Friday, August 10, 2007

transracial adoption

we recently picked up a copy of the book "outsiders within" which is a collection of essays written by transracial adoptees and from the introduction are very angry that they were adopted by white families. it came very highly recommended by readers on amazon, etc. and the reviews on the back cover as well by 'adoption experts' ( i use the quotes because i don't know what this means anymore) - but there is a lot of inflamatory language they use. for instance they talk about americans as 'consumers' of children as if kids are toasters or something. Here is the first paragraph of the introduction:

"For the Chinese girls we see with their "forever families" on urban sidewalks; for the Korean kids growing up on farms in rural america; for the African American kids single handedly integrating small town schools in British Columbia; for the children who have been bought with the bribes of American dollars; for our sister's who have been kidnapped and sold; for the children who are deemed "unadoptable" - we must witness."

Their whole thesis seems to be that american white people can't afford to adopt american white babies and that it takes too long, and so that's why people adopt internationally. and that we have no business doing so. and also that the america hasn't really changed in 30 years.

we got the book because we want to know as much as we can about transracial adoption and who better to learn from than people who have experienced it. but they seem to be setting out from the very beginning to demonize everyone who wants to adopt or has adopted. this makes me just as uncomfortable as people who want to deify the parents of adopted children (ie: those kids are just so lucky to have you - yuck!).

people who annoy me are:
1) those who refer to international adoption as "forced migration"
2) those who refer to international adoption as "the new globalization"

in reality, international adoption by westerners started with picking up the atrocious slack of an unjust war in vietnam. certain americans felt compelled to adopt children whose parents the american government had killed so that they wouldn't grow up alone. in my opinion, people in the west who are willing to raise children, (in a globally responsible way), who have been abandoned by their own countries and forced to orphanhood by parents who were shunned by that same force or by the force of poverty or disease, not only have the right to do so but somehow find within themselves an utterly compassionate and real desire to allow these children to fulfill the right they were born with - which is life.

i agree with their whole point that colorblind love doesn't exist or work. we personally believe that differences should be a source of pride and celebrated. i just wanted the authors to acknowledge that there are many families out there who are aware of the difficulties of transracial adoption, and are prepared to take them on if they arise, who acknowledge and fight racism every chance they get, and who truly and genuinely want to have a family.

i haven't finished the book so hopefuly it will get better - more balanced perhaps? i do also agree with their ideas of global poverty being the real problem - however i am still waiting to hear a viable option for the children who are in orphanages
currently. i will be sure to let you know if my thoughts change or if i do end up garnering insight as to the problems/tribuations they experienced and how we might combat them.

6 comments:

Grace Alexander said...

I do appreciate your bravery in continuing to read that book. Your desire towards authenticity in becoming adoptive parents without romantic ideologies, I believe, will serve you well down the road. I would be very interested in reading that book when you are finished if you would be so kind as to send it my way.

I love you guys,
Grace

MaryPaul said...

lets talk soon.
miss you,
m

MaryPaul said...

I think some people just want to be angry. I also think you two are great people, and not just because you are adopting pancakes.

-p

MaryPaul said...

pancakes or sourdough flatbread?
-m

Meghan said...

Sorry to be commenting on such an old post, but I'm currently reading "In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories". The title is pretty self explanatory, and although it does present 2 distinctly differing views, it's never inflammatory, like the book you describe.
I recommend it if you want something more balanced.

Meghan said...

Another recommendation!
I just finished "Inside Transracial Adoption" (By Gail Steinberg/Beth Hall)and it is everything you describe when you said:

"i just wanted the authors to acknowledge that there are many families out there who are aware of the difficulties of transracial adoption, and are prepared to take them on if they arise, who acknowledge and fight racism every chance they get, and who truly and genuinely want to have a family."