What’s Wrong with the World

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Adoption

Adoption is always the result, one way or another, of the fact that our world is fallen. In the most innocent and purely tragic case, adoption can be the result of parents' death, which need not be anyone's fault at all.

More often, adoption results from fornication, when a child is conceived out of wedlock. Sometimes, out-of-wedlock birth comes together with drastically difficult physical conditions. In the case of transnational adoptions, a child may face a life of poverty and malnutrition or a life in a crowded orphanage without any parents at all if he is not adopted. In some countries, children face a life of being bounced from home to home in the foster care system, forming and breaking bonds over and over again until they forget how to love.

But the fact that adoptions are always the result of non-optimal circumstances should never be confused with the proposition that a child's adoption is itself sub-optimal for the child, given the child's circumstances at the time of adoption. Far from it. In a very great number of cases, adoption is far and away the best possible gift the child could be given.

Therefore, statements like, "It's better if a mother can keep her child rather than placing him for adoption" are facile at best and misleading at worst. In a perfect world, an unfallen world, there would be no adoptions. But by the same token, in an unfallen world a lot of adoptees would never have been conceived in the first place. It is in many, many cases not better for a mother--particularly an unwed mother--to keep her child rather than placing him for adoption, and rhetoric that implies in general terms that adoption is an unfortunate or second-best choice for the child and that discourages adoption is not rhetoric that should be left unchallenged.

Full disclosure: I was adopted as an infant of seven months old.

These remarks are occasioned by these very odd posts on transnational adoption by a blogger named Laura Wood who frequently comments at Lawrence Auster's blog, View from the Right.

I do not mean to imply that Laura is generally negative about adoption. In fact, my impression (based on some comments I seem to recall about the Bristol Palin case) is that she is in favor of adoption in many cases for children conceived out of wedlock. She is, however, generally negative about transnational adoption, and my foregoing comments were meant to set the stage for a similar critique of her comments about transnational adoptions, which seem to me to have the same facile and misleading character as do negative generalizations about adoption itself. She does not deny altogether any value to transnational adoption but does see it as a trend to be discouraged:

Many thousands of transracial adoptees have found loving homes in the West. That’s an undeniable fact. But it’s important to be honest. It would be far better if fewer women were infertile. And it is ideal for children to be raised within their native cultures. To say this is not to lose sight of the happiness, love and good fortune many foreign adoptees have experienced in Western homes.

These children are now full members of Western society and it must wholeheartedly embrace them. But the future of this trend should be placed in check. [Emphasis added]

But to say that it would be "ideal for children to be raised within their native cultures" seems to me to be, by and large, not true--at least when we are talking about the reference class of children being considered as potential adoptees. In fact, it is a lot like saying that it would be "ideal for children to be raised by their biological mothers." Actually, given the very circumstances in which many children placed for adoption were conceived, it would not be ideal for them to be raised by their biological mothers. Once again, in a perfect world, no children would not raised by their biological mothers, and no children would need to be adopted away from the place where they were born. In fact, in a perfect world, there would be no adoptions at all. And in a perfect world, there would be no illegitimate children, no abandoned children, no parental death, no Communist China, no corrupt African rulers keeping their people dirt-poor, no children raised in false religions, no malnutrition, and everything would be wonderful. But by the time we live in such a world, there will also be neither marrying nor giving in marriage and no new babies being born, so there isn't much point in talking about it. And meanwhile, it makes little sense whatsoever to make sweeping statements like, "It is ideal for children to be raised in their native cultures." Depending on the native culture in question, no, it often isn't.

Laura W.'s posts on transnational adoption seem to have been sparked by this article about this study of Korean adoptees. Evidently the study found that these Korean adoptees have had some difficulty with their racial identity. Of course, being adopted very young, they were completely Americanized and "thought of themselves as white." But they were sometimes teased by classmates. Some suffered some sort of insensitive comments from teachers. When they were grown, they sometimes made trips to Korea to try to connect with their cultural roots. In one case, the trip was not very successful, as the very grandmother who had placed a boy for adoption berated him for not having learned Korean before coming to the country to visit her.

Now, I'm not trying to say that all of these experiences were absolutely nothing, and maybe some were worse than others. But I am trying to say that in the grand scheme of things, this stuff I'm reading about from this study just isn't that big of a deal. Let's get a big picture here: Most or all adoptees have some questions about their identity. Some of them have difficulties occasioned by the genetic differences between themselves and their adoptive families. These differences, even when they are not racial, can be fairly noticeable, including differences in appearance, aptitudes, and intelligence, in many different directions. Often adoptees want to find or at least have the opportunity to make contact with their birth mothers, and while I think that the "open adoption" movement has some real problems, I have no problem at all with services provided by adoption agencies whereby adult adoptees and their mothers may have contact with each other, only after the child is an adult and only by common consent.

It is, however, very easy for an adoptee to blow any such matters of identity out of proportion, and such a blowing out of proportion is nothing less than a potentially harmful form of self-centeredness, a confused idea that one must undertake some sort of pilgrimage to find one's identity (as though one has no access to one's identity otherwise), and that by thus "finding oneself" one will solve deep mysteries and perhaps even heal oneself of psychological problems. To all of which, I say a robust, "Balderdash. Don't spend your time in identity angst. Get a life instead. It may be perfectly legitimate to get to know your birth mother at some point and to find out things about yourself. You may profit from it. But keep the whole thing in balance and in perspective."

And this is just as true for transnational adoptees. Naturally, in our highly race-conscious country--particularly a country that makes so much of the roots and the wonderfulness of non-Westerners--children of non-Western descent are likely to hear that "their heritage" is the ethnic heritage into which they were born. This can be highly misleading. As Americans from infancy, they should be instead encouraged in their original, spontaneous sense of themselves as full-fledged Americans, as much heirs of the American culture as any child born here originally. Assimilation in such cases can be complete and highly satisfactory, and interfering with such assimilation by some sort of attempt to generate a strong identification with the country of the child's birth and a strong race consciousness is, in my opinion, a mistake, though one to which I can imagine that liberals are almost certainly going to gravitate.

To see conservatives, then, thinking of the birth country of a transnational adoptee, adopted as an infant, as his own country, his own, native culture, etc., and implying that he would be better off had he been left there, is particularly frustrating. As conservatives, we should decisively eschew both cultural relativism and shyness about the advantages of our own country. Let's be honest: We have the greatest country in the world. Imagine a Chinese baby girl, abandoned (as many are) because she is a girl, and taken into an over-crowded, understaffed orphanage in which she is lucky to survive. She has few prospects of anything we American conservatives should regard as a normal life, a little girl's heritage qua little girl, a life with a loving mother and father, plenty to eat, individual attention, decent health care, and no stigma because she is a girl. If she gets all of these things, she should thank God every day for her blessings. A few funny looks from people on the street who notice that she is Asian and her parents are Caucasian, some teasing at school (which most kids who go to school experience anyway about one thing or another), and even a few questions in adulthood, are a miniscule price to pay for all she has received.

And the more appalling the conditions in the child's country of birth, the stronger this point. One of Laura W.'s readers brings up Madonna's adoption of an African child. Celebrity adoptions are a red herring anyway, because there are serious grounds for questioning the fitness of Madonna and a lot of other celebrities to be parents at all, which are a fortiori grounds for refusing them the opportunity to adopt any particular child. IMO, Madonna shouldn't be allowed to adopt a kitten. So let's keep her out of it. But the concern here seems to be that Madonna's African adoptee will lose contact with his father, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. If a child is old enough to have developed strong bonding with particular adults, and if those adults are willing and able to continue raising him, there is of course a reason to consider the psychological trauma of breaking those bonds as part of the overall decision about what is best for the child. This is as true for in-country adoptions as for transnational adoptions. But my impression is that this little boy's father, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents preferred that he go to America rather than that he be raised in Africa. And assuming that the issue is merely that of contact with biological relatives per se, let's put it brutally: If we're talking about avoiding a lifetime of rickets, other effects of malnutrition, and deep poverty vs. frequent contact with your aunts, I think frequent contact with the aunts should go to the wall. In my opinion, even a biological mother in dire poverty might quite legitimately consider placing an infant child for adoption, if he could go to a loving, normal home.

Here I must come to the strangest and most distasteful part of Laura W's position. She says,

I say it is ungodly not to recognize the order of God’s creation, and that part of that order is distinct races.

Well. What can I say, other than that I disagree strongly? She doesn't seem to mean by this that transnational adoptions are intrinsically wrong, but apparently there is supposed to be some connection or other between this statement about the races and the subject of transnational adoptions, and perhaps this explains her recommendation that transnational adoptions be "checked." Of course, if you believe that transnational adoptions are somehow unnatural and contrary to the will of God, there's little point in discussing the practical pros and cons for the child. But since religion has been brought into the discussion, let me just point out an explicit and unambiguous command from Our Lord Himself:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. (Matt. 28:19-20)
Let's remember that a child in a non-Christian country is less likely to learn about Christ and come to know Christ than a child even in secular America. And if the adopting parents are Christians, then their act of taking in this child and raising him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord is one of the best, most loving, and most thoroughly generous forms of evangelism there can be. As far as I'm concerned, so far from manifesting an "ungodly" refusal to recognize God's "order of creation," such an act is just one of the many possible ways to carry out our Lord's commands. There is also this consideration:
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat. I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink. I was a stranger, and ye took me in....Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

A disturbing aspect of Laura W.'s whole approach to this question is her unstated assumption that transnational adoptions are carried out chiefly for the benefits they confer on the parents. Hence, she discusses infertility, tries (though not very hard) to show sympathy for infertile women, and ends up by implying that if women wouldn't delay childbearing they wouldn't have this problem and wouldn't be taking poor little Asian and African children away from their culture to America. So in her view, feminism is to blame for the growth of transnational adoption--one regrettable movement arising out of another, as it were. Her brief comment to the effect that she is not "losing sight" of the happiness gained by children in transnational adoptions notwithstanding, this emphasis does downplay what most of us first think of when we hear of a transnational adoption: the incredible benefits to the child. If Laura W. thinks these are outweighed by the purely cultural and racial fact that the child will be raised by Caucasian parents in the United States rather than in China, Africa, or Korea, she is going to have a hard argumentative row to hoe. Moreover, several transnational adoptive families I know of do not have a fertility problem at all and adopted their beloved Chinese children on top of their own biological children out of pure generosity of heart, pure love.

For each of us, life is a gift. That is true of the air we breathe, the food we eat, and what the Prayer Book calls "all the blessings of this life." So much the more is it true of what the Prayer Book goes on to call "the means of grace and the hope of glory." Adopted children who have been granted by Providence to be adopted into loving, two-parent, Christian homes from broken homes, fatherlessness, dire poverty, abandonment, or any of the other backgrounds of sadness, sin, and misery with which this world is littered have the opportunity to realize in a special way that their lives are a gift. Nothing should be allowed to obscure that realization, least of all racial politics, whether those of the left or those of the right.

Comments (167)

I would like to respond to Lydia's analysis of my posts on international, transracial adoptions.

First, I would like to point out that one of my entries on the subject, "A Conversation about Race," was not simply about transracial adoption and interracial marriage. It was a dialogue with another blogger who had written that race is simply a mental construct and not a reality beyond physical features. My comment in which I said race is part of the order of creation was taken from this post and must be seen in light of a general discussion on whether race has any cultural meaning. I assume Lydia would still take strong exception to my statement, but I wanted to clarify in what context it was written.

