Saturday, July 16, 2011

Adoption is SO middlebrow (because GQ tells me so!)

"Ultimately, adoption, like all forms of parentage, is about narcissism. Stop being a human hoarder."

Oh, GQ.

Harbinger of wisdom and truth.

By all means parenting is

That time when my kid puked all over his siblings in the car and I had to clean it up?

How downright indulgent of me.

When my baby girl was suffering from repeat infections that the doctors couldn't diagnose?

Pure, unadulterated self-centeredness.

You caught me.

Being a mom to five children is classic, textbook narcissism.

In fact, I think my upper-division class on Abnormal Psychology included a lecture on that.

Titled something like, "Psychopathology of the Soccer Mom."

And while my "hoarding" of human beings for my museum-like collection is a rather expensive, exhausting, completely inappropriate hobby, my "middlebrow", minivan-driving mom friends and I seem to have a lot of fun with it.  Some of us also even like PF Chang's and Chipotle and Alec Baldwin too. 

And the Seinfeld reruns?  Yes, please! 

I'm middlebrow.

Fo sho.

In all seriousness (not that I wasn't being serious about PF Chang's, Chipotle, Alec Baldwin, and oh my goodness definitely Seinfeld!), I cannot imagine a more offensive statement about motherhood, in general, and adoption. 

I suspect that the writer of the aforementioned article has no children, not even one (or at least not enough where he actually has been unjustly accused of hoarding), because if he did he would know that a day in the life of a mom is a far cry from sitting around looking at what you hoarded, whilst eating bon bons and eagerly planning the next addition to your collection--er, family. 

And he would know that most adoptive moms are struggling in the trenches parenting children from the very-hard-places.  And that adopting a child doesn't automatically mean you have romantic notions about "saving" that child.  (If you do, you will probably be disavowed of said notion within 24 hours of meeting your son or daughter, as you realize that he or she may not even like you, much less be grateful for what you did to bring them home.  Savior complex?  Not so much.)

That being said, it is true that many formerly-waiting children would be in a desperate, not-very-good place were it not for the act of adoption.  Is that okay to admit?  I think so.  I think adoptive parents instinctively know that while the desire to adopt must stem from a (narcissistic and hoarding, according to GQ) genuine desire to parent, there is also the component of meeting a need.  Or at least there should be, otherwise everyone goes on the waiting list for that healthy infant girl, which eventually creates a demand, and eventually leads to unethical practices.  Boo.

I almost didn't write this blogpost because really, people, I couldn't care less what anyone on GQ's payroll says or thinks.  I've never read their cheesy glossy magazine-for-men and I don't expect them to have remotely similar values as me.  Plus, it's Saturday.

I don't like to blog on Saturdays.

But, when someone writes something so utterly ridiculous, offensive and, quite frankly, they compare adoption and motherhood to shopping at the Gap and reading The Huffington Post...I gotta weigh in.  Just showing up and all that.

You can't lump all adoptive parents together and say we're wanting people to notice how noble we are.  We're just regular moms and dads!  Who love being parents, and who see a problem with the local and global orphan crises, who figure we can help by receiving one (or four) of these children as our own.  (Now do some people hope to be canonized as saints for adopting?  Probably.  But not the people I know.  So there.) 

I wonder where this writer thinks all the foster children should go. 

I wonder if he'll write an article saying it's totally legit when orphanages are so full that children are left to die on the streets, or become beggars and prostitutes before they die on the streets.

And, I get that this piece was written tongue-in-cheek.  Most of it made me laugh.  Pretty astute and timely observations (the Freakonomics and Words With Friends references?  Priceless).  But why such vitriol when it came to this issue? 

Why call it "human hoarding"? 

Why play into society's hand, reinforcing the notion that families with children are disgusting and dysfunctional?  At best, it's irresponsible, and at worst, outright anti-child.

But, you know, it's GQ.  Whatevs.

And so maybe tonight, after my five kids go to bed, my husband and I will grab some Chipotle, pop in a Seinfeld DVD, and reflect on our many children we've been blessed with collected. 

Sleeping babies, burritos, and Fusilli Jerry.  That actually sounds like heaven to me. 

I'm so middlebrow.  Proud to be, actually.

But don't accuse hard-working parents of being narcissists.  Don't tell adoptive families that they're hoarding children.  Even if you're joking, people really think that. 

It's kind of offensive.

And pretty low-brow, if you ask me.


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