Make-Believe Make Believe is Too Damned Real

I’ve been writing this blog on no particular schedule for over five years now (I can’t believe it either.) Sometimes I go dark for month after month, and when I do, I ask myself, “Snarks, what’s it gonna take for  you to post again?” And then something like this comes along, and I can’t not.

Mrs. Kristy Aldridge of Winchester (?), Kentucky says she wanted to share her adoption story and teach children about adoption. But how? Should she start a blog? Write a book? Write a press release? Set up an interview? No, none of those.

No. She opened a fake hospital-cum-baby store for little girls. (So her “adoption story” is yet another one told from the POV of the AP. What a surprise.)

Two weeks ago, Kristy Aldridge decided to start Choosing To Love Babies, a baby doll adoption program in an infant nursery room at the Kids’ Discovery Center.

And, being an a’mom, surely Mrs. Aldridge knows the importance of telling the truth about adoption. She isn’t just doing this to be cute. She’s there to “educat[e] them on adoption.” Sure she is. The education these little girls are getting from her is that adoption is a rainbow of perfect newborns put on earth for their benefit, their amusement, their selection, and their *purchase.

Interested children and parents can schedule an appointment to meet at the Kids’ Discovery Center at 9 S. Bloomfield Road in Winchester, which has been transformed into a mock hospital wing.

That’s right. Adopted children Come From The Hospital (not out of a woman’s body), just like your little brother did. They’re never not newborn. They’re never special needs. You don’t have to wait for them. You just pick your favorite one:

“So basically what it is the girls get to come in and they get to choose a baby that they want,” Aldridge said. “We have different races and different genders for them to choose from.

Pet peeve alert: Genders? Really? Why are we so afraid of the word “sex”? (Or can you really tell an epicine baby doll from an agender version one baby doll? cause I can’t.) You don’t have different genders of baby dolls, you have dolls that represent babies of two sexes.

[“]And we’re educating them on adoption and they have to make the promise of taking care of the baby. That’s a big part of it.”

Little girls don’t know babies need care if they aren’t told so by Mrs. Aldridge. And promising to take care of the baby is “a big part of” adoption, but it’s not the most important part. If it were, it would probably be discussed first. The most important part is customizing your fresh new baby, just like real adoptive parents get to do!–Only not so much. Not anymore. Not if they aren’t filthy stinking rich. Settling for a child who really needs you sucks.

 “We convert one of our infant rooms into the nursery and all of us have scrubs on,” she said. “I mean we really try to make this feel like an adoption.

Again, this is nothing like an adoption, unless it’s one of the ones done by rich, coercive people who don’t care who they hurt as  long as they get a newborn. Why not require the girls to take the doll from the arms of its dolly mother? Why not give the dolls fake umbilical cords for the little mommies to cut? (Why not just sit at home and watch reruns of Adoption Stories?)

These little girls come with their baby carriers and we have babies in another room, so when we re-stock and bring them in we act like they’re just born.”

Straight from the baby store to you!

Part of the adoption process after a baby is chosen is a 15-20 minute medical routine. Aldridge and her team of volunteer doctors teach the children proper care of their baby, such as how to hold the baby and how to change a diaper.

And that’s all adoptive mommies really need to know, isn’t it?

[…]

The program quickly became much more than Aldridge imagined. Part of the program was to raise awareness about adoption, but it has become educational in other ways as well.

“Another thing that is kind of awakening that we didn’t expect is that the children don’t see color.

Again with this color blind horseshit. Of course children see skin color. Before a certain age, they don’t realize it means anything, but they certainly see it. And so do lying grown-ups who want to deny systemic racism.

While they are going through and picking their baby I get to educate them on the true meaning of adoption is just loving the baby.

Wait, didn’t you just say kids are devoid of racism due to their tragic, somehow-universal optical impairments?  Then why do they need you to lean over their shoulders crooning “It’s about luuuuurve, so annny color you want is juuust fiiine” when they literally can’t tell the difference? They don’t, but I bet doing that makes you feel good, Ms. Aldridge.

[“]I have an Asian daughter from adoption and that’s what I bring up that it doesn’t matter. A white family doesn’t have to have a white baby.”

Certainly not. A white family can have pretty much any child it can pay for, sue for, or otherwise acquire, whether they’re in the legal right or not.

[“]Pets are also available for adoption and include a lesson on proper pet care and responsibility.

“The pets we also put in the cribs.

