An anti-poem on anti-adoption.

In the world of adoption there would seem to be a spectrum of potential caregivers. The spectrum ranges from one pole focused on the needs of the child to the other pole focused on the needs of the parent(s). On one end of the spectrum you would have parents willingly caring for others’ children in the interest of the community; this is usually referred to as “foster care”. On the other end you would have parents carrying out the economic and political targeting of the marginalized within society by taking their children from them and in the process, doing away with their families and community. This is historically known as “adoption”.

This anti-adoption anti-poem is dedicated to those on the latter end of the spectrum, who pollute the mediated realm with horrid “grown in my heart/not my tummy” poetry and aphorisms; with treacly rhyming pieces of dreck that get Facebooked and WordPressed and Twittered about instead of the actual Voices of those most “touched” by this “peculiar institution”: adoptees, their mothers, families, and communities. This is dedicated to those who would dare put themselves in an other’s place to “tell a story” not their own, or who pretend to give Voice to others: the “Mom, at Last-ers” and the “Rainbow Egg-ers” and the “Having Their Baby-ers”. This anti-poem is a reversal of such a retelling. Maybe I’ll make an illustrated children’s book out of it.

Mom, at Last!

Just like the slaves before their freeing
I want to own a human being
I’ll pay big bucks for better stock
Like chattel on the auction block
In days of yore when things were better
And you could own someone, unfettered
By any quaint social injunction
With biased laws that were a function
Of politics that serve one purpose:
To stuff the wallets and the purses
Of those of us who make the grade
And thus in no way are dismayed
By any so-called voice of reason
To whom we say: “It’s baby season!”
“Injustice economical!”
Protesters are so comical
In their desire to make me feel
A smidgen lower than the genteel
Class to which I am beholden
Of silver spoons and all the golden
Parachutes that I might need
That demonstrate no end my greed.
To aid me in my quest, my search
I work the ’net, I work my church
To get exactly what I want
I even chose this awesome font
To make some cards that I pass out
Whenever I am out about
That state the search that I am on
For a baby daughter or a son.

It matters not, I want that pound
Of flesh, I want to hear that sound
Of crying of a baby new
Refugeed from all he knew
And placed here in my arms outstretched.
I know it sounds a bit farfetched
I even thought about kidnapping
The baby whom I see a-napping
With her mom who’s so white trash
I know that she would take my cash!
Does she deserve to keep the child?
The thought of it just makes me wild
With rage and anger that I cannot
Now make the statement: “I begot”.
And so instead I want to get
Adoptlings like I would a pet
From any pound in any mall
Forget the masses so appalled
By what I say. I want my pick
And I don’t give a frickin’ lick
What I must do to make it happen
Coercion, trafficking, kidnapping.
Name the price, O auctioneer!
I’ll pay the fee you need not fear
And if I’m short I’ll make it up
By bake sale, loan, or beggar’s cup
And then I’ll post about my gain
And spell it out in sick refrain
How all of this was destiny
A thread so red, so meant to be.

We’ll just forget that there’s a mother,
Family, or any other
Community whence this child comes
The one I bought with endless sums
Of cash paid out to middlemen
Who take their pay, their only yen
To make bucks from the noisome lie
That is adoption; and who try
The patience of the angels crying
And likewise leave the devils sighing—
Satan even I have bested!
You might say then I have been tested
On caring for my fellow man
And if that’s so, let him be damned
Because it all comes down to me:
I want my child, my baby wee!
And so do not stand in my way
You have no role, much less a say
I want that baby in my grasp!
And with each day, with every gasp
Of breath left to my waning years
I will instill in her the fears
So she will not reciprocate,
In any way become ingrate
To the manner which she will be raised
The manor which will leave her dazed!
And ever grateful she will quote
The lurid promissory note
The bag of silver that just bought
The silence of those now distraught

In abject fear of those like me
Who make the bucks so she can be:
Sold and bought and owned like those
Slaves of yore unpredisposed
To understand the “why” the “how”
The predicament of all those now
With papers false, documents writ
With every lie that might befit
A culture so bereft of graces.
It dispossesses and displaces
In endless ways that leave befuddled
The tired, poor, and hungry huddled
Masses weary of overbearing
Masters and their bogus caring
Who claim adoption, as slavery,
Is “blessed by God” and thus should “be”.
Forget these slaves of former years
Reflected now in endless tears
Of children lost who are imbued
With this indentured servitude;
Its legacy, the slave condition
Just slowed a bit by abolition.
Ignore the cry, “The time has come
For trafficking to be undone
In all its horrifying forms!”
Pay no attention to the storms
Of those who protest and insist
Adoption practice must desist
And cease to be: the last decree
Of all who decry slavery.

