Other stuff I read

A social workers plea to potentialy adoptive parents explains that adoptive parenting is hard work.

But these issues became “too much for the family to handle,” so they send their daughter back into the child welfare system. Let me tell you something here: Adopting a child is not adopting a pet. A child is not a puppy from a rescue shelter and you take it home to see how it adapts to your environment or if it bites the other puppies or kitties and if the situation doesn’t work out, you can just take it back. When you adopt a child, that child becomes yours. That child is a part of your family. You can’t just “return” a child like a Wal-Mart purchase or a puppy that chewed the leg of your grandmother’s rocking chair.

If you had two biological children and one of them started displaying violence, threatening the life of their other biological sibling, constantly running away, or destroying your house, you would be hard pressed to convince me that you would disown your child and terminate your legal parental rights as their biological parent. You might remove the child from the other children and take the child to a more secure, structured environment like a residential treatment facility to address their mental health issues, and keep the other family members safe. But I highly doubt that you would give your child up and turn them over to the child welfare system.

Yet, for too many people, if your child is adopted and displayed these issues, it’s a different story. There is something so sick and disturbing about that, it makes me want to vomit.

A letter to my local protesters describes the experince of working in an abortion clinic in an anti abortion culture.

8. Because of you, when I leave the clinic, I look both ways exiting the door.

9. Because of you, when I leave or arrive at the clinic, I speedily get into the false safety of the building or my vehicle.

10. Because of you, when I drive home, I check my rear view window to see if I’m being followed.

11. Our doors are a little tighter. Our windows shut harder. Our curtains drawn darker.

12. Because of you, we can’t have normal glass. We have bullet proof glass.

13. Because of you, we have panic buttons.

14. Because of you, I may get a home security system. And I live in a very nice little neighborhood with no other need for a home security system.

15. I really think I hate you.

16. I want to spit on you when I see a woman weep (who was raped by her father; or found out her wanted pregnancy has anencephaly; or who just got her lights shut off because she can’t pay any bills, let alone keep another baby; who can die for our country in battle, but is about to get court marshalled if her country finds out she’s pregnant; or who slept with the wrong guy on the wrong day and realized she really wants to finish school and make something of herself; or who might even be your daughter or sister or niece or granddaughter) after listening to you scream at her, judge her, beg her not to have an abortion. FUCK you for hurting her.

God Doesn’t Do Adoption, Part 2 is one of the best refutations of christian adoption rhetoric I’ve ever read.

So yes. Paul says “adoption” right there in the Bible. He actually uses it a couple of times, but if one examines the text as written in the original Greek, one begins to understand that Paul didn’t mean “adoption” like the modern world means “adoption. ” His original Greek word huiothesia meant something else entirely.

The original Greek word in this scripture (and the others where Paul was translated as saying “adoption”) is huiothesia, derived from the huios (“a son”) and thesis (“a placing”), so literally the placing of/as a son. (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985).

The “placing as a son” imagery was something Paul and his readers of Galatia would have been entirely familiar with (Mitchell, 1993; Zanker, 1988). Basically, it was a ceremony that occurred within the Roman culture in which a male child of a citizen achieved the status of manhood. Prior to the ceremony, a son was considered to have the status of a slave in his father’s house (The Story of Civilization, Vol. 3: Caesar and Christ, 1972, p. 57), even though he had the potential to inherit his father’s wealth. The “placing as a son” ceremony occurred around a boy’s teen years, when his father determined it was time for him to pass from being a child (and under the absolute power of his father) into adulthood.


The F word have a guest post, Say no to Eggsploitation! up explaining that the Human Fertilization And Embryology Authority is likely to overturn the ban on paying women for donating their eggs. This is exploitative because:

offering financial incentives to do something that very few women are currently offering to do because of the risks, will lead to poor women…being exposed to health risks, whilst only middle-class women who can afford the fees and the IVF industry will benefit. In Eastern Europe, there have already been a number of scandals in which women have died or been hospitalised after hormone treatment, in order to donate eggs to Western European ‘fertility tourists’.).

the post goes on to explain:

Feminists must make it clear that there is strong public opposition to the HFEA’s plan. Sadly, the feminist movement in Britain has historically failed to campaign on these issues, leaving an open field, for, of all people, the pro-life lobby to carry the banner of protection of women and against commercialisation of reproduction. It is time that this absurd situation changed.

