Okay, this story, fair warning, sucks. It haunts me to this day. But it really happened.
I’m posting it because it happened, and I think there’s value in knowing what some people are really like.
I don’t think it’s any secret that I love China, it’s my favorite county to visit…
Ok, so I appreciated the glimpse into how difficult it really is to adopt from China. I get it. But as a woman of color, a Third World woman of color, the en masse adoption of Third World babies by white women is just always going to be squicky for me. Even if the adoption process is hella difficult, that just proves that these white people are willing to pour endless time and money and resources into children of colour when the end-result is they get a cute baby for themselves. But where are these white people when public schools for children of colour right here in the US are crumbling? Where are they when other white people whine about paying higher taxes to ensure better schools and public transport for kids of colour? Where are they when we’re doing the difficult work of teaching Black and Brown kids to reject internalized racism? And where are they when we Third World women are demanding that the West take its ugly colonial boot off our necks so we can develop our own resources and build up our nations and raise our children? Just reminds me of the Chrystos poem:
” Don’t talk to me about the prison conditions in Russia or Peru or Argentina
Let me take you to Purdy white girl
I’ll show you some torture that works & works & works
doesn’t leave a mark
Somewhere else is safer & not your fault & not your responsibility
to be outraged & run off to save somebody
on your white horse airplane
come back with slides to show me how horrible it is down there
gore gleaming in your eyes your excitement just
I’ll show you blood on every street in america
We aren’t the latest fad in your candy-striper life
You want genocide
look out the window at the road going past your house
it’s killing us”
I know that lots of adopted parents are wonderful caregivers and I know many adopted children are happy and loved. I’m just sick of mothers of color being swept under the rug and I’m sick of white people who don’t give a shit about their complicity in the economic subjugation of the Third World conveniently showing up at our orphanages.
I totally agree. And I don’t know how much of what was going on there was White Savior Syndrome, which we have repeatedly seen throughout history is a very poisonous thing, and how much was just the mommy instinct.
I REALLY don’t mean to imply that I thought this adoption thing wasn’t problematic in general. Even though I am MORE informed now than I was at the time, that is still a piddling little amount of knowledge that I have overall, so I don’t feel like it’s something I can speak to with authority. I agree with everything you’ve said, and I don’t think it’s the responsibility of POC to make white women feel better about their adoption choices.
I speak only as an adopted child and adoptive parent, and as a witness to the event. The larger issues at hand are clearly serious and under-reported.
We’re taught that adoption is a wonderful, generous, noble thing to do, and sometimes it is. But making a fairy tale out of it doesn’t do anyone any good, and the danger of cultural erasure is ever present, let alone the other points you have raised.
We all want kids to have good families and homes. But as this story illustrates, money and influence don’t necessarily a good home make.