…is the set of people for whom “adoption is.” Surprised? I know I am, but Jenny Jerkins says Adoption is for Everyone, even those of us who don’t want children. So when we click over to her article, we are immediately ordered (by a graphic that doesn’t differentiate between upper-case O’s and C’s very well at all) to do it:
“ADOPT.” Um, no. I don’t want to. Nobody should ADOPT because some graphic on a website told them to.
“If you can’t adopt, FOSTER.” No. Stop telling me how to build the family I don’t want, ‘kay? I know, if everyone took just one kid home we could theoretically put Child Welfare out of business…but why do we have Child Welfare in the first place? Because some people have their children taken away after they are deemed bad parents. Therefore, children adopted or otherwise are not “for everyone” who can acquire them.
Also, who are you fooling? Fostering is not necessarily so akin to adoption that it can be called “the next best thing.” People who want to adopt want “their own” child/ren. Many people who want to adopt expect to support their adoptees after age eighteen in some form, be it letting them live under their roofs after their eighteenth birthdays or helping with college tuition. We can judge how much a significant percentage of foster “parents” cares about the kids they foster by looking at what becomes of those kids after they age out and their foster “parents” stop getting paid. It’s not pretty. Even other advocates for fostering can admit that. Fostering is very often nothing like adopting.
“If you can’t foster, SPONSOR.” I think if you have extra money and want to support a child or children with it, that is great, especially if your money goes toward keeping a child in his/her own family. But that’s not “sponsoring,” not to Jenny Jerkins. Sponsoring is for “adoptive hopefuls.” (I’m sure we’re all terribly shocked.) There follows a paragraph about the money and the paperwork, but nothing about the position of relative privilege that allows people to adopt in the first place. Sigh. Then there’s a paragraph about how you could help foster families, but that’s the second way to sponsor, not the first and best way. The best way to be involved in adoption (as everyone already is) where sponsoring is concerned is to give PAPs money (why are you even reading this when you could be writing out a check?) .
SPONSOR my prickly ass. The nerve of those people. Are PAPs and APs being involved in adoption (as everyone is) by sinking money into other people’s children without expecting to raise those children in return? Then what makes them expect others to?
But “if you can’t sponsor, VOLUNTEER.” You kind of have to. I mean, like it or not, you are involved in adoption because it is for everyone.
And where does Ms. Jerkins suggest you volunteer? Just guess, I dare you. The answer is crisis pregnancy centers. Crisis fucking pregnancy centers. Why not just mosey across the street to the real women’s health clinic and be these assholes?
Finally, “If you can’t volunteer, DONATE.” They’ll take your time or your money. Say, is anyone else starting to detect a little…overlap here? A little overlap of ideas signifying that everyone owes APs time and money, especially money? Ms. Jerkins says donating “may not look like” giving money or time. It may instead, take the form of “buying a cute new shirt from a couple who is selling t-shirts for an adoption fundraiser. Or maybe it is donating items for a yard sale or consignment sale benefiting an adoptive couple.” Those things don’t “not look like” donating money; they look exactly like donating money, especially the first one.
“If you can’t donate, EDUCATE.” Hey, guess what education consists of? Does it mean warning women about open adoptions that slam shut or first mother coercion? Does it mean warning PAPs about GSA or lack of mirroring or even access to medical histories? NOPE: “Maybe [people you seek to “educate”] are contemplating adoption and need that extra encouragement. Or maybe you know others who have many misconceptions about adoption itself.” (Oh hey, I know people like that!)
“Use your sphere of influence to help break down those barriers and educate them about the adoption process and to share stories of hope.”
What barriers? A person’s “contemplating adoption”? That’s not a barrier. To me, “contemplating adoption” means doing the introspective work and research everyone who adopts should do. They don’t need cheerleaders anymore than they need naysayers: They need to make their own damned decision and they need to be very sure about it.
A lot of this stuff seems to come from a place of good intentions–the place otherwise known as AdoptoLand, where every child up for adoption really needs adopting. But AdoptoLand is constructed of nothing more than the myths and fantasies that best serve P/APs, and so is this article.
People involved in animal welfare know better than this. They don’t demand everyone adopt a pet–in fact, many shelters/humane organizations screen prospective pet owners and turn some away. Despite the fact that we euthanize millions of animals every year in this country, they don’t run around on the internet yelling “Pet ownership is for everyone,” because it isn’t. Nor is being a veterinarian or volunteering at a shelter “for everyone.” When one thinks about the animals first and people second, that becomes obvious. Don’t we owe young humans at least as much consideration?
Not everyone has “a role in adoption.” In fact, plenty of people who want and have roles in adoption shouldn’t have them. I do believe everyone has some sort of role in the basic welfare of humanity, even if it’s just doing one’s part to leave a livable planet for future humans and other living things. We all have some role in the welfare of children, or should (yes, even in the USA, where we generally reserve the right to think poor people of any age are subhuman). But no, not all seven billion of us have a role in some people’s desire to raise other people’s children.
“Adoption truly is for everyone. Maybe your role in adoption is not to adopt or to foster, but as you can see there are many roles that you can have. Each of us plays an integral part in making forever families happen. What role are you going to play?”
Adoptees are expected to play the role we were assigned. We didn’t audition for this. In the play that’s supposed to be all about us, we often aren’t even mentioned in the libretto. By me, that means you can take your crisis centers and your garage sales and hang them in your ass, because adoption snarker is the role I’ve chosen for myself.