Adoption, Youtube, and Fundraising…?

I’m sure all you adoptees have seen it all before, I know I have…

Josiah’s Adoption video tape. I think I posted that abomination a short while ago. But what is perhaps more disturbing, or should I say, gut-wrenching/fist clenching is how they all ask for donations.

Just go to youtube and type ‘adoption’ and see what sort of videos you come up with. Many are from prospective adoptive parents documenting their experiences and thoughts prior to their trip to and during the adoption process abroad. I guess, I shouldn’t be surprised that these come up quite often, but I suppose I’m more disturbed by the blogs, sites, and videos that ask for donations…

Is it just me, or does anyone else feel strange about feeling like either a charity case, or a tax-refundable donation? There are many various views across the adoptee political spectrum, one being the notion of commodity. Where adoptees are a commodity being sold by adoption agencies to fill the supply and demand of couples looking to start their families. There are a lot of a-parents who feel very strongly that this is indeed not the case with themselves. Why is it that there are blogs and videos asking for money to adopt?!!?

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never heard of families who biologically construct their families start blogs and videos on youtube soliciting money…

The videos in particular remind me of those Sally Struthers, and Christian Children’s Fund ads on television. Those are for a cause, perhaps a service that is being offered to these children in need. Why do some a-parents feel inclined to treat their prospective adopted children as charity cases where someone (not related to their families) would want to donate to a child that isn’t their own? I guess it just baffles me, and offends me. I mean I can’t imagine growing up and looking back on video tapes and photos of me part of my transracial family and seeing a fundraising video for me!

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8 Comments on “Adoption, Youtube, and Fundraising…?

  1. Just a comment hear on my perspective as a parent to a wonderful girl who happens to be adopted from China. I am not currently fundraising to “buy” another child. However, we are looking into getting donations to cover the costs of legal fees, notaries and travel for our second adoption. In Canada if I was pregnant the government health care pays for doctor’s visits, specialist visits, ultrasounds, hopsital stay, and any other necessary medical costs. Plus, maternity leave of 15 weeks is paid for by our Employment Insurance program. Yet as an adoptive parent my only subsidation is allowing me to share in the parental leave with my husband for non-birthing Moms. So yes, I’m asking for donations from some family and friends. But since I subsidize the costs of everyone who chooses to have a biological child, it doesn’t feel wrong to get assistance in return for the costs of an adopted child. Just my perspective, and what I will share with my children as they get older and ask about this.

  2. Hi Shannon,

    Thanks for your comment. I certainly agree that the benefits afforded to biological families are unfairly denied to many adoptive parents. This is pretty unfair, and I do agree that perhaps these things should be taken into consideration.

    I do however, feel that it’s unfair to solicit online for money to cover the costs of whatever legalities etc. are needed to defray the costs of your adoption. I completely agree that the system is unfair and does not give the same privileges to adoptive families as they do to biological families. But I do think there is a difference between asking people donate for a biological child vs a transracial adoptee.

    Many of the videos and websites I have seen online appall me. The ways they are constructed manipulate the circumstances that many adoptees from so-called “third world countries” into charity cases, or philanthropic donations. This I’m sure you can very much agree differs from a biological family asking to help cover the hospital bills etc. I’m not saying that you don’t deserve additional financial assistance, but it angers me that these very circumstances which you may not necessarily subscribe to, are being used to justify the solicitation of donations.

    Adoption has become somewhat trendy in popular culture, and it continues to be a family building practice that is never given enough resources. Prospective adoptive parents and adoptive parents alike should try to understand that many adoptees already feel like a product within international adoption. To add this additional fundraising element regardless of the circumstances makes me feel like less of a person.

    I deeply appreciate your comment because I do believe that these issues can be much more complicated than usual. And I do agree with much of what you have said. But I can’t shake the feeling that it gives me to think that I could have been a photo on my parent’s website (if they had one) that asked for donations regardless of the intent or financial needs. If you can find me a number of biological parents doing this same thing for their children as well, maybe it would ease the tension, but otherwise I find it very hard to not be offended when I see a parent asking for donations on a website or in a video on youtube.

  3. Forgive me if I am wrong, but maternity leave in Canada is 15 weeks, while parental leave is THIRTY FIVE weeks.

    WTF are you bitching about?

    If you can’t afford the adoption, then why are you adopting?

    And WHY should ANYONE else be paying for it?

  4. It wouldn’t bother me so much if families trying to stay intact could also get donations in order to accomplish that. So children and their mothers wouldn’t have to be separated. Simply because of money. For them to ask for money would be considered by many to be… well.. deadbeat-ish, welfare-ish.

    But not prospective adopters! No, it is perfectly okay for them to beg for money because they want to be parents??