My primary point in my brief posts on transracial, international adoption was that this growing trend needs to be seriously examined. I did not say these adoptions were categorically wrong or should be stopped altogether. I was responding to the almost complete absence of public discussion, beyond the realm of adopting families, of the complications involved and of the sense of cultural homelessness that may be experienced by these adoptees.

I agree with Lydia that adoption is a positive good and should be actively promoted for children who cannot be cared for by their parents, especially young, unwed mothers. One of the great tragedies and ironies of an age of sexual freedom is that there are fewer adoptable children in the West. There should be ample children to adopt in America. There are not because of abortion and because of the lingering stigma still attached to pregancy in a young unmarried woman. If women have truly achieved sexual liberation, they should be free to walk around America's great college campuses pregnant. Why is it still shameful to be pregnant and young? It is, and always will be, because pregnancy reveals the lie that sex is only about love.

Adoption of unwanted children is a positive good. However, I believe it is much better if adoption takes place within a nation's borders for a number of reasons. First, it is less likely to become a form of trafficking in children. We cannot control the legal and social climate of another country. We can have some influence on that in our own nation. It is also less likely that the enormous demand for adoptable children in the West may in any way alter cultural dynamics within poor countries, perhaps by taking large numbers of one sex over another, by taking some of the very best and brightest orphans, or by creating large numbers of birth parents who feel sadly estranged and distant from the children they have given up.

It is easier also for adoptees to find their birth parents as adults if they are adopted within their home country and they are unlikely to experience cultural confusion along with the normal emotions of adoption.

Although exposure to Christianity is a positive effect of many of these adoptions, I do not agree that adoption should be seen as a form of evangelism. This is a very dangerous line of reasoning and following its logic, children should be removed from their home countries and families and raised by Christians. Also, many adopted children from foreign countries may rebel against their religious upbringing in a desire to connect with their lost homeland and traditions.

I do not agree that poverty alone justifies the removal of children to homes many thousands of miles away from their birth families. Poverty is not the worst of human ills. The spiritual climate in many poor, subsistence communities is vastly superior to that found in materially well-endowed suburban developments in the West.

As I said repeatedly, many adoptive families in the West have provided loving homes and these children have often grown up happy. When done sincerely and out of a genuine concern for others, this form of adoption is indeed an act of love and sacrifice. But as a society we should look at the trend carefully, especially in relation to very poor countries such as Ethiopia, where women may be pressured to send their children to the other side of the world.

There should be ample children to adopt in America.

Quick comment on this point from someone who is currently in the process of a transracial adoption:

Unfortunately, there is an "ample" supply of children available for adoption. Unfortunately (again), racism plays a significant factor in this. The supply of white children is very low because the demand for white children is very high. The supply of non-white children (read "black") is very high, because the demand for non-white children (again, black) is very low. In fact, (and when I get the exact numbers from our adoption agency, I'll post them) this supply-demand consideration is so significant that a black baby costs ~$14k as opposed to the ~$20k white baby. Imagine going to a dealership and seeing a $6k price difference between two sedans of different colors. On seeing this disparity, my wife called the agency and demanded an explanation -- (did the white kids come with more options, power steering, ABS?) -- and they explained it away as a supply-demand consideration.

You can reach your own conclusions. But I figured** that the low demand was due partly to latent racism, like that which suggests that any deprivation of "original culture" is a grave moral wrong.

**also relying on the offensive literature and questions posed to us as prospective transracial adoptive parents, e.g. "If you were black/latino/hispanic how would you live your life differently?"

I appreciate Laura's response. I do understand that the comment about races and the will of God was made in the context of a larger discussion about race, but I think I'm not wrong in assuming that this is meant to be connected in some way to the issue of international adoption.

Some of your concerns mentioned in your comment seem more important to me than others. Certainly I am not advocating and never would advocate taking children from their mothers or from their fathers where the fathers were married to the mothers against the parents' will, unless the parents have demonstrated unfitness for parenthood in some fairly serious way. I don't particularly think it is dangerous to use the term "evangelism" for working with one's own children, including one's adopted children, and I do think it is relevant to recognize the fact that one's adopted children would otherwise have been raised as atheists, animists, etc. Of course this does not justify forcibly taking children away from animist parents in other countries, and I doubt that anyone would misunderstand me as saying that it does.

The issue of trafficking is an important one insofar as we do not simply define international adoption as trafficking, which of course it is not. If children are being sold, that is a problem. But interestingly, the problem it raises does not have as straightforward a solution as one might think, *if we take it* hypothetically that a child in such a transaction will go from parents or guardians who love him so little as to sell him to parents who will truly love him and raise him well. _Of course_ children should not be sold. But the point is rather similar to that of redeeming slaves out of slavery, and it creates a rather serious and complex prudential question: If you can redeem a slave out of slavery and put him in a situation such that he will never be a slave again, is it wrong to do so? It does indeed encourage enslavement; therefore, it seems imprudent as a policy. On the other hand, it is hard to fault those who redeem slaves when the former slaves themselves are so grateful for their freedom. It seems to me that a similarly difficult question arises with respect to "purchasing" children into truly good and loving homes. My own tentative conclusion is that even loving parents should not be involved in an adoption transaction where they suspect trafficking is taking place and suspect that they are paying money that will go to traffickers. But if they have come to feel affection for a particular child who will otherwise remain in an orphanage, etc., this is a difficult truth to have to tell them.

It is also less likely that the enormous demand for adoptable children in the West may in any way alter cultural dynamics within poor countries, perhaps by taking large numbers of one sex over another, by taking some of the very best and brightest orphans, or by creating large numbers of birth parents who feel sadly estranged and distant from the children they have given up.

I have little sympathy for these considerations. I believe that all adoptions should be considered far more on a case-by-case basis than these considerations indicate. If the Chinese are willing to create a terrible boy-girl imbalance in their country by a) aborting baby girls in large numbers and b) abandoning born baby girls, if they so little value their little girls as that, then that is the problem of those who abandon and attempt to kill the girls. It seems to me completely incorrect to conclude that one should leave Chinese baby girls in bad orphanage conditions without individual parents on the grounds that China needs its baby girls! I think we need to make these things concrete. We should be attempting to do what is best for the individual children, not leaving them in situations that are objectively not best for them because otherwise the country that is willing to give them up will have a shortage of that gender. The "sadly estranged" consideration regarding birth mothers is not one that moves me, because I believe that the best adoptions are closed adoptions undertaken in infancy. In that case, the birth mother _is completely_ cut off from the biological child, so that the biological child can have the most normal possible relationship with the new parents and truly think of them as his own parents. I think open adoptions have problems, and so I don't regard it as a benefit of an adoption system that birth mothers and adopted children can have frequent or easy contact while the adopted child is a child. Records should be kept in case they want by common consent to come to know each other after the child is grown, but that's it. And our world of all times in history provides the easiest travel and the greatest variety of means of communication so that this can take place later if desired. As for taking the "brightest" orphans, good for the brightest orphans. Again, to suggest that we should leave bright children in terrible conditions and as orphans rather than giving them parents, because their country "needs" them, seems to me completely wrong. Indeed, it smacks very much of an argument conservatives usually reject: The argument that parents who can afford to take their own intelligent children out of the public schools where they are being ill-served have a duty to leave them in those public schools to "leaven" the public schools with brighter children and to improve the atmosphere! We rightly reject those arguments as collectivist in nature, and I think we should reject this one for the same reason. Children are not owned by their countries of origin, which can rightly keep them as unloved orphans to their own detriment just because "Africa needs its best and brightest."

That's all I have time for for the moment. Again, thank you for the exchange.

Steve, as you're probably aware, there is a movement even within the United States to make it extra difficult for white families to adopt black babies on the grounds that the babies should/must be adopted only by black parents or not adopted at all. This is in part because there are not enough black couples able and willing to adopt. I think this position regarding cross-racial adoptions in the U.S. is very wrong. It amounts in the end to keeping black children in the foster care system all their lives rather than allowing them to go to white parents. I didn't mention this in the main post only because Laura expressly said in her posts that the issue of black-white cross-racial adoptions in the U.S. was different from the one she was addressing. I do not know her position on the U.S. issue.

Of course, if you believe that transnational adoptions are somehow unnatural and contrary to the will of God, there's little point in discussing the practical pros and cons for the child.

One word: Moses.

The Chicken

Just a quick, off-topic question:

I attempted to make a long post on the Paley thread on Saturday and it was held over. It has not appeared, yet. Any wors od yea or nay?

The Chicken


The system automatically holds any comment with more than two links. It also counts a link included with your name as a URL, though that isn't relevant in your case, MC. Also, the system does not automatically notify an author when a comment is held, so unless you e-mail the editor or one of the authors or ask about it elsewhere, we won't know that your comment is being held. If you are going to put in more than two links anywhere in the comment, separate it into two comments to avoid the problem.

Dear Lydia,

Understood. But, but I spent all that time writing ;( Where's my kaboom? There should have been a great earth-shattering kaboom. (With apologies to Marvin the Martian).

The Chicken

I see my Paley post got posted. Thanks. I will try not to be so link-happy in the future.

Interesting discussion about adoption. I would like to solicit comments on what attitudes, things, etc. that are keeping women, in general, from making the transition from aborting their babies to putting them up for adoption? Is it merely embarrassment or their perceived encumberence of their "dreams"? If only adoption could replace abortion. I think this country would repair its moral ills almost overnight.

The Chicken

It's posted. You can always e-mail the editor or, for example, me at our provided e-mail addresses.

Dr. McGrew

In your idea of a truly Christian America would there be any families composed exclusively of white people?

As far as adoption of black children by white couples in the U.S., I think it should be encouraged, as should adoption of black children by black couples. Adopting white families must be aware that a black child will wrestle with his identity. But, as with the adoption experience itself, these emotions can be worked with and overcome.

Laura in her comment raises the issue of America's moral atmosphere vs. the moral atmosphere of non-Western countries. She says,

The spiritual climate in many poor, subsistence communities is vastly superior to that found in materially well-endowed suburban developments in the West.

To which I answer: Whoa, let's be specific. If we're talking about non-Western countries, we need to avoid some sort of Noble Savage myth. I forget in which thread it was here recently that someone quoted a shocking statistic about the percentage of African men who claim to have raped someone at some time in their lives. How do you quantify the difference between a "traditional" community that features wife beating, enormous male promiscuity, the wide spread of STD's as a result, female genital mutilation, child marriage for girls, and, on the other hand, the various moral ills of your typically well-endowed suburban development in the West? I say we're talking about apples and oranges here. I also say that _since_ we're talking about apples and oranges, it's far better to be concrete and to ask ourselves: What sort of life is _this_ child likely to have in one place vs. the other place? This will involve asking who wants to adopt him in the West. Are they committed Christians? What sort of moral atmosphere will they give him? It is a great mistake to get a sort of sentimental picture in our minds of "traditional communities" in non-Western countries as poor-but-virtuous.

As for poverty, yes, I do think it is a very legitimate factor for the child's relatives and/or birth mother to consider. It's easy enough for us in the West to be shoulder-shrugging about "poverty," considered generically, but intestinal parasites, typhoid, higher probability of infection of minor wounds because of enormously unsanitary living conditions, constant exposure to serious diseases, and serious malnutrition are not just small things to be shrugged off because, hey, they don't have MTV.

