More on Asian adoptees as a Hollywood trend

A few days ago I linked to an opinion piece by Mike Seate, a columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune. Seate’s essay, "Adopting Asian kids becoming latest fad" has unleashed a lot of uproar in some parts, and it was only after some readers to this blog directed me to the comments that I got wind of the controversy this piece created.

Only, instead of being outraged at Seate or his opinion piece, I am disappointed by some of the adoptive parents who commented.

I agree wholeheartedly with Papa2Hapa and Ann, who commented on my original link to the piece, that this seemed like more of a dig on Hollywood, who has certainly made adopting Asian children seem like an accessory. It was also a questioning of why people aren’t adopting Black children in the U.S.

I’ve made the exact same statements or questions on my blog, many times. I wrote a review about "Then She Found Me" and had a very similar critique as Seate. I have also questioned many, many times the justifications that are given for why people chose to adopt internationally from Asian countries versus Black children in the U.S. Many adoptees I know would agree with Seate. On one list-serve I’m on, some of the adoptees thought it was hilarious. In terms of the the idea of Asian adoptees being a "luxury" item, I know that a common thing for us adult adoptees is to talk about how much we "cost." Of course, not every adoptee would agree, but many of the opinions I hear/read from adoptive parents are as insensitive to me as Seate’s comments are to adoptive parents.

So, I wonder if it was Seate’s tone in writing, or that he is neither an adoptive parent, social worker or adoptee, that is causing so much vitriol from the adoptive parent community.

Because truthfully, I find some of the comments aimed towards Seate and his opinions more problematic and personally hateful than anything Seate expressed in his sarcastic and snarky essay. And, as a Black man, I think he has the right to wonder why so many adoptive parents go overseas to adopt Asians than adopt Black children in the foster care system. Seate might not know (or at least, does not seem to reference or indicate in his piece that he knows) all the complex reasons for this – but he is entitled to his opinion. God knows I hear opinions about adoption every day that disturbs me.

Contrary to some commenters, I definitely don’t see how Seate "doesn’t approve of your family’s skin color." No where in the opinion piece did I see anything that suggested Seate is suggesting only same-race adoptions. Seate’s "rice paddy" reference was ignorant and off-putting to be sure. But that doesn’t mean Seate is against transracial adoptions. But, I don’t see his piece as journalism, but an opinion. Much like the opinions I express here on the blog, including some opinions that I have received lots of heat for expressing.

And p.s. Just because one does not have children, does not mean that one can’t have a solid, researched, informed opinion about something. And, just because one has children doesn’t mean you have a magical, omnipotent understanding of the issue. Somehow, adoptive parents who adopt transracially often seem to use the "until you’ve parented, you’ll never know . . . " yet at the same time, think that they can know what their transracially adopted child will know or experience. These might be some of the same adoptive parents who tell me, "My child won’t experience this or that" and I respond back, "Really? Unless you’ve been transracially adopted, then you’ll never know . . ."  (I say this because many of my TRA friends have been told, "you’ll understand when you become a parent yourself" as if their entire lifetime of experiences AS a TRA aren’t enough).

Seate may be flip and sarcastic, but I wonder if there is a grain of truth in his words that is causing such defensiveness by so many adoptive parents. I mean, don’t you think we should all be behind his main point – that Hollywood is portraying Asian adoption as a trendy option, and that it’s distasteful to do so? Can’t we agree with Seate when he writes,


But for some reason, even Hollywood is marketing Asian babies as somehow superior and more desirable.

When was the last time you saw the adoption of a Black or Latino child in a glamorous Hollywood movie?

Yeah, me either.

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34 thoughts on “More on Asian adoptees as a Hollywood trend

