Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Savior Complex?

At Hollywood.com, Brad Pitt exercises his savior complex:
The actor and his partner are parents to six children - three biological kids and three who were adopted from various countries around the world.

The couple adopted Zahara, now six, from an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2005 when she was just six months old, and Pitt is convinced the youngster would not have survived if they had not taken her in.

He tells Parade magazine, "I have seen children suffer far beyond what we experience in America - like our oldest daughter. I know she would not be alive (if she had not been adopted). I know what care was available to her, and it was nil. I cannot imagine life without her."
First, unless he is more god-like than I ever knew, he cannot "know" she would not be alive.  Second, EVEN IF IT IS TRUE, saying it sets up that whole gratitude thing -- adoptee, you have to love us and be happy with your adoption because we saved your life! No complaints, now! Third, a bit self-aggrandizing, no?


Anonymous said...

I too am challenged by the if I didn't adopt her she would (might) be dead scenario.

But just because it might set up a "gratitude" issue, does not make it any less real.

Adoption and adoption issues like this are not neat, clean and tidy. It is emotionally hard sometimes to look at your wonderfully loveable child and know they might have died or had little access to the resources you can provide.

I don't expect anything in return from my adopted daughter for just being her parent. I'm the one who feels the most lucky, but it doesn't take away from the raw emotion to imagine what her life could have held if she continued to live in her previous conditions.

Wendy said...

I have to agree with anon. In no way would I ever expect or want gratitude from my daughter, and I have fought against the comments from her families in China about how lucky she is. She has lost so much and yet, there are tangible gains. There are those moments when reality hits about how her life would have been if she remained in China and I just can't make my mind go there. I speak to her about her losses and my gains, but as she ages she is coming to understand that although it would have been the best thing for her emotional well being to stay with her first family, it also would have been a harsh life once she came of age (and before) and had to try and navigate a society that does not accept people with differences like she has.
I do not want to comment either way on Brad Pitt's statements because I don't know the entirety of the conversation and we all know how words are distorted or presented for the press, but I do think he (and other celebrities) really have to go the extra mile to make sure this savior mentality isn't the representation of international adoption.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Wendy. I hate it when people say my daughter is lucky simply because she has a loving family as all children should. After all she has lost so much. On the other hand, I know life could have been very harsh if she'd remained in China. I don't want to judge Brad Pitt not having heard the entire conversation.

Michelle said...

I think he might have been referring to the Samonella infection & dehydration that Zahara had that, left untreated, could have been life threatening. Within a day after the adoption they realized how sick she was & took her to see Dr. Jane Aronson. She was hospitalized for a week.