A fellow adoptee recently drew my attention to a blog post about what’s being called “open embryo adoption.” The “a’mom” carries the child, so there was some discussion in the comments as to whether this can actually be considered adoption. I say it is adoption, and I’m going to let the fertility doctor who showed up in the comments help me tell you why. He says:
The issue of disclosure is an emotional one. Disclosing to family, friends and the donor-conceived offspring could result in judgement, isolation and even excommunication of some embryo recipient families….
Growing up either unaware or ashamed of who you are is too high a price for a child to pay in order to get the secure, loving home all children deserve. And we’re talking about children who didn’t have to exist in the first place–children who were brought into the world by and for people who plan to lie all their lives about it. That is unfathomably *upfucked. Why is it acceptable? Because lying can only hurt their child, whereas excommunication would hurt them, too. Is it about wannabe parents and what they find convenient? Then it’s adoption.
This is nothing new to adoptees. “Baby can’t be told who Baby is lest Mom and Dad get excommunicated” is the same as “Baby can’t be told because of the stigma of bastardry.” But when that stigma disappeared, adoptees couldn’t know where we came from because our mothers had supposedly been granted a right to privacy no citizen has. When our mothers began to protest that this isn’t true and that they wanted to know us, the myth that opening records will cause abortion rates to skyrocket was invented, and on and on. The real reasons birth certificates were sealed have nothing to do with first mothers or adoptees and everything to do with what adoptive parents and agencies want.
The doctor also says: The reality is that we don’t yet know what the long-term outcomes will be of an open process. […] [D]onor-conceived individuals may indeed benefit by making attachments to their genetic siblings raised in the donor’s home. Only with time and continued research are we going to be able to counsel both donors and recipients regarding the advantages and disadvantages of an open process. Until then, we should be cautious and allow the donors and recipients to find the process that seems best for them.
You can see why I quote him. He makes my case so well. Why are we forcing these children to be the guinea pigs future families learn from? Because their parents wanted babies and had the means to pay for them–and the best interests of the child be damned. Yeah, that’s adoption.
Similarly, when someone pointed out to Scott Simon that his Chinese daughters will grow up facing racism, he said maybe they would help end racism. Like the “snowflake guinea pig babies” above, these infants have been charged with being “front-line anti-racist baby ambassadors” to the USA. I don’t know any grown-ups who want that job, but Scott Simon and his wife wanted babies, and if that means those babies grow up thinking they’re white and hating themselves, well, that’s too damned bad. When adult adoptee of color John Raible suggested the parents of AOCs move to neighborhoods where their children can interact with people of their own race, many of them were outraged. Why? Because the child is expected to adapt to them and their lifestyle. Adoption is supposed to inconvenience the child, not the parents.
Apparently not having a child when you want one is suffering enough. So when you get the child, taking his/er best interests into consideration is just too much to ask. Expecting that child to pretend s/he is someone else all his/er life to please you is not too much to ask. It’s so little to ask that we expect adoptees to be grateful for the opportunity to do it.
Adoption was supposed to be about finding families for children who needed them. My research into adoption suggests that it never has been. It’s been about the government getting rid of street kids cluttering up the landscape (orphan trains). It’s been about making money via lies and kidnapping at least since Georgia Tann’s time. It’s been about letting some adults “preserve their reputations” and making other adults happy. It’s been about punishing women for the crime of being poor. It’s never been about the best interests of children.
That’s adoption all right.
*Down South this has three syllables: “up-fuckid,” with the accent on the fuck.