(I originally thought they meant real live pets. They mean stuffed animals, which is bad enough.)

[“]It’s about teaching them responsibility and not just ‘Let’s go to Walmart and get a pet,’” Aldridge said. 

Let’s go to the fake maternity ward and get a baby–or maybe a sea turtle!

Although, of course, “adopted” pets and adopted children do have some things in common: Some people will judge them for being adopted even though it was no fault of their own; and, if you get bored with one, you can easily discard it. I know you promised to take care of Baby, but grownups break their promises to pets and children all the time. It’s fine. You did your best. Your dolly or pet had RAD, or was otherwise simply unlovable. This currently happens to 25% of adopted children in the USA, but I’m sure Mrs. Aldridge doesn’t mention that at these events.

[…]

Adoptions are made through the week by appointment. The adoption experience includes a baby blanket, diaper, bottle, birth certificate, adoption certificate, baby and mom matching medical bands, a medical exam with the doctor and ends with the adoption promise for the baby or pet. Pricing and other information can be found on the Choosing To Love Babies Facebook page.

Ho lee shit. Holy shit, it IS like a real adoption! You, adopting little girl, are somehow both the adopting mommy and the doll’s only mommy ever. You have a birth certificate that says so and a hospital bracelet to back it up. Yet you also have adoption papers. If I were a little girl, I would be incredibly confused about all this, whether I already knew Where Babies Come From or not. In fact, as a little girl, I was confused about all this. I thought for a brief time that everyone was adopted. I also thought I had been brought home from a sort of combination supermarket and auction house. You know, kinda like this-here educational setup.

My cold and prickly heart is very sad for any little adopted girl who gets roped into this charade. Becuase you know it’s going to happen (if it hasn’t already).

I think if you want to give little girls dolls and impress on them the Whateverwhatever of Motherhood, that’s…OK, as long as it’s OK with the girls. I also think calling it adoption, and claiming to educate children about actual adoptions by saying this is what they are like, is preposterous and evil.

Now here’s the worst part: Mrs. Aldridge, who is busily teaching little girls (and, no doubt, her own adoptee) that adoption is a funsie wunsie visit to a hospital vending machine, is…well, you guessed it:

The Aldridges run Choosing to Love Ministries, where they help families during the adoption process. A portion of every Choosing to Love Babies adoption helps fund the ministry for those families. 

She’s grooming little children into future consumers at the expense of reality and of other little children (and their mothers). I can’t help but suspect her adult clients expect the same experience.

PS–How do I know it’s adopting families her ministry helps rather than relinquishing ones? Silly girls, adoptees don’t have families! Not until you pick them out and put them in your baby carrier!

*Fees aren’t quite mentioned in the article, but I think they’re strongly implied.

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Filed under Colonialism ROCKS!, It Can't Be Racist. I Didn't Use the N-word Once!, Jesus Told Me To, Stop Saying That, WTF?!, You're going to Hell for this.

WHISKEY. TANGO. FOXTROT.

Readers, I apologize for what I’m about to lay on you, and I apologize for any vomiting, dislocated mandibles, or headdesk-related injuries it causes. Brace yourselves for the stupidest, most offensive question ever asked on Planet Earth.

These authors are serious, and they answer their question in the affirmative. Naturally they’re both men. Men doing a “thought experiment” they conclude is a splendid idea.

Imagine a world in which all the babies born each day were randomly redistributed among the biological parents. The infant assigned to any given set of parents could be white, black, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, or any combination thereof (and that’s just the US); the baby could be perfectly healthy or grossly deformed. Parents would know only that their child was not their biological child. Let us call this social mixing.

No. Let us call this what it is: Imaginary barbaric social engineering by a couple of white guys who think racism can be imagined away if people only let go of the idea that women and children are human. Nobody who thought they were human could imagine something as horrific as swapping kids around at random. The authors propose this because it would hurt “lesser people” more than it would hurt them and because it sounds easier to them than actually confronting their own racism and privilege. (Also, “grossly deformed”? Isn’t that a delightful thing to call infants with drastic birth defects?)

This plan is of course politically impossible, perhaps even repellent.

You bet your ASS it is, Sirs. But hold on a sec–guess why it’s repellent? Because it would subject women and children to unspeakable cruelty? Because it would put the onus of fixing society’s problems on minority babies who would be raised in a racist society by people who may or may not be able to comprehend that racism or help the kids navigate it in any way? No, of course not. It’s because one’s own precious child might end up in the arms of a crack whore. No, seriously:

Is the idea so frightening? Yes it is. It is a frightening thought that your own biological child, the one sitting there now doing her homework, might have gone to an impoverished mother or a drug addict, perhaps have been beaten, perhaps starved.

