Aspie with Attitude

Sure, I'm just another Southern Recovering Alcoholic NPR- and Sweet-Tea Addicted Comic Mom with Asperger's in the SFV, but I can tell you now that I don't necessarily fit the stereotype.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

And Yet, She Still Calls Herself His Mother

My non-adopted friends and acquaintances seem to think that what I, as a reunited adoptee, have to say about adoption, is interesting. To most of them, hearing that adoption isn't the wonderful panacea that mainstream media, with the generous help of the $1.6 billion adoption industry, have portrayed it to be is a bit of a shock, considering that all they've heard seems to be the adoption-friendly propaganda that mainstream media spews. One especially open-minded friend, E., told me once, "But isn't adoption demeaning to motherhood itself?" I was pleasantly surprised that someone actually concluded this fact simply be reading my blog and doing some thinking. Of course, E. has children and grew up in a large family; natural family seems important to her, and I don't think that she, like most people, had ever really thought much about adoption, beyond what mainstream media tell us to think. I can relate. Until my own reunion, I pretty much believed the wonderful adoption myths, too, or tried to believe them. Most non-adoption-affected people seem to take natural family for granted, which is wonderful.

Nonetheless, there is a rather predictable story in today's Los Angeles Times, that pantheon of mainstream black and white thought that allows those who believe the supposedly right things to have as much say as possible. And quickly denies those of us who may vary from currently approved thought. I don't remember the last time I saw a disgruntled mom who'd lost a child to adoption portrayed in the Times, but I know there are quite a few of them in SoCal and across the country. Ah, but that wouldn't somehow be politically correct, would it? To allow these moms to talk might well hurt the adoption industry that may be one of the few industries still advertising in newspapers. In fact, p.r. is so good at these adoption agencies that often, the Times and other newspapers will write an article for free, encouraging everyone to think about the adopters and not so much about the natural families who've been broken up by adoption.

These are important things to keep in mind as we think about today's wonderful adoption story, "Adopted teen finds answers, mystery in China." Turns out, a now-teen renamed "Christian Norris" by the woman who adopted him, has, with her blessing and gentle encouragement, of course, returned to China and reunited with his natural family. Turns out that he, whom Julia Norris adopted only a few years ago, was not taken to an orphanage by his parents, but rather, happened to be lost:

He was born Jin Jiacheng in 1991 in Yinchuan, a city in the Ningxia region several hundred miles west of Beijing, to a couple who both worked in a hospital and already had a son. Because his parents could have been penalized for having a second child, he was sent as a newborn to his father's home village to be raised by his grandmother and a 23-year-old uncle, who pretended the infant was his own son. When he turned 6 and was ready to start school, they sent him back to the city.

He had lived only briefly with [his parents] when he somehow got lost, his family says. His father, Jin Gaoke, said they were on an excursion by bus and that he got off for a few minutes to buy food at a market, returning to discover that the bus had driven off . . . The family was wrenched apart by the boy's absence. His mother went into a deep depression. His father and uncle stopped speaking to each other, the younger one blaming the father for losing the child.

As I read this, I am trying to imagine what would happen if that tragic scenario happened to one of my friends or me and somebody's child were separated from their dad and mom and ended up in a foreign country calling some strange woman "mommy." This is, of course, an injustice that a mom and dad should not have to put up with, and the whole situation is tragic, indeed. In China, adoption facilitators must love this kind of thing, although I'm sure that they like it better when the child is younger, so that they may market more infants to the burgeoning Western adopter market. In fact, one might wonder what would happen in China if Westerners did not create such a high demand for children; perhaps the Chinese government would be forced to change their ridiculous policies. Already, some Chinese people are now able to have more than one child, a progression that has happened only in the last few years.

In some ways, this story reminds me of "Daughter from Danang," a documentary that I saw when I was pregnant with my now-six-year-old. In that film, a young woman returns to her home and mother; blatently shown are the U.S. social workers of the 70s, who were begging moms to give away children. If more people would see this documentary, stranger adoption would be a thing of the past. In this film, the daughter who found her mother had lived with her mom until she was five or six, then she was taken by social workers to the U.S. and marketed as an orphan. At this point, I want to ask all moms of small children, either currently or in the past: What would you do if your child was taken to a foreign country and told to be a son or daughter to someone? Would you feel as though there was some kind of injustice? Would you want to press charges against the people who took the child? Would you at least want to sue them? Just as we allow U.S. troops all over the world but would be quite angry if, say, the Iraqis placed their troops in the U.S., we encourage mothers in other countries to give up their babies so that they can be raised in the United States and pretend to be the children of U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens applaud this kind of thing, not thinking much about the families who lose the children. One wonders how many U.S. folks, well-meaning neighbors and acquaintances of Julia Norris, welcomed Jin, a.k.a. "Christian Norris" when he was forced to come to the U.S. and live with a complete stranger, separated from the only family he'd ever known: his natural family. The whole loss of the young Jin by his father was a tragic event indeed, made much more tragic by the fact that he was shipped to another country, away from all family.

