NAD/NAAD Day 25: Students for Life Continues to Co-opt, Appropriate Celebrity Adoptees

Looks like Students for Life  (SFL) is 3 days late and a few brain cells short.

I  expected  SFL to celebrate National Adoption Day (NAD) which fell on November 18. Maybe it did, but nothing showed up until a November 21, tweet. Oops! I know you love adoption.  What happened?

SFL has a way of appropriating adoptees and celebrities to push its “pro-life” agenda. I’ve written about this spurious habit here and here, in response to their blogs that valorize adoption and talk-up prominent adopted entertainers, sports figures, writers, and scientists who apparently became successful due to their adoptions–washed clean of problematic bio parents.

The problem is that while some of the individuals actually are adopted, a good number of them are not.adopted or they are adoptee-lites; that is, in stepparent adoptions. So many SFL “adoptees”  were not whisked away shortly after birth, dropped in the arms of strangers, and their true parentage and history locked up in government vaults. SFL erases and reimagines the lives and experiences of the Not Adopted who it claims are adopted and adoptee lites. John Lennon, Nelson Mandela, Eleanor, Roosevelt, JRR Tolkien, Willie Nelson, Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton, Jamie Foxx, and Babe Ruth all populate its fake self-serving list. The LDA traumatic narrative of Jack Nicolson who only learned when he became famous that his sister was actually his  mother is erased. All this fakery in the name of the SFL agenda.  Or maybe SFL is plain stupid.

Whatever. Students for Life, sees no difference in the adoptee or in some cases the pseudo-adoptee experience. Their adoptees are a (grateful) monolith. Or is it worse? Is there no difference between the adopted and kept experience and self-definition outside of a piece of paper? 

This year Students for Life decided to “adopt” Tony and Emmy-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth as their Adoption Day adoptee.  Now Chenowrth is indeed adopted and has made no secret that she is actually happy she was adopted. She is also vocal that as an adult she had a relationship with her bio parents  “Mama Lynn” and  Billy Ethridge (ZZ Top). She credits all four parents for giving her talent, inspiration, and support to succeed.

The tweet:

It was never a surprise. They always said ‘The lady that had you in her belly could not take care of you the way she wanted to, and she loved you so much.'” “This is what my mom said,:’She gave you life, but we get to give you a life.'” Happy National Adoption Month

Some adoptees disagree with Chenowith’s rosy view of adoption, but that’s not the point. If an individual adoptee posted this meme to elucidate her opinion about her own adoption, it would be no big deal.

The point is that SFL took  Cheoweth’s words, produced a meme of sorts, with them and her picture, and posted it around the internet. The world. It actually stamped a SFL © in the upper right-hand corner. The whole thing sorta reminds me of Trump trying to hi-jack Tom Petty and Neil Young

The organization, in effect, linked Chenoweth with SFL’s organization and agenda  which includes opposition to hormonal contraception and Plan B, and says that “birth control disrespects women.”

It also implies that Chenoweth agrees with the Christo-fascist and seemingly Christian Nationalist ideology of SFL president, Kristan Hawkins who opposes  LBGTQ+ rights (which Chenoweth, who considers herself a liberal and non-judgmental, is on record as supporting) mandatory Covid vaccination in the military, masking in general, NPR, Democrats, and pronouns to name a few. She worked for the 2004 Bush/Cheney Re-election Campaign and served as a Bush appointee to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives; and is a  long-time supporter of Trump whom she views as a patriot and hero.  She supports the book banning Moms for Liberty. Recently Hawkins endorsed Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s lockdown of military promotions, and celebrated the election of Argentinian neo-fascist Javier Melei, to the presidency there. See Twitter for her voluminous comments on various issues. Her list of dislikes is as long as the line to the women’s restroom at a Taylor Swift concert. Many make no sense.


A couple of other things:

  • Students for Life has several initiatives, including  Abortion Free Cities, similar, but not related to the more well-known Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn movement led by Mark Lee Dickson.  AFC is/was  part of Reprotection,a SFL partner.  Reprotection was founded by Cathie Humbarger, the retired Executive Director at Indiana Right to Life NE; retired Vice President of Policy Enforcement at Indiana Right to Life, and the Director of Public Policy and the lobbyist for Safe Haven Baby Boxes Inc. I am unclear what is happening with Reprotection.  Its URL goes to another organization, which does not mention abortion.
  • Last year I wrote a NAM/NAAM blog about SFL’s adoption mandate in light of the Dobbs decision demanding that adoption is a “moral imperative”  to save lives.  Students for Life Has Plans for Adoption and It Doesn’t Include Adoptees. 



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