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.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Even Here, There Is Adoption

And so, I have returned home. Well, I guess you could call this home. I was born in Richmond, Virginia, but my mother had no ties there. She was sent there, hours away from her home in Wilmington, North Carolina, so that she could give birth to me and then give me to strangers. I was supposed to be born in Wilmington and it felt really weird once, when I was at my mom's house, looking at a picture of the hospital where my half-sister, born almost three years after me, was born. I was supposed to have been born there, but I realized, looking at that picture, that even knowing where my mom and the rest of my natural family were would not heal the pain of being separated from her. Just as I could never be physically born again in this life, I could also never recapture all the years lost from being separated from my parents. Adoption results in an emotional pain that the non-adopted never have to deal with.

This pain makes throws some people into denial, as it did me for many years. A number of adoptees, and even some moms who've lost a child to adoption, have chastised me for expressing my feelings, and for stating the obvious: breaking up families through adoption gives an emotional pain that can never heal. What really gets to me is that so many adoptees have written about that pain and yet, they can't seem to help but end by saying that adoption can be beautiful. Yes, like rape can be beautiful, I suppose. What can be more lovely than taking away an infant poised to nurse his or her mother's breasts, an infant just born, an infant used to the smell of his or her mother, and give the child to genetic strangers. Lovely, isn't it?

Yes, many Bible thumpers claim that they are saving a child from being thrown into the dumpster or whatever, but that claim is simply not true. Bible thumpers often love to tell the story of Moses and use that to justify taking another woman's child. But as my loyal reader Jim stated previously in a blog comment, the next time I see a baby floating down the river, I'll consider it okay to take it.

Many attempts are made these days to make adoption seem as though it were saving a baby from floating down the river. The China system is currently the absolute best to promote this mythology. In the 70s, after Roe vs. Wade, the agencies that supply infants saw their supply beginning to drop. They began marketing the U.S. in Korea, Vietnam, and other countries that had vulnerable populations. They told the moms that their children would have a much better life in the fabulous U.S. of A. and the moms, often desperate, believed them and sent their children with social wreckers. I wonder how many of those social workers, sent specifically to find children for Western adopters, gave money to the mother and family and tried to keep the children with their families.

Adoption agencies must have been having orgasms when the whole China thing came down. I'm not exactly sure when China started its ridiculous one-child policy, searching for diapers and other evidence of more than one child, even in remote rural areas. Whenever it was, the adoption agencies really scored. Children came into orphanages, creating a need for somebody to take these supposed orphans and give them a home. Westerners began adopting them and it became a status symbol of sorts to have a little China girl in a home. Don't believe me? Ask Angelina Jolie, who, even though she has no China doll, has a whole rainbow of children under her roof.

I can't tell you how many Gymboree and MyGym classes I've sat through in L.A. with some white adoptress pretending to be the mom of one of these little China girls. As to why they're often girls, it's because the Chinese culture so reveres males, and males are to help with parents in old age, that the girls are most expendable. I guess most Westerners think that moms in China have no feelings or that they easily take their children to the orphanage. Whatever the case, most Western adopters these days are as happy to have a China doll as they are to grab a healthy white infant from a teenage mom. The latter is in low supply, however, partly due to the fact that many moms who have lost a child to adoption are telling it like it is and talking about the loss of adoption, a loss from which mother and child can never fully recover.

And now, here I sit in the library of the small town in northwestern North Carolina where I grew up. It is not Wilmington, where most of the rest of my family resides, and where the Smiths, from whence I came, are known for our blue eyes. One of the reasons I am back here right now is because I want my children to experience the genuineness and honesty of most people here. As I sit in the library, however, I watch an adoptress who has taken a China doll as her own. I watch the child call the adoptress, who looks nothing like her, "mama." And I think about how much this child has suffered in her few short years on earth. More than likely, the little girl will not grow up knowing her native Chinese language and more than likely, she will not ever find her mother and father. To take their place, she will most likely create an elaborate scheme of lies, started when her adopters began calling her their "daughter" and asked them to call her "mama" and "daddy." Do you really think that China will change anything when Western adopters are spending so much money to take away the children that the government will not allow? Do you really think that God wants us messing with nature this way?

More importantly, however, I wonder what this kind of thing is doing to this child. And to the other children taken away from the native land and families by Westerners envious of children. I know that not all adopters feel this way (there are posts much earlier in this blog about an adoptress who is trying to teach her China girls the truth), but most do. Each time I looked in the mirror, I wondered who I looked like. Imagine how much more complex this process is when the child is not even the same nationality as the adopters. My guess is that the little China girl in the library today will have to fill herself with lies for the rest of her life to overcome the pain of what has happened to her and to cover for the lies that she has already been living with. She will probably never ever find the truth, as most families take these children to the orphanages anonymously. She probably will never know her family. To say that this kind of life, filled with life, will never affect her is to be in great denial. Then again, adoption is all about denial, isn't it?!?

Even here, in this relatively quiet town, there exists the ugliness of adoption, the lies created when family members are separated by do-gooder social wreckers, the pretending that I grew up with, the empty hole that is never filled when one loses his or her family. Adoption has touched every corner of our nation, from the suburbs of Los Angeles to the small mountain towns of North Carolina. Its ubiquitousness is nothing to brag about.