Fuck Your Adoption Process Moral Pedestal

Hi, Everybody! Know what? A’dad Andrew McDougall is better than you are. Not just richer, oh no. Not just more entitled to the children of others: certainly not! More virtuous. More actually, factually Good–and now far too Good to help anyone else who might need it. (Send five pounds to the starving kid I saw on TV? Nope, fuck that “life I could have saved.” I’m helping society by raising a child of my own! …just like almost everybody else.)

That’s right: Since at least late 2012, Mr. McDougall has considered himself super special for raising a child he didn’t contribute that one precious cell to. Why is that nobler? Is it because adopted kids are defective and require extra special love, or because the real reason to have a child is so you can look at your own face all day without walking to a mirror every time? Sorry, but I don’t think those are good reasons to parent. I think parenting is about wanting to raise a child, period. So the fact that you are raising one “not your own” makes you…a dad! The fact that you accomplished this by adoption makes you…a (damned lucky and privileged) dad! The fact that you filled out all the forms and waited and hoped makes you…a dad! The fact that you wrote an article about “the adoption process moral pedestal” (and I hope you made that phrase up just now) makes you…an asshole. Congratulations! I’m sure your child will be thrilled to learn about your “moral pedestal” once s/he’s old enough to Google his/her own name.

(Seriously: “Daddy, what’s a pedestal? …If you weren’t standing on one, would you still have loved me?”)

You, Mr. MacDougall, adopted in January of last year, so you’re an expert. (What about your wife, who is *no doubt doing all the heavy lifting? She’s mentioned in the article exactly once, and as “my wife.” But I digress.) Of course, your Year-Plus-Eight-Months Adoption Experience-ence-ence-ence! doesn’t mean you’ll think of the rest of us as lesser people for not adopting. Heavens no. That would be

wait for it

beneath you:

Is it that my adoption story sees me sit on the moral high ground pouring judgement down upon those of you who haven’t adopted – shame on your having your own children, the fires of hell await?

What? Why is your adoption story spying on you? While we’re at it, does your adopted child have an adoption story which is in any way separate from “your adoption story”? Didn’t think so.

Or I could opt to patronise you and say that ‘not everyone is cut out for adoption’.

Which is, of course, absolutely true.

No of course that isn’t my view.

Of course it isn’t, Mr. McD. This is a parody, right? And now my commentors and I will have the joy of deciding what to call the adoption debate equivalent of Poe’s Law, won’t we? You’re making fun of the dialog currently surrounding international adoption, aren’t you?

Aren’t you? I mean, it’s hard to tell, because you keep contradicting yourself and because your writing confuses me:

This adoption process has (rightly or wrongly) given considerable boost to the feeling that my contribution to society has allowed me to stand proud at the summit of my moral pedestal.

“If I write it poorly enough, I can write this sentence so it says ‘the adoption process’ is an active subject that runs around forcing people to do and feel things, rather than a process I initiated. –Oh! is that a pedestal? Do I have to climb it, Mister Adoption Process? To its very summit, even? [blushes, titters] Thank me so much! But really….”

As the adoption process fills more of my life, the greater the realisation that this was meant to be.

Someone paid you to write this, didn’t they? They need their money back. Look: the common English construction here is “The more X, the more Y.” You could also have chosen “as X, so Y.” Instead, you went for the mixed construction while again choosing to frame “the adoption process” as a subject which acted upon (a passive, implied) you, all on its own. This is so symbolic of the way we talk about adoption I could just eat it up with a spoon (or belt it one, I’m not sure which oh yes I am).

So my adoption pedestal helps me hold my head high, and saves me a few quid, but it is not license to bark my pseudo new moral army of beliefs at people.

What a wonderful man you are, Mr. McD, to write an article about how much better you  are than non-APs in the name of protesting that you’re no better than non-APs. You’re an arrogant ass, but that’s not what infuriates me about your article.

You imply that raising a kid in the UK somehow costs less than sending, what was it, five pounds per month overseas (for some lousy kid you don’t even get to name and coo over and climb a pedestal about). That’s not what infuriates me about your article, either.

