Sunday, October 12, 2008

More About Guilt

I've been enjoying the discussion in the comments on my last post about "Adoption Guilt" -- let's see what this one spurs!

When I decided to adopt, I really wanted to avoid feeling like a rich, white American woman oppressing dark-skinned women of the Third World. I can't even have a maid here in the States because it makes me feel exploitative!

And I didn't want to feel like I was CREATING orphans -- some argue that international adoption actually creates orphans, since demand always creates supply. So I smugly chose China. After all, China's supply of orphans wasn't about my desire to adopt (I was only taking advantage of the government's oppression, not oppressing anyone myself, if I had really thought about it).

China wasn't like Guatemala, where baby stealing for purposes of adoption was such a problem that the government required DNA testing to link the child with the woman claiming to be the relinquishing birth mother. And there were tons of stories about poor Guatemalan women getting pregnant in order to relinquish a child for money payments. And it wasn't like India, where there were scandals about baby buying, where adoption "facilitators" were offering desperately poor India women a pittance for their babies and then making thousands of dollars by placing the child for international adoption. [I'm not knocking anyone who adopted from other countries, just setting out my guilt-avoiding thought processes.]

But China was free from corruption, I thought. And then came the Hunan scandal, and a report of women in Yunnan Province having babies in order to sell them. And the idea that China is somehow different from other sending countries doesn't seem able to stand up to scrutiny.

So maybe guilt is unavoidable?! Now, these guilt-inducing thoughts are not something I ponder every day. It doesn't interfere with my joy in my children. But it's one of the reasons I spend so much time focusing on issues in international adoption.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

China is not free from corruption. I wrote a post that specifically addressed the grief that relinquishing mothers had to face because of child trafficking. It relates to the China's Stolen Children documentary.

There are people who say "Well, corruption isn't happening as often as it used to be."

Well - yeah, but I believe the point in adoption reform is to try and help people understand that corruption should not be happening at all.