Monday, March 17, 2008

Excuse Me, Are You Going to Raise That Baby?

As someone who’s considering adoption, I can’t help but think of myself as lusting after someone’s leftovers. Instead of bringing out the loving, would-be mother part of me, thoughts of adoption instead raise a base and competitive animal instinct.

Friday night, my friend who does guardian ad litem work, was telling me about a sad situation in which a baby was being abused and will probably be removed from the home.

My immediate thought was not, how sad, I hope everything works out for that baby, but instead, WHO is taking that baby? Could I take that baby? How do I get in line?

I even said something to that effect before I could stop myself, and I immediately felt like the person at the dinner table who has finished their entrée and is now leaning over your half-eaten plate, fork hovering, mouth watering… “Hey, are you gonna eat that?”

Obviously I don’t want to eat the baby. But I felt like that person. “Hey, are you gonna raise that baby? Cuz I’ll totally take it if you don’t want it.”

Last week I was watching a show on about the Duggars. (The family from some Western state in the land mass between Florida and California that I call “the big blur.”) They have seventeen children. SEVENTEEN. Instead of feeling merely flabbergasted, I was mad. It’s not fair. Seventeen? I’d be happy to squeeze out ONE. Share the wealth people! SHARE—THE—WEALTH!

I have similar feelings about Angelina Jolie. Leave some adoptable kids for the rest of us will you?

I know this is a tad misguided and I have lost sight of the end goal. Really I’m glad that Brad and Angelina can open their ridiculously rich arms to give a couple kids the fab life; pimped out power wheels, designer clothes, A-list birthday parties, I am. But I am also a little desperate and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t somewhat (or a lot) bitter to have to rely on someone else’s biology to make my wish a reality instead of just hopping in the sack like most people.

But I feel this way partly because adoption seems a bit of a rat race. When I was talking to my guardian ad litem friend, I instantly felt competitive with whoever got in line ahead of me and was going to get that baby. I couldn’t help it, I was jealous.

The private adoption world is the worst. Wanna-be parents make websites hoping some knocked-up teenage girl will pick them to raise her baby. Every once in awhile I peruse these sites to check out the competition and I always want to gag.

It’s equivalent to what a single woman might feel if she joined a dating site only to find that every other woman on there is blonde, size zero and “okay with non-commitment relationships.”

Here are just a few samples:
Joe and Cindy Cooper from Arlington, Texas have been married six years (see pic of Cindy in huge white dress with 14 bridesmaids). We have a pool and go to church every week! Joe coaches his nephew’s little league team! We can’t wait to welcome a bundle of joy to our happy (and huge) home!

Ann and Bobby Davis from Rockville, North Carolina are a fun-loving couple (pic of Ann and Bobby frolicking with hay bales) Ann can’t wait to home school our precious angel from god! We look forward to summer vacations at our beach house and barbeques with grandma and grandpa next door!

How can I possibly compete with that? Put my name into Google and the very first picture that comes up is not one of me quilting a baby blanket. I’m breaking the law, handing out free Morning-After Pills on the street. And there’s more, pictures of me in a hoard of women, busting into someplace with picket signs or standing on a corner demanding abortion rights. In one of the pictures I’m handcuffed, and in line to be loaded into a Department of Homeland Security paddy wagon.

I’m not embarrassed of those things, I’m quite proud. But it doesn’t exactly paint the picture of quiet family moments ‘round the hearth. Our families live four hours away and there is no summer beach house. I think I’d make an awesome parent, and Danny too. I just resent that I have to convince someone of that.

Here’s what our page would look like:
Stephanie Seguin and Daniel Gimenez (Yes, we’re married! But Steph kept her name to shake off patriarchal tradition!) We have an excitable dog (she loves to love!) and a yard full of cat poo! We can’t wait for family outings to science-fiction conventions and protests of the many forms of injustice! (see pic of Steph being dragged across pavement by police officer.)

I do hope that Joe and Cindy Cooper of Arlington, Texas find their precious angel from god. And I know that adoption is an opportunity to turn a bad situation good. I’m sure (or hope) that the guardian ad litem baby will be delivered out of an abusive house and into the waiting arms of people who want to love her so much they dreamt of her before they even met her. And I’m happy for them, whoever they are (even if I’m still jealous). Maybe one day someone will feel the same about me.


John Halbrook said...

This post should be read by all prospective parents. I suspect there is a lot of self deception going on in the adoption business, and thoughtful, poignant consideration of underlying motivations is welcome.

James Ford said...
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James Ford said...

let's be clear on two things: first, anyone who says it's obvious they don't to want to eat a baby has never actually eaten a baby. second, anything wrapped in bacon is delicious.

brangelina adopts these third world babies because american babies are lazy and not getting cute quick enough. this is what leads to baby-outsourcing. american orphans have all these demands like food and shelter and namibian babies are already used to not having these things. they're happy to just not be woke up in the morning by being punched or sold into slavery to dig for shankara stones so the cult leader mola ram can be all powerful unless indiana jones and his plucky sterotype asian sidekick short round can stop him.

when natlie and i, or as the tabloids refer to us, jimalie, think about having children i don't think of adoption as someone else's leftovers as much as someone has taken the depreciation hit for me. you lose 40% the minute you leave the hospital. i'd like to adopt a kid that was two and skip diapers and that "learning to talk" crap. i don't want to buy a computer and set that crap up myself. that's what geek squad is for.

and i have to say although i am not against adopting babies outside your race or sexual preference (that just sounded weird... but i mean if britney spears can have babies and steven cojocaru can't there is something seriously wrong here... and i just like saying "cojocaru"), but everytime i see a white person with little brown kids i immediately wonder where they stole them from. odds are if they were nefarious baby-nappers in some kind of weird "ransom of red chief" thing they wouldn't be buying yogurt at publix.

then again, as an african-american my dream has always been to have my own sitcom where i play a rich black guy who adopts a small smart-aleck white kid who won't grow. hilarity ensues.

james ford