless act will be remembered for the rest of your child’s and the adoptive parents’ lives. You will be thought of not just on holidays and birthdays, but every day, because every time the adoptive parents interact with the child, they will remember the blessing you provided them.

Maybe they’ll put up a little shrine on top of the toilet tank…. I know damned well my APs did not think of my first mother “every time they interact[ed]” with me. Were they grateful for the blessing the stranger provided them? Yes! Is that the same thing as actually thinking about the stranger every time you see your child, hear your child, speak to your child, change your child’s diaper, drive your child to school, etc? No. Is thinking about the stranger the same thing as respect? No. Does being “respected” by people who are nowhere near you help you? I mean, if an AP respects you in the woods and you never know about it, is that respect? No.

Because of their own emotionally draining journeys, adoptive families are empathetic of the pain and grief birth mothers endure throughout the adoption process.

It’s true. You can read all about that empathy here and here and here and here. That empathy is all over the internet if you know where to look for it. The fact is, “birth mother,” some P/APs who haven’t even met you yet already resent you to the point of hatred.

Also, this is a failure of logic. “I never had a baby, so I know how it feels to lose one” makes as much sense to me as “I’m a mugger, so I really empathize with people who have had their wallets stolen” or “I’m rich as hell, so I really empathize with people who struggle to pay their bills.” Sorry, but I don’t believe you do.

They know it is bittersweet that the most exciting day of their lives coincides with one of the most difficult days of yours. That is the reason adoptive families treasure birth mothers, and the love, courage and generosity they exhibit throughout the adoption process.

No, it isn’t. They “treasure” you, whatever the fuck that means, because you have something they want. And there’s no guarantee they’ll go on treasuring you once they get it. But they sure can talk pretty:


Their relationship and respect of the birth mother often result in the birth mother becoming an extended part of their family. Many adoptive families are excited to maintain a relationship with the birth mothers, depending on what is most comfortable for you.

Women considering adoption, do not believe for a second that this is ever going to be about what’s comfortable for you. Wouldn’t it be more comfortable for you to raise your own child and have the resources to do so? And yet no couple is offering you that, are they? If you’re considering “open adoption,” you should know that it is not legally enforceable in (last I checked) forty-nine states. APs can and have cut “birth mothers” out of their children’s lives for “interfering,” for wanting too much input or information, or because they planned to do so all along and played pregnant women for months–all the while professing their respect, even love. Oh yes they have. They say it’s best for the child. They say it’s a decision they made because it was right for their family–you know, the one you’re a member of. And there’s nothing you’ll be able to do about it.

Jerry and Lisa as well as the rest of their friends and family are one example of thousands of adoptive parents whose lives were made complete by the birth mother. Jerry and Lisa and their extended family will always view the birth mother Lona as a blessing.

“We hope (Lona) realizes that she filled a tremendous void in our lives and we will thank her for the rest of our lives,” Jerry writes. “Our entire family and all of our friends only with they could have had the chance to personally tell her ‘thank you.’ We want her to know that she is loved and respected by so many people. She is truly a remarkable lady and will forever be a member of our family.”

The author filled in “(Lona)” above because Jerry, in his his expression of love and respect for the mother of his child, didn’t use her name once in this paragraph. He wrote “she” instead, every time. And when Jerry says he “hope[s] she realizes” and wishes he “could have told her,” he raises two points. One: Sure sounds like this adoption is closed. Unless Lona insisted on that, which is stated nowhere, Jerry and Lisa want nothing to do with her. They don’t give a shit whether she realizes anything, this member of their family they apparently never met. Two: he implies that silly Lona maybe doesn’t know what a serious thing she did in relinquishing her own flesh and blood. Because geez, “birth mothers”…can they really love kids the way you and I do?

Heads up, anyone who’s considering being a “birth mother:” this is what at least one adoptive couple thinks is sufficient “love” and “respect” for you as their “family member.” Words have meanings, but Jerry doesn’t give a shit. I suspect he said anything he had to say to get Lona’s child, and that now he’s saying anything he has to say to help himself look and feel good about that.

