An open letter to PEAs*.

Jeanna Beasley of South Carolina, has a blog entitled, “Lured Home”; it describes the reasons why she wishes to adopt a girl from China. This is my reply.

Dear Jeanna:

I hope I can clarify here what is so dreadful about your blog concerning your attempts to adopt a little girl from China. I thought I had seen everything in the offensive abyss that is adoption mediation but then I read your blog.

First of all, God does not selectively take people on “journeys”, removed from the context of their existence. Nothing in any of the Holy Books remotely refers to kidnapping other children “for their own good” while ignoring their families, communities, and the world at large. Your “journey” is not supreme; it does not lord it over others and their own “journeys”; your existence is reflected in the “journeys” of those your actions effect. Your dismissal of these is offensive.

You and your preacher and the greater Christian evangelical movement and their idea to “adopt” as Jesus (peace be upon him) “adopted” reveals a serious misunderstanding of the translated terms for “adoption” to be found in the Bible and the Qur’an, but more than that, reflect a modern-day formalization of the same displacement of others “for their own good”, namely, slavery; indentured servitude (see: The Orphan Trains); the destruction of indigenous populations (still taking place today); the population of former colonies. This was collectively referred to as colonialism, and your quest makes of you a colonizer. You and your preacher “Doc” might want to read The Child Catchers in the meantime.

Your decision to avoid foster care is very telling. It would seem to me that a true Christian, humbly and with full humility of heart, would be willing to take care of an other’s child while hoping that that person would eventually be able to take the child back. What an act of neighborly grace! What a beautiful, beneficent, charitable act! Instead, you prefer to go halfway around the globe, after deciding that there are no “good choices”. You seem upset at the availability of “special needs” children, and here you are not convinced, because if you want to “own” a child, you sure as hay don’t want a broken one! But maybe God will work this out for you. Thank God neither of your children were born with any kind of “broken-ness”—what would you have done if so? Thrown them in the garbage?

Your use of the word “save” is very telling. It is also very hypocritical. Just like the “adoption” efforts that started up after the United States bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, just like Operation Babylift after the Viet Nam War ended, just like the Holt enterprise adopting out of a war-ravaged Korea, just like Harry Truman’s efforts to adopt Hungarian orphans after World War II, your country has a strange way of showing “salvation”. Frankly, the world is weary of your efforts at “saving” it. This is now referred to as “humanitarian” or “soft” imperialism, just for your own edification.

I write this with five of your war ships off of the Lebanese coast, with Tomahawk missiles aimed at Syria. (Note the offensive use of murdered indigenous peoples’ terms for American weaponry). This is the fourth time in Lebanese history these ships have been there, and the second time in my short ten years living here, in the place of my birth. What a funny way your country has of showing how much it wants to “save” people. If adoption is salvation, then I’d much rather have never left the country, no matter what that might have meant existentially for me.

You complain about the trafficking of children in China, but you might want to remove the beam from thine own eye and look into the trafficking of children in your own country. Maybe there on that upper-crusty island you live on you don’t have this problem, but some of us grew up with “MISSING CHILDREN” images on the back of milk cartons as a frightening reminder of how incapable the leading country of the “free” world was in terms of keeping its children safe. For that matter, my niece was almost “lured” out of her own driveway in a nice white suburban neighborhood. The main point is that this kidnapping and trafficking of children in adoption source countries is a function of your adoption. You are a pyromaniac firefighter, and for this you will have to answer.

Along these same lines, you might want to read about the economic and political warfare your country wages against the rest of the planet such that these children come up for adoption in the first place. A book such as Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine is a good place to start. For every country she discusses, ravaged by depredation of your fellow capitalist class, there is an adoption program. That these are shutting down is a healthy sign, as countries learn their lessons about the neo-colonialism represented by your economic class. That you wish to dive right in there and do this damage on your own tells us all we need to know about you, and the words that come to mind to describe you are in no way redolent of Christianity.

Your discussion of “passing” on children that don’t “fit” your family is vile and ignoble. We are not dress-up dolls for you to examine and purchase, or throw back in the junk heap. You represent the worst that your class has to offer, from the beauty pageants that you hope to use to raise funds (which would never allow the Chinese girl temporarily in your care to participate), to the self-congratulatory mediation and self-aggrandizement that is hardly the sign of a Christian. Your pride, your boastfulness, your sheer egocentricity should be enough to disqualify you from taking care of an other’s child. Unfortunately, your culture cherishes these as primary values—hence your blog—and so your purchase of a child will likely go through.

