About me

From BBC interview on wartime trafficking of children from Lebanon.

From BBC interview on wartime trafficking of children from Lebanon.

I am an adult adoptee who has definitively come home. I was adopted at 3 weeks of age (officially; my timeline would say more likely two months) from the Crèche St. Vincent de Paul in Beirut in 1963[* fr|sp|ع]. I currently live and work in Beirut, (بيروت، بلاد الشام), where I teach illustration and art.

From what I know now of adoption and trafficking, I state the following:

Adoption is, in and of itself, a violence based in inequality. It is candy-coated, marketed, and packaged to seemingly concern families and children, but it is an economically and politically incentivized crime. It stems culturally and historically from the “peculiar institution” of Anglo-Saxon indentured servitude and not family creation. It is not universal and is not considered valid by most communal cultures. It is a treating of symptoms and not of disease. It is a negation of families and an annihilation of communities not imbued with any notion of humanity due to the adoptive culture’s inscribed bias concerning race, class, and human relevancy.

The adopted child is raised in a class position that politically, economically, and culturally negates that of his or her origins. In this way, we are similar to others likewise disempowered who are displaced and dispossessed for political and economic reasons: migrant workers, immigrants, refugees, nomadic peoples, etc. At the same time, we are educated to not see ourselves in this way; we are also given the burden of a class status that prevents in many ways our return; this distance creates an unbearable rupture from our source.

To claim the class status of our adoptive culture is therefore to complete the work of the missionaries, the oppressors, the traffickers, the racists, the Orientalists, and the imperialists. On the contrary, to reject it and return to our land of birth, our roots, is thus an imperative and an act of resistance and humanitarian common cause. No less unbearable, no less of a rupture, but necessary nonetheless.

A local proverb states:

يا مربي غير ولدك، يا باني في غير بلدك (أرضك)

You raising a child not your own, are as [the inhabitant in a town/the son of a country/the one on land] not his own.

This proverb resonates the meaning found in “inhabitant” which comes from the same root for “son/daughter”; one is a child of place as much as of family. It implies [falsely]  building or constructing something on disconnected ground and faults the pretensions of the one so building. It ties back into the Qur’anic invocation that orphans know their filiation, their extended family, their community, their place.

Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to leave a comment below, or email: daniel [dot] ibnzayd [at] inquisitor [dot] com

Salamat.


In 2009, I founded the artists’ collective Jamaa Al-Yad [جمع اليد]. In Arabic this literally means “hand coming together”, but connotes the clenched fist which we take as a symbol of revolution and resistance.


More recently I joined a group of transracial and transnational adoptees in establishing Transracial Eyes. This web site acts as a repository of Voices that are rarely heard for the dominant discourse on adoption. As we say, “of course race and culture matter”.


*J’ai été adopté à l’âge de 3 semaines à la Crèche de Saint Vincent de Paul, Beyrouth en 1963. J’aimerais entendre de toute personne qui a été adopté du Liban. Je parle français.

Yo fui adoptado quando tenía 3 semanas del hogar de huerfanos San Vincent de Paul en Beirut, en 1963. Me gustaria mucho tener noticias de todas las personas que tambien fueron adoptados en el Libano. Hablo español.

تُبنّيت وعمري شهرٌ واحد من دار أيتام القدّيس فنسنت دي بول، بيروت، عام ١٩٦٣. أودّ أن أسمع من آخرين متبنّيين من لبنان. أتكلّم اللغة العربيّة.

72 Responses to About me

  1. Wow, your blog is really interesting! I’ve never really given it much though as too how other adoptees on the other side of the world might experience and feel….I feel really stupid now, lol. I’m definitively going to follow you and will prolly learn a thing or two.

  2. lara hentz says:

    So glad to find you and this information, Daniel.

  3. Kathy says:

    I am impressed with your deep understanding of what is at work. You have done an outstadning job of taking it apart and putting the onus back on the system that has created so much pain for adoptees and mothers. I’ve been dealing with this for decades … curiously researching…. sometimes finding understanding, usually turning away in disgust at the lack of insight, etc. You are the best I’ve come across. I admire your guts and truth-seeking honesty.

  4. Rania says:

    I disagree with you , I am a woman who would love to have a child , and I know orphanages that suffer lack of funds to raise many orphans. I know I could provide a better life conditions for an orphan . It would be mutual benefit. The child gets better future and the childless parents get the dream they wish for, I am sure if you were not adopted , you would not have this eloquence and educational level. Your mother must have gone through a lot to be able to adopt in the middle east. Believe me , it is very difficult , so God bless her and think about it before you erase my comment.

    • I would love to have children as well, but I can’t imagine for one split second taking them from other people. I am surrounded by children in my neighborhood who should be in school and not working from the age of five; who should have something better than the dirty streets of Beirut as a playground. But I am also not so arrogant to determine that their lives are worthless, or that it might be my selfish beneficence and dubious charity that would change their lives. Furthermore I cannot imagine the devil’s bargain of selecting one of them who might deserve this so-called “better life” that you arrogantly refer to; I instead prefer to “adopt” all of them, like the rest of my community and neighborhood, which get by as best as they can despite your view of them.

      Do you not understand the role our own lives and class position played/play in their situations? But this we don’t change, because we obviously “deserve” better than they do. Is this where we are going with this? How do you sleep at night? I ask this in all seriousness. Some advice: It is not up to us to judge the lives of others; it is up to us to see to it that all live as well as possible. I am blessed with children in my life—nieces, nephews, and yes, these kids from my neighborhood, my students—and I don’t have to call them “mine” or own them to care about them or help them along. This is the bargain and the task set out for us.

      Finally, my adoptive parents didn’t go through anything to adopt here; 300 U.S. dollars and you could walk away with an orphanage full of children if you wanted to back in 1963. This is the depraved reality of countries such as Lebanon, in thrall to those far abroad whom they cater to. This is all a marker of the luxury and class privilege of those who seem to think our lives are defined along economic and competitive lines. May God save us from the likes of them, and may their reign come to an end soon. This would seem to be the only hope for the orphans; me, I’m willing to stick it out with them. All of them.

