September 6th, 2009
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Let me be the first to say that I believe in the freedom of speech wholeheartedly. If I don’t agree with your stance on something or you personally don’t subscribe to my theories on insert-topic-here, I welcome that difference. As long as there’s no slander/ abusive language or concepts (and the like) involved, I believe the element of debate in speech is one of the greatest freedoms one can maintain.

That said, I will admit to this: the first time I heard a handful of anti-adoption rhetoric, it floored me. I’m not writing this blog today to try to convince you that adoption is the answer, or that your opinion of the very process should be purely favorable, no matter the surrounding circumstances. To be honest, I do feel a lot about the very process of adoption could stand a bit of reform, especially the international adoption circuit. I do believe that in many cases, it is in the child’s best interest to stay with members of his or her biological family; however, I do not believe it stands true in each and every instance. Like many things in life, I think it needs to be examined on a case-by-case basis and analyzed accordingly as such.


I’ve mentioned this before in passing, but I will say it again here: Beauty’s presence in my life is a precious (albeit bittersweet) gift. While a part of me does mourn for the fact that my daughter was not able to grow up with her biological mother, I am so grateful to have this chance to be a part of her life, to watch her grow into the amazing young woman I know she will be. Is she “lucky” to have me? No more than anyone is “lucky” to have anyone else in their lives—be it a child, a significant other, a rock-solid best friend, a benevolent boss. I have no doubt she will go through life stages with me as all daughters do their mothers: adoration (as a child), toleration (as a teenager), and admiration (as an adult). Isn’t that essentially the way of the world?

I realize that last sentiment was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but the fact remains that it is my hope that she will love me as any daughter loves her mother, that the “adoptive” aspect need not factor into her feelings toward me. But what mother doesn’t wish for that kind of bonded parent/child love in her life? This concept is not one specific to adoption. Do I think, at the end of the day, that Beauty could’ve had a better life with her birth mother? I don’t know. I don’t think like that. I mean, how does one define “better”? Is it biology? Is it finances? Opportunity? I don’t know.

The truth remains that I do feel that–in most cases–adoption is a loving gift to all involved, from the birth family to the child to the adoptive family. Call me idealistic if you will, but in my heart and in my soul, I do know this much is true: adoption has helped make my world a much more beautiful, amazing, and wondrous place.

Photo Credit.

11 Responses to “On Anti-Adoption Rhetoric…”

  1. Robyn C says:

    I’ve always thought that being against adoption is like being against oxygen. Even if there were something close to a perfect world, adoption would still exist. It would just be more transparent and ethical.

  2. Courtney O says:

    @Robyn: I hear you. I was so speechless the first time I even HEARD the very notion of “anti-adoption” sentiments, I almost fell out of my chair. I do try to see both sides, but it’s obvious where my loyalties lie. And a world without adoption? Of that I’d want no part, believe me. :) But to each his/her own. I’ve heard some valid arguments against but the cases presented were more exceptions to the norm than the norm, you know? (At least in my experience.) It seems that most who are anti-adoption have had horrible experiences with adoption that have shaped their views. I can understand that, but the pretense of ALL adoption being an essentially “bad” thing–that’s beyond my realm of comprehension.

  3. osolomama says:

    It’s hard to read some of the opinions of those who are hard-core anti-adoption. Neither can I imagine a world without adoption, totally. Though kids around the world needing care could benefit from a range of options, including more kinship care and more guardianships, I can’t imagine a time when adoption would be eliminated entirely.

    I don’t think you need to worry about the love your child feels for you or how you feel about your child. Those things become certain and unwavering over time. People who dispute that our families are even legitinate families will always have their opinions but in the end it’s the certainty you have with your child that counts.

    I might part company with you on the need for adoption reform. I think it’s pretty pressing and that more than “a bit” is needed on the domestic and int’l front. I do believe, wholeheartedly, that a-parents consciously or unconciously put down or ignore first parents and often give their kids grief over the topic. But I totally understand your feeling of going “Huh?” about the most unbridled anti-adoption rhetoric. Incidentally, there’s a humdinger going on at my blog now: is adoption = to abduction and are a-parents captors and do adoptive kids have Stockholm Syndrome?

    All the best –

  4. Courtney O says:

    @Jess: First and foremost–thanks for both the comment and for reading. :)

    That said, it never even occurred to me that a world without adoption could (or would ever be) exist. I think we’re all in agreement in saying that’s a complete impossibility (even if it were to somehow be declared an illegal act), and I, for one, am so grateful for said impossibility. The very thought escapes me.

    I’m not sure if “worry” is the best word to describe my concern. I strongly feel that–even taking adoption outside of the equation–every parent has moments when they think to the future and hope their child will remain as close to them as they are now (as both my kids are toddlers). Does that make sense? Perhaps I wasn’t too clear in that paragraph–I guess the very discussion of anti-adoption rhetoric threw me for a loop. ;) Seriously, though, I do hope that although there may come a time when she might say it out of anger, that she’d never honestly regret growing up as my daughter. I have more several friends who were adopted as infants and offer extremely different viewpoints as to whether or not they feel “slighted” by growing up without their first parent(s).