And I will definitely pray. For you to see. For you to understand. For you to be aware of your classism, racism, and ignorance of history and your own religion. I will pray that your place in the economic scheme of things will not allow you to carry through with this adoption and ruin a child’s life in the process. And if it does go through, I pray that this child will grow up and one day return, like so many of us have, to attempt to barely start to right the wrongs that are a function of your very existence on this planet.

PS: You do understand that to “lure” someone in is to trick them, to deceive them, to trap them, right? Okay, just checking.

*Prospective Evangelical Adopters.

About Daniel Drennan ElAwar

Adoptee, rematriated.
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18 Responses to An open letter to PEAs*.

  1. Brent Snavely says:

    I was so offended by the linked blog that I can only laugh — perhaps it would be appropriate for someone from Malawi to appropriate their “real” children: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQs2-5klVcI

    Terrific message, Daniel, but I doubt any one who is busy evangelizing and “saving children” will understand it… I doubt they would even understand, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

  2. Pingback: An open letter to PEAs*. | 4gottenadoptee

  3. As a grown up version of the Chinese child that this Christian family wishes to procure I don’t know which emotion takes the greater sway. Utter despair that in the 21st century we still have not learnt the lessons of the past and adoption is still pretty well much perceived by many potential AP as a propriety act. Or total black anger. I think perhaps it is a mixture of both.

    If you think about it “man’s” attitude towards having children is not an altruistic act, it is a very selfish act. We want some portion of ourselves to live one. The language we use when talking about children is very telling.

    It’s my child
    That child belongs to me/us.

    Well no actually that child doesn’t ‘belong’ to anyone but him/herself. We are but guardians and protectors to that child until s/he reaches a point where they can strike out on their own. Yes s/he is the child that we bore, is the child that we love, nurture and prepare for life. Giving them the tools to face whatever might be in store. But we do not own our children. They are not common commodities, like groceries, or are they? Adoption many times and oft, when I read such self agrandising blogs as the one your article refers to Daniel all have a common thread: adoption as an option for parents to find the child that they want. Well for me adoption when considered should only be as a last resort as it is an extreme intervention and irreversible. Adoption should ALWAYS be about the needs of the child and not the APs.

    I am the adult version of what this family is hoping to acquire. I was the baby that was referred to as “a real China doll”. I was the child that was never allowed to play the angel in the school nativity. I was the school child that got bullied, beaten and tormented and was afraid to speak to anyone about it – but in the 60s pre multicultural UK you just got on with it. Children were still seen and not heard.

    What this family talks of is not adoption, it’s acquisition. If they had said they were adopting a Chinese child that was physically challenged or had mental health issues I might I have stopped and half said, ok. But as you point out they don’t want a broken child. They want a healthy China doll. They have no concept of what hell that child will be put through in the name of “love” and “god”. I only hope that China remains true to it’s current adoption criteria and they are officially denied. But then again if you have money and you really want something there are always “solutions” are there not?

  4. That blog entry was despicable and entitled sounding. Thankfully, she made her blog private.

  5. eagoodlife says:

    Thanks for an outstanding link, such a prime and tragic example of what adoption should not be about – perhaps they will not pass the Home Study!! I had already done a post entitled ‘Equestria and Ecstatica’ scheduled for Sunday, but added to it after your excellent reply. You’ll find it at http://eagoodlife.wordpress.com

  6. Jan Stewart says:
  7. Thank you so much for your spot-on commentary as well as for taking the time to call this atrocity in the making out. Though this family is a train wreck in the making and I am indescribably angry every time I think of them, the most of my anger is directed at their agency, who “prayed with them by phone” once the “atheist attacks” started per the blogger’s FB page. This agency has a history and reputation for facilitating placements like this that plainly violate the rights of the child not to be adopted for evangelism or as an accessory.

  8. Lucy: I’m so sorry for the emotions this drags up. I’m spared a lot of this, because given the current political climate, children from Arab and Muslim lands are pretty much seen as born terrorists, and so get what is coming to them. “Total black anger” pretty much describes what my reaction was. I was here for the July 2006 war (see previous post); I was here in 2008 when the Beirut street wars took place (the building next to mine was an arsenal of U.S.-supplied weapons—three people were killed in front of my building); I am here now living with the Sword of Damocles hanging out in the Mediterranean Sea in the form of a variety of U.S. war ships trained, as we know, on a Syria that the U.S. government used formerly to “extraordinarily render” suspected terrorists, and on a leader who, just a few short years ago, was having a cozy dinner with John Kerry in a Damascus restaurant. So this whole concept of “salvation” really must be retired; the masses of the world know that when the “First World” comes with promises of saving them, they need to run and hide—if only we could. “Atheist attacks?” I guarantee I know the Bible, its exegesis, and its history better than the agency that claims to “pray” for those “attacking” their precious client. Such audacity.