  1. You’re last sentence puts all of this into perspective forme. Although the truth is, I’m not sure trans-racial adoption has been portrayed in Hollywood all that much at all, so it would stand to reason the most well known “version” of TRA would gain popularity. There has been some TRA on television in the past – mostly in sit-coms, but I can’t think of anything current.
    That said, I did not read all of the comments, but I do believe you are giving the dude a bit too much credit. Even with a grain of truth his rice patty comment is flat our racist, not just ignorant and off-putting. It places the tone of his piece in an entirely different light than when you critique international adoption, but I’m sure he received the response he desired.
    It’s precisely the fact that he doesn’t fully understand international adoption that putting a piece like that out there put’s opens him up to criticism. Do I like the tack that many commenting APs used? Nope. Were they being insanely defensive? Yup. Did he want them to react that way? Of course.
    I do believe he has a right to wonder why more people don’t adopt from the foster care system. And for that reason, I too am disappointed that few people took the time to explain to him (the way folks did here on this site), all of the complex reasons why it doesn’t happen more often. The dude is asking to be better informed, and we missed the chance by essentially ripping him a new one.
    Interestingly, the aspect of the piece that disturbed me the most was not the racism, but that he seems to be suggesting we’re all reacting to Hollywood’s glamorization of Chinese adoption. Given the that IA peeked a few years ago, I’d say Hollywood is late to the party. My fear is that since China has now made it essentially impossible to adopt if you are NOT at least upper middle class, Seate’s misconception will materialize.

  2. I think it is interesting (to build on CJsDaddy’s comment) that, although international adoptions to the U.S. may be declining, it seems like adoption is becoming more commonly portrayed (though not necessarily *better* portrayed) in the media. And I think the popular media (and celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Madonna) have a big impact on the way the general public thinks about adoption.
    So… I agree, I think there’s some truth to Seate’s comments, and stirring up controversy is a good thing if it shakes people out of their complacency. However, he does seem to be a professional chain-yanker, and chain-yanking makes it tough to swallow.
    On another (but related) topic, I am also very interested in why and how prospective U.S. adopters choose among private domestic infant, international, and public foster-care adoption. My hunch is that the groups of adopters who do private domestic infant and international adoption are far more similar to each other than are those who consider adoption from foster care. My hunch is that the former group are mostly infertile couples or single adults who want a baby. Adopting a baby is generally not possible with the foster care system. This would be my guess as to *one* reason why many people who adopt are willing to adopt an Asian child but not a black child from foster care.* (Of course, I know many children placed in foster care are adopted, but typically by their foster parents or by kin.) If there is any validity to this, then I am particularly interested in why some people who choose to adopt *older* children (e.g., over age 2) internationally apparently do not consider foster-care adoption.
    * I also believe that race and ethnicity usually play a strong role in prospective adopters’ choices (for example, when choosing a specific country from which to adopt), but – when comparing domestic foster-care adoption with international adoption, I believe the child’s age is usually the stronger factor in people’s choices.

  3. I don’t know, Jae Ran. I agree with points you made and with the two commentors above. I don’t think Hollywood portrays adoption, adoptees or adoptive parents very accurately, hardly ever. I also don’t think Hollywood celebrities are driving adoption. And I agree that age of the child rather than race is probably one of the most determining factors in choosing a country for IA.
    As an AP, I didn’t feel defensive about Mike Seate’s piece. I didn;t write an andry letter to him, or to the Tribune. I just thought sounded ignorant and was not very funny. (I thought Ken’s piece was much less ignorant, and far more funny- as entertainment goes.)
    Of course, we are all influenced by the gains and losses we have experienced dependent on our position in the adoption triad (if we have one).
    The more I listen and learn, the more I feel I don’t know anything.

  4. I’m glad to see a follow up on this. I was curious why you posted the article link at first, since I didn’t think the article was very good. This clarified it for me.
    With all due respect, I disagree that the article was more of a dig on Hollywood.
    I suggest that in this case, AP’s took Seate’s critique of Hollywood as an ad hominem attack upon the practice of international adoption itself–and hence of APs–which made them out to be simply trend followers. Seate’s title is “Adopting Asian Kids Becoming Latest Fad”, not “Hollywood portrays Asian Adoption as Trendy.” And his line, “EVEN Hollywood is marketing Asian babies as somehow superior and more desirable,” suggests his real target is not Hollywood per se, but actually Asian adoption itself.
    I certainly agree that it’s wrong for Hollywood to portray international adoption in such a way, and it’s necessary to question the reasons for international adoption. But, it’s also wrong to paint the Hollywood version of adoption as everyone’s truth. Not exploring a single reason why AP’s might choose to adopt internationally, but instead imply they are just following a fad is wrong. It furthermore shows his opinion to be terribly ill-informed, even if he asks a pertinent question about adopting black or bi-racial foster children. Seate’s “rice paddy” comment simply added fuel to the fire.

