A Crap Reason to Adopt

There’s a webzine called what? …What the fuck is wrong with people?

[sigh] In an interview I found excerpted at a site called [shudder] Celebrity Baby Scoop, Queen Latifah discusses adopting.

“I would like to [adopt]. Why not? You know? why not?”

That's a shitty reason, lady.

"Everyone else is doing it!"

She goes on to say she’ll definitely either adopt or make her own baby because what the fuck, these two things have been rendered almost indistinguishable by the fluffy wuffy (KACHING!) propoganda campaign that surrounds and cushions adoption so no APs will get their itto feewings hurt–and to hell with what that does to kids because KACHING again.

And Queen Latifah says, like so many others I’ve encountered, that she’s wanted to adopt “since I was 17 or 18 years old.”

Why do people say this? Seriously, why? Is there any reason to say this other than to get your head patted? I don’t think there is. I don’t have any way of knowing whether anyone has wanted to adopt for twenty-three years. But I was forty-one once (Queen Latifah’s current age according to the article), and by that age there was not one damned thing I wanted to do when I was seventeen or eighteen that I had not

already done,

stopped wanting to do,

realized I’d never be able to do,

or just plain discarded as childishly ill-thought out, because I was seventeen FFS. I used to have a friend who said she’d “always” wanted to adopt a baby girl from China, as if this had been a trend or even a possibility her entire life. She’s younger than I am, but she was not born during or after 1983. So no, not “always.” Why would you say that?

I’d believe people like this if they’d admit that what they mean is that they have been saying they want to adopt since they were seventeen or eighteen. And I’d believe them if they’d admit they’ve kept saying it all these years because it’s always gotten them free platters of You Are A Wonderful Person! cookies for doing nothing. (And they by-gods expect those cookies. Ever been the first person to react to that announcement with something other than unqualified praise? I have. Wheeeeeeew!)

The people I’ve known who say this sometimes go on to rhapsodize about how wonderful it would be to help a child in need…and I watch their eye glaze over and I can almost hear the music start. It’s good having your head up in that cloud, People. Cinnamon popcorn* and cute Chinese babies forever…and ever…and ever.


(No, I still can’t make WordPress link right like it used to. Sorry.)



Filed under General Ignoramitude, Those Wacky PAPs, WTF?!

34 responses to “A Crap Reason to Adopt

  1. Lauri Lee

    Baby Scoop, the era (or error) that seems like it will never end… It’s just so much tackier and insidious when it has “Celebrity” in front of it.

  2. Erimentha

    I fucking love you dude!

  3. I figured linking out. Copy the link, then select the text where you want to insert the link, then click on the little barbell icon in the row of edit functions (make sure you then select open link in new page)…why they make changes is beyond me.

    Enjoyed the post…

  4. Good Grief! I always enjoy it when I google Baby Scoop and Angelina Jolie or Marie Osmond pop up! How warm and giving of Queen Latifah to consider taking a poor foundling into her home. Why not indeed! Can’t wait to see how this new crop of adoptees feel about it when they grow up. Great Post!

  5. tony

    why not adopt? — oh, let me count the reasons…

    maybe because you’re separating a person from their blood, heritage, culture, rhythms and everything they’ve known since they’ve been in utero…

    maybe because babies don’t appreciate being severed from their mother and put into the hands of a stranger….

  6. cb

    Where do they think the babies come from – an adoptee tree or something?

    It is like they think that adoptions happen in a vacuum.

  7. Cameron H

    Hey – you gotta love a country that has such a strong culture of adoption … and free access to guns. Yes – I think when these adoptees grow up we will see how much these little foundlings enjoyed being separated from their true families. America will reap a holocaust eventually – it only takes one adoptee to really lose it and pop on down to the local gun shop for a weapon or two …

  8. Celebrity Baby Scoop is revolting. Saintly do-gooders “saving” children are terrifying. Self-serving narcissists who adopt and expect their kids to please and delight them, and then reject them as defective when they don’t, are repugnant. These are all Crap Reasons to adopt.

