Shocking, isn’t it? To think that adoption is about the child. One certainly wouldn’t draw that conclusion from reading this article about another celebrity couple who recently adopted. The entire article is about how long the adoption process took and what a ‘crazy ride’ it was. Did it never occur to this couple that maybe the reason it took so long and was such a ‘crazy ride’ is because mothers, even unmarried mothers, aren’t falling all over themselves to give their babies to strangers?…Apparently not.
In American culture, the mindset about adoption is so overwhelmingly from the point of view of the adoptive parents that I bet 99 out of 100 people don’t even realize it. I mean, since we are assured that his adoptive parents will love him just as much as they love their bio-kids, there really won’t be any issues stemming from the fact that he’s the only non-blood related member of the family, right? And of course we can assume this little boy would have been aborted if this rich and famous couple hadn’t adopted him. Uh-huh. By the way, isn’t it funny how it always seems to be wealthy celebrities who find a way to adopt, even if it takes a long time and is a ‘crazy ride’? It sometimes seems as if an adopted child is the must-have accessory for famous people these days.
Our cultural mindset keeps moving further and further away from the concept that biological parenthood matters and that children have the right to their blood connections, and I believe celebrities, with their money and influence, are leading the charge in this. And that frightens me. So, I have to ask: But what about the child? What about his experience? How will he feel being the only adoptee in a family of five (something I am quite familiar with myself)? And would someone want to be famous primarily for being adopted? I have no doubt this celebrity couple will love this child, but I don’t think the fact that they worked so hard to adopt is any measure of that love. Because, you see, adoption is not about the adoptive parents’ love or how the adoptive parents think they will feel about an adopted child versus a biological child (just ask Sherri Shepherd), or even about how excited the bio-kids in the family are to have an adopted sibling. You see, adoption is actually about the child. Yet just like 99% of the other articles on celebrity adoption, this one did not have one word that even hinted at what being adopted might really be like for this newborn baby. The underlying message implicit in these articles is that being adopted is the same as being a biological child, and, as anyone who follows this blog knows, we affirm that isn’t true.
So, move over, Carly, of Teen Mom fame, there’s a new poster child for adoption in town; another child who had no say in being the public, “aw, isn’t it beautiful”, face of adoption. I sincerely hope that the two of you will meet someday and become friends. At least you would have someone to talk to who shares your unique experience of being made a famous adoptee by a television show. And since I highly doubt you will ever have the freedom to express yourself about adoption if your feelings are something other than “my birth parents gave me up because they love me, my adoptive parents are my REAL parents, I’m “just fine” with being adopted”, I hope you will at least be able to express your truthful feelings to one another. Unfortunately, that’s the best I can hope for you, until all people, the media included, finally understand…Adoption is about the child.
Full disclosure: I have never watched this Duck Dynasty family on television and am only familiar with them from what I have read, briefly, in the tabloids.