Are there circumstances where such physical considerations could be outweighed? Sure there are. If the only alternative to the above evils were letting your child be raised by Madonna, I'd take my chances with the intestinal parasites. A child's soul should come before his body, and if we are comparing a very poor Christian mother in Africa with morally dissipated secularist parents in the West, then the very poor Christian mother should keep the child, if that's her only alternative.

But again, generalizations aren't getting us very far here. We have to consider concrete comparisons.

"As far as adoption of black children by white couples in the U.S., I think it should be encouraged"

Why Laura?

Lydia may not care about the ways in which adoption upsets the cultural harmony of a given host country, but an adoptee who comes from that country may indeed care. He may view this insensitivity toward conditions in his native land as a form of callousness toward him. After all, his biological parents, grandparents, cousins and siblings still live there.

I think it should be encouraged, with a realistic understanding of the complications involved, because of the breakdown of the black family and because black children are part of this country. It should be viewed as second-best to adoption by a black family.

There are great temptations by white families to use black children as liberal credentials, but I still think they can provide them with good homes if they have a realistic understanding that the child will identify with his own race and be different from them because of his race.

My previous comment was in response to Bruce's question about adoption of black children.

Bruce asks me:

In your idea of a truly Christian America would there be any families composed exclusively of white people?

Sure, why not?

In response to Laura’s comment about an international adoptee's caring about his adoptive parents’ alleged “insensitivity” to his birth country. First, it seems to me that this comment, together with her earlier one concerning children’s “rebelling” against the Christianity of their adoptive parents, reflects an extremely odd idea that all the irrational, confused, and even perverse ideas that adopted children might come up with are simply to be accepted as things that “happen” and treated as arguments against international adoption. This is ridiculous. Consider what would happen if we applied something similar to in-country adoptees: “Suppose that you adopt a child from a Buddhist single mother in the U.S. and raise him Christian, and he finds this out later. He _may_ feel such an enormous sense of identification with the birth mother that he rebels and becomes a Buddhist.” I mean, huh? This is no argument against adopting a child whose birth parents follow another religion! It would be a wrong-headed thing for a child to do and would reflect a failure on his part truly to be committed to the Lord Jesus Christ. If an adopted child is going to be so irrational and so poor a Christian as to throw over his Christianity because of an idea that it is contrary to his “roots,” this is his choice, but it is no argument against _trying_ to give him a Christian home in the first place. It certainly isn’t something to be affirmed as in any respect _understandable_. And if it happens, it probably means that some kooky liberal has gotten hold of him and taught him that animism, etc., are his “true cultural heritage,” so as always--try to keep your children away from kooky liberals.

Similarly, consider this. Laura says,

an adoptee who comes from that country may indeed care. He may view this insensitivity toward conditions in his native land as a form of callousness toward him.


I’m trying here to imagine a girl of Chinese ancestry. You adopted her out of an orphanage, after she was abandoned by the side of the road, in a country that does not value girls as highly as boys. You raise her to understand her own worth. And she grows up and says, “What an insensitive thing it was for you to adopt me. Don’t you know _my country_ [China] needs more girls? Why, I probably have siblings out there somewhere living in a country with too few girls in part because of the international adoption movement in which you participated by adopting me. How insensitive of you! How you have harmed _my country_. I’m really angry.”

What an irrational, absurd, and ungrateful way of thinking. I would hope that any Christian family could raise their daughter so that she would be grateful for having been rescued from a situation in which girls are so undervalued. And I also assume that under normal circumstances, she would think of America rather than China as “her country.” So let’s not be silly.

I could do a parallel one for, “I was a smart African orphan, and my intelligence was more needed in Africa than it is here, so you should have left me there to half-starve, because Africa needs me. You helped to upset the cultural harmony of my country [Africa] by bringing me to America to be loved and well cared for, and this is a form of callousness toward me.”

But please don’t make me.

If I ever adopted a child I would feel more comfertable as a white person adpoting either a white child or a child or oriental or hispanic origin not because I am racially predujuced, but simply because I can imagine every white liberal dimwit I know (and there are a lot of them in the UK) as well as every black liberals (again lots of them) making it their business to chastise me for supposedly 'depriving' the child of its ethnic history/traditions, a history/traditions I might add which are not intrinsic to the Child.

Question for Laura Wood

Why should a white couple adopting a black child be viewed as second-best to adoption by a black family? If the parents are loving and commmited to raising the child to be a good citizen then whats the problem? It might be unusual sure, just the way that interacial couples are unusual in my part of the world but there's nothing wrong with that.

Lydia,

Looking at it from the perspective of white people because, well, I'm white:

Realistically, every white family in our very rich and secure nation could afford to adopt a colored child. So if our response to the Gospel should be what you suggest it should be (above), I can't see why all white families (if we were truly a nation of Christians) shouldn't adopt a poor, third world child of color even if it's after they have children of their own first.

Laura,

"I think it should be encouraged, with a realistic understanding of the complications involved, because of the breakdown of the black family and because black children are part of this country."

Should the interests of the black family, black children, or the U.S. as a whole be the only interests considered?

I do not consider it "irrational, confused and even perverse" to identify with one's biological race and native culture.

Christian hospitals, missions and orphanages can help children in their own countries. We can support these and even go to work in them. The idea that there is no option but adoption is a lie.

We cannot control or even investigate the legal and cultural conditions under which children are put up for adoption in foreign countries. This business is not in our hands.

Infertile couples, if left without the option of foreign adoption, might serve as a significant countercultural force. They could travel to our college campuses and tell young women, "If you are going to have sex without thinking, please, please give your unwanted children to us." Instead, young people are barely aware of the existence of these aching couples.

The idea that there is no other hope for infertile couples is false. We are swimming in a sea of non-stop procreative activity within our own borders.

By the way, Lydia's original post stated that I tried "though not very hard" to sympathize with infertile couples (http://www.thinkinghousewife.com/wp/2009/11/the-locked-door-of-infertility/.) She's right. I didn't try very hard because I didn't need to. I spoke from a first-hand encounter with the sheer horror of infertility. The implication of her statement is that I cynically tossed in this brief essay as a bone to those who are unable to conceive. I take offense at that.

Bruce, we all have our different callings. I worded what I said very carefully. I said that this is one of the best, most loving, most generous forms of evangelism. I also said that it is one way to fulfill Christ's command to "do this unto the least of these." But not everyone is called to adopt. The world is absolutely chock full of good things that Christians can do by way of evangelism, care for others, etc. We can't all do them all. We decide where our aptitudes and vocations lie, and we choose what to do from there. It's very much like St. Paul's description of the different members in the body. I am enormously grateful that my parents chose to adopt me right here in the United States. And I do not know if I would be a Christian today had they not done so. There is some reason to doubt it. Certainly my life would have been very different, and I'm glad it went this way instead. But I have never believed that adopting a child is my calling, whether here in the U.S. or internationally.

So my praise of parents who adopt internationally doesn't imply that we are all called to adopt internationally. One can praise all kinds of wonderful acts without implying that we are all called to do them.

No, Laura, I don't read your blog regularly and had never seen the other post. I was referring to your extremely brief phrases about infertility just in the posts I read and linked here, which are some of the only ones of yours I have read. Those phrases sounded unsympathetic to me. I am sorry for having misinterpreted them.

Laura, I think I've made my case pretty much unanswerably regarding the sort of "identification" you apparently envisage as normal and reasonable for an adopted child with his country of origin. You seem to envisage it as normal for an internationally adopted child to identify _so strongly_ and in _such a way_ with his country of origin that he blames his adoptive parents for bringing him to the land of the free and the home of the brave as a tiny infant and making this his country, because he should instead have been left in an orphanage (you specifically cite orphanages as apparently preferable to international adoption!) in his country of birth to promote such collective goods as "cultural harmony," gender balance, and higher average IQ in that country! _That_ is irrational and collectivist. _No one_ should so little value himself that he views it as better that his own welfare as a tiny, innocent child should have been set aside in the name of the collective interests of his non-Western country in having him around after being raised in an orphanage! That's crazy. Frankly, I can't imagine anyone feeling that way about a country that was "his own" in every sense of the word. It would be still more unreasonable to feel that way about a country that is "your own" only in the sense that you were born there, when the great United States of America is your own country in every other sense--the country in which you were raised from infancy, the country that gave you your language and values, the country of the only mother and father you have ever known, and so forth.

It's really odd, too, that you should keep talking about infertility. I'm not the one talking about it. I'm not in any way suggesting that foreign adoption is the only way of helping infertile couples. One of the _whole points_ of my article is that this emphasis upon infertility confusedly implies that international adoptions (or any adoptions) are chiefly justified in terms of what they do for the adopting couple. Instead, I think they are chiefly justified in terms of what they do for the adopted child. They are an act of generosity. Good adopting couples (by which I do not mean Madonna) deserve praise for doing this rather than blame as if they had done something _selfish_, which is what your emphasis on infertility implies.

Certainly, the possibility of adoption should be strongly advertised in our own cities and on college campuses. I couldn't agree more. But I doubt very much that putting legal and other barriers in the way of international adoption would translate into fewer abortions by American college girls. Your suggested causal chain there is, in my opinion, weak. I don't think college girls abort their babies chiefly because they don't believe parents exist who would want to adopt them. And if they do, there are plenty of ways of letting them know about the option of adoption without making international adoption more difficult.

I know a woman who wants to adopt a black baby. Her case comes before a judge in a few weeks. I fear that the judge will reject her and the poor child will be dumped back into foster care.

Lydia says: To say that it is "ideal for children to be raised within their native cultures" seems to me to be, by and large, not true… In fact, it is a lot like saying that it would be "ideal for children to be raised by their biological mothers.

I think one point you’re missing is that these adopted children from non-white countries are doubly encumbered:

- They do not have their biological parents
- They do not have their original culture and race

So, every time they consider their identity, they have to work through these double barriers. It might be easier (not easy) for parents to lovingly tell an adopted child he belongs to their family, but it is doubly hard for them to convince him that he is indeed of the same culture and heritage as the country he’s been brought to.

Case in point. Look at Obama. You could say he was adopted into a white family – that of his grandparents.

But, he looks more black than white. Blacks identify him as black; whites identify him as black. In the end, his final loyalty did not lie with his white mother or his kind white grandmother (who became the symbolic sacrificial lamb during the election). Even his two books were odes to his missing black father, not to his enterprising white mother or his generous white grandmother.

Lydia: Let's get a big picture here: Most or all [regular] adoptees have some questions about their identity… It is, however, very easy for an adoptee to blow any such matters of identity out of proportion

You have underestimated identity tremendously. Look at my most prominent example of Obama. Identity starts with who you identify with. If you have oriental eyes and darker skin, do you comfortably and naturally identify with your white parents? You may love them and respect them, but do you identify with them? So, questions of identify are not “balderdash.” They comprise the whole being of a person, who will always ask: ”Who am I? Where am I from? Who looks like me?” And in the case of the transnationally adopted child: “Where are these people that look like me?” If these questions are insufficiently answered, there is an identity crisis, however carefully hidden.

Lydia: Interfering with such assimilation by some sort of attempt to generate a strong identification with the country of the child's birth and a strong race consciousness is, in my opinion, a mistake, though one to which I can imagine that liberals are almost certainly going to gravitate.

