Sunday, October 29, 2006

Latino's & Adoption: The Double Whammy

In other words...it's the culture, stupid!

It appears that so many issues I've attributed to being adopted can also be pinned on the Latino culture. A Latina friend had been hinting as much. So I did some research. Even went as far as to interview the head of one of the first Latino adoption agencies.

Turns out:

1) Infertility (among Latinos) is a loss grieved not only by the couple, but by the entire extended family. Check.

2) Infertility often perceived as punishment from God. Check.

3) Latino parents prefer to adopt GIRLS because they are "easier to handle" and more likely to remain close to her family throughout her life. DING DING DING...DOUBLE CHECK!

Therefore:

1) My adoptive extended family must have also experienced shame....leading to conspiracy of silence about shameful adoption (and shameful illigitamacy);

2) Every question regarding my adoption must have only served as a reminder of my adoptive mother's infertility and a reminder of her punishment. My very existence must have stirred powerful and conflicting emotions. Which explains why, when I was five, she threatened to divorce my adoptive father if he dared mention the "A word" again.

3) Adoptive mother not only Mexican-American and believed girls should stay close to their family (she worshiped at the shrine of her mother)...she had a heightened expectation that this would be true because I was adopted and every time she uttered the words, "and after all I've done for you"...she really meant..."you have to stay with me because you owe me."

Plus...this "you owe me" is an ingrained belief in many Latino families. That children are indebted to their parents and, in exchange for parenting services, the child can grow up and become a little independent but not too independent. An adopted daughter striking out on her own to pursue an education hundreds of miles away? Betrayal. Massive disappointment. Estrangement. No wonder my adoptive parents feared education as much as they did. It only led to more questions and more challenges. No wonder my mother refused to contribute a penny to college...acting as if I'd asked for money to buy drugs. The end result was the same. She lost her daughter. Not to the streets but to the wider world. All those unspoken expectations. The expectations of a lonely infertile woman with the baggage of unresolved grief and all expectations of a tradition bound culture.

7 Comments:

Blogger Joy said...

I have read of the preference of girls in all adoptions. that adoptive families are the reverse of the norm and prefer girls for the same reasons you stated. Not as threatening.

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