Birth mothers like Lona are the heroes of thousands of families who all share the same sentiment: The child’s birth mother is one of the most loving, unselfish and caring individuals on the planet, and she is the reason that their family is whole.

The slaughter of Native Americans is the reason the USA exists. Some of them greeted the white invaders with friendship and gifts. Some white people even have “Indian heroes.” Look how much we respect them! See, in this world, when individuals who don’t have much power are loving and caring and unselfish, they not only get the shaft, they get it extra hard. They get to be cartoons and costumes and sports team mascots.  And when they complain these things disrespect them, those with power insist that this mockery is respect. If you’re considering being a “birth mother,” is that the kind of respect you want?

Adoptive families cherish their children because they are a symbol of the love and selflessness that you and the couple share; they are a symbol of the miracle that helped them overcome the curse of infertility. The love they show to your child will be felt by you, wherever you may be, knowing that you did what was best for your child.

If my parents had ever told me they cherished me because I was a symbol of selflessness, I’d be a lot more fucked up than I am. Adoptive families, if they’re composed of decent people, cherish their children for the same reasons every other decent family does: They love them. And, through the miracle of Adoption Love Transference, that supposedly means they also love you. Even if they lie and cheat and slam the door in your face forever after, you’ll somehow feel their magical love radiating from them to your child to you, no matter how far away they might whisk your baby to get him or her away from you. Sure you will. And that will compensate for your loss quite nicely, kinda like that cheap teddy bear they may or may not have handed you after one of them cut the cord connecting you to “their” baby.

Bullshit aside, when we love someone, we don’t take something precious away from them, especially when we have the power to help them keep it. When we love someone, we want to keep them in our lives and have a close relationship with them and support them and help them and ensure they’re happy to the best of our ability. Pausing in the middle of one’s day to go all dewy-eyed and say “It sure was nice of ol’ What’s-Her-Name to make us a family” isn’t the same thing at all.

The sad fact is, it’s not easy to respect people like single mothers, because society tells us they are the root of the nation’s ills, the cause of poverty and crime (and cancer and acne and terrorism). Single mothers in a patriarchy can be respected, of course, but it doesn’t come easy to most of us. And the hard fact is this: The better-off we are, the less likely we are to care about single mothers AND the more likely we are to be able to adopt. You flat-out cannot respect someone when you know her back is to the wall and you stand to gain from your not helping her. You can’t love her, either.

If there really is any woman out there who’s worried about being respected as a “birth mother,” consider this essay. It was written by someone who is trying to convince you that you will be respected. It appears on a website made by people who profit from adoption. That means they are putting forth their best effort to look good for you, and that this transparent, unwashed tripe is the best they can come up with. Think about that, and then think about what they’ll do and say when they’ve got what they want and any power you had to command their respect is gone.

*No we fucking well are not
**Stanford in particular. I’ll probably get around to that page by and by.


Filed under AdoptoLand, General Ignoramitude, Misognyny, Stop Saying That, WTF?!, You're going to Hell for this.

cut it out, cut it out, CUT IT OUT!

Or, kidlit for grown ups, part four. A couple of APs has decided that if they didn’t write and publish and sell a book, their adopted child–excuse me, their “supernatural” child, whom they hadn’t even adopted when they decided to write a book–could never know his mother loved him. (I will never understand why such couples think they can’t just say it, but that’s beside the point.) They call their book Twice As Tight. The spiky urchin calls it “Snooky Ookums.”

All night long they call each other Bestest Mommy, Bestest Daddy
All they do is talk like Aa-a-ay Peeeeees
(upper-middle class white USAian APs)
She’s his genius mommy-wom
(for realizing adopted children have another mother)
He’s her brilliant daddy-wad
(for deciding that writing yet another book *appropriating that mother’s voice and story for money is an enlightened act)
Here’s the way they primp and whore:
“Love us more, love us more, love us more!”
All night long they call each other brilliant writers, brilliant parents.
All night long adoptees yell “Go to Hell, go to Hell, go to Hell!
While Mom and Dad cry, “For goodness’ sake:
How can we ever make
Money from our honey bunny
AP talk?”

