I’m Having Paper Hot Flashes

LABOR PAINS! Yes we are in labor!” announces a blogger about to receive a four-year-old girl from China.

Both of you? Sorry to sound creepy, but can I watch his? I must know how he manages. And that must hurt. How on earth do you keep your womb(s?) in China and the rest of you here? And how can your new daughter sport “princess shoes, earrings and purse” for the camera unless your womb(s?) contains room not only for a four-year-old, but for furniture, draperies and a photographer too? Stop that, it’s tacky.

But it isn’t like these bloggers thought up this grotesque metaphor. It’s been around awhile in various forms, like this:

Sure it is. And that’s a real baby you’re holding to prove it!

No, it’s the same old pregnant. Someone got The Same Old Pregnant and you are raising her child. The least you could do is acknowledge her existence. Stop that, it’s an insult.

Then there’s this:

It's awesome because the episiotomy can be repaired with sticky tape!

Origami baby on board?

You are not Paper Pregnant unless you intend to become a paper mother by giving birth to a paper infant, which I don’t recommend, because the paper cuts, my gods the paper cuts. Stop that, it’s a lie. (Unless you really have given birth to a ream of one hundred per cent white cotton bond paper, in which case I apologize and offer as consolation the fact that your son will one day be perfect for copying a doctoral dissertation onto.)

If family-making were a sport, this would be cheating. It’s the equivalent of buying something and insisting you made it yourself when you try to resell it on Etsy, which makes you petty and shameless. And I wish that were all it did, but this stuff isn’t cute and it isn’t harmless. It lets the world know before your adoption is completed that you can’t deal with raising a child you didn’t give birth to, even though that’s exactly what you signed on for.

I’m not trying to be mean here, I’m just saying something obvious that a lot of PAPs don’t seem to get: You did not engender your adopted child.

Did the first mother pick you? Do you know all about her and the father? You still didn’t give birth, your child still had parents before you, and your child will still need you to acknowledge, even celebrate this.

Do you have an open adoption? You still didn’t give birth, and your child still had parents before you.

Did you go to every prenatal checkup? You still didn’t give birth, your child still had parents before you, and your child will still need you to acknowledge, even celebrate this.

Did you go into the delivery room and cut the cord? You still didn’t give birth, your child still had parents before you, and your child will still need you to acknowledge, even celebrate this.

No matter how young s/he is when you get him/er, no matter how little s/he seems to remember, your child will need you to acknowledge and celebrate the fact that s/he is, but is not, entirely yours. When you you walk around with a T-shirt representing the entire country of China as the womb in a fake ultrasound, you don’t look ready for the task at all.

but you can't call me one, because I'm adopting from China

Hi! I’m a Straight-Up Racist!

(You look like a colonialist running dog, but that’s another story for another day.)

Your child is yours, but s/he will never be “yours” in the sense that s/he will look like you, act like you, have your family’s talents and dreams and eyes. The sooner you deal with that, the happier your child will be, because an adopted child needs to grow up with parents who acknowledge and can deal with the fact that s/he had parents before them.

These days my face gets red and I break a sweat just reading about this crap. May I try the paper menopause please?



Filed under Misognyny, Stop Saying That, Those Wacky PAPs

16 responses to “I’m Having Paper Hot Flashes

  1. ElaineP

    I wish they’d step back and really listen to themselves sometimes…. it sounds so delusional…

  2. It is delusional and entry into this paper world of adoption is by paying large wads of paper money! LOL

  3. That outfit, the top one, I mean the belt alone is a sin and on a woman that age?

    I must turn away

  4. Lauri Lee

    Oh, that scan is one step too far! Gahk!

    “I must turn away” – advice I should probably take with a lot of things but I just had to look…

    Here’s taking the paper pregnancy one step further…


    “We started Jada with a play therapist who also specializes in attachment and bonding – it was all for her you know – NOT something Joe nor I needed!”

    ” … (like I said, Joe NOR I need this therapy) …”

    “But the big ride came when our therapist had me tell Jada what it would have been like if she had come out of my tummy. I tell you what, I have never had to think SO hard. I had to tell her what it felt like the day she came out of my tummy, what I thought when she came out of my tummy, what it felt like to hold her minutes after she was born. I was doing all I could to hold myself together as I told my little one “our birth story”. She was beaming the whole time – I mean truly beaming – her eyes never left mine – she was soaking it all in. She had a birth story and so did I. I felt for the very first time, that this little one was a part of me.”

    “This little girl, that I have never doubted that God put with our family, and whom I love dearly has just never felt like “mine.” I can’t explain it any other way – I could follow God’s call – I could raise her and shower her with love – but I did not feel that bond as strongly as I had felt it with my other kids……until I told her about the day she was “born”.”

    “We then went on to tell her about the day we flew to China and were given one of the best gifts ever!! Her adoption birth story… ‘

    “And all the while, I told you Joe NOR I need this therapy – I hang my head in shame – I am never beyond taking help, God puts people in your path to help you.”

    “…the day we relived her “coming out of mommy’s tummy.”

    I love the way she infers the problem is with the child bonding and she keeps saying that her and her husband don’t need therapy (even when she adds her bit of “Christian” humility) even though she admits the child never felt like hers …so the solution is to pretend mommy gave birth to her adopted daughter! And then acknowledge her adoption. No confused 4 year old at all, of course… and conveniently no original mother whatsoever…

    • Good gravy, pass the bucket!! Its morons like this that pushed me away from my faith when I was a teenager and ensure that I never fall for Christianity again. If theyre right, and theyre going to heaven, frankly I’d rather go to the other place. If God intends for Children to be ripped away from their parents so that they can be raised by delusional idiots like these then hes a sadistic bastard and I want nothing to do with him……

  5. Lauri Lee

    By accident I stumbled on how paper pregnancy works. Paper pregnancy is the thing that gives birth to paper orphans. Without this paper pregnancy, there would be no paper orphans!

