Who Exactly is the Charity Case?

Costs include various application fees of $1,000 or more, a home study that costs up to $3,000, a required $4,500 contribution to the orphanage and the travel to get their new daughter and bring her home.

The costs were daunting, Phillips admits, but they didn’t deter the family from their mission.

“Little girls in India are frequently thrown in a ditch or they’re sold to temples as prostitutes, horrible things,” she said. “A family like ours wants to save her from all of that — you’d think they’d make it a little easier. But at the same time, I realize all this is in place to prevent child trafficking.”

Yeah, the exorbitant costs are in place to prevent child trafficking.    Keep deluding yourself with that twisted logic.  As long as prospective adoptive parents are blind to the blurred line between saving a child from an imaginary fate and purchasing a highly prized commodity, they continue to be part of the problem.  

India’s limit to the orphanage is $3,500, by the way, not $4,500.  

Full fundraising plea article here.

Shhhh…Adopting from Ethiopia in secret

The Joint Council on International Children’s Services, a U.S. adoption agency lobbying organization, recently posted a very long policy recommendation on its website titled, “Cultural Sensitivity Regarding Adoptions in Ethiopia.” 
 
The gist of the recommendation is that adoptive parents NOT be seen publicly with their newly-adopted Ethiopian child. Why? Because non-Ethiopian people being seen in public with Ethiopian children apparently violates “cultural sensitivities”: 

“Given that the vast majority of American and European families adopting from Ethiopia are Caucasian or other non-black, the adoptive families and their Ethiopian child are easily distinguished and are often a point of curiosity among Ethiopian citizens. Understandably, due to misconceptions about adoption some Ethiopian citizens even look upon American and European adoptive families with suspicion. Cultural differences in parenting and child behavior are contributing to this suspicion.”  

Frankly, the Joint Council’s policy statement itself is culturally insensitive, painting Ethiopian citizens as ignorant, superstitious and potentially hostile natives who don’t understand adoption. When Ethiopians see white people taking away Ethiopian children by the thousands, they understand quite well the loss that international adoption means for them, their children and their country, and they understand only too well that the “help” they get from white people is taking away their children, the rest of the country’s citizens be damned. 
 
The Joint Council never explains what they mean by cultural insensitivities, but they sure sound scared at the possibility for business drying up: 

“Without exaggeration, this [cultural insensitivity] may lead to the elimination of intercountry adoption as an option for ensuring that every Ethiopian child has a safe, permanent and loving family.”  

If the sheer magnitude of international, transracial adoptions from Ethiopia looks so bad, wouldn’t the most culturally sensitive response be to find ways to keep children in country with their Ethiopian families, instead of counseling adoptive parents to slip Ethiopian children out of the country as quietly as possible so that Ethiopians don’t notice? 
 
When has secrecy in adoption ever been a good strategy?

Freakoracismese

In a NYT blog, one of the authors of Freakonomics recently answered the following question:

What is your opinion on how international adoption affects the economy, race and class divisions, and the widening income gap within U.S.? What do you think of the argument that children are “readily available for adoption” in the U.S., and, further, that adoption is marketed as a product with benefits?

After failing to point out that international adoption is a multi-billion dollar a year industry, Steven Levitt, adoptive father of two daughters from China, goes on to explain why he chose to adopt Asian children as opposed to a Black children and how that decision was, in his opinion, not racist:

“The identity issues faced by a black child raised by white parents would be too difficult.”

“As a parent, I was not willing to take the chance on loving and raising an adopted child, only to know that when he became a teenager he would have to face the choice of being ‘black’ or ‘white'”

“That same sort of racial ‘all or nothing’ choice is not at play for Asian youths in our society.”

This logic, which assumes that Asian identity issues are lesser than to the point of being nonexistent, goes back to resistance’s questions: “What is the right sort of identity for a transracially adopted child? What identity will allow the child to bond with the adoptive parent? Does the child have to be a pseudo-biological one (We’re really all the same! I don’t look at him and see that he’s Chinese, I look at him and see my son!) in which differences are minimized, unspoken, unnoticed or suppressed?”

I guess in Levitt’s view, he’s able to bond better with his Asian children than a hypothetical Black child, because well, Asians are pretty much white or at least white enough to not pose significant problems (for him). Never mind what his kids think or will think. The Q&A is par for the NYT and its notion of Relative Choices.

Compartmentalizing Racism

Paula O. has a fantastic post up addressing how racism superficially targeted towards one race is not diminished racism and still affects a wide range of people of color. Though you think your racism or your family’s racism is directed to a finite group of folks, the net it casts is far-reaching. Racism is not so neatly contained.

After hearing a “joke” (read sanctioned racist epithet) about African Americans, Paula, who is Asian, “felt hurt, disgusted and dehumanized by such ugly and hateful words.” Get that?

Paula writes:

I know for a fact that there are people I’ve encountered in my life who feel that I am white “enough” for them to expect me to understand their compartmentalized racist attitudes and beliefs about other races without me feeling offended or hurt, simply because I am not the race of which they are attacking.  That somehow it is excusable and even justifiable for them to hold racist views, as long as I’m not the one being marginalized. “Don’t worry, Paula”, people would say. “We don’t think of you as one of them.”  How was I to explain that I AM one of them?  That I AM an other.   That I am not white.

This is why when I hear the same old tired excuse from white adoptive parents that they feel comfortable adopting an Asian child but not a Black child, I feel a lot of compassion for that Asian child and immense relief for that Black child.

Manufactured in China, but hello! DESIGNED in America

Pigs may fly occasionally, but here we go again. I’m reading this headline, “1 million Chinese-made cribs recalled” and am wondering what the manufacture of cribs in China has to do with fatal design flaws of American-designed cribs. The article mentions two more times that the cribs are made in China but is completely silent about the company, a family owned and operated business located in Reading, Pennsylvania whose roots “stretch back to Morris Waldman who started the premier toy and children’s merchandise distribution company in Philadelphia in 1947.” Again with the ingrained yellow perilish stereotypes. “1 million Pennsylvania-designed cribs recalled” just doesn’t have the same ring, does it?

Why I hate adoptive parents

Reason 8.   No boundaries. No detail about your kid is too intimate to share on the internet. No photo of your “[insert ethnicity] Princess” too private. What gets me the most is when you divulge something major to thousands of strangers that you haven’t even told your kid yet, like the fact that you found their first family. Or when your blab something your child has asked to keep between the two of you. That’s just sad.

Adoptive parents who publish their children’s personal histories, please stop. Your “Journey to Exotic Country for My Child” and “Bringing My Angel Home” books and blogs are crap. Please stop impersonating the voices of first parents too.

White [is] perfect

Ugh. I had no idea about this product:

Following years of research on Asian skin, L’Oreal Skincare Laboratories invent a new advanced triple action technology that acts at each step of the skin darkening process, for a perfect whitening efficiency.

Ironic, isn’t it, that L’Oreal proudly proclaims that diversity is a priority?

Diversity is a core value for L’Oréal. From the wide variety of people who make up its teams to the products developed, diversity has always been a priority for L’Oréal.

Uh huh.