Monday, November 26, 2007

Jumping Off the Fence?

Truth be told, I'm not an advocate of foreign adoption.
Not for any other reason other than the fact that there are children right here in this country that need adopting.
The problem appears to be that many are not babies....and adoption is so complicated here...with pesky birth parents showing up down the line, and all.

The new celebrity trend seems to be foreign adoption, and forgive me for saying...seems "petlike" in though getting a Lhasa Apso from Tibet is just no longer good about a kid from Namibia, or Cambodia instead?
Now, I know a lot of you may jump all over me with "at least these celebrities are giving children from another place a good life!", and you'd be right...since most pets of celebrities do and will live a better life than you, or I will.

Yesterday, I read a blowup of outrage over something that a has-been, pseudo-80's new wave satire writer named Tama Janowitz said in this article in the N.Y. Times:

"A girlfriend who is now on the waiting list for a child from Ethiopia says that the talk of her adoption group is a recently published book in which many Midwestern Asian adoptees now entering their 30s and 40s complain bitterly about being treated as if they did not come from a different cultural background. They feel that this treatment was an attempt to blot out their differences, and because of this, they resent their adoptive parents.

So in a way it is kind of nice to know as a parent of a child, biological or otherwise – whatever you do is going to be wrong. Like I say to Willow: 'Well, you know, if you were still in China you would be working in a factory for 14 hours a day with only limited bathroom breaks!' "

There was a shitload of anger that boomeranged back at her for this comment.
Now, I know that she's supposed to be some sort of humourist writer, and I understand what she was are ungrateful, regardless.
It was just so inappropriate, I don't know what kind of response she was expecting to get after saying it...laughter?
"Oh,'re sooooo edgy".

The fact that she said it in a public forum shows how out of touch she is.

Sun Yun Shin (a Co-Author of the "recently published book in which many Midwestern Asian adoptees now entering their 30s and 40s complain bitterly about being treated as if they did not come from a different cultural background"), responds to Tama Janowitz in this blog post.

I am certainly no one to talk about what it's like to be adopted in to a family of a different race...and my Kumbaya side wants to believe that it's all good.
But most certainly there will be important elements that will not/cannot be provided to a child who is adopted, much less of a different race.

Perhaps the key is coming to terms in your own way.
....and we all have reasons to complain about our childhoods, perhaps this just seems overdone because an element of what Janowitz says has merit.
C'mon,...let's face it, women don't put their children up for adoption because they're in a position to raise them, whether that's in Kenya or Newmarket,'s just that she (Janowitz), as a white person, and adoptive parent of a non-white child had no right to say it.

Sun Yung Shin says:

"I am not here to state that one culture is better than the other, that it's better to be adopted than to "languish in an orphanage" etc., or to promote nostalgia for one's "biological mother," or to imply that (some American) children don't complain bitterly about what they don't have or their parents' "parenting,"--I know all the arguments against adopted people speaking for themselves, unless they say, "I don't care about my home country. Don't send me to camp. ______ is dirty and smelly, I don't want to go back. You are my real mother. I love being American," etc. I really do, I've heard them all. I've said them--when I actually _was_ a child. I get it. As an _adult_--things are more complicated. Absolutes such as "real" and "where I belong" are oversimplifications for many of us who are in fact immigrants. People are free to pathologize me (or any immigrant, or any minority) as wanting to be part of the "Victim Olympics" and so forth. People have the freedom to chastise me as taking advantage of my "model minority status" and "biting the hand that feeds me." Everyone has a right to her or his opinion. Certainly I'm at risk of blindness as much as anyone else. But, what's at stake if the critiques of people like me are actually valid?"

Ahhh, the North American right to publicly we caress it, love it, and nurture it.
...and so we's a luxury that 75% of the world doesn't have.