Domestic vs. International?

I have argued long and hard that there is little difference between domestic and international adoption, if we consider that often the class differential of domestic adoption is from an internal “Third World” of poverty and the exploitation of those from this realm.

I have argued long and hard that if we shift to notions of displacement and dispossession, then all adoption is within the same vein, and not only that, it connects us to others who are likewise displaced for political and economic reasons: migrants, immigrants, refugees, etc.; and creates a “common cause” between us.

And then, and then…I’ll come across a statement from an adoptee which is anti-immigrant, or pro-deportation, or which questions the validity of indigenous people to claim their children, or which in some way due to the class privilege provided to them via their adoption allows them to increase the divide so many are trying so hard to close up if not mend.

At these moments I give up. At these moments, I feel like it all just comes crumbling down; there is no hope and no point in even trying to explain or convince when those who should know better for their own circumstances choose instead to be part of the “dominant mode” and status quo of adoption.

How to deal with this? How do we deal with this? Is there always going to be literally a divide between Domestic and International?


3 thoughts on “Domestic vs. International?

  1. There is a divide, yes. But those who run the industry of trafficking in children are deaf, dumb and blind – they make money. They don’t care.
    Children are children – whether they are in a domestic or international adoption – they are the silent victims.

  2. Over the past two days I have been sitting in on discussions around the failed war on drugs (in the United States specifically) and the need to end drug prohibition (or, i.e., to bring the regulation and control of currently scheduled one drugs “into the law” i.e., legalization), and at one of the events, which was co-hosted by a branch of the Muslim American Society, an above-average number of people of color, who were Muslims, got very indignant at the idea of legalizing drugs, taking the suggestion to meant the promotion of drug use.

    This was certainly a misperception (deliberate or not) of what the presenters (both black) were advancing. And whatever “good” might be accomplished by religious prohibition on such substances as a matter of faith within certain subsectors of the community in general, there seemed to be no recognition that the disparate impact of the war on drugs on the black community in the United States should be something they would take up common cause with.

    A remark by one of the presenters, “If you have D.A.R.E in your school, get it out immediately” (this was said by a retired former drug enforcement police officer), and it becomes clear that part of the Muslim (or religious generally) message involves positioning itself as a solution to the drug problem–as Nancy Reagan put it, “Just say no.”

    Of those who stood up to protest the presentation, only one could be convincingly accused of “trying to keep his job” (as a mover and shaker in the Muslim organization that was co-hosting the event). The other people were enthusiastic spokespeople for a position that is contrary to the general welfare of the communities they occupy–which, from what Daniel wrote above, would seem to be the kind of person he’s specifically describing. Tea partiers have a similar reputation, and their dancing in the street over the non-avoidance of sequester is their war banner.

    But one needn’t be trying to “keep a job” to be compromised. Trying to “keep one’s worldview” is, in its own way, the exact analog–both are implicated in trying to maintaining one’s existential condition. We may scorn more the one who makes arguments strictly for institutional reasons, because it seems more compromised, but one might argue that institutions (good or bad) are more socially significance than individuals, so those who just want to go on holding their opinion, despite everyone else, might be more pernicious after all–on the day when racism has been completely abolished, the one person who still wants to use racial epithets or work to find the genetic proof of the inferiority of one “race” versus any other will seem more aberrant probably.

    So, the question I felt moved to ask was, “What job are they feeling they’ll lose if they don’t oppose legalization,” and the answer was, again, the task of religions to impose prohibitions in the first place. The nonsensical part is that a faith untested is no faith, so the availability of liquor at the local liquor store helps to strengthen faith by avoiding temptation. People who are not inclined to homosexuality accrue no spiritual merit by “avoiding” that temptation, because the temptation never comes up. &c.

    But this assumes I have to take the religious phenomenology serious as a matter of public policy in the first place, which I don’t. Whatever variety of intolerant monotheism someone wants to espouse, that in no way demands acknowledgment as far as general public policy is concerned. If the mission of prohibition-style religions becomes more difficult because alcohol and tobacco can be purchased in grocery stores, that’s a problem for them to work out in themselves.

    So maybe there is some analogous ground on which to approach those in the adoptee community who, by all rights seemingly an ally to a common cause but, currently fail to do so. We can try to recognize what “position” (the double entendre of “place” and “employment” applies here) they are trying to maintain, and proceed from there.

  3. A related illustration:

    In another discussion regarding the legalization of prohibited substances, in describing the local attempts to get a citizens review board for a local police department, the speaker reported and expressed confusion that in general black citizens were in favor of it and white citizens were not.

    I see several reasons for this. The black community is for it, of course, because it bears the brunt of disparate policing; in other words, they daily experience and see the reality and thus the necessity for a citizens review board.

    For some whites, because they don’t see this harassment of blacks, they don’t believe there is a necessity for a CRB. (It’s difficult not to construe this as accusing the black community of lying or exaggeration.) For some whites, because they don’t experience police harassment, they see no necessity for a CRB because there is no problem.

    For some black citizens, because they don’t see any harassment of white people, they believe there is a need for a CRB. For some white citizens, they see the “harassment” of blacks as proper policing, and exactly part of the job the police have. A CRB could only fuck up this proper functioning, either by widening harassment to include them (the white population) or to “let an epidemic of crime go unchecked” in black neighborhoods.

    So, the failure of an adoptee to be pro-immigrant in one respect is a mixing of logical types–it’s an apple and orange comparison. Because her status as an adoptee is second in this particular question to the fact of her naturalized citizen status (however that was obtained). So, as a naturalized citizen (adopted or not), she can take an anti-adoption stance, just as a white person can take an anti-CRB stance. One encounters this as well in comprador intellectuals vis-à-vis their countrymen or upper class women who take on airs vis-à-vis non-upper-class women.

    So the shock Daniel describes comes from a misperception in the first place, just as I find racism, sexism, &c., less unstomachable from reactionary types than from those who seem embedded in more progressive or liberal causes. In a reward-oriented hierarchy such as we occupy, the question becomes what one does with the rankism implicit in such a reward-oriented hierarchy. The adoptee who is anti-immigrant shows his hand as a hierarchically more-ranked individual, &c. Whites show their hand in seeing no necessity in a citizens review board.

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

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