Adoptees as non-citizens.

In another item we were discussing adoptees as a “new species” and this got me thinking about the previous item concerning obtaining citizenship for adoptees. Over at AAAC there is a minor discussion about passports, and the inability of domestic adoptees to obtain federal recognition as citizens based on the practice on the state level of issuing bogus birth certificates.

Given the questioning I receive each time I enter the States concerning the validity, source, and date of my naturalization; and given the post-9/11 desire to call into question even jus soli; and given the deportations of adoptees to places they’ve never known, what exactly is the point in believing we have valid citizenship? Further, as de facto second-class citizens, how much more bogus does this render adoption as an institution?

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5 thoughts on “Adoptees as non-citizens.

  1. Daniel: can you expand a bit more on the categories you are invoking with:

    “Given the questioning I receive each time I enter the States concerning the validity, source, and date of my naturalization; and given the post-9/11 desire to call into question even jus soli; and given the deportations of adoptees to places they’ve never known, what exactly is the point in believing we have valid citizenship? Further, as de facto second-class citizens, how much more bogus does this render adoption as an institution?”

    Also, are you proposing a distinction between “believing on has valid citizenship” and “strategically acting like it for various pragmatic ends, even if it is actually bogus?”

  2. My passport has place of birth as “Lebanon”. And so when I come through border control (which last year was at the Montreal Airport) I get questioned. Last year the question was: “Who was the petitioner for your naturalization?” When pressed for an example, I was told: “You know, like the woman you married to get your citizenship.” This year I was flat-out asked: “How did you obtain your citizenship?” This is matched by the various states passing laws that allows them to stop and question “illegals”, even very far from the border, like here in New York City.

    It is also matched by sentiments that are growing louder, especially in conservative circles, in which the “gratitude” we should show as adoptees is demanded as well of other displaced peoples, such as the ancestors of slaves in this country.

    Calling into question jus soli is a function of Patriot Act (!!!) madness, and is being discussed if not mediated.

    The deportations of adoptees I think we’ve covered in the citizenship topic; their inability to obtain passports is a growing issue.

    What I am suggesting is that the assumption that we are “legal” here is dubious at best. I no longer feel confident about my citizenship here. I don’t want to “act” like I have valid citizenship; I want to discuss this in order to show that for various reasons, a majority of the country is not considered as validly belonging.

    I think this includes adoptees, both internationally and domestically procured.

  3. To make matters worse, it struck me returning to Beirut the other day that the question I’ve been getting on this side of my oscillation is equally loaded. When I am asked here, “You don’t have a national I.D.?” The assumption is made that I have my father’s nationality; Lebanese nationality cannot (as of now) be passed down through the mother. So I can choose my branding: bastard, or half-breed. Perhaps we are not so much a new species as a new form of statelessness.

  4. That’s interesting, as some parties in the U.S. are trying to add a new form of orphan, the “stateless” child refugee for another bill to enable international intervention at the expense of the sovereignty of the nation those children reside in.

    So your illustration that we remain stateless shows how international adoption only shifts the focus from the real issues.

  5. It all makes sense.

    I see the shadows of statelessness in the political basis of my re-established nationality, which requires a (father’s) name; a paternal line; his family register (mine is empty); a definition of sect (a macro reflection of this family structure).

    I’ve spoken before about those others here on the cusp of statelessness who implicitly understand our stories as adoptees: my friends, Syrian migrant workers; Palestinians; bedouins; the historically marginalized Shi’a population.

    For them, their “nomad” nature is imposed as a means of a control; of destruction. Worse, the notion of “nomadism” is picked up as a virtuous trope of capitalism, as seen in endless stories from the likes of Wired magazine, the “officeless” office trends of the last decades, the international “cosmopolitanism” of Wallpaper magazine as well as adoption advocates (seen recently in our guest registry), etc.

    Among the ridiculous post-modernisms I had to suffer while an academic were also these ideas of “border crossing” as a virtue and not a vice, “migration” as a normative aspect of modern life, etc. Separation from one’s place thus becomes a targeted goal of an economic and political system that requires that all be “landless”.

    We just happen to be one of many pawns in this twisted game.

Adoptees, what do you think? We welcome your replies!

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