Can a feminist adopt in good conscience?
No, says one Korean adoptee. Read what Kathie Leo has to say about that in the Minnesota Women's Press.
While we talked about international adoption lately, and then we've had the surrogacy and embryo debate, we skirted around the issue of what makes these issues so distasteful: the caste system inherent in all such transfers of human commodity. Because that's what babies are in our current milieu: a commodity, just like electric shavers and cheap toys. It's cash that makes the export of infant human flesh such a thriving business.
Is France sending us their excess babies? NO. Great Britain? NO. The babies are coming from Third World, undeveloped countries where the women are too poor to take care of them--and thus wealthy white women swoop in and buy them. Yes, I use that word buy because cash is what makes the transfer of babies from one country to another possible. In China, the one-child-per-couple policy led to the massive baby-export business, so lucrative that today China has a problem with baby and child kidnapping. HBO recently aired a documentary about it, China's Stolen Children.
Where are the baby farms where surrogate mothers are willing to take on the job of bearing children for wealthy foreigners? India, a country where great poverty exists side-by-side with great wealth. Once some enterprising capitalist gets wind of this, more poor countries will be setting up baby-gestation farms.
And the same monetary principles, generally speaking, work in adoption. It is not wealthy girls and young women who by and large are offering babies to adopt; they are having abortions or keeping their children. It's girls and young women and mothers in poor families who can not keep them who say, Here, take mine, I can not afford to keep her. The humane thing to do would be to make it possible for the poor woman to keep the child. A few years ago, the sister of a friend adopted a child from an intact, but poor, family in Rhode Island. What is that if not baby-selling? Would it not have been more humane to simply help support that family?
This caste system is why we find surrogacy and egg donation for money repugnant. Why adoptions from Third World countries--or China--are so prone to abuses. I have, among my acquaintances, a far-left feminist law professor. But where did she adopt?
Did she not see the apparent dichotomy in this act? Obviously not. Elizabeth Bartholet, a feminist law professor at Harvard, imported two boys from Peru. She showed up to be on the television when the Anna/Jessica transfer the wicked DeBoers (now divorced) back to her natural parents, the Schmidts (ah, also divorced) was going on. She and I had a shouting match on the McNeal-Lerher Report that day. The jacket to her book (Family Bonds), says that she "produced" one child (drum roll, please) then "endured her own struggle with infertility" for ten years before she flew to Peru to adopt, some eighteen years after her first child was born. Interestingly enough, her age--when she was "struggling" with infertility aka perimenopause--is not mentioned there. The timing had to be up to and into her forties. But because you want to have children beyond the reasonable time frame of your fertility and your body refuses does not make your lack of fertility a disease. It is, dear ladies, a reality of aging!
Yet the snarky Ms. Bartholet--who told me the research showing that adoptees were prone to more mental health problems than the norm was "garbage,"--saw nothing anti-feminist is taking boys from their poor country to give them a "better life."
For that is what is stated or implied in all adoption stories: that life that the adoptive family offers is better than the original one. Here's how Kathie Leo put it:
The story further implies certain suppositions about what "a better life" means. In this scenario, "better" clearly means American, but it also suggests wealthier, Caucasian, and most important, not with my birthmother. This notion of "a better life" has permeated adoption narratives since the practice began, often used as justification for its existence.
Amen. Ms. Leo's piece has more to say. It's worth reading. As for me, I tried for years to get a piece in Ms. magazine about birth mothers with the above theme. No luck. The feminists who were putting out the magazine had the mindset of Ms. Bartholet and friends. No--wait, they were Ms. Bartholet's friends.--lorraine
PS: Tomorrow we'll hear from Jane.