Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Not Funny

Usually, the Onion is a hoot, but this story isn't funny at all -- it actually makes me cry:

Son, It's Time We Have A Talk About Where Babies Go

Now, Xiu, you're getting to be a really big boy, and I know you've been asking a lot of questions about Mommy and why she's been so sad lately. Well, your mom and I have been talking and we think you're finally old enough to learn where babies—where babies go.

No, the stork doesn't take them away, Xiu. Please, son, just listen to Daddy, okay? Do you remember when Mommy had a big tummy? Yes, you put your ear next to it, that's right. Now, do you also remember around that time, when that letter came in the mail? The one Daddy ripped up and threw all over the ground? And Xiu, a few months after that, do you remember that man—that tall man in the shiny coat? He came to our door and there was all that screaming?

No, he's not where the babies go, either. Not exactly. Please Xiu, just wait a second…. It's a little more complicated than that.

You see, when a mommy and daddy love each other very much, but they're being pressured by the People's Republic of China and they have nowhere else to turn, sometimes they will walk miles away to a place where nobody knows who they are, and they'll—wait, no. Hold on. Let's start over. Can Daddy just think for a moment here?

Play with your toys for a bit. Why don't you take out Mr. Bear and Mrs. Giraffe and play with them for a little while? It's all right, Daddy's okay. He just needs to go splash some cold water on his face.

Okay, this might make more sense. You know how sometimes I complain about there being too many toys in your room, and how I say that they're making a mess, and in order to not make such a mess, you might need to throw some of your toys out? Well, China is kind of like that, too. What's that? You're right, I've never told you to throw any of your toys away. Because that would be very mean—yes—you're right. Xiu, my son, please don't cry. None of your toys will have to be thrown out.
Nobody should have to get rid of anything they love.

* * *

How can I—you're so young and so ...You know what? It's the stork. The babies go with the stork, Xiu. Giant storks come and take the babies away and that's where they go. Make sense? Good.

I'm not even sure it was intended to be funny -- it strikes me instead as one of the most trenchant criticisms of the one child policy I've heard in years.


joy said...

I think it is supposed to make you cry, and to examine how westerners contribute to this.

Mei-Ling said...

"Nobody should have to get rid of anything they love."

This did it for me.

Fucking right no one should have to. Esp in adoption.

Anonymous said...

Westerners contributing to adoption in China? Just by opening their hearts and doors to a new family member? China's policy was in place before "westerners" were allowed to adopt, and it is still in place now. What, you want all these children in orphanages for life just because you don't agree with adoption? Wake up.

Wendy said...

Anyone who does not see Western contribution to continued nsn adoption in China is in denial and also ill-informed. The program needs to close and the sooner the better.

Anonymous said...

So, Wendy, how is that you can say a program needs to close that you willingly adopted from?
And, how is it that a government (read - China) is not allowed to be accountable for their own actions? Does the US take the blame for all humanitarian aid? Because that's what it is. Humanitarian aid. Helping others, even if it helps us become parents.

Diane said...

I get where you are coming from. I do. You are worried about the NSN babies languishing in the orphanages of China. The problem is that the current research coming out of China indicates that those NSN babies are no longer in the orphanages. Research suggests that the encouragement of domestic adoption and successful family planning has drastically reduced the number of healthy babies being relinquished. Hence the drastic slow down.
I am an adoption advocate but to do so responsibly means advocating for ethical adoptions. In my opinion to encourage the NSN program in China is to encourage corruption. Because there now is a demand for a supply of healthy babies that aren’t there and the only way to obtain them is through coercion of the bio family and or trafficking. The NSN program provides incentive to orphanages to buy babies. It hard for me to fathom why a family would chose to wait years in the NSN program for a child to be relinquished when there are thousands of children in the waiting child program who are, well, waiting. The only answer that I can come up with is that they are waiting for the perfect child and I firmly believe that adoption means finding the right family for a child and not the right child for a family.
I mean no offense to those who have brought their children home through the NSN China program. I began my first adoption in 2005 pursuing a NSN baby but was ignorant to the waiting child program. I quickly switched programs. Even four years ago this information was not available and I believe the number of NSN babies waiting was higher. Reading, listening and learning helps us evolve. I can’t speak for Wendy, but that is how it is for me. As new information is gathered I continue to evolve.

Wendy said...

Thank you Diane, your explanation was right on track (no need for me to repeat). I agree, those willing to wait for nsn concern me--there is no perfect child and really, all children coming from an institutional care setting will have "sn". Our daughter was a "sn" adoption--our agency told us there were no sn children in China! when we found out we switched immediately.
I am also very concerned someone would go into adoption thinking it is humanitarian aid. People who are out to "save" children should reconsider their reasoning or cloaked reasoning and if that is truly their cause, they should be looking at waiting children only who may not receive the care that they could with those who have the funds to provide those services.

malinda said...