    “In many countries, it can be astonishingly easy to fabricate a history for a young child, and in the process, manufacture an orphan. The birth mothers are often poor, young, unmarried, divorced, or otherwise lacking family protection. The children may be born into a locally despised minority group that is afforded few rights. And for enough money, someone will separate these little ones from their vulnerable families, turning them into “paper orphans” for lucrative export.”
    – pg. 63 http://www.brandeis.edu/investigate/gender/adoption/docs/FPFinalTheLieWeLove.pdf

    Down with paper pregnancy, it’s creating too many orphans!

    If you thought the self-labelling PAP in the t-shirt that says “Paper Pregnant!” was tacky, then what about doing this to your kids to fundraise for adoption promotion. http://bilbybunch.blogspot.com/2011/11/adopted.html

  6. cb

    Laurie Lee, that therapy sounds awful and confusing – I think I would have been embarrassed if I’d had to do that with my amum. Actually, I can’t imagine my rather uptight mum doing anything like that lol.

    Btw maybe I am odd, but I rather like that origami baby lol – how do you make one? It would be good to give to someone next time they said they were “paper pregnant” lol (though living in Australia, I think the chance of coming across a “paper pregnant person” is probably quite small)

  7. Lauri Lee, that therapy sounds *obscene*. I never needed a birth lie growing up, and neither did my a’mom. The mom here talks about how the child “beamed,” but note just who didn’t think she could really love whom until this little charade had been enacted. UGH.

    “The Lie We Love” is a great article and I’m glad people are still reading it!

    cb, i can’t find any instructions on how to fold a baby. )-:

  8. Janet

    Being a natural mother this kind of crap just makes me boil!!!. How can people who fall for this kind of crap consider themselves fit to adopt.

    I have an article that I cut from the local paper of a beaming couple selling magnets to raise funds to adopt. Makes me sick.

  9. cb

    Laurie Lee, I think if I tried to make a “paper baby”, I would probably end up making something that looked like a “paper moose”.

    The problem with all these therapies is that the APs just haven’t figured out that it isn’t all about them. Like you, Laurel, I needed no birth lie either – my APs just told us the truth and let us be ourselves.

  10. Lauri Lee

    I don’t think any child needs a birth lie. I think adoptees need to know that it’s okay to crave and grieve their original mother, and not be lead to believe she didn’t love them enough to be kept by her. Children need to know that the same biology that makes mother animals the most ferocious at defending their young, makes mother humans just as loving and protective of their infants, and that it would take extraordinarily bad circumstances to separate the two. Children need to know that they are lovable and because they are so loved, that the adoptive parent thinks the first parents must have also had great genes to have created such a wonderful child. And that they will always know something of their parents simply from how they are. Not that the child’s parents were the type of people to abandon their young or of dubious repute, and by unspoken inference the child is also tainted. They also need to know that their adoptive parents will always be there for them and will always love them.

    And because I believe this is what should and shouldn’t be told to adoptive children, it tells me that this “therapy” was for the benefit of the adoptive mother to get her to fantasize herself into bonding because it exploited a child’s vulnerable craving and grief by make-believing it’s the adoptive mother the child craves for, and by doing so denies the child’s right to grieve.

    This isn’t like switching budgies when buzzby dies, and a bit more confusing than when buzzby II can’t sing the old tunes anymore.

    I grew up believing I came from incomprehensible child-abandoning-people, and had locked my grief for my mother away because my adoptive mother, with the best intentions, made her impersonal, anonymous, and unobtainable.

  11. cb

    Beautifully said, Laurie Lee. I do think that is one place where my parents did do well – because they just simply said that my bmother was an unmarried mother without support and growing up in the 60s&70s, I could see that how difficult it would have been for a young woman from a similar background to me (middle class) to be able to raise her child by herself without support from family – I did watch a video recently that showed how impossible it would have been to juggle work (with disapproving employers ready to sack you at a moment’s notice), accommodation (with very few people willing to rent a room to you) and childcare (by older women who would need you to be there on the dot picking up the children).

    By the way, this blog entry from a long time ago by an adoptee blogger’s friend did help as well to understand that as important as biology is, it can’t trump everything like extraordinarily bad circumstances:


    • Lauri Lee

      I really like that “Clarification and elaboration on the idea of romanticizing DNA” blog post. It explains something which should be so obvious but is frequently misunderstood or manipulated, in a beautifully clear way. I never thought that biology should overcome everything and it has always perplexed me that some people think that biology is not important because it doesn’t stop biological families from being dysfunctional and/or project that I must think it fixes everything simply because I acknowledge its importance.

      I had never thought of it in terms of romanticising biology for the “failure” of mothers to keep their children. But it clearly is.

      There is also something about the human capacity to reason. A mother may have all her biological drives to protect and care for her offspring intact, but reason that the best way to achieve this is to relinquish (which may be in fact true, or may just be as equally if not more compromised a choice for the child, as no one can know the future or alternative futures). This in no way shows that biological drives failed, just reason was used to carry out the protective instinct.

  12. cb

    Btw, Lauri Lee, I agree with Laurel that you should start your own adoption blog!

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