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April 14, 2010

I like to read a blog called The Pursuit of Harpyness, a feminist take on the world by “five of the most charming and vicious women on the internet.” Or at least, I used to like reading it. Guess I should have read that tag line before.

Today’s entry was on that clusterfuck of a Tennessee family that shipped their 7-year old adopted son back to Russia- unaccompanied- because he had “psychopathic issues”. You can read about it here, but I don’t recommend it. Whatever the hell happened, it’s about as relevant to adoption as the octomom is to biological parenting. It’s the blog that was a kick to the gut for me. Well, not the blog so much- the blog heaps abuse on all parents with unrealistic expectations, not just adoptive ones like me, and it takes a swipe at societies that don’t care about troubled children. It’s the comments that do me in.

Like this one:

There seems to be a fundamental difference in how some people view biological and adopted children and the expectations for adopted children seem to be almost impossibly high, as if people are making a deal with themselves: “If we go the adoption route, the child has to be “perfect” or else.”

Umm.. WHAT? Adoptive parents agree to raise someone else’s child in the ultimate fucking roll of the dice. Yes, no doubt some people expect adopted children to be perfect. Some people expect biological children to be perfect too and then beat the living shit out of them every day that they’re not. That doesn’t make them representative of anything except their own brand of crazy. It’s hard to get past the cheap generalization hiding behind the “some people”. Change the “some people” to wording that reflects reality, like “a tiny minority”, and would the comment even be made?

From the same commenter:

PSoul, your point about viewing adopted children as a commodities is much more accurate than I’d realized. In fact, I’d never really thought about it that way. It’s profoundly disturbing.

Again, WHAT? Who exactly views adopted children as commodities? Fucking WHO? And how many? If you want to round up this comment to express how our culture tends to view children as the property of their parents, making it difficult for society to give them the care they need, this might make sense. Otherwise, maybe you ought to stuff this discovery back up the ass you pulled it out of.

And then there’s my favourite:

I can’t understand why would-be adopters of older children don’t foster (with the intent to adopt)…

The fucking “why don’t you foster/adopt an older child who really needs a home” bullshit that adoptive parents get from people who have reserved their homes for their own biological children.

Breathe, Sharon. Breathing. Okay. I’ll try to stop swearing.

I am an adoptive mother. In fact, my partner and I adopted our daughter from China, which I suppose must make me the ultimate commodity-driven parent (they’re so cute and quiet and good at math!). If I had a Canadian dollar for every person who asked me why we didn’t try to foster and adopt a child from here, I could pay for her eventual PhD in cash.

Because when you adopt, you can’t just want to be a mother. You have to want to be a hero. You are supposed to be able to parent a baby or toddler who was born addicted to coke or beaten or given just enough physical care to survive. You are supposed to be able to live with the fear of how impressed the social worker and judge will be with the biological parent’s two big weeks of rehab. You have to be ready to take the child to its bi-weekly supervised visit with them and then deal with the behaviour problems the next day. You have to be able to spend as much as a year caring for and loving this child and then stand before a judge at the end and pray that your child is not one of the 10% that the biological parents take back. I knew from the start that I couldn’t do any of that.

The bottom line is that people adopt children for the same selfless and selfish reasons that biological mothers push them out of their wombs. For almost all of us, the child as commodity has nothing to do with it. And to be held to this higher standard by feminists, well that’s quite a kick in the gut.

The Apocalypse: 7.5

Humanity: 7

  1. Parenting is a lot of work no matter how the child comes into your life. Some people are prepared for it; some aren’t. Expectations are high from the beginning because it’s such a vitally important part of life. You’re right – the commenters do seem to be taking aim at adoptive parents and making sweeping generalizations, as if all adoptive parents view their children as fashion accessories and nothing else.

  2. I think part of the problem is the interwebs. It’s easy to take one instance of random craziness and blog it into a meaningful trend. Note to self: try not to blog random craziness into meaningful trends…

  3. mummaboox2 permalink

    So true.

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