  5. eagoodlife says:

    Love the way non-adoptees see it as their right to define adoption and our adoptions! They tell us how it might have been and so on, as if they know!

  6. My question remains: Why come here to tell me this? I’ve made it evidently clear that this is the kind of drivel I’ve listened to my entire life; that I am tired of hearing it; and this not just for my sake but for the sake of everyone who must live in the shadow of those who dispossess and displace, and of those who profit from such dispossession and displacement, whether figuratively or literally speaking. The whole of the dominant mode of things thinks this way, and in this tiny corner of that realm where someone dares speak back, they have to come here and tell me here too? Such arrogance.

  7. Rania says:

    In all truth , I would like to ask you , do you think the orphans or really believe that if an orphan in Lebanon stays in the orphanage would have a brighter future that those who are adopted and cared for by parents who are dying to have children . It is not a market as you think . It is the good hearts . It is the love in their hearts that make them adopt . Yes , I agree that adoption should be monitored closely and the child have the right to know that he/she is adopted .

    I have been visiting orphanages in Jordan and the children are desperate for special attention . One in particular ,was traumatised because of the fact that no one wants her. If she had an adoptive loving parents , most probably , she would not feel this way. It is a shame that these children are denied the right to have parents because of the stupid Sharia’ law that bans adoption.

    It is a romantic idea to feel that the world did not treat you well because you were adopted . But there are other children like I was , who would rather be adopted than live with parents who were engrossed in their own problems and never bothered provide for their real children . There is injustice in this world , yes I agree. But we have to learn to live with it.

    War , ignorance and poverty are serious problems that a young orphan should not have to deal with. To offer a loving home for them is not a crime . Check out the state of the Syrian orphans in the refugee camp in Zaatari. They have nothing , and still you can not adopt them . Does this make sense , is it fair for them to have guardians refuse to give them a chance for a better life and have them trapped in tents in the middle of cold desert. Why do you agree to have them decide the bleak future of these children by forbidding adoption , is not this called controlling their lives ?

    Yes it is sad that the adoption process in the 60s was not organized . But it is the war that is responsible for this , after all, at that time funds were limited and orphans needed care .It a very difficult process now and you can check yourself in Lebanon . Thank you for not deleting the previous message and may the Lord bless you all.

    • Elena says:

      Ai Ai Ai Rania,I don´t pretend to be rude but I´d say you are very very young.
      Yo say “It is the love in their hearts that make them adopt .”
      I´m not going to say all adoptive parents are monsters, because that wouldn´t be true but believe me, you are absolutly wrong
      IT doesn´t matter if you talk about Libanon, China, Haiti, Ethiopia, Rusia, it´s exactly the same everywhere. Adoptive parents care only if they can have the child.
      If they can have a child, they don´t care so much.
      They money paid for adopting ONE child, could help 10 families keep their children for ever.
      Where is such a love Rania?
      An adoptive mother

  8. I don’t usually like to reply this way, practically in bullet point form, but there is not a single sentence in your post that is not a) offensive or b) wrong. So please bear with me, though I should probably get up, walk around, and then come back to this before replying. But here goes.

    The idea that the “flip side” of being against adoption means “wanting children to languish in orphanages” is a filthy and disgusting thing to imply. Unlike you, I’ve written at length as to what alternatives might be. Unfortunately, these alternatives require people such as yourself to step down from your class position. This, in and of itself, would go much farther to reduce “orphans” in the world, and if your concern were truly about the children, then this would be a goal in your life.

    It is a market; I’ve been researching it for 10 years now. Can you not fathom that I, as an adoptee, would be the first one to want to find something redeeming in this institution? Can you not imagine that adoptees who research adoption are the first ones to hope that there be something that they can point to and say, “ah, okay, it was worth it”? What does it mean when we don’t find such redemption?

    Yes, yes, it’s the love in their hearts (who’s waxing romantic now?). It’s also their bourgeois desire to fulfill their societal prerogative. “We have to learn to live with injustice” you say, but people like yourself think you have a right to have children. Why don’t you have to learn to “do without”? Why is your preaching mode one-way?

    Why don’t you blame the disgusting propped-up monarchy in Jordan for creating the economic and social disparity that causes “orphans” in the first place? Because you are of this class and you don’t consider anything you do to have an effect on others? I have had many of my students work with orphanages in Lebanon; I am familiar with my own; I am also familiar with those of particular communities which hold true to the Qur’anic teachings concerning orphans; I’ll be writing on this subject shortly. “Stupid Shari’a law”? You’ll need to expand a bit more on that. Because Anglo-Saxon law, which treats children as property, is somehow “better”? Again, why can you not imagine an alternative?

    Why do you bring this around to the personal? I have never once said (if you could even be bothered to read any of the dozens of posts on this blog and elsewhere) that “the world did not treat me well because I was adopted”. I have said that adoption stems from the same economic and political disparities that give us other symptoms of a world that treats people in general with injustice. This isn’t about me and my adoption. You don’t get to do that here.

    “Rather be adopted”….here I will refrain from replying until my anger at the repulsive offense of what you are saying dies down.

    Are you really going to lecture me about the plight of Syrians? The majority of my friends are Syrian migrant workers. I have spent the last 8 years with them, day in and day out, and they are the first ones to tell me that my adoption was wrong. You don’t get to go into refugee camps and disempower people, or remove their agency from them. You also don’t get to “guilt trip” me along these lines. The last thing they want, or need, is someone from the bourgeois class who is the direct cause of their plight pretending to care about them. The absolute last thing they want from you is your false pity. Please, spare me.

