An adoption worker offers me advice

Thanks, anonymous adoption worker, "Jane Sue" from the Tuscon, AZ area, for these comments. I'm glad to know where you stand on the issues.

Jane Sue's response to the post, "Colorlines: A mother adopts, and discovers her own racism":

This woman would have to be blind not to notice her daughter's skin
color some of the time.
And why would she have thought about sunblock on a dark skinned
baby–until she had a dark skinned baby.
Of course, adoption is a learning experience. How harsh–and
nonproductive–to call this mom's new experiences "racist." Not sure
how that helps her raise her little kid.
We cannot wish that adoptee back in an Indian orphanage unless WE"D
rather have been raised in an orphanage (as opposed to a loving home.)
I'd prefer a loving home, myself, so that's what I prefer for that
It is racist to wish that child back in her own country, simply because
she'd match the people around her. "She's brown, so she belongs with
the brown people." THAT is pretty racist.

Jane Sue thinks I'm entitled and ungrateful in response to "Cooking Lessons":

have you ever stopped to rejoice that your adoption agency even offers these classes?
Your blogs are so uniformly negative.
How much you take for granted. How entitled.

Jane Sue's response to "Angry Adoptee":

I can see why you are so angry. You grew up in a white town. You rarely
knew other TRA.
To be completely honest, you must acknowledge that THESE experiences
shaped you, and that other TRA may have different ones.
I know that it's better to let those orphans starve and die in
orphanages, rather than have them get their feelings hurt in the USA.
Why don't you start a movement to yank the adopted babies in the US out
of their homes, and put them back in their impoverished orphanages, to
have a more cultural upbringing?
Oh. . .you don't actually ive in Korea, yourself? I see. Decided the
cultural experience was not that important for you, just for others?
Have you heard the word "hypocritical"?

And Jane Sue takes issue with my post "Rage against the machine":

Have they "actively investigated their own whiteness"? Where do you
live? I am an adoption social worker and lots of my families are not
white at all.
Or they are mixed race. Or one parent is white and the other is not.
What a racist statement. What do you want them to do–say that being
white is bad and they get extra privileges from it?
I've known abused and battered white kids. Do you want them to say that
too–white kids who have been raped and tortured by their bio parents?
You want them to talk about their white privileges? Or is it just other
white people–the ones you assume have had perfect, entitled
Got news for you. Making assumptions about white people and their
experiences is pretty racist, too. Maybe you are the one with some
investigating to do.

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

21 thoughts

  1. It sounds to me like Jane Sue, a self identified adoption social worker, is projecting her own insecurities about her role in perpetuating the removal of children of color from their natives homes/countries/cultures and whitewashing them into a neoliberal, “post-race,” entitled country. She clearly has very little understanding of race, racism, and racialized identity politics, the effects of living in a racialized society for people of color, and the white privilege that allows her to make such comments. She has absolutely no understanding of the hierarchies – or intersections with other factors – of race; one type of racism is NOT equal to other types of racisms.
    Regarding the classes offered by agencies: those are not, and were not, uniformly available to adoptive families. Adoption has occurred on a historical trajectory, of which HM was near the beginning. It’s not like she was adopted yesterday.
    This really upsets me: “I know that it’s better to let those orphans starve and die in orphanages, rather than have them get their feelings hurt in the USA. ” If there wasn’t such a huge demand by adoptive parents in the US for children of color from abroad, then those sending countries would not make so many babies available. It’s much more complicated than even just that, but a simple lesson in economics (supply and demand in a capitalist economy) suffices to explain.
    If she really were working towards the best interest of the child, then she’d be trying to work herself out of a job.

  2. “She’s brown, so she belongs with the brown people.”
    Yes but Jane Sue probably never encountered the situation of having been plucked from the place where you do blend in and and set in a place where you don’t. I’ve also criticized people for their non-matching argument. (Something about it does bug me.) BUT I cannot dismiss the experience of other people *forced* to live in a place where nobody looks like them.

