Should I write this letter to the mother of the child in my care?

This is the 14th question in the series: “Anti-adoption month: 30 answers to 30 questions on adoption” [link].

The following reply was posted in response to a topic at Fodors.com in which a woman was wondering whether she should write a letter to the mother of the child temporarily in her care in order to “thank” her.

I’m afraid that the mother will fall in love with the twins and not want to give them to me….I’m afraid that the twins will not believe that I can love them as much as she can….I remember how calm and unemotional the mother was after delivery….I don’t understand why she doesn’t want contact with me….

Answer: There is no way to mediate yourself out of what you’ve done.

Here’s a redefinition: Adoption is based in the leveraging of inequality by a dominant class in order to procure children for those who have none from those who ideally would keep their children, except for circumstances that are a direct result of this class difference to begin with.

As such, to write such a letter is only to gloat, and rub in the face of those who are on the receiving end of your excess that you have stolen their children. The power differential here is not equal, and as an adult adoptee, I am hard-pressed to imagine the selfishness of those who would prefer to take someone’s child rather than correct the social and economic situation that might force someone to give in to the dominant societal pressure that tells them they are not worthy to be parents and so make such a “difficult decision”. Decisions made under duress, extreme pressure, or torture are not even admissible in a court of law, yet they fly when it concerns adoption.

If this woman were a mother whose children were kidnapped, you would be falling all over yourself empathizing with her grief and anguish. But because we are dealing here with a class of people who are considered marginal to the society and class that you are from—in general, the poor, the disenfranchised, the foreign—then somehow it is okay to abduct their children, using all of the legal, social, medical, and governmental systems that are stacked in your favor, and against theirs. Relinquishment papers? How many lawyers, agency workers, government officials were part of this crime? Why should it surprise anyone that the children’s true family should not make contact? It’s like asking why freed slaves don’t come back to the plantation to thank their former masters.

I have to ask—why make this public? Why mediate this in a public forum, this, what should be so completely private, and personal, and of family? This is the fatal mistake, that adoption is about “children”, or that adoptive parents are somehow selfless. This is testament to the exact opposite.

Why is your self-righteous indignation more valid than mine? Simply because you have the entire culture on your side? The whole culture which, by the way, formerly believed that the races shouldn’t mix, and that slavery was justified, and that kings had a divine right to govern? Why am I singled out as the “exceptional case” that doesn’t prove anything, while the adoption in this instance is the “exceptional case” that proves everything?

Why is the onus on me to prove my humanitarian integrity? I dare you to come live my life in Lebanon. I dare you. My neighborhood, and those of the other dispossessed people I work with certainly do not show up in any Fodor’s guide, that’s for sure.

How do you determine the limits of this, a public discussion on the web? If you are having a private conversation at a party, that’s one thing. If you are talking so loud and I overhear you, I have the right to comment. I’m tired of “walking away” from it, and so this time I commented.

To culturally make relative what I am saying in an attempt to dismiss it is invalid from the get-go. Four-fifths of the planet thinks the way I do. Most every adoptee I’ve come in contact with from my birth country to other countries to domestic adult adoptees all carry the same burden with them, one that is made no easier by those who think we shouldn’t have a right to speak out.


References:
Conceiving the New World Order, edited by Faye D. Ginsburg and Rayna Rapp.

The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State, by Frederick Engels.

Debate Tactic: The entire pro-adoption discourse is “hostile”. It’s time to balance the equation.

About Daniel Drennan ElAwar

Adoptee, rematriated.
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6 Responses to Should I write this letter to the mother of the child in my care?

  1. Thank you from a mother brutalized by adoption. The only reason I lost her is I had no money and no permanent residence. I was in college and my parents told me I couldn’t come home. I was in love with my baby so when they told me I would be selfish to keep her, how could I? Of course now I kick my sorry ass every day. At 54 years old it’s no less painful than the day they took her.

  2. nancy rodgers says:

    You have a gift with words. Thank you for the clearest answer I’ve heard to the same idiotic question I’ve heard over and over from adopters.. It makes my blood boil every time I hear it.

  3. llis45@yahoo.com says:

    For goodness sake, never THANK the birth mom. She wasn’t doing you a favor, she was doing the only thing she could to give her child a chance at a decent life. If that happens, she will undoubtedly thank YOU for taking care of the part of her heart you have had in your keeping. Yes, you are that child’s Mom and Dad, but there will always be someone who loves your child as you do, and hopes and prays you love him/her and gives that child the life she couldn’t.

  4. kym says:

    Daniel,
    I love your questions and answers so far this month! You write so well and honestly. I never realized there were so many questions that needed answers, but you keep on coming up with more. Truly sad that despite that how long adoption’s been going on, there is SOOO much progress needed.

    Because my poor father didn’t want to hear any more from me about Veronica Brown’s forced adoption, he gets to hear triply from me about many of the inequalities and injustices in adoption, every day (or every other day) for National Adoptee Awareness Month. I’ve put him to work to help change some of these slave-like adoption practices. He understood me when I informed him that only slaves and adoptees in the US have had their original identities legally erased and rewritten by our government, to benefit those who paid for and bought these people.

    Bless him for listening to me, but his willful ignorance and inaction has gone on FAR too long. It’s too bad that he has to get educated about adoption by the person he adopted decades after HE adopted, because either he didn’t want to learn about these disparities before or his peers didn’t want him to know about them before.

    Although long-winded, from another transracial, international adoptee, THANK YOU!

  5. I’ve always imagined the power inherent in mothers uniting with their peers in places like Spain and Argentina, where mothers loudly protest the theft of their children. In Guatemala, mothers are suing for repatriation; in Indigenous Canada, the demand is for an apology from the government. American culture frowns on this kind of communal activism to say the least; the other fact is that there is much blame regarding the so-called willful relinquishment of children. Focusing on the systemic nature of things it seems might allow for some space to heal there; such activism I know from personal experience would do the same.

    Kym: You seem to have better luck with your adoptive father than I did with mine, and this is no small thing! Continued success with the re-education; bless you both!

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