International Adoption: The White Woman’s Burden. Agency staff picture is worth a thousand words

Jwhiter than whiteust a morning thought on International  Adoption and American foreign policy, such as it is.

I had never heard of  MLJ Adoptions before this morning, until I ran across it on a re-Tweet 30 Things to  do During Adoption Month. Since I’m lazy and didn’t make a list of things to do for NAAM I’m ready to take on an assignment. Not content with telling people to set up book displays or make a “life book” for their kid, MLJ   busy-ness is more specific and time-consuming.  If I’m not promoting Orphan Sunday, subjecting my friends and neighbors to Stuck, raising $$$ for other people’s adoptions or setting up an adoption booth at a local high school’s Friday night football game to  drum up producers and consumers, I’m not doing my fair share  to spread the Good News of Adoption.

Why NMJ has even created a handy-dandy selection of  MLJ adoption banners and pictures for my FB page. Aimed at the crunchy social justice crowd  the selections include the consumerist:

Adopt Globallly — Love Locally

By globally  MLJ  means adopt from our program.  MLJ’s grabby fingers reach into Bulgaria, Congo (oh! oh! just closed!), Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Samoa, and Ukraine. It offers “adoption services” for  Ethiopia, Guatemala, Nepal, (oh oh! US State Dept. advises against Nepal adoptions) Taiwan and Vietnam ) oh! oh! closed!)

So far, just the same old happy-dsppy adoption mill drivel.. Then the devil whispered in my ear, as he does so often during NAAM,. I went to the “staff” page, and this is what I found:

MLJ Staff Arch

International AdoptionLand: The white woman’s burden

Sixteen white women in uniform.

My first thought, and I’m surprised I hadn’t thought of it before, is that international adoption, a distinct subset of US neo-colonialist foreign (and domestic) policy, is the white woman’s burden.

Certain white males  (at least in the US) are burdened with the hard corporate task of cajoling or stealing the natural resources of other countries,  destroying  economic systems, fixing elections, and if called, to overthrow  governments, friendly and hostile, for that country’s “own good,”  Certain white women carry the soft cultural concomitant burden of child saving–cajoling children out of the hands of their families and into the US adoption market..

Both burdens are glossed over as “doing good,” “spreading democracy”,  “empowering the “dis- or unempowered, “and inculcating “American values” in the losers who fall under the gaze of  US corporate state scrutiny.

Le’t not forget that liberal  Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Bartholet, at a July 2010 NCFA conference I attended, told a surprised audience that individuals and countries (and minorities on the homefront) empower themselves by giving their children up to the American adoption mill.  The earlier the better. Domestically, she said, not enough black children have been removed from their families for adoption purposes. The Harvard Human Rights Journal published an interview with her on these views Part 1 and Part 2.

There’s no time to get into this deeper.tonight  The picture  of MLJ says it all in a iconic way we seldom see outright, but know well.


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