Forget that we now stake this claim
With the same voice that states His name
As One who knows all those who tithe
And so deserve a future blithe.
Forget conclusions you might draw
From logic so extremely flawed
And arguments quite narcissistic
And of an act so egotistic.
Forget He Who invoked “the orphan;
To care for him, as well the poor, and
So the widow; too, the stranger”,
One out of four reveals the danger
To those who might ignore the call
To care communally and for all.
To this I say, “You go to hell!
I simply want for you to sell
To me your child with no conditions!
You should be glad that my auditions
Were passed and by the likes of you!
I owe you nothing all this you knew
For years before your belly bloated
With precious cargo to us devoted,
Designed, signed over, and delivered
To us the blessèd and preferrèd.
You have to learn we’re meant to own her
And so demand that you disown her!
Fulfill your wretched destiny
O sow, O brood hen, O queen bee!
Do cut the cord, and make it fast!
So I can cry out, ‘MOM, AT LAST!'”


About Daniel Drennan ElAwar

Adoptee, rematriated.
This entry was posted in literary. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to An anti-poem on anti-adoption.

  1. eagoodlife says:

    That about hits it Daniel!!

  2. lara/trace says:

    a powerful poem Daniel, thank you.

  3. Jeff Nguyen says:

    Strong words that are right on point. The religious imagery and overtones evoked are appropriate in America where adoption is often framed as a salvation issue, i.e., white Christians favored by God to “bless” a poor underprivileged child who was unlucky enough to be born in a non-Christian land.

  4. Love, love, love it! Words of truth…

  5. Speechless, thank you from one adoptee to another. Your words are profound.

  6. Renee Lynne says:

    “Fulfill your wretched destiny
    O sow, O brood hen, O queen bee!
    Do cut the cord, and make it fast!
    So I can cry out, ‘MOM, AT LAST!”

    There you have it. The song of the adopter. Foul, but accurate.

  7. Zoya Gregory says:

    I am so glad I found your post! I am a bio mom and feel very strongly against adoptions for exact same reasons you aptly described. Thank you!

  8. Daniel, I cant stop weeping, this poem encapsulates almost 100% of how we are so seared impacted by adoption…I AM THE WHITE TRASH… my family this very year have denied my husband and I an invitation to a family wedding, my elder brother after much pleading told me why I was excluded, YOU HAVE BROUGHT SHAME TO THE FAMILY BRINGING A MIXED RACE BABY INTO THE WORLD, my beloved baby is now a young man of 47 years, YES STILL after 47 years we are treated as trash. Adoption, I could never ever offend my son by telling him about his lily livered sick minded relatives, they were never there for me 47 years ago, and I DONT NEED THEM NOW. Institutional induced guilt /coercion is no longer my mantle, I will not surrender to this unmitigated cruelty, I am mother of a beautiful baby who was STOLEN from me. SOCIETY waken up Society must address the CULTURAL DENIAL of the suffering, almost eternal SUFFERING of mothers and our precious children that adoption.

  9. Marion, I’m so sorry for what you have gone through and continue to go through. I really hate the term “white trash”. But it shows us the class divide that in reality is masked by issues of race; neither, of course, is discussed in polite Anglo society. From “L’il Abner” and HeeHaw to Honey Booboo today the mediated attack on the “white” poor has been continuous, and adoption has played a major role in the physical manifestation of this marginalization. I wish you peace of mind.

  10. This is an amazing, thought-provoking poem. I’ve perceived for a long time the parallels between slavery and adoption, but have often preferred to keep quiet … why? I think it was because in my case, trying to say that my experience–a White American of Northern European descent, adopted into a White American family also of Northern European descent–is form of slavery … it hard to argue. Yes, they paid fees for me, but I was actually raised in a less affluent family. I think I was also afraid to downplay the horrors of centuries of institutionalized slavery, by comparing it to my story.

    However, it’s when we as adoptees step out of our own personal experiences and begin to examine adoption as an institution, of which I am just one person … well that’s when we can begin to draw comparisons and ask questions using our critical thinking skills. It goes from me being labeled an “angry adoptee,” to me asking valid questions about what it means to adopt in the United States.

