Friday, November 02, 2012

Adapting adoption... more thoughts.

We got kids.

I'm kind of glad I temporarily closed comments* on the blog - I actually feel free to really say what I want.  That said, some comments are getting through via email, and I liked one so much, I'll share it with you - bits and pieces, that is, respecting the anonymity of the author, since she/he did not give me permission to print what he/she had to say... as if that would stop me.  Anyway, she/he/it said stuff I should have said - the upshot being it/she/he completed my thoughts on some level.

Party of the first part:
Terry, there was a comment I wanted to leave last night under your previous post on adoption. I decided to sleep on it before I did, just in case it would be "too much." And then I woke up this morning, came to your blog again, and saw that you had anticipated it with this post anyway! =P

Or at least the blogger you have quoted did.
I used to be a huge champion of adoption, especially international adoption. What made me start changing my mind were the experiences of two friends, one of whom had mixed-race children in a country that is still overwhelmingly racially homogeneous (and proud of it) and the other of whom brought an Asian adoptee to a Western country.

The former loves his family very much, but the issues his children have had to face have made him a bit neurotic. He finally decided to move his family out of that country and to a home that's more of a "melting pot"--but before he did, he seriously considered finding a home near a Native American reservation. (I can't remember the specific tribe/nation, but apparently, his children could pass for members.) He just didn't want them to keep looking different from other kids their age. Now, his children are not adopted and were only 50% "other" to the rest of their original country, but they had issues so similar to those of the "foreign-born, mostly non-White kids" mentioned by the other blogger that their father is now a staunch opponent of international adoption.

As for my other friend, I will never forget her story of the day she brought her new daughter home from Indonesia, and her biological daughter said, "She's no longer Indonesian! She's Swedish now!" Granted, it was a beautiful expression of love from the older girl--a sign of her willingness to accept another child as a full-blooded sibling. But that's why the family will never understand how misguided it is. Yes, it's true that the baby will grow up Swedish, but it's wishful thinking to say that her Indonesian heritage will no longer be a factor in her life.

The debate over what makes a nuclear family is so focused on blood ties vs. love (as if the two are mutually exclusive) that one important point about the family is forgotten: a family is supposed to provide a connection to the past. Call it a living tradition, if you will--or even a hermeneutic of continuity! =P Parents who adopt will certainly be able to provide a lot of material resources and a lot of love . . . but they will not be able to provide that connection to the past.

Which reminds me. I totally oppose the adoption of orphans from predominantly Catholic countries by Protestant parents. Unless, of course, the children are raised Catholic. Hey, that's our condition for mixed marriages. Why not also for mixed families? =P And although I've just used a silly emoticon, I'm actually quite serious.
I agree.  However, even if the Protestants decided to raise the child Catholic - I would oppose it.  The Protestant influence would cause problems - in my opinion and experience.  My dad was Protestant and never converted until his death bed.  I was often harassed as a kid, and always threatened to be taken out of Catholic school, or kept home from Mass etc..  In a way that was a good thing because it prepared me for the opposition I encounter from gay people who oppose Church teaching on moral issues, such as homosexual behavior and gay marriage.

Party of the second part:
These days, I am deeply conflicted when it comes to adoption. On the one hand, I see all those children who need good homes--and they were already abandoned by their parents, so why shouldn't they be adopted by a couple that truly has a lot of love to give? But on the other hand, I've honestly yet to meet an adopted child who didn't need therapy of some kind.

The parents make me wonder, too . . . There is a lot of talk about adoption being a vocation, but I really think that for many infertile couples (or worse, couples with a messianic complex), this is just rationalisation using Christian terminology. There is exactly one case of interracial adoption that I think really involved a vocation from God: a white couple living in Jamaica (if I remember correctly) just kept getting black babies dropped off at their door. But I think they lost the plot when the whole family eventually moved to America (after the parents managed to find a town that would accept a family with ten or so black kids). The adoption mindset is that the children become what the parents are, but no one ever considers that it could go the other way around. It's not those kids who became American by adoption, but the couple that became Jamaican.

And if I hear one more person justifying this practice by quoting St. Paul, I will go a little nuts. Roman adoption was very different from our modern version. It was not about making some perfect family held together by love, but about the need for a male heir and a clear line of succession. It was political and very open. (Perhaps the truly damning thing about our own system is that records are sealed, as if parentage is a shameful secret.)

Oh, remember when I told you about a relatives best friend who had "two daddies"? Well, it's three daddies these days. =( Anyway, the "two daddies" adopted two boys, so this best friend has a brother. And that brother has been "acting gay" since he was little--to the delight of his adoptive fathers. I remember thinking, "Aren't they sad that their younger son won't have children of his own and will have to adopt like they did?" And then it hit me that their decision to adopt was never about having a family either. It was about having whatever they wanted because they could.
I'll just add that adoption has a pro-life hook to it these days.  We encourage it so that women who would otherwise abort or throw the newly born in the dumpster, will choose to offer their offspring for adoption.  It's not a bad thing, to be sure.  Although it's a little like a veterinarian opting to declaw/amputate a cat's toes, rather than have the owner euthanize it.  Likewise, it almost condones irresponsible sexual behavior and promiscuity, promoting a permissive mindset which is misunderstood as encouraging single parenthood.  Then there are the deeply disturbed Octo-mom types - but I digress.  Point is, human reproduction is really, really screwed up.  I blame it on the general decline and collapse of faith and morals - not to mention Franken-science; IVF, artificial insemination, contraception, fertility drugs, selective birthing, and so on.  Child abuse runs deep...


Quick shot: Gay dad sighting.

Reflections on the perils of adoption.

*Can't comment?  Got a blog?  Write your comment as a post and link to me.  I do it all the time for other bloggers.


  1. Ooooh I'm the first non-team member! Here's what I wanted to post earlier:

    I do see the perils involved. However, what do you propose we do? I mean, I know a family very well who adopted a girl who was abused as a child, and they have had lots of trouble over the years - the girl knows she's not one of their "real" kids (she's younger than all of them), but at the same time, she knows what she escaped, especially now that she is older.

    Let's remember that in the past, even when general moral standards were higher, orphanages were full, and God only knows what kinds of horrors lurked in those places, even Catholic ones (ever read about the church-run Indian boarding schools in Canada? And those kids weren't even orphans - their parents were poor)?

    In the case of a lot of these African kids - their parents and families have been killed, what other chance do they have? In the case of Chinese and North Korean kids, I shudder to think how those kids got up for adoption.

    I guess my point is - I see all the points being made, but at the end of the day, what else is there to do? Let the babies be aborted, or grow up with a mother who is selfish and resentful of her child?

    Maybe the answer is to never hide the facts from a kid, always make them aware that they were adopted. I dunno.

    If a couple cannot have children of their own, why NOT welcome some child who would otherwise be rejected (unless done for selfish reasons)? If there ARE children who are being born into destitution, into depravity, into abuse, into persecution, why NOT do what one can and damn the negative stuff? Or is there a situation anywhere in this world where we can totally avoid negative consequences? Isn't being human itself fraught with all kinds of problems?


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.