Adoption and Rights

I wasn’t going to blog today, but now I must.

I’m going to go where I haven’t gone in a long, long time: adoption politics.  Don’t yawn and move on just yet, and don’t worry, I’m not going to make any disparaging remarks about Rev. Bob the Obama.  He actually has nothing to do with this as far as I know.

The Center for Adoption Policy yesterday published this little nugget on its website yesterday:

November 5, 2008. After the Election. Now that we know who the President of the United States will be and have seen the composition of the new Congress, we can concentrate on achieving our legislative priorities. Central to our agenda must be the selection of political appointees in the State Department and at the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services who believe that intercountry adoption is a legitimate and proper mechanism for finding permanent loving homes for unparented children and who understand that American citizens who adopt internationally are exercising a right, not seeking a suspect privilege. We must all work to ensure that ICA in the United States, under the Hague Convention, and as administered by the State Department and CIS, is transparent, accountable and designed to serve the best interests of children.

First, I must be honest and say that I know very, very little about The Center for Adoption Policy other than what they tell the public about themselves on this page of the website.   Very impressive resumes for that board of directors; but, frankly, I’m not impressed.

May I tell you that I find my feathers are a bit ruffled and my undies are in somewhat of a twist, or a bunch, or what have you?

I am tempted to end this post right here and let you all guess which part of the above November 5th Nugget has hit a nerve, but no, I will dish:

American citizens who adopt internationally are exercising a right, not seeking a suspect privilege.

Can I hear a big, collective, “Excuuuuuuuuuse me?”

How, exactly, are we exercising a right when we adopt internationally?  Which right, exactly, is it that we are supposedly exercising?

Obviously I am a proponent of international adoption, specifically international adoption that is done morally and ethically.  

Oh, I am having such a hard time putting this into words.

What is up with our country that we think we have a right to everything?  We don’t, people!  We don’t.

As Americans we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Pursuit of happiness.  That does not guarantee happiness, and it certainly doesn’t guarantee a child in every home to nosh on that chicken in every pot.  It especially doesn’t guarantee a child from a country that isn’t even governed by our system of governance.

Adoption is a wonderful way to build families.  Adoption is a wonderful way for children who need a family to have a family.  Adoption is not a right.

If we want to talk about adoption and rights, then we should be talking about the rights of the children.  THE CHILDREN.  We should talk about the rights of all children to have homes and families and loving parents.  We should talk about the rights of children to not be bought and sold like chattel, the rights of children not to be abducted so that they can be sold.  We should talk about the rights of children to be loved and cared for and looked after, the rights of children to be taught kindness and love and compassion, so that someday they will know how to do the same for their children.

I believe all children have the right to a family.  All children have the right to be raised by loving parents.  If we are going to talk about adoption and rights, that is where we need to start.  That is what should be motivating policy and the selection of political appointees dealing with adoption, not some trumped-up imagined right of American adults to adopt children.

None of my children, whether adopted or biological, are the realization of some practiced right*.  My children are a blessing.  They are a trust.  They are a myriad other things.  But bringing them here was never my right, just my privilege.

I think I may go punch a wall now.

*Yes, yes, the right to pro-create, which really just boils down to the right to have sex, because we all know even that doesn’t guarantee a child, (which is why I don’t see my biological children as the realization of some practiced right – I mean, sure, all children come from people having sex, but not all people having sex produce a child, so I never believed that just because sex was happening I had a right to be a parent.  Am I making any sense or just throwing around the word “sex” so much that you are all distracted now?).

21 thoughts on “Adoption and Rights

  1. J

    You hit the nail on the head, I read that staement too, and it really bothered me, but I didn’t take the time to figure out what exactly, it was that was wrong…
    All children are a blessing, not a right.


  2. Sing it, sister. I read that statement yesterday and had the EXACT same reaction. The heck? A right? Really? Thanks for about an important issue that I’m too brain dead to tackle. I couldn’t agree with you more. And yeah, the excessive use of sex was slightly distracting for me, but I got it. 🙂


  3. Exactly – drives me nuts to hear/read PAP’s who seem to think it’s a right, and now to see it reflected in this way as well – yikes, they just don’t get it!


