Shouldn’t we praise those who disrupt their adoptions?

This is the 17th question in the series: “Anti-adoption month: 30 answers to 30 questions on adoption” [link].

The following reply was posted in response to a discussion taking place on the Motherlode Blog of the New York Times.

My thoughts and emotions were disjointed and came in waves. One moment I was determined to keep D. because I loved him. An instant later, I realized that I wasn’t the parent I know I could be, and that I should place D. with a better family, with a better mother.

Answer: For all of the back and forth, we seem to be ignoring the elephant in the room: adoption as an institution to begin with. That those with a certain class privilege are allowed to leverage inequality on the world scale to their own advantage is the initial injustice. That a percentage of all international adoptions ends in disruption is a heinous injustice on top of that. The fact that your husband is deployed overseas only adds a certain sickening irony to the mix—between the two of you I think you’re both wreaking enough damage to various communities in the “Third World” to last quite a long time, and for which you might both start apologizing, if only to show some respect, and a shred of decency.

For it is a power differential between those of different classes, walks of life, and living conditions that creates your so-called “orphans” (please note that no one is from “Central America”, or “South America”; I’m not from “the Middle East”: these are your constructs, not ours). It is an inherent inequality that drives international adoption on all levels and at great profit. It is the willful leveraging of this differential economically, politically, and culturally which has nothing to do with family creation but everything to do with exploitation and extraction of profit. In this can be seen the destruction of cultures that do not echo the dominant and prevailing one in a direct correlation with the historical approach to the “Third World” by the “First”, which leaves those adopting as complicit in this status quo that has wrought naught but destruction worldwide.

To claim that this act is “brave” or “courageous” is sickening, and reflects perhaps the collective guilt of those assembled here speaking in this woman’s defense, the collective guilt of those who are complicit in putting their interests first over that of the families and communities that their adopted children come from.

“D.” had a life before you came into it, before he was taken from his family and community. Let’s try not to forget that.

The “selling” of this story is the other hidden facet that need be revealed. A parody translation of the marketing efforts of Anita Tedaldi and Lisa Belkin can be found at Mediarama.

A similar super-mediated response came from one “Rebecca” after the recent Reuters stories on re-homing. At, she decided to announce “Why I Supported the Adoption Rehoming Group that Yahoo and Reuters Shut Down.” The comments section is especially telling. You really must question the audacity and arrogance of those who speak of their own privilege and luxury in such an offensive fashion. The aristocracy yet lives, and the only valid response is an overturning of the system that allows such people to speak in this manner; that or their complete overwhelming with the Voices of those unheard.


The Meaning of Freedom, by Angela Davis.

Letters of Transit: Reflections on Exile, Identity, Language, and Loss, edited by Andre Aciman.

No Name in the Street, by James Baldwin.

Debate Tactic: The single most horrifying inversion perpetrated by adopters is turning vice into virtue; speaking of “destruction” as somehow constructive. This comes from such a dark, dank, blackened core of narcissistic individualism that it is like physically struggling with a black hole; screaming into an abyss. All the same, it must be challenged, especially when we can see how much the mainstream media advocates this type of thinking. Challenging involves “inverting back”: Revealing that the emperor has no clothes.


About Daniel Drennan ElAwar

Adoptee, rematriated.
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