  5. I suspect that I’m one of the adoptive parents you are disappointed with, so I’ll comment relatively briefly.
    First, I respectfully disagree that Seate’s column can reasonably be read only as a comment on Hollywood as opposed to a assumption-based slam on international adoptive parents. I don’t know if you read Seate’s follow-up blog posts, but his hostility towards adoptive families (and his dismissal of their reasoning) puts the original column in context.
    Second, I don’t think anyone is seriously questioning Seate’s right, as a journalist or columnist or person of color, to comment on the issue. But people have an equal right to respond, and to consider how the choice to run Seate’s comments reflect on the paper. I suspect that the column would be considerably more controversial if a columnist had used some equivalent of the “rice paddy” comment against African-Americans.
    Third, the “it’s only a column, not journalism” excuse is not particularly persuasive to me. Seate writes a column for a major paper, along with a linked blog, and chose to make wide generalizations about a group of people he doesn’t know. I believe some of those comments show animus — like the rice paddy one. Others show ignorance — like the comment about tens of thousands in bribes he made in one of his blog follow-ups. I don’t think “I’m just a columnist” is a palatable excuse for either.
    Fourth, the follow-up blog posts show more directly that Seate views failure to adopt African-American children in foster care by these international adoptive parents as a sign of racism. No doubt for some it is. But to accuse adoptive parents of racism as a generalization — without first educating oneself about the complex factors that lead people to chose a path for adoption — is not worthy of respect. Moreover, to say that adoptive parents ought to be adopting African-Americans rather than foreigners without even mentioning the tremendous controversy over cross-racial adoption of African Americans is either ignorant or dishonest.
    Fifth and finally, I’m not saying that only people who have adopted are entitled to have opinions about adoption. My point is merely an ancient one about the mote in one’s eye. Seate feels free to say that there is no legitimate reason to adopt overseas and that adoptive parents have an obligation to adopt needy children in a manner of which he approves. Yet he’s not willing to take on that obligation himself. I maintain that my analogy is a good one — Seate is like the people who were angry that folks were donating money to “foreigners” after the tsunamis, despite not donating domestically themselves.

  6. I find the comments so frustrating because we tried to adopt an AA child before we chose IA. The difficulties were simply insurmountable. I do find it hard to take when someone who has never adopted an AA child, or even researched the process, gives me a bad name and judges me for it. His rice patty comment was racists, no other way to paint it. If a white person had said something equal in context about a black woman, they would be fired. His attitude may reflect general society, however it is hurtful to those of us that tuck in a child, who is viewed as less worthy of a home. As an AP I get tired of being the bad guy.

  7. While I certainly understand that many adoptive parents (and probably many that don’t even have a connection to adoption) felt Seate’s columns were disrespectful, judgmental and racist I just think it’s very interesting that most of the adult adoptees I know did not find it as offensive as adoptive parents.
    And let me remind you that WE adult Asian adoptees he speaks of – those who he feels would have been better off in a rice paddy – the Objects of his derision – are not the ones in arms going off on Seate. Not that we are heralding him as a bastion of high journalism or anything like that.
    I’m not saying Seate is correct in his assessment or that what he wrote was fair-minded. I just don’t think it was all that terrible either. And I actually think he hit the mark a few times.
    I just find it *SO* interesting that any time someone dares criticize adoptive parents for ANYTHING it seems the AP world gets up in arms. At least, from this adult Asian adoptee’s POV, one who actually does understand how tough it can be for adoptive parents. And yes, I know not ALL AP’s do this (please don’t lump me in with Seate on this one).
    Believe me, the pathology bestowed on adoptive parents is NOTHING compared to the pathology bestowed on adoptees themselves.
    Instead of throwing darts on a third-tier columnist, why not appeal to Hollywood to make more accurate portrayals of adoptive families?

  8. This story just didn’t excite me either. I find there are more people that question our adoption than would support it anyways. And I think in the US adults really do have an idea why we didn’t adopt from foster care. Sad but ugly truth – our system is soooo wrecked. I do feel like I’m learning more all the time and if we were able to adopt another I would like to look into an older child in foster care (I don’t really care what race and would be willing to make the changes necessary and learn what I need to do to support that child’s identity). But I don’t apologize for my IA, even though I would not do another with what I am learning (which is easy to say as I wouldn’t want another “baby” at my age). People are always going to question the choice we made and name calling or getting angry is not going to change that. And its not what I want to model for my IA child either.

