I’d Get Me Some Kids

Some get every beanie baby,
Some get little yippy dogs.
Some get stone geese they dress in clothes
Or statuettes of frogs.
But me, I’d get me some kids
From east and west and south,
With Chinese eyes, a Bantu nose,
A Guatemalan mouth.
I’d take them from their families,
I’d take them from their lands,
I’d wipe away their homesick tears
With privileged First World hands.
And when those bitches at the club
Call me a dried up cow,
I’ll just point to my collection
‘Cause I’m a Mommy now!

Okay, that was mean and I know it. It’s in reaction to a truly awful adoption poem by an author who has wisely chosen to remain anonymous. This poem (in several variations) can be found on a number of adoptive parent blogs and forums and I am rather alarmed by the fact that so many people don’t realize how creepy it sounds.

Now, let me say that I am not anti-adoption, at least not in the most logical sense of the word, that is, opposition to any form of adoption. I am sure there are plenty of people who would characterize me as “anti-adoption” because I talk openly about my own feelings and experiences in ways that suggest that adoption isn’t always completely wonderful even in the best cases. I have a stack of discourse analysis texts on my desk and years of postgraduate work in linguistics under my belt and I am eagerly anticipating the day when someone publicly tries to characterize me or anything I’ve written this way.

Furthermore, I am not opposed to international adoption in principle. Its actual practice is rather questionable, but even most of the pro-adoption groups recognize this and some of them might even be thinking about doing something about it, someday, maybe. I am friends with parents of international adoptees. Our children play together regularly and I think they’re very nice people and wonderful parents who, as far as I can tell, have pursued international adoption in ways that have avoided exploitation. And there are some other terrific parents of international adoptees who I don’t know personally but who keep great blogs and are clearly hip to the fact that adoption isn’t just about them.

But there are some people out there who really scare me. Occasionally I click on my blog’s adoption tag and have this big WTF moment.

First, there are the child collectors. I don’t even know what to say about that one. Except that children are not beanie babies. I posted that comment and was surprised to see it make it through, but it was lost among all the congratulations over their latest acquisition.

Then there are the adoption tourists. Yeah, that Lonely Planet travel guide to Ethiopia will really help you understand your adopted child’s culture. Does your infertility stem from engaging another type of tourism in, say, Thailand or Cuba, and bringing back an unwanted souvenir?

And finally we come to the religious crazies, and not surprisingly the people in the first two categories tend to fit into this one as well. Um, look. Saying that adoption is God’s plan is like saying that amputation is God’s plan. Sure, if you believe in a wholly deterministic universe where everything has been set in motion by an omniscient creator, then adoption, amputation, and every other thing that happens, good or bad, is God’s plan, in which case calling anything in particular “God’s plan” is pretty meaningless. If you don’t believe that, then how on earth can you see adoption as anything better than an imperfect human solution to human problems? Medical amputation is not done because it’s a good thing to do; it’s done because it’s better than any of the alternatives.

Should I just stop reading crazy adoptive parent blogs? It sure would make life less stressful. But the thing about crazy adoptive parents (or prospective ones) that bothers me the most is their complete, often willful obliviousness to the other sides of the adoption experience. They shut out everything they don’t want to hear about, they comfort themselves with safe adoptee bloggers affiliated with adoption industry sites, who just happen to be adoptive parents themselves. In short, they construct a reality bubble for themselves, a safe internet echo chamber where they won’t have to consider other perspectives. I would be quite a hypocrite to do the same thing.

So I guess I will just have to engage in the occasional blog rage. Who knows, maybe they’ll at least stop posting all that bad adoption poetry.


5 Responses to “I’d Get Me Some Kids”

  1. 1 imtina June 14, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    I too hate those poems. They’re so hideously creepy. I remember when my Amom said things like, “I feel like I gave birth to you” and I hated that, even though it was well-intentioned. I won’t do that with my daughter for sure. Keep on writing…I like it.

  2. 2 joy June 14, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    I could never adopt, I just can’t fathom it, so it is hard for me to read or relate to most aparents blogs, I don’t know how you do it, they make me sick to my stomach, OF COURSE there are exceptions, there are a few I even link to, but they seem to be few and far between.

  3. 3 justenjoyhim June 14, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    Rage away, B. “Who knows, maybe they’ll at least stop posting all that bad adoption poetry.” — However, I kind of doubt that the bad adoption poetry is going away. Sadly.

    And thank you so much for the wonderful compliment. That makes me very happy. 😀

  4. 4 Theresa June 14, 2007 at 10:21 pm

    It was not mean. It was perfection.

  5. 5 Julie June 16, 2007 at 5:24 am

    Fabulous post! Thank you thank you thank you for adding your articulate voice to the growing chorus. Bravo!

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