    And any circumstance that separates a mother from her baby is tragic. If she’s young, unmarried, poor, pressured, coerced, shamed…whatever the circumstance…not being able to parent one’s own child is a tragedy. A baby separated from mother/extended family/nationality and birthculture is a tragedy. And we as a society — and AP’s in particular — should work to change the circumstances that force mothers to relinquish their babies. We should work particularly hard to support change in the places that we adopted from. The narrative we are given by social workers and adoption agencies does not square up with what we observe first-hand as we forge relationships with adult adoptees, or visit our kids’ birthplaces. Over time, a very different story emerges. As a fellow ap commented regarding her strong support of birthmothers’ rights, “I want my kids to feel I looked squarely at the realities as I understood them and responded with some integrity to what I saw.”

    But in the meantime, circumstances for many women, in this country and all over the world, continue to be unbearable, impossible. Babies and children continue to be relinquished.

    T. Laurel Sulfate, do you condone adoption under any circumstances, and if so, when do you feel it is a viable option? (I’d like to hear the thoughts of your fellow commentors as well.) Thanks.

    p.s. I went to a panel discussion tonight at our adoption agency, five adult adoptees presented — five smart, articulate, funny, and amazingly insightful women. But the brutal part…to hear a young, spirited, lovely young woman earnestly explaining to a group of maybe 50 pap’s and ap’s that she LOVES her adoptive family, she really does, but there’s just this constant unanswered question, and if she could meet her biological brother, if she could just find out who she looks like… Listening to her, it became crystal clear to me: she and the other panelists were doing everything they could to REASSURE us, they were very busy taking care of OUR feelings, talking about their need to search, or their fascination with their birthculture, very very carefully, to be sure WE didn’t feel threatened or offended. It made me feel kind of ill. I didn’t get called on during the discussion, but I spoke to the social worker who facilitated afterwards. I told her our agency was not doing an adequate job of educating and preparing pap’s. PAP’s need to understand that the kids they would be adopting had endured trauma and pain, and would need our lifelong and unconditional support and help. We need to be there to help our kids…our kids should not be struggling to reassure us, or protect our feelings. If you’re not able to put your kid’s emotional needs ahead of your own, then DON’T ADOPT. This is what they need to say to pap’s at the introductory seminars. But I guess that wouldn’t be very good for business…

  9. I don’t mind at all…I appreciate it.

    • The “taking care of other people’s feelings” thing–eeesh, good call. We do that.

      I do think adoption is sometimes necessary and the best outcome for the child. There are parents who simply can’t or shouldn’t raise their own children, and those children deserve a stable home, not a revolving door series of homes until they “age out” onto the street and/or into jail as happens to so many foster kids.

      But I think it ought to be avoided whenever possible, and records ought to be open. I’m not sure I think international adoption is ever right, and I find transracial adoption deeply problematic.

      If I were going to “fix adoption,” I’d start by taking the profit margin out of it–not that I know how that could be done. My Baby Scoop era adoption was done through the stat government, and it cost my folks all of 200 1964 US dollars (for legal fees).

      • I agree with everything you say here except we disagree about international and transracial adoption.

        In some countries there are nowhere near enough foster or adoptive homes available for the kids who need them. Not even the “revolving door series of homes” that we have in the U.S. is available; the only option is institutional care until the child turns 18.

        I believe institutional care is never an acceptable option, and that living in a stable home is a basic human right that should be guaranteed to all. When birthfamily, extended family, domestic adoption, and domestic foster care are not available for a child, international adoption — by enlightened, trained, and adoption-issue educated ap’s — is the better choice.

      • Lauri Lee


        Being an international adoptee I disagree with you. We loose far too much in terms of identity that all the culture camps and language lessons in the world won’t make up for because the cultural context we are living in is not our nascent one and we are essentially “book learning” or “puppeting” isolated aspects our nascent culture alongside those just as disenfranchised with ourselves. The transracial aspect amplifies everything that is wrong with the identity bending nature of adoption and is inescapable and fatiguing to constantly have this on display at the times when you should feel most comfortable, when you are with your family.

        Transracial adoptees’ ADOPTION is a subject that never goes away in our lives. It may be with us in small letters some of the time when we are with people who already know about it (must everyone know!!?? evidently) but it is still always there, and never far from rearing itself in full CAPITALISATION. Many of us hope that returning to our homelands will make this go away but then we are foreigners in the guise of natives who can’t pass for natives and face new explanations of ourselves and new barriers to being included into the culture. There is no happy ending just constantly seeking plateaus where we can hope to be at peace with ourselves for a little while, until another insensitive slap in the face comes regarding our belonging. It is no wonder so many of us commit suicide. Adoptees are already overrepresented in mental health problems, addiction, and suicide, not to mention prison. And transracial-transnational is just another messed up complicated layer that is added to the adoption equation. Not to mention we feel obliged to put on a happy well adjusted face to look after the feelings of our adoptive parents from very early on to the point it’s an automatic behaviour in their presence, but still fatiguing none-the-less especially as disguising pain also denies us of the support we need when we face racism and incessant inquiry.