This is well and good in theory. But however hard you try to avoid the issues of identification, the child at some point will vigorously pursue that. He has too many question to ask, a few of which I’ve outlined above.

For example, if you look at non-white immigrant cultures and second-generation children, these children (many adults, now) are less inclined than their pragmatic parents to assimilate because assimilation isn’t a magic wand of materialistic satisfactions. Something deeper is at play in their refusal to let go of this identity which their parent gave them, but which is different from these countries they were born into.

Lydia: Avoiding a lifetime of rickets, other effects of malnutrition, and deep poverty vs. frequent contact with your aunts, I think frequent contact with the aunts should go to the wall. Here I must come to the strangest and most distasteful part of Laura W's position.

Theodore Dalrymple has an article on materialistic poverty in the Third World, and compares it to spiritual poverty in the West. Most Third Worlders seem to think the spiritual poverty does the greater damage.

Lydia: There is also this consideration:

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat. I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink. I was a stranger, and ye took me in....Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

I guess this is the crunch of the evangelical argument for accepting the poor and the lowly.

There is nowhere in the Bible which says that you should bring the whole world into your home to fulfill God’s commands of helping the poor. If you destroy your home, your family, your community in the name of doing “good”, whom have you really helped?

What happened to the sturdy missionaries of yonder years who didn’t burden their own people with their “charity” and who took the burden on their own shoulders? Who left home and hearth to take care of these people that they may live saved lives in their own countries? Who is anyone to re-structure and disrupt the whole world for his personal spiritual comfort of doing good?

Finally, as I have said on Laura Wood's site, why are the more attractive Ethiopian children so popular amongst Western adoptees? Why not other African kids, or Haitian ones? If poverty and "doing good" were such an issue, then any poor child, from any poor country should do.

There is nowhere in the Bible which says that you should bring the whole world into your home to fulfill God’s commands of helping the poor. If you destroy your home, your family, your community in the name of doing “good”, whom have you really helped?There is nowhere in the Bible which says that you should bring the whole world into your home to fulfill God’s commands of helping the poor. If you destroy your home, your family, your community in the name of doing “good”, whom have you really helped?

I think you have confused me with an open-borders person on immigration. It does not even _begin_ to "destroy our home" or community for my friends the G. family to have adopted a little boy from China along with their other five children. Please. I'm actually an immigration hawk. In fact, one of the good things about international adoption is that one takes these children in *one at a time* and in a fashion which a) makes sure that they are not a burden on the U.S. by giving them the ultimate "sponsors" in the form of full-fledged _parents_ who are fully responsible for them, b) gives them the best possible opportunity to assimilate and become self-supporting citizens when they reach adulthood by adopting them as individuals into good American families. This is nothing remotely like mass immigration.

didn’t burden their own people with their “charity” and who took the burden on their own shoulders?

This is actually rather odious junk, and it makes me rather hot under the collar. Certainly, I'm all in favor of foreign missions. But people who do *adopt a child* are not "burdening their own people with their charity." What is this?? They are adopting the child _themselves_, capice? Taking full responsibility for him. They are not "burdening" others with the child. That's just an amazing comment.

So Obama has decided to identify himself with his black side. And this proves what, exactly? That we are doing grave psychological harm and wrong to children by engaging in international adoptions? That the adjustment difficulties they may face because of the differences with their parents outweigh the good for them? Pretty weak argument, that. Sure, the child is going to be different from his family. Yes, he may wish to think that through at various times and in various ways. But he shouldn't be encouraged to blow it out of proportion. I'm different from my adopted family, too, even though not racially. The child can still be much, much better off to be adopted and to have grown up in the U.S.

I have already answered the "we are spiritually poor and they are materially poor" comparison. I like Dalrymple, and I don't have time to read the article right now, but see my above comments on over-generalization and the Noble Savage myth. There's plenty of spiritual poverty in the Third World as well, as Christians, of all people, should know.

A couple of points: I recall a mixed-race child (a mulatto, though the term is not much in use anymore) who was an adoptee into a white family, was raised well and finally went off to college. In the second day on campus, he marched right up to the college president and declared "I have been on this campus over 24 hours, and I see no sign of a Mulatto Student Union! Why Not? " With a twinkle in his eye, and a slow smile spreading across his face.

The point is, he was completely comfortable with his "identity": biologically of mixed race, by raising fully and completely white.

I don't have much sympathy for the notion that a child ought to have a close connection to the culture of his biological origin. The reality is that culture is changeable, and reformable, and isn't much related to biology to begin with. If I see a black person, I cannot tell whether he was raised in black streets of Detroit or Watts, or Nigeria, or Australia, or wherever. And to even remotely suggest that these all have the same "black culture" is totally laughable. So if I were to adopt a black child in a closed adoption, WHICH of the different black cultures is it that he being "deprived" of?

This leads me to a much more basic point: conceiving a child is supposed to be an act of love, an intentional giving of self to this new potential person, with the firm promise of life-long giving thereafter. It is this love which is the true foundation of family, not the biological relationship (See: the Trinity). When a child is conceived as an "accident" during fornication, there is no love of the child at all. Nobody thinks that the biological male party who donates to a sperm bank is rightfully understood as a "father" in any sense but that of genes alone. Why then grant to a fornicating woman (or man) the title of "mother" (or "father") when it is clear that they are being selfish instead of self-giving?

If adoptive parents are willing to give a child the love that is rightfully the kind of love that belongs to true parenthood, then they are truly the child's parents. And if that is so, then they ought to hand on to the child their own culture, since the center of that culture is the concept of living out life in a community of love of others, that our vocation is a vocation of love. Any further particulars of culture (Greek, white, athletic, poetic, curly-haired, horse-loving, etc) are mere trivialities compared to that basic form of culture.

Bruce's notion that we ought to help orphans in poor countries by founding excellent orphanages there in those countries would retain the superficialities of their culture, at the expense of the heart and soul of true culture wherein we learn our vocation toward love by seeing it in action between our mothers and fathers. Every child has an ineradicable orientation toward being raised by parents, and an orphanage doesn't cut it.

It also appears a corollary that a young white unwed mother who chooses to raise her child instead of giving him up for adoption may be continuing the grave abuse she (and her fornicating partner) foisted upon the child by conceiving him out of wedlock. It may be that the very FIRST act of love this biological-mother can make is to recognize the deep defect in her own soul, and give the child to those who have no such defect. While I haven't explored the idea fully, it seems to me that a properly ordered society would place extremely few rights over the child in the biological-mother's hands, precisely because mere biological-parenthood is so small a portion of true parenthood as to be nearly negligible.

It was actually Laura's idea concerning orphanages. Or so I understood her. The comment is here

http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2009/11/adoption.html#comment-86921

Tony, I appreciate your comments concerning culture. I think they are particularly relevant to this by Kidist Asrat:

these adopted children from non-white countries are doubly encumbered:

- They do not have their biological parents
- They do not have their original culture and race

So, every time they consider their identity, they have to work through these double barriers. It might be easier (not easy) for parents to lovingly tell an adopted child he belongs to their family, but it is doubly hard for them to convince him that he is indeed of the same culture and heritage as the country he’s been brought to.

This sort of cultural essentialism is something I do not buy, and I appreciate Tony's robust denial of it, which inspires me to agree with him. While it is only sensible (and may have public policy consequences) to admit that culture often _comes with_ race, this is because (obviously) children of a particular race are usually _raised in_ a particular culture. Equally obviously, if we're talking about adopting an infant child, we're talking about giving him the adoptive parents' culture from the get-go. It is incredibly simplistic to imply that a whole _culture_ is built into someone's genes. I'm more open than most people to the proposition that there are some statistical differences that track racial differences and that have a biological basis, but to say that a child of Chinese descent adopted as an infant by American parents and raised completely American has some sort of whole "Chinese culture" that is in some profound sense "his own" and that he is being denied is just plain silly.

I've now read the Dalrymple article. His entire point concerns, specifically and repeatedly, the spiritual poverty of the welfare state, which removes all real-world consequences for self-destructive behavioral patterns. This has _nothing_ to do with the question of international adoption by parents who support themselves and who will teach a child to support himself. We were, after all, stipulating that we were talking about good parents.

Kudos and profuse thanks to Lydia, God bless her, who obviously doesn't need my help defending a most reasonable position on the topic.

I will say, perhaps as a slight nod in Laura's direction, that my exchanges with several foreign adoptees have convinced me that identity conflicts should not be casually brushed aside. We all go through life broken in some degree, but the break with one's parents and people has its own unique set of difficulties.

Adoptive parents, who by definition cannot transmit their biological identity, need to work extra hard to give their children a spiritual, familial, regional, and cultural inheritance. If these are strong, the biological discontinuity can be understood and dealt with in proper perspective.

I also agree that it is perfectly natural for people to explore their biological or racial heritage, and even to "identify" with it in a healthy way. True enough, race isn't nothing - but neither is race as much as Auster and his racialist pals (Laura Wood?) tend to make it.

I don't know if this is a good idea to bring up here, but one of the things one has to come to terms with often as an adopted child is that there is not some "real home" that one "lost," some place-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow out there, left behind, if one could only find it. This is true of parental structures, too. If a child's biological father did not love him and had no bond with him, that's just a fact to accept. It can't be changed by finding the biological father. In fact, finding the biological father and having the fact of his lack of love (and lack of fitness for fatherhood) brought home vividly can be a very brutal experience, one plenty of young people would be better without. Finding out the facts about my own biological background--in particular, my own biological father, made me more grateful than ever for my adoptive father.

There are plenty of cases of foreign adoptions, just like domestic adoptions, where the child was not "taken away from" some stable home situation that he could have kept had he not been adopted. This may be true either because the child was orphaned or because of immorality. I noticed in the newspaper article on the Korean study, it specifically quoted a young woman who said that we should find more ways to help _single_ Korean mothers keep their babies. In other words, on that view, single motherhood should be preferred over two-parent families in the name of keeping the child in Korea.

I bring this up to point out that the separation from biological parents is very often in a sense built into the very situation that caused the child to be placed for adoption in the first place--a cause, not a result, of the adoption.

"I would hope that any Christian family could raise their daughter so that she would be grateful for having been rescued from a situation in which girls are so undervalued"

... what?

Actually, I find it to be a more relevant point that country's significantly placed value on males is an insult to females rather than any substantial proof of making the adoptee feel grateful she has FOOD, SHELTER, and LOVE. No one should be grateful for existing on that basis - it is a fundamental human right to have those things in order to exist both emotionally and physically well.

I'm not saying that no child should ever be "non-grateful" for what things she has. I'm saying that basic things such as food should not be used for the justification of having a saved existence - that is the lowest level of humanity based on a non-democratic society.

Also, in reference to the point where the biological parents are not known (which is often the case in China), it does not mean they don't EXIST. They just aren't KNOWN. Big difference. Therefore, the child DOES, in fact, have biological parents - s/he just does not know anything about said parents. In turn, there is no need to disrespect the origins of the adopted child by saying "well, she has a better life anyway." That brings us on a tangent which has nothing to do with the child's biological origins. It's a matter of respect for the people who once had her, and then for whatever reason, surrendered her to the unknown (a.k.a. adoption).

P.S. I am not a mainland adoptee.

"No one should be grateful for existing on that basis ..."

Spoken like a true pagan. Everyone should be grateful for existing, period.