  9. This story just didn’t excite me either. I find there are more people that question our adoption than would support it anyways. And I think in the US adults really do have an idea why we didn’t adopt from foster care. Sad but ugly truth – our system is soooo wrecked. I do feel like I’m learning more all the time and if we were able to adopt another I would like to look into an older child in foster care (I don’t really care what race and would be willing to make the changes necessary and learn what I need to do to support that child’s identity). But I don’t apologize for my IA, even though I would not do another with what I am learning (which is easy to say as I wouldn’t want another “baby” at my age). People are always going to question the choice we made and name calling or getting angry is not going to change that. And its not what I want to model for my IA child either.

  10. Believe me, the pathology bestowed on adoptive parents is NOTHING compared to the pathology bestowed on adoptees themselves.
    A key point. I’ll be honest and admit that AP’s often forget this fact. We do get caught up in defending ourselves defending our families that we overwhelm any defense we might have for adoptees, or natural parents for that matter.
    If we truly cared about “rice patty” comments, then we’d be all over anyone who believes such garbage – whether in the context of adoption or not.

  11. Jae Ran, I see the “adoptive parents up in arms when criticized” thing as a characteristic of fairly close-knit internet communities, not some strange trait of adoptive parents. Post something attacking some subset of gamers, or defense lawyers, or parents with allergic kids, or some other group with a good forum/blog network and you’ll see the same sort of response.
    In fact I’d love to see more of that from adult adoptees when some jackass pulls out the “why can’t you just be grateful and shut up” line. You saw something like that with the NYT adoption blog incident last year.
    As to focusing on Hollywood to urge it to make more accurate portrayals, I think it’s a lost cause. I don’t think that Hollywood particularly cares about accuracy.

  12. I don’t get this “we’re being judged too much” thing that IA parents often say.
    In fact, I see the opposite side.
    When people find out we’re new adoptive parents, they usually, especially if they’re white, or else recent immigrants, ask us, “what country?” or “where from?” and are visibly shocked and confused when we mention our son’s U.S. state. I’ve even started messing with them by saying “we adopted him from the Republic of ___-stan”.
    It’s annoying.
    Adopting from foster care is not easy, in fact it’s incredibly inefficient and difficult, but it happens ALL THE TIME. According to this statistic*, in 2000-2001 40% of all adoptions were from foster care, international was 15% and the rest were private domestic, kinship or tribal.
    So even when international adoption was at huge, peak numbers, it was much less than foster care adoption. So how did it get to be the default? Part of the answer is massive media representation.
    Disagreement expressed over aspects of international adoption in opinion columns and on the internet… that’s a pretty mild form of judgement.
    I do agree with one thing… I don’t like it when people use kids in the foster care system as a rhetorical point. I think Seate dropped the ball on that one. I would have been totally down with the article if he’d talked even just a tiny bit about foster care issues on their own, and how to advocate for a better system.
    *http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/s_adopted/s_adopted.cfm

  13. You could wait a long time for Hollywood to get adoption right. One of my favorite (and award-winning) science fiction short stories, “The Martian Child” by David Gerrold turned the gay male adoptive parent (which the author is) into widowed John Cusak and eliminated most of the science fiction from the story.

  14. I agree – Hollywood rarely gets anything right.
    For me, life is about picking and choosing my battles. I have been accused of being oversensitive about racism and discrimination, I’ve been accused of being oversensitive about feminist issues, I’ve been accused of being oversensitive about adoption. But if I were to truly spend time fighting everything I felt was injust in the world with regards to racism, sexism and adoption (and especially since as an Asian female adoptee, there are multiple intersections) I would never sleep and probably have not survived to this ripe age I am now.
    Is it that trying to get Hollywood/mass media to accurately portray adoption seems so futile that trying to get an obstinate, self-aggrandizing columnist to re-consider his opionion looks like a more realistic outcome?
    I don’t know any of these answers. All I know is that from my point of view, like Ken mentioned, we adoptees get it all the time, in the likes of the New York Times and in too many other places to count. In all of this, adoptees have the least amount of power.
    atlastien, I really agree with your comments.

