This is the 16th question in the series: “Anti-adoption month: 30 answers to 30 questions on adoption” [link].
The following question originally appeared on Yahoo!Answers (later deleted):
Why are people so against adoption here? Don’t you even consider the times when it is necessary? I agree that sometimes it isn’t, but if my friends were not adopted they wouldn’t have parents at all.
Answer: Don’t you understand that you cannot prove a generalized thesis by stating the exceptional case?
Don’t you get that this is a tactic of a rather conservative status quo, a dominant culture and discourse; that it puts the one answering on the defensive against something he or she never stated; and that it has precedent in everything from pro-slavery and anti-miscegenation arguments to the denigration of so-called welfare mothers which “proves” that a social welfare system is a “bad thing”?
Don’t you stop to ever consider that events in this world do not just “happen”, that we do not live in a mindless matrix, that cause and effect are at work in terms of everything you and I do and their relationship to everyone else on the planet?
Having stated this, do you not ever wonder what it means to live in a culture and a world in which your friends’ lives are at the mercy of a particular class of society, as opposed to the beneficence of society as a whole?
Can you not tell the difference between what might be considered valid concepts of foster care, or extended family care, or communal care of those most vulnerable in a society such as your friends, and the leveraging of inequality in order to procure a child for those who—for reasons they cannot accept—are not able to procreate?
Can we for one split second imagine a perfect world where no orphans exist and ask: “What would these people do then?”
Can you perhaps consider your friends stating that it might have been better if a social safety net were in place to keep them with their families, or their extended families—would you nonetheless denigrate them as being thankless and bitter?
Will we ever come to a point where we see that treating a profound illness by applying quack medicine to alleviate symptoms will never bring us anything close to a cure of the ills of society? That if every man, woman, and child in the United States were to adopt a so-called orphan both domestically and internationally, that the inherent systemic economic and political inequality would still exist, and would continue to make the problem worse?
Can the pro-adoption “angels” who claim it is “all for the children” accept the premise that a reduction in their standard of living across the board, and a decision to actually live within their means would, globally speaking, do more to help more children around the world than the plucking up and out of a few children here and there? That via such self-denial they might be quote-unquote “saving” hundreds of children and not just one? Why does no one suggest this as a solution when it is so painfully obvious?
When thousands of us are advocating for the rights to unsealed birth certificates and the reunification of families; and when thousands of us are planning to or have returned to our lands of birth in order to reclaim a sense of identity and to work to help undo some of the damage done to these forgotten places around the globe by our adoptive societies; when thousands of us are activated to help make the world a better place in the bigger picture because we are not so cynical to believe that “there is nothing we can do”; when the majority of the planet still manages to not think along lines of purely individualistic so-called happiness, or still expands beyond the false precepts of the supposedly perfect “nuclear family”, or imagines that there is something called community that has as much if not more weight than one’s singular solitary self, might it not behoove you to look at this work and perhaps join in and support it? To realize that this debate is a necessary part of getting to a point where adoption might not be necessary? That this would be a more beneficial use of your time and energy, rather than the constant disparagement, criticism, and the demand from adoptees of some kind of gratitude that you, I can imagine, at times do not give your own biological parents, nor have you ever been asked to demonstrate?
What is this shameful double standard? Why this self-serving hypocrisy?
Anti-Systemic Movements, by Giovanni Arrighi, Terence K. Hopkins, Immanuel Wallerstein.
Dignity and Defiance, edited by Jim Shultz and Melissa Crane Draper.
A Poetics of Resistance, by Jeff Conant.
Debate Tactic: We must deny emphatically the concept that the individual is the ultimate valid elemental unit of a society, at the expense of community. The exceptional case is a tactic usually seen in politics, where a given case is made to be emblematic of an entire group: The furloughed (black) prisoner as recidivist; the (black) welfare mother as public benefits cheat; the happy-as-a-clam adoptee, just for a few examples. This has no validity in terms of debating an issue.