It gets worse, though:

But why, save for genetic chauvinism, do we view with comparative equanimity the everyday reality of other people’s children subject to the same treatment by their own biological mothers?

What’s the “we” shit, you heartless pricks? How dare you? The reason you don’t care is that you lack human empathy. Assuming you’re white, which doesn’t seem  like much of a stretch, people like you run the country that lets women die in childbirth at a higher rate than any other “civilized” one, that blames women for their own rapes, that lets children grow up in poverty and go to jail because they’re the wrong color and/or their mothers weren’t married. Don’t throw your baggage on me, Sirs, because I fucking well do care.

You may argue that genetic bias is indelible in human nature. Social mixing would not only disturb the comfort of this fatalistic attitude,

Loving and wanting your own child is fatalism. Sure it is.

but also use genetic chauvinism for ends beyond mere economic equality, providing grounds for a compassion that goes beyond the wellbeing of our immediate families.

“[M]ere economic equality.” Pfft. Who cares about something that piddling? It wouldn’t fix anything OH YES IT WOULD. Go eat a bowl of bees, you dipwads.

Since any man might be your biological brother, any woman your biological sister, concern for them would have to be expressed by a concern for a common good.

Again you admit you don’t give a fuck about anyone who isn’t related to you and presume the same of everyone else. Yes, let’s doom everyone (except your generation and the generations before them, of course) to a lifetime of genealogical bewilderment because it would magically give you Yahoos hearts (not that I believe it would).

A second effect of social mixing would be to generate a strong interest in the health and wellbeing of expectant mothers, which would ultimately translate into an interest in the social and biological welfare of everyone. Since any child might end up our own, we would provide the social and educational environments that would best enhance their development. Ghettos and slums would be an eyesore for us all. Poverty, drug, and alcohol addiction are already everyone’s problem, but this fact would be more meaningful than it is now. The child of that addict might be our biological child. Every victim of a drive-by shooting might be a member of our genetic family. Each of us would see the link between our fate and the fate of others.

Worse and worse and worse. How can it go on getting worse? No point in giving a rat’s ass about women and children if there’s not a microscopic chance the women are carrying your future biological or adopted child.

And if you’re as heartless as you seem, then what you’d really do is tell yourself the chances of being biologically related to or being given the child of one random person are astronomical, so to Hell with that ghetto drunk and her prenatal check-ups: you still don’t want your tax dollars supporting the likes of her.

Third, the superficial connection between colour and culture would be severed.

SUPERFICIAL?!?! Also, that would be horrible. It would not result in white people sharing in black culture or Asians partaking of Latino culture. It would result in a homogenous, generic boring-ass cultural blandness of the kind white USAian people already have–and already hate so much that we’re prone to going around trying to steal other people’s cultures (white “Native American shamans,” white dreadlocks, white people using Cinco de Mayo as an excuse to drink too much beer, etc). Plenty of adoptive parents currently feel entitled to parody and degrade “honor” their internationally adopted children’s cultures already. Y’all need to quit kidding yourselves.

Racism would be wiped out. Racial ghettos would disappear; children of all races would live in all neighbourhoods. Any white child could have black parents and any black child could have white parents. Imagine the US president flanked by his or her black, white, Asian and Hispanic children. Imagine if social mixing had been in effect 100 years ago in Germany, Bosnia, Palestine or the Congo. Racial, religious, and social genocide would not have happened.

Just like when white slaveowners raped their slaves and sold their own children, right? and just like being raised by a “mammy” rendered white children not racist? Just like Hitler’s Jewish ancestry kept him from hating Jewish people? Even if this would work,  you are jumping ahead to the ends without considering the very human means to those ends, because apparently women and children only exist to fix your broken evil selves at the cost of their offspring and identities. You don’t care. I mean, here you are discussing what it would take for you to care.

[…] There are, of course, many natural objections to this idea. It will be said that one of the joys of marriage is for lovers to see the product of their love. To this we say that the product of one’s love lies not in the genetic production of a human being but in the mutual cultivation of the life of a child. But isn’t it true that either the genetic match between parent and child or a bond formed between mother and child in the womb makes each parent uniquely fit to raise his or her own child and less fit to raise another child? The evidence for such idiosyncrasy is slight.