        Yes there are children in need in terrible circumstances but they need supporting in their own communities. This blog has a breakdown for what the money for an adoption would achieve in various countries that would affect far more children and the people most important and essential in their lives (their parents, or families if they are no longer alive). http://www.declassifiedadoptee.com/2010/08/how-far-does-20000-go-youd-be-suprised.html

        Not to mention, far too much child trafficking is done in poor countries where regulation is deficient and child finders are paid high amounts to find children suitable for adoption that leave genuine in need children, still in need. I have heard that 90% of genuine orphans are over the age of 5 years old. The making of paper orphans obscures our chances of being reunited with our natural families.

        Even in Korea which is not a poor country, BSE type tactics are employed to get unwed mother’s to “relinquish” their newborns (although relinquish is a bit of a stretch of the imagination in some cases). I support groups that support and empower unwed mother’s, not institutions that make money for taking their children by on-selling them to Westerners.

        Given the high price of international adoption, it is the commodification of children pure and simple. There is no decent justification of these costs, people are making money from this, and children in need remain in need.

  10. Anonymouse

    The thing is?

    Even if you did tell people to stop adopting, you can’t stop someone from wanting a child.

    • I am not the least bit interested in “stopping someone from wanting a child,” as I don’t control people’s emotions and wouldn’t want to. The thing is? I’m snarking here, not “telling people to stop adopting.”

      I’m perfectly aware that I don’t have superhuman mind control powers, but thanks, I guess?

      • Anonymouse

        @ Snarkurchin: Mmmm I know. The irony of this title is “A Crap Reason to Adopt” but for some people (on the blogosphere in general), there isn’t any NON crap reason to adopt, either.

        You wrote this above “There are parents who simply can’t or shouldn’t raise their own children…” at which point in time there are some of us adoptees who will say “why not look into the ‘whys’ “? Why can’t they? Why shouldn’t they?

        And then there are other commenters who will go “But we can’t prevent babies from ending up in orphanages, so we can’t prevent parents from giving up their children.”

        So there isn’t truly a crap reason to adopt, because all the reasons for adoption to have to occur are craptastical situations to begin with.

        P.S. Lemme know if my comment confused you.

    • “Even if you did tell people to stop adopting, you can’t stop someone from wanting a child.”

      You can want a child as much as you want, but you see, it is no one’s duty to provide “special, more deserving” (not really) YOU with their child. If you can’t produce your own, you have my sympathy, but it is not anyone else’s problem; not a mother or HER child.

      • Anonymouse

        @ gypsyqueen1: Oh, I know. I’m well aware of that. But someone who wants to adopt will get to adopt anyway and the mother of that child is going to lose her child anyway.

  11. To clarify a minor point: Celebrity Baby Scoop is vacous and boring, but I had a misimpression of what it’s about when I said it was “revolting.” Going forward, need to check things out before I comment. 🙂

  12. Oh honestly…also need to do spell check. Make that “vac-u-ous.”

  13. @ Anonymouse, re: “Why can’t they? Why shouldn’t they?,” the only parents I’m sure “can’t” raise their own kids are the abusive ones.

    And your first comment did confuse me. Whenever I’ve read people say “Well, you can’t stop adoption,” it’s from someone who’s gloating over that, not calling it tragic.

  14. Anonymouse

    Person 1: One should not adopt because that means a family must be broken in order for a new family to be created.
    Person 2: What? What does that have anything to do with me adopting? I adopt because I want a child, not because I want to break up a family.
    Person 1: In order for you to be ABLE to adopt, a family structure needs to have been broken. There is no way around that.
    Person 2: Seriously? How am I supposed to prevent children from ending up in orphanages? I get that no child should end up in an orphanage, but by the time I come into the picture, the separation from the family has already been done. Besides, the world is not perfect. Some people just aren’t fit to be mothers.
    Person 1: The world doesn’t have to be perfect for a mother to raise her child.
    Person 2: Well, even if you were able to abolish all adoptions, which I believe will always be impossible to a number of varying factors, you can’t stop someone from wanting a child.

