The New York Times article about Chinese adoptions reminded me of an
internet film short that was passed around my circle of friends a while
ago. Last August, a friend of mine, fellow KAD, sent me the link to
this "informercial" called "Chinese Baby" on iFilm.
This comes with a warning – you will likely find it completely
offensive. Please don’t shoot the messenger, I’m posting this because I
believe it will make you think about American society and our views
about "family". About being able to have the money or resources to
adopt. About what kinds of children you want to adopt.
It is completely repulsive and yet, when people comment to me about
it, shows that this whole idea of adopting children internationally
stirs up some deep feelings about the politics of race, money, power
and privilege that most people don’t want to think about.
I doubt the creators of this film meant it as a critique of the
above-mentioned points, and maybe it was just a callous parody. Whether
or not it was supposed to be a joke on us adoptees and adoptive
parents, I can’t help but feel like someone gets it, albeit
(If the video isn’t working, link on to Chinese Baby).
I know, some of you will think I’m anti-adoption and will rush to
defend all the great adoptive parents you know. I’ve met them too. Yes,
there are some terrific, caring adoptive parents. Some of them even
have children who are racially, ethnically and culturally different
than them. Many don’t see their adopted children as cultural
accessories. Some choose to raise their children in diverse
communities, and don’t tokenize their children. Some acknowledge that
racism exists and don’t minimize their children’s experiences with
racists at school or church. I’ve known some adoptive parents who don’t
expect their children to socialize with a diverse group of friends
while they sit at the all-white country club sipping margaritas – they
actually model inclusiveness with their own diverse group of friends.
In my work with adoptive families, one thing I’ve noticed hasn’t
changed too much, however. Adoption policies are mostly about finding
children for families, not finding families for children. People cry,
"Why don’t the social workers do a better job screening adoptive
parents" and then, as I read on someone’s blog earlier today, "it is
not fair that i had to go through that very long and difficult
screening [adoption homestudy] descibed earlier, but homeless crack
whores can have babies." And this person claims they’re not elitist.
No matter how awful you think this video is, just keep in mind the sentiments of America World Adoption Agency founder Brian Luwis, who stated on his website,
"We knew virtually nothing about adoption or of orphans.
We just wanted a child fast and within our limited resources
. . . our belief [is] that God entrusts one mother and one
father with total responsibility for any child . . . hence, the
open adoption option ruled out some domestic adoptions
and our time and cost parameters eliminated the rest. We
also wanted a newborn for our first child but an equitable
domestic adoption was unaffordable and the wait for an infant
was at least two years. [We were] open to any nationality, we
researched all countries that met our cost and time criteria"
Now tell me again that adoption is in the best interest of the child. I’m listening.