Isn’t it valid to compare adoption with a pregnancy?

This is the 29th question in the series: “Anti-adoption month: 30 answers to 30 questions on adoption” [link].

Paper pregnancy is one of those horrid terms that has been created solely for the benefit of the adoption industry and its followers, and shows up in hundreds of blogs as a valid trope, such as this one: Parenthood for Me: Adoptive Parents Are Expecting Too. In question form, it might sound something like this:

Because of the wait involved, along with other similarities, isn’t it valid to compare adoption with a pregnancy?

Answer: No. Categorically, no. It is completely invalid, because the metaphor is not a natural one, meaning it requires great leaps of logic to make it. Furthermore, it is fabricated after the fact, and by those wholly invested in such an outcome. Finally, it is selective in its comparison which is based in unequal references, meaning it takes similar concepts and equates them while ignoring the disingenuousness of such matching. For example, a woman “waiting” for nine months for the gestation of the child who is physically part of her cannot be given equivalence to the “waiting” for a bureaucratic process to take place that also “delivers” a child. There are much more dissimilarities here than things similar.

Most problematic is that I can make the same analogy, in the very words of this author, and borrowing her faulty rhetoric, but instead comparing pregnancy to something completely horrifying and hideous, like lynching:

The decision to lynch a member of a minority group by white supremacists is very exciting, and can be equivalent to the announcement of a pregnancy. “The Match”, when a random colored face is chosen to represent the anger of the dominant culture, is like an ultrasound. The victim is visible, the concept of a successful lynching becomes more real. Progress reports from vigilantes which sometimes include photos taken in a similar stealthy way would be comparable to the different stages of pregnancy and how the baby develops. The gestational period for such an action by a group of white supremacists can unfortunately be much longer than nine months. Depending on the circumstances of the lynching, the entire process can take years.

The concept of having the bag packed and ready to go when the mother’s water breaks holds true for a group of lynchers as well. We were given a rough estimate of when our victim would be “available”, but we waited anxiously for “the call” from the “good ol’ boys” saying the coast was clear, and he was ready to be strung up. I received the call at work, and it was one of the most thrilling days of my life. Our victim was finally coming “home” after all of the waiting and planning. We had tried for 4 years to bring this one down; the ability to have this “boy” in our hands in 3 short days showing him exactly who was boss was a huge milestone for us.

The “delivery” of our “boy” was a lot less painful no doubt–for us, that is. He came up from Natchez to Jackson escorted by someone hired by the “agency”. When he rounded the bend tied up in ropes, he looked exactly like the picture postcards of previous lynchings. He was there in the flesh and the kicks and beating he received warmed our hearts. At 15 years he was too big for his britches, but he was our little bundle of deliverance. We were elated to burn his skin, yank at his hair, and poke out his eyes.

Horrific, I know. But in making such a comparison, I wish to reveal the power differential involved, and to show how much we see adoption as part of the status quo; as the norm. If we don’t react in a similar manner to the “paper pregnancy” comparison, if we don’t recoil with the same disgust, then this shows how debased a culture we currently live in.

Furthermore, given the common background historically speaking of both slavery and adoption as institutions of human trafficking, I mean this to be read absolutely seriously. Such an egregious comparison is needed to show the invalidity of the resulting analogy, while simultaneously revealing the self-aggrandizing intentions of the one invoking it. That the author of this dreck might allow pride in her feeble attempt at a creative writing analogy outweigh the consequences of positing such a disturbing trope speaks volumes as to where she is coming from in terms of morals and ethics. That it should be received with thanks and gratitude reveals to us the depths of depravity that adoption sinks us to as a society and as human beings.

The metaphor of adoption to pregnancy is loathsome, insulting, misogynist, and disgusting on all levels.


References:

Destroy Adoption Mythologies Now! (DAMN), by Daniel Ibn Zayd.

Debate Tactic: The holes in the adoption argument are large enough to drive a semi through. There is no point in wasting time comparing and contrasting personal viewpoints. The most basic aspects of the adoption argument in terms of linguistics, rhetoric, morality, ethics, economics, politics, history, etc. do not hold up to scrutiny. If we do not seek to shine such a light on the discussion, then we are similarly aiding and abetting such an institution. There is no middle ground.

