The adoption backlash?

I’ve often thought that at some point the shock caused by those of us testifying about adoptee rights might wear off, and the backlash would begin. I see in a way the Washington Times story as that kind of reactionary response to the subject. More worrisome is the legal or other societal maneuvers that might take place as a reaction. Any ideas as to what those might be? Or how we might maintain in the face of such a backlash?

[Note: based on comments, have renamed the post]

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8 thoughts on “The adoption backlash?

  1. Personally, I don’t like this pro-adoption/anti-adoption language. It’s as wrongfully divisive and thoughtlessly accusatory as pro-abortion/anti-abortion is.

    Neither do I see the Washington Times story as the beginning of a backlash, but as an attempt to keep footing when the ground is shifting because there are too many people for the ground to support. I enjoy how that extra weight is being provided by the long-silenced third leg of the supposed “triad.”

    This tension isn’t going to go away, it’s our life now. And framing it in terms of war is a really unfortunate way to look at it, which is self-fulfilling and self-perpetuating. And personally, I don’t like taking sides, despite my forays into adoption reform activism. There are just too many scenarios to what constitutes family to be addressed by such a bi-polar construct.

    Like slavery in America, the privileged and powerful enjoyed the control of the podium for a long long time. Its legacy of racism is still alive and well 200 years later. It’s found sophisticated ways to adapt itself, which is what the adoption industry is lamely attempting to do with its ever-shifting adoption language and convenient co-opting of, inadequate and partial addressing of adoptee concerns.

    Like Neo-confucianism in Korea, such rigid black and white thinking will reduce when the patricians with self-interests pass away.

    What I see happening is a reduction (vs. elimination) of child acquisition on a global scale, and any dialogue (vs. the monologue that previously existed) is a positive one. That feathers are ruffled is a sign that thoughtful people are beginning to question the existing dogma and understand that adoption is more complex than merely “saving” children. We are having an impact, and rightly so. I feel pity for the threatened and entrenched: instead of expanding their minds, they become smaller, and it’s unbecoming.

    We just have to find the strength to keep raising our voices to be included in the debate about us . It’s a serious challenge, when adoptees are not allowed on the podium. Whether it is the unapologetic voice, the tempered voice, the angry voice, the rational voice, the hurt voice, the appealing voice, or the concurring voice, all us adoptee voices are necessary to show the world that the adoption industry voice and those that unquestionably support its endeavors do not/can not represent the full story.

    As to your questions – I don’t think over-reaction to these issues will ever go away, for as long as wealth among nations is imbalanced and the privileged are patronizing and self-serving, then children will be com-modified. All we can do is continue to assert equal and fair time in public forum, to keep educating and challenging those who strive to learn from the past. We can also work to empower and educate the exploited in our mother countries, help them emerge as fully sovereign states that deserve respect, restore pride and value all their human resources: all those things which international adoption has diminished. We will continue to get no reward for this effort, nor have any resources to assist us, so we must individually find ways in our private lives to be sustainable. But we do it for a greater love than ourselves, right? We do it for a kinder gentler world for children. If we can spare one child some unnecessary trauma, then that’s reward in and of itself.

  2. You know I agree with you 100% on everything you are saying here. I framed the question this way because it is a concern not from our perspective, but from the powers that be who wish to see adoption continue as a “peculiar institution”, and as always, the comparison to slavery is absolutely spot on.

    But the abolitionists were targeted for silencing, this is what I was getting at. Every civil rights leader, every rabble rouser, every revolutionary raising their voice from within the system as it were is targeted. So whereas I don’t agree that the binary is valid from our perspective–I don’t even buy the idea of a “triad”, frankly–this doesn’t prevent a culture which is inherently reductive as you are saying and tends toward the binary to attempt to impose it.

    When we were putting together our artists’ collective Jamaa Al-Yad here in Beirut, most of my research went into examining what was the cause for revolutionary artists’ collectives to fall apart–was it pressure from within? Pressure from without? Often it was a little of both, but the incentives that drove them out of existence were derived from the system they found themselves in.

    I wrote bylaws and a charter based on a consensus model, which focused on fighting all hierarchy within the organization, “50 percent plus 1” voting, the forming of sub-groups, parliamentary procedure–all of the reductive aspects of group formation we tend to be familiar with and which are taken for granted. I did this as a defensive strategy, if you will.

    So I guess I am saying, given the likelihood of the “system” of adoption to attempt to maintain state, maintain the status quo, and this requiring the elimination of any resistance toward it, despite how we might frame it, how do we deal with this?

    I think you answered this question, but I just wanted to clarify where I was coming from.

  3. girl4708, you are wise. Can I quote you, ie, on this:

    We just have to find the strength to keep raising our voices to be included in the debate about us . It’s a serious challenge, when adoptees are not allowed on the podium. Whether it is the unapologetic voice, the tempered voice, the angry voice, the rational voice, the hurt voice, the appealing voice, or the concurring voice, all us adoptee voices are necessary to show the world that the adoption industry voice and those that unquestionably support its endeavors do not/can not represent the full story.

  4. When we have raised our voices and can raise them no longer there will be a new generation of adoptees coming along to take our places, to speak anew about adoption, it’s harm, it’s losses and how to proceed.There are millions of us, we now have the social media to help us, to form alliances, to go in new directions.Some of these will be creative. Some groups of opposition will self-destruct as we are seeing here in Australia where they are discrediting themselves every step they take.In America maybe people will get tired of greed and the huge profits made by the adoption industry and the corruption and lack of ethics may be it’s downfall. We hope and we keep speaking out.

  5. It is interesting to me to see the mediation backlash after the “re-homing” story appeared in Reuters. Adoption advocates want this to be an aberration so badly that they are falling over each other to call for “reform”. It all rings a bit hollow if you ask me.

    Adam Pertman [link]; EJ Graff [link]; Susan Soonkeum Cox [link]; just for starters. And the Congress is similarly pushing to re-grease the slimy wheels of Adoption with the Children in Families First Act [link].

    Please make sure to add your Voice wherever you now see the discussion ramping up again—for example, in the above links—and then consider how we might move thought to action. I don’t think we can content ourselves that the online realm is our reality. How might we advocate for Encarnacion Romero [link] in Missouri, for just one example? How do we move beyond the tactical stasis of spinning our wheels in the virtual realm?

    We need a grassroots Backlash for the Backlash.

  6. Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    “What I see happening is a reduction (vs. elimination) of child acquisition on a global scale, and any dialogue (vs. the monologue that previously existed) is a positive one. That feathers are ruffled is a sign that thoughtful people are beginning to question the existing dogma and understand that adoption is more complex than merely “saving” children. We are having an impact, and rightly so. I feel pity for the threatened and entrenched: instead of expanding their minds, they become smaller, and it’s unbecoming.”

  7. A few more examples, showing the push back of pro-displacement forces, both legal and mediated:

    Evangelical Adoption Movement Attacked…Again [link]
    Note the persecution complex inherent in the word “attacked”, levied at what is basically an attempt to level an uneven playing field.

    Senators Introduce Adoption Information Act [link]
    Buzzwords: Life, Birth mother, abortion, etc.

    Stop the Children in Families First Act [link]
    Attempting to prop up a dying industry; this link is attempting to resist this and is worth taking a look at.

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