A story about taking sides
Adoption. Anti vs. Pro. I don’t want a line in the sand. I’m not pro-adoption, and I don’t want to be anti-adoption either. But. Please read on.
My boyfriend died of lung cancer in June. We’d only been together for five years, so there was a lot I didn’t know about him. Dan had been at Berkeley during the Free Speech Movement, while I was a boy-crazy 8th grader at a Catholic school in Iowa. Even before that, if I have the timeline correct, he’d joined the Freedom Riders and had gone down to Mississippi. An old friend of his told me that while he was down there he was arrested and taken to jail. “Are you black or white?” Dan was asked over and over again as they were preparing lock him up. Dan, a Korean-American, wouldn’t answer the question, but as the questioning got more aggressive, Dan finally went with white. He was jailed anyway.
I’m telling this story as an introduction.
Why I’m not pro-adoption
I do not imagine ever aligning myself with the folks who call themselves pro-adoption. But, I might be in favor of some adoptions. But the label pro-adoption would need to be dissected and arranged in such a way that it didn’t mean unnecessary adoption. I might be in favor of some adoptions if it didn’t mean secrets and shame and sealed records. If it didn’t mean child trafficking or endangerment or taking children from poor single mothers and giving them to couples with a bigger bank account. I might if family preservation came first and foremost.
I don’t want to be anti-adoption
But I don’t really want to be anti-adoption either. Not straight across the board. I acknowledge that there are children who need to be removed from their biological parents–at least temporarily. Still, adoption is no guarantee there will not be abuse. I acknowledge that there are children in orphanages and in foster care that need families. Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy elaborates on the anti-adoption label in her ESSAY from Portrait of an Adoption and pretty much covers everything. So, yes, if I have to choose, I’ll have what she’s having. But only if it’s served up like that.
Reform of the adoption industry is absolutely necessary. But I don’t like the line in the sand. I’m guessing that a lot of the people who label themselves as pro-adoption don’t really want to associate themselves with the corrupt practices present in adoption today. Or at least I hope not. So I wish they wouldn’t say they were pro-adoption without writing an essay defining it.
Strength is something we seek. Taking a stand is admired. Fervent seems like a nice adjective. But maybe we all have to stand together in the middle of the hurt and confusion explaining every little thing to one another, listening as hard as we can.