About Daniel Drennan ElAwar

Adoptee, rematriated.
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7 Responses to Isn’t it valid to compare adoption with a pregnancy?

  1. dmdezigns says:

    I recently encounted someone entering the domestic infant adoption process in the US with this attitude. She equated the period of getting approved to adopt as the trying to conceive period, the waiting to be matched (even if it took years) to being “paper pregnant.” She was upset noone had thrown her a shower. Not only was she not pregnant, she wasn’t even matched yet. It was one of the most ridiculous things I’d ever heard.

    What I think you miss in why this analogy doesn’t work, especially in DIA in the US, is that the child waiting to be born isn’t the PAPs (potential adoptive parents) child. The mom has a right and should have a non coerced ability to decide AFTER the birth whether or not to proceed with her original thought of adoption. Pretending that you are “paper pregnant” gives the PAP more thought of ownership of someone else’s child. It’s already so hard not to claim a child that someone says they are thinking of placing with you without playing stupid games like this. You completely missed the entitlement aspect(or maybe I missed it in your writing) of this thought. The idea of ownership and entitlement in this process and in way too many PAPs and APs bothers me.

    • Thanks for your reply. I think because the idea of “entitlement” is the basis for everything I write, I don’t often bring it up as a function of the PAP; I ascribe it to their class position in society. Similarly, I would argue we should be careful with phrases like “should have a non coerced ability”; such a thing is impossible given the power differential we are talking about.

    • dmdezigns says:

      I get what you’re saying on “non coerced abilty.” I struggle to find the right phrase. I mean a mom isn’t prematched before birth, hasn’t received funds from the PAPs, is getting enough social services to offset any financial inability to parent and isn’t receiving pressure from an agency or family member or anyone else to make a decision. That’s a dream land for US DIA but I think it’s the ideal where we should go. There will be times when adoption is in the best interest of the child, but too often adoption in the US is about finding a baby for a family rather than finding a family for a baby in need. My son for instance, tested positive for cocaine at birth. His mom was still actively using. She couldn’t even care for him in the hospital. She was not going to be able to take him home. But I wouldn’t go so far to say that placing him was her choice. She didn’t really have a choice. Child services would have taken him if she hadn’t placed. But he was at least a child who did need a home and we weren’t looking. We had adopted his older sister, so placing him with us kept siblings together.

      I’m enjoying your writing though and your perspective. I think it’s important for me as an AP to hear the perspective of adoptees and to accept it without trying to disprove it. My kids deserve that from me, just like they didn’t deserve separation and the same way they deserve to have me maintain contact with their first family for them until they can make the choice for themselves. Like the song says, “It’s only for a moment they are mine to hold.”

    • I think we are on the same wavelength—which I appreciate—and this is just a matter of splitting hairs….it’s refreshing to hear adoptive parents speak as you do. This would have been a huge part of the burden lifted had I had this understanding growing up.

  2. Carri says:

    Allow me to preface this by saying I appreciate your voice, though I know it has not been an easy journey for you.
    I’m continuously dismayed and more so disgusted by the delusional attitudes of (some) of the adoptive families and agencies. I knew nothing about adoption before my nightmare fighting for my son. I never knew this sick shameful world existed. To say it has changed me as a person is a complete minimalization of the path my life now takes. How can this happen? How can someone seriously compare anything to the pain and the lifelong harm caused to mothers? Comparing the elitist entitled process of buying what should not be for sale to carrying a child for nine months? It leaves me speechless sometimes and terribly sad other times.
    I hope I can make change because not only will my son come home but this agency will be held accountable and I will never stop being a voice for those harmed by such a despicable industry.
    I’m never stopping.

  3. eagoodlife says:

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    “Given the common background historically speaking of both slavery and adoption as institutions of human trafficking, I mean this to be read absolutely seriously. Such an egregious comparison is needed to show the invalidity of the resulting analogy, while simultaneously revealing the self-aggrandizing intentions of the one invoking it. That the author of this dreck might allow pride in her feeble attempt at a creative writing analogy outweigh the consequences of positing such a disturbing trope speaks volumes as to where she is coming from in terms of morals and ethics. That it should be received with thanks and gratitude reveals to us the depths of depravity that adoption sinks us to as a society and as human beings.”

  4. Lara/Trace says:

    owned, owned, owned – it hurts to think I was owned (like a slave) but I was

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