The spiky urchin has an opinion about opinions like the one held by Kim Strickland of Chicago Now. It’s Ms. Strickland’s opinion that if you haven’t committed or experienced a thing, you have to shut up about it. Such opinions get on my spines, hard:
In news story after news story and blog after blog, I watched parents (and probably some non-parents, too) practically getting-off on their vitriolic condemnation of Torry Hansen and her mother, Nancy.
So, I ask them: Did it make you feel better? Did it? Are you currently swaggering around, a cross between Mother Teresa, Erma Bombeck and Carol Brady, feeling oh so much more like perfect parents because you didn’t ship your kid off to Russia?
Well, if I may stay up on my high horse here, I refused to spew such vitriol. Most of these people chiming-in hadn’t adopted an older child, and while I haven’t walked in the Hansen family’s shoes, I’ve walked in a pair similar to theirs. My daughter arrived from Russia just over two-and-a-half-years ago.
Ah. So when I see something bad, I have to shut up about it while those who have either done or endured the bad thing themselves judge. I never thought about it before, but I suppose that’s why murder suspects get a jury of their true peers: six convicted murderers and six people who have been falsely accused of murder.
By that I mean, of course: Screw you, Ms. Strickland–you’re a self-righteous jerk of the sort you complain about. Shit, I probably wouldn’t be talking about poor Artyom right now if you hadn’t trotted out his tragedy. What’s worse is that you only did so because it makes such a perfect introduction for your story about how you’re–hey, let’s face it!–a much better mother than Ms. Hansen or Carol Brady, because you can and have dealt with the stuff that “put Torry Hansen over” the edge.
….Even though you just said your daughter is nothing like as “bad” as Artyom. It’s a good thing you pretend you didn’t want any praise, because you’re not making your case very well here.
You don’t play fair with the Hansen case, either. You don’t mention that we have no corroborating evidence for his horrible sociopathic behavior. None. No visits to a psychologist. No school. You say you believe the Hansens “didn’t know they had other options,” but I see no evidence they bothered looking for any.
Nor did I witness the display of orgiastic finger-pointing you described. I saw some outrage–and I saw every ounce of it countered by an equal and opposite comment about how we all have to shut up if we haven’t walked in Torry Hansen’s shoes, that raising adopted kids is harrrrd, that if a lay woman decides a boy is a sociopath he is a by-gods sociopath, that we have no idea what she went through.
And it’s true: I have no idea what Torry Hansen or her mother went through. I know what they put that seven-year-old boy through. I know at least sixteen Russian kids have been killed by their American parents and nobody seems to give a rat’s ass as long as they keep exporting the product.
And I know what it’s like to grow up adopted hearing people whisper about Children Like That around you. To hear grown-ups make jokes about how they didn’t realize sending kids back was an option.
You’re not saying anything new here, Ms. Strickland. Your side, the P/AP side, of adoption (“the edge”) is and always has been the only side that matters.
And no, I don’t feel any better. I’ll feel better when the killing stops.