Some of you know I’m a contributor to Intercountry Adoptee Voices, an organization devoted to elevating the intercountry adoptee voice. In my latest post, I discuss “the journey back home” and what that idea means to me. Many adoptees and adoptive parents believe it’s a rite of passage, but in reality, it’s a very individualized concept.
Here’s an excerpt:
For many years, Korea was a Bad Word, something spat out, a noun formed in the back of your throat where phlegm collected. It was shameful. It was ugly. It was full of people with flat faces and squinty eyes and coarse dark hair like me. But Korea was the country, my home in only the metaphorical sense, that I was instructed to embrace.
The internet is up in collectively confused arms (do we increase our tissue box supply or dust off our pickets?) over this latest factoid:
The US is down 80 percent in international adoptions. This is wrong and dangerous for humanity all around the world. The White House promises if the petition reaches 100,000 signatures, they will respond. Sign it today! https://t.co/08clZkzXI6#saveadoptions
On the one hand, proponents for adoption reform or cessation are thrilled. On the other, adoption supporters or those who just don’t understand why adoptees are skeptical about such a seemingly heart-wrenching newsbite should then read the troubling responses like this:
Problem is Glenn, the cost . It is costing 30,000 for some ppl we know to get a baby. These 3rd world places should be giving Americans their unwanted.
There are a few errors here, but the assumptions (and rhetoric) stated above routinely plague adoption activists and hold us back. Let’s break it down:
Implies financial barriers prohibit “getting” a baby, as though a baby was an inanimate object or another status symbol; commodifies a human being
“3rd world places”
Ethnocentrism implying undeveloped countries can’t care for their own
Outdated terminology (very telling)
“[give] Americans their unwanted”
Reinforces the idea that adoptees began life as truly unwanted, partially upholding the “perpetual child” myth
Does not support in-country social services or family support
Ethnocentrism, and like there isn’t an adoptee issue here in America?
We MUST continue dispelling the myths surrounding adoption. From an adoptee perspective, this is a huge sign that we have miles to go before people understand the damage done by adoption. What’s worse is that attitudes demonstrated above discourage support for struggling mothers and fathers, framing adoption as the only ethical solution to their temporary problems.
As long as dialogue like this continues, control will steadily be wrested from families, as they remain convinced they cannot or should not seek help from their own governments. Shipping children out to the U.S. is not the answer.
Adoption, when it works as intended, can be wonderful. But supporting family preservation is an excellent solution as it empowers mothers, fathers, and children, rather than reducing them to desperation and lifelong trauma.
Like this? Want more? So do I! Find out about my upcoming ventures on my Patreon page!