  15. I think there is a lot to be annoyed about with Seate’s piece, but I do think that part of the reason many APs get up in arms is that “grain of truth” you mentioned in your closing. No one wants to admit that there is any racial preference in their international adoption, but when you are given the option to choose, it’s hard to deny that there IS often a kernel of racism.
    I also wholeheartedly agree with atlasien that tossing out the “why don’t more people adopt from foster care in the U.S.” comment without any commentary or supporting info is always difficult. I personally know of families who turned to IA after several frustrating attempts to adopt from foster care.

  16. Is race considered when adopting? Of course it is. Race should not be considered as the nasty little “grain of truth”. It is a very real big deal consideration one must make when considering adoption. I am a white woman who is considering an adoption of a black baby. Believe me, there is a lot more to it than just deciding to love a child, any child. If you are of one race and adopting from another you’d better darn well have a good understanding of the outcome. As a white woman how would I tell my black son how to deal with the racism in this country? How would I make sure he feels good about himself within the african american communities? These are things very much worth considering when adopting interracially.
    I have made many black friends who have graciously agreed to help mentor my future child. I live in a community where white, hispanic, asian, and black families live together. We’re not without racism, but things are better here than in other places. Because of where I live, adopting interracially is more ideal for someone like me than for a white family living in the burbs of a small mostly white town. Not that it couldn’t be done, but the family would need to understand racial issues of doing that and be prepared to handle that.
    On the article in question, I have to say I’m so tired of breeders telling the rest of us how to form families. I would never walk up to a pregnant white woman and tell her she is racist because she chose a biological child instead of a child in the US foster care system.

  17. I wasn’t particularly suprised to see the intensity of the ap comments on Seate’s article, since he touched both the ap defensiveness button and the white person defensiveness button simultaneously. As a recent ap myself I am constantly amazed by the repeated assertions of ap regarding how “hard” or “difficult” it is to adopt domestically in the US.(Just saw this again as I am writing this post on a cnn story regarding vietnam adoptions) Many of the points brought up regarding the differences between adopting and older child from foster care and adopting an infant internationally are good, but that always leaves me wondering why people are ignoring the possibility of adopting infants of color in the us.
    When we decided to adopt we approached a large reputable agency and considered all our options. When they told us that the average wait time to adopt a white infant was 18 months, but that the average wait for an infant “of any race” (mostly african american in our area) was 4 months our decision was sealed. When we started our process this agency had 100+ families waiting to adopt a white infant but less than 15 open to a child of any race. They also had 200+ families going through the long (and more expensive)process of adopting an infant or toddler internationally. When I hear ap talking about how they chose international adoption because its “too hard” or “impossible” to adopt a baby in the us I wonder what the hell they are talking about. I know I’m only extrapolating from my experience, but I find it hard to believe I live in some sort of anamoly as regards the availability of non-white infants to be adopted domestically.
    This basically leaves me with two conclusions:
    1. Some people (not all, there are other reasons too) choose to adopt an infant internationally instead of domestically because they value (or believe their peers value) the international infant’s race/ethnicity/culture more than that of african american or mixed infants from the U.S.
    2. Some people are more comfortable putting some distance (both geographically and power relations-wise) between themselves and the birthparents.
    Of course this doesn’t necesarily apply to all people who adopt internationally, that’s not what I’m trying to say, but I do believe that the justification “Its just too hard to adopt in the US” ought to be interogated, with rigor.

  18. Psychobabbler – I agree entirely, but would suggest strongly that you consider a third conclusion.
    3) Some people are more comfortable with a given country’s adoption process than with the typical domestic infant adoption process. This is different than your item 2, because I’m considering the process leading up to and receiving a referral, then bringing a child home. Of course, the domestic process can vary, but that’s a new trend.