    I’m not entirely certain that I agree that all (per se) adoptive parents consciously or unconsciously put down or ignore first parents. I do, however, think it’s much more common than it should be (read as: at all). But at the same time, I think the progression of thought in adoption has come SO far over the last few decades from when it was a “hush hush” routine, and so much shame and blame was placed on so many first parents and adopted children.

    Many thanks for the link to your blog! I’ll be certain to check it out. I’m so curious as to see the status of said debate.


  5. ibnzayd says:

    If you will allow me to differ.

    The case-by-case basis will always support your position, this is an invalid logical foot to stand on if you will; you cannot prove a generalized thesis by stating the exceptional case–this is the cowardly side of the argument that lends itself to rather conservative diatribes against “crack mothers”, for example, in order to prove that a social welfare system is a “bad thing”–just to paint the company you are lumping yourselves with by making this statement.

    “A little reform” is not the answer either. If you had a doctor treating cancer patients with bandaids–treating the symptoms but not the disease–you wouldn’t change to a different color bandaid.

    Adoption is based in the leveraging of inequality by a dominant class in order to procure children for those who have none from those who ideally would keep their children except for circumstances that are a direct result of this class difference to begin with.

    So you don’t get to have this objective position removed from the fray, when the class position that allows you to adopt creates the problem you are trying to “help” in the first place.

    On the international level, your same class is the one that enables, funds, equips, provides for, and sustains economic and political wars around the world that result in the very “orphans” (who all have extended families) that you claim to “save” by adopting them.

    This is like a pyromaniac firefighter complaining about his work.

    When hundreds of us are advocating for the rights to unsealed birth certificates and the reunification of families, and when hundreds of us are returning to our lands of birth in order to reclaim a sense of identity and work to help undo some of the damage done to these forgotten places in the globe; when hundreds if not thousands of us are activated to help make the world a better place in the bigger picture because we are not so cynical to believe that “there is nothing we can do”, and not just in terms of individual so-called happiness, or a joy-joy so-called perfect nuclear family, might it not behoove you to look at this work and perhaps join in and support it on this activist level–and not on the individual, and–sorry to say it–selfish level, which is just another symptom of the class differential I am describing?

  6. Courtney O says:

    Thanks, ibnzayd, for sharing your point of view. I have removed the
    number of links you attached to the bottom of your post as other
    readers may view that as spam and not really listen to what you have
    to say. Thanks again!

  7. msiml says:

    I am floored that you were floored by anti-adoption rhetoric.

    What is anti-adoption rhetoric? What does it mean to you? How often do you encounter it?

    From my perspective as a woman who lost her child to the domestic infant adoption industry I am floored when I see the RHETORIC on any given site when you type in the words “infant adoption.”

    I am surprised, shocked, and stunned that you would think that any woman here in the US or around the world who has lost a child to adoption would NOT have a rather negative view of adoption.

    I really doubt that my pain is worse than the woman from Nepal, Ethiopia, or the next up-and-coming country who sells their children into adoption because they care so little for their women or communities. Few of us have a voice to tell you just how horrible it is to lose a child at birth and yet you tell us that it is “rhetoric.” Please!

    Perhaps you might consider the following pro-adoption “rhetoric”: the forever family, the unwanted child, the best interest of the child, the 2-parent household, the “better” life… ad nauseum.

    So why shouldn’t there be another side of this adoption fairy tale? And why weren’t you expecting it? Did you believe the “as if born to” rhetoric?

    If you want to call an alternative view “anti-adoption” and “rhetoric” (as if it doesn’t mean anything) then don’t be surprised that there are as many women out there who think that what you say is nothing more than “rhetoric.” There are as many women who have adopted as those who have lost children to adoption, so don’t think that there isn’t another side out there as equally as effected by adoption as you are. And don’t expect to sit back in your comfortable chair and think that you’re not going to hear about it.

    Shocked and stunned indeed – you should try losing your flesh and blood – you will understand just how shocked and stunned a person can be.

  8. catym says:

    My lifelong pain I have experienced at the hands of the adoption industry is considered rhetoric. Nice. And this is by the people who claim to have the best interests of the adoptee at heart. It’s not about best interest is it? It’s about compliance.

  9. Courtney O says:

    Thanks for the comments, catym, and for reading. I am deeply sorry for the lifelong pain you have experienced as well as your misunderstanding of my use of the term “rhetoric”. Please consult: and note the possible definitions. I use the term “rhetoric” in regard to the definitions listed under number 4 and 6; I apologize if you assume I elected the term to fall in suit with the idea of “exaggeration”.


  10. Courtney O says:

    Thanks for sharing your views, msiml, and for reading.


  11. [...] On Anti-Adoption Rhetoric on the Adoptive Parenting Blog received 10 comments. (If you don’t already know what the word rhetoric means, you will after reading the comments. Me and my dictionary, we’re very close.) [...]

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