OH IS IT REALLY. Spoken like true men–true unadopted men, possibly ones without children.

True, adopted children tend to have more mental and physical problems than non-adopted ones. But

we don’t give a flip!

…children are often adopted at relatively advanced ages, after they have formed close attachments with caregivers. Children adopted during their first year are at no disadvantage relative to non-adopted children.

Speaking as a person who was adopted before age one: You have no idea what you are talking about.

The authors rush to assure us there is no risk that under social mixing people will be as indifferent to their own *real children as they are now to the biological children of others. …[T]here are no grounds for such deep pessimism. Look at the behaviour of adoptive parents now, or look at the practice of surrogate motherhood. The many apparently infertile parents who adopt a baby only to have a biological child subsequently do not tend to reject the first child.

Except when they do, you chowderheads. I know many adoptees who were rejected or given short shrift when that biological child came along. And most couples who use a surrogate mother have her carry their own egg and sperm, so that doesn’t even count.

[…] It may be objected that parents’ desire to have their own biological children is so strong that they would be blind to the public good, that they would have babies and bring them up in secret. But those babies would not have birth certificates, they would not be citizens, they could not vote, serve in public office and so forth. If discovered, the children might be taken away after the strong bonds of psychological (as opposed to biological) parenthood had been formed. Few Americans would risk these penalties.

You two are officially horrible. You’re cruel, you’re monsters, I don’t even have words. You’re Frankenstein, you’re Nazis. You imagine and argue for a world wherein other people get rid of your prejudices for you no matter how much that hurts them. You have your brazen balls talking about “the public good.”

It will be objected that incest would occur frequently in a society where biological kinship was obscured. In answer to this, we now have the ability to test prospective parents and to forbid marriages between people with close genetic overlap – whatever the cause.

Who’s gonna pay for all those DNA tests, Doofuses? And in a country where people continue to spread STIs and experience unexpected pregnancies even though condoms are freely available, do you really think horny people are going to wait for test results to come back before they get it on?

But even if we did not have this ability, is it likely that incest would be more frequent under our plan than it is now (notwithstanding taboos) among close biological relatives living together? […]

I dunno. Why don’t you ask all the adoptees who have experienced genetic sexual attraction, Assholes?

It may be objected that people would not want to bear children only to have them raised by strangers.

YA THINK?! As it is now, desperate girls and women have to be coerced and purchased or paid to do it.

But genetic narcissism may not be the optimal motive for having children. There may be no correlation between the biological capacity to have children and the ability to cultivate the optimal development of a child. It may be a good thing if only people who passionately wished to be an integral part of the life trajectory of another human being raised children.

It would be, and that’s why women need better access to birth control and abortions, not an excuse for you to snatch their kids for great victory over racism. You do realize “people” includes women, right?

Genetic chauvinism lives on very strongly in our culture. Modern fiction and cinema often present adoptees’ searches for biological parents and siblings in a highly positive light.

How very tragic and unfair NOT.

The law in child custody cases is biased towards biological parents over real parents.

You really, really don’t know what you’re talking about.

You might claim that this bias itself is ‘natural’. It is so common as to seem part of our biological makeup.

It’s also the cornerstone your stupid argument rests on, but don’t let that bother you.

But subjugation of women was also common in primitive human cultures and remains so in many cultures today.

You are literally arguing for the subjugation of women to your wishes.

Unnatural as it sounds, social mixing promises many advantages.

Perhaps it does. But I find it very interesting that you propose this convoluted mess instead of simpler solutions, like eliminating redlining and otherwise arranging things so minorities can live next door to well-off white academic types like you. You could move into a “ghetto” neighborhood anytime you wanted, you know. But that would involve your taking a risk and your being inconvenienced, and those things are for women and babies.

If we are not willing to adopt it, we should consider carefully why. And if naturalness is the key, we should ask ourselves why on this matter, ungoverned nature should trump social cohesion.

Look, there is no magic racism eraser. There never was one and there never will be one. We–white people, because we have the power–need to get rid of racism by doing the hard work of educating ourselves, examining ourselves, and then putting our money and energy into  effecting change. And we don’t get to decide what the changes will be. If we are so lucky as to win their trust, underprivileged people of color will determine what help they do or don’t want from us. In the meantime, hands off other people’s kids.

White people made racism. Expecting minority women and babies to fix it for us is just another form of racism.