    Just for your information, the adoption process in the 60s was extremely well organized! I have written at length about the frightening bureaucracy of the orphanage! It was not the war that caused this; the civil war in Lebanon started 10 years after my adoption, and 15 years after the first adoptions abroad from Lebanon. Are you kidding me?

    “You can check yourself in Lebanon”. I LIVE HERE! It is not a difficult process! In fact, it’s so streamlined, my orphanage is empty because the doctors and the lawyers have “knocked out” the middlman! It’s so streamlined, the targeted mother checks into the hospital under the name of the adopter. You call this justice? You would advocate for this maybe? Have you no shame whatsoever?

    I used to call people like you vultures. But then someone explained to me that vultures are actually communal birds who look out for each other. They also wait for their victims to die. She suggested I refer to people who speak as you do as hyenas. Hyenas cull “children” from the weak and infirm, and then devour them while they are still alive. Although I might put forward that hyenas still probably have more empathy than you exhibit here. And I really don’t feel like engaging with you along these lines until you manage to educate yourself concerning the issue at hand.

    • Emil Daugaard says:

      Just read this…intresting. I have a question for you Daniel. You were adopted in the 60s, right?

      That was before the war.
      I am curious to know why you think adoption processes were a market back then..if it was so well organized?

      One more question..

      Are you really that convinced that all adoptions made from Lebanon was economically driven?
      Well, then you must have proof of this? If so, myself and supposely others in this conversation would have a better understanding for the arguments.

      Thanks for your response

      Emil Daugaard

    • Hi Emil.

      Slight correction: I was adopted before the Civil War, but after the War of the Mountains in 1958, as well as the first US marine invasion in 1958 as well. I am not the only one who thinks that Lebanon has never NOT been at war. There are just varying intensities.

      Am I convinced? Adoption, like its prologues indentured servitude and slavery, is functional to capitalism that places value on some human beings over others. To question whether any adoption is “economically driven” doesn’t make sense in this context.

      I’m not sure what kind of proof you might want. There are 205 or so posts here; there are referenced articles; there are books and papers and further references beyond that….feel free to read up on all of it and then I’ll pose the question back to you in a different way: Show me the proof that adoption is NOT economically driven.

      Lebanon as a source country comes after South Korea and the post-WWII adoptions that took place in Europe; it was legalized at the same time that Franco’s fascists in Spain were disappearing the children of their political enemies in the 1950s. What happened here has great precedent in other countries; Lebanon is not a bubble in terms of adoption practice.

      Are you implying that there is a difference between adoptions that took place before or during/after the civil war?

  9. eagoodlife says:

    Or perhaps as the Furness-Jackmans have revealed on the ABC’s program ‘Australian Story’ adoption is our destiny!

  10. Rania says:

    With all due respect , I am educated about what I said and name calling and insulting in a blog or elsewhere is really not giving you any logic , this is my opinion and you could disagree but we have to be polite especially at your age . Thank you for the insult , and a tip for you , if you think that adoption should stop until the correction of societies then , you live in a fantasy world .God bless you all and I live in the middle East not Europe so it is Sharia law that bans adoption and not giving them a better solutions.
    Guiltless Hyena

  11. The insult is your presence here, lecturing, baiting, badgering. The lack of politeness here is your sense of entitlement, your haughtiness, your imperial demeanor. The fantasy world is of your creation, and you should rightly fear its end, which is coming soon. My age, and ten of those years spent here, have taught me much in the way of patience, and steadfastness, and standing strong in the face of adversity; but I do admit my filters are gone. Your guilt is for neither of us to define; that I shall leave up to our Maker, and I might humbly suggest you not think you know more in this regard as well. I will pray for any child that unfortunately might find him- or herself a part of your life. They will be most welcome here when our revolution comes. Ahla w sahla fiihum.

    • LWDLIK says:

      You are cruel and your pain palpable. Your story is your story, don’t dare to speak for all orphans.

    • My story is not “my” story, but our story. I have no pretensions of speaking for anyone individually, but there is something called “history” that I can research and analyze. In any case, am I supposed to take a group called “Ladies Who Do Lunch in Kuwait” at all seriously? Spare me your judgment, or determinations of my “pain”.

  12. Rania says:

    I believe that you should have said that this page is for who agrees with your ideas only which lacks all reasoning .you do not welcome the other opinion and incriminate those who do not agree with you. By the way, I bumped into your page because I was searching for an adoption agency , may the lord help me . and I know that I will be able to make an unfortunate child happy one day. Open your heart and mind and stop this literary crusade against those who simply view life differently and do not agree with you. enjoy your virtual revolution!

    • You incriminate yourself; you don’t need my help. Unlike those web sites that might agree with you, I don’t censor people here, no matter what kind of psychological or even physical toll this might take on those who read here. Enjoy what’s left of your realm of the mustakbiriin and munafiqiin; it will fall of its own injustice, inch’allah.

  13. jmarie says:

    Rania.

    I also pray for any child that you get your hands on. The thought of a childhood spent in the home of someone so condescending, disrespectful and rude as you are, as you have demonstrated here at Daniel’s blog, is revolting.

    How arrogant of you to come over here and say that you will make an unfortunate child happy someday. It’s more likely that you will make a happy child unfortunate if you get your hands on one.

    Can you not see that adoption is the cause of great conflict for people? Conflict is not a happy thing. Why can’t you respect that?

  14. Rania says:

    I know we reached a dead end here , I just would like to ask you to try to re read your words and then you will know who are the mustakbiriin and munafekeen , a free advice though I know , you won’t listen , try and live in peace with yourself before you meet your Maker. You sure have lots of built up anger in you shown in every statement you wrote to me. Have a peaceful life ,though I will miss your daily bickering but I sure have more important things to do , my five adopted cats and my future adoption procedures .Hope to hear from you soon when your anger had subsided . PEACE :)

    • Keep your advice. And you brought the “dead end” with you. I refuse to be baited. God forbid you manage to adopt, we’ll be ready for him/her when the time comes. And should s/he voice such opinions of your actions, what will you say? How will you reply? Unlike your cats, you can’t put us down, or return us to the pound. Oh wait—yes you can. Nevermind.