This really gives me hope, I find it really frustrating that British feminists don’t talk about reproductive exploitation, that we don’t seem to have grasped the fact that middle class white western women do not deserve children at any cost even that of exploiting disadvantaged women.

Something else that often gets ignored in discussions around egg (and sperm) donation is that the “end products”, the people created by this method often have very strong feelings on this matter. We should be listening to their voices

Anyway the no2eggsploitation campaign have a blog Here which contains their contact info.

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while and recently feministe posted up some handy links on the subject one to The daily beast and one to The American Prospect

Increasingly it seems that one of the acceptable ways that people acquire their “own” children is by paying a woman in the developing world to be implanted with a child and carry it to term for them. To me this seems outstandingly exploitative. Women from poorer countries are chosen so the “parents” do not have to pay as much as they would in the west. Almost all the women who chose to be surrogates are doing it to give themselves and their children an adequate standard of living. The article Childbirth at the Global Crossroads explains that:

Saroj turned to surrogacy so she could move to a rain-proof house and feed her family well.

and quotes another woman as saying:

We can’t live on my husband’s earnings, and we had no hope of educating our daughters.

in the Outsourcing Pregnancy an embryologist explains

They get a decent amount of money. They get free food, free boarding, and free clothes, and they are housed in a nice place”

and the first article quotes a clinics founder and director as saying:

residents are offered daily English classes and weekly lessons in computer use. Patel arranges for film screenings and gives out school backpacks and pencil boxes to surrogates’ children. She hopes to attract donations from grateful clients to help pay children’s school fees as well.

So essentially these women are doing it for money, okay everybody does something for money, but if they had decent housing, health care and education for their children would they really be doing something so physically taxing and emotionally tumultuous?

Both articles seem to be quite dismissive of the effects of surrogacy on the women, however Childbirth at the Global Crossroads does at least acknowledge that the women who are paid to be surrogates do have feelings about the children they carry:

Leela openly bonded with her baby. “I am the baby’s real mother,” she says. “I carried him. I felt him kick. I prayed for him. At seven months I held a celebration for him. I saw his legs and hands on the sonogram. I suffered the pain of birth.”

And why wouldn’t they? Much research had been done on in utero bonding and how damaging it is for the woman and the child if this bond is severed directly after birth. I wouldn’t think the effects would be any different even if the surrogate and the child were not genetically related to each other, as one surrogate said

“It’s my blood, even if it’s their genes.”

There are enough first mothers talking now that we know that giving up a child that has grown and been nurtured inside you is devastating and yet we are willing to tell ourselves either that these surrogates will feel no grief or the need for someone to have their “own” children is more important than these women’s pain.

These articles highlight how often the want of a child turns to short sighted selfishness Outsourcing Pregnancy tells of one couple who:

explored adoption. They researched what Griebe termed “a baby factory type deal,” where you basically pay for a “ready-made baby.

As if babies came off conveyor belts and didn’t have “ready made families” who just needed support. The same couple found a surrogate in India

because of the legal issues. Here, there would always be the chance of the mother coming back and saying, I’d like to have visitation. Over there they can actually have it legalized.

So they, like many adoptive parents, felt that it was acceptable to exploit poor women in a developing country so they could pretend that their child had never belonged to any one else.

There also doesn’t seem to be much thought about how the children will feel in these situations, in some cases (as with adoption) it seems the child isn’t thought about at all:

But Dr. Patel… sees for-profit surrogacy as a “win-win” for the clinic, the surrogate, and the genetic parents.

so it seems it doesn’t matter how the “product”, the child feels about the situation and as with adoption there is the assumption that the situation is uncomplicatedly positive for the first Mother when it very well may not be, it is once again about pandering to affluent middle class peoples wants while exploiting the first mother and ignoring the needs of the child.