 

 

 

*YES, “REAL.” THEY ACTUALLY WENT THERE. They suffer the same genetic chauvinism they intend to erase by using genetic chauvinism.

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Filed under Colonialism ROCKS!, General Ignoramitude, It Can't Be Racist. I Didn't Use the N-word Once!, Misognyny, WTF?!

Hand Over the Uterus and Nobody Gets Hurt

From Australia comes this thinly veiled threat of an article about how unfair it is that Australians aren’t allowed to rent the wombs of other Australians. You see, there are people out there who “require the services of a surrogate.” Not desire: require as they require food, air, water, shelter, and sunlight. Yet all “Australian states and territories, except the Northern Territory” have banned binding Australian women to a nine-month slavery contract. So the people who require the use of a woman’s body are forced, forced I tell you, to go overseas and take advantage of poorer foreign women. “[B]ecause the only surrogacy permitted in Australia is altruistic surrogacy,” and, as it turns out, the average woman doesn’t want to make a free baby for someone else. Funny that.

“This is true,” the article points out, “even in Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT, where it is a criminal offence to enter into a compensated surrogacy arrangement overseas.”

Obviously these lawbreakers must be given what they want. I mean, if we make nice things expensive, thieves will steal them. If we buy a house, burglars will burgle it. That’s why we have to allow anyone who asks to kick us out of  our houses and take our stuff. Obviously.

The article declares laws against foreign-womb-renting a failure. Why? Nobody enforces them: “There has not been a single prosecution, let alone a conviction, for pursuing extra-territorial surrogacy.” Then the problem here would seem to be the lack of prosecution rather than the law itself, wouldn’t it?

Is anyone else reminded of certain arguments for prostitution? I know I am. But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is when the author invokes the UN Rights of the Child in defense of surrogacy:

“Article 7 provides that children have a right to an identity and to know and be cared for by their parents. Children born through surrogacy may have up to five parent-like people: two intended parents, a sperm donor, an egg donor and the surrogate. In this context, Article 7 is best understood as meaning that children have a right to know their biological and gestational parents and to be cared for by their intended parents.”

PARENT-LIKE PEOPLE. If anyone called any of my four parents that to my face, I’d pop’em right in the snoot.

“With many overseas surrogacies, the record-keeping is poor or non-existent, making it impossible for a child to find out their genetic origins.”

Then, once again, the problem is with record-keeping, not with a ban on being able to rent local and/or foreign wombs. Don’t you think that if the legal and lawbreaking womb-renters of Australia really found this record-keeping so important, they would already have demanded and gotten it? I know I do. I don’t think the average womb-renter gives a rat’s ass about the incubator they purchase, her identity, or the child’s right to know where s/he came from. If they did, they wouldn’t do overseas surrogacy, especially since, as the author tells us, Australia is scrupulous about such things:

“Australia has one of the best systems in the world for recording persons who donate eggs and sperm. This ensures that children born through surrogacy in Australia will be able to identify all the people associated with their creation.”

But PAPs don’t really care because, again, they will be forced to do unethical, illegal things if they can’t buy a woman’s reproductive system outright.

“We need to acknowledge and address the legitimate fears that people have about surrogacy. But rather than trying to stop these scientific advances, we should put in place safeguards to prevent exploitation of vulnerable women and protect the rights of children born through surrogacy.”

Help US help YOU sell us your body! Paid surrogacy IS the exploitation of vulnerable women, FFS. What “safeguards” would you propose? Because allowing only altruistic surrogacy seems like a very good safeguard to me.

As if all that weren’t bad enough, the author has the brazen gonads to quote Gibran on how “your children are not your children.” Of course they aren’t–they’re ours. Sell us your children now, Australian women, lest we be forced to commit crimes in the name of parenthood!

“This reminds us that how a child is conceived, and how a child is born, is largely irrelevant. What is important is that children are loved and their inherent dignity respected.”

And that is why, when a woman gives birth in Australia, she tenderly places the baby in a random crib in the maternity ward, blindfolds herself and spins around until she’s dizzy, and then takes home the first baby her hand happens to light upon.

For the millionth fucking time, how a child is conceived and born is not irrelevant in any way to anyone. Even people who are willing to hurt anyone and pay any price in order to get a baby they can call their own are lying to themselves about this, and they know it. They know damned well it’s important to them where they came from and who they look like. (In fact, didn’t you just argue that it is important that children know these things because it’s a human right?) The reason adopting/womb-renting couples want a baby rather than a waiting child is that they want to replicate the experience of raising one’s biological child from day one as closely as possible. Because it matters.