*No, really: “They…wanted to be a voice for women who place their children up for adoption.” Isn’t it tragic that so many women are born without mouths?


Filed under AdoptoLand, Books, General Ignoramitude

Downton Abbey’s Alarming Failure to Pander

or, How Can TV Writers  Fail to Consider My Fee Fees?

(This post needs editing in a bad way. For one thing, I don’t remember the show as well as I thought I did.)

So there’s this TV show. The snurchin watched the first three seasons and has currently lost all interest, but she remembers it pretty well, and (warning!) is about to spoil some of it for you.

On Downton Abbey, one of the noble Crawley family’s three daughters, Edith, has a baby out of wedlock. She does what wealthy women in such a situation did back then: flees to France to give birth in secret, leaves the  baby with a rich family, and “gets on with her life.”

However, the show currently takes place in (I think?) the 19020s, so this is not an adoption. When Edith changes her mind, she simply goes and retrieves the baby. She can’t keep her, of course; she moves her daughter from France to live with a family on or near the Crawley estate, so she can interact with her.

And Dr. Russell Saunders of The Daily Beast hates that, because he’s adopted a kid and attempted another adoption. He wishes Downton could be a bit more modern about these things,  like it was about that one gay character. He knows “it would be ridiculous to expect contemporary mores about adoption to apply” to this situation, but he goes right ahead and demands them anyway.

Then he’s sad when he gets them, because they’re too contemporary. Make yourself comfy; this is gonna be a long one.

First, the lack of contemporary mores: Dr. Saunders apparently wishes the show had considered the grief of the first “adoptive family” for no reason other than to see the grief of a contemporary adoptive family. We have no evidence they grieved; even Saunders can only muster “presumably loving” to describe them. Perhaps they thought of themselves as fostering a child, not parenting it. Perhaps they thought of themselves as helping someone out of her trouble. Perhaps they were relieved to not have to raise the girl. Who knows? What we do know is that they did not adopt. So when Dr. Saunders’ “thoughts immediately turned to the family that had loved the baby and lost her,” he was definitely wishing Downton Abbey would portray them as a contemporary pair of PAPs whose adoption fell  through after years of waiting and hoping and wishing and praying for someone like Edith to get knocked up and give them the greatest gift a couple can ever receive….and for no reason at all. Not only is it probably not realistic, these are incredibly minor characters.  I can’t even imagine where the scene would go or how incongruous it would seem. (“Hey, remember those French people? They’ll never be part of the story again, but we need you to know they’re real sad now.”)

But it really bugs Dr. Saunders that “[t]here was scarcely a mention that Edith’s change of heart would wreak havoc in theirs,” even though there’s no reason to suspect any heart-havoc happened. And he knows that, and he knows it’s wrong to ask that it change, but he really wants it to change. I see can that he relates to those barely-even-characters, and feels for them. And so, it seems, he wants his their pain to be part of the story.

It hardly occurs to him that we don’t see this couple because they are not part of the story. The Lady Edith’s baby Downton Abbey plot thread is not about that first family. It is not about an adoption. It is certainly not about an adoptive couple and what they went through and how long they waited and their special deal with god and their adoption that fell through and their trip overseas and their RADish and their adoption that “disrupted” (all by itself) and their book and their blog and their blahblah snore fart sound. It’s not about them.


I think that’s what really annoys Dr. Saunders, not the fact that the show didn’t project contemporary values back in time for his pet issue (as I’ll eventually argue, it sort of did). He’s finally encountered a conversation addressing something vaguely like adoption that isn’t about him, the adoptive parent. I am entirely sincere when I tell you that, should they choose to do so, adoptive parents can still easily live their whole lives without encountering such a conversation, if they want to. And some of them still want to.