  3. Oh my. . . I pray to whatever is holy that Jane Sue is indeed NOT an adoption worker.
    And I thought only we adoptees were capable of being angry and bitter!

  4. Wow. That took some time and energy. Were those posted to you back to back? Scares me to think of Ms. Jane Sue ‘social working’ my kids.
    I wanted to thank you for posting the MN adopt link on Paula’s great blog post about food/adoption. I spent the am reading through many of the articles and it is just a fantastic resource.

  5. I wonder if Jane Sue is actually a troll. Her asinine comments on white privilege or the lack thereof (in her opinion…not mine) seemed like they were meant to get folks riled up. That woman needs a little Peggy McIntosh and Tim Wise smack upside the head to her close-minded views in check.

  6. It’s unfortunate that Jane Sue is not alone in brandishing “the angry adoptee” flag whenever an adoptee thoughtfully analyzes adoption. Backlash and shame are two highly efficient means to keep adoptees silent and to discipline them. I applaud your persistent grace and courage, Jae Ran, for speaking *your* truth and provoking all of us to reflect on ours.

  7. Jane Sue probably works for the Living Loving Bleeding Sacred Heart of Sweet White Jesus Adoption Agency, LLC.
    There are all kinds of adoption social workers…

  8. I can’t believe how closed-minded you all are. You MUST believe the party line or you’re a troll, racist, stupid and GOD FORBID a Christian. Whatever you all call yourselves, let’s say “open minded?” It’s not really the real definition any longer but an extreme religion called “Open Minded” and YOU define everything that is right.

  9. i applaud you for handling these misinformed comments from Jane with such grace. i actually pray she isn’t an adoptive mom and that she reevaluates her line of thinking, especially considering her alleged area of work.
    no surprise to me though there is one sarcastic assumption from one commenter- blaming (shaking my head, almost laughing) jesus. that never fails to crack me up. it’s so easy to point our finger at the christian because they’re all easy targets and because they’re all exactly the same, yes? hmmmmm…. that seems a bit- prejudicial? at the very least, a tad harsh and judgmental. and- rather presumptuous i should think.

  10. Some people are toxic. If Jane Sue is toxic to you, then you should feel no qualms about automatically banning her comments and putting her out of your life. It may be healthier.
    Remember, you can’t talk people out of a belief that weren’t talked into in the first place.

  11. Janie Sue
    Apparently you don’t seem to realize the Western world holds a lot of responsibility for what goes on in some of these “third world countries.” (i.e. Operation Baby lift-biracial children of American Soldiers) I am an adoptive parent, but personally believe, now for example, with Haiti, it is better to donate money to an agency that provides group homes for kids in their own country like SOS does. Secondly, Janie Sue, you are not a transracial adoptee so you don’t know what it is like to grow up in a community where everyone is white but you. Some people are clinically depressed enough to wish that they had died. I know personally that my daughter was miserable at her predominantly white school until I was able to change her to a school with many more Asians. Now she is very happy, doesn’t feel she is abnormal. Imagine if I didn’t have that 15,000 a year for tuition at this new school. Then she would have grown up feeling like she was abnormal. And she is not. And lastly, it is not racist for a child of color to want or need to be with other people like her. In a current racist society like ours, kids of color need to learn from other people of color how to grow up in a society that remains quite racist to this day.

  12. I guess I’m a terrible person and I hate the baby Jesus.
    Actually, I don’t blame Christians in general, or Christianity. I’ve lived most of my life surrounded by Christians, including plenty in my family, and I get along with them just fine. Christian adoption agencies, on the other hand, I have a lot of problems with. Every time I hear about some horrible adoption scandal (like the one YESTERDAY with the “New Life” kidnappers) there’s almost always some small Christian adoption group run by deeply disturbed people at the bottom of the scandal.
    I do appreciate that there are Christians who speak out against that kind of stuff as well. But these Christian adoption agencies often seem to be in gross violation of the separation of church and state and I think most of them should just be outlawed entirely.

  13. Note to Atlasian- Real Christians oppose this stuff- but, sadly, just like any other ideology, it can be used to make money or control people or win elections.

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