  19. CJsDaddy, I admit I’m having red flags go up a little around the “some people are more comfortable” part of your addition. Could you unpack what you mean by that?
    Here’s what I think I’m hearing, although I may be wrong. Someone in Jae Ran’s original thread linked to a response to Seate’s column by an AP named Ken at a group blog “pope’s hat.” I read it and was unimpressed and not really amused. In particular, when the writer, Ken, was called out for his problematic and inaccurate portrayal of domestic adoption by someone who had domestic adoption, he specifically said,
    ‘For instance, many people (my family included) are completely unwilling to engage in the sort of “beauty contest” persuade-the-birth-mother-to-pick-us scenario involved in some private adoptions. That’s a personal risk tolerance.’
    Maybe your reasons for questioning the domestic adoption scene are different from Ken’s, but I’m calling bullshit.
    I don’t think modern domestic adoption process is uncomplex or that the so-called “dear birth mother” letters aren’t kind of messed up (for reasons that I think have more to do with the class anxieties of the people writing them than the people reading and judging them), but I sense a whole lot of unexamined wounded middle class, heterosexual privilege suddenly rearing its ugly head here, and being coded in terms like “comfortable,” and “personal risk tolerance.”
    A whole LOT of the APs responding to the Seate column make it clear that they’re not “comfortable” with being forced in any real way or at any level to acknowledge the real existence of the first mothers of these children. They fundamentally don’t want to face, in any way that might be “uncomfortable” to them, that their acquisition of a child came off her back, off her resourcelessness. Thus, they’re most “comfortable” with a process that erases, disenfranchises her as fully as possible.

  20. It’s amazing how people know exactly how other people really feel and what they must really think. It must be a terribly handy skill.

  21. It is sort of amusing to see an AP war going on this blog. Perhaps ironic?
    As a side, I have read Seate’s column, his follow up blog posts and this thread, but I fail to see how his “rice paddy” comment makes Seate a racist. Can someone point this out to me?
    I am a Korean adoptee and was not offended by this, but can see how others could be. I was surprised by all the outrage and cries of “racist” over this flippant remark. I consider myself educated and aware about race issues in the US, so have I internalized my personal race issues so much that I can’t recognize the racism the “rice paddy” comment?

  22. ‘A whole LOT of the APs responding to the Seate column make it clear that they’re not “comfortable” with being forced in any real way or at any level to acknowledge the real existence of the first mothers of these children. They fundamentally don’t want to face, in any way that might be “uncomfortable” to them, that their acquisition of a child came off her back, off her resourcelessness. Thus, they’re most “comfortable” with a process that erases, disenfranchises her as fully as possible.’
    Lori, thank you for saying this – it needs to be said, over and over again.

  23. Shelise, I am with you on the rice paddy comment. Considering I get worse kinds of “racist” comments on almost a daily basis, it seemed like a stupid comment but not nearly as racist as what I typically have to hear or deal with.

  24. I understand that Hollywood can make bullets curve or humans jump over trains, but that when it comes to actual portrayal of human spirit, they rarely get it right.
    I love Jae Ran’s insights. Can I share your brain?

  25. I think it is very unfortunate that as adoptive parents of international adoptees, we are all lumped together. As one of these parents, I am as alarmed as anyone at the ignorance of some of them. Even someone on this blog just mentioned it would be hard to adopt a black child in her mostly white community, but not an international child? My child is Chinese. She is not white. I don’t want my child to be like some Korean adoptees who avoid mirrors and pictures because they remind them that they are not white. Before this lady makes this decision, she needs to read some books and blogs by adult Korean adoptees. My child happily enjoys Chinese language, Wushu, and Chinese dance lessons, Chinese camp most of the summer, a Chinese church and most of her friends are Chinese. Everyone treats her like one of the gang. At least 4 days out of a week she gets to be with people who look like her outside of her school. She attends a multicultural school. In spite of much Chinese exposure as detailed above, my daughter still felt out of place and ashamed of being Chinese at school until I changed her to a multicultural school from her predominantly white school. What would happen to this child growing up in an entirely white community? I shudder to think. I have no idea how she will be as an adult, but i am trying to learn from the “accidental” mistakes of the first generation of international adoptive parents. These people loved their children, but didn’t appreciate the importance of culture and race. My goal is for her to have the same childhood as her friends whose parents immigrated to the U.S. I realize she had a birth mother, and I do appreciate the adoption agency we used trying to first help babies to be adopted in their birth country and to provide assistance and training to moms so they can keep their children. Long after we have adopted, we donate to help them with these wonderful programs.
    Now to address the issue of adopting a black child. It truly depends on where you live. When we were looking at adoption possibilities, a friend of ours, a black man and his wife, attempted to adopt a black child. After 6 months, the grandmother came back to get the child so they had to relinquish. (If mom doesn’t sign a release, you have to foster adopt for one year here). In another instance, two close black friends were in process of adopting. The agency attempted to take away a child from the white family she was with for a week shy of the one year mark to give this child to my friends just because they were a black family. My friends refused because they didn’t think it was right. My husband and I, regardless of race, did not want to deal with getting attached to a child and having someone come to try to take that child away. We were not willing to take that risk. The National Assoc of Black Social Workers is very biased toward getting kids into same race families, and we live in a predominantly black city. We also wanted to adopt a child under 2. I am sorry if you think that is wrong but that is what we wanted. I personally was not infertile but didn’t feel comfortable bringing another child into this world when I could help a child who was already here. Yes, I do think Hollywood uses children as fashion accessories. Hollywood uses everything as fashion accessories, and everyone has to outdo everyone else. Very sad to me. These people have the money to provide the cultural exposure for these kids but do they have the common sense to do so?