What infuriates me about your article is the fact that it is still so indicative of the way we think about adoptees. Adoptees are castoffs, mistakes, bad blood. It takes a very, very special person to care about the likes of us. And it takes a super special person to not only care, but to call his caring nothing special while waving it around like a winning Powerball ticket.

Cynical as I am, it had never occurred to me before reading this article that there is an “adoption process moral pedestal” APs get to climb whenever they see a TV ad for a charity because they already scraped some let’s-face-it gutterkid out of the gutter.

If my a’dad were alive, Mr. McD., he’d be ashamed to share the title “dad” with you. He never talked of helping society by taking me off someone else’s hands. He talked of being lucky to have me and my a’bro in his life. And you know what? He was a good dad and a good man. I could write paragraphs of support for that statement, but they’d probably tip off someone as to his identity, so I hope you’ll take my word for it.

He published a fair few articles, too, but none were about being an adoptive dad–perhaps because he  had a crazy thing like his children’s privacy in mind. Still, at his funeral, I think I shook the hand of half the population of [my region of my home state].

I keep rereading this article and hoping it’s a parody. And I really do wonder if Mr. McD. didn’t mean to be somewhat, somehow light-hearted here.  But I can’t tell, because I can’t laugh about this:

…[M]y adoption pedestal […] is not license to bark my pseudo new moral army of beliefs at people.

Then come down off it, Sir. Because making others feel less than you is the one and only thing pedestals are for. And here’s what is carved on that thing:

I AM A WELL-OFF WHITE WESTERN MAN WHO IS SO MUCH SMARTER THAN YOU ARE THAT I CAN FOOL BOTH MYSELF AND YOU ABOUT MY BRAGGING WHICH IS TOTALLY NOT BRAGGING.

*I got this wrong: He’s a stay-at-home dad, and is therefore doing a good part of the heavy lifting. (My point remains: When a dad does childrearing, it’s bragworthy. When a mom does it, nobody notices.)

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27 Comments

Filed under AdoptoLand, The Adoption Process Moral Pedestal, WTF?!

27 responses to “Fuck Your Adoption Process Moral Pedestal

  1. Wonderful article! Very thought provoking and I am honoured to be the centre of it, thank you. I think we should collaborate and do a joint post, what do you reckon?

    • I reckon I’ve just been outsnarked, and I *eagerly await a list of subjects you believe the two of us could agree to the point of collaborating on. I’ll start:

      1) Food: Everyone should eat some.

      *No, I don’t. That was a lie.

  2. The sad fact is that our culture places adoption and adopters on a moral pedestal. Adopters are seen are “noble” for taking in “discarded” “unwanted” children when in fact such children remain warehoused while adopters pay tens of thousands of dollars and perpetuate a demand that creates kidnapping and trafficking of children.

    • I know. I just want this article to be a joke so badly….

    • pinkwinkle

      Overseas adoptions are very different to what Mr D writes about. As an adopted person, an adoptive parent and a social worker myself I couldn’t disagree with you more. Please check your facts before stating them as factsI

      • We’re not talking about overseas adoptions. This blog is written by an American, and in the United States children languish in foster care even after having been permanently removed from their parents while American adopters go after vulnerable pregnant women or traffick children from other countries. Thus, the actual unwanted children find no homes while the wanted children, or children of questionable status (often kidnapped), are adopted willy-nilly.

        If that’s not what happens in the UK then fine, although I *have* noticed y’all are awfully eager to remove children from homes for the most minor of infractions, and the poor parents can’t even go to the press about it without risking arrest and imprisonment. So I’d get off of my high horse if I were you.

        (Assuming you’re UK and not, say, Australian. Can’t be bovvered to look…)

    • Yeah, that’s what eats at me. The actual unwanted children wait forever and never get a home while the wanted children are gotten away from their parents by hook and by crook.

      Although, even the unwanted children are not always unwanted–that’s the tragic part. You can’t even trust the foster care system to be working in the kids’ best interests–and that’s BEFORE we get into how some foster “parents” routinely abuse their charges. (As do some adopters.)

