Children in Adoption are not Property or Are they?

Jeremy seems to be supplying me with ready made topics as fast as I can blog! Here’s his reply to mine over at LGA. Regarding the original comment and what I assume you mean by “Perhaps it is more about adoptees not having reached a place in the adopted life when they’ve seen the light, and understand what adoption is really about.”: does that mean there is only one unequivocal answer to the question of what adoption is about and that some adoptees arrive there and others don’t? And the ones that do not are “in the dark” so to speak?
I’ve visited your site on many occasions and have read your comments on various blogs. Thank you for responding to my comment. “A modern day slaves” comment was the first time I had heard the slave comparison and it surprised me.
I’ve posted over at my site, asking for people to share about international adoption in a post called “Stop International Adoption” in the hopes of better understanding the complexities of IA as much as I can. I agree with many that it is downplayed if not completely marginalized while in the process of adopting. I’d rather be as educated as I can be before my daughter starts asking questions.
Which makes me wonder; when my daughter turns 20 or 30 (pick an age) and wonders if it is her responsibility as an “enlightened” adoptee to see my wife and I as “slave owners” and herself in turn as a “slave”, and, going even further, to see other adoptees that have no problem with international adoption as what…turncoats? apostates? Uncle Tom’s?
I will definitely check your site and look for more on the comparisons between adoption and slavery. In my mind the comparison breaks down because the children in adoption are not property. Again, no doubt there are so rather horrible adoption stories out there where that has not been the case, but in theory and god willing in most cases, the children are not treated like property.
Again, thanks for commenting and posting about this. I’ve actively sought to get more input on this topic and my questions are just that, questions.

I’ll take it as it comes –
I’ve visited your site on many occasions and have read your comments on various blogs. Thank you for responding to my comment. “A modern day slaves” comment was the first time I had heard the slave comparison and it surprised me.
I’m glad to hear that and hope you will post some comments soon. The slave comparison does surprise and it is a shocking one. When you put them side by side it is hard to avoid the similarities, as you will have seen in my last post.
Regarding the original comment and what I assume you mean by “Perhaps it is more about adoptees not having reached a place in the adopted life when they’ve seen the light, and understand what adoption is really about.”: does that mean there is only one unequivocal answer to the question of what adoption is about and that some adoptees arrive there and others don’t? And the ones that do not are “in the dark” so to speak?
The one unequivocal fact about adoption is that all adoptions start from the same point – the traumatic loss of a mother from which some believe we never recover. Others believe it is possible to heal with help and or to live a full and productive life while working around the effects of adoption i.e learning to live with them. Adoption ia also a trauma for reasons well documented and to do with placement with strangers. Some adoptees suffer additional trauma through institutional life, prolonged abandonment, lack of love and caring and enforced removal from their own country which takes away their identity, name, origins, mother tongue, culture etc. All of those losses are now well documented, including the loss of the baby who has the ability as a fetus in utero to hear the mother tongue and to respond to that familiarity after birth. I can’t give references here but they are easily enough found if you are interested and search. If you read Brodzinsky’s book on the five stages of the adopted life it will lay out for you the way in which adoptees process their lives and what has happened to them. We reach different stages at different times, sometimes we don’t go through all the stages but most seem to in time. It does seem that once we see adoption clearly and can separate it from the hype, the ‘good news’, the advertising and the myths, we are better placed to process what has happened to us, our losses, our griefs and to mourn those. Many children mourn without knowing consciously about the hype etc and it is an ongoing process, for life which needs to be better recognised by adopters if they are to be the best they can be at adoptive parenting.
I’ve posted over at my site, asking for people to share about international adoption in a post called “Stop International Adoption” in the hopes of better understanding the complexities of IA as much as I can. I agree with many that it is downplayed if not completely marginalized while in the process of adopting. I’d rather be as educated as I can be before my daughter starts asking questions.
I agree and it seems so from what I hear from other adopters. I know also from other adopters that you are pursuing a hard road which may present much opposition and difficulty. Hopefully this will lessen as people see the truth and the facts. I think you are very wise to prepare yourself as much as you can for the questions that may come and hope that you will find your position defensible.
Which makes me wonder; when my daughter turns 20 or 30 (pick an age) and wonders if it is her responsibility as an “enlightened” adoptee to see my wife and I as “slave owners” and herself in turn as a “slave”, and, going even further, to see other adoptees that have no problem with international adoption as what…turncoats? apostates? Uncle Tom’s?
Adoption is very complex. It is one of the areas of life in which there is both loss and ambiguous loss – you might find Pauline Boss’s work on ambiguous loss informative – adoptees have both to deal with and it is one of the many task of adoptees as they pass through the adopted life. It is possible to view adoption in theory while applying that theory to one’s own life without being loaded with all the possible consequences. For instance on a personal note I never saw my own aparents as ‘slave owners’ partly because they didn’t buy me or pay money for me, although I understand that adoption enslaves, steals identity, eradicates history and biology and is supposed to eliminate illegitimacy. By a strange quirk of fate, my own afather was the descendent of a freed slave and I was raised white by a black man! Rather unusual in the world of adoption.
How adoptees see each other is very complex, often has it’s difficulties and is one your daughter will have to work out for herself as she grows up. She will find her own place, work out her own views and stances in a way that can’t be predicted or, in the end, influenced.
I will definitely check your site and look for more on the comparisons between adoption and slavery. In my mind the comparison breaks down because the children in adoption are not property. Again, no doubt there are so rather horrible adoption stories out there where that has not been the case, but in theory and god willing in most cases, the children are not treated like property.
Hope you find it informative and useful. it can be argued and often is that anyone who is paid for is commodified. Adoptees are regularly commodified in all sorts of ways by the adoption process in ways that are stomach churning, to adoptees if no-one else.There are thousands of examples if you look on agency websites and in all the other places adoption lives. It can be argued and has been many times that all adoptees are property because of the process, particularly in America, where adoption is such big business. Adoptees hopefully are in most families treated like ‘real’ people, given opportunities to live a full life which helps them reach their potential and are supported through the difficult patches with loss, grieving and identity issues. We know that this does not always happen because the selection of adopters is a shockingly arbitrary process, mainly driven by money and profit, not by the priority of finding the very best adopters for children who really need them. It is not so in some countries but adoption still produces a product for placement. Hopefully one day people will understand and accept what adoption does to adoptees. Here in Australia we have been acknowledged, validated and apologised to for the inhumanity of adoption. In my own State we have also received an Apology and I have personally had an Apology from the CEO of the church that was responsible for my adoption. He has also publicly apologised to all adoptees made adoptees by his church during the era of forced adoption. Can’t say fairer than that!

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2 thoughts on “Children in Adoption are not Property or Are they?

  1. This made me think of the adoptees I know personally who went to find their tribe and relatives and when they did this, they were cut-off by their adoptive parents – and cut off from inheritance, contact, and more… that speaks to being the property of those who raised us (and who bought us via adoption)

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