So there was apparently this…thing going around these…places online that is Very Clever and Funny and not at all demeaning or sexist. It’s a fresh! new! take on Positive Adoption Language, which totally exists only to spare the feelings of adopted children!
Sure it does. Here’s what it’s teaching me now:
Adoptees are blobs of silicone or saline designed to look like human breasts. Our composition doesn’t really matter, though. What matters is that being implanted into our families made us real breasts forever and OMG YEY that’s tits!
Isn’t that just fucking perfect? Probably unconsciously so, but perfect. Adoption gives you fake breasts which are completely your real breasts. They are neither better nor worse than your own breasts are/would have been, which is why you went to all the trouble of surgery. They’re put on your chest without any input of their own and are expected to enjoy the attention they get, which makes them doubly boobs. (Seriously, what kind of adult calls breasts “boobs”? And why does breast augmentation surgery have to sound like something a prostitute might get paid to do for a man? as in head job/blow job, hand job, BOOB JOB? I suspect my readers know very well why; but I digress.)
For starters, note that “the boob job things” are things said to “Us, or adoptive families that we know.” Not to “our adopted children,” the ones who are truly in a position to be hurt by insensitive/lying adoption language; to butthurt grown-ups. (Yes, “adopted families” is supposed to include the adoptees…just like “and the rest” was supposed to include The Professor and Mary Ann.)
So the metaphor works beautifully: Adoptions are breast augmentations because bad things said about your/your wife’s breasts cannot hurt the feelings of said breasts. Breasts lack emotions. Things said about them can only hurt you, the human.
To be fair, the maker of the video has adopted a child who looks too young to comprehend what’s being said about her. That changes nothing about the fact that adoption is always firstly, foremost and lastly about the adopting parents and not the adopted children. Also, IME, people talk about us in front of us long after we’re old enough to understand, and that shit does not hurt adoptees one bit less if (Example One) a word like “biological” is substituted for a word like “real.” But I guess it makes Mom and Dad feel better, and that’s the point.
Example Two: “Where’d you get her from?”
Daddy protests that his daughter is “not a trendy accessory that you get from a boutique” and suggests asking instead, “Where is [she] from?” Why? I had to think about this one, and I think this: They’re the same question, but one version has an active subject, “you,” the adoptive parents. The preferred version does not. In other words, the Good sentence says a baby teleported herself from one family into another, perhaps by magic, and the Bad one says you adopted her. You’re not ashamed of having adopted, are you, Pastor Boob Job Baby? Because you sound here like you’re ashamed of having adopted.
Maybe you should be. In the first place, of course your daughter is a purchase you were able to make from a privileged position. If she weren’t, anyone would be able to raise her, perhaps her own Ethiopian family. In the second place, I repeat: Your daughter’s feelings will probably never be spared by this distinction, only yours. And by your feelings I mean, of course, your defensive attitude about having done something you very probably should not have done. Because we’re all supposed to congratulate you 24/7, not bring you down with reality.
And you’ll never celebrate your daughter’s “Gotcha Day,” right? Because damn, would that ever make her seem like a trendy thing you purchased.
“‘Did you, like, get to pick out the kid that you wanted?’ …The question you probably wanted to ask is “How does the adoption process actually work?” (or, “How Are Sausages Made?”)
In the first place, they didn’t mean to ask that at all. Nobody gives a flying fuck how the adoption process works. My experience in being adopted, talking about adoption, and blogging about adoption is that how it works is the LAST thing anyone wants to know. I tell them how it works and they jam their fingers in their ears and sing love songs to the US of A. What they want to know is how they can get a baby. Now.
In the second place: Again, you certainly did choose her. People with less money have to settle for older children from countries that are not so very trendy. Some of them have so little money and influence that they have to settle for USAian kids who are old enough to know they have other parents. (Ewwww! Kids who really need to be adopted are such a buzzkill.)
In the third place, Pastor Boob Job Baby, one does not only “choose one’s orphan” in Hollywood musicals. PAPs who want to see kids in need of adoption performing for them need only go online, or attend one of those horrible “picnics” where they are not only permitted but encouraged to choose the spunkiest, singing-est, most optimistic, tap-dancing-est orphan that strikes their fancy.
Example Four: Couldn’t have your own? You should have asked “How almighty are your gametes?” because infertility is apparently some kind of personal failing. (Hint: It isn’t.) Looking back, I realize how fortunate I am to have been raised by two people who truly didn’t give a flying fuck I wasn’t “their own.” I saw zero evidence my dad ever felt “less-than” because he had the mumps as a teenager, ever. I mean, yes, this is a rude question, but unless you do think infertility is a personal failing,why would it bother you? Just say “She is my own,” and let the jerk who thinks infertility is so important stew in his/her juices.
Example Five: asking to touch the baby
Yes, there are some people who want to touch and hold every baby they come across. I’ve never known this to hurt any parent’s feelings. (Maybe it does, but I’ve never seen anyone respond to “Can I hold the baby?” with anything other than “Sure! Isn’t she adorable?” In fact, when I meet people with new babies, I am very often invited to hold the baby. I’ve held many, many babies, and I’ve never once asked to hold a baby.)
If an actually outlandish number of people are asking to “touch” your adopted daughter, Pastor Boob Job Baby, it’s not because you adopted. It’s because you adopted a black child. The older she gets, the less likely white people will be to even ask before they touch her hair, because racism exists. If you don’t understand this yet, you need to work on it, NOW. No, yesterday. No, last year. No, really, three or four years before you adopted. Because being black in a white culture that does not value black people is going to be your daughter’s life, and you made that happen. If she comes home crying from elementary school about how someone called her the N-word? That’s your doing, and you show no sign of being ready to deal with it.
Example Six: Do you love her even though she’s not yours? Doesn’t it bother you you’re different races? How much did she cost? Pastor Boob Job Baby says the answer to all these questions is “Just don’t.”
I’ll admit that being asked whether or not one loves one’s child is the kind of thing that would upset any parent, and I’ll admit the other two questions seem rude. I don’t care. As long as the child doesn’t hear them, I don’t give a single damn how often people who set themselves up to be asked these questions feel about being asked these questions, because if they are not constantly asking themselves these same questions, they’re fucking it up . It is in fact very important whether or not you can love her. It is very important that you’re different races. It’s very important that money is driving adoption. But not to Pastor Boob Job Baby, who doesn’t understand many things about adoption or society. For example, he doesn’t grok that objectifying women is neither a joke nor a compliment:
Example Seven: “It’s not polite to stare…unless it’s at my butt.” See? A man’s staring at the fresh new double-dees you paid thousands for is wroonnnnnnng, but only because it reminds you those breasts aren’t your original, natural breasts. Certainly not because being yelled at, threatened with rape by, and reduced to a fucktoy in the minds of many heterosexual men who see your breasts is bad, oh no. That’s good! Because staring at Pastor Boob Job Baby’s ass is awesome.
This man is raising a daughter. A black daughter. If she ever asks him for help dealing with the double dose of objectification she will face for being both female and black, Daddy will just tell her that she’s real, that she’s not an accessory, that he didn’t pick her out, that he loves her….and that the thousands of people who will judge and profile her by her femaleness and blackness all her life should simply be directed to look at Daddy’s ass instead. Problem solved!
BTW, you know what it’s appropriate to say to someone about the “boob job” you think she may have had? Nothing, EVER, unless she brings it up. That’s not how conversations about adoption work or should work.
I now throw this post open to comment. But remember, readers: If You Wouldn’t Say It About a Snotty Little Privileged White Male Pastor, don’t say it about adoption. Go!