One also may wonder what would happen to most of us if we claimed to "fall in love" with a nine-year-old child. I mean, even I, who am quite tolerant of many things, would think that falling in love with a nine-year-old is just weird somehow. While I am not at all accusing Julia Norris or any other adopters of anything inappropriate, there is something about the tone of that phrase and some strange adult saying it to an eight- or nine-year-old that is akin to something that doesn't quite feel right. How would it sit with the government schools, for instance, if some teacher said this to a student? Julia Norris is not the first adopter to publicly claim to have fallen in love with her adoptee, in her case, after "touring the orphanage on a business trip." I have read more than one adopter's claim to have "fallen in love" with some child at the orphanage. And from what I have heard and read, many adopters do indeed take advantage of this stranger relationship and act out on their feelings of falling "in love" with their adoptee, which is sad; again, I am not implying that anything inappropriate has happened with any adopter, but some adoptees have mentioned that sometimes, those kinds of things have happened. I mention this information to point out how different things are in the delusion of adoption. It's okay for a single U.S. career woman to fall in love with a child and take him out of his country and into her home? Doesn't anyone see anything remotely wrong with this? We're talking about a stranger boy who was eight or nine when she met him, not about an infant! It's absurd at best, but the Times, of course, celebrates it and treats it as though it's the most natural and wonderful thing in the world.

In fact, I wonder if the story would have even run if the natural parents of the boy, who have been without their son for over eight years, had demanded him back, with money for damages demanded from the agency that oversaw Jin's adoption. The story paints Julia as a "single mother," a real irony considering that my mom and many other moms have lost a child mainly because they were single moms. The writer is also careful to paint Jin's natural family with the demeaning "birth parent" term, which is one name that many parents who've lost a child to adoption appropriately find to be a proverbial kick in the groin. How would you like it if, after losing your four- or six- or eight-year-old, you found the child years later and you were called a mere birth parent, a breeder, the DNA donor?

Even though the circumstances of Jin's adoption are tragic, his parents are still demeaned to breeders and his adoptress who, in this case did not change his diapers (I say this only because so many adopters claim that they should be called parents simply because they have changed their adoptees' diapers.) is deemed the mother in this situation, the true real mother who has paid for most of his schooling and who will pay for his college and who has watched him grow up, while his family was torn apart by their loss.

Don't look for any Times articles from the articulate moms that I've met on Facebook and MySpace who have lost a child and continue to grieve, always think of themselves as their child's mother, and believe that stranger adoption is a "cruel" and "evil" practice. There are moms like that out there, but they ain't getting published in the Times--that's for sure. And there may or may not be anything wrong with someone to take care of a boy who seems alone, as Julia Norris may be quite good at, but she is not, nor ever will be the boy's true mother.

And so I shall end my soliloquy by saying that I could hardly care less that newspapers such as the Times are going the way of the dinosaur. I say that having just witnessed the layoff, after 43 years, of my father-in-law at another major newspaper. I wish him well, of course, but he's one of those real journalist types who believes in mainstream media as if it's God. His intentions are good, but he hasn't experienced rejection of his editorial letters, as I have from the Times because my letters spoke against the sacred adoption industry. Soon after the Times stopped printing my letters, around 2003 or so, I began to look at lots of other things they weren't covering, for instance, Ron Paul. I began to see that mainstream media are not necessarily liberal or conservative, but statist, and built to stay that way, of course. The state and the wishes of the elite, such as familial separation through adoption, is supreme in mainstream media; the Internet has rightly shown that people are sick of this kind of thing, being that so-called alternative blogs are enlightening people to all kinds of ideas; and this kind of idea-spreading via the Internet is so threatening to the elite that they have hired Emperor O. to, among other things, give the Office of the President the power to shut down the Internet. Until that time, however, those of us whose natural families have been ripped apart by adoption will continue to write about what adoption is really like.


Sandy Young said...

Thank you for this! You summed up my thinking about this better than I could myself.

It is interesting that in forums the natural family is being blasted as somehow less than stellar for not finding him. I pointed out that even in Korea, Toby Dawson's father and mother were unable to locate him. The father in that case was also reviled until it was proven that the things that he alleged were true! It is altogether likely that this one will prove out, too.

Sandy Young

Julia said...

Yes, the birth family tried for years to find Jiacheng on their own because authorities were no help. It was a tragic case of a child being abducted and ending up hundreds of miles away from his home, picked up by police and placed in an orphanage. Two years later I met Jiachent and he captured my heart (never did I use the words "I fell in love"- this was poor translation in a Chinese article). I adopted him changing his name to Christian Jiacheng and leaving it up to him which name he chose to use. He ultimately chose Chrsitian.

Yes, I do still call myself his mother, but he has a mother in China who loves him dearly, as well. Never have I tried to keep him from knowing or developing a relationship with his family. They are wonderful, loving people and if he ever decides to move there then I would fully support him because I love him that much! As a mom you only want your children to be happy and that is all I ever wanted.

Ken Chiang said...

Julia, thank you for being an ambassador for Gods love. I was touched by your story which finally appeared on the China Daily today.


Ken Chiang said...

Julia, thank you for being an ambassador for Gods love. I was touched by your story which finally appeared on the China Daily today.