Thank you, Diane -- I love a comment that is designed to inform rather than to slay! It's amazing how much more effective the right tone is!

I agree wholeheartedly with what you say. But I also think that sn adoption isn't for everyone. Not pursuing special needs may not be about finding the perfect child -- it can be about a common-sense assessment of the family's resources. As a single mom who would be the sole support of my children, with limited ability to take unpaid leave, and the worst benefits package in the industry, I had concerns about my ability to provide appropriate medical care for a special needs child. After adopting Zoe, I was concerned about adopting a differently-abled sibling as well.

I know there are many singles and sibling families who make other choices, and I respect that. It was not, however, a choice I thought appropriate for our family at the time. But when I started looking at adopting a third time, some things had changed for us, and
I began to look at waiting chidren lists -- just when China pulled the plug on singles. Oh well.

I worry that people are leaping into the sn program without thinking through their ability to handle special needs, just because they don't want to wait.

malinda said...

Wendy -- I absolutely agree that "child-savers" need to consider whether they should be sponsoring a needy child rather than adopting one.

And Diane -- I agree hat "adoption means finding the right family for a child and not the right child for a family."

But there seems to be a bit of a conflict in that idea -- the focus on finding families for needy children tends to encourage that child-saver mentality we reject.

It's bit more nuanced than that, or course.

It's important for adopters to truly want to parent a child, not save it. But in seeking adopters, we should only consider the child.


How do you like the name? ha! OK, so my other concern here with the corruption in China and potential for more trafficking is our children's reaction. Did I spell trafficking right? This may stereotype our own children as "stolen babies" and also cause serious psychological effects. What a dilemna! I am sure they'll get wind of the situation as they get older, but I hope no one is routinely discussing this over-their-head issue with their daughter (s).

Wendy said...

I agree Malinda and I hope my post did not come off as finding children for families--sn or not--you know I do not agree with that.
I also agree that sn adoption is not for everyone in that I see many families "line hopping" and not looking at what they are comfortable with--there are additional parenting qualities for children with some sn, especially when it comes to the social aspects. I by no means want everyone to adopt sn--I want qualified parents. My point was the idea of "child savers" and the contridication I have seen by many who say that is their prompting for adoption (you know how I feel about that) and yet they do not consider sn. Hope that is more clear.

Diane said...

It concerns me as well but I am concerned about a lot of things ;) I agree with Wendy that Special Needs is a misnomer - All TRAs will have special needs. You would be surprised by the number of waiting children who require little to no medical intervention. Example- large birth mark, extra toe, missing finger, children with repaired medical issues that are now perfectly healthy etc. So, a waiting child would not necessarily mean a financial hit due to medical care.
I guess my bigger concern is families who are so busy hunting down ladybugs that they don't research the effects of post-institutionalization, trauma, neglect and issues on the attachment spectrum. And then there are the cultural identity issues and thinking that an FCC event will be a cure all for that stuff. It sure gets complicated doesn't it? Sigh.

I Repeat..... said...

My other concern here with the corruption in China and potential for more trafficking is our children's reaction. Did I spell trafficking right? This may stereotype our own children as "stolen babies" and also cause serious psychological effects. What a dilemna! I am sure they'll get wind of the situation as they get older, but I hope no one is routinely discussing this over-their-head issue with their daughter (s).

Anonymous said...

Speaking of child-savers -- I stumbled across a blog recently that has child-saver written all over it. Before adoption, the mother went on and on about how God had called them to adopt this very severe special needs child. Her trip to adopt was horrible for her, every minute sounded like the depths of hell. Now that she is back, she freely talks about how she disciplines her new 3 yr old - spanking, time out. She is disgusted by sites like attach-china.org and has no use for it. I was so horrified by what I was reading on her blog that I had to stop. In her mind she has "saved a child for Jesus", I guess... but I shudder to think of what that child has to look forward to. I don't understand how someone with that mentality gets approved to adopt. Did they lie about spanking on their homestudy application? Can you even be approved to adopt if you say you are willing and eager to spank a child and not even give lip service to becoming knowledgable about post-institutionalized child issues?

Wendy said...

I used to wonder the same thing, but when you consider people like the one on the blog you found, adopt through very conservative Christian agencies with social workers who are employed by them, adoption education given by them, post placements by them, you can see how these people get through. Independent social workers have to be a part of adoption reform (my hope would be that agencies with their own agendas being disbanded). Anyone with that woman's attitude for going into adoption should be disqualified, unfortunately as the system is currently structured it will continue to happen and sadly seems to be growing--they have the perfect network system=their churches and guilt.