Friday, January 30, 2009

Warning: Adoption Has Unexpected Side Effects!

Once again, my personal life and my professional life are intersecting! I’m working on a new journal article about international adoption. Neither Family Law nor International Law was my area, but since adopting my kids my work has slowly shifted in that direction. I convinced my law school to host a conference on International Adoption in 2003, I wrote an article about judicial recognition of foreign decrees of adoption, I started teaching Adoption Law, I wrote an article about the constitutional restriction that prevents my children from growing up to be president, I taught at a Chinese law school, I wrote an article about Chinese legal education. . . . I would NEVER have done any of these things if I hadn’t adopted Zoe and Maya. And what about this blogging thing? I don't think I'd be doing that, either!

This new article I'm working on is looking at the mini-trend (micro-trend?) toward increasing openness in international adoption, mirroring somewhat the trend toward openness in domestic adoption in the U.S. I’ve been intrigued by stories I’ve blogged about -- like Arun Dohle’s, where he is seeking information about his birth parents in India; Lydia‘s, where the search for birth parents is a matter of life and death; Flora‘s, where the search is motivated by concern that the child was trafficked, but where a relationship of continuing contact with her birth mother then develops. . . . And, of course, I’m influenced by my own pitiful attempts at searching.

So, I’m looking at international human rights law, including the Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Declaration of Human Rights, and other sources, to see if I can develop an argument that supports increased openness in international adoption. As my research progresses and my thesis solidifies, I’ll be sharing it all here (whether you like it or not!).

Has this happened to anyone else, or am I completely abnormal? Have you seen unexpected side-effects of your adoption experience? Is it bleeding over into your professional life? Has it changed you in ways you didn’t expect, in ways beyond the way parenthood would change you? Please share!


Wendy said...

Nope, you are not the only one. Adopting M put me in a whole new world and wanting to make change in that world has become a big part of who I am and what I am doing. Glad to see you working toward the same goals, especially where it can actually make a huge difference--the law.

Lisa said...

Of course! WOW - it was interesting to read all you are doing in the area of law, Malinda. I am sure it is the love we have for our children that stimulates our work in areas that affect them!

Blogzilla said...

I am an adult adoptee - was adopted from Colombia as a newborn in 1975 and raised in Floriday. My childhood was great ... had a loving [single] mother who raised my adopted [non-biological] brother and I. A perfectly fine childhood that continued through college. Only as an adult (~age 30) did I begin to notice negative side effects that I'm convinced are a result of adoption. A list that it much too long and complex for this post. Many people would (do) look at me and not understand the inner pain that haunts me more as an adult than at any other time in my life (due to what appears to be a great life...on the surface). I intend to begin searching for my birth parents this year -- something that may hurt me or help me -- but a leap I have to take.