It is a long time since I wrote a post on the similarities between adoption and slavery and Jeremy has prompted me to do so. Thank you Jeremy for the reminder!
Before I begin on that, adoption is not a viewpoint, a situation in which we are enlightened or unenlightened. Adoption is for life. Adoption begins with the traumatic loss of our mother and it is traumatic whatever the circumstances and whatever happens next. Adoption is also a trauma when we go to live with strangers who act wrong, smell wrong, speak wrong and have nothing familiar or right about them because they are not our mother. It really is time these things did not need spelling out, particularly to adopters. I don’t wish to be picky, particularly with someone who has been courageous enough to comment at LGA but please note that interesting expression of Jeremy’s “a slave to boot” – perhaps it needs no further comment!
Best perhaps not to put in a search for the term as I just did! Any adoptee who has reached the point in their adopted life when they see adoption for what it is and it may take decades to reach that point, will not wish the same fate on any child.
Any sane adult who fully comprehends what is going on in transnational adoption will do whatever they can to stop it. Once the blinkers come off and international adoption is seen for what it really is, no moral adult could possibly engage in such a process.
Of course those who can, will campaign against it, speak out about it’s wrongs and try to stop another generation of children being made adoptees. 90% of the estimated 153 million ‘orphans’ have at least one parent! Time for the world to make attempts to keep those families together, to stop the poverty that often parts them and to stop the trade in orphans.
There are many, many ways to make it happen; some cheap, some expensive but all possible, feasible and ethical. So, to why slavery and adoption can legitimately be compared.
Go to our old friend Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery
The entry begins: Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation. Historically, slavery was institutionally recognized by many societies; in more recent times slavery has been outlawed in most societies but continues through the practices of debt bondage, indentured servitude, serfdom, domestic servants kept in captivity, certain adoptions in which children are forced to work as slaves, child soldiers, and forced marriage. Slavery is illegal in every country in the world but there are still an estimated 27 million slaves worldwide; some opponents are hopeful that slavery can be eradicated by 2042.
Let’s take that point by point for starters – Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work.
In adoption, children are bought with large sums of money which profit those who run the agencies, institutions and legal firms as well as individuals who get payouts, bribes, fees or whatever term they currently use for asking for payment. Adoptees are expected to take on an assigned role as the adopted child in a family; maybe to cure infertility, to complete a family, to be a trophy saved orphan or dozens of other pieces of work which the adopters decide upon without consultation or agreement.
Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation.
Adoptees have no choice about their adoption usually. If they are old enough they are often coerced, bribed, tricked or in other ways convinced that adoption is for their benefit, often deceived as to it’s real meaning and it’s permanence and finality. The adopted life is forever. It is a rare adoptee who has an adoption annulled; my own State only allows it if there is proven abuse – that is abuse recognised in law. I have never heard of an adoptee receiving compensation, other than in being the beneficiary of a will.
Some might argue that adoption itself is compensation for being saved from a life of poverty, illegitimacy, lack of education etc. Time and again we have seen how these arguments do not hold water. Adopters divorce, get sacked, refuse education, do not complete procedures for citizenship, abuse, murder, torture or provide dysfunctional family units. Illegitimacy has a way of following us in life – once a bastard always a bastard in my experience!
Historically, slavery was institutionally recognized by many societies; in more recent times slavery has been outlawed in most societies but continues through the practices of debt bondage, indentured servitude, serfdom, domestic servants kept in captivity, certain adoptions in which children are forced to work as slaves, child soldiers, and forced marriage. Adoption in some form is recognised by most societies. In some, adoption is a temporary arrangement within a family or a way of caring for genuinely orphaned children within the family. It is only in the Western world that adoption involves payments of large sums of money, placement of children with strangers and the loss of identity, biological family, culture, language and country. It has not been outlawed and in some countries continues to exist although at a declining rate. Perhaps one day it will be outlawed, as an inhumane practice, a callous act of cruelty and an unethical act and will be outlawed, banned and stopped.
Slavery is illegal in every country in the world but there are still an estimated 27 million slaves worldwide; some opponents are hopeful that slavery can be eradicated by 2042. Adoption is known in every country in the world and there are an estimated 153 million ‘orphans’ who need ‘saving’ by adoption. It is unknown how many adoptees there are in the world but the figure is in the millions. In America alone, it is thought to be around 10 million. In Australia during the era of ‘forced’ adoption the figure is around 250,000. Somewhere, someone will have toted up the estimated figures.
It seems it has never been considered important to keep a tally, a record or to document the history of adoptees. Following the Australian Government Inquiry into forced adoption a study was made of adoption and a survey undertaken which many adoptees took part in. It resulted in the first hard evidence about adoption and it’s effects. We will have to see what it produces.
Adoption will never be eradicated. Adoption is for life, there will always be another generation growing up, a generation with it’s own particular take on adoption and the adopted life. The new generation of young people are talking about becoming lawyers, attorneys and legal eagles so that they can learn to fight what they see as injustice, inhumanity and the powerful forces of adoptionland – the Big Adoption that profits, makes money and grows rich from the trade in children. They will need mentors, supporters and encouragement in their task and the older generation of adoptees will be there for them in whatever way they can to bring down the unethical, the profiteering and the inhumane.
Adoption in some form will always be needed. A conundrum, but there will always be some children who cannot or should not be raised by their biological parents. For them an alternate family may be best but let it be the very best. Let these children keep their identities, let them not be bought and sold and let them have all the support and help they need to deal with their unavoidable circumstances in their own country amongst their own people.
Any prospective adopted or adopter or indeed any adult, who continues to believe that adoption is ethical, carried out for the benefit of children, upholds the rights of children and is a humane practice, needs to get real, to watch films like “Mercy, Mercy” and to inform themselves with real information and facts instead of hype, advertising and propaganda, the products of Big Adoption which appear slick, convincing and genuine but to the informed eye are sickening, saccharine sweet, out of touch with reality and down right misleading, untruthful and coercive. Good luck!
(I added bold to certain points since this post was so articulate and on point…I was thinking of one adoptee in particular who was adopted then abandoned when the a-parents moved to a new state – then he was adopted into harsh conditions with a new adoptive family. Eventually he ran away… Sometimes the idea of adoption is an atrocity and indeed a form of slavery… Lara)
Another post to read: ORPHAN CRISIS: NOT! http://eagoodlife.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/orphan-crisis-not/