My NAM basket is a bottomless pit of fucks. We are only one-third of the way through National Adoption Month, and I was hopelessly hoping that my basket would inexplicably empty out, and by this point in November I could be nice like I used to be. Then along comes Plymouth, Indiana mayor Mark Senter to poke the basket. and exacerbate my meanness. I’m tired. I’ve been working on a long serious writing project all day. Now I just want to dive into Scandal (I’m binging on Olivia Pope), check up on adoptee peeps of TikTok, and go to bed. I think I want a Bloody Mary. Instead, I am here, stewing about what a smalltown Indiana mayor said about adoptees, legalized abandonment-by-baby-box, and spouting off about it off the top of my head.
Here’s what happened:
Yesterday, the town of Plymouth became the 72nd location in Indiana and 89tth in the country to receive God’s miracle of a Safe Haven Baby Box. Hizzoner, speaking at the box blessing, felt impelled to throw his two cents at my basket, and I gotta throw a fuck or two back at him:
“Everything will be confidential, we don’t want to have names,” said Mayor Mark Senter. “But a baby can be placed in there, and hopefully live a long life. A normal life.”
Maybe, you don’t want names, Mayor Senter, but there are 6 million adopted people in the US today–including Indiana, with its convoluted, contradictory, degrading restricted adoption records law –who do want their names and the names of their parents and family and don’t appreciate you saying that names don’t matter. And, there are millions of parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, throughout the US– including Indiana– who also want names of family, shredded in the adoption mill, and don’t appreciate you saying that names don’t matter. Our unknown, hidden names are precious to us and our lost families, whether you appreciate it. Or not.
Now Mayor Senter may be a great guy He probably is, but he knows nothing about adoption and how it works A SHBB “relinquishment” is not a “confidential relinquishment.” It is not a “confidential adoption.” It is not a “closed adoption.” An SHBB relinquishment is an anonymous relinquishment–an abandonment; a baby dump– where names, histories, and relationships are wiped out forever, “for our own good” courtesy of politicians and middle-class “Christian” do-gooders. Those essential elements of identity are replaced “for our own good ” by government-forged birth certificates, sealed records, made-up histories, stranger parents, and state-constructed lies by way of fast-track adoption. Informed consent, paperwork, and normal procedures (even those which aren’t so great) are dumped along with the baby who needs to fend off a creepy abandonment for the rest of their life. No looking back for the parent. Stick it in the box and walk away.
Adoption is not normal, Mayor Senter. It is a paradigm of family, political, and societal dysfunction and pretend greased by greed. The public, church, politicians, and media romanticize adoption and adopted people as long as we behave. We are always babies with no agency of our own, always and forever in need of guidance. Special interests across the political spectrum objectify us to meet their own personal and political ends. Abortion. Evangelism. Infertility. Welfare. Whatever d’jour We are their propaganda. If we object to being objects, commodities, gifts, moral lessons, and eternal infants, object to fitting in, object to our secret government files, object to our ‘”better life” we are ungrateful–or crazy! You need help! We’ll pray for you! I’m sorry you had a bad experience!! Shut up!
Being adopted does not create a “normal life” unless you think not knowing who your biological parents are is normal. Or who you look like. Or having your original self torn at the root and replanted in some hothouse run by Franz Kafka. and Salvador Dali. Being dragged halfway around the world, from your culture, your family, your friends, and your language, to live with strangers is not normal. Neither is spending thousands of dollars to find your origins or begging a judge to open your birth records because they are yours, or lobbying for the restoration of your own rights to a bunch of politicians, more interested in naming the State Fish or creating a special right for constituents to give each other Covid, than your rights. Would Mayor Senter put up with this crap?
And don’t get me started on the ever-present adoptee abandonment issues or physical, sexual, and emotional abuse that can culminate in serious relationship problems, illness, depression, and even suicide for adoptees. I can only imagine how SHBB children will end up knowing their “mother loved you so much she didn’t kill you” but dropped you in a lockbox at the fire station. Or that God wanted you to be abandoned so we could have you. That’s some sick shit. If adoption is so good, why the secrets, the pretends, the draconian laws? Even “good adoptions” can have bad outcomes.
Every Safe Haven Baby Box that sprouts from a fire station or hospital wall is an attack on Class Bastard and the adoptee rights movement; the right to records, the right to identity. the right to our own truth– our civil rights. We run an OBC bill and right behind us comes the baby box pimps with their slogan “women demand anonymity.” Goodbye OBCs. Goodbye rights! Just be glad you’re alive.
This seems like a bad draft of something more serious later. I dunno. I just had to say something about the adopta-garbage spewed out of Plymouth. Besides, I’m too tired to finish the NAM blog I originally planned to post tonight. No Bloody Marys here, I have to settle for a Coke Zero. I want to be Olivia Pope and fix things.
Day 11of 30–
19 to go