So, I receive a newsletter from a certain adoption agency that I'll simply refer to as AA.
This newsletter is the epitome of the "Gratitude Gospel of Adoption." It makes my stomach churn and my face burn every time I read it. But I read it because it helps me to stay in touch with what's going on in the adoption agency world.
And for those who believe that adoption isn't what it used to be and soooo much progress has been made, I beg to differ. I know it's just one newsletter, but its a newsletter sent out by a very large agency that's in 6 states and facilitates adoptions all around the world from Korea and China to Russia and India, Ghana, Haiti, Ethiopia, Honduras, even Japan and Hong Kong. So, it may be one agency, but it's reach is vast.
In particular, what makes me gag is the way the newsletter perpetuates the "ideal [or model] adoptee" stereotype. Every issue always does a feature article entailing the successes of an adult adoptee that has been adopted through AA. And of course, this adoptee is presented as a paragon for all other adoptees to follow--he or she is presented as the perfect poster child for the Gratitude Gospel of Adoption. I'm not naive--this agency is pushing adoption using these "model adoptees" to exemplify and uphold the expectation of "See, adoptive parents, your child WILL grow up to be a respectful, overachieving citizen of America teeming with gratitude and success to make you proud and glad that you adopted! So, tell your friends and send 'em our way!" Furthermore, the newsletter also always features adoptees who have graduated from college or high school accompanied by, of course, photos of beaming, smiling faces and their credentials.
These features are as if to say, "See, look, international adoption is great! Look at all these model adoptees making us proud and showing us how awesome and wonderful adoption is!"
Poster Children for Adoption Unite. That's what it feels like.
Obviously, I have nothing against success and happiness, but this newsletter is clearly presenting only ONE very lop-sided side of the story. And it's the side that's all roses and picnics. It's like watching Fox News--for adoption. (I'm actually neither a liberal nor conservative, however, so don't assume too much from that statement. I simply mean that the bias is so thick and blatant it's equally laughable and deplorable.)
Additionally, this issue has an article giving "waiting parents" advice on what to do while they wait for the call. It is of course written by an adoptive parent. First of all, in the opening, the author refers to the "Waiting Phase" as "the hardest part of the entire adoption process." I couldn't help but balk at this statement. There are so many ways in which this statement demonstrates a LACK of understanding.
Secondly, in the author's list of seven "to-do's" during the waiting phase, she mentions things like spending time with your spouse, finishing education requirements (this one made me scoff), doing that one thing you've always wanted to do, and learning about your child's culture and country.
The author also advises waiting parents to talk with other adoptive parents so "You can learn valuable insights from parents who are already home with their children." Not a bad thing to do. I just wish that I could say that the author also advises waiting parents to talk with adult adoptees because they too offer valuable insights. But, obviously, no such mention.
It's that broken record again.
But hey, I'm just playing it like it is. I keep trying to get a new record in there, but most don't seem to care to listen much less do anything to change it.