A World Without Adoption

I bring this up frequently – we do not support families well enough in this country. If poverty, racism, and health care inequities were properly redressed, adoption would be a last resort. Very short on time today but picking up a few points from an article in LINK> The Nation – We Should Be Fighting for a World Without Adoption by Michele Merritt.

Remarks from the Supreme Court, most notably from Justice Amy Coney Barrett, in the recent overturn of Roe v Wade position adoption as a viable alternative to abortion. Framing the tragedy of losing reproductive freedoms as a problem easily solved by the relinquishment of a child obfuscates the reality of adoption as an institution that is steeped in systemic injustice. Moreover, such a framing underscores the way adopted people—the ones purportedly “saved” by adoption—are overlooked. 

The social narrative that places adoption on a pedestal and views adoption as an alternative to abortion completely misses the point that it is not a reproductive choice at all. It’s a parenting choice—and one that should be a last resort, instead of being lauded as a great act of charity or a cure for a world where abortion is all but outlawed. 

In the conservative adoption fairy tale, a pregnant person who does not feel that they are capable of adequately parenting hands off these duties to people who have been desperately hoping to become parents. The child, it is assumed, will fare better, escaping a life most assuredly filled with poverty or neglect. Above all, this child “could have been aborted,” so adoption rescues them from annihilation.

Certainly, this was Georgia Tann’s theory when she took my blond, blue-eyed mom from her poverty afflicted parents by exploiting my maternal grandmother’s desperation under extreme circumstances (a missing husband, gone off to another state while working with the WPA to fight an epic flood on the Mississippi River in 1937). My mom did grow up under affluent circumstances in the adoptive home of a banker and socialite mother. Her first mother never had another child (not uncommon among women who lose their first born to adoption).

It is true that many parents who relinquish children for adoption cite financial concerns as a chief obstacle to parenting, but that does not mean that adoption is the solution. Positing adoption as a solution to impoverished parenting ignores the fact that another solution exists: supporting struggling families. You can read more at the link in the first paragraph.

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