Category: Adoption

More of the Things They Will Say To Your Face

Nancy French pointed me to this great video that illustrates the sort of comments you get from people when you are out and about as a multiracial family (often, but not always, an adoptive one). Been there, heard that. Regular readers may recall that last year I collected comments from adoptive parents on an adoptive forum and posted them to demonstrate some of what humanity has to offer. Like I said before, the point of this is not to throw a pity party for adoptive parents. Any discussion of transracial adoption shouldn't be all about the adoptive parents' feelings. Rather,...

Movie Review: "Somewhere Between," A Film On International Adoption

I had the pleasure of seeing the documentary ""Somewhere Between" last night at an art-house theater on the West Side, followed by a question-and-answer session with the director. We did it right — Katrina and I went with three other adoptive couples with young girls from China, and prepared with a raucous discussion of inappropriate topics at a nearby Japanese-tapas place. The beauty of dinner at a Japanese restaurant is that you can drink gigantic bottles of beer and deep-fried things without social condemnation. We arrived in a very upbeat frame of mind. We left sober (literally and figuratively) and...

Use What's Right To Fight What's Wrong

It would be trivially easy to focus on the negative this week. I could focus on, say, a four-year-old singing "No Homos Going To Make It To Heaven." Or I could focus on purported men of God talking about putting gays in concentration camps until they die out, or on the parishioners who defend him ("He said they would feed him!" one said.). Instead, I'm going to focus on a movie Take Me Home: The Birth Of An American Family about two parents who create a family by adopting six special needs kids and by raising them right with love:...

The Things People Will Say To Your Face

Things actually said to real families with internationally adopted kids, collected on adoption forums: Are they REALLY brother and sister? I guess their mom/dad is Ory Ental, huh? Did their mother die in that big war they had down there? Are you SURE she's [ethnicity]? How could you love [adopted child] as much as [biological child]? I adopted a dog once. [Upon a post-adoption pregnancy] What are you going to do with the other one, keep him or send him back? You get what you pay for. Is he a real orphan? What's wrong? You can't have one of your...

I'm Offended That You're Offended!

Look: people are going to get offended at stuff that doesn't offend you. You're going to get offended at things that don't offend other people. How you reconcile these things will help determine how you blunder along in the course of expressing yourself and dealing with other folks in our odd society. Today's example: the wildly popular newly released game Portal 2 — sequel to a hit that launched many internet memes — features a rude character who teases and berates the player's character. At one point, the teasing focuses on adoption: "Alright, fatty. Adopted fatty. Fatty, fatty no parents,"...

The Sort of Help We Don't Need

Adoptive parents like measured, positive stories about adoption. We like stories that promote the idea that adoption is an acceptable and normal way to build a family and that adoptive parents and adopted kids are not freaks. It's true that some of us have a regrettable preference for stories that hew strictly to the happy-happy joy-joy stance. But most of us like to see a balance — portrayals that recognize that adoption (like so many other social interactions) can involve very difficult issues, but that also recognize that adoptive families are "real families" in every meaningful sense of that term....

How Not To Celebrate National Adoption Month

Occasionally life gives you pop quizzes, which you fail. This weekend, life's pop quiz was "Hey, Ken, since it's National Adoption Month, do you think you could model how to react positively and constructively to challenging or uncomfortable adoption-related social situations?" My answer: KEN SMASH KEN SMASH KEN SMASH. That wasn't the right answer. Not even partial credit. Many timeson this blog, I've talked about the social challenge that adoptive parents face in responding to rude questions in public, and how uncomfortable those situations can make us. I've admitted fantasies about telling rude people off, but maintained that adoptive parents...

Two Thumbs Up For "Adopted"

Tonight Katrina and I watched the movie "Adopted," a documentary that depicted two journeys — a family's adoption of a little girl from China, and an adult Korean adoptee's attempt to confront her feelings about being adopted and to get her parents to understand and acknowledge them. We thought it was great — painful, but great — and highly recommend it to anyone interested in international adoption issues, which I write about here occasionally. The movie's strength lies in comfort with contrasting views of adoption, and ultimately with its comfort with ambiguity. The adult adoptee is deeply troubled, and growing...