  15. Renee Lynne says:

    Well, she’s certainly self-superior and dismissive enough to be an adopter, isn’t she.

  16. eagoodlife says:

    Rania like many who are in support of adoption and do not wish to acknowledge another view, you have totally misread what is written here. Adoption is an industry, it is big, profitable business, it trades in human lives. It requires adoptees to view themselves as blank slates, to take on new identities, lives and futures. Nothing could be more important to the future of prospective adoptees than that you understand that. There are thousands, millions of adult adoptees around the world who are angry at what adoption has done to them in severing them from their past, their biological relatives and the truth. They live productive lives in their communities, contributing in their jobs and caring for their families, they would not see what happened to them happen to newly minted adoptees if it could be prevented. Children belong in their families or with their communities and countries, not transplanted elsewhere to unfamiliarity, dissonance and tragic loss. We do what we can to promote change and hope that people like you see the light, understand the truth and come on board. Dismiss us and wish us a peaceful life if you will, but at least we have clear consciences.

  17. D. Ryan says:

    Rania, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Let us not waste our time attempting logic with irrational people. I would like to go on the record and say here and now that I commend you, Rania. This blog is just a one sided, twisted manifestation of an individual(s) who has bigger issues to face; issues of which they are completely inept at identifying within this forum.

    • Merci pour les liens. Oui, en fait j’ai travaillé avec les adopté(e)s qui ont formé ces organisations. Évidemment, ça n’a pas duré très longtemps….et moi j’ai perdu contacte avec eux depuis. Fort dommage….

    • K-6714 says:

      Mes recherches Google sur adoptés du Liban ont donné différents forums où les personnes cherchent leurs mères.
      oui, très dommage et triste pour les personnes qui cherchent et ne savent pas où/comment chercher.

    • C’est très interessant pour moi parce que les adopté(e)s des différents pays sont acculturé(e)s différement, qui donne lieu à des réponses très variées. Les français(es) tendent à chercher uniquement leurs mères; les américain(e)s tendent à ignorer les raisons politiques et économiques derrière l’acte d’adoption. Il faut dire aussi que le liban reste très difficile à aborder; par exemple, il n y a pas d’infrastructure qui aide les adopté(e)s comme en corée. Je travaille actuellement avec un ONG qui cherchent à être un tel pont, mais le gouvernment (les mafias) ne semble guère vouloir nous donner une légitimité quelqonque.

  18. Mike Jone says:

    You have so much anger directed at people who want to adopt. My experience with those who want to adopt is that most of them are good people who have good intentions on why they want to adopt a child. A vast majority are not rich. They are folks who struggle with their own insecurities and are thrown into a world that looks to extract as much money as possible from them.

    You spend so much of your time focusing at the edge of the root cause of the problem. These children are abandoned by their families, left on the streets and in many cases would die without the support of orphanages supported by adoption. They are born to a society that does not care for them nor has any intention of helping them. For every potential adoptee there are hundred of children who are left alone on the streets.

    For perspective go to India and see what happens to children. Thousands of children are disfigured and mutilated to make them better beggars for criminal gangs.

    • “For perspective”? Seriously? I moved back to the place I was born. How much more “perspective” would you require of me? I have no “anger” concerning those who wish to adopt. I do have anger concerning those who remain ignorant of the issue a century into a practice that has not alleviated in any way the poverty that you cry crocodile tears about. The salvationist pyromaniac firefighters are the absolute worst, and yes, they make me angry.

  19. ActionReaction says:

    Sheesh, just read through all the comments – quite an earful/ eyeful! My first instinct was to feel bad for Rania. I kinda still do. She clearly stated she is adopted and lives in the middle east, so she isn’t approaching the topic blindly. It’s not fair to jump down people’s throats when they comment on your blog. You put yourself out there and you should have reasonable expectations of being randomly found by “others” and being challenged, even in your little safe-haven.

    Having said that, Rania makes a lot of “blanket” statements that are hard to understand, esp since she is an adoptee:
    1) “I am sure if you were not adopted, you would not have this eloquence and educational level.” How can she be so sure? Has she researched the lives of post-orphanage children. Or has she completed a study of adopted children’s levels of education and eloquence versus “average” level of education and eloquence in adults?
    2) “It is a romantic idea to feel that the world did not treat you well because you were adopted.” I am sure Rania didn’t mean to use the word “romantic” but the condescension in the statement is palpable and inexcusable. The statement assumes all adopted children feel the world didn’t treat them well. The reality, however, is: If we are adopted AND we were not treated well, it WAS because we were adopted.
    3) “it is Sharia law that bans adoption and not giving them a better solutions.” Islamic law DOES support adoption, but not in the way most adoption advocates want. Islamic law does NOT allow the adopted child’s identity to be vanquished in the adoption process. It doesn’t support the idea of the adoptive parent’s identity to override the child’s. For example, an adoptive father isn’t suppose to let everyone think “this is my (blood) son.” It is not Islamic law that doesn’t provide for better solutions – Islamic law is socialist at its core, but who’s ever heard of a socialist Kingdom?

    As for Mike Jones — DAMN man, take it easy. Everyone who wasn’t adopted from an orphanage isn’t dead! And I don’t get the purpose of your statement “the reason you were adopted is because there are societies that do not value life and children” – the United States is FULL of children in foster care that go from one home to the next and when someone doesn’t want them, they get sent back to another home. Is your statement saying that societies that DO value life an children don’t have adoption? I don’t get it. You say most people who adopt are not rich. I say most people who can afford to adopt are not middle class. Let’s call a spade a spade, adoption is EXPENSIVE (unless you are getting a really “unworthy” child, then they will pay you to take the child, right??)

