I’ve been away for more than a month. I’ve lost all track of time. No matter. April was the worse month of my entire life. Just when you think things get any more abysmal, the crevice opens deeper. Maybe I’ll write about it; maybe not. I can make it adoption related to make it palpable. I’m trying to get back to “normal” whatever that is.
Last we heard from our friend Kevin Ost-Vollmers,in the Land of a Gazillion Adoptees, he was engaged in a dialogue with the Congressional Coalition. That was ” bad” enough, but it gets worse. It must be something about April.
|Land of a Gaiilion Adoptees: Kevin and Bert getting ready to kick it|
I’m not sure how many Joint Councilers actually showed up for the presentation, but the board, as a whole, according to Kevin, didn’t bother. Curiously, a board meeting was scheduled for the same time slot which demanded their attention.This, of course, is an old trick. Sudden board meetings are much like “task forces.”– a mechanism to shuffle urgent issues and uncomfortable truths off to Buffalo. The AAC pulled it on Bastard Nation in 1999 in an attempt to short circuit our Belly of the Beast demo (held during the AAC conference in Tyson’s Corners, Virginia) at the old NCFA HQ in DuPont Circle, after some AAC board members announced they intended to show up. AAC Big Fishes warned, if you go to the protest, you’re off the board.
I talked to Kevin before he left; and later he reported back rather cryptically on his journey into the Heart of Darkness. Not surprisingly, adoptees and first parents were represented at the JCICS$ huddle as generously as Concerned Women of America at an Occupy Oakland takedown. Monday , however, Kevin presented a more lengthy report –or rather a list of astute observations, Some Random Thoughts on the Joint Council Symposium, on the Gazillion page He says that most of the people who attended the presentation were “engaging” but obviously Nancy Fox, director of Americans for International Aid and Adoption( AAIA) wasn’t. Frankly, I’m speechless. If you think being a domestic product is difficult, try being an import!.
[Nancy Fox (check out the all-white JCICS board the link takes you to) grabbed my chin and brought my face right up to hers. Seriously. My response? Lightly tapping her hand away, I said, “Don’t ever do that to me again. That’s the patronizing I mentioned to you earlier. I’m not one of your kids.” She apologized, and then went into how she has known adoptees like Susan Cox, Kathy Sacco, Joy Lieberthal, and Melanie Chung-Sherman since I was a child. Weird. If I recall, I’m in Kathy, Joy, and Melanie’s age bracket
Grabbed his chin? That says it all, doesn’t it? Actually Nancy FancyPants had a lot more to say, like lecturing Kevin and Bert that Korean adoptee diasporaists and first mothers instrumental in the writing and passage of recent Korean legislation that promotes child welfare and strengthens the rights of adoptees, first parents,and single parents have “sentenced children to death in institutions.” Where have we heard that one before?
The message was clear. Bastards, are simply petulant–if not dangerous–children who need a good finger wag and talking to by an “adoption professional”. who knows best. (What constitutes an “adoption professional” is anyone’s guess.) Heaven knows we get enough of this at legislative hearings where adoption bottom feeders and their hacks play whack-a bastard as they blatantly attempt to hold on to their social and legal control over the lives of total strangers–or as the law so quaintly puts it: legal strangers.(We’d be more impressed if these experts put their “expertise” into making the Do Not Call List work.) I suppose we should be “grateful” that Fox showed her true face in public by tweaking Kevin’s, chin, unlike her cohorts in the halls of power who’d just punch it (metaphorically speaking) behind closed doors with no witnesses..
- Why are adoptees not invited to more influential speaking positions–boards, Congress, the State Department, executive directors, Hague?
- Why are adoptees reduced to a singular few representatives
and my favorite,
- Why is there a fear of the “angry adoptee?”
Adoptacrats (agencies, social workers, lawyers, civil libertarians, therapists, anti-aborts, evangelicals, feminists, politicians, mommy bloggers, and assorted do-gooders) have created the “angry adoptee” by (1) cooking the pot in which adoptee anger roils: government-sanctioned sealed and secret adoption files, forged documents, coerced surrenders and forced adoptions, fake psychological syndromes, special rights and privileges for special people, stacked legislative hearings, baby selling and buying, racism, economic exploitation of women, children, and the poor, and pawning in international politics;
(2) laying the blame for the ensuing anger on the victims.when they demand redress and a place at the table.
The idea that adoptee anger is justified seldom crosses the adoptacrat psyche or if it does, it’s needs to be “defused” to maintain the status quo..Conversely, the adoption industry-created “angry adoptee” and its implications, are utilized to defeat the restoration of the right for all adoptees to access their original birth certificates and to address other ethical and social issues Ungrateful, spoiled,. perhaps mental. adoptees, if allowed a voice, could ruin adoption. for the rest of us. If push comes to shove, the proclaim that “the gad old days” are over . “Open adoption” has fixed the problem.