Jeff - I'm sorry if I seem slightly obtuse... was that response meant to be sarcasm?

Lydia: . But people who do *adopt a child* are not "burdening their own people with their charity." What is this?? They are adopting the child themselves, capice? Taking full responsibility for him. They are not "burdening" others with the child. That's just an amazing comment.

You are focusing on the material again. Material comfort doesn't mean spiritual or existential well-being. Just one child can cause a commotion of thoughts both in the adopted child and in the community. A certain coherence is gone with the arrival of this very different child. How does he fit in with the tradition of the community, the family? The tradition of the country? You are saying that the past doesn't matter. That with this adoption, there is a clean slate. The new Chinese/Indian/Ethiopian child can just be filled up with whatever the parents want it to have.

Trying to make sense of these very existential questions is certainly a burden on a community, whose very coherence is disrupted by the presence of this very different child.

Lydia: So Obama has decided to identify himself with his black side.

Not only is it he that has "decided" to identify himself as black, it is everyone else around him. He cannot erase his past, his missing black father, with whom he associated all his life, more than with his white relatives. That has guided all his moves, all his life. Including denouncing publicly his kind, white grandmother.

Tony: Every child has an ineradicable orientation toward being raised by parents, and an orphanage doesn't cut it.

Children in orphanages is nothing new. How do you know how other cultures have ordered their society in terms of orphanages? How do you know what roles in society children from orphanages have? How do you know what corrective measures are being taken to reduce orphans and orphanages? For example, the orphanage-adopted son of Madonna was placed there temporarily. He had a myriad of relatives also out there. “Orphanage” rang an evil bell, and Madonna just swooped in.

Jeff Culbreath: The biological discontinuity can be understood and dealt with in proper perspective.

What I'm writing about is cases of biological AND: familial, racial, cultural and geographical discontinuity (I’m sure there’s more). There are just too many variables that are different in the lives of these children for them not to feel overwhelmed by them at some point in their lives.

No era has ever performed this experiment before. And this experiment is clearly full of holes. The NYT group showcases the adults of the first wave of that experiment. To me, it proves that the experiment has failed. Our ancestors knew better.

Fact is, what laura says are not odd or i=unique to laura. UNICEF favors adoption - especially international adoption - as a LAST RESORT.

Every mother has the right to receive the resources she needs to keep her family intact. Whether she is married, single, divorced, widowed ...why should her marital status matter?

**Single women adopt!**

As for alleged crowded orphanages -- approx 90% of children in orphanges worldwide are not orphans and not eligible to be adopted because they have family.

Further, adoption currently is far more focused on filling a demand for BABIES - even to he extent of kidnapping them to meet that demand - while ignoring the kids in orphanages who are mostly over age 5. the same is true of the 129,000 kids in UD foster care who COULD be adopted but are ignored.

The money Westerners pay to adopt internationally support corrupt baby brokers and PREVENT those within many coutries from competing.

Yes...in a perfect world there's be no adoption because very child would be wanted and able to be cared for. While idealistic, we can work TOWARD that goal by providing sex education and birth control and work to prevent infertility as well as those who believe rescue myths of adoption....through education.

Lydia, I notice that your site is "dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom."

I suggest you read about jesus helping WIDOWS. In biblical times this meant any mother without a husband for any reason.


I also suggest you read the story of Moses. Nowhere does the bible say we should take children from single mothers and give them to married women. No where does it condone taking away a person's name or their ethnicity, culture, religion or heritage.

He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

The idea of an "official" book with names of people who can and are blotted out is not unique to Revelation. This threat of blotting out names from a book is first mentioned in Exodus 32:32,33.

"In the Old Testament. the phase "I will blot out their names" (to erase their identity...as though they had never existed) is a more powerful threat even than physical death." --Dr. Rollo May, Man's Search for Himself

This is what adoption - as practice din America today does however. It blots out adoptees' names! How can you as a Christian accept this? Why do you think the only two examples of biblical adoption - Moses and Hannah - does NOT destroy the natural, original connection! Why does Jochobed get to wet nurse her baby? Why does Moses return to free "his people"?? And note that these adoptions only took place to save the life of the child - an ultimate sacrifice on the part of the mother...not punishment for her marital status!

The language used here presupposes conditions in foreign countries that we can have no certainty of. China is mentioned repeatedly. Doubtless there are millions of kids living overseas in conditions that would make us weep. But where is the check and the balance in terms of cultural integrity-- both theirs and ours? It does no good to say, as someone did above, that culture and biology are fluid and infinitely mutable. They may be, but that does not mean all changes can be well absorbed. If we had 350,000 adoptions from China every year for ten years would that call for a revisitation of policy?

Is it not an act of Christian fellowship to allow an adult to immigrate to the U.S.? What is the difference then between this and the adoption of a child? More love, more caring and nurturing? Better assimilation? I find it difficult to consider transnational adoption without connecting it to other related issues. And it is intimately tied to many important issues. Westerners (whites) are not reproducing in sufficient numbers to sustain their tax bases, let alone their societies, without continued significant immigration levels and international adoption is, in fact, one tiny piece of the immigration and birth rate issues.

"In a perfect world" transnational adoption would not be subject to tasteless modern liberalism. It would be exceptional, and not an unquestionable good.

Lowri Turner on being the mother of a mixed race baby:

People say my daughter has my eyes or my mouth, but I know they are just trying to be kind. She looks as similar to me as I do to Naomi Campbell. I didn't expect this to matter to me, but it does.

Lowri Turner: I love my mixed race baby - but why does she feel so alien?

Don't get me wrong, I love her...

But when I turn to the mirror in my bedroom to admire us together, I am shocked. She seems so alien. With her long, dark eyelashes and shiny, dark brown hair, she doesn't look anything like me.

I know that concentrating on how my daughter looks is shallow. She is a person in her own right, not an accessory to me. But still, I can't shake off the feeling of unease.

I didn't realise how much her looking different would matter and, on a rational level, I know it shouldn't. But it does.

I can't shake off the feeling. Does that not indicate something innate? Typically its only people endowed with an over-abundance of energy who can overcome such feelings of unease. So, unless you have the energy levels of Madonna or Tom Cruise, you ought to pause before you consider transracial babies. And energy levels typically decline with age, so even if you feel comfortable with it today doesn't mean the same of tomorrow.

"allow an adult to immigrate" should be "invite an adult to immigrate"...

As conservatives, we should decisively eschew both cultural relativism and shyness about the advantages of our own country. Let's be honest: We have the greatest country in the world.
Lydia, is this the same country whose president (in your eyes) tolerates millionfold mass murder of the unborn and encourages 'sodomia', fornication, adultery, blasphemy, gun control and (huh!) environmentalism? The same country whose government promotes communism and plans "death panels" for the old and sick? The country in which the all-controlling leftist media impudently celebrate their "intellectual Stalinism" and - worst of all - are trying to compromise home schooling by promoting Jihadist immigration?

May be Malawi isn't such a bad place after all?

Beyond satire: The way you are bullying such a decent and sensible person as Laura is a new climax in the sad history of your (let me quote myself) "awful fanaticism".

Kidist Paulos Asrat: You ought to go back and read the responses to your original comment. Seeing as you’ve said nothing new (beyond a bunch of questions which could be equally leveled at you), those ought to suffice as a response to your new comment.

Mirah Riben: Marital status doesn’t matter, and no one is talking about “taking” children from single mothers or punishing those mothers for being unwed. I think you’ve misread or misunderstood the preceding discussion.
And you’ve taken the “blotting out names” stuff entirely out of context and grossly misapplied it. By taking a child out of one culture and putting him into another, you’re not blotting out his name or destroying his person – he’s still there, being raised in a different culture. Your comment suggests that adoptees are spiritual (even physical) nonentities because they’ve been deprived of that holy, original culture.

Michelle: Does that not indicate something innate?
No. No it does not indicate anything innate. Lowri Turner’s mixed-race baby was her own child by an Asian man. Any hesitation, any shock she feels is just unadulterated racism. If she can’t see past color to her own child – the very child she carried in her womb for nine months – that means she’s having trouble getting accustomed to the idea that her daughter is not an “accessory.”
Michelle: [Y]ou ought to pause before you consider transracial babies.
Yes, I think we all ought to pause and consider that comment.

Grobi: Despite all those horrors you mentioned, this is still the greatest country in the world. Doesn’t that make you shudder?
Oh, and the way you’re sniping at Lydia is just a normal day in the sad history of your comments.

Jeff Culbreath,

Lydia's comments have been posted at Auster's View from the Right so she has leprosy too!!! Better get away, quick!!

Why don't you go (back) over to Rockford and harass Richert et.al. about their association with Sam Francis. I hear the priest has declared them clean.

Michelle, sometimes parents have nearly the same failure to connect with one of their own biological children, especially if that child takes after the other spouse's family almost completely. (I know of a bi-racial family who have one child that looks nearly completely white, and another child who looks mostly black, just for example.) This surely represents a trial and a burden to overcome, but it does not represent a grave impediment to healthy family living and loving. In fact, every marriage causes to some extent a melding of two disparate cultures. The farther apart the cultures are, the more tension is present and the greater the effort needed. But this just means that God calls some to greater challenges in marriage than He does for others.

Every mother has the right to receive the resources she needs to keep her family intact.

Mirah, on what basis do we call it a "family" (i.e. a natural society ordained by God oriented toward a permanent vocation of love) when a single woman chooses to violate the natural law and fornicate with this week's hook-up, neither of whom having any intention of love toward a child (or even toward each other)? A very tenuous one, to be sure. So far then is her "right" to the resources to keep "her family" together.

Whether she is married, single, divorced, widowed ...why should her marital status matter?

It wouldn't matter at all, not even a slightest bit, if God hadn't designed humanity to be arranged in social units as families, and revealed that arrangement as being a human representation of the Trinity. But since God HAS designed humanity that way, it matters a great deal.

**Single women adopt!**

Single women (and men) fornicate too. And contracept, and abort, and basically live their lives selfishly. How does this bear on the good?

I suggest you read about jesus helping WIDOWS. In biblical times this meant any mother without a husband for any reason.

Mirah, do you have any support for this? I always thought that the meaning of "widow" was restricted to the woman whose husband had died. And the Biblical injunction to assist widows (and orphans) is this: until the woman was given away in marriage, her father was obligated to support her. After that, her husband was. But since she could not own property in her own right, a woman who had been given away in marriage and then lost her husband had no built-in social support structure. This problem simply does not exist for a woman still under the care of her father because she is unmarried. Are you saying that for the last 1800 years they have been mis-interpreting the expression to refer to ANY woman with child and no husband? It just doesn't sound very likely.

Hannon, I have seen friends of mine go through the torture of foreign adoption, and I truly appreciate the fact that the current patterns at times represent little more than baby factories for hire. It is truly abusive, and I worry very much to what extent adoptive parents willingness to pay some 20,000 is feeding the problem. Nevertheless, until we have a definitive conclusion that the practices are actually damaging the relevant societies more than leaving the children unadopted, (thus requiring laws to squelch the practice), I would have to say that the adoptive parents must retain the right to decide themselves whether or not to submit to the tortuous process.

Children in orphanages is nothing new. How do you know how other cultures have ordered their society in terms of orphanages? How do you know what roles in society children from orphanages have? How do you know what corrective measures are being taken to reduce orphans and orphanages?

