Re-evaluating Adoption: Validating the Local

After it was reported that a French NGO named Arche de Zoé had attempted to airlift a planeload of children out of Chad for adoption in France, Ann Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF, stated last week:

“This is not something that should be tolerated by the international community. It is unacceptable to see children taken out of their home countries without compliance with national and international laws.”

Her outrage unfortunately reflects a one-sided worldview concerning adoption today. It can be traced back to Pearl S. Buck and other advocates from the middle of last century who saw in international adoption a “saving grace” for children around the globe. This sentiment, echoed in Arche de Zoé’s mission statement, has always served as an excuse to use “orphans” as props, backdrops, and camera fodder. Operation Babylift, the post-Vietnam War media relations effort of the United States government, attempted to give Americans a positive spin on its role in the war. Unwitnessed, however, were distraught Vietnamese mothers, tearfully separated from their children who were forced onto waiting airplanes for transport overseas. Adoption’s current vogue due to Hollywood celebrity public relations campaigns, which date back to the days of Joan Crawford, exemplifies but one of its more cynical manifestations. More recently, an article in New York magazine basically asks parents to quantify the unquantifiable: the love they have for their adopted children. These examples, including the statement from UNICEF, likewise reflect only one side of the debate: namely that of the adoptive parent, couple, and country.

This perception focuses solely on the unique instance of adoption as beneficent act; viewed only by itself, out of context, this is perhaps an inarguable truth. Yet individual adoption is deceptively marketed and packaged around this humanistic aspect. It mistakenly pre-supposes a globally valid nuclear family, as well as a concept of third-world deliverance coming in individual doses from the developed regions of the world; it extols the child as now “better off”, or “lucky”, or “chosen”. It depicts adoption as better than nothing, and proclaims that little can be done on an individual level to change the global situation. Adoption can thus be seen to fulfill certain needs of dominant global culture, not just those of parents wishing to start a family, and focuses on children who are (perhaps ideally) least capable to speak for themselves.

These arguments, however, do not hold up to scrutiny, and raise more questions than they answer. At the general level, the idea that nothing can be done on a purely micro level to effect change in the world is self-delusional and reflects a willful ignorance of the required sacrifices that are due: The standard of living of the first world comes at the expense of the third world (for want of better terms), and the list of things that could be done if the collective will were there would greatly alleviate if not eliminate poverty in the world today. More specifically, even if we accept the premise that adopting children lifts them out of poverty or “saves” them, it is possible to argue that another first-world consumer in fact makes things worse on a global scale. To further deliberate: Adoption on the international level creates a “demand” for orphans that is answered by third world countries and the agencies that serve them with a “supply” of children; it is problematic to bring a foreign-born child into a non-multi-cultural environment; individualistic, nuclear family-based cultures undo other more community- based cultures. Do we simply deny that baby theft and brokering exist? Is it not paradoxical that underclass children in first world societies go unadopted, often for racist and ageist reasons? What aberrant first-worldist rationale allows for the adoption of third-world children, while forbidding adults from these same countries to emigrate, or while deporting those already present back to their home countries?

Extending this logically: Does the Caribbean immigrant nanny in New York City (ironically perhaps tending to a third-world adopted infant while far from her own family) not have the same rights as the mother she serves? As the Chadian village that has been convinced that there is a “better life” elsewhere for its children? As the adopted child who never asked to grow up in an alien and often alienating culture? Do they all have nothing to say because there is no equality of stature, no parity of action available to them, no ability to travel to Europe or America to select a white baby for themselves, no recognition of their way of life as valid, because they have no privilege and are exploitable? Should the world become suddenly egalitarian, and all children had a place in their respective communities if not families, what would childless couples do then?

It is obvious why no one hears this side of the argument. The truth stings, and we recoil in the face of it, as when listening to news reports of the recent scandal from Chad, or when I hear a mother state of her daughter adopted from a former Soviet republic: “Of course I bought my baby!”, or when I stare at the check that my orphanage in Lebanon “accepted” as a gift from my parents, or when I realize that all of the names on my documentation that might link me to a birth family are completely falsified.