The use of “What about the adoptive parents?” in conversations about adoption is starting to remind me an awful lot of “What about the men?” in feminist circles or “What about the white people?” in conversations about race. What ABOUT you, Dr. Russell? Conversations about adoption are expected to be all about you and your feelings. You are the people with the power and the voice, and yet the minute someone doesn’t pay proper fealty to you, an injustice has been done, even if only to minor fictional characters.

Back at Downton, “another family is now raising [Edith’s baby] as their own, and loving her just the same.” This second family is shown to care about the baby very much–i.e. they are being presented as the good, progressive adoptive parents  Saunders wanted to see. They even took in a child from a sort of “disrupted adoption”! They even have a form of “open adoption”! What could be more contemporary while still being reasonably true to its time? Dr. Russell should be pleased with Edith now, right?

Especially since the audience’s sympathy is with this couple as well as with Edith. They are loving people! We’re even expected to consider their suffering, as he just requested for the first couple! Isn’t it actually better for all involved that Edith placed the baby with them? No, Sirree, not to Russell Saunders.

Why? Because the “progressive” adoption story he said he didn’t want but really does want is too progressive: It does not feature the proud new adoptive couple as the One True Pair of parents. What Dr. Saunders really wanted was a nice, contemporary-flavored Downton Abbey story about adoption featuring a nice, nuclear, Baby Scoop Era adoptive family–not a contemporary, progressive one. But this “adoption story” is going all wrong! Why can’t the baby’s “second adoptive father” (he isn’t) and Edith see “the damage they are doing”?

To what “damage” does Dr. Saunders refer? The damage wrought when the “second a’father” asked Edith, the child’s wealthy, noble mother, to be more involved in her life and to be her godmother. This hurt the “second adoptive mother’s” feelings, because the child already had a godmother. But if you were a pig farmer raising someone else’s kid, especially if you loved her, wouldn’t you want her to have friends in high places, mother or not? And if you were the kind of loving, educated, contemporary, progressive  adoptive father Mr. Saunders said he wanted to see, might you not you feel it would be in your daughter’s best interests to grow up knowing her heritage and her mother? (Oh Hell no, that’s going too far. That woman’s hurt feelings are too important, and we are going to turn this time machine around and go back [or is that forward?] to the 1950’s RIGHT NOW.)

“When the farmer’s wife objected that the child already had a godmother, I could feel her frustration and anxiety. Her love for her daughter has weight, too, and the show owes it to her character to honor it.”

If the show/actress makes it plain that this love exists, isn’t it already being honored? Or would true honor for that love require Lady Edith to turn her back on her daughter and stay out of this couple’s lives forever like a “good birth mother” of the 1950s or 1960s? I think it would require that; in fact, I can’t think what else it would require in Dr. Saunders’ mind. Because I got something wrong about him. I thought he wanted to see a story that would show us what contemporary APs might feel in this situation, i.e., pain. But no. Toward the end of his essay, he says very clearly, “I don’t want to see the little girl’s *adopted parents [sic] in pain.”

(Fuck Lady Edith’s pain. Fuck the baby’s pain, which it will obviously never feel because these two would do such a good job of parenting if that cow would just get out of the way.)

Imaginary people who remind Dr. Saunders of himself, it seems, should not have to feel pain at all. Saunders needs for the APs to be the two and only parents because they are like him. And when people like him  appear in adoption stories, they have always been the main characters and the good guys. Good guys don’t get hurt–they get rewarded. And the reward of adoption was supposed to be the gift from someone else of a baby that has (somehow) never, ever been anybody else’s. Not this “pain” bullshit.

Meanwhile, the people who actually want change in adoption are speaking out and have been for some time. Adult adoptees and our first families want to tell our truths about our stories in our words. You still have most of the power, Dr. Saunders, but you can’t be the main character in every story that involves (or almost involves) adoption anymore. And I don’t care very much how you feel about that.