The article’s author is a professor in “Human Rights Law.” There is no human right to rent another person’s reproductive system.

 

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Filed under Colonialism ROCKS!, Misognyny

I May Vomit

…in an extra special way. When will this syrupy, patronizing, manipulative crap end?

 

 

Whoever invented the term “tummy mommy” should die. But “tummy baby”?! That is a new low.

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Filed under AdoptoLand, General Ignoramitude, Jesus Told Me To

To “Jane,” Who Doesn’t Want to Be Called “Baby Thief”

Dear “Jane:

I’d like to start this by saying I understand your feelings are hurt. I imagine that encountering the online family preservation community was like a slap in the face.

I’m pretty sure that’s because you’ve been told all your life what a blessed and booful and beneficent thing adoption is…for people like you. And I doubt you’ve questioned that very much. I’m writing this to tell you it is time to start questioning that, if only for your future adoptee’s sake, because your future adoptee will be the product of pain and loss.

I know you want your own child, and I know it will seem very cruel to you when I ask you to perform the following thought experiment:

1) Think about what it would be like to bear your own child out of your own body, to have what you so long for.
2) Ask yourself: Who would willingly let go of that precious child? Who would willingly give it away?

The answer is and always has been “almost nobody.” The only reason most “birth mothers” win that title is that they felt they had no other choice. What you stand to benefit from, what you hope and pray for, what you literally describe yourself as entitled to is someone else’s unthinkable tragedy.

I’m not even going to talk much about what adoption is for the adoptee here, because there’s only so long a blog post can be. Just think about the woman you expect to willingly hand over her child to you (and then, as you say, “be respectful” of you…should you stoop to an open adoption…if you must).

I asked you to imagine that because you describe first mothers’ regret over losing their children as “blame-shifting.” You really seem to believe that if a woman relinquishes a child, it’s because she had a free and uncoerced choice to do so. We live in a society where women earn less than men and our reproductive choices are constantly challenged; yet when a woman gives up her own flesh and blood, you seem to think she is a free agent.

You are “blame shifting.” You are blaming women for the very misfortune you expect to benefit from.

If, as you say, you believe adoption can be about “finding homes for children,” then you should seek out an existing child who needs a home. Do not write “Dear Birthmother” letters to pregnant women, do not rent billboards with messages aimed at pregnant women, do not put ads aimed at pregnant women in the Penny Saver, do not pay a pregnant woman’s medical expenses, do not start a website telling pregnant women what you can give their babies.

If taking in a child who really needs a home is so unacceptable to you because it might be temporary (or for any other reason), then don’t pretend you want to give a home to a child who needs one.

I believe you when you say infertility hurts, but these days there are simply not enough desperate women lacking reproductive choices out there to supply every couple who wants one with a child. Again, that is literally what you are complaining about:  a shortfall of desperate women without reproductive choices. And you have the gall to claim such women have the advantage over you:

A person who is coming to adoption from a place of infertility is NOT in a position of power over anyone.

An infertile person is not in a position of privilege, no matter what these other groups might like to believe.

Infertility does not negate privilege. If you are well-off enough to consider adoption, you ARE in a position of privilege relative to the child’s first mother. How else could you adopt?

You live in a Western democracy. You are almost certainly white. You can realistically consider adopting. That means you either have access to a great deal of money or to the ability to borrow or otherwise obtain that money. I understand it may not feel that way, but you are incredibly privileged. To say you lack privilege because you’re infertile on a planet where women’s fertility has always been an instrument of our oppression is untrue and offensive.

[Critics] also place a moral judgement on a couple’s only alternative to parenthood and make adoption seem like it’s only being done to satisfy [APs’] selfish needs.

“Jane,” that is where you lost the last scrap of my sympathy . “Alternative to parenthood”? I was not my adoptive parents’ alternative to parenthood; I was their route to parenthood. They were and are (two of) my (four) parents. When you phrase it this way, you’re saying adoptive parenthood is not parenthood, and that is no attitude with which to raise an adopted child. While parenting adopted children is different from parenting biological children, it is certainly parenting. If you don’t think it is, you need to do some of those things the mean family preservation people might have told you to do, like get a pet, because what’s the diff? Pretending is pretending, isn’t it?

Why should my desire to become a parent [don’t you mean become an alternative to a parent?] be seen any differently [than the desire of fertile people]?