The blind eye paid to this bigger picture is made worse when we overlook the reality of adopted children’s lives. Those who spent years in my orphanage remember being told that some parents- cadeaux (gift-parents) were coming to “choose a lucky child”. We are chastised that we should stop searching for something that cannot be ours. For many here, we are les enfants du peché–the children of sin–and are not welcome, or else we are grudgingly received with grating platitudes. This article will tar me as an ungrateful adoptee, which is the furthest thing from the truth. None of the above monological attitudes take into consideration the thoughts, feelings, or needs of the very subjects of their so-called advocacy. They are meant to deflect questioning and derail criticism, while disparaging non-first world views concerning adoption. They place adopted children in an existential limbo which is unjust, incharitable, and ignoble.

Many of us recall being informed that we are fortunate since adoption is not allowed “among the Muslims”. Raised believing in the supremacy of the couple and child(ren)-based social unit, the very idea of growing up in an orphanage, with no “family”, or otherwise under “guardianship”, is unfathomable, if not horrifying. Since moving back to Lebanon three years ago, I have realized that the Qur’anic invocation concerning adoption has everything to do with children maintaining their lineage, their name, and their place in the community. Most remarkable then is the fact that these very concepts–of lineage, name, appearance, and original community–are the issues that most plague adult adoptees. So it should come as no surprise that those who find their birth parents–for example, as documented in the film, Daughter of Danang, or the recent Reader’s Digest article entitled “The Lost Princess”–are often welcomed “home” by a village and not just a single family, in a complete reversal of their original trip to their adoptive land. This has been most astonishing for me in Lebanon, in terms of who has extended their community to me, beyond any preconceived expectations, much less familial or communal ties. There can be no feigning shock that the willful and deliberate misunderstanding of family and community should result in this most recent African scandal and the protests it begets, or that those destined for so-called salvation should be the ones who suffer most.

Many of the adoptees from my orphanage share one desire: the honest truth, and an open discussion of their earliest days. This is where the original spin meets on-the-street reality, and it is a violent and unendurable encounter. Coming back to Lebanon has been nothing if not a rude awakening, and if I am no longer looking for my birth parents it is because I see in this search a selfish act, living now as I do in a place with an unimaginable poverty level and a political situation that is unstable to say the very least. Searching is thus a luxury, and I have let it go; comparatively speaking, I have nothing to complain about: What I have discovered regarding the abandonment and adoption of all of us who were processed through the orphanage in Beirut is too terrible to bear sometimes. I am loathe to brook questions from adoptees starting their search here, because I have little but heartbreak to extend to them. To continue to view adoption in its previous mythologised and romanticized manner has for many of us become insufferable, if not impossible.

At the same time, I am daily witness to endless first-world interference here on the political, cultural, and economic level and so can’t help but make the logical leap to add adoption to a long list of injustices perpetrated from without. And I add my voice to those from the other side of the adoption myth, from fellow adoptees and the communities they come from, who now demand a reply be requited us; that critique and response be afforded those most justified to speak, yet most silenced. To quote an African Union missive in response to the recent events in Chad, there exists a lack of “dignity and respect” toward the issue that is but a protraction of how the first world has historically viewed and treated the rest of humanity. The focus concerning adoption needs to shift, from parent to child, from first world to third. It is time to discuss international adoption openly and honestly, in order to be fair to all those affected by it. It is time to speak about the trafficking of the most fragile and defenseless of humans. It is time to speak about the hypocrisy that ignores the ever-growing gap between the first and third worlds, and the terrible abuse of the current power imbalance between them; a continuation of a sordid history in which the poor, the nether, the “uncivilized” portions of the planet serve as source material to be plundered, exported, and sold.