*?! She didn’t adopt them!Seriously, y’all need to cut that “babies adopt adults” bullshit out, NOW.


Filed under AdoptoLand, Stop Saying That, Tee vee

Wish List

Assuming you celebrate a holiday of some kind around the time the days stop shortening and start lengthening, and assuming that your celebration includes gifts, what adoptoland gift would you wish for?

I wish for

1) Open records for all, immediately.
2) An end to international adoption. Wanna help a child in another country? Go there. Don’t want to go there? Send money. Can’t send money? Solicit money from others, and/or organize. I don’t care what you do as long as you stop pretending it’s acceptable for poor children who want to eat every day to surrender their names, languages, homelands, and existing family ties for that “privilege.” Every child deserves to eat every day without having to be someone they are not in order to do so.
3) A society that does not champion the nuclear family as the true, eternal, and only way to have a family, meaning any other sorts of families must imitate nuclear families no matter who that hurts or how impossible that is.
4) A society that knows women are just as human as men are.
5) A society that knows children are just as human as adults are.
6) A society that prioritizes humanity over money.
7) An end to pre-birth matching.
8) An end to private adoptions.
9) A living wage for a day’s work.
10) A society without victim-blaming.


Filed under Uncategorized

I’ll Just Leave This Here.

Now snark away, snark away, SNARK AWAY, ALL!


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5 Things You Can Do to Show Your Adopted Parents You Love Them

Returning the love is vital in all relationships.






When you were adopted, it wasn’t just your parents who adopted you to be their child. You also adopted them to be your parents. If you were a baby, you obviously didn’t have a say in it, but people who cared about you did. They made sure you ended up in a stable home with parents who would love and care for you your whole life. Or you may have been an older child wanting, even pleading, for someone to adopt you. Either way, you were fortunate enough to be brought by loving parents into a family, just as though you had been born there.

My husband and I are parents of five adopted children, so I know how it feels to be an “adopted mom.” When our kids were little, we loved holding them and tucking them into bed with stories and songs. Some days, I was completely exhausted caring for three little ones under 3 years old. Yes, you heard right. Once we started adopting, we went for it, and God blessed us with these three in three years. I loved being their mom. Two more came along later.

Through the years, they’ve all expressed their love for us in many sweet ways. Here are just few of the things they’ve done that let us know they love us. I could list many more, but this will do for now.

5 Things Our Kids Do to Make Sure We Know We’re Loved

  1. They call us.

When we adopted our first child, a tiny baby boy we named Michael, we were happy beyond words. For years we had wanted a baby but could not give birth to our own. Holding this sweet baby in my arms and knowing he was mine was a dream come true. We cannot express the love we feel for this son. He’s a grown man with children of his own now. And what a blessing he is to us! Now here’s the fun part. Even though he lives hundreds of miles away, he calls us every week at least once, sometimes more. Last time he called, which was just two days ago, he said, “Just checking in on you and Dad. Are you doing OK? I sure do love you.”  How do you think that made us feel? He worries about us and always makes sure we’re doing well. That’s what a good son does. It puts a big smile on our faces every time.

We love it when he shares his life with us, tells us about his job and what he and his wife did for fun that week, or shares a hard time he might be going through. Then he asks us what we’ve been up to. He cares. We wish he lived closer, but with today’s technology we keep in touch quite well. He’s a computer geek and keeps us updated on the latest, including how to use Skype. We love seeing his face as we talk. It’s fun when his wife wanders into the room and says “hi” to us, too. They have a cute little dog that we call our granddog. Sometimes when we’re talking, she climbs up on his lap and vies for the camera. It’s so cute. We almost feel like we’re there. As for his kids, they grew up. The fun part is, they call and check on us, too. We love this sweet family he’s given us.

