Early this morning, I sat in my study, my chores done, the kids playing in the basement, Saathi out to work. I scrolled through my Facebook feed, then turned my attention to Twitter. After following chatter about #45’s early morning Twitter meltdown, I caught up on other friends. One conversation upset my equilibrium. I could tell it was in jest and perhaps, that was part of the problem.
I tried to let it go. I walked around my home, talked distractedly on the phone with Amma and finally decided I’d say what has to be said.
People often joke about adoption. About being adopted, about adopting. I probably would have smiled or nodded even if I did not particularly think this was a topic for jokes. Ever since I became a parent by adoption, I am extra sensitive.
When SPCA airs pet adoption drives, I switch channels. The descriptors used to advertise animals worthy of adoption often feature terms like “calm”, “gentle”, “compliant” and “loveable”. It makes me cringe. Sometimes, on TV shows I see adoption being treated in a cavalier manner. Again, I switch channels or turn the TV off.
Then there are conversations online where someone posts something yummy and the inevitable “adopt me” comment follows.
I pause and wonder why one would say that and realize it stems from how we perceive adoption from the society around us. We are shown that adoption is a means to a life better than the one we are part of. We are shown the myth of the happy, grateful adoptee. We are shown that to be adopted, one has to be lovable, compliant, grateful, obedient.
From experience, I can tell you that Adoption is NOT:
- A means to a better life, just a different one.
- A way to pick and choose the child into your life. It is about finding a home for children who need homes.
- Adoptees are not meek automatons who fulfill your need for children without having to deal with the angst of parenting.
I am sure others touched by adoption can and will add to this list.
I want to take a moment to implore those of you who follow me or stumble on this post to think before you talk about adoption flippantly. These are real lives, real people, real children you are joking about.