  4. rainbowmom

    Oh my goodness. I know the very group where you saw this posted and I literally and just sat for a moment trying to digest what I’d just read. I wrote a couple of comments, then decided not to post. You said SO well what I tried to explain in the messages I didn’t send. I’m so glad we’re given the privilege to bring children here to our families when done so ethically. I too am sick of people spouting about “rights” that we don’t have. Especially in equating those “rights” with other humans. Thank you for posting this!


  5. Christina

    Oh yeah, I saw it before you even pointed it out. Our country has gone off the deep end in its never ending quest for nonexistant “rights”. Bunch of spoiled brats is what we sound like. And this is one of the worst. I agree with every word you said!!


  6. Oh man, my response contained a lot more dirty obscenities than your gentle one. I was really floored at that and honestly I don’t know too much about them myself but I’m not all that interested in learning more at this point.

    That statement is so embarrassing to me, as an American Internationally Adopting Parent. Seriously these people represent us in the eye of those who don’t know better and I’m humiliated to think that some might read that and think my family thought we had a RIGHT to a child, that other countries have some sort of OBLIGATION to offer one up. Sick. Screwed up. All sorts of wrong.


  7. Wow, that’s a really bizarre statement! We’re such a lot of entitled nincompoops, sometimes, but I wouldn’t have expected that statement from an adoption advocacy group! Well written, my friend.


  8. metaphase

    Ok, I may be totally wrong, but that isn’t really how I took that statement. I thought it meant Americans have the right to go through the legal process, not that we have a RIGHT to children in any way. I thought it meant our government shouldn’t be getting in the way of our own private affairs, of doing the paperwork, working with another government, and doing what we think is right to grow our family. If a country is open to international adoption, then our government shouldn’t be trying to govern that country as well. It is our right to adopt from there if said country says it’s ok, and we go through the proper, ethical, legal channels.
    Hey, I am open to the fact that I may be completely wrong. (I have been before! I know you find that hard to believe:) That’s just how I interpreted the little paragraph you posted..


  9. Pingback: A last resort? Adoption as a right? Huh? « Our Valentine’s Day Treat

  10. Very interesting perspective on it meaning Americans have the right to go through the legal process without the government becoming uneccesarily involved. I honestly hadn’t thought of it that way, but that is a stance I could support. I HOPE that is what they meant by that statement, and if it is, I HOPE they re-write that statement to make it more clear.


  11. 3continentfamily

    I have to say the wording of this was all wrong (imo). I know Dr. Kunz quite well and she absolutely without a doubt doesn’t see adoption as a ‘right’ (she is an adoptive mother herself). I honestly think they were referring to the legal process- that it be fair to all parties involved. Just my 2 cents.


  12. I have been a bit suspect of this organization for a long time. It seems like pretty much anytime anything can be construed as wanting to closer examine adoption practices, etc…they seem to interpret it as anti-adoption. One of the biggest problems with adoption today is the whole entitlement thing that many PAPs have lodged in their heads.


  13. Cara

    Awesom post! It amazes me how selfish people are sometimes!

    On a side note, will there be a follow-up to all of the odd searches this post brings to your blog? Between the sex and the earlier, ahem, c**ter (sorry, I just can’t type or say that word) post I have to imagine that you get some people looking for some odd things!


  14. Novella

    And just because you are a parent doesn’t mean that you should be. Not everyone is equipped to be a mother or father. One thing that greatly upsets me is that adoption agencies seem to care more about getting a single child into a home. I would love to see more of these agencies trying to place children that have siblings together. I mean how would you feel if you where a sister or brother and you just lost your family and you only have a sister or brother left and you are place in different homes?

    I just thought that I would throw that out there. I am not trying to start any fights.


  15. Pingback: Stepping On Legos » Blog Archive » Deep Thoughts

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