In naming their organization “Arche de Zoé”–a play on the French for “Noah’s Ark”–we can see this age-old romanticism and arrogant interference semantically revealed: There are children saved, and the rest–the unfortunate children of sin–damned to their fate. This NGO and by extension the first world thus play God, with disastrous results. This missionary idea condemns people to their given status without considering it a direct function of the vagaries of international economic, political, and cultural systems put in place by the first world at the expense of the third. We must acknowledge what international adoption represents, and what its consequences are, not just locally or individually, but globally and in terms of our shared humanity. To simply accept one perspective of adoption, one that doesn’t give voice to adoptees and those of their places of origin simply because it validates our sense of self, is morally and ethically untenable.

Long after this story dies down, and Angelina Jolie and Madonna are out of the news, and the millionth casting call for Annie takes place, it is the children as well as their original communities who still have to live with and process what has happened to them. I would restate Ms. Veneman’s statement thus:

“It is unacceptable to see children taken out of their
home countries.”

Period. This admission, this truly local starting point, might hopefully shift the attitude of adoptive parents beyond the children they have welcomed into their families to the world far outside their homes; a shift, by extension, of the North to the South, of the first world to the third. It might also allow us to see, acknowledge, and validate for the first time the “world family” we are thus connected to. Most telling in the Arche de Zoé affair is the difference between the protest against the actions of this NGO in terms of “international law”, and the outcry of a different kind that is directed against the received wisdom, the salvationist sentiment itself; a protest that seeks to address issues of globalization, world politics, local cultures, and international economics; that directly challenges the prevailing notions of presumed universalist culture; that rightly puts adoption back into context, and thus requires much more of us all in terms of good will, altruism, and selflessness.

To admit this, to shift perspectives, to recognize the other’s viewpoint, would allow those of the developed world to understand what this most recent scandal represents to those they share the planet with, and would reveal that in the spectrum of adoption it is impossible to separate what deserves outrage from what does not; that the application of make-up to Chadian children in an effort to literally paint them as Darfur refugees in preparation for their kidnapping from Africa is just one end of the spectrum, one manifestation of problems systemic to a first-world view of things. When voice is given to all concerned, when the discussion is finally and honestly balanced, only then will adoption no longer be tainted with the lingering remnants of an unjustly divided world.

SOURCES:

Reader’s Digest

New York magazine

Electronic Intifada: Lebanon

Daniel Ibn Zayd currently lives in Beirut. In 2009 he founded the artists' collective Jamaa Al-Yad. He co-founded a collective of transracial adoptees, Transracial Eyes. He can be reached by email at: daniel.ibnzayd@inquisitor.com. Read other articles by Daniel, or visit Daniel's website.

15 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. David A. Smith said on February 11th, 2008 at 7:35am #

    “only then will adoption no longer be tainted with the lingering remnants of an unjustly divided world.”

    Wake up! remnants of an unjustly divided world? How naive can you be.

    I’m sorry if you feel like you’ve been lied to, but that happens in “non-international” adoptions as well.

    Home countries? Don’t make me laugh. Look around you. We don’t live in the same world that you are romanticizing. “Countries” matter little. We’re rapidly approaching 7 Billion people and counting. The next few decades will see suffering on a scale never seen before. And you’re concerned because maybe, somewhere, there’s a long lost relative who could have supported you and your naive sense of entitlement.

  2. AmyAdoptee said on February 11th, 2008 at 8:13am #

    I have to wonder if the previous commenter is an adopter. Its not our sense of entitlement that we adoptees answer to. Its the adopters sense of entitlement that we are stuck living the rest of our lives with. Your history is not mine. As an adoptee, I am most definitely entitled to my culture and my history.

  3. Daniel Drennan said on February 11th, 2008 at 9:34am #

    Um, did you even read the article other than the last line? The very last thing I am concerned about, as stated in the article, is a “long lost relative”. And the very last thing I am doing is romanticizing this world. But thanks for your comment.

