I was out of town for a few days and in and out of the LaLaAdoptionLand loop. As a consequence, I was only marginally aware that the Congressional Coalition for Adoption Institute (CCAI) had stuck its industrial sized nose into the Orphan brouhaha until I did a phone interview with David Crary from the Associated Press. Crary had seen my earlier blogs on Orphan and wanted my permission to quote me. He informed me that the CCAI had sent Warner Brothers CEO Barry Meyer a letter aghast over the studio’s insensitivity to orphans, foster children, and adoption in general. Well, those aren’t the words Crary used, but that’s my translation.
After I picked myself up from my rotfl moment and dusted off the dust, (actually, I was in the middle of an outdoor courtyard at the library,) he filled me in on the details.
The letter had been signed not only by CCAI director Kathleen Strottmann, but 11 other groups including the Joint Council on International Childrens Services, American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the Christian Alliance for Orphans, keeper of the OrphansDeserveBetter.org website I wrote about earlier, and… (surprise!) The National Council for Adoption… all of whom, in the words of Alice Roosevelt Longworth in another context, were weaned on a pickle.
Since talking to Crary I’ve been trying to find an official letterhead copy of the letter online. As of this writing, the letter or a link to it does not appear on the CCAI webpage, signatory pages, nor any of the news articles and blogs that reference it. Part of it, however, is included in July 18 and July 22 stories in Examiner.com, a multi-city news gathering website similar to about.com, and in Crary’s article.
Examiner.com (July 18, 2009):
We are concerned that in addition to its intended entertainment value, this film will have the unintended effect of skewing public opinion against children awaiting families both in the United States and abroad…
Examiner.com (July 22, 2009):
- As you no doubt know, the impending release of the Warner Brothers’ film Orphan has ignited a firestorm of controversy from those concerned that the film stereotypes adoptive children and perpetuates a myth that adopted children are not wholly integrated into their adoptive families. As an informal coalition of child, family and adoption advocates, we are concerned that in addition to its intended entertainment value, this film will have the unintended effect of skewing public opinion against children awaiting families both in the United States and abroad.
- A number of child welfare groups, individual advocates, and the Obama administration have made finding adoptive families for children in need a priority. We are concerned that the potential success of the film Orphan may impede recruitment efforts by feeding into the unconscious fears of potential foster and adoptive families that orphaned children are psychotic and unable to heal from the wounds of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Any such negative shift in the public’s perception of adopted children could have significant, real-life consequences.
- We would also like to suggest that the controversy this movie has engendered presents a wonderful opportunity to inform the public of the shortage of foster and adoptive families. We are aware that Warner Brothers has supported numerous organizations that serve children in need of families and has exceptional policies for supporting employees who adopt. Consequently, we hope that you will consider meeting with us to discuss how the film and its subsequent DVD release can be used to increase awareness on the need to recruit families for children waiting to be adopted.
David Crary’s article (July 18):
- The letter said the film “may impede recruitment efforts by feeding into the unconscious fears of potential foster and adoptive families that orphaned children are psychotic and unable to heal from the wounds of abuse, neglect, and abandonment.”
- We are concerned that in addition to its intended entertainment value, this film will have the unintended effect of skewing public opinion against children awaiting families both in the United States and abroad,” said a letter to Meyer from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.
Earlier Warner’s wimped out and removed the “It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own” tagline (something every adoptee with 2 ounces of brain ruminates), after adopters screamed like they’d just had their toes cut off. Pumped up, CCAI signatories decided to push their PC luck. Smelling money from juicy potential consulting contracts, the Grundys requested a meeting with CEO Meyer to “discuss” their concerns. Think I’m kidding? According to the July 18 Examiner.com story, Warner’s VP of Communications, Scott Rowe said the studio is considering a “pro-adoption” message at the end of the DVD release. Left unsaid, who better to write that message than adoption industry flacks.
Not satisfied with Congressional Coalition’s whinges, members of the US House and Senate, taking time off from healthcare reform, corporate bailouts, unemployment, and a couple of leftover BushCo wars, decided to horn in–or is that blow their horns?
Again, I have not been able to locate the official letter or link online, but excerpts appear in the July 21 edition of Examiner.com (what’s with these Examiner “exclusives?).
- While we understand the movie may be intended as a far-fetched thriller, its trailer contains images and messages about adopted youth that are inaccurate.
- As almost any adoptive parent will tell you, the immediate sense of love and belonging that exists between a child and adoptive parents is on par in every way with the relationship formed between a parent and their biological child. * Furthermore, most adoptive parents would take issue with the movie’s message that an adopted child is not ‘one’s own’ since the only distinction between biological and adopted children is how they came to be a member of a family.
and a Congressional strong arm with its cryptic sentence ending regarding a “continued partnership between Congress and Warner Brothers.
- Therefore, we encourage you to continue to take steps to help us in conveying the positive and more accurate messages about US foster children and orphans worldwide outlined above. We look forward to your continued partnership in advancing this important issue.
Now, if you are unfamiliar with the players, this letter, outside of its general sociological silliness and state intrusiveness into private enterprise, might not strike you as particularly ironic or bizarre. The signers are Senators. They’re members of Congress. In some obscure and morally bankrupt way they must be “respectable” and “reasonable.” But take a look. The letter is signed by some of the biggest wingnuts on Capital Hill, who in a different time and place would have been clapped into a padded cell with a plastic spoon and a drool bucket or making license plates in the nearest prison. Wanker…er, we mean Warner Brothers..should have shown these dilettantes the door and let it hit their ass on the way out.
SEN. MARY L. LANDRIEU, (D -LA)
Adoption Status: Adoptive mother of 2
Bastardette disclaimer: 2005: attended a Washington DC lunch where Landrieu spoke. Memory: hot room; buffet lunch; adoption industry moguls present; intense escape fantasies. All else is a blank.