    “You can’t stop adoption” ties in to the statement of “You can’t stop someone from wanting a child.”

    Therefore there is no such thing as a crap reason to adopt, because the child already came from a crappy situation to begin with, subsequently the result of adoption can only be considered as “better” compared to the previous scenario.

    • Lauri Lee

      I was trafficked to fill an adoption order. I am not alone in this, many other children are stolen to be adopted by Westerners. This is not a thing of the past, it anything, because of the scale of international adoption it is worse.

      It took me 40 years to find my family because my records were fabricated to say that I was abandoned with no identifying information. Sadly my father was dead by then, he started drinking after my mother’s death and my disappearance, he died of alcohol related causes. He was an intelligent, well educated, gifted man. When I went to the village I was born, elderly villagers came out to see the girl the who was taken, they remembered me.

      Anonymouse (what have you to hide by not using this excuse of a moniker?) – This tragedy could have been avoided if Westerners weren’t lining up and asking to adopt poor in need orphans. Despite my illegal entry on the adoption market many children remained in orphanages. I was a healthy infant, they were not. Who was more in need? Them, or me who had a family that wanted me?

      There are plenty of crap reason’s to adopt:
      I can’t have my own, so someone else’s will do.
      No, you just set the child up to be second best to biological children as plan B.

      There are so many children in need in the world, I would make a difference to a child’s life.
      Well, just make sure you actually manage to adopt a child in need and not one trafficked and paper orphaned to fill an orphanage spot for a healthy young child. And seriously, if you put that money towards programmes in that child’s country you could help so many more children and if you are doing it because there are so many children in need, you want to be helping as many as possible to reduce as much child poverty as you can, not just cherry picking one to take home.

      It must be God’s will that I adopt.
      No, if you are infertile it would seem it was God’s will that you are infertile, and reading the Bible with all it’s emphasis on identity through genealogy it looks like it’s God’s will that his people maintain biological identity, not remove identity. The only mention of stranger adoption in the Bible is Moses and that is hardly an endorsement unless we adoptees are supposed to rain plagues upon our adoptive people.
      If you are not infertile and are doing it because you want to help needy children in the name of God, the Bible charges you to care for the widow and the fatherless (sometimes translated as orphan) and the poor. It doesn’t mention, take the fatherless (orphan) from the widow or poor, but the Old Testament does make mention of resource aid one is supposed to make sure is provided to the widow and fatherless.

      I want a child.
      Well, you should know how babies are made, if you don’t read a book on sex ed.
      And I want my girlfriend’s cat, do you think I should offer money but since she probably won’t want to sell because she’s and it are emotionally attached to each other I should probably just go into her house and steal it? Or I can get over it, and realise this is gross tacky selfish behaviour and benefits nobody but myself.

      Why not? You know? Why not?
      Because adding your desire to adopt to all the other entitled Western voices, just fuels child trafficking in poor countries where families are most vulnerable.
      Because you will bond far more readily to a biological child who has already started the bonding process in utero and wired to bond with their biological mother. So far more natural and easier for you as a parent.
      Because you disrupt this bond when you take a child away from their natural mother and the emotional trauma of this on a child too young to have a pre-trauma personality sets a child up for all sort of problems in life, which you as a parent may not be adequate to help resolve.
      Because failure to bond in an adoptive relationship sees the dumping of many failed adoptions on social services in the receiving country (or put on plane to Russia with a note pinned to them… ), many of whom never receive citizenship of their adoptive countries and although they grow up there, there are many who are deported as adults back to their nascent country with no knowledge of the language or culture. So much for saving kids…
      Because there are so many many other ways of helping kids and their families.
      Because there are other healthy ways to raise someone else’s child in a way that preserves their whole identity without engaging in any pretense of kinship. Called things like permanent fostering, or guardianship.

  15. cb

    Beautifully said, Lauri Lee.

    Btw I’m sorry about your mother and father having passed away (my mother had died before I found her too and it affected me more than I thought it would). It must have been a boost though that the villagers remember you.

    • Lauri Lee

      Thank you cb –

      So sorry that your mother passed to before reunion.

