Without any ado, the award for the most angry sub-culture goes to (drum roll . . . .) the adoption community! With special recognition and bonus points going to the Vietnam adoption community! Congratulations, really, congratulations for an unparalleled performance in the areas of: snide comments, angry outbursts, intolerance of others, and petty defensiveness! Great job!
Seriously, ever since unwittingly “joining” the adoption “community” I have been amazed by the anger. You can read through my archives, I’ve talked about it before in terms of “appropriate” adoption language. Which brings me to my point:
As a community or a sub-culture or whatever you want to call this world of adoptive families (I don’t know that we’re well enough defined to be a sub-culture, and I don’t know that everyone is playing nice enough to be considered a community), there is a lot of anger. A lot. I’ve read so many posts on so many different blogs and boards that I can’t begin to list all of the things people get angry about, but I’ll try:
someone said oriental instead of Asian
someone asked how much your kid/adoption cost
someone asked again about your adoption progress
someone asked if they could give you a baby shower, and don’t they know that you don’t want to have to answer a million times about where your baby came from and how the process went (but you do want the gifts)?
someone asked why you chose to adopt
someone used the term “real child” instead of “biological child”
someone asked what you know, if anything, about the “real parents”
someone asked if you can’t have a child “of your own”
someone doesn’t want the birth mother that involved in the child’s life
someone asked what part of China your non-Chinese, Asian-born child is from
someone asked, OH. MY. WORD! if your child is adopted
a whole freaking bunch of someones asked to adopt girls instead of boys
someone asked if your son/daughter will speak English
someone said there is corruption in some agencies
Hmm . . . well, the list could go on.
Now we have something actually worth getting upset, if not angry, about — evidence* of corruption in VN adoption — so let’s all have a big party and get angry with each other, shall we? It is, after all, what we seem to do best. And yes, yes, yes, I realize I got angry two weeks ago when we found out the new I600 procedures were going into effect and would delay our travel date by at least another month, so maybe I’m throwing stones in a glass house, but you know what? I had that little outburst on my own blog. That’s it.
Eventually, for better or for worse, everything that is going on right now, all of the investigations and rumors of NOIDS, will blow over. Vietnam may stay open or it may shut down, and many will probably walk away happy and many won’t, but all of this current controversy and resulting ill-will will end, at least for a time. What is everyone going to be angry about then? I promise you, many people will find something, whether it is adoption language, birth mother issues, gender selection issues, birth culture issues, whatever. I just don’t see it ending here.
Like many of you, I am scared. I am scared that the program will implode before we can bring Quinn home. I am scared to live in a world that harbors and supports the evil that turns children into a commodity. But right now, mostly, I am scared that all of the anger in the current adoption climate will spill over into my children’s world and teach them lessons that nobody needs to learn.
This seems to me to be a good time to recycle a quote I posted here almost exactly a year ago:
“When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us if fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.” — David A. Bednar
And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt says you don’t even want to get involved.
*I know many have called for facts, not rumor, so to that end I will say that, in addition to what has been posted on official web sites, and blogs in which I have confidence, I have recently had the chance to speak with a woman who returned several months ago from Southeast Asia where she lived and served for a few years. Though most of her time was spent in Cambodia, she also spent time in Vietnam. She was unaware that adoption from Vietnam was again possible in the US, but she was very aware that it had been shut down due to corruption. She talked about how people would go into the poorer villages (maybe she was referring only to Cambodia, maybe Vietnam, maybe both, I didn’t ask her to clarify, and she didn’t seem to distinguish a whole lot between the two countries) and offer $30 to a family in exchange for a child, and many families would take the offer because $30 was more than they had seen in their entire lifetime. So, yes, I don’t doubt the corruption exists, and I am appalled that innocent children are a commodity not only in the sense that they are bought and sold, but also in the sense that there is, obviously, a huge “markup”. If that doesn’t make you want to go vomit your Post Toasties, I dont’ know what will.