    Something is very wrong with this picture, and it makes me quite ill to see this uTube begging.

  5. Oh, so that is what this is about. Parents who already have children are mad because they need assistance as well. This is saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!

  6. Alot of us adoptive families really are in it for the right reasons! Adoptions costs average 30,000 dollars and it’s a shame that the kids that need parents so much can’t get a family, because adoption fees are so high! I have biological children and one adopted child. I paid the entire fees to adopt him. It’s not like if you get pregnant and your insurance pays for your pregnancy! Some of us Moms would save just about any baby that needs us and what a shame that money would prevent us from giving them a wonderful, loving family! O.k. I understand that you don’t like it being a video that the child could see later, but, I can tell you that the child would understand when he or she is older that Mommy and Daddy did everything in their power to give them a family.

  7. Hi Tisha,

    Thanks for the comment. I agree that the fees are abnormally high, this is a reality for adoption. Many families are simply priced out of having a family, but there are also domestic adoption options as well. This is not to essentialize the domestic adoption system because as we all know, there are many challenges on both fronts.

    I am making a strong stand against adoption when it comes to these videos and websites because “we” as adoptees do NOT enjoy feeling commodified. We are not “Third World” babies and we are not to be “Saved,” by anyone. There is a lot of poverty through out the world, but I think this mentality of “saving” children has become a facade for many parents. We as adoptees are not in-debted to adoptive parents which is what the statement of “saving” implies. There are desperate situations for many children and parents and families all over the world. It’s the charity case mentality I’m talking about. When this whole notion of saving children from “Third World” poverty or the culture of poverty is paired with fundraising videos on youtube it loses it’s legitimacy to me.

    Growing up and finding the video is one thing, perhaps more humiliating for some than others. But that is not the only reason I bawk at these sort of things. I completely agree that adoption is not affordable, it’s still not a mainstream method of family building. But to play up the “Third World Baby in Poverty” end of the adoption is exploiting a child’s situation into a charity case making others feel that they should contribute financially to a child who in the end won’t even be theirs…Anyone has this right to seek out additional ways to make money to adopt. If a biological family put up blogs and youtube videos about why YOU should contribute to their medical bills, or lost time at work I doubt many would care.

    I love my adoptive family very much for all they have done for me, but I am not in-debt to them for anything other than providing me with a wonderful life like any parent would. I’m not a charity case to them, I’m not a trophy child being paraded around to others in their community as “the right thing to do.”

    What sets this particular relation of adoptee to adoptive parents aside from biological families is this in-debted mentality which you referred to as “Mommy and Daddy did everything in their power to give you a family.” Biological parents would never hold this sort of thing over their children, but in the world of adoption it’s different. If my parents ever said “We did everything in our power to give you life,” I’d be astounded (And I know they never would). Any parent would do anything for their child, but for adoptees this is sometimes seen as an obligatory servitude to their parent to repay them for their “kindness”.

    Please I ask you to be respectful to adult adoptees who have lived through many of this, and who are not infants or adoptee children as many young adoptive parents like to coin us. We are adults and just like you. Please be respectful of this.

    I respect yours and all other adoptive parents’ comments on this site as I have said before, and I encourage constructive dialogue. As I have said in the past this is an adoptee safe-space, and the point is not for us to censor ourselves, but to have the space to discuss all our points of view through out the adoptee political spectrum free of out right criticism for our beliefs.

    Thanks for your comment and I hope we can continue to discuss this together!

    GS

  8. Thank you for posting this. We are in the process of adopting a child from China. She happens to have been born with some special needs that would have made it difficult – all but impossible, really – for her to receive adequate care in her birth province or to be adopted domestically. We chose our adoption program very carefully, because we have many concerns about the ethics of adoption and want very much to respect everyone involved.

    I personally cringe at adoption fundraising. I think if parents need money to complete an adoption, then selling things, borrowing responsibly, taking on extra work, etc. are all legitimate ways of quietly funding an adoption. But putting it out there on the internet to complete strangers and just asking for money, using the child as the emotional focus, is distasteful at best.

    I also cringe when people say how “good”, “kind”, “special”, etc., we are for adopting a child from a developing country who has special needs. She is beautiful; she will soon be our daughter; we love her every bit as much as we love our biological sons; and it is our privilege and blessing to have our children, by birth and adoption. We are no different from any other couple who wishes to grow their family and has the opportunity to do so. We are adopting because we want to parent another child, not because we want to “save” our daughter. The ones who have “saved” her are the ones who are caring for her in China right now, who have provided expert surgery, excellent follow-up care, and constant, loving attention to a child whose birth parents could not – for whatever reason – keep her. We will reap the harvest of their labor, and for that – and esp. for all three of our children – we will be eternally grateful.

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