For most adoptive parents, the choice to adopt is a luxury choice...No matter how you put it, adoptive parents have benefited from the lack of choice available to mothers in dire straits and desperate situations. Adoptive parents have taken advantage of the fact that someone else has not had the luxury to choose." Yoon Seon
“Adoption mostly happens because of lack of freedom of choice.” Mei-Ling
"If Christians wish to focus on adopting as a way to give back then they need to adopt the entire family - not just the child - no Christian should be purposely severing the biological link that God created...God told them to care for all humanity...not just the little ones..." Sandy, adoptive mom (click here for another related post by an adoptive parent blogger with a Christian background)
“...the current culture places a high value on material wealth that results in discounting the emotional costs to the birth mother and family that are often found to be faulty valuations” Tad W as quoted by Mei-Ling
(you can click on any of the names of those quoted, and the links will take you to the original posts)
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[Note: When I blog about "adoption," I am most often referring to international adoption because that is my personal point of reference and experience.]
I encourage you to read the entire blog entries from which I extracted the above quotes (if you click on the name of the one quoted, it will take you to the original posts).
If I am going to say anything, I think the above statements should provoke all of us who are connected to adoption to think more deeply about the complexities of the circumstances that result in the ongoing practice (industry) of modern adoption.
I by no means incriminate any single individual nor do I place any ill blame on my own parents--I do believe they are truly decent people with sincere and loving hearts, and I am grateful to call them my parents (not all adoptees can say such, however, and their voices and experiences provide valuable insight and truth regarding the realities of adoption).
The truth is that the practice of adoption as it exists today is not simply the happy, selfless act of charity that it is so often lauded to be. It is in it's current state, a practice in which those who live in luxury (relatively-speaking) get to take the children of those who live in poverty. Bare bones, no sugary coating, that's the facts, people. And when I say luxury, I not only mean material luxury, I also mean social and cultural luxury. The luxury of choice is indeed a sociocultural luxury that many in the world do not have.
It took me a long time--and I still wrestle with it today--to recognize the truth that the practice of adoption is indeed an industry from which many profit monetarily; and hence, this profit factor perpetuates the practice of oppression, falsification, deceit, omission, etc. involving the practices in which children are relinquished and obtained for adoption as well as the documentation of so many adoptees' histories and identities prior to being adopted. (If you have spent any amount of time reading adult adoptee blogs, particularly of those who are searching or have searched for their biological families, you know I'm not making this stuff up to prove a point. You know that it's true. Even in my own experience, these practices played a role.)
So often, to support the current practices of adoption, I hear people say that every child needs, deserves a family to love them. I, of course, don't disagree with this.
And yet there is a hypocrisy I sense in America when people repeat this over and over to me.
They say love is enough, and yet it really isn't, because there is a contingency, a qualification to what is meant by "love." As quoted above by Tad, our American culture seems to equate love with the practical ability to provide material things and "higher" education. In other words, money and education become synonymous with love, because American culture places a higher value on financial wealth and education over family preservation. The so-called "love" that so many claim to believe in is nothing more than a cover for saying that material wealth is the superior determining factor as to whether a mother (or family) is fit to care for her own child.
It is true that a mother needs financial resources to provide basic needs for her child. But if those resources are made available, and she has the love and the desire to preserve her family, why should she not be able to do so? Why should a lack of material wealth deem her as unworthy or unfit to do so? There are so many mothers, who if they had the resources, would choose to raise their own child. I understand that some of the prohibitions involve cultural stigmas and practices that must also be overcome, but culture doesn't change if people are not willing to pioneer the needed changes. And again, the luxury of choice remains relevant.
As Sandy is quoted above, we are so quick to take another mother's child and yet slow to help her keep her child. I believe we need not be so assuming to think that we know what is best for another mother's child. There needs to be more of a willingness to give our resources toward family preservation when such is possible.
And as Yoon Seon and Mei-Ling expressed, their is a lack of choice on the part of the original mothers. If circumstances are provided in which they actually have a real choice, and they so choose to relinquish their child, well, that's a whole other topic of discussion. But if they choose to relinquish their child because they think that their simple love is not enough nor worthy because they don't have material wealth, but rather a richer, more educated family is what will be better? Something is wrong with the value system--and when people say "love is enough," they don't really mean it. They mean my love is enough, and hers is not. They mean, since I live in luxury over here while you live in poverty over there, I should get to raise your child.
My own biological mother has stated that had she had the resources that are available today, she would have chosen to keep me. Who knows if she really would have chosen so. But after having to live for 30+ years with the emotional and social consequences of her choice to relinquish me, I don't believe she makes such a concession lightly. Again, this is no reflection on my American parents whom I love and don't want to imagine my life without, but it conveys the reality of how convoluted these adoption situations remain.
Look, I know it's complicated, believe me, I know.
But it's not so complicated that we cannot know the truth, and it's not so complicated that we cannot begin to do something about it.
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