A few years after I arrived in Beirut, a French-language daily published an overview of us as adoptees looking for our roots in Lebanon. It was very “poor orphans” in tone, and it didn’t really communicate what I was feeling at the time. Later, when the Arche de Zoë scandal broke in Chad/France, I wrote an article concerning adoption/trafficking that a local newspaper saw fit to translate into Arabic and publish in its entirety. This was picked up at Dissident Voice web site, which at that time allowed for a comments section.
One of the most pointed comments received there asked me flat out: “Shouldn’t you be grateful?” Because of the technology of the web site, the emailed response included the IP number where the question originated from, and it was from the university where I was working. I replied to the question, and noted in my response that it might have been easier to just come down to my office and have the discussion with me personally; I remember feeling angry that I was being called out for what I had written.
This was the first of many incidents in my workplace where I was made to feel uncomfortable concerning my views on adoption. The discussions that came up in faculty meetings seemed aimed at re-inforcing power differentials, and there was no reason for us to be discussing things like nationality, adoption, citizenship, etc., other than to put me in check. Because of my shaky status concerning nationality, my lower rank in terms of professorial status, and my general sense of being outnumbered, I usually kept my mouth shut.
One time though, in a discussion with my superior (an adoptive mother), I was told outright: “You of all people should be pro-adoption and want to adopt!” I exclaimed that, in fact, the opposite was true. The subject never came up again, but I can’t help but think that this formed part of the political weight that would later result in my non-promotion.
In interviewing for a new job, adoption came up again; I was put on the spot: “What are you hoping to do here [by writing about adoption]?” This reflects local taboos concerning adoption and its discussion among this particular class, as well as the general feeling that I am stirring up what most would rather not think about.
And so I ask in general here: Have you ever been able to tie any kind of discrimination along these lines directly to your views on adoption? How has that played out, and what has been your response to such discrimination?