  26. Lori – I’m really not sure where you’re coming from either. Psychobabbler gave two conclusions about why people choose international adoption over domestic of some sort.
    Neither one of these observations were particularly flattering, although they were not overtly critical either.
    I agreed with them, then I added a third suggestion – the process itself.
    I made no commentary on that at all either. In fact, I intentionally tried to keep the same tack as the first two suggestions.
    You actually unpacked the reasons pretty well, including a citation of a response to Seate’s column that explains exactly what I was saying. So it would seem that you agree that my third suggestions makes some sense. No?
    You can apply some kind of red flag or bullshit to me if you want to, but I’m honestly confused that you’re trying to hear something that isn’t there.

  27. As the author of the two conclusions on choosing international over domestic adoption–I don’t think international adoption is always wrong, I mostly just wanted to vent a bit about the common statement, “we chose international because it is too hard to adopt domestically and/or there is a shortage of adoptable infants.” For me this is a myth that often hides some difficult realities.
    I do wonder some about choosing international adoption because one does not want to worry about “someone coming to take the child.” Of course this is a horrible nightmare for everyone involved, and I must admit that if this hapened to us we would fight it to the death regardles of how justified it was.
    But the non-ap part of me wonders if in terms of fostering justice in the adoption system if we want ap to be protected from this in ALL circumstances? Surely there are some circumstances in which the birthparents have been so taken advantage of that something must be done in order to discourage abuses and set things right. I know that “setting things right” in this type of situation is not really possible some one is going to get hurt, obviously, but why would we want, as ap, to ensure through the immense inequities of power involved in some international situations, that it would never, ever be us?
    Are there situations where adoptive parents are treated badly, their children taken away unjustifiably? Probably there are. But that street runs two directions.
    For us in considering our adoption we just found too many stories of desperately poor people who had been taken advantage of through international adoption. We wanted to maximize the possible voice of the prospective birthmother and minimize the power differential between us and her. We felt that domestic adoption was the way to do that.
    I am open to the possibility that there is a way to do international adoption that can also minimize this power dynamic(which some agencies and ap seek to do), but it sometimes seems that people choose international adoption in order to take advantage of this inequality and maximize the security of having more power in the situation.

  28. Luisa
    In the particular situation of which I speak, perhaps it was better for the grandmother to change her mind and come to get the child. I am just saying I would prefer not to have to deal with that if I have a choice. The other issue, social workers removing black children from white homes who have been there several months (which almost happened in a case I observed) is due to that bias which I truly understand (we are raising our daughter immersed in her culture). On the other hand, my friends only had to wait two more weeks for an infant to become available, and yet the agency was willing to disrupt an almost year long “foster adoption” by a white couple (if a black child) to save two weeks? I also did not want to deal with this.

  29. Luisa
    In the particular situation of which I speak, perhaps it was better for the grandmother to change her mind and come to get the child. I am just saying I would prefer not to have to deal with that if I have a choice. The other issue, social workers removing black children from white homes who have been there several months (which almost happened in a case I observed) is due to that bias which I truly understand (we are raising our daughter immersed in her culture). On the other hand, my friends only had to wait two more weeks for an infant to become available, and yet the agency was willing to disrupt an almost year long “foster adoption” by a white couple (if a black child) to save two weeks? I also did not want to deal with this.

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