A funny, snarky post at Racialicious, originally published at iBastard, "translating" some of the slogans popular on clothing for adopted kids:
I was adopted in what has come to be called the Baby Scoop Era, the period between the end of World War II and Roe v. Wade when girls were girls, boys were boys, sex education was lacking and little white babies were plentiful. Adoption could be–and often was–kept secret back then, though thankfully my own adoptive parents did not try to pull such a selfish and nasty stunt. However, in any case it certainly was never advertised.I hadn't seen the "Imported from China" one before, but have long had a strong dislike for the "Made in China, Loved in America" slogan, beloved of many adoptive parents (click here to read a whole slew of them defending the shirt). In a previous post about the book titled, Made in China, I described the slogan thus: "very high yuck factor in terms of objectification/ commodification, with the added assumption that no one loved these girls in China." At least the "Imported from China" slogan only objectifies and commodifies . . . . Sigh.
So it’s odd now to see adoptive parents dressing up their adopted children in clothes that proclaim the child’s adoptee status with messages like “I grew in Mommy’s heart!” or the appalling “Mommy’s Lil’ Guatling” (seriously, wtf?). Not that they should be ashamed, of course (there’s already enough bullshit shame in adoption), but when people go out of their way to say something, there’s usually more to it than the literal message. There’s a metamessage (the message behind the message itself) or subtext of some kind.
Discourse on adoption is just loaded with metamessages and subtext, so we here at International Bastard Machines have been working on new translation technology to sniff ‘em out. Today we are proud to announce the first test run of our Adoption Apparel Translator, a device that parses adoption slogans on baby clothes and teases out the subtle messages adoptive parents are really trying to send.