      • pinkwinkle

        If he, and perhaps you are American, why are you getting so het up by an article on Uk adoptions and therfore can not be compared to your system, because its different. Not better, just different. Would also love to know how you know what social workers in the uk do. Clearly by not working in a social work setting in the uk, otherwise you’d know that there is something called Threshold that means we can’t remove children without meeting it. Or that if we tried the police and courts would stop us. Or that only 1% of our time is taken up by the removal of children, with most of our time working with families to keep children at home. So I think I speak with experince and knowledge of the uk system, rather than being on my high horse.

  3. pinkwinkle

    I am an adoptee, an adoptive parent and I am also someone who knows Mr D, and his wife, I can honestly say your article makes absolutely no sense. In addition to being a stay at home dad and therefore doing much as the heavy lifting as you call it, Mr D is one of the least arrogant people I know. Sounds to me like you have a chip on your shoulder. I would check your facts before you spout such rubbish. Both Mr and Mrs D work hard to understand and share their life experiences in as helpful way as possible and despite their own full life take time to do so. if you don’t agree with him fine but I think their is a less sarcastic and arrogant way of sharing, and therefore more helpful way. unfortunately, your rant reflects more badly on you than it serves to raise a valid point about Mr D.

    • Sorry, pinkwinkle, but sarcasm is what I do here, and I find the idea that adopting puts one on a moral pedestal very, very mockworthy.

      Many people are better than they/we come off by their/our words. I judged Mr. McD. by his words in this article because they are what I had to judge him by. If he didn’t want to be judged by them, why would he have published them?

      I am glad to learn he’s a stay-at-home dad; I think that’s great: seriously.

      I asked my a’mom about the “moral pedestal” thing, BTW. She hasn’t stopped laughing yet, and she’s 77, and she had a nerve block yesterday, so I’m gonna go check on her now. 😉

      • pinkwinkle

        Unfortunately, on this occasion, your sarcasm comes across as a chip on your shoulder. And how virtuous me you to be visiting your mother, I hope she’s okay, seriously.

      • If I misfire once in awhile, I misfire once in awhile.

        Mom’s answer: “Don’t you remember the ticker tape parades?”

        I don’t, but I was very young at the time. (-:

  4. Hi, I’m not here to attack or get into a war of words. If you read the “about me” section on Mr McD’s blog he states that he has used a pseudonym, precisely to protect his son’s identity and privacy. He writes really well about infertility, parenting and adoption, in a way that gives hope and comfort to people who aren’t or aren’t yet as fortunate as him. He also gives boundless help and advice about the adoption process – which is terrifying.
    I can’t see why an adoptive parent shouldn’t feel proud about adopting, there are plenty of people who don’t want to take on a child with history and “baggage”. There are also plenty of people who adopt and then give the child back like an unwanted pair of shoes because it wasn’t as easy as they expected.
    I’m glad that you’ve got loving parents, but that doesn’t mean that should attack someone who feels good for getting through such an arduous, heartbreaking and long journey. McD is only saying what plenty of adoptive and biological parents feel. Child rearing is a hard job and parents should feel proud if they’re doing a good job.
    I’m speaking as a non parent, for what it matters, and I don’t know McD.

    • pinkwinkle

      Love your reply. Well said

    • Hankie, I didn’t read anything but the article I snarked on.

      I know very well that some so-called adoptive parents throw kids away like shoes, but that’s outrageous. It’s criminal; it should be unthinkable. To say a good parent is one who doesn’t do such things is setting the bar way, way too low, isn’t it?

      When I say I don’t think a’parents should be especially proud, I don’t mean they should be ashamed. I mean they should shut up about having to take “damaged goods.” I have been assured all my life that adopting is no different than giving birth, that love is love, that I should forget about silly things like genetics because my a’parents are my real parents. Then I’m assured, sometimes by the same people, that one has to be proud of loving such creatures as I am, and that we cost too much, that there’s often something wrong with us, and you have to get us as young as you can. If you’re not adopted, I doubt very much you’ve overheard conversations like that about you.