    Wow, that was longer than I was expecting, but so much to comment on. And in the interest of full disclosure, I was adopted from an orphanage in Iran about age 5 and moved to the US. My adoptive parents decided they didn’t want me and I got put into the foster system in the US then re-adopted. This is why I am so educated and write so eloquently ;-)

    • Well, I thank you for your “educated” and “eloquent” reply!

      I’ve deleted Mike Jone’s comments and my replies. The accusation that I “attack” or hate my parents was foul, and the psychoanalyzing based on projection was offensive as well.

      What’s missing from the equation in terms of me “jumping down the throats” of those who comment is something I’ve addressed elsewhere, namely, how we are treated as “broken” or “flawed” or psycho or hateful or worse.

      I mean to say there is a web site here and at Transracial Eyes that categorize and analyze adoption in very particular ways. If there is a challenge to what is written, then let it be along those lines.

      I’m more than willing to discuss, argue, go back and forth, even apologize, or change my mind based on what people post here.

      But when it strays into the personal, and falsely projects onto me, then I feel the need to “turn tables”, literally.

      A dear friend criticized my allowance of comments the other day. “Comments are for cowards! Let them start their own damn blogs!” she said. I’m pretty much convinced at this point that she’s right.

  20. just a mom... says:

    I think it’s because the title of this page…

    • I would disagree. The ad hominem basis of attacks on adoptees who resist the dominant discourse doesn’t adhere to any rules or logic. It was from the earliest days of poorhouses and Orphan Trains that so-called charitable and religious leaders referred to such children as “feral” or “beastly” or “animal” or “street Arabs from the dangerous classes”. This is an expression from the depths of the culture and its acculturation. It is required to maintain the mythologies of adoption; anyone who goes against it will be smeared as “psycho” or worse. It doesn’t matter if we speak Shakespearean English and argue according to their rules of debate. Their verdict is passed down. This leaves no other response but one which is “ad hominem” in turn.

  21. eagoodlife says:

    Same old assumptions about adoptees I see!

    • Same old assumptions. Which are really accusations and condemnations. What boggles my mind is their framing, which claims sympathy for “orphans” and then at the same time reveals the horrifying and disgusting stereotypes that have plagued orphans historically speaking: Damaged, feral, psycho. How are we supposed to take seriously supposed “advocates” for children who, in the same breath, attack such children now adults? What possible response is there to this?

  22. just a mom... says:

    Well, I am not an adoptee myself, but I know all too well what it is to be dismissed with words like “don’t go feral now” etc etc. And I am afraid that responding in kind is not very effective either, as i have tried that (as well as many other approaches). They are simply impervious.
    My experience is that such words are often said to ‘us’ in public situations and are in that case not even primarily directed at us personally, but meant to sow doubt in the heads of others, so they will not hear our points. I think that it’s actually inspired by fear when these kind of tactics are used.
    But ‘feral’ … personally, I actually take that as a kind of compliment. Feral, unspoiled, wild, natural… They have no idea what ‘feral’ really means. Or maybe, on some level, they do… and that’s why it freaks them out so much… because it’s the ‘state’ they have lost.
    It’s they who are jealous, and it’s they who are panicking…. And rather than admitting to that, ever! they must destroy us.
    It’s about power. Control. The illusion of it. Of the absolute kind where they have complete immunity (so they think), and no responsibility whatsoever.

    This is why it always has to be about “us” or you in this case, never them, never “about me”. Because if they really have to look at “me”, themselves, they will have to face a truth they simply can’t face….
    But I think, in the end, there’s no escaping the fact that it’s all about “me”….

  23. just a mom... says:

    Tactical? What do you suggest?
    I’ve ran out of ‘tactics’… Completely.

  24. just a mom... says:

    Yes.
    Still.. Personally, I think you are too optimistic..
    But that’s *just* my opinion.
    It’s because it’s a matter of will, the way I see it. People don’t want to listen. Don’t want to think or rethink. They want to keep things as they are, and even make them worse. With a passion. Arguments, reasons, tactics all become mute in the face of will.
    Changing a will is not easy, when it’s someone else’s will, impossible.
    Maybe, in theory, ‘seduction’ is the only thing that potentially has that power. But whether we should, or even want to, go there??
    But, as I said, that’s my opinion.

  25. Marcelle says:

    what orphanage did you come from, I was adopted in 1960 to a loving childless parents along with 2 boys and a girl whom are my brothers and sister, we live in the great country U.S.of A. (America) we came from Crech St. Vincent De Paul, in souifi, Achrafieh. I would love to know why I was placed at their door step to be found by Ma Mere Econom (sp). be proud that someone loved you so much to have chosen you to be part of their family. could have been someone else. I would love to be able obtain pictures of my beloved orphanage. I have tried every web site. no success. thank you and God Bless

    • At this point, I’m not really sure any more how to reply to someone who says “my beloved orphanage”. I have spent 10 years researching the reasons why we were “placed” at their doorstep, and I guarantee you: You would not love to know why. You do not want to know why. Trust me on this one.

  26. CD says:

    Dear Daniel, You are amazing. Finding your work was such a happy moment. I’m assuming you’ve read Wayne Dennis’ book “Children of the Crèche.” If so, could you please write about it? Or maybe you already have. Thank you for everything you do.

    • Thank you for the kind words. Dennis’s book is just one of many (these were written about Romania as well, among many other source countries) that attempts to defend adoption practice by ignoring the practices of the adopting countries and their effect on the source in terms of imposed economic and political hardships. I’ve written about this generally, but not specifically. The mythology of the “Crèche” is so toxic that I can only stand dealing with it for moments at a time. I’m hoping the NGO we just started here will start to take the deconstruction of this mythology on a little bit, and lessen the burden on us individually speaking. Thanks again for taking the time to write, I appreciate it.