There is a discussion about whether the children will ever want to find their first Mothers

I asked Dr. Chakravarty if he thought that some children born of surrogacy would one day fly to India in search of their “womb mothers.” … “Yes,” he said. But chances are such an 18-year-old would not find her womb mother. Instead, she might come to realize she had been made a whole person by uniting parts drawn from tragically unequal worlds.

but the assumptions and tone here are uncomfortably close to the but why aren’t you grateful? Why Do you want to find her? rhetoric that far too many adoptees hear, and you know it maybe that the she would have the reaction suggested but it is just as likely that she will never feel whole and she may be furiously angry that we live in a world that is so unequal that this kind of exploitation is acceptable, and that she has been one of the exploited parties.

Unlike a lot of writings on issues such as this Childbirth at the Global Crossroads seems to have a very coherent, if nowhere near critical enough, understanding on how reproductive exploitation such as this fits into the wider exploitation that developing world populations experience under capitalism.

The Akanksha clinic is just one point on an ever-widening two-lane global highway that connects poor nations in the Southern Hemisphere to rich nations in the Northern Hemisphere, and poorer countries of Eastern Europe to richer ones in the West. A Filipina nanny heads north to care for an American child. A Sri Lankan maid cleans a house in Singapore. A Ukrainian nurse’s aide carries lunch trays in a Swedish hospital. Marx’s iconic male, stationary industrial worker has been replaced by a new icon: the female, mobile service worker.

Person to person, family to family, the First World is linked to the Third World through the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the care we receive. That Filipina nanny who cares for an American child leaves her own children in the care of her mother and another nanny. In turn, that nanny leaves her younger children in the care of an eldest daughter.

Until we live in a world where affluent middle class westerners don’t think they have a right to everything including people, at the lowest possible price none of these exploitations are going to stop.

Childbirth at the Global Crossroads suggests that regulating the surrogacy industry would protect the surrogates:

Observers fear that a lack of regulation could spark a price war for surrogacy — Thailand underselling India, Cambodia underselling Thailand, and so on — with countries slowly undercutting fees and legal protections for surrogates along the way.

However as international adoption is supposed to be regulated,yet we hear over and over again of exploitation, corruption and child trafficking that happens because of the demand for infants, why would the surrogacy industry be any different? Things are only going to change when we stop thinking of children as must have commodities and poor disadvantaged women as providers of those commodities

This is post was written for Grown in my heart’s second blog carnival

I shed names like skins, mostly I think it’s an adoptee thing, but partly I find the idea of keeping a name that somebody else gave you forever really bizarre. Also people change through their lives so why wouldn’t their names?

When I was born, my sister chose my original name, my beautiful articulate intelligent funny sister, but I didn’t know this till I was in reunion with her because nobody bothered to tell me. Even after I found that out though I was still uncomfortable with the name I was born into, after I left my adoptive parents home it felt like it belonged to someone who wasn’t me, so I changed it to one that felt like it was mine. My sister is the only person in the world that still calls me by my original name, she knows my second name but often she forgets it and sometimes she just uses it because it is something no one else does. It is a way of celebrating our blood bond, our sameness despite the fact we didn’t grow up together.

I chose my third first name about two and a half years ago. Once again I had changed so much that I needed a new name I felt comfortable in, but also as my relationship with my adoptive parents broke down I wanted to mark that break, none of my family, not blood or adoptive, know the name I currently use in my everyday life amongst friends and colleagues. All the old myths are important to me, if someone doesn’t know your name they don’t have power over you and both my families have had far too much power over me for far too long.

I hate forced name changing though, I hate the tradition of women taking their husbands name. There are two situations where people get their names changed as the default 1)adoption 2) marriage. All other instances of people having there names changed by force are recognised as a weapon of cultural genocide, so why aren’t these?

I am deeply, deeply ambivalent about my last name, my adoptive fathers name. but when i got married I kept it, partly because of my feminist principles, partly because it is a harsh, beautiful, unusual sound and it signifies an important period in my life but mostly because because there have been too many names, already to many selves so I wear it like a scar across my skin, as unpronounceable as my pain