    Here in Serbia, adoption agencies are illegal. Inter-country adoption is avoided as much as possible, and family preservation is the cultural norm. In America, I would have a hard time talking to the average person (who is not involved in adoption advocacy) about how adoption is a form of child trafficking. Here in Serbia, if I describe a typical U.S. adoption process (agency, fees, different fees based on ethnicity, desire for an infant, changed records, etc) … people are appalled.

    I truly applaud you for your courage and insight. Thank you for helping me continue to emerge from the adoption fog.


  11. Thank you Laura. I feel the need to make a few things clear based on the points you’ve brought up. In no way should there be any confusion that I am comparing experiences, meaning, those of adopted children and those whose forebears were kept as slaves. I would never claim to know the experience of, say, a black man growing up in a racist society, or claim that I went through the same thing. I had and have to a certain extent the luxury and privilege of my adoptive class, and I am acutely aware of this.

    Furthermore, the society that acculturated us has trained us to see trauma as competitive, and I want to avoid this comparison. The acculturating society also fosters this competition, and thus we have Multiculturalism and History Months and Ethnic Studies ad infinitum. This is a divide and conquer strategy. What I’m trying to get to is a strategy of common cause.

    Although I can’t compare my personal experience and won’t do so, I can point to the economic and political causes of our displacement and dispossession. This is a completely different framework, and it applies to domestic adoptees as well, especially when we examine the institution of adoption historically speaking in terms of class above and beyond race.

    We should not forget that in terms of this history “white” indentured servitude was the norm until it became cheaper to ship slaves from the colonized parts of the world. The poorhouses of Great Britain provided the labor that built the fledgling United States. Those who were indentured this way, the Irish for example, were treated with a similar racism (as strange as it is to speak of this today) on top of their mistreatment for being the impoverished both in the homeland and in the new world.

    The society that made use of them, made use of Africans, made use of us to build out families, has historically seen certain groups viewed as less than (hu)man—women, children, minorities (animals, Nature)—as property, “take-able” if not put to use. This has been formalized in many ways, and so still persists in so-called “First World” civilizations.

    So the links are there, as difficult as it may be to point them out or speak of them. I think it is long past time to do so. Especially in terms of where I am now, where the “dispossessed”—whether refugees, migrant workers, or marginalized populations—are the first ones to get my story and, like you are saying, the first ones to recoil in horror at the description of adoption as it is practiced in the so-called civilized world.

    • Marilynn Huff says:

      Don’t worry that anyone with a brain would interpret your poem to mean you think an adopted person is suffering whips and chains like those subjected to the North American Slave trade…well maybe some are being subjected to that type of treatment. Come to think of it slavery is really just the legal construct of owning and controlling human beings each person who buys, trades or is gifted a human being to control will have their own specific purpose in mind and their own tactics for maintaining subservience. Slavery is supposed to be abolished but there is a loophole where the task to be performed is to pretend to be the son or daughter of the owner – sometimes that might also include cotton picking, sometimes that might include being whipped or starved, other times it might include being showered with luxurious gifts and being given the finest education – but it is still at a cost to the individuals freedom to be their authentic selves. Slavery’s business model is still alive in adoption law.

  12. anenomekym says:

    I found your writings less than a year ago, but am so glad I did. I was looking for another piece you had written, but came across this one. You never cease to amaze me. I love this ‘poem’ – it is so refreshing to see truths being written so well and truthfully. It reminds me of the Brothers Grimm ‘Fairytales’ that I used to read to my babysittlings, and it’s so true in adoption. Not much of a ‘fairytale’ though.

    Thanks again.

  13. samantha568 says:

    Powerful truth. Crying tears of validation.

  14. BeeMom says:

    Reblogged this on Musings of a Birthmom and commented:
    From an adoptee.

  15. Love it!!! The part about money buying our silence is so true. All that money is what fuels the industry, and thus ensures adoption’s dominance over those who have been hurt by it. Judging by all the blog posts from adoptive parents about “what not to say,” it seems like they really believe their money is buying the silence of everyone else, too. “They’re mine, and no one is allowed to say any differently!”

  16. Kelly says:

    Beautifully written ! Thank you ! As a Mother to a 13yr old son whom I lost through adoption …your words gave me strength tonight! Thank you truly!

  17. Reblogged this on Lucy Sheen actor writer filmmaker adoptee and commented:
    Thought provoking anti-poem about anti-adoption

Your thoughts, comments, remarks, additions....

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s