  4. rosemarie jackowski said on February 11th, 2008 at 11:56am #

    I have been an advocate of children since the 1970s. My position has always been that it is wrong to separate children from their parents unless there is some compelling reason -such as abuse. It happens in this country and also on an international level.
    Only in the rare case (when a parent showed up drunk to pick up the child) did I ever advise the custodial parent that the visitation be denied and the Court order be disobeyed.
    Adoptions by US parents of children from more needy countries often seem to be self-gratifying. Why didn’t Madonna allow the child to stay with his family??? She could have helped them financially and left the family intact.
    There are many children who need help and many ways of helping them. Separating them from those who love them the most is not the way to do it.
    Off topic…I also believe that children born of sperm donors have the moral right to all information about their biological fathers.

  5. Rania Masri said on February 12th, 2008 at 7:25am #

    Dear Daniel,

    Thank you.
    Thank you for the clarity of your words, for your honesty, and for your insight.

    -Rania

  6. David A. Smith said on February 12th, 2008 at 7:35am #

    Amy – I don’t know anything about you, but I’ll assume you’re a sincere and nice person. But don’t go through life thinking you are entitled to anything or you will be severely disappointed. As for your history and mine – if you think that genetics is the basis of your history, have at it. If you go far enough back with that argument you’ll find we all come from the same place.

    Daniel – Yes, I did read your article. Perhaps a little more deeply than you are aware. Just because you are the author, does not mean you are the sole authority of it’s meaning. Consider that maybe a reader can “read” something in your writing that you might not be aware is there.

  7. Daniel Drennan said on February 13th, 2008 at 5:10am #

    Of course I’m more than willing to engage with any discussion concerning the article! I wouldn’t consider the online realm valid as an outlet if I didn’t think so.

    If you find another reading (or readings) in my article—which I have absolutely no problem with—then it would be interesting to hear that clearly stated, and not statements which the article—no matter how you read it—directly contradict; that’s all. Thanks again.

  8. Seta said on February 14th, 2008 at 9:22am #

    Thank you for your frank view of the Adoption Industry a $2.3 billion dollar industry in the USA and $6.5 billion worldwide. International Adoption is dealing with murkey grey areas. In 2007 we saw 5 Adoption Agencies closed down by the State Attorney’s office: Reaching Arms International, Waiting Angels, Seattle International (Angelina Jolie’s first adoption in Cambodia conducted from SI) Focus on Children (caught by Utah USCIS Adjudicators) Project Oz. These agencies were human trafficking and paying for referrals of children/infants that were not “relinquished orphans” Currently we have about 11 agencies under investigation for RICO laws, which is racketeering.
    Even with the Hague regulations constantly changing and adoption agencies having to be “Hague Regulated” it is still on a self-governing -honor system. A system that has LESS regulation than used car lots.
    The money that these agencies make (non-profit?) can been seen online for free their IRS 990 returns is in the $1.2 million. http://www.guidestar.com
    We now have a group called PEAR, Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform. It is a grassroots group that includes 8 people with law degrees. 1 law professor and 1 para-legal..–All have been deeply hurt by Adoption Agencies. Our hope is to suggest and re write legislation that gives more of a voice to the Birthmother (who currently has no rights) and the adoptive child. As it sits there is currently an uneven balance of power with the Adoption agency controlling the whole process. If there is a problem Agencies tend to blame the sending country or the USCIS, they will NEVER be accountable for wrongdoing.
    Bottom line Adoption agencies have created this unethical behavior by spreading the western dollar around these poor countries and creating a market for children.
    Sadly we live in a country that has over 113,000 children in our foster care system waiting for adoption. While we have Americans that go overseas to adopt from Ethiopia and Guatemala—while our American Hispanic and African American children sit waiting for a home for someone to call “family”.
    2/8/08 USA Today headlines show that International Adoptions is down by 30% with 3 years of decline. Domestic adoptions are up.
    The reason is because of the uncertainity and fraud that is so prominent.