  27. ktolund says:

    I only hear the truth spoken here, not anger, someone with insight who continues to do the work and is fearless in speaking it. I hear the posts from adoptees who share similar feelings & thoughts as Daniel. Who are we to say or think what their thoughts ‘should’ be.

    I’m both a birthmother (another story) and a (white) mother of two adopted A.A children. It took adopting, to search for sites as Daniel’s and Transracial Eyes and see how little I knew of adoption.

    I realized early on how grandiose and selfish was my thinking. It doesn’t take long, our children opened my eyes, not of their actions, but of the ‘in your face’ actions of my race, even at times of their race, due to us, not them. Yes, words cannot express the love we have for our children. We know we have been blessed and at the same time I know this is not enough for them. We must have others of the same origin, let them experience life as who they are and to walk their walk not ours.

    Tonight I came upon the only picture of my 2 month old daughter as she was held tightly in the arms of her mother. ‘My’ even sounds selfish. We, the state,the country, our society all have played a part in continuing the injustice and inequality. My daughter’s mother was a 16 yr. old foster child, who had gone through more dark times than I will ever experience.

    What could I have done? It’s a large task, it seems impossible, but starting with 1 person at a time, it could have been me (if my eyes were open), and others, to look past her situation, to be there, somehow, someway, help her, provide for her, let her be the mother to the child she gave birth to. A feeling as though a part of her is missing and I wonder if my daughter will feel the same way. When that begins to happen, if it does, I want her to know it’s ok, it is good. I will be by her side. I will love her the same, I will encourage her to do what she needs to do.

    It is blogs like Daniels that want me to do all I can to immerse them in their culture, to be with others that look like them and experience life as they do. Yes, I’ll always be white as they are black. I choose to ‘accept that I am of white privilege’ and take it head-on. In some way, as much as I am able, I will continue to try and give back to them what we took from them. …and it’s ok. I believe there will be a day, my daughter & son will meet their family of origin. Our children have 2 families, loving Aunts, Uncles and cousins and an amazing family of friendships we have formed of those of their race. Both of these families are strong and loving.

    I’m blessed to have found this site and TRE which has opened my eyes to so much more. I know I’m not able to write with such powerful words as Daniel’s. I can’t even figure out how to turn back on the ‘spell check’ my disclaimer for my poor writing ability! Though I believe, when I open my eyes, close my mouth and closely listen, that in my heart, we are doing what needs to be done.

    When my children are grown, my hope is the impact of their adoption, will lessen by the tiny part we did, to let them know, in the words of Daniel’s quote “of course race and culture matter’. Where their life began has become a part of them and will always be.

    • anenomekym says:

      I wish you had opened your eyes before you had adopted. When your children have grown, adoption will have played a major role in shaping them, so of course the impact of their adoption will be immense. How could it not be?

      Glad you’re realizing more now. The question is how to get others to realize BEFORE they adopt and contribute to these injustices and become indivisible accomplices to this unequal vulture-like system.

  28. ktolund says:

    I had my eyes opened, it what I was looking at, hearing, along with all the false info. given. I did not know then , what I know now, adoption is the answer that is so easily is pushed, as being the answer. ‘…adoption will have played a major role in shaping them, so of course the impact of their adoption will be immense. How could it not be?’ …’of course’ this is what I stated. I may not have the fancy words and be able to express my beliefs thru my writing. Though I know and have known for years what we did and what we can and are doing

    ‘The question is how to get others to realize BEFORE they adopt…’So what are your ideas? What do you do to get others to realize? I always find it interesting that almost always what I post, someone is ready to take what I say and try to one up me. As though my post is ‘…of course…’ naive, never enough, and yes it is not enough, I was late in understanding, I cannot undue the past, only move forward. So in your words, ‘of couse…’ I wil do just that. Carry on, there are so many more parents of adoptees, that can have your comments beat them down, only to realize that what you state is already known, otherwise I would not post here. There are so many other ‘sugar coated sites’ for anyone to hear what they want to hear.

    • I don’t envy adoptive parents who buck the system, as it were. They are destined to take a lot of heat from all sides. Adoptees need realize though that we, too, were once within that “Kool-Aid Realm”. Allowing each other to vent without seeing this as necessarily personal is probably a good exercise. Because this implies common cause, and a next step, which is working together on solutions. With such a goal in mind, the “clearing of the air” is probably less pointed, and certainly less painful. Thank you both for posting.

  29. Steve Smith says:

    “The adopted child is raised in a class position that politically, economically, and culturally negates that of his or her origins”

    I can’t speak for your case, but I guarantee you that the vast majority of adoptees have better and healthier lives than they would have had they been raised by their birth mothers. This idea that children are entitled to be raised in not only the cultural environment of their birth, but also the political and economic environment of their birth is extreme and ignorant.

    “In this way, we are similar to others likewise disempowered who are displaced and dispossessed for political and economic reasons: migrant workers, immigrants, refugees, nomadic peoples, etc.”

    This is not only exaggeration, this is intellectual dishonesty to the extreme. It denigrates the hardship of migrant workers, immigrants, and refugees, most of whom probably would have given anything to be raised in an middle class environment as many adoptees are. This shows that you are a privileged ignoramus who is complaining about nothing. “Oh woe is me, I’m an adoptee.” How about we focus on real issues like children having access to proper care, having loving parents, lessening poverty and its impact. Get a brain.

    • Many of them did give everything to live a normal life, in the revolutions against colonial rule, in the efforts to shake off the economic and political wars waged against them, in the aftermath of the assassinations of or coup d’états against their democratically elected leaders. Assassinated by whom? Overthrown by whom? Surprise, surprise! The countries who claim adoption is some kind of salvation! You are a pyromaniac firefighter, and the dreck you spew here would be better spent on those who for some reason believe that you get to lord it over them.