The big question is why is adoptee anger bad? Why shouldn’t adoptees, who have had the most intimate parts of their lives–their identities and genealogies– confiscated and turned into state secrets which they can’t access– be angry? Why should adoptees be held to a “nicer” political standard than women, labor, queers, and racial and ethnic minorities mired in a system of gender, class and white privilege?
To add insult to injury, adoption deformists, satisfied with small incremental change, reject anger as a component of successful political change. They turn themselves inside out trying to convince legislators, policy wonks, and an incurious media that adoption law and practice just needs “tweaked” not overhauled. Deformists internalize the name-calling, fearful of their own unworthiness. They compromise their alleged core principles and marginalize genuine adoptee rights and activist organizations in order to raise their own niceness quotient in the eyes of the adoptcrats, which in turn might get them “something on the books” for a few, no matter the harm that that “something” causes the many in their local and national constituencies. In the meantime, the enemy snickers up its sleeve. Just look at New Jersey!
Ultimately this self-defeating “strategy” means that deformists not only let the adoptacrats maintain the sealed and secret adoption system and other unethical and illegal practices, but frame deformist political arguments in wishy-washy. language. Everyone is expected to sip pink tea, shut up, and be grateful for what you can get. Ironically, it’s “angry adoptees” who hold the line and their principles who actually get laws changed while people-pleasers dig their ditches deeper each year rendering their work unfocused, incompetent and laughable to the opposition.
Without spending a lot of time on the question, I’d say that the “angry adoptee” represents to adoptacrats, a repudiation of what many of them see as their personal humanitarian mission and the accompanying social and legal control–for “a good cause”– in which these humanitarians’ self-esteem are vested Claiming the high ground of “professionali expert,,” they insist that adoption is a win-win win situation, when it fact the product and the producer loose out and even the consumer can be left hanging at the end of a short stick. Anyone who disagrees is a spoiled brat biting the gracious, hardworking hand that fed it in its hour of need.
Current adoption practice in the US is a convoluted hybrid of the worst aspects of capitalism (making lots of money through exploitation of the producing class) and socialism (redistribution of wealth and resources, but from the bottom to the top), with eugenics (building better baybees through social engineering) thrown in for fun. Adoptacrats may react in a “professional” snit to save face like Fox did, but, their gut reaction is personal. How dare you question my work; my passion; my motives! Bank accounts are off limits, and in some cases even not that great.
It’s been my experience, crooks aside, that the majority of industrialists–even big bucksers– view themselves (depending on their belief system) as “christian” or secular humanitarians.acting out American exceptionalism or the Great Commission.. Most likely it’s a mixture since current American social policy is a mixture of both fallacious missions. In other words, adopacrats suffer from an especially (but not limited to) social Marxist-Protestant missionary impulse to remake the world. by spreading “civilization,” home and abroad, in the form of American middle class cultural values to those deemed less fortunate.and in need of some kind of saving.. Adoption is their platform and re-arranging children into the “right families their mission. Adoption makes them feel important and living a higher calling..Or as Rosie O’Donnell so famously told a little adoptee on national television, “God put you in the wrong tummy and I had to fix his mistake.” The liberal academic adoption nut Elizabeth Bartholet told a rather confounded audience at the 2010 NCFA conference that countries that send off their never-to-be-seen-or-heard from-again children to the US or other approved destinations boost their economic standards Translated domestically, the voluntary or court-ordered redistribution of poor and African American children to advantaged while folks empowers the poor and lets their children be neutralized safely into American Dream.
Adoption Makes the World Better.
The mentality that condones child re-distribution domestically, and the “spread of democracy” to far away places with strange sounding names–especially if the faraways are of color–is the same mentality promotes the import of “orphans” to the US. Note, that whenever the US is involved in an “humanitarian war,” adoption vultures aren’t far behind. The US may have lost in Viet Nam, but we got their kids.
Adoption is a soft but crucial component of American foreign policy, The nicer kinder face of neo-colonialism–usually associated with the exploitation of other people’s labor (Nike,Foxconn ), culture (religious conversion), and natural resources (oil; achildren for labor, sex, and adoption).. One has only to remember the US State Department’s threat to veto Romania’s NATO membership a few years ago, unless it re-opened its pipeline, a threat which was ultimately doomed. Later pipeline crises in Vietnam, Cambodia, Guatemala and Russia illustrate how essential adoption–a wholly government-created social practice– is to US foreign policy. Some idealists even see international adoption as vehicle for world peace. Adam Pertman, in his own snit of one worldism, once ask how adoptive parents could possible want the biological parents of “their” children dead. Seriously! Unfortunately, I can’t find the source at the moment.