Kidest, I don't see how any of that relates to whether children are fundamentally oriented toward being raised by a mother and a father. Are you suggesting that in some countries the orphanages themselves are arranged in such a way that each child effectively has a specific "mother" and "father", who are married to each other, and that these two spouses are functionally committed in this relationship to the child for the child's entire life? Why, that sounds pretty much like adoption, doesn't it? Unless that is what you are saying, then it is a simple fact that orphanages cannot give a child something that he has a fundamental orientation toward. A more fundamental orientation than toward any specific cultural heritage.

It's interesting that of all the comments posted here, including some very odd birds indeed, I find Kidist Asrat's the most offensive. First she implies, rather disgustingly, that parents who adopt internationally are getting the appearance of heroism and personal sense of being do-gooders on the cheap while somehow harming their own country by bringing a baby into it from overseas. When I challenge that, she literally goes on and on about how disruptive it is to "the community" to have this "different" baby introduced to it. As though the baby carried some sort of community-breaking magic with him just by having been born in Ethiopia or China to non-white parents. This is just amazing. _Nothing_ Laura said, not even the comment about God's wanting the races to be separate, was as bad as this stuff.

Let it be hereby known that if I don't respond to more of this stuff in the future, it's because I'm gagging or can't bring myself to read it, not because silence gives consent.

Hannon, no, actually, inviting an adult immigrant is _nowhere near_ like adopting an infant child, precisely because children will learn American culture from infancy and thus (as I pointed out in the main post) have the perfect opportunity to be fully Americanized, thus obviating worries about introducing different cultural ways. You won't, for example, find a thoroughly Americanized child wanting his local hospital to let his shaman come in and treat him, as we saw recently in California! I used in the main post the term "sponsor." In the old days, adult immigrants had to have a sponsor who guaranteed that they wouldn't become a burden on the community. It was no coincidence that those were also the days when immigration was very _limited_. Obviously, it is a much greater limitation still if we are talking about taking in a child and making him your own from infancy.

Mirah, I notice that you, among other things, seem to think children in orphanages should be adopted, and you blame people for adopting babies rather than children in orphanages. You should argue with some of the other people who are attacking me, here, because they don't think children in orphanages should be internationally adopted. In any event, my own focus on infant adoption has been an attempt to emphasize cases in which the child is going to be the most thoroughly culturally assimilated, which will tend to answer the idea that he has already identified himself with the culture of his country of origin. Actually, I agree that international adoption can well be justified even in the case of older children, but I was attempting to take the easier case.


As for "blotting out names" and the idea that a child "had" parents that he no longer has, I've already discussed this. Especially in the case of a father, no, the child need not have "had" the father in any meaningful sense at all. The father need never have seen the mother for nine months. The whole "blotting out names" thing is a red herring, as I said in the main post that I think it is legitimate and probably a good idea for adoption agencies to keep such records as are available on a child and to allow him and the biological relative who placed him for adoption to make contact with each other by mutual consent when the child turns eighteen. Sometimes, of course, the child's background has been "blotted out" by the evil of men and by circumstances or natural disasters before he ever comes into the hands of those who arrange the adoption, events the adoption is in no way to blame for. The adoption gives the child such stability as is possible for him to have.

This last point is also relevant to Mei-Ling's comment.

"When we attempt to prove things so evident, we are sure never to convince."

-- Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws 25.13

In brief response to a comment I see that Lawrence Auster has put up about this post, he seems to be concerned about a limit on the numbers of international adoptions and about the fact that I don't advocate such a limit--perhaps, by law. As a practical matter, however, this seems quite pointless. There is _no way_ that even America's ethnic makeup, much less her cultural makeup, is going to be transformed by international adoptions. It's expensive, time-consuming, and requires a level of generosity and commitment as well as a desire to adopt at all which the majority of Americans simply do not have. Moreover, Auster too refers to the children as being of another race _and culture_, and I simply do not understand this. Do people really not understand how assimilated children are to America culturally when they are raised from infancy in American families? Children are made to be imitators, and culture, like language, which is a part of culture, is a matter of all those things you learn and take for granted from infancy onward. Even the Times article admitted quite clearly the Americanization of the children in question.

I certainly agree that unrestricted immigration of adults and families from other countries has the very real potential to transform our country and culture in directions we quite legitimately don't want it to go. But the child-by-child adoption by (I have stipulated) good parents, even Christian parents, of children at a very young age from the Third World is just not going to do that.

By the way, it seems to me that some of the very ideas expressed here against international adoptions are the ideas that are most likely to make international adoptions a problem--a self-fulfilling prophecy, as it were.

Consider, for example, the insane case I read about in England a while back where the local child authorities were literally nagging a family that had adopted a child from a Muslim country to make sure they were _practicing Islam_, because this was the child's "own culture." The parents, in response, said that they would give him a chance to understand "his culture" as he grew up, but that right now he was more interested in Thomas the Train than in whether his parents were good practicing Muslims. What started the whole thing was that Morocco, I believe it was, where the child came from, required adoptive parents to at least nominally convert to Islam in order to adopt a child. The English parents evidently thought they could do this nominally (which of course in my opinion they should not have done) and then drop it after getting back to England, but Big Brother in England was monitoring it. In any event, even the parents felt they had to give lip service to this idea that the child's "true culture" was not English.

Now, this whole bizarre story arises from from the very idea expressed in this thread that this child, adopted into a Western country very young, has the Muslim culture of the country where he was born as "his culture."

_Of course_ if you tell adopted children that, you are positively _encouraging_ them to develop a loyalty and a set of cultural values outside of those of (in our case) America. And _of course_ telling them that could contribute to cultural change in America, including negative cultural change.

But why do that? Why not tell the child something like this? "You come from Morocco, and we will certainly learn about Morocco. You may want to visit there someday. But you are English [American] now, and you have had a chance to learn about Jesus Christ and to be a Christian, which is a wonderful thing. The people in Morocco are mostly Muslims." Then you give him _Star of Light_ about a British missionary to Morocco (and child slavery, inter alia), and go on raising him.

The basic objection from the perspective of a racial conservative is that such things blur the boundaries between our race and the other races and this just encourages even more of the same. Not just transnational adoptions. I agree with Kidist that some people do it to demonstrate (to themselves and to others) what good people they are.

It's odd that you're familar with VFR, have been posted there, yet react with emotive rubbish such as "rather disgustingly" and "I'm gagging" and seem so surprised that there's people that think this way.

_Of course_ if you tell adopted children that, you are positively _encouraging_ them to develop a loyalty and a set of cultural values outside of those of (in our case) America. And _of course_ telling them that could contribute to cultural change in America, including negative cultural change.

Most of the time they need no encouragement. Children aren't stupid; eventually the adopted child will start to ask questions, such as why he isn't the same color as Mommy and Daddy. Then he'll go off to college and be exposed to all the diversity-think and grievance lobbies academia has devised, one of which will certainly cater to his own race/ethnicity. Everything his parents have taught him about himself will be challenged, hard.

Will he remain steadfast amidst all this pressure? You'd better hope so. Otherwise you've imported yet another alien into this country, and that does effect all of us.

Then he'll go off to college and be exposed to all the diversity-think and grievance lobbies academia has devised, one of which will certainly cater to his own race/ethnicity.

Well, see, that just raises the whole question of how we educate our kids, doesn't it? Let's look at it this way: Compare on the one hand A. A is as white as white gets. He's been born to and raised by hard-leftist parents and seeks to promote hard-leftist values. He's been taught diversity-think and grievance-mongering from his youth upwards. On the other hand we have B. B is Vietnamese by ancestry but has been raised by Christian conservative parents and laughs at diversity-think and grievance-mongering, just like the student in Tony's example above. B promotes social conservatism and all kinds of things like that that we all agree are good. B is inoculated against the junk in college, and there he meets A, who is positively trying to undermine our culture.

From my perspective, even if we're just considering political influences on the trend of the country, if B's parents were infertile, it's a _great thing_ that they adopted B and got a chance to put someone else with their values into our culture in the next generation to counteract the influence of A, even though A is a native and has white skin and B was adopted from Vietnam and has Asian genes!

Bruce, it was the particularly "hard-core" nature of Kidist's comments that prompted me to say what I did.

As I've said above, I'm hawkish about immigration. I think it's naive in many contexts to pretend that it's possible to separate race from culture. It's especially naive when we're talking about immigration or about people raised in, for example, the black sub-culture in America. But when someone starts saying such really nasty things about really good people, implying that they are somehow doing something _easy_ and _bad_ when they are doing something _hard_ and _good_, then, yes, I get pretty disgusted.

I was on a talk show the other evening and in the course of it the host asked me how I would respond to the charge of being an ideologue about social issues such as abortion and gay marriage. One of the things I stressed in my answer is that an ideologue is someone who lacks a sense of perspective about the relative importance of things.

It is my opinion that some of the comments about race--race _pure_ and _simple_, even when we are considering a child raised from infancy to be a committed American--evince the nature of ideology, in that bad sense.

"Sometimes, of course, the child's background has been "blotted out" by the evil of men and by circumstances or natural disasters before he ever comes into the hands of those who arrange the adoption, events the adoption is in no way to blame for. The adoption gives the child such stability as is possible for him to have."

Stability? Perhaps in some cases.

That won't stop children from thinking and asking questions and grieving. I've seen far too much evidence of this on adoptive parents blogs weekly to consider your last statement to be a moral standpoints for anything in that paragraph.

You're essentially saying that Christianity is the end-and and be-all and screw the origins of the child because she is an American now. You're saying "The child is in America now and she will be raised in Christian values so nothing else matters since she'll never know anything realistically about her native land, origins, or language."

That approach is highly dismissive. It seeks to control based on what the thinker believes to be the only "right" way - like that saying: "It's my way or the high way and what you think or say doesn't matter."

And again, that is another attempt to silence the adoptee.

I'm a Christian and I don't agree with that.

"it's a _great thing_ that they adopted B and got a chance to put someone else with their values into our culture in the next generation to counteract the influence of A"

You make it sound like B has a 'job' to do. Like, B will heal his parents' infertility since he was adopted. No, no he can't. It's impossible. B can maybe elevate some of the sorrow, but he can't "heal" his parents' infertility. It's an impossible task.

Likewise with your analogy of B preventing A from "undermining" the culture. It's not B's job to do so. B is certainly able to make friends with A and talk about the difference in beliefs and values, and maybe suggest some alternatives for A.

But really, B is just a person.

Lydia,

"It's [adoption] expensive, time-consuming, and requires a level of generosity and commitment as well as a desire to adopt at all which the majority of Americans simply do not have. "

Is this a good or a bad thing vis a vis America and the subject of transnational adoption in particular? Should I feel glad that it's highly unlikely that transnational adoption [ie. the lack of enough willing couples to open their hearts in this way] will significantly influence the racial/cultural makeup of America, that is if I want America to remain a predominantly Anglo/European country? How does one think about it in this way?

Look, Mei-Ling, I brought that up about A and B because of what other people are saying to the effect that children from other countries are going to undermine America and such. I'm pointing out an example that shows that it need not go that way. Of course I _agree_ with you that the child is an end in himself and isn't adopted for the purpose of "doing a job." My example was addressed to the other commentators as a thought experiment contradicting their idea that adopting a child from another country somehow pulls the country leftwards in itself (because the child is non-white), etc.

