Can someone please tell me more about the darkside of adoption? November 6, 2010 · by Daniel Drennan ElAwar [Originally asked at Yahoo! Answers] Spread the word:FacebookTwitterEmailPrintMoreRedditTumblrPinterestLike this:Like Loading... Related
As an adoptee who has moved back to his land of birth, I see international adoption now as the willful leveraging of inequalities and class differences in order to establish a nuclear family and individual fulfillment, in a clash between the dominant cultural outlook and those cultures who are resistant to this outlook.
This brings up the “dark side” of adoption as you put it, which is full of unanswered questions that adopters are loathe to admit, much less address, except to say that their “individual act” is somehow so beneficent that it undoes or balances out injustice in the world.
This can be proved wrong very readily by a series of statements that deserve to be central to any and all debate on adoption:
If it can be argued that there are government policies, inherent to a given cultural outlook, that in fact do much to create the poverty, the wars, the conditions that have always resulted in so-called orphans, and one chooses to apply bandaid solutions to these symptoms and not the disease, then one is complicit in those policies.
If it can be argued that it is a non-relative cultural outlook that allows for the imposition of the notion of nuclear family over those cultures that are more community based, and one decides that individual happiness is more important that that of all, that “family” is more important than “community”, then one is complicit in the destruction of the community that one is adopting from.
If it can be argued that it is a power differential between those of different classes, walks of life, and living conditions; that an inherent inequality is the engine that drives most adoption on all levels and at great profit; that the willful leveraging of this differential economically, politically, and culturally has nothing to do with family creation but everything to do with exploitation and extraction of profit; that in this can be seen the destruction of cultures that do not echo the dominant and prevailing one in a direct correlation with the historical approach to the Third World by the First, then one is complicit in this status quo that has wrought naught but destruction worldwide.
Because if we truly cared about the child, we would not support the economic and political wars that resulted in that child’s situation.
[Reference: The Shock Doctrine, by Naomi Klein]
In my case, I was adopted a decade AFTER the war in my country was over.
Recently I spoke with the director of social services at that period in history. He told me there was a direct relationship with the number of children abandoned and the price of heat. He was telling me that abandonment then was due to poverty.
Finding out I had been abandoned in an outdoor market in the middle of a harsh Korean winter, I realized that no mother would leave a child alone and exposed to the elements like that. No. She was only leaving me because she knew – everybody knew – that adoption agencies were canvassing for children, and that they promised to give the children better lives.
I wasn’t an orphan needing a home and family: adoption turned me into an orphan. The only reason I became an orphan was because adoption agencies had set up shop in my community.
Adoption agencies are the catalyst for breaking up families. People are told that because you are in need you are inadequate as a parent; that others can do better. That if you love your child you will send them to others with more money so your child will have more opportunity. Whether it is poor families or young unmarried women, the message is if you keep your child then you are selfish. This manipulative message is what I’d call the dark side of adoption.
Helping my family would have been a better way to save me, vs. shipping me to another continent to live with strangers. I would have been able to have retained my culture, my language, and most importantly, my identity and the love of my family. In most cases, this is true even today. You will find that most “orphans” have living parents and extended family, who are in need. Often, adoption is offered as the only solution to families in need. It is a solution, but it is a solution that benefits the privileged and only leaves those in need still in need, yet with empty arms and holes in their hearts. I’d call this exploitation.
We transracial adoptees are walking poster children bearing witness to the generosity and charity of our adoptive parents. Yet the generosity only occurs when they have something to gain. The charity does not extend to whole families in need, but only to the child if it is made available. I question how charitable this is.
The darkest aspect of adoption to me is the unquenchable need of the haves for the children of the have-nots. The need is so ravenous it creates a vacuum of incredible force, whose tentacles infiltrate every vulnerable community. It destabilizes those communities, it leaves its women grieving, it makes whole nations hang their heads in shame, it dehumanizes the human condition and robs people of their most precious resources. It’s not just dark. It’s greed at its ugliest.