Monday, October 4, 2010

Simple Simon

Scott Simon, host of National Public Radio's Weekend Edition and author of Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other: In Praise of Adoption appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting's Think Out Loud, October 4. Prior to his appearance, three guests --- an adoptee/birthmother and two adoptive mothers -- and several callers spoke. While their views on adoption varied, they acknowledged the trauma that can accompany adoption and the need for children to know their first families.

After reiterating that adoption is a miracle, Simon said “I am a little astonished at all the trauma presented. Adoption is not a trauma; it is an incident. For the most part it is a blessing, a joy."

Only for adopters, Scott. And actually, a lot of adoptive parents find that adoption is not all that it is cracked up to be.

If you deny adoption trauma, Scott, you’re not going to be able to help your little girls deal with it. Come out of fantasyland and read some of the excellent memoirs by adults adopted as young children. A good place to start is The Language of Blood by Jane Jeong Trenka.
The Language of Blood
Simon’s next statement floored me. When asked, why he and his wife decided to adopt from China, he answered “We looked for signs. We had fallen in love in Chinatown in New York City.” He explained, however, that if China hadn’t worked, they would have looked somewhere else. Chinatown is next to Little Italy.…

It’s a real shame he and wife hadn’t fallen in love in Harlem. An American child languishing in foster care might have found a home.

Would Simon help his children find their birth mothers? “Well of course, we would want to find their mothers," he said. "We want to thank them.” His ego just wouldn’t quit. The fact that his daughters might benefit from knowing their original mothers never entered his head.

Sounding a little defensive, Simon rushed to point out that adoption has always been with us. Why, the pharaoh’s daughter took the baby from the bull rushes and raised him as her own.

Hey Simon, tell the whole story. Moses didn’t just wander over to the bull rushes. His mother placed him there to save his life because the pharaoh had ordered the slaughter of all infant Jewish boys. His mother became his wet nurse so her -- dare I use the word – trauma was likely less than the trauma the natural mothers of your daughters are dealing with.

While adoption helped Moses, it did nothing for those other babies. Perhaps the pharaoh’s daughter should have tried to convince her father to leave the Jews alone. Perhaps Simon could consider opposing the one child, misogynist policies that result in Chinese girls being available for adoption. But then he'd have to admit that adoption wasn't a miracle, just the result of bad government policies.

Oh, and how did the story of Moses end? Not so good for the adoptive family, Scott. Moses made war on them.

Simon ended with: “Adoption is a natural order of things. Adoption is not a trauma; it's a blessing." Then he hesitated and said something to the effect that those who had a problem needed to get over it.

The guy has the sensitivity of – you name it.

There’s a lot of great comments on the Think Out Loud website, taking Simon to task for his ignorance and conceit. Check them out and comment.

Adding here what one of our readers left as a comment at the earlier blog, Scott Simon: Adoption Pimp:

I attended Mr. Simon's reading and book signing at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC on October 2. I intended to ask him if he will be willing to dedicate as much time and effort to helping his daughters find their first families if they choose to do so as he and his wife dedicated to securing their adoptions. However, the bookstore owner closed questions after a mere 5 questions (mine would have been question #6)...having opened the q/a by stating that she did not want the conversation to degenerate into an argument about open versus closed records. With that sort of supportive censorship, I fear that Mr. Simon will continue to publicize his one-sided version of adoption.
I'd say their defensiveness about what is open for discussion means that he is getting beaten up somewhat on the book tour. Keep it up.

Lorraine here: I posted this comment today at the NPR site:
While Simon may be a happy and fulfilled adoptive parent to his children from China, his simplistic view of how they came into his life demeans the mother of the children who gave them life, demeans the culture they came from, and demeans them as individuals who have been uprooted from their culture and heritage and ignores what being raised by genetic strangers does to them.

I know many adoptive parents who do not take his attitude and understand that every adoption begins with a trauma, and nice words--and even love--can not gloss over that.

9 comments :

  1. "Then he hesitated and said something to the effect that those who had a problem needed to get over it."

    He should try speaking with pregnant women who have lost their children.

    Take out the adoption context and just start with that. Make him read pregnancy books and developmental psychology.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mei Ling: Your other comment was deleted by mistake. Please repost. Sorry for the error.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Excellent post, Jane. Let's hope Simon educates himself.

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  4. For Simon to deny the trauma involved in an adoption is extremely selfish on his part. I liken adoption to the situation of a man marrying a widow. While he rejoices in becoming a husband, he must allow his new wife to grieve the loss of her first husband, NOT pretend he never existed.

    I know. I have 5 adopted children from the US foster care system. I have done my best to answer the hard questions they have asked me. I always tell them, I love them very much, but I'm sorry they cannot be with their birth family. And although adoption is a necessary part of life on this planet, it was not part of God's original plan for us.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Apparently, Scott Simon has never actually been to Chinatown in New York. Chinese children are with Chinese parents! Maybe he was talking about knock-off Gucci bags.

    No trauma? Good Lord.....Let me guess...any "trauma" his bought children may exhibit has been labeled as "RAD", "FAS" or melamine poisoning by some quacky "attachment therapist".

    God help those children.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mr. Simon conveniently overlooks several points:
    1. China is not a Third World country with primitive recordkeeping; rather, the Chinese invented bureaucracy, public records and even the paper to keep them on! His daughters have records; the important thing is to start the search now, not when the trail is decades old!
    2. ALL Chinese babies were "left on a doorstep." Which is what adoptive parents like to hear, rather than the truth which is that China has vast corruption especially in international adoptions. There is a good possibility that the Simons' fees went to reward officials for kidnapping infants. Like controlling the 'blood diamond' trade, boycot is the only effective way to shutting down the abuses.
    3. Yes, Scott, your daughters will learn to make you feel loved. Ever heard of the Stockholm Syndrome?

    ReplyDelete
  7. "It’s a real shame he and wife hadn’t fallen in love in Harlem. An American child languishing in foster care might have found a home."

    Yep - and a da** shame that he is too pathetic and closed minded to see the truth....

    ReplyDelete
  8. This makes me so angry! We must do everything we can to negate his view of adoption as a "miracle." Uh. yeah, maybe for him, but the way he presents it is totally without acknowledgement of the loss for his daughters and their birth families. I pity those girls...

    Origins-USA just sent out an email, where you can listen to his interview and comment:

    Scott Simon

    I encourage all of you to go and rebut his idiotic attitude. He probably won't listen. But hopefully readers will.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thought this comment: "...the bookstore owner closed questions after a mere 5 questions (mine would have been question #6)...having opened the q/a by stating that she did not want the conversation to degenerate into an argument about open versus closed records. With that sort of supportive censorship, I fear that Mr. Simon will continue to publicize his one-sided version of adoption." by Torrejon, was so on target... "supportive censorship" we see this everywhere every time we open our mouths.
    And d28bob, you blew me outta the water - I wrote about Stockholm Syndrome and it's relation to what people call angry adotees/birth mothers and not one person even acknowledged the possibility. Good for you for having a brain :-)
    None of us are out to paint all APs with the same brush but for goodness sake why can't they even listen to our truths!!

    ReplyDelete

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