As far as Christianity, I am unrepentant. I have a duty to my children to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, to pass on my Christian faith to them to the greatest extent that I am able. This would be no less true of an adopted child, and indeed, I'm grateful eternally that my parents did so raise and teach me as an adopted child. In the end, of course, children will have a choice. They could become secular atheists if they choose to go that route, but of course I pray that they will not do so. I certainly _do not_ consider that if a child's biological parents were likely Buddhist (or atheist, Communist, animist, Wiccan, Muslim, or any of a million other possible religions) that that confers _any_ duty upon adoptive parents to defer in any way, shape, or form to that false religion in raising the child or to tell the child that that religion is somehow his "heritage." To think so, one has to be a kind of cultural or truth relativist. I am not a Christian for cultural reasons. I am a Christian because I believe Christianity is _true_ and because I believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, the way to heaven. God may have some unusual plan I can't think of for revealing his truth to those raised in ignorance of him through no fault of their own, but any Christian parent who teaches an adopted Chinese little girl that Buddhism is "her religion" because it is "her culture" is betraying the truth as he has a reason to know it, and that would be very bad indeed. Millstones and all that.

So I'm afraid you're just going to have to put that in your pipe and smoke it.

As far as grieving, thinking, and asking questions, my point is that leaving a child in an orphanage or to be bounced around in foster homes hardly helps matters. It certainly doesn't make the child's life any more stable or give him the gift of parents. The adoption of a child by a good, two-parent family is an attempt to give the child what life has previously denied him--that natural love and structure that is God's plan for human growth and flourishing. It's important that we not blame on adoption the wounds that were caused by the pre-conditions that made adoption necessary. And I speak here, remember, as an adopted child myself.

Just to clarify my previous post:

"...if I want America to remain a predominantly Anglo/European, Christian country?"

If that's what you want, Andrew, then I guess you should be glad. I'm not sure what the point is of the question. You've sort of defined the answer into the way you've asked the question, it seems to me.

Bruce, it was the particularly "hard-core" nature of Kidist's comments that prompted me to say what I did.

I understand this is your website, and that you have a certain point of view that you're projecting. But, it goes beyond rudeness to open up your blog to public comments, and turn around and call someone's input as "hard-core" and “disgusting” just because you don't agree with them. I see no effort on your part to even try to understand what I'm trying to say. I personally think your points are "hard-core," but I tried my best to put across as lucid an argument for my points without demonizing yours.

Several readers have already agreed with some of my points. My points are clearly valid, namely:

- By introducing non-white children into white families, you are changing the dynamics of the families, the communities and the countries. Race is, and always will be, an issue. Every nation on earth knows this. Why do you think the Japanese don't allow any of this to happen?

- Many transnational adoptions are surrounded with naiveté and, dare I say, ignorance. For example, Mirah Riben has noted that "approx 90% of children in orphanges worldwide are not orphans and not eligible to be adopted because they have family." The dynamics of international adoption can never be clear – where the child comes from, who is making money out of it, who ultimately benefits.

- Many families have ways of dealing with their illegitimate and orphaned children. Well-meaning foreign adoptees often undermine these subtle and difficult attempts by societies at keeping their children within their own boundaries.

- Spiritual/existential well-being is as important (and probably even more important) than materialistic well-being. That is why I quoted Dalrymple’s article. In that line, the NYT article is a breakthrough because it is a liberal paper saying that these adopted children are not existentially happy, despite the “better” life they have with their white parents. Imagine what it took for a liberal paper to publish such views. There must be MUCH more going on.

"The adoption of a child by a good, two-parent family is an attempt to give the child what life has previously denied him--that natural love and structure that is God's plan for human growth and flourishing."

But you're also assuming that since these biological parents are the unknown that they simply just don't matter and therefore it is easy to absorb the impression that they did NOT love or care for their child?

Yes, there are anonymous orphans out there whose families have abandoned them. They do not appear out of thin air to be adopted. There are things leading up TO the orphaned child which cannot be dismissed just because it has not been witnessed directly. You see the results - adoption - but don't see the process - orphanage - nor do you see the method that starts the process - politics.

Children do not START at orphanages.

"So I'm afraid you're just going to have to put that in your pipe and smoke it."

In other words... be a good little adoptee and shut up. Right?

P.S. Kidist, I like your comments. Very thoughtful.

I find this especially interesting as a the blue-eyed father of two daughters (8 & 5) from China. My wife also is of Chinese extraction. Having been around the int'l. adoption scene awhile I can offer a few anecdotes and observations.

1. As for whether the children are better off being adopted or not, I think the answer is clear: They are far better off here than almost anywhere else. To grow up in middle-class America is far preferable to the vast majority of conditions we witnessed on our overseas trips. Also, overseas, orphan girls are quite at risk of being trafficked without the protection of a proper family. I have wrestled with this question, looking at some of the downsides of American life. But our girls will grow up well loved, well fed and with as many opportunities as we can give them. I've seen China (twice) and I've seen America. America is better.

2. White adopting Asian seems to be different from White adopting Black. When we were in China to adopt our second daughter we were pushing her in a stroller on the sidewalk one day. A local man and woman were walking nearby and eyeing us. From their expressions I couldn't tell what they were thinking. I started to feel uncomfortable until the man approached slightly, pointed to the stroller and said, "Lucky baby." Other Asian people here in the States seem not to show any opinion one way or the other. My wife's family are very supportive. On the other hand, we were at a pool recently where a White older brother was clowning around with his Black adopted brother. An older Black man nearby seemed to be observing with disapproval. I get the impression that some Black men feel that a Black boy raised in a White family will become too soft.

3. Over the years my wife and I have noted that many single women are adopting internationally and that many of them are quite obese. One single woman we know is so fat that she does not walk well and prefers to sit at group events. Her daughter (from China) is a very nimble 8 year old. It seems unfair to the girl to have just one parent who is not as active as she should be (not to mention the health risks). Another single adoptive mom we know was dealing with a rather serious case of cancer last time we saw her. Here is an area where I think concern is warranted.

4. Most of the adoptive families we know, however, are very capable and loving. The adoption process seems designed to weed out the less than fully committed.

5. As for the demographic impact of lots of non-White adoptees growing up in America I doubt it will be very great compared to the massive immigration of the past 40 years. Not only that, but these children will be as well aculturated as they could be and will likely pick up the generally conservative outlook of their adoptive families.

6. Though I am concerned about demographic trends (particularly as they impact average IQ) I hardly think adoptions are a big problem area. If hard-core racial purists are that concerned, let them lecture all their friends and relatives who have participated in aborting pure White kids over the last 40 years. There a far more such cases than trans-racial adoptions.

Imagine what it took for a liberal paper to publish such views.

On the contrary. I can scarcely believe that you are unaware of the nature of race consciousness in the liberal mind. This article is _precisely_ in line with the glorification of non-Western race and culture on the left. It's related to trying to get little American black children to celebrate Kwanzaa because it's "their culture." I'm surprised you don't realize that.

Kidist, it appears that part of our disagreement concerns the importance to a child of having parents. If children are living in orphanages but "have family" and hence are not "eligible" to be adopted, that's a crime to the children, in my view. To keep a child in a non-family situation, without parents, _deliberately_, because you (as his biological relative) don't want him to be adopted by a normal pair of parents into a normal, nuclear, family setting, is a terrible wrong to the child. As for your statement that families often have "subtle" ways of dealing with illegitimate children other than adoption, I suppose the same could be said of adoptees in America. They _might_ be raised by their grandparents, for example, or by an aunt or uncle, if they are not placed for adoption. The decision as to whether that's best for the child needs to be made at the case-by-case level. But to cut off potential adoptees from parents desiring to adopt because it _might_ undermine such arrangements which _might_ in some cases be best for the child seems to me reckless in the extreme. I'm very glad I wasn't raised by grandparents rather than by adoptive parents. I imagine many foreign adoptees have reason to say the same. Again, you seem to think that having a mother and father just isn't that big of a deal. I couldn't disagree more strongly.

Mei-Ling, you say you are a Christian. To my mind, this has nothing to do with "being a good little adoptee." The subject about which I made the "put that in your pipe and smoke it" comment was the subject of Christianity. If you think you should be a Buddhist or should "explore" becoming a Buddhist or something of that sort because you are biologically descended from Buddhist ancestors, then you don't understand Christianity, and you don't understand the nature of religious truth. This, by the way, would be true even if you were _not_ adopted, even if you were, say, born to American parents of Chinese ancestry and started saying that Christianity wasn't your "true cultural heritage" or something of that sort. Christianity is not a "white" religion or merely Western. The original Christians were 1st-century Jews and were told by Jesus to take their religion to the ends of the earth. Christ died for all men, including you, and calls all men to follow him. If you don't understand that Christianity should be believed because it is true, and not for some other reason, then someone has failed in teaching you Christianity. This could have happened even if you were not an adoptee. In fact, lots of young people nowadays are being messed up about the nature of truth, especially truth in religious matters. So, no, I"m not telling you to "be a good little adoptee and shut up." I'm telling you that being an adoptee gives you no more excuse for being a religious relativist than anyone else has--namely, no excuse at all.

Matteo, I appreciate all your comments and especially your point about the trafficking of orphan girls (by which I take it you mean sexual trafficking) when they are older in non-Western countries. It had not occurred to me and is something very relevant to consider.

"In fact, lots of young people nowadays are being messed up about the nature of truth, especially truth in religious matters."

The truth can be different things depending on who views it and how they do so.

(Eg. Jesus died on the cross to redeem mankind.
Some people might not even believe Jesus exists, much less that He died on the cross for the sacrifice of mankind's sin.)

"I'm telling you that being an adoptee gives you no more excuse for being a religious relativist than anyone else has--namely, no excuse at all."

My point was that I declared myself Christian because that is what I have been raised on, yet I don't diminish the importance of biological roots just because I think Christianity may arguably be the most powerful religion and therefore makes the adoptee's origins null and void because of the adoption.

Oh wait. Adoption is based on the Bible, isn't it? Or so everyone says...

The thing is, the Bible uses such language that the context of adoption at that time is not comparable to the form of adoption that has developed over the centuries. It's not the same. I'm not going to say whether or not I agree with adoption based on the Bible or whether or not Christianity is a factor of adoption, because that's just going on a tangent. It's like "the truth" you speak of - everyone interprets it differently.

I have been commenting because of the dismissive notion extended towards unknown biological family members and the saviour mentality. It is easy to think something is unimportant or "less than" if one does not know of its existence.

True, a little Chinese girl would likely have a better life in America rather than in rural China in a factory. But it's the attitude which bothers me. If one feels so superior to where this girl has come from, in turn, this person will feel superior to the child that they have adopted. And I think that's a dangerous mindset in many aspects.

Of course, most hard-core religious fans will probably skim over this comment and say I am being too sentimental.

I can't wait to hear what the mainland adoptees themselves will have to say about their origins. That they were saved? Possibly. But with a much different perception and respect towards their beginnings than most of the commenters here have said so far.

This [NYT] article is precisely in line with the glorification of non-Western race and culture on the left. It's related to trying to get little American black children to celebrate Kwanzaa because it's "their culture." I'm surprised you don't realize that.

No, this has nothing to do with what the liberal parents or the liberal media want. It is precisely about how the adopted children feel, which is surprise at their difference, and guilt at their apparent disloyalty towards their white parents.

