1. Can you spell commodification?
"WACAP delivers" is a slogan that turns a child into a package to be delivered. We deliver the goods. Sure, the fine print under the heading says we're delivering SERVICES, not children, but the big print and the visual is pure objectification. And the last line of the ad -- "Adoptions from China, Ethiopia, India, Kazakhstan, Korea, Russia, Thailand, and the U.S." -- continues the one-stop-shopping catalog theme. And each time I see the ad, I can't help but remember that WACAP was the agency that brought Artyom to Torry Ann Hansen; she seems to have taken the delivery theme to heart when she returned her package to Moscow.
2. Adoption = labor & delivery?
"Delivering" children is what pregnant women do, right? So what WACAP does is the equivilent of childbirth -- adopting is the equivalent of childbirth. The slogon subtly reinforces the "same-as" narrative of adoption. Adoption is the "same as" giving birth to a child. What a comforting meme for prospective adoptive parents; you won't have to worry about any pesky adoption issues, because parenting an adopted child is the same as parenting a child born to you. No wonder adoptive parents are sometimes ashamed to thell their agency about problems or seek post-adoption services.
3. Or is it take-out?
"WACAP delivers" reminds me of those people who talk about their biological children as "home-grown" and their children adopted from China as "take-out." Paula, adopted from Korea, had some trenchant words to say about this usage at her blog, Heart, Mind & Seoul:
Maybe it's just me, but there's something about that term that seems a bit off. Perhaps it's the visual that pops into my head of a sign advertising "Homegrown Tomatoes For Sale!" (it also makes me wonder if my "homegrown" daughter should call me Farmer Mom) and the way it strongly suggests - at least to me - that the said child is some kind of commodity. I guess I don't see it so much as a term of endearment as I do a description - for a product. And what about the kids that aren't "homegrown" - what does that make them (including me and my son)? Foreign goods? High-end imported products custom made in Korea?No, Paula, it isn't just you who finds that terminology "a bit off."
4. Is that a guarantee?
The slogan sounds to me like you're guaranteed a child, WACAP will deliver you a child. What does that say about screening prospective adoptive parents? No one gets screened out? I know, I know, they only deliver SERVICES. But is that what the headline and visual suggest? They've skirted the legalities, but the ad suggests a different kind of guaranteed delivery that's designed to draw in prospective adoptive parents.
I don't have any particular problem with WACAP. I was even looking at them as a potential agency for a special needs adoption from China just before China pulled the plug on singles adopting. So there's no ax to grind with this particular agency. The ad just illustrates so much of the bad stuff in the way adoption is practiced today.
I emailed my thoughts on the ad to WACAP when I first saw it (I was nicer than I am in this post!). I received no response. And the ad keeps running . . . .