Thursday, November 16, 2006

Future Issues of Today's Adoptees: Disturbing Language

Most adoptees from the now infamous social experiment that is Closed Adoption have struggled with some of these issues: insecurity, identity formation, feelings of loss (unrecognized by society), fear of abandonment and rejection, genetic bewilderment and a laundry list of adoption related stresses.

That's us.

But what about the babies and young children being placed today? I'm thinking of all those foreign adoptions amid the disturbing language of market forces at work. What will it be like for them? What issues will they face that are specific to their era?

Some of us Closed Era adoptees feel like voiceless assets...property transferred from one person to another. But often, especially with public agency adoptions, significant amounts of money did not change hands.

Today, babies are being bought. Oh, some will argue these are legitimate fees for facilitators or lawyers or for birthmother compensation or whatnot but money is trading hands...as are lots and lots of babies. And, as market forces dictate, there are variable rates (fee to adopt healthy white baby: $40,000, fee to adopt mixed-race infant: $10,000-18,000).

A Closed Era adoptee doing research on the history of adoption, as have I, in an attempt to place myself in context encounters such terms as secrecy and shame and conspiracy of silence and broken narratives and lots of discussion about the validity of psychic trauma to relinquished infants.

But what kind of language will the (Foreign) Adoptee of Today come across when she is all grown up and trying to place herself in historical context? It will be the language of THINGS. COMMODITIES. Articles with titles like, "A Historical View of the Foreign Adoption Rush Between 2002-2010" will feature terms now popular in today's news stories about adoption practices: babies are in short supply, babies are in high demand, source countries, waiting lists, average wait times and sliding scales.

With so much money at stake, so much INVESTED what sort (if any) additional expectations will be placed on these Chosen (Bought?) Babies - and you know I much I LOATHE that term! - by their adoptive parents and society at large? Because that's what much of society does. Tell us how grateful we should be. Tell us how lucky we are and that we should be happy to be adopted! Will it be harder for adopted children where big money has changed hands? Will some, when they finally grow up and develop opinions of their very own, feel like they have been bought?

Mercifully, it's not one thing I've ever had to think about. Coping with the smorgasbord of adoptee related stresses is enough...without the money angle thrown in.

Good luck little children. I hope we're around to support you and hear your stories...whatever they may be. Perhaps advances in adoption education will help take the sting out of coming across something that reads like the latest issue of the International Infant Commodity Market Report.

And if you'd like to read about one couple's creative attempt to defray some of the whopping costs of adopting from Guatemala: http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/11/16/adoption.tickets.ap/index.html

6 Comments:

Blogger elizabeth said...

Most things adoption related make me want to puke.

But literally being bought and sold? Good kee-rist, that's a real double barf bagger, poor kids.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Joy said...

I am linking this.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Addie Pray said...

You know I have thought about this too. I've gone to myself, "Self, well at least I only cost court fees."

It made me feel better.

Poor little ones.

10:31 AM  
Blogger suz said...

ouch. yeah. hit home. i am one of those moms who had no idea she was feeding her chid into a machine to be sold.

i like your writing and your thoughts.

10:34 AM  
Blogger LeRoy Dissing said...

We (my wife and I) considered adopting two Ukrainian teenage siblings this past summer. We hosted them for five weeks here in the USA. While I know most families wanted to adopt pre-school or infants, we felt it might be easier (for us and them) to adopt teens. I often asked folks why did they want to adopt from Ukrainian. Much of it had to do with adopting someone who looked like them.

After reading some blogs written by adoptees and bmoms, I am rethinking this whole notion about closed adoptions. I know the primary reason given for closed adoptions is that it provides the adopting parents privacy to raise their adopted child without any interference by the natural parent(s). I have also known of independent open adoptions and they do appear to do well. I do not believe one shoe fits all feet when it comes to adoption. The general rule today is that adoptions are closed. That is too rigid. Each situation probably needs to be decided on what is brought to the table (family dynamics; maturity of adopting and natural parents; extended family, ect.)

I am not a big proponent of foreign adoptions because of the cultural divide, language barrier, cutting family ties by distance and time, ect.....and most importantly how these adoptions are done and followed along. Many, many failed adoptions in this country are foreign adoptions. Why??? For the reasons stated above and also there is no pre-placement of any kind to speak of. People fly overseas "blind" to pick a child from a series of photos, adopt them and then bring them here. No nine months of getting ready, bonding or anything.....just whosh and here he/she is with new parents who have good intentions. Some work, but many have multiple issues and that is right from the get go.

From what I read here and on other blogs, all the issues you mentioned Nina are probably compounded in a foreign adoption. What do you think?

BTW, we had a wonderful time this past summer but decided not to adopt and after reading what you folks have written, I am much more inclined to aid children in their own families rather than re-create a substitute one for the children. Probably better for all concerned.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Joy said...

" I am much more inclined to aid children in their own families rather than re-create a substitute one for the children. Probably better for all concerned. "


music to my ears.
5:26 PM

9:57 PM  

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