I’ve received some very specific, pointed questions about my stances on adoption lately. It’s no surprise. Now that my children are older and I have been steeped in some aspect of adoption as an adoptive parent since the year 2000 (and my whole life as the daughter of a birth-mother), both my opinions and my writing on the subject have evolved (though I strive to make sure details that belong to my kids remain private).
With that, I answer some of your sincere questions candidly — no holds barred, no tender feelings spared.
You can read all the questions in one post here. For those who prefer to absorb information in smaller bites, here is question and answer #1:
Why do you seem to hate adoption?
I hate adoption in the same way that I hate organized religion and missionary work: the original intentions are potentially useful and beneficial, but humans have basically distorted it to the point that it is often ludicrous, abusive, and sometimes dangerous in its current form.
Adoption in its purest form is a mechanism by which truly orphaned children (where both parents are deceased) are placed in the home of extended family. Where there is no available extended family, the community steps in. Absent of eligible members of the community or of a strong community base, a child might require placement outside of the community. In situations involving irreparable harm, such as repeated abuse or un-rehabilitated, debilitating substance abuse, this system may also be used as a last resort for children who are not true orphans (one or both parents are living).
Regardless of where the child is placed, the focus in adoption should be the well-being of the child first (that of the child’s family of origin next). Children are most healthy when they are raised within their family of origin — even when their family of origin is financially poor or in an economically disadvantaged area, even when their family of origin includes illness or handicaps, even when their family of origin is non-traditional.
These foci have opened adoption up to corruption, to functioning as a profitable business, to being a vehicle for human-trafficking, and to glamorizing and glorifying self-serving, often abusive, spurious forms of religious and secular “altruism”.
The focus of adoption throughout the latter part of the last century and into this one, though, has been on the adopting parent. Adoption has become primarily a means to parenting, particularly by those who struggle with fertility. Secondarily (though rising to the top as fertility technology develops and as a sector of religious groups further the epidemic of “Orphan Fever”), adoption has become a method of proselytizing (saving souls) and a perceived, though often erroneous, solution to struggles such as poverty and illness (saving lives).
These foci have opened adoption up to corruption, to functioning as profitable business, to being a vehicle for human-trafficking, and to glamorizing and glorifying self-serving, often abusive, spurious forms of religious and secular “altruism”.
Question #2: Why do you think bringing children to Christ (saving souls) and taking children out of poverty (saving lives) are problems? Isn’t that what we should be doing?
Question #3: You benefited from adopting from a developing country. Why did you do that and how do you reconcile that with your feelings about adoption?
Question #4: So you adopted black children and became an activist for adoption and racism. Why didn’t you write this stuff before you adopted black kids?
Question #5: What reforms in adoption do you suggest?