Monday, April 16, 2012

Stranger Adoption and "Chimpanzee"

Yesterday, I posted about adoption themes in the new DisneyNature film, Chimpanzee.  Imagine my surprise when the guest on The Daily Show tonight was Dr. Jane Goodall, spokesperson for the film!

The review I posted had this line: "even in nature foster care and adoption happen."  Hmm.  So I was intrigued when Dr. Goodall spoke about how the orphaned chimpanzee, Oscar, was taken in by the leader of the pack, Freddie.  Jon Stewart asked her if this was a common thing (I got the feeling he was asking if it was a common thing for a MALE to take in the orphan, but maybe that was just me), and Dr. Goodall said no.  Ordinarily, she said, when a mother dies, the orphaned chimp would be cared for by an older brother or older sister (that takes care of the gender thing).  She said that it was extremely unusual for someone outside the family to take in the orphan.

So, while adoption happens "even in nature," it's relative adoption, not stranger adoption among chimpanzees.  Who knew?!


Stephanie said...

I read someone trying to justify domestic infant adoption by throwing in the "even animals in the wild adopt young". People will stop at nothing in attempt to justify severing the bond between a mother and her child.

There is nothing natural about adoption when a mother is perfectly capable of being a good mother to her own child, but may just lack support and resources.

Animals in the wild adopt young who's mothers have been killed or died; not WISHED her dead or pretend she didn't exist so they could fulfill their needs.

Linda said...

I agree, Stephanie!

The animal "adoption" comparison bothered me even as a young girl. One of the few times I talked about my dislike of adoption in my teens, I had a cousin use the "dogs on a farm adopt orphaned kittens" line on me.

Yes, that DOES happen. The orphaned kitty may survive and even flourish. But at the end of the day, the kitten still grows up to be a cat. It may try to become a "butt sniffer" or herder like the other dogs, it's natural tendency is to be aloof, sleep in the sun and have the occasional scratch on a fencepost. It did not magically morph into a dog through the magic of farmyard "adoption" any more than I grew up to be an Italian woman with my Italian adoptive family's DNA.

Theodore said...

I have seen adoption by geese: the "married" couple just chased the single mother away from her goslings.
Animals with parental instincts for non-biological offspring are usually stopped from taking off with the baby, by the reaction of the mother (and the group supporting her).

Unknown said...

In the animal world, if a relative doesn't "adopt" the baby, usually it is left to fend for itself (often dying) or is killed by others of its kind.

Karen said...

I don't think the analogy of animals adopting other animals is intended to discredit birth parents. When I saw something like that, my first thought was rather that it shows tha maternal instinct going beyond blood bonds or genetic linkups. And thank God it can!! We live next to a couple who have adopted three children from foster care, and the situations with their birth mother was not "pretty". In fact, it was anything BUT maternal instinct. And in many situations, children will grow up without any parental influence whatsoever if people did not have maternal desires that go beyond one's own flesh and blood.
Does there always have to be a monkey wrench thrown into the situation? (no pun intended. Okay, kind of a pun intended)