- born into political family; former real estate agent
- obsessive federal adopta-legislator; mother of current Protecting Adoption and Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Act of 2009 (national putative father registry)
- supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; voted for Protect America Act, an amendment to the PATRIOT Act that expands wiretap powers
- Listed in The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington advocacy group’s “Top 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress” report.
SEN TOM A COBURN, (R-TX)
Adoption status: unknown
Bastardette disclaimer: n/a
- believes abortion providers should be executed
- In 1997 opposed NBC showing an uncut version of the film Schindler’s List: “…irresponsible sexual behavior…I cringe when I realize that there were children all across this nation watching this program.”
- In 2000 endorsed Alan Keys for president
- In 2007 threatened to block two bills honoring the 100th birthday of Rachael Carson. Called her work “junk science,” proclaiming that Silent Spring was the catalyst in the deadly worldwide stigmatization against insecticides, especially DDT.
CONG. JAMES M. INHOFE (R-OK)
Adoption Status: adoptive father of 4
Bastardette disclaimer: 2002: trapped in a conference room with Inhofe during the Christian Coalition Road to Victory Conference, old Washington, DC Convention Center. Memory: blocked other than hand-waving about God and Israel.
- real estate developer, president of insurance company that went into receivership
- was “outraged by the outrage” over allegations of abuse at Abu Gharib
- considers the Red Cross “bleeding hearts”
- in 2002 suggested to U.S. Senate that 9/11 attacks were a form of divine retribution against the U.S. for “failing to defend Israel.”
- supports torture; voted against the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 which prohibits “cruel, inhuman or degrading” treatment of individuals in US Government custody
- In 2006 compared environmentalists to The Third Reich; claimed the Weather Channel is behind the “global warming hoax” to drum up viewers. Says Global Warming is “the second-largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state.
CONG. MICHELE BACHMANN, (R-MN)
- Adoption Status: Adoptive mother of “not sure.” (5 children, some adopted) foster mother to 23.
- Bastardette disclaimer: 2008: trapped in room with Bachmann for 90 minutes while she discussed “launching her biologicals” and her vast personal expertise in foster care at the annual NCFA conference. (go here for my first-person account. Also go to Dump Bachmann for a compendium of antics from Minnesota’s top nutcase.) Memory: commiseration with Bachmann’s foster charges who ran away from her; intense desire to laugh out loud while throwing dessert at her.
- lawyer; took JD from Oral Roberts University
- NCFAnoid; July 2008, spoke at national NCFA conference, Capital Hill Hyatt.
- Has fostered 23 children mostly girls; claims their problems were caused by the public school curriculum, not usual reasons children end up in foster care
- Supports “intelligent design;” opposes online poker.
- In 2005 announced campaign for Congress saying she was called by God. She and husband fasted for 3 days “to be sure.”
- Sponsor of the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, to repeal the nationwide phase-out of conventional light bulbs.
- In 2008. called for media investigation of members of Congress and other politicians, including Barack Obama, whom she believes are unAmerican.
- In 2008, after meeting with soulmate Sarah Palin, declared that “warmth” from a pipeline running through Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would make the area a “meeting ground” and “coffee Klatch” for the caribou.”
- In 2009 introduced a bill that would bar the dollar from being replaced by any foreign currency.
- Jauary 2009: named to The Beast’s annual 50 Most Loathsome People in America.
*During NCFA talk, Bachmann continually distinguished among her bios, adoptees, and fosterees.
CONG. DANNY K. DAVIS (F-IL)
Adoption Status: unknown
Bastardette disclaimer: n/a
- In 1970 told Ebony Magazine, “(T)he white female often gives the black man certain kinds of recognition that the black woman oftentimes does not give him.”
- Fan and apparent friend of Rev. Sun Myung Moon. In a 2004 “religious ceremony” at the Dirkson Senate Office Building, Davis wearing long white gloves and carrying a crown on a pillow, crowned Moon “the Messiah.”
- In 2005 accepted a trip to Sri Lanka paid for by the Tamil Tigers designated by the US government as a terrorist organization for its use of suicide bombers and child soldiers.
CONG JOHN BOOZMAN. (R-AR)
Adoption Status: unknown
Bastadette disclaimer: n/a
- adoption promoter
- doesn’t do much but take up space.
These are the people who promote themselves as pro-adoption and pro-foster care in the US today. I suppose they like to call themselves “pro-adoptee.” After all, some of them have taken somebody elses bastards for their very own. These are the people who think a horror flick with an adoption theme will kill adoption in the US. These are the people who can’t tell the difference between a bad movie and reality. These are the people Warner Brothers listens to. Those who hold elective office are the people who are in charge of the US economy and domestic tranquility. If they are this hetted by a B movie, just think they’d do with a real “crisis.” If you are fortunate, they don’t represent your district or state. If you are unfortunate, and they do, don’t let them speak for you. Tell them they are dumb schmucks. Vote them out and tell them why.
The whole Orphan business has been entertaining: an adoption theatre of the absurd. Poor poor frail and fragile adoption is dead on the vine, killed by Esther and greedy Hollywood.
Orphanphobia has made the adoption industry and its overly sensitive clients a laughing stock. Just Google “Orphan” and see what people in the real world think about the professional adoption class, the Congressional Coalition, politicians, and weepie adopters grinding their teeth over this movie.
I had intended to write more in this entry about industrial media exploitation, the linguistic manipulation of Orphan. and the paranoid style of American adoption culture. It didn’t fall into place, though. And the entry is getting too long and taking way too much time to write. I may still do it, because it’s applicable to other adopta-situations and how criticism, dissent, and exposure, even on its most mundane and silly level, is throttled by adoption industry shills and schezoids.