      • Thank you, Snark. I appreciate your opinions and have enjoyed reading, whether I agree or not.
        Personally, I don’t feel that McD regards his son, or any child, as damaged goods. I think that if you’ve heard abhorrent comments like that about yourself, or another child, then that must have been horrendous and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone; but I think it shows more about the prejudices, bigotry and downright cruelness of those people.
        McD covers huge gamut of issues and interesting things regarding adoption, this is just one of those and I don’t think it’s one of his most important or ground breaking posts. I think in this instance he has just aired some thoughts and maybe shouldn’t be taken so much to heart ( I don’t mean that to sound condescending). McD is very open and honest in his posts and I think that is something that his readers appreciate. Yes, pride might be considered an ugly trait but I think that there are many worse.
        I have considered adoption myself and part of me wouldn’t want to tell the child that they were adopted because I wouldn’t see, love or treat them any differently from a biological child – to me they wouldn’t be different or “other”, and I wouldn’t want them to think that about themselves or question whether I did, but then I’ve grown up with up unconditional love (very lucky, I know, before or anyone jumps in – not necessarily you, Snark Urchin); but on the other hand, I think that the child would deserve to know that they had biological parents and may one want to seek them out. But those are my issues 🙂 Adoption is very tricky for so many reasons and I don’t think anyone considers themselves perfect.
        I think maybe the wording of McD’s post has riled you and maybe he hasn’t got his point across in the best way this time, but I think when he speaks of not feeling guilt because he’s done something good for society by adopting, I don’t think he means it completely the way it’s coming across. We are constantly bombarded with news stories about the financial cost of the care system to society, of children being hurt whilst in “care”, or for whatever reason, a child that has grown up in care commits an awful crime. (Please don’t think I consider children who’ve grown up in care to be destined to become criminals etc, I just mean to express the awful, negative image they are given in the media). In this sense, an adopter can be seen as doing a huge favour to society. The care system is atrocious and the country does not have the money to run it in the way the way it should be run. If an adopter has enabled a child to escape such a horrendous time and give them love and comfort and everything a child needs, then I for one have to give to them credit. The adoption process, as I said, is off-putting at best and near soul destroying (from what I’ve seen), at worst. I do not believe many/any would go through that just so that they could be viewed as some kind of social hero.
        I’d like to clarify that I haven’t meant to speak for anyone or put words in anyone’s mouth xxx

      • Also, Snark, without getting into an argument, in regards to your point of “I doubt very much you’ve overheard conversations like that about you.”, with all due respect, we don’t know each other and you don’t know the things I’ve had said to my face, let alone overheard. I have been very lucky with my nuclear family, but that doesn’t mean that others, very close to home, have all been as loving. xxx

    • Truthful Nacho

      What’s good is good. What’s bad needs to be talked about. The dude has an ass of himself. He really really has.

    • Andre

      Please let me say, there are artificial barriers keeping children from their loving natural families. My eldest child was taken by that monster called adoption. 28 years of secrets & sadness Sepperate this single dad from his beloved child & her younger sister of 9 months. Denial & Arrogance a perfect recipe for good people to do harm.
      A wonderful boy of five just showed up this early morning at his grandfather’s doorstep, the middle son, the younger by two yrs, to his lost cousin now found.

  5. Tina Andrews

    It skeeves me out every time someone tells me how good I am to have adopted. I didn’t do it to be good – it was and in my opinion always is a fundamentally selfish decision to parent regardless of if you adopt or give birth. We parent because WE want to parent for a variety of reasons – some which people would term “good” some which people would term bad.

  6. You are all here railing with disgust, yet when I went to the site of this man’s disgusting post, I was THE FIRST one to comment and let HIM, and HIS READERS, know what i think of him.

    Why don’t you ALL comment at HIS post!

    http://www.theonehandman.co.uk/adoption/adoption-process-moral-pedestal/#comment-3568

    Mirah Riben, author, THE STORK MARKET: America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry

  7. Brent Snavely

    Since “adoption” is “all about the children”, if there is an “adoption pedestal” it would be the adoptees, not those who adopt, upon it but, of course, it is not really “all about the children”.,,

  8. DId you get how many times he used the word “I” in the article…seems relevant to me

  9. I couldn’t even bring myself to get angry about his moronic post, because it was just so fucking comical!

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