Reality Disproves the "Heroic Parent" Myth Once Again

Sometimes I tease my wife about the fact that she's got a doctorate in clinical psychology and is widely reputed among her colleagues to be a gifted child psychologist, yet is as much at sea in raising our own little hellions as I am. She tells me that it's actually somewhat a joke in the mental health profession that their kids wind up disturbed. I can live with that, I guess; at least statistically one or two of them will drop out rather than going to an expensive college, and I can buy a cool car. There's another group widely...

Brace Yourself For The Typical Flood of Racist Douchebaggery

So Katherine Heigl — whose own sister was adopted from Korea — is adopting a baby girl from Korea. Best wishes to her and her husband and their daughter. This will be an opportunity for some people to inquire whether celebs adopting get special treatment or exemptions from the rules. That is a legitimate inquiry. It may also be an occasion to explore problems with, and concerns about, international adoption; that is also a completely legitimate subject, even if it is not comfortable for everyone. However, most of the coverage will not be serious. The loudest voices will be racist...

Some Promising New Adoption Blogs

Long-time readers know that I write a fair amount about adoption, and particularly about issues like how the media talks about adoption and the tension between some adoption boosters (the happy-happy-joy-joy wing who resist discussing anything negative about international adoption) and those of us who think that it's complicated. So I'm always happy to learn about new adoption blogs. Thanks to an email from Martha Nichols, a writer and teacher of writing, I found two more to follow: Martha's own new blog (in which I strongly identified with her experience of trying to get a seven-year-old to appreciate Star Trek),...

Apparently My Adopted Kids Are Going To Kill You. Sorry!

In the various blogs and forums where adoptive families congregate, there's been an uproar about the upcoming Warner Brothers movie Orphan. You may have seen the trailer if you've been to the movies in the last few weeks; if not, you can see a revised version (more on that later) through the link above. Orphan appears to be a run-of-the-mill psychological horror movie built around the classic changeling/bad seed myth kernel, in this case featuring a nice quiet family adopting a cute little girl who turns out to be an evil psychopath with some sort of mysterious and no doubt...

Working Parents Are Bad Parents, Apparently

I'm lucky. As a lawyer, sucking marrow from the bones of the fallen and feeding like a lamprey off the lifeblood of the economy, I have the financial wherewithal to allow my spouse to "stay home" with the kids rather than work. (I say "stay home" because her schedule with the kids drives her more miles per day than mine does.) I'm also fortunate to be married to someone with a temperament that allows her to "stay home" with the kids without bleeding out the ears or drowning them in a lake and fabricating a story involving a dark-skinned carjacker....

Children Are Not Meant To Be Convenient

In the latest setback for my hope that the mainstream media will treat international adoption as something other than a freakshow or a punchline, Madonna's effort to adopt another child from Malawi has been rejected on the grounds that she was apparently unwilling to fulfill Malawi's residency requirement. "The decision came down to residency requirement and the fact that the judge believes she was being well taken care of in the orphanage," said Zione Ntaba, a spokeswoman for the Malawi Justice Department. "For the Malawians, the fact that the child is at an orphanage, is being taken care of and...

Miss Manners Revisits Rude Adoption Questions

Previously I praised Miss Manners for endorsing the use of the cut direct with jackasses who ask rude questions about adoptive families. Such rude questions are a well-established pet peeve of mine. So via TJIC (who has a rather different take on it than I do), I was pleased to see her make another attempt to reassure adoptive parents that they need not be doormats, and perhaps even educate a few socially stunted twits. The letter writer identifies the problem with coy or ambiguous responses designed to deflect the questions: I've tried asking with the slightest of remonstrance "Excuse me?"...