  9. Marcy said on April 14th, 2008 at 7:15am #

    How can we join in on helping expose corrupt adoption agencies and prosecuting the people who take advantage of all parties involved in the adoption process.

  10. Daniel Drennan said on May 24th, 2008 at 4:06am #

    I recommend the web site Bastard Nation which lists among other activist events the National Day of Adoptee Rights Protest at the end of July….

  11. anonymous said on April 23rd, 2009 at 2:04pm #

    Daniel, shouldn’t you be grateful for all that you were given by your adoptive parents? We always complain. Theres always something missing, always an excuse to nag about something isn’t there? Deprived of our origins? Really? You were given a home, a roof on top of your head, food on your table- a table to have food put on to begin with, the wonderful opportunity to be educated to one day write this blog. Do you think you would have gotten more out of a life in lebanon? Through the war and turmoil? Would you rather have been thrown onto the streets at the age of 18 to fend for yourself? Had you not been adopted, chances are you would have wished you were. Do excuse me for assuming these things, it is far from my intentions to extract things from your life, but im taking you as an example, because your thoughts pushed you hard enough to write an article about them. You had the opportunity to live a life and the ability to make the recent choice to move to this other country that you seem to claim to be home- not in those words but in the same effect.
    The concept of adoption is to help a child. what is a parent anyway? someone to take care of us, help us out until we can stand on our own two feet, to teach us of the dangers of life. Why does it matter if that person is biologically related to us or not? Or if we are raised in the country we were physically born in? In the end of the day we are individuals. Surely ignorant kids at school might treat us differently if the colour of our skin doesn’t match that of theirs but life is what we make of it. You weren’t satisfied with the life you were living, so you went “back” to Lebanon. Isnt that amazing? you got the chance to live 2 lives. You got to learn the country’s language, you breathe in it’s smoggy air, you pass by the beggars on the way home and deal with the stubborn selfish people around you everyday. Isnt that what you wanted to feel complete? What else is it do you want to make you feel complete? To go back in time and change things? why?? I might not understand because my feet are not in your shoes, I’m writing to you not to judge… but to understand. I cannot think the way you do, and I am no one to tell you that my way of thinking is the superior out of the two… but to let go of the past and make do with what we have just makes more sense. Why start an introduction with “hi my name is Daniel, i was adopted”? Why not “Hi, I’m Daniel? I’m a living breathing person, I love art. I’d like to do such and such before I die…” To give weight to “I was adopted” deprives you from everything else you are as a personality. Why look at it that way?

  12. Daniel Drennan said on April 24th, 2009 at 12:00pm #

    Thank you for writing. Please note in my article where i say: “This article will paint me as an ungrateful adoptee, which is the furthest thing from the truth.” You can ask my parents or siblings if you would like confirmation of my status within my family. I hope you won’t mind me saying so, but the basic faults in your argument are answered by my article, so I might ask you to re-read it. I am going to assume that you are honest in your desire to understand, despite the many words you’ve put in my mouth and against which I am rather loathe to defend myself. But it seems that you are willing to engage and listen to a reply, and so I will try to answer your questions.
     
    To re-iterate: there can be no understanding of the instant of adoption if we don’t see it as the moment that separates two sides of a crucial instant: a new beginning, yes, but one that nonetheless mirrors the violence of a ruptured family and community. The instant has two sides, not one; it cannot be described without invoking both what happened before as well as what happens after.
     
    If anyone who argues a pro-adoption stand cannot consider that there is an equivalent break involved, a similar loss–that the gain on one hand of a child is counterbalanced by the removal of that child from a family and community–then this is simply another imposition of one particular world view over another. I will try to explain further.
     
    At the end of the day, we are not individuals. We are part of a community. The nuclear family is a construct of a given part of the world, but it is not universal. All of the things that you argue on my behalf and which I agree with wholeheartedly concerning my place in my family have their counterargument in my absence from the lives of my birth parents, my extended family, and my community. To argue as you do is to assume that given my life, I should ignore my past. This is like denying one’s own reflection in a mirror.
     