Of course, the band-aid strategy is for these liberal families, which the liberal NYT approves of, to include more diversity education and upbringing. That isn’t even clear if it will alleviate the negative feelings of identity in the long run. I doubt it.

The truth can be different things depending on who views it and how they do so.

No. That's my point. I'm not here dealing with "adoptee feelings" but with fashionable relativism about truth, which I'm sorry you've imbibed.

Oh wait. Adoption is based on the Bible, isn't it? Or so everyone says...

The connections I made were to general commands--to teach the gospel, to care for the needy, etc. Scripture does use adoption as a positive metaphor, but I did not refer to those passages.

If one feels so superior to where this girl has come from, in turn, this person will feel superior to the child that they have adopted.

On the contrary. Because one loves the girl, one will be overjoyed to have protected her from the ills that might otherwise have befallen her.

Lydia,

I guess I could pose my [sincere] question another way: should we have more transnational adoption in America? If so, how much more?

I like Matteo's powerful point 6 in his post above contrasting the magnitude of the abortion and transnational adoption issues. Although I don't think there's anyone posting here who qualifies as a racial purist.

What's a racial purist?

If it means one that thinks that continuity of ancestral identity is one of the most basic continuities, then there is at least one posting here.

Bruce,

I take racial purist to mean someone who thinks ancestral identity is the only continuity or that any other continuities are so distant runner-ups as to be meaningless.

Andrew E., I think we should have more in the sense of continuing to have it, unless for some unknown and unexpected reason people should just stop wanting to do it. No one, obviously, should be forced to adopt internationally. As far as _increasing the rate_ of international adoption, I'm very much of an individualist, so I have no position on that one way or another. I think most of these things have to be decided at the level of the individual pair of parents and the individual child. I don't see this as something to be _encouraged_ or _discouraged_ on the grand scale. My main post made that clear. For example, I completely rejected certain people as fit parents for adoption. I'm not going to say, "Hey, everybody, whoever you are, come and adopt children"--whether in-country or internationally.

You know, I think that's part of the problem here: A number of commentators here and elsewhere are trying to _extrapolate_ this. "What if everybody did this?" To me, that's about as silly as a situation where a Catholic praises the state of being a nun and the work of some order of nuns and somebody says, "What if every woman became a nun?" Of course the Catholic isn't saying that everybody should become a nun or a priest. But he sees a place for nuns and priests in the service of God and man. So, here. I see no reason why I should be thought of as saying that everybody should adopt internationally, or adopt at all. Speaking for myself, despite the great benefits I have received as an adoptee, I do not consider myself called to adopt, period, here or abroad, and I feel no guilt for that. I'm called to serve God and man in other ways.

Why does everything have to be maximally extrapolated or thought of as some sort of grand national policy?

Bruce -

Mary was unwed mother! 'nough said!

I have no idea what the statistics are but I see more and more of it and there's sure a lot more now than pre-60's. I don't see more and more nuns running around.

Why was there less of it pre-60's, even less in the 19th century, etc? Were we a less Christian people?

I have no idea, Bruce, but who cares? You have to convince me that it's bad before I'm going to start worrying about there being more couples who do such adoptions now than there were before the 60's.

The nuns point was an analogy. I don't think you got it.

Mei-Ling wrote, perhaps in response to my earlier post:

If one feels so superior to where this girl has come from, in turn, this person will feel superior to the child that they have adopted.

Not at all. I personally don't feel "superior" to conditions in China. Conditions in China are objectively less prosperous than here particularly for children living in orphanages. It's a fact. As to how this fact affects my feelings toward my daughters I don't know how to respond other than to say that they are our constant preoccupation 24/7. How to raise them up to be capable, wise, compassionate, accomplished women is the great project of our lives. Of course it's not all just sacrifice for their sakes. They are our greatest blessing as well. Our latest accomplishment (shameless brag) is our youngest has just mastered riding a bike without training wheels.

As for how they will deal with the issue of their lost biological families, who is to say that the resources they have as Americans will not make it easier to search for them later. For instance, two Chinese adoptees we know, in their early
teens recently traveled with their adoptive mom to their orphanage areas to distribute cards that they prepared with their information (in Mandarin) + current and baby photos in the hopes that somehow the biological mom will get one and contact them.

Someday I would like to do something similar with our girls. But even if they were in China their prospects of reunion would be fairly slim. Blame the Chinese government.

I got your analogy I just didn't think it was a good one.

Any general trend that makes us even more of a ethnic/racial polyglot seems bad to me. I don't think this is the worst thing in the world but I don't think it's good.

The basic objection from the perspective of a racial conservative is that such things blur the boundaries between our race and the other races and this just encourages even more of the same.

Race is, and always will be, an issue.

Well, I guess that's a basic feeling of yours that doesn't carry a lot of weight with some others around here. Especially because you don't back it up with a rationale. Martin Luther King Jr. didn't accept it. Nor did St. Paul.

As far as I can tell, we either accept (as Bruce has) that race is a foundational principle of culture and society, or we eventually get beyond race being a controlling aspect of culture and society. For the former option, I see no prospect, either practical or theoretical, that such a stance could ever lead to a greater, overarching community of peoples that live in peace and harmony with each other, because of the constant frictions between the differing races precisely as racial differences. Race wars ad infinitum.

But the reality is that there are some people who have contact with many races daily who DON'T see their acquaintances primarily in terms of race, and for these people race is NOT a foundational principle of culture and society. They are themselves, and they raise children to be, open to people, ideas, and customs regardless of which race they sprang out of. The fact that a (mostly) black child in a mixed family can enjoy an Italian meal while listening to Irish music in Paris shows that these cultural facets are not inextricably tied to race.

What is the definition of racist?

I have lots of agreements with you, Tony, but for the record, I'm no fan of MLK Jr. and don't consider him much of an authority on anything. :-)

The thing is, I often wd. agree with a lot of the VFR types that it is naive to think we can make a sharp separation between race and culture. In many contexts, that _is_ naive. I'm thinking of contexts of immigration and of inner-city sub-cultures within the U.S., for example. It's just sensible to take induction into account in plenty of our interactions with other people, especially when there isn't time to gather data beyond inductive data about groups, where safety is a consideration, and so forth.

What is happening here is that I'm being "outed" as someone who, despite many practical and policy agreements (on immigration restriction, for example), is not committed to the enormous importance of race _per se_. Often, it's pretty much impossible to talk about race _per se_ as opposed to race as a stand-in for what is really an ethno-cultural complex. But when we are talking about situations--of which adoption in infancy of a child from a foreign country is pretty much a textbook example--where it is _pretty easily_ possible to separate race from culture, melatonin levels in themselves just aren't something of great importance to me. This evidently comes as a shock to a number of people who hadn't known it before and who expect me not to be disgusted by references to non-white infants as "destroying" and "burdening" the American communities into which they are adopted, simply in virtue of their biological race.

It would be interesting to see someone make a wholly different argument from what has mostly been said here. Someone might say, "Well, okay, but most of the people actually doing international adoptions aren't Christians and aren't conservatives [assuming this is true], and therefore the children they bring here _will_ be taught a lot of multicultural nonsense _without_ any counterinfluence from their parents, and they will be particularly prone to become raving liberals and as a result to try in adulthood to tear down our society further."

That would be an interesting argument, but if someone said that, he would also have to condemn much of what has been said here, supposedly on the right, as "multicultural nonsense" (as I do, for that matter) and agree with me that the culture of the child's country of origin is _not_ "his culture" and that it is _regrettable_ that he should be taught to regard it as "his culture" even after he's here. But most of these folks on the right apparently agree with their multicultural brethren on the left that race and origin determine culture.

My inclination would be to reply to the above argument that liberal or apolitical parents who commit their children to the tender mercies of our educational system without teaching them to question concepts like multiculturalism are likely to end up with raving liberals for children regardless of whether those children are international adoptees, so it probably doesn't make much difference.

For the former option, I see no prospect, either practical or theoretical, that such a stance could ever lead to a greater, overarching community of peoples that live in peace and harmony with each other, because of the constant frictions between the differing races precisely as racial differences. Race wars ad infinitum.

I suppose I ought also in fairness to add that I'm a pessimist and think there probably will never be such an overarching community short of the Eschaton. Man is fallen, there are bad guys out there, and they aren't going to start being good any time soon. And when they die, there will be new bad guys. I'm not even sure how much of this has to do with race and how much just has to do with human nature in a broader sense. I had even thought before of putting up a post about how hopes for harmony among the peoples of the world should be viewed as eschatological.

This evidently comes as a shock to a number of people who hadn't known it before and who expect me not to be disgusted by references to non-white infants as "destroying" and "burdening" the American communities into which they are adopted, simply in virtue of their biological race.

OK, I understand. I was caught up in the moment, and speaking in the abstract. I agree a certain delicacy was missing on my part.

But, I still hold my opinion that different race children introduced into American communities invariably change the cultural and racial component of that community. Even one is enough, as shown by the antagonism directed at these Asian children in the NYT article by other school children who felt threatened. Their quiet and harmonious community was disrupted. They had to react negatively.

This actually holds true for any community in the world. Societies are particular to the strand of hair who belongs and who doesn't. Why should Americans be expected to react differently?


where it is _pretty easily_ possible to separate race from culture, melatonin levels in themselves just aren't something of great importance to me.

You are now talking in the abstract, and with your own preferences in mind. The reality is very different. That was what the NYT article was all about. These Asians adopted into American families since infancy felt these differences. To them melatonin level, or eye shape, is of paramount importance.

What you desire and what is the reality are two different things. And reality trumps this one.

Also read the blog of the commentator Mei-Ling. She was adopted from Taiwan into a Canadian family, and she's basically saying the same thing as those in the NYT article.

Thank you Tony and Lydia for your responses. After I posted I realized that comparing adoptees to adult immigrants is awkward at best. Emphasizing the differences between these groups, or the inaptness of the comparison, too greatly also presents problems because a raft of assumptions must be made about the quality of life and ultimate fate of immigrants in toto. Any soul who arrives in America is granted numerous advantages, whether they are newly born or fully formed.

Tony @ 5:04 reminded me that there is a certain _symbolic_ meaning inherent in transcultural adoptions and this is exacerbated by the shenanigans of Madonna et al. That is, there is a message, both implicit and explicit, that upbraids any remaining non-liberals for even _thinking_ about racial differences at all. It can seem especially distressing in the context of adoption to critique along racial lines since the outcome is, one hopes, a blessing for the children in question.

This issue may be a fleeting concern in the scheme of real world affairs but it is philosophically cogent, as the responses and comments here suggest. The racial and cultural aspects have been addressed in this thread already...

...but then it struck me-- this is like the proposition nation in reverse.

Lydia, I agree that in the current status of things, race matters enormously. And that there is very little practical prospect of that fact ceasing to be valid any time in the near future. And even if race ceases to be quite so volatile a matter in a few hundred years, surely something else will creep up out of the evil hearts of men. I don't disagree with your general pessimism.

What I don't accept is Bruce's apparent belief that this is not just a status quo, but the natural order of how races do and ought to relate.

There is a big difference between saying that in adopting a child with a different color, you are going to get a lot of odd stares, some of them downright nasty; and (on the other hand) saying that these nasty reactions from people are natural, normal, and perfectly reasonable. Rather, when I find a person responding nastily to the mere fact of a biracial adoption, I am led to think