Who is waging war against whom?

There is so much to comment on in this story in the Washington Times. To start off, “Red Thread: An Adoptive Family Forum” is the discussion board’s name. Second, you might think that something called “an adoptive family forum” might allow posts from, say, the adopted. I’m pretty sure I was part of an “Adoptive Family”. Read the comments though, and try not to scream. Or cry. Or both.

Most troubling here is the Orwellian idea that someone, anyone, could possibly be “waging war” against international adoption, when international adoption is in and of itself a war if you ask me.

The U.S. and UNICEF Wage War Against International Adoptions

8 thoughts on “Who is waging war against whom?

  1. Mei-Ling, I’m with you shaking my head wearily. Gah. I want to scream and cry. I am disgusted and disillusioned…I can’t take these sanctimonious, incredulous AP’s anymore.

  2. I don’t know, Mila. I’m starting to think no matter what we say, the desire of a would-be parent will always the trump the fundamental basic human right of an infant’s place in their blood kin.

  3. I’m a transracial intercountry adult adoptee and I fully support UNICEF with my heart and my dollars.

    I am not against adoption, but I am against intercountry adoption because its engine runs on an economic power imbalance whose vacuum destabilizes local solutions and undermines the source country’s very social fabric. Who needs to provide social services for struggling families when adoption agencies provide solutions rendering social services unnecessary?

    I support UNICEF because they put preservation of children’s identities and preservation of families above exulting the magnanimity of the privileged. They respect cultures and honor each country’s right to govern their own societies. They think globally and act locally.

    I was totally aghast by all the hyperbole employed by the author. and I truly question the author’s motivation for writing this editorial. It seems clear to me that the real motivation behind “saving” children from their countries is acquisition of the children. The article goes on to describe how damaged non-infants are and then makes a hysterical case for “moral urgency.” Supporting international adoption is more about securing another source of infants. UNICEF has no such agenda, and real saving addresses the root causes of what creates paper orphans.

    “Most of these orphans are institutionalized, homeless, malnourished and uneducated”
    Are these the children people are adopting internationally? The children in institutions are there mostly what is remaining because people the world over prefer infants, and international adoption does not change that.

    “American families who adopt from overseas tend to be more engaged in the issues of economic justice in their children’s birth countries than others”
    And at what point does this engagement occur? Prior to referral? Post referral? (I would hope so, for to be a poster child for a person’s preoccupation with children from a foreign country is disturbing) Post adoption? Why that particular country? How has their adopting helped economic justice in that source country? Why not care about the neglected in their own country? Because it’s less romantic, the child less exotic, the biological parents can speak the same language and are uncomfortably close? I do know of adoptive parents who, after they’ve got one, decide it would be charitable to donate to programs set up by adoption agencies (post criticism of not helping preserve families). Sounds like guilt to me.

    “The stumbling block is that unlike UNICEF adoptive parents do not believe that even a single child should be subjected to life as an orphan, serving in effect as collateral damage, as geopolitical solutions to world poverty are played out. To us, it is patently unfair for children to be held hostage, condemned to life without a family, as the world works towards peace and justice.”
    Then why aren’t they adopting the children in the orphanages? The special needs children, the children with fetal alcohol syndrome, the children from abusive homes? Just like in America, these children are the ones who languish in orphanages. No one is holding these children hostage. There are not lines of prospective parents for these children. The wait-lists are all for the youngest most perfect specimens.

    “But while we are doing that, we should also be promoting micro solutions.”
    Micro solutions might include sponsoring unwed mothers or offering foster care subsidies to extended family members, offering micro loans to families in economic hardship, or offering and honoring respite care to families in crisis. But then that child would not be available for adoption. As a transracial intercountry adoptee, I find it quite disturbing to be thought of as a micro solution for a Westerner’s attempt at fixing my birth country’s problems.

    “No government or institution should, therefore, be permitted to take away this fundamental right.”
    Every child DOES have a right to a family, PRIMARILY their own family. Every child has a right to have a family that can feed and educate them. International adoption often takes that right away, by being the catalyst for the dissolution of families in temporary crisis, by making helping whole families less desirable than helping only the children who will be acquired. Infants are often adoptable because international adoption has often become the only option available to vulnerable women who are not given real choices. International adoption destroys as many families as it builds.

    And who are you adopters to say the life you offer is superior? After ancestry, heritage, culture, language, being part of the dominant race and having one’s features reflected back upon oneself have been irrevocably severed – how can people still call that “saving?” I say it’s not better – it’s just different – and all those losses become in addition to the losses the child has already experienced. Time, material things and opportunities do not diminish those losses, though the people she chose to cite would disagree.

    Instead of consulting with people who research with an agenda, it’s high time people consulted adult adoptees. Whether our adoption outcomes were good or bad, the reality is we were all deeply affected. We have all experienced loss. And our experiences are not so simplistic as painted here. We all have two sets of families, one of which we were irrevocably estranged from. We weren’t consulted then, either.

    “Somehow in the process of developing a system to eradicate child suffering the very people that system is designed to help—orphaned children—have been forgotten. It’s time for UNICEF and the U.S. Department of State to bring back a sense of moral urgency and put children ahead of politics. ”
    Oh contraire. UNICEF is the one organization willing to challenge the status quo to make sure the children’s rights to preserve their natural families are not forgotten, and the U.S. Department of State should be applauded for insuring that a natural disaster does not get exploited to placate the urgency of those who moralize their own savior fantasies.

    We should all be working towards a world where adoption is not necessary. And that will never happen when the world is so imbalanced towards the entitlement of the privileged, who are under the delusion that their desires are purely benevolent. This article does a stellar job of proving that once again.

    • “American families who adopt from overseas tend to be more engaged in the issues of economic justice in their children’s birth countries than others”

      What? They are? What does that really mean? What does their adopting have to do with being engaged in economic “justice”?

      Economic “justice” means the adoption in itself would have never happened. :\

      “How has their adopting helped economic justice in that source country?”

      That’s exactly what I’ve been asking.

  4. What struck me most about this article is that 1) Andrea Poe is a white (guessing American) who, of course, advocates adoption because she has adopted; 2) Poe makes absolutely no comment about the children in orphanages or foster system within America while ranting about how Americans need to help children abroad. How does this educated and seemingly experienced woman ignore the obvious reason UNICEF should have to use inter-country adoption as a last resort – countries should figure out how to help their own instead of buying and selling their future….

  5. “American families who adopt from overseas tend to be more engaged in the issues of economic justice in their children’s birth countries than others” I can’t think of a statement that could be more out of touch with reality than this one, both adoption reality and the reality of America and Americans place in the world as perceived by Americans.

  6. Literally my jaw hit the floor – don’t know why such AP centric, AP fragility discourses should surprise me, but they always do. As a TRA you do really end up banging your head agains the proverbial AP wall especially when coming up against the so called AP normative view of adoption it is exhausting and draining

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