      The ignoramus is he who doesn’t bother to read what I have written on the comparison I make between others similarly displaced, dispossessed, and disinherited. I’m not comparing my life with them, but my targeting for such unwilled migration. I spend all of my time with migrants, refugees, and others like them, and they implicitly get my story. They have no problem with my comparison. That you do says a lot more about your wish to distance yourself from them and go after me as some kind of “class traitor”.

      Well, yes, I refuse and refute your privilege and luxury which you don’t believe is the right of all those you pretend here to speak on behalf of. Spare me. For the love of God, spare me.

    • eagoodlife says:

      There is much to reply to here but I’ll just go with this statement, ‘ I guarantee you that the vast majority of adoptees have better and healthier lives than they would have had they been raised by their birth mothers.’ Guarantees from someone who does not present the facts count for little. In fact, knowing many, many hundreds of adoptees as I do, I know that most adoptees live different lives which are not necessarily healthier, because we suffer from many illnesses and diseases which often don’t emerge for decades. Some of these are rare cancers or obscure gastro-intestinal conditions which we can only explain by our early development in a less than ideal situation of mother-loss, trauma, stress and grief. It would be great if someone reputable made a study of this area of the lives of adoptees because it is significant, effecting and often disabling. Adoption is not empowering and we have to work hard to turn that around. It seems Steve there is still much to learn!

  30. Zana says:

    So, you don’t think anyone should be adopted? I’m just making sure I understood all the comments. I have been searching for information on adoption in Lebanon and this is what comes up. Just want to be clear I’m not judging you or your blog, just trying to understand your story and the process. My family in Lebanon says if you want to adopt a baby, come to Lebanon, pay 30-40 grand and you sign your name to a birth certificate. They don’t agree with this but make it known this is how it works. Like almost everything else in Lebanon, money and politics are driving the bus. Interesting read. I’m interested to hear back. Thanks.

  31. Yaz says:

    Hello,

    (sorry, my English’s not good)
    Interesting to read you.
    I am also adopted, from the same crèche than you…it’s not a scoop, we are many ;-) as you know.
    I have some questions about you (you have perhaps already say this on anothers posts, but I dont have read the whole blog…) :
    Why did you go back to Lebanon ?

    I have not your point of view on adoption (as a crime or something like this) because I dont want to be a victim. I am NOT a victim. I dont want to complain all my life about my “abandon” and my adoption.
    Of course, abandon is probably hard and could have after-effect, and perhaps adoption too.
    So this is my question : do you think you are, in a way, a victim ? Do you feel like this ?

    And other question : you say to a guy that it was not a good idea to know why we were abandonned, saying that “you don’t want to know”. Why ?
    Actually, at this time, many abandonments in Lebanon and middle east countries were because the women were not married, or not with the good man, etc. (it was taboo, forbidden)
    (Nowadays, the main part of abandonments in Lebanon is babies from Sri Lanka or Philippines workers, which are often not allowed to keep their babies or are raped and become pregnant.)

    Of course, there were and there are also other reasons. I am only talking of the great part of this.
    Is this reality too hard to be say ?

    Thanks for your reponse. You can write in French :-) C’est plus facile pour moi de m’exprimer en français, car exprimer mon opinion en anglais est difficile pour moi. Je n’arrive pas à apporter les bonnes nuances

    • Merci pour le commentaire et les questions. Je pense qu’on peut faire une difference entre “être une victime” et “se victimiser”. Je peux être la victime de la crime d’adoption sans m’en victimiser. Nier qu’on a été la victime d’un délit ou d’un crime n’annule pas l’offense, n’est-ce pas? Moi, je sais que j’ai été la victime d’un crime (ou bien, plusieurs). En même temps, je ne me victimise pas.

      [Thank you for the comment and the questions. I think there is a difference between “being a victim” and “victimizing oneself”. I can be the victim of the crime of adoption without victimizing myself about it. To deny that one has suffered an offense or was victim of a crime doesn’t abnegate them in any way, no? For myself, I know that I was the victim of a crime, or should I say, many. At the same time, I refuse to victimize myself.]

      For the second question, can you give me a link? I forget the context!

  32. Yaz says:

    Bonjour,

    il s’agit de votre réponse à Marcelle :
    “Daniel Ibn Zayd says:
    November 10, 2014 at 11:02 am

    At this point, I’m not really sure any more how to reply to someone who says “my beloved orphanage”. I have spent 10 years researching the reasons why we were “placed” at their doorstep, and I guarantee you: You would not love to know why. You do not want to know why. Trust me on this one.”
    I don’t understand well the meaning of your response

    Concerning to be a victim or victimizing yourself, I agree with the difference you do.

    But actually, I think babies or children who are abandonned* and then adopted suffer more of the abandonment than the adoption.
    Even when you are a baby. You are used to the smell and the voice of your biological mother (that you ear in the belly during, 9 months) and then there is a complete break. Moreover, if you go in an orphanage, even a good one, you will have less attention than a baby in a family, because of the number of babies that people have to care about.
    So : the break and then lack of human contact/care are to me the causes to the trauma. (to a baby)
    The adoption, even in the best family, will never change this “bad start”. So the trauma is already here, it could be small or huge depending the condition of abandonment and the resilience capacity of the child.
    It’s probably one the reason which made that a lot of adoptees AND people growing all they life in orphanage “failed” to have a good life (without drugs, depression, or problems or linking with people)

    Because if you interview children who grew up in an orphanage, they also have this trauma.
    I dont think that the fact to live in the country you are born with “your culture” will change anything.
    The only difference would be that you will not have a family (or a fake one, as you want) and, I can’t understand what would be the advantage to this…?