Kevin Ost-Vollmers experience with Nancy Fox exemplifies the problem those of us in adoptee rights, and ultimately Class Bastard and our families live with. The angry adoptacrat.
Threatened by a usurpation of their social power and loss of status, internally and externally, as the arbiter of adoption, they obstruct all but unctuous attempts to bring due process, professional responsibility, and fairness to adoption except when they can pull the strings. Everything from birth certificate access to reunion issues and facilitation must be vetted through their professional egos. The people who cause the problems, expect Class Bastard & Famlies to let the them fix their good intentions. In the vernacular, self-absorbed adoptacrats think “it’s all about them.” If adoptcrats were children, they’d be sent to etiquette school.or sentenced to a swat on the behind.
When the adoptacracy condemns the “angry adoptee”– or for that matter, in a slightly different form, first parents or adoptive parents who dare to question the beneficent motives and practices of adoption corporatists– it is simply attempting to deflect the industry’s own self-interested, sometimes vile, actions..The victim must be bludgeoned and embarrassed into silence or at least public embarrassment.and humuliation. Critics who challenge the industry on its home turf, such as trade association meetings and legislative hearings are simply dismissed as ungrateful troublemakers who’d rather see children dead than…than what?
And what o the adoptacrats prefer?
The last word.
These are just a few thought tossed out. There’s plenty more to say.
Thank God, Marley, you are back in fine form!
Thanks, Joanne. I think I’m back for good writing again. April was a terrible month and hopefully this one will be better. You are a true bastard goddess!
BTW, I’m trying to get rid of those annoying yellow highlights.
This is a really good post, really really good. While of course I disagree with you on calling people deformers, I know you don’t care, you have told me, but I do.
The reason being that adoptees have had more than their fair share of shame dumped on them since pretty much their first breath. Secondly as someone who has been in all kinds of stations in life, I have observed the more you have, the more you have. Every inch of cultural capital is valuable. While I will not work on an unclean bill, I also have been working to get the cultural capital ready for clean bills, which is important and required to win. So yeah, no, I don’t believe in that.
But other than that, excellent, a pleasure to read. and p.s. I know you “don’t care” what I think, you have told me often.
I’m having problems getting comments posted here. They are showing up in my email, but not in the moderation, que and I can’t get them up. tTsting to see if I can post.
Joy. Well that’s good that we got that straight.
Daniel Ibn Zayd sent the following post for the Daily Bastardette, but for some reason it’s now showing up in the comment que to be posted. Only in email. After trying to fixt the problem, I have decide to just post it.
Daniel Ibn Zayd has left a new comment on your post “Some Thoughts on the “Angry Adoptee:” Gazillion Ad…”:
Awesome piece. Welcome back, and I hope things get better. We should start using terminology that is appropriate to what you are describing: The colonizer and the colonized, as described by Memmi, Fanon, X, Carmichael, Said, Shari’ati, etc. Grabbed his chin??? I’d have handed her her own head
Thanks, Daniel. I, too think it’s time to cal lthem what they really are. As an anarchist, I have huge problems with Marxism in practice, I’ve always thought, though, that adoption lends itself to a very tidy Marxist analysis. It’s so out there! Western adoption, is certainly, though, the progeny of early 20th century Progressivism and socialism. I’m not the one to do an analysis, but the language is certainly appropriate. I haven’t rad Fanon in decades and am not famliar with the others, but I’m looking into them.
Welcome back, Marley. You are in fine writing form!
@ boo frickity hoo:
You sound like a very interesting person with a lot to add to this conversation. Lollers, just kidding.
You want to shame me bitch? My birth certificate was sealed. You want to shame me bitch? I have been shamed by my state government. You want to tell me how I do not matter, I have been told that by much bigger ballers than you. I have been told that by people who actually have the legal recourse to make my birth a government sanctioned lie.
So congratulate yourself on your attempt to shame the scapegoat. I have been abandoned, I was in foster care, it is “illegal” for me to know what medications I was on in foster care. My nmom used drugs freely in her pregnancy with me, I was monitored for heart disease, but I am not allowed to know anything about that?
Shame me all you want, you are showing yourself to be the DB. Shame me for being born, oh how rude of me. You are pathetic. I am not sorry I was born, am not sorry I was adopted, I am not sorry you suck.
I am sorry that people are not given the respect of the facts of their own lives, I am sorry about the stigma and discrimination. I am sorry that even adoptees will eat their young. I will not.
Oh, the irony.
Absolutely awesome. We do have a right to be angry.
Onward Bastard Soldiers!
Join with us Bitter Birth Mothers and together we can storm the Bastille–
Joan of Arc
I am getting angrier with each and every passing day. Thank you so much for writing about this and returning to your impressive blog.