By now you have probably seen the viral news story about Michael, the little boy in Grand Rapids, Michigan who invited his kindergarten class to his adoption finalization hearing. Over 30 other kids were being finalized as well.
I was tempted to comment on it, but decided to let it go, I don’t like to exploit little adoptees or play into adoption agitprop. But, I keep seeing the story all over the internet, and 95% of the people commenting, including some adoptees are fine with a public spectacle.that turns adoption and adoptees into a Hallmark moment.
I understand why this story warms the heart cockles of people who don’t get what’s going on here and see adoption as win-win-win situation–some kind of fluffy unicorn happy- ending fairytale, not the ultimate consumer transaction rooted in loss. Why adoptees would not at least be uncomfortable over it baffles me. Even the happy-dappiest adoptee has a chip on their shoulder about something it seems, suffers through Bastard Moments. or just plain doesn’t find entertainment in the commercialization of the intimate.
Adoption is not a reality show.
What I do object to is the Mighty Wurlitzer effect –the mass media spin circus that the adopters , the teacher, CASA, and the court have permitted. Confessional culture at its worse The sentimentalization of a very broken public policy. It’s stunts like this that objectify and fetishize.adoptees and promote “gratefulness” and saviorhood, the twin-engine, fueled on systemic rot, .that runs adoption mythology. and its money-grubbing industry.
Life is made up of narratives. Our stories. Many times the parents’ narratives outweigh the adoptee’s. What else is left out? Cultural implications? the mental and emotional state of the child? Race? His identity? How will he ever really own his own narrative? No matter how much he may be told it was a celebration, he may remember it differently, too young to properly comprehend how his body was feeling that day and all that occurred prior. Stories like this perpetuate the vision of the ideal adoption narrative… with the adoptive parents saving the child from their inevitable doomed future… and the child being forever reminded they should be grateful.