  9. gsmwc02 says:

    While I believe this couple is completely uninformed about adoption, I believe this response takes the wrong approach in addressing them. The approach here is trying to scare this couple into not adopting when it should be to educate them. To a certain extent there is some educating but it’s not done in a way where this couple will get it.

    What this couple needs to learn is that if they do make the decision to adopt internationally that they need to be aware of situations they need to avoid such as when human trafficking is involved. They need to be aware of an adoptees grief and that they won’t likely be the child they are imagining they will be. Most importantly they need to be aware of the challenges that come with being an adoptive parent of a child that was born in another country.

    Maybe if they recognized those things they decide to stop their pursuit to adopt. But that is their decision and no one is going to change that. Bottom line is whether or not they adopt does nothing to change the issues with adoption. If they stop their pursuit it doesn’t cure any adoptee or birth/first parent pain or shut down the adoption industry. It also won’t stop other uneducated couples from going out there and adopting.

    • If you’ve read any of my writing, you will see that it covers the spectrum from vitriolic gut response to poetry to academic treatises and back again. Education comes to those who wish to open their eyes and their minds to learning. If it seems as if I am addressing this couple, then this is mistaken. They are a foil; I am addressing everyone who might suffer because of their decisions and choices in life. My hope is that a reaction from those unfortunates might in return force an “education” as it were, as opposed to waiting for it to happen of its own accord. Frankly, I no longer have the time nor the patience to wait for such an unlikely event.

  10. Dana says:

    gsm: People like this woman can’t be educated. They already think they know everything and they don’t want to know anyone else’s point of view. We have a surplus of well-meaning do-gooders who think they can sweet-talk anybody into better behavior. The state of humanity today should have taught them otherwise.

  11. Pingback: Silent No More | Mad Momma Moogacat

  12. Zoya Gregory says:

    I have read the “Lurid Home” blog… what can I say… I am quite speechless and thoroughly appalled at the self-righteousness and arrogance in presumption that an adoption ‘journey’ is a sort of Christian ‘Messianic’ salvation for the children of the oppressed and disadvantaged…. instead it is the most selfish act of human bondage and ‘Neo Colonialism’. The whole process of selection of potential ‘adoptees’ and ‘qualifying’ the AP’s is utterly repugnant to me, as I am quite aware that it is disingenuous and self indulgent, not to mention quite profitable for all branches of the adoption ‘industry’. Your response as always so eloquently stated and is exceptionally apropos!

    I thought you might also be interested in another ‘Journey’ that I came across….
    http://jellemasjourney.blogspot.ca/2010/07/jellema-update-from-russia.html

    Would love to see your reaction to this one….

  13. BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO Daniel, I echo with you so much, I can tell you, having studied the bible indepth, ADOPTION is SINFUL, there was no new-born adoption, Moses had parents and family that were with him during his early years, and he went back to live with them, and REFUSED to be called the son of Pharoh’s daughter. King David did not adopt Mephibosheth, he took him into his household gave him a home, KEPT his identity, Kept his genealogy. The (evangelical lobby) use adoption from the New Testament, they get their licence to do so, where we find in the epistles, Paul the Apostle, describing adoption as in the doctrine of PREDESTINATION, absolutely not giving so called “christians” carte blanche permission to adopt babies/children. THIS IS ERRONEOUS, and to crown it all, saying ADOPTION is the new way to evangelise, is simply BLASPHEMOUS. Plesae EVERYBODY read Professor David Smolin’s works, his debated against the American adoption lobby, they are a breathe of fresh air, THANK YOU Daniel. LUCY((((((LOTS OF HUGS))) Lucy I am here in the U.K. UMAA(Umbrella movement for adoption apology) also (MAA mothers/adoptees movement for adoption apology, we are galvanising, LUCY, forgive me for imposing but YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS would be SO SO VALUABLE.

  14. gsmwc02 says:

    You are probably right Dana no matter what the approach it doesn’t really make a difference.

  15. Wonderful! Brilliant, as always, Daniel!

  16. Janes Pain says:

    rage………….. meltdown nicely written reply. This couple needs to work on their own dispostion before they take more into their flock. I agree a family like that should open their home to local foster kids. I was biracial and raised in a white home and it was very confusing. You can see my story at http://adoptionhealers.com Its unfortunate that this couple is looking at raising a child from another country like shopping for the best deal they can get :(

  17. Pingback: Equestria and Ecstatica | The Life Of Von

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