  1. They thank us for hanging in there during the tough times.

When our daughter Lynda was a young teenager, she was a bit difficult (and so were the others at times). She didn’t like our rules. Sound normal? Yes, she was pretty normal in that department. So we had to learn how to discipline her with love. Sometimes it was really challenging. There were a few times we heard the words, “I hate you!” It hurt, but we knew she didn’t really mean it.

I made some mistakes along the way. After all, I had never been a mom before, so I wasn’t all that good at it at first. Even as they grew I still made mistakes. But I kept trying my best to be a good mom. That’s what moms do. We keep on doing the best we know how.

Now here’s the interesting part. Lynda now has a daughter who gives her fits just like she gave us. It makes me chuckle a little inside when she calls and says, “How can she do that to me?! After all I’ve done for her.” Deja vu. I know exactly how she feels. Then she says, “Thanks, Mom, for hanging in there with me when I was such a brat.” I promise her that it will all work out well if she just hangs in there with her daughter, like it has for us.

A few weeks ago this daughter moved about six hours away to a new home. Last week, she sent me a card (well, us—she loves her daddy, too, so it was for both of us). It was cute, with an adorable dog holding a smiling sun. The card said, “You are my sunshine! Thinking of you, both of you.” Then she wrote a sweet message, which in part said, “Just wanted to drop a quick note and let you know how much I love and miss you.”  I love that she sent the card because I can save it. She calls and sends me text messages, too, but you can’t put them in a scrapbook.

  1. They thank us for adopting them.

Many years ago when our other daughter Carol was about 12 years old, something happened that I’ve never forgotten. It was a simple thing, but it meant the world to her father and me. Let me set the stage by telling you that this daughter is mentally disabled. She spent her school years in special education classes. She endured ridicule from insensitive “friends.” Her life has been challenging, for her and us. Through it all, our love is real and never-ending. Here’s what this special child said to me that day as we sat in our living room. I can’t remember what we were doing, but, like I said, I’ll never forget what she said.

She looked up at me and, out of the blue, said, “Thank you for adopting me. No one else would want me.” I assured her again of how much we love her. It broke my heart to think she would say that no one else would want her. But it touched me deeply to hear her thanking us for adopting her. It was way beyond her years and her mental capacity to think like that. She would surprise us every now and then with statements that belied her mental condition. We knew that inside her is a whole person we will someday know in a life beyond this one. In the meantime, we continue to do all we can to make her life as whole as it can be in her situation.

  1. They send us cards with loving messages.

When we receive greeting cards on special days from our youngest son, who is now a principal of an elementary school, he always writes personal messages to us. On my birthday this year he sent me a beautiful card. The best part was the hand-written message at the bottom. He wrote, “I hope you have a happy birthday. I love you and appreciate all you have taught me and do for me. Love, your son, Paul.” Alongside was another endearing message from his sweet wife. I am always filled with overflowing gratitude at these cards and messages.

  1. They call us their “real” parents.

Our son, John, filled my heart with warmth and love the day he told his younger brother that when friends ask him if he wants to meet his real mother some day he says, “I’ve already met her. Every day when I come home from school, she’s there with snacks for me. That’s my real mother.” I love that he feels that way because that’s what I consider myself. I can’t imagine having any children besides these precious ones that heaven brought into our home.

We feel so blessed to have these five delightful, interesting, caring children as our own. And we’re getting the message that they feel the same about us. That’s what I call happiness.

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AUTHOR / Joy Lundberg  

Joy Lundberg and her husband, Gary, are the parents of 5 children, all of whom were adopted. They are also the proud grandparents of 20 grandchildren. Joy is a prize-winning lyricist and has written/co-written several books and articles about marriage and families with her husband. Learn more about her on their website.


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Filed under Adopted And Happy!, AdoptoLand, General Ignoramitude, Sad and beautiful, Stop Saying That, The Adoption Process Moral Pedestal, WTF?!, You're going to Hell for this.

(meta) Drat.

I (obviously) won’t be posting every day in November after all. A’mom in hospital (she’ll be fine).


Filed under Uncategorized