    Your position assumes that one side of the equation has more validity, or a greater claim to its actions, simply for being on the right side of history, or on the right side of a class divide. It is also to argue that a child growing up with the benefits of this class (or the aspirations thereto) somehow has a “better” life than one who doesn’t. I don’t judge the world this way, nor its peoples, who have the right to a life lived according to how they define living, not based on superficial values or subjective ideals imposed on them from without. It seems to me that much of the world’s problems stem from this kind of assumed superior position of modernity, civilization, and universalism, and a denial of the validity of how life is lived by four-fifths of the planet.
     
    As painful as it is, I am simply trying to shine some light on the countervailing reality of the act of adoption. Meaning, what I am arguing for is true equivalence–my birth parents had as much a right to a happy, healthy family as my adoptive parents do. No, I cannot go back and change things. All the same, I cannot consider my (adopted) mother’s gain without acknowledging my (birth) mother’s loss. Life is not “what we make of it”; life is largely made outside of our ability to do anything about it. And thus my engagement with this issue.
     
    International adoption is the function of systemic differences that can be traced back to colonialism, racism, and inequality between First and Nether worlds. It does no one any favor to deny that the Anglo-Saxon concept of adoption comes not from family creation, but from indentured servitude, and that such a concept in and of itself reinforces the systems of oppression that gave rise to it. To paint adoption as some kind of beneficent act of an objective status quo and benevolent culture is to romanticize and deny the history of adoption, and to basically accept these positions of inequality within the world as valid, eternal, and essential to the human condition.
     
    Furthermore, it does no one any justice to simply claim “well, that’s the way it is: deal with it.” To do this is to validate the racism and economic injustice that is inherent to if not a desired function of a given system. This injustice isn’t simply a matter of a few “ignorant kids”, certainly we can agree on that. To state it as such is facetious, and disingenuous in the extreme. Letting go of the past is one of the requirements of a system that wishes to remove us from our context, our history, our land. I refuse this categorically, and am actively engaged to fight against it as I can; thus my article, and thus my life now.
     
    I don’t make the qualitative difference between First and Other world lives that you seem able to make. Had my life been here, my life would have been here–nothing more, nothing less. Not better, not worse. To argue anything else is to make specious and ignoble value judgments concerning people’s lives, which I think is a very precarious if not an invalid and suspect argument to make. I would only point out that this difference in quality of life is a function of the excesses of particular classes and of a continuous and relentless undoing of any progressive force in the East at the hands of the West.
     
    For the record: My article is only tangentially in the first-person singular, and on purpose at that. For it is not me who starts off a sentence, “I was adopted.” I have let go of all of the fragmented personality and identity markers that are so important in an Anglo-American way of looking at oneself and the world. I have started over in Lebanon from zero; I don’t define myself as anything at this point. But it begs the question: Why is the adopted child asked to “give up” all of the slivered, idiosyncratic identity markers that his or her counterparts in his or her adoptive “home” worship and hold up as defining of them as people? This is a lot to ask of someone, if you think about it. This is to render the adopted child ever infantile, invalid, and anonymous.
     
    “I am adopted” is, on the other hand, often the second statement I make, but only because there is always that question: “Where are you from?” It would not be asked if it were not of universal import. This is asked by different people for different reasons, but to deny the importance of place in our lives–and thus, of displacement–is to ask more of an adopted child than you ask of yourself. Those who have the luxury of place and a branching family tree that goes back for generations do not have the right to tell an adopted child to “get over it”.
     
    Why? Because it is to reduce the violence of abandonment to a non-occurrence; and the child’s history to nothing. It invalidates and annihilates not just the child, but his progenitors. I use the word “violent” because I know more about our truths as adoptees than I care to and I dare you to suffer knowing what I know. The act of abandoning a child is not a simple bureaucratic procedure. It is thus not right to deny the mirror side of adoption its due weight and focus. It is wrong to see only one side, and to deny the rights of the child, the birth mother, the community from which a child comes from. It is a political statement; the silencing of adoptees who speak out a political act.
     