Because your desire literally depends on someone else’s loss, that’s why. I know I keep saying that. I’m saying it again because it is the point you keep missing and missing and missing.

As an infertile couple, we have the same right as anyone else to adopt and build a family.

That is true: You have the same a right to another woman’s baby or child that anyone else has, which is no right at all.

Know what might make infertility hurt a little bit less? Letting go of the (insane) idea that somewhere out there is a woman who is hatching a very special baby intended just for you. Because as long as you believe in her, you can believe in your entitlement to her offspring and her (also insane) desire to freely give them to you. And the more deprived you feel of what’s hers, the more you hurt.

The family you feel entitled to build is not rightfully yours. That (insane) idea is bullshit, and it always was bullshit. It seemed saner in the past because women had fewer rights and choices then. Adoption is an act that, were women accorded full human rights, would be so rare that the word would lose its current meaning. And while I suspect infertility hurts more than I can imagine, I think all the women who did not and do not want to relinquish their children are more important than that pain. And I think it’s many decades past time to kill the idea that anyone is literally entitled to a child if s/he can find a family tragedy to benefit from (and plunk down the bucks).

PS: I also think it’s over the top and unconstructive to call people who are not, for example, the Capobiancos “baby thieves,” but that’s beside the point.

 

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Filed under General Ignoramitude, Misognyny, Those Wacky PAPs

Returns Not Valid After Six Years

So this story popped up in my email. You know the kind: Child ungovernable! bad product! give us a refund…and then some!

So I Googled the APs’ names and found this. By their own account, this boy seemed to be adjusting splendidly at that time.

What a difference six years in a loving adoptive home makes! Kinda makes an urchin wonder who gave this kid to these people…and what happened to him under their roof. I would say I’m trying to imagine being eight years old and expected to call a 69-year-old stranger Daddy, but I’m not, because I don’t want to. I don’t want to.

“Love the boy dearly,” my ass. “Ruined [y]our lives,” my ass. Also, what does “he was a risk for severe mental illness” mean? I think it means you have grown weary of your expensive toy, because every human ever born is “a[t] risk for severe mental illness.” If this case is what it seems to be, I hope the adoption activist community and cosmic justice will get all over this couple like stink on shit.

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Filed under Forever Family, WTF?!, You're going to Hell for this.

Social Worker: I Hate Telling People No Families Have Been Shattered Lately

“I hate telling people we don’t have a child for them,” says an anonymous “social worker” who’s just so brought down when s/he is not immediately able to pony up the goods to the many, many couples who apparently make New Year’s resolutions to order up a kid. No, really:

I love my job, but returning after the Christmas break I find a mountain of inquires that have built up, each someone wanting to know how they can adopt. They are full of hope and motivated by a new year and a fresh start.

As wonderful as it is to know so many want to open their lives to an adopted child,

Oh, here we go again. If you have your own child, your life doesn’t have to be opened, your heart doesn’t have to be opened, and your home doesn’t have to be opened: they just ARE open. If you want us to think adoption is wonderful, stop implying adoptees are inferior.

my heart sinks. I know I, or a colleague, will have to contact them and the likelihood is we will dash their hopes.

Because that’s what adoption is about: meeting the desires of people who decide every year that this January is the month they will order up and be supplied with a child. Isn’t it odd that a social worker would fail to mention that these children are not in fact manufactured to order, but were given birth to by real live women, and are only available because something terrible has happened? I mean, don’t social workers have anything to do with securing those children for adoption in the first place? Aren’t social workers the people facing relinquishing a child are referred to? To this “social worker,” those original families just…don’t exist. You will not read of them once in this article about how tragic it is that everyone who requests one can’t have someone else’s child. Nor will you read of the effects adoption might have on children.

We have lots of adopters approved already, and for many this will be the second or even third new year since they made a tentative inquiry and started the adoption process. Back then, we were welcoming all potential adopters with open arms, explaining how the number of children waiting was growing month by month.

Ah, the good old days when kiddy vending machines operated above capacity! You’re talking about the 1950s, right? No? There were oodles of snuggly wuggly adoptable children available to anyone who wanted one three years ago? That’s not the story anyone in adoption has been telling for decades now. For decades now everyone’s been moaning about a “shortage.” While an article this author links to says adoptions have fallen 50% in the last two years, I find it hard to believe there was a booming child surplus before that. And if there was, well, that was a failure of the social system, wasn’t it? Adoption almost always represents a failure of the social system.