    Thanks for your response,

    • Okay, d’accord. Ici, je veux dire que les raisons de notre abandon n’ont rien à voir avec la charité. Cette mythologie de traverser doucement le seuil de l’orphelinat vers une meilleure vie est, pour moi, obscène. Je disais ça plutôt avec du sarcasme, tellement la réponse de Marcelle voulait être contestée. Je ne voulais pas dire que je ne voudrais pas savoir moi-même. J’avère par contre que les raisons de notre abandon sont tellement atroces que nous préférerons ne pas savoir. Je conteste aussi l’idée que l’orphelinat était un lieu conçu pour nous donner vie. Il reste, je crois, un lieu conçu à nous tuer, avec l’adoption comme une forme particulière de «mort». Il y a un lien ici avec votre idée du traumatisme subit dès lors la rupture avec la mère qui est irrévocable. Et qui, comme vous dîtes, n’est pas «réparé» si l’enfant reste dans sa culture.

      [Ah, okay. Here I am saying that the reasons for our abandonment have nothing to do with charity. This mythology of gently passing over the threshold of the orphanage to a better life is, to me, obscene. I was challenging Marcelle’s idea a bit sarcastically—I was not saying I wouldn’t want to know why myself, rather that the reasons why are so horrific we might wish we didn’t know. I am challenging the idea that the orphanage was a place designed to help us live. It remains, I believe, a place designed to help us die, with adoption being a particular form of “death”. This I think ties into your idea of the trauma of the original rupture from the mother which is irrevocable. And which, as you say, is not “repaired” by having one’s culture.]

  33. I fully understand your “feelings” and find it interesting and comforting at the same time because I am an adoptive mother myself of two beautiful children, of which one is of oriental origins (girl) and the other is arab (boy).. they were both adopted from Kuwait, of course I have no information what so ever about their parents.. but worry a lot about my daughter growing up feeling alienated.. we discuss her origins a lot, she is 9 years old now.. and feels comfortable when among people who look like her.. she has full access to this nationality, and we talk a lot.. but I still worry about her growing up feeling lost; neither FULLY belonging to arabs nor her origins ..

    I constantly look for stories and books that’ll help her form her identity .. I read and wait for her to be ready for more .. and thank you for reaching out and explaining things .. it only confirmed my thoughts and worries .. now I can work harder and hope for the best

    • “Oriental” is considered offensive since about 1946, just so you know. I don’t think you do understand my “feelings”, I don’t seek understanding of my “feelings”, and I’m not sure why you qualify my “feelings” with quotation marks. I’m dreading to know that when you say “who look like her” you might be referring to the slave labor in your country, perhaps in your household. That the Arabic word kafala should be used for both indentured servitude as well as guardianship/adoption should fill you full of rage. That it might not speaks volumes. Furthermore, that women in Kuwait might adopt the human byproduct of the abuse heaped upon women slaves there by their husbands just stupefies me in its exponential disempowerment. And “hoping for the best” is no longer an option, I assure you.

  34. Rosine says:

    As one who was adopted from the Creche, who, through the gift of my adoption felt called to share the blessing through adopting, and the blessing of birthing children, who believes that this global community is big enough to hold us in this world, as one who realizes that in a perfect world adoption would not be an option, who realizes that we live in a far than perfect world thus am grateful for adoption that has been a part of the world since the beginning of time and has touched my life in multiple ways. This is an interesting read…Daniel and I connected many years ago and shared much of what’s shared above. I have sat in lectures, participated in forums regarding adoption and still will come away grateful for my life and saddened, of course, by the realities of a world where all children are not birthed into family situations where they are always valued, loved, cared for, where those who create new life aren’t ready to take on the challenges of raising children, where societies are not equipped or value life as to empower and encourage children being able to be raised by birth parents, I continue to come away grateful for the option of adoption,although not always perfect, and yes exploitative by some, however, not by all.

    • Hi Rosine. Thanks for commenting. I hope as you keep reading here you will realize the impossibility of maintaining a passivist worldview as I call it. Things don’t just happen, and it’s dangerous for us to assume that we can wallow in the grace of our survival from those places we weren’t meant to. I don’t believe in this middle ground any more. Yes, it might give us peace of mind, but it comes at a cost, to ourselves and others.

  35. Rosine says:

    Hi Daniel…I will keep reading. Thank you for your passion and care for the unjust situations that are a part of this world. I do appreciate your website and do agree with much of what I’m reading and am aware of some of what I’ve been reading.

  36. Emil Daugaard says:

    Hi
    I am not implying anything, just interested to know your thoughts. I am looking for a proof of what so many, including myself, express. That there is a “market” in the adoption process.

    Well, I am just interested to hear about your thoughts and to be honest, I dont have the time nor the interest to go through more articles that you refer to. They actually does not respond to the question of what the alternative would be to an adoption from a country like Lebanon in war times.

    I am to focused nowadays to build a good future for my own family than to get stucked in my own egoistic thoughts about what my history would have been if certain things did not happen. I am soon 37 years old and to happy with my life to dig more into a invisible history or conspiration theories of others. Though, I of course respect that we all understand our situtions in different ways from different perspectives.

    I wish you good luck with your thoughts D and I can understand it is a good therapy to debate and discuss them with others.

    //Emil

    • Thanks for the wishes. I spent my whole life as you are doing now. Then at 40 I realized I had to know more. So give yourself time….

      I’ve never been concerned about my own personal story as much as the stories of all those in Lebanon who have been displaced, dispossessed, and disinherited. Including those of the community of your family here, if I may be so bold. So to call this “egotistical”—I would have to challenge that.

      I used to have the luxury and privilege to disassociate myself from those we source from. Now, I no longer have that luxury or privilege. I admit that sometimes I do yearn for that distance; Lebanon is a hellish place in that regard. But I don’t think it possible to go backwards….

      Peace and blessings.

  37. Emil Daugaard says:

    Hi again
    If I can be helpful in any way Daniel, it would be a pleasure.
    I have been investigating on my own and through others and found strange things on the way in LBN. In the end it is all about to have a true feeling of Belonging-anyway that is what I think.
    And, I did not mean that you are egoistic, not at all.

    Nice to chat with you and mist Welcome to Sweden D!!

    Regards
    Emil

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