Archive for December 30th, 2007

Yet another article making the rounds is attempting the grasping stretch between the Zoe’s Ark fiasco and adoption, and hitting all the right notes with some who sing that tune and have little inclination to expand their repertoire.

Written by Lebanese-born adoptee and gay activist and writer Daniel Drennan, it takes a criminal act and dresses it up as international adoption, then quotes UNICEF’s lead tout spouting off indignantly, saying:

“This is not something that should be tolerated by the international community. It is unacceptable to see children taken out of their home countries without compliance with national and international laws.”

Well, duh.

Following her quote with this from him …

Her outrage unfortunately reflects a one-sided worldview concerning adoption today.

… rather makes the point, doesn’t it?

One more time here, folks: Zoe’s Ark is NOT about international adoption, no matter how often the attempt is made to smear the two together.

As an adoptee, Mr. Drennan has opinions on the value of adoption and he is more than welcome to them, and to share them, but his status grants neither a clarity others don’t possess nor the authority to speak for an experience wider than his own.

With the employment of faulty logic and emotive presentation, Drennan does manage to convey his meaning clearly in the article, but fails to do so in a way that has much to do with the real world.

… adoption on the international level creates a “demand” for orphans that is answered by Third-World countries and the agencies that serve them with a “supply” of children; it is problematic to bring a foreign-born child into a non-multi-cultural environment; individualistic, nuclear family-based cultures undo other more community-based cultures.

This ridiculous idea that adoptive families “create” orphans is one that continues to be regurgitated regularly with little regard for the facts that 200 million children face daily, and like others who suggest that “there are things that could be done to greatly alleviate if not eliminate poverty in the world today if the collective will to do so, which would require change in the standard of living of the First World, existed”, such simply refuses to acknowledge that these are living, breathing people that suffer as the collective will of the world has its attention focused elsewhere.

Pie in the sky is not on the menu. Never has been. Never will be.

Sticking with the simplistic in Drennan’s postulations, his insistence that adoption is all about First World versus Third World suggests that he is foolish enough to think there is nobility in poverty and corruption and that Third World countries need only a shift in First World standards of living to bring the Third World to a point of providing everything a people needs to live comfortably and raise families.

I live in an African country, and like most who experience the world outside of the tidy package presented to Americans I can tell you all that just ain’t so … not in this universe, anyway. Find the parallel plane where good triumphs over evil and the righteous always prevail and I’ll be happy to take a report, but here, now, that doesn’t happen and isn’t likely to — ever.

But, when in doubt, break out the emotive language and hope no one pays any attention to the lack of sense?

Do we simply deny that baby theft and brokering exist? Is it not paradoxical that underclass children in First-World societies go unadopted, often for racist and ageist reasons? What aberrant First-Worldist rationale allows for the adoption of Third-World children, while forbidding adults from these same Third-World countries to emigrate, or while deporting those already present back to their home countries?

Wow. All that at the end of just one paragraph!

1) No we don’t deny that baby theft and brokering exists, and those occasionally, albeit rarely, even have something to do with adoption. But in the huge majority of cases theft and brokering have to do with slavery and the sex trade, both thriving, especially in countries where international adopiton is not an option. And don’t forget infanticide! That’s a biggee, too, and also has nothing to do with adoption, although an increase in possibilities could very well be helpful.

2) ‘Underclass children in First-World societies’ going unadopted has more to do with faulty systems than because of “racists and ageist reasons”. Get kids out of bio families BEFORE they are irreparably damaged and stop making it impossible to adopt transracially and far fewer ‘underclass children’ will languish. (And although it’s handy to ignore when going all self-righteous, but many adoptive families are made up of older children and sibling groups, and of different races. Okay, they are Third-World ferriners, so apparently don’t count.)

3) And what aberrant First-World rationale views international adoption as a racial issue and puts it in the same category as deportations?

I am very happy that Drennan has found some peace in returning to Lebanon as an adult adoptee after being adopted as a tiny infant and raised in the US in an adoptive family. I am sorry that he has not been successful in his search for birth family. I am in agreement on much of what he has to say about Western involvement in other countries.

It is time to speak about the hypocrisy that ignores the ever-growing gap between the First and Third Worlds and the terrible abuse of the current power imbalance between them — a continuation of a sordid history in which the poor, the nether, the “uncivilized” portions of the planet serve as source material to be plundered, exported, and sold.

Actually, it is far beyond time to speak about these issues. The world is a cruel and horrid place for more individuals than those who find it cozy and kind, and that this should not be is a no-brainer for everyone not steeped in mulitnational business interests. That said, I have to wonder why someone like Drennan feels compelled to agree so emphatically with UNICEF’s Veneman when she states:

“It is unacceptable to see children taken out of their home countries.”

Does that not sound like a very bad case of discrimination … possibly even First World elitist discrimination … against the most innocent inhabitants of the world’s most dangerous and difficult places? Does Mr. Drennan’s international adoptee status provide some sort of absolution that allows him to wish on others a fate he escaped without painting him discriminatory? Is he allowed to speak for all? For any?

When voice is given to all concerned, when the discussion is finally and honestly balanced, only then will adoption no longer be tainted with the lingering remnants of an unjustly divided world.

On this, Daniel Drennan and I agree. I await an honestly balanced discussion.

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