    Lebanon is not “home”, in the sense you imply; I doubt it ever will be. I make no claim to be “Lebanese”. To learn the language as you state, for example, is to always know how far away you are from having learned it from birth. This is like living behind a glass wall. In any case, I have found a “place”–my neighborhood, my community–and it is much more welcoming of me coming to it from the outside than where I grew up was of me coming to it from the inside. This is not a complaint, or a voicing of ingratitude, this is a statement of fact, and one that is shared by the hundreds of foreign-born adoptees I have come to know, especially those who go “back”. And should there be any hope of changing this world, than each of us will have to review and correct our notions of what we have always taken for granted.
     
    For example, I now live where I am surrounded by others who are displaced for various reasons–economic conditions, wars in their home countries, previous wars on Lebanese soil, refugee status from a neighboring entity, etc. In no way do I deny the advantages I’ve had in my life. But to say that the displaced have no right to the same ability to ground themselves as those who have the luxury to do so is a huge injustice. I mean no offense, but this sense of luxury is likewise pointed out in your desire to remain “anonymous” on these boards, despite the fact that you are posting your missive from the AUB campus, or via the university’s computers. If you wish to remain hidden and yet make this a public discussion despite your ability to walk over and talk to me in public or in private, so be it. It might behoove you to admit, however, that some of us are literally anonymous, and not by choice.
     
    There is work to do in this horrible world; I would only like to correct your notion of someone sitting and complaining, licking his wounds. I have activated myself and if I am focusing on the source of the problem as I see it, it is because I can no longer abide by the treatment of the symptoms without getting to the dis-ease, as it were. Adoption as you describe it is an attempt to treat symptoms. Ironically, it could likewise be described in terms of the selfishness and desire for “completion” that you ascribe to me. So the question remains: Why, then, actively target adoptees who speak up, who speak out? If I can come to terms with adoption as such, why can’t you?
     
    I am no longer concerned about my adoption in personal terms, but have moved on to the institutional level, and hope to change things in that regard. If I never come to a sense of “completion” then so be it. My striving is not about any sense of personal completion, which is only made obvious by what I have left behind and what I no longer have. In any case, it has nothing to do with adoption per se, but is hugely influenced by this equally valid part of my life, which I refuse to forget, or “get over”, simply because the circumstances of my life afterwards allow such a dismissal, as you propose.
     
    Thank you again for your reply. I appreciate your advice to “let go of the past”. Unfortunately I see this as being more problematic than actively acknowledging and working through this other side of the mirror. I could likewise accuse you of living in an endless present; I would hope I am wrong. The Qur’an invokes: “…let every human being look to what he sends ahead for the morrow”. Personally, I do not see this as involving forgetting the past, but remembering it, in order to think ahead, and move forward; to send ahead. And not for me, but for those we leave behind.
     
    I hope I have managed to clarify my position for you, and I remain open to fruitful dialogue concerning the subject.
     
    Salamun.

  13. Adoptee Rights Demonstration said on April 26th, 2009 at 6:01am #

    I would like to point out the above link which announces this year’s demonstration in the U.S. for adoptees’ rights.
     
    Daniel Drennan

  14. Cavatica said on August 30th, 2009 at 6:58pm #

    I’m an adoptive mom and I’m painfully aware that my gain is involves a terrible loss for many others. Adoption has brought me so much, but no, it isn’t an easy thing. It was once, when I believed the marketing. I understand, now, it’s not so simple. Yet, here I am. I love my daughter fiercely. I hope that she will grow to have enough love for anyone who loves her well. And that I continue to understand that love is not a quantity, but a quality. I have no rights to it, but I hope she will give it to me freely. Otherwise, it means nothing.

  15. Daniel Drennan said on September 1st, 2009 at 3:04pm #

    Thank you for your words, it means a lot to hear them. Blessings on you and your family.