How I wish we had known the change that was about to take place; how we wish we could have prepared these people better for the frustration and heartache to come.

You could have. You could have said “There are no guarantees. This is how things are now, but the institution of adoption is subject to change. It has changed before, and it will change again. At present, the average couple waits from between X and X [months, years, whatever].” But you didn’t. You gave them all a cutesy reply instead:

We were always honest, we explained there is no timescale to be matched with a child and when asked “how long will it take?” would reply “how long is a piece of string?”.

So you’re sorry you weren’t preparing them, but you say you were preparing them?

But we certainly hadn’t anticipated that small ball of string would become a huge knotted boulder.

In November 2013, judge Sir James Munby said in a case ruling that councils must consider alternatives to adoption, such as extended family members. This meant adoption placement orders decreased, while special guardianship orders rose significantly. It feels as though adoption has been in freefall ever since.

Oh my god, what a tragedy. I mean, the horrible, unjust burden of considering keeping a child in his or her own family whenever possible–such a thing is unthinkable. You are not a social worker, Sir or Madam; you are a procurer of flesh. How dare you. (When I first read this noisome claptrap, this is the point at which I actually began to cry. My go-to emotion, anger, dodged right out of the way and made room for sadness. This isn’t normal for me, but it happens, and it’s part of why I don’t blog more often.)

Recently, the government announced proposed changes to the law that would mean adoption is always pursued when it’s in a child’s best interests.

And we all know what that means. It means that if someone wants to adopt, they are immediately in the child’s best interests and the child’s own family are immediately not. If I didn’t know that before, I would know it after reading the article linked to at “proposed changes,” because it bemoans the decline in adoption numbers and proclaims that the new law is intended “to increase the number of children adopted.” Adoption should never be about quotas.

In 2012 when I moved from safeguarding work to adoption, the approved adopters on my caseload were generally matched with a child within two months. Now, anything less than a 12-month wait is said to be speedy.

A year. An entire year! Some people wait three months longer than it would take to make their own baby to adopt! Can you imagine?! Horrific! Outrageous! Why, my own APs, in the mid-sixties, waited a mere eighteen months to adopt me oh wait.

It’s not just the length of time; it’s the emotional impact of waiting and hoping, seeing a profile of a child, imagining your life with them in it and then being told stronger links are being pursued. Or as one adopter put it, “someone else is better than me”.

Mr. or Ms. “Social Worker,” that is not a product of the last two or three years; that is how adoption works. Waiting, hoping, and fearing “someone else” might get picked instead of you have always been part of the adoption process. If this “social worker” is saying people could have a kid dumped into their laps on request two years ago, then s/he’s really arguing for the changes s/he dislikes so much.

Well, on and on it goes: those poor people, they want a kid so badly, they are so unhappy when they can’t have one. No other parties to adoption are worth considering–except, of course, the “social workers:” This makes adoption practitioners feel helpless, but all we can do is lend a listening ear when it gets too much.

So you are not a social worker at all: You are, as I said, a flesh peddler.

And PAPs have other problems, too, like not being in the best interests of the children they want at all:

To complicate the situation, the majority of adopters do not feel able to meet the complex needs of the children waiting. The vast majority of those needing adoptive placements are over the age of five, larger sibling groups, have complex needs, or are from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.

(B-bu-but their open lives!) At this point, Mr. or Mrs. Baby Broker is a hair’s breadth away from demanding that more healthy white newborns be produced for his or her clients, and that’s just evil. You’ll notice s/he didn’t waste a second considering the feelings of the kids actually needing adoption, either. Feelings are for “social workers” and PAPs.

Here is where the “social worker” links to a letter from adoptive parents who, having scored one adorable child, are very disappointed because they were assured their second adoption would take six months. Not the length of a piece of string, six months. Mr. or Ms. “Social Worker,” if people are let down because you and people like  you have been misleading them, that’s your fault.

The “social worker” concludes by saying s/he is really looking for parents who are willing and able to handle the complex, too-old, wrong-colored, sibling-having children available now, but gosh, one has to be very very nice to and sensitive to the wants of those who put in orders every January because the Baby Scoop era really did just end in England or what the fuck ever.

Personally, I think this Mr. Munby sounds like a reasonable, compassionate man.

Oh hey, look how fast the comments were closed on this one.

 

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Filed under AdoptoLand, General Ignoramitude, WTF?!