Do not let the first person to show support be a peer or teacher. Your child…
by Guest Contributor Sara M. Erdmann, MFA, PhD
The image of the American adoptive mother has emerged gradually since adoption’s inception in 1851, but it has always existed within a racialized and heteronormative context (“Massachusetts Adoption of Children Act, 1851”).
According to the American adoption narrative, adoptive mothers are white, heterosexual women; their decision to adopt a child is an act of goodwill, and, in cases of transracial adoption, even a badge of racial acceptance.
This particular adoptive mother has become an accepted, albeit marginalized, part of mothering culture and is the one for whom books are written, organizations formed, and resources developed. This adoptive mother has defined the adoptive mother identity in modern America and become one of many voices within the larger motherhood narrative.
Yet, research confirms that white, heterosexual women are not the only ones adopting children: many Black and queer (*) non-biological children, but, save for mentions in a few isolated academic texts, their experiences are almost entirely absent from the larger adoption narrative. Read the Post Who’s Your Mama?: Race, Sexuality, and the Adoptive Mother [Academic Essay]
TRAILER: Somewhere Between – A Feature Documentary from Linda Knowlton on Vimeo. Check out…
by Latoya Peterson
Reader Carleandria sent us this LA Times article over the weekend:
The telephones kept ringing with more orders and although Duan Yuelin kept raising his prices, the demand was inexhaustible. Customers were so eager to buy more that they would ply him with expensive gifts and dinners in fancy restaurants.
His family-run business was racking up sales of as much as $3,000 a month, unimaginable riches for uneducated Chinese rice farmers from southern Hunan province.
What merchandise was he selling? Babies. And the customers were government-run orphanages that paid up to $600 each for newborn girls for adoption in the United States and other Western countries.
“They couldn’t get enough babies. The demand kept going up and up, and so did the prices,” recalled Duan, who was released from prison last month after serving about four years of a six-year sentence for child trafficking.
When we post articles about taking the time to consider children in the adoption discourse, I am always surprised at the number of comments that assume we are anti-adoption (or as one amusingly put it, leaving these poor children to rot) when we believe in listening to perspectives from adult adoptees and adoptive POCs. The perspectives are quite different from the standard narrative on adoption. Just check out what Paula, of the Heart, Mind, and Seoul blog had to say:
[W]hy do so many people casually accept (and perhaps even secretly celebrate) it as fate, good karma, a higher power at force, destiny, luck, etc. when a woman who is without a true, just selection of choice or is told that the only real choice she has is to place her child, and believe this to be perfectly acceptable so long as it benefits our agenda? Our plans. Our lifelong hopes and childhood dreams. Why is okay for other women to find themselves in a position to have to make arguably the most God-awful and heart-wrenching, hellish choice or worse – to find themselves WITHOUT choice – when it suits us or those we love? And why aren’t more of us or more of those we love willing to make the same kinds of sacrifices that we expect, assume, hope and accept that other women will do? Read the Post On Discussions of Transracial Adoption
by Guest Contributor (and frequent commenter) Atlasien
I’m a foster care adoptive parent. I can’t speak for all of us, since we’re a diverse bunch. Some of us have also adopted internationally and support international adoption strongly. Others despise the institution, and are angry about what the perceived hypocrisy of parents who walk past the foster kids in their own cities and states so that they can adopt from a far-away country. I’m somewhere in the middle, but definitely leaning more towards the anti side, especially after this week.
This week, I’ve been deeply disturbed at the swelling public desire to adopt Haitians. Haitian orphan babies. The very name is problematic. In our imagination, an orphan has no family, but the vast majority of “orphans” all over the world have living parents, and almost every single one has living extended relatives. And the children that need family care are, overwhelmingly, older children.
Quite a few other parents I know are really pissed off about it. If you want to adopt, why not consider adopting from foster care? Why Haitian babies? I can guess at some of the answers. Most of them will not be very flattering.
There’s a certain group of white adoptive international parents that dominate much of the discourse around adoption in this country. The most organized of these are evangelical Christians, but many of them are secular in their beliefs on adoption. They’re across the political spectrum, ultraconservative to ultraliberal, though if I had to hazard a guess, most of them are center-right in politics. I believe these people are, basically, a force for evil. If I put it in any nicer words, that would be a lie. Examining their belief system, and their potential political influence on the recovery efforts in Haiti, is a pretty terrifying process. Read the Post The Dangerous Desire to Adopt Haitian Babies
by Guest Contributor Sumeia Williams, originally published at Ethnically Incorrect
- The research does indicate some interesting differences in transracially-adopted people’s attitudes about race and race relations, which critics of transracial adoption cite as evidence that supports their position. But this evidence is positively heart-warming for those who believe that Blacks and Whites should learn to live compatibly in one world, with respect and concern for each other and with appreciation of their racial and cultural differences as well as their common humanity. The studies reveal that Blacks adopted by Whites appear more positive than Blacks raised by Blacks about relationships with Whites, more comfortable in those relationships, and more interested in a racially integrated lifestyle. They think race is not the most important factor in defining who they are or who their friends should be.
The Editor’s Commentary makes some good points concerning Bartholet’s ignorance of the realities of transracial adoptees and people of color. Part of me laughs at her myopic interpretation of the study she mentions while another, less eloquent part screams, “Duh!” Of course “Blacks adopted by Whites appear more positive than Blacks raised by Blacks about relationships with Whites, more comfortable in those relationships, and more interested in a racially integrated lifestyle.” It’s not like they have much of a choice. Being raised by white people forces the adoptee of color to be open and tolerant towards white people because “White” becomes the dominant race in their lives.
Whether transracial adoption promotes “respect and concern for each other and with appreciation of their racial and cultural differences as well as their common humanity” is questionable. It might force an adoptee to be tolerant, but it doesn’t necessarily carry over into the larger community. In fact, quite the opposite can happen, or even worse, cause an adoptee to be alienated or rejected from that community. Did Bartholet ever stop to wonder how comfortable those adopted “Blacks” would feel in relationships with other “Blacks”?
Are TRAs suppose to act as Trojan horses sent out to win over the rest of the community? Are we suppose to scream out, “Look! My white adoptive parents saved me (from you), and I turned out great! White people rock!” It seems in her zeal to create this racially tolerant world of hers, Bartholet forgets something. Most transracial adoptees don’t grow up with an appreciation for their birth ethnicities, they grow up with an appreciation for that of their adoptive parents. Read the Post Default Divisions
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