      Strangely, in my heart of hearts I always felt that my mother had died and my father was living, even though I remained doggedly rational in believing any scenario was possible. So when I found out what happened I had many emotional responses of being surprised that this feeling was right and somewhat relieved that I didn’t have to shift my emotional state on that but shocked and angry that my father had died (of what is essentially loss and grief in life) in the year that I turned 18, which would have been before I would have had a chance of meeting him if I had transparent documentation (which is a ridiculous hope as I was never going to have this or it would have revealed I was never relinquished).

      The grief hit me really hard, and has not left me since, although I think that grief has been with me since infancy, just not allowed to surface until confirmation. To boot the revelation was that nobody I knew seemed to understand, in really crazy insensitive comments like “oh that’s sad but at least you have two families”.

      I have a brother and a lot of extended family. That’s the real boost. The elderly villagers were a little spooky, but added a bit more reality to my existence there and the place people have in memory.

  16. cb

    Hi Lauri,
    Though I have no living siblings, I do have lots of extended family (uncles and cousins) and I agree, it is a real boost to have lots of relatives – I just clicked with my rellies straight way and sometimes it feels like I’ve known them forever lol (it’s been 2 years).
    Also, it is good to know that it is not abnormal to be still feeling sadness after two years – it is certainly a different sadness to how it was when I first made contact but sometimes it really hits me and sometimes I can’t even say exactly why, it is often very complicated – sometimes I just feel sad for her because she was so young (she was in her late 30s).
    “To boot the revelation was that nobody I knew seemed to understand, in really crazy insensitive comments like “oh that’s sad but at least you have two families”

    Totally agree, most people just think that because I didn’t know her, I shouldn’t really feel anything for her. I’ve certainly had people say the above type of comments. Also, one 2nd cousin (a very lovely lady), trying to be kind, said “with your mother dying so young, perhaps it turned out for the best that you were adopted, otherwise you would have lost your mother at 16”. I’m glad she didn’t extend the logic and say “with your mother dying, perhaps it turned out for the best that your younger siblings were stillborn, otherwise they would have lost their mother at 8”. I didn’t say anything because I know she was only trying to be kind and was trying to make me feel better.

  17. cb

    Btw Lauri Lee – I was reading a newspaper article (linked via Von’s blog) where a Lauri Lee from NZ commented – is that you? I just ask because I am a Kiwi by birth (by Aussie bparents who met on a workig holiday in NZ). I live in Australia now though (APs immigrated here when I was young)

    • Lauri Lee

      I don’t know which article you are referring to, but yeah, there probably aren’t any other Lauri Lees from NZ posting on adoption related stuff.

      Interesting the way you recirculated back to Oz. I was originally adopted to the US, but my APs immigrated to NZ when I was a toddler. I consider my adoption multiple dislocations. I grew up in a culture that wasn’t my APs culture, and neither their culture nor the one I grew up in was mine.

      Sometimes I’m in Oz so depending which part you are in, we may be able to meet up some day.

      • cb

        Actually, I didn’t know you were from NZ untl I saw the article in the columbian, I just didn’t think there would be many other Lauri Lee’s from anywhere posting on adoption lol. I’m from north of Sydney so if you are over this way, it would be nice to meet up. How are things in Christchurch after the rough time your poor city has gone through?

        Btw Laurel – it looks like you are being taken over by Southern Hemispherians with at least 4 of your readers living below the equator lol.

      • Lauri Lee

        I spent Xmas in Sydney! And it’s highly likely I’ll be back… Can you find me on fb? Send me a message or I’ll be confused who you are.

        Chch is a bit messy, a lot of demolition work going on (lots of empty lots), some rebuild happening (wishing the pile driver a block away wouldn’t start work before 8am… ), the earth is still shaking and will probably continue for quite sometime and a lot of the people who have stayed are re-evaluating as to whether they will continue to stay. The currently annoying thing is that dry NW winds are blowing fine silt around (the earth liquified and spewed silt up all over the eastern suburbs and into town, especially in areas around the river. It just forms a silt patina on everything. After the Feb 22 quake last year we had NSW police here as part of the crisis management (we had people from all over the world actually), so thanks for the loan!

  18. Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!

    I have no idea what to say to the rest of you Southern Hemisphereans. (-:

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