What is the future of adoption activism? What should be the focus of those who advocate for adoptee rights, the rights of children to know their origins, the rights of such children’s parents to maintain or re-establish filiation? It seems to me that much of the the focus over the last decade that I’ve been “defogged” has been on the psychological effects of those “touched” by the “adoption triad”. By this I mean to say much energy has been spent in trying to teach everyone how to “deal with” what has happened to us, and, in this way, to tacitly accept what has happened as being valid but, more importantly, inarguable. This reveals our status quo, as well as a power differential that demands that adoption be accepted as a valid, beneficent, and useful tool of family creation if not charity.
I think the days of this acceptance have come to an end. With the activism of Korean adoptees leading the way, that of mothers in diverse countries such as Guatemala, Spain, Argentina, etc. demanding repatriation of or reunion with their children, as well as Indigenous peoples, fathers, and adoptees themselves standing up and demanding their rights as concerns family ties, we are witnessing the growing voices of those who maintain that, in fact, adoption is not the status quo; that its roots are not in family creation; that it is a broken, corrupt, and failed industry; that the maintenance of this status quo is reflective of systems of power that are based in fabrications and mythologies as well as a hegemonic control of the discussion of the topic.
Among other activisms, we have seen a renewed challenging of the terminology used to define the adoption process, as well as those affected by it. Not in the puke-inducing politically correct terminology such as “birth mother” or “triad“, but in terms of self-empowerment. There is a growing awareness of the various levels of hegemony maintained by those who seek to control our narratives, whether this be in academia, the legal and medical professions, the religious realm, mainstream and social media, the popular press, etc. We are finally managing to unite along common lines that break through formerly disintegrative borders of race, age, or locale of adoption. The tide is turning.
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