Not so funny today, but I’ve been trying to figure out how to say something that’s been on my mind.
AdoptoSpeak could c0nstruct a perfect Looking Glass World if it never contradicted itself. But it does. Even those who don’t want to say anything true about adoption can’t help but slip up once in awhile when the proximity to and dissonance with Reality are too great. For adoptees, the spaces where AdoptoSpeak screws up are spaces through which we can escape its worldview. But for anyone who wants to pay attention, these spaces allow an opportunity to examine that view for what it is: a bunch of pink paint slapped over every single problem our society hasn’t solved yet but would like to claim we have. What’s wrong with adoption is what’s wrong with us.
Adoption is a perfect instrument for the perpetuation of the patriarchy (sexism): it pits woman against woman, blames one person for a “mistake” two people made, encourages female self-loathing, and keeps alive the idea that a woman is an incubator who can’t be trusted to make her own reproductive decisions.
Adoption is a perfect instrument for the perpetuation of colonialism and American exceptionalism. So sure are we that everyone wants to be an American that anyone who speaks against “helping” poor countries by importing their children is seen as, at best, a party pooper. Obviously people whose children weren’t fortunate enough to be born here should rejoice when the opportunity to Americanize them presents itself. And obviously we, the Americans, will decide when that child is an American citizen (when it’s young and cute) and when it isn’t (when it wants a birth certificate or gets in trouble). We resolve the right to deport it or put it on a plane to Russia if it doesn’t act like us.
Adoption is a perfect instrument for the perpetuation of capitalism. I know of very few people who find their born children so troublesome they emancipate them and cut them entirely out of their lives. I know of none who sued someone when their born child was not 100 per cent healthy (when no malpractice had occurred). But if caring for an adoptee proves difficult, expensive or even inconvenient, the adoption can be undone (“disrupted”), as happens in 10 to 25 per cent of cases. Why? Because one child was purchased and one was not. One is a child and the other is a pre-owned object with an implied warranty.
And “finding” new babies for adoption is an industry. It is an occupation. Running “nonprofit” adoption agencies is also an occupation and an industry. So is kidnapping babies for adoption. In all these things, adoption keeps alive the idea that those who have wealth and power have it because they are better, more deserving people. Once that is accepted, the rest–the trafficking, the coercion, the *bribes paid to orphanages–is not a series of ethical dilemmas, but merely the cost of doing business.
Adoption is, as we have seen, a perfect instrument for the perpetuation of “color blind” racism and xenophobia. And it is a perfect instrument for the perpetuation of privilege, because the number one rule of privilege is that one not become aware one has any. Don’t mention it in public. Don’t look.
Everything America hates, or should hate, about itself, everything we ought to be ashamed of, attaches itself showily to adoption, and we have to keep making excuses for ourselves, because we don’t want to look. But we want those kids. And that is all we mean when we talk about the “dire” consequences of changing one single thing about adoption: I want, and I don’t care how I get, but I also want to think of myself as a good person and my nation as a good nation. So I’m sorry you had such a bad experience but if we open records women will stop relinquishing and she loved you but she couldn’t afford aren’t you glad you weren’t aborted and why do you care so much about one piece of paper and culture camp and natural families have problems too and you’re bitter and this is what happens to sluts who spread their legs and you should be grateful and I can see why she gave you up and adoption is beautiful it’s beautiful O beautiful for spacious skies/can’t hear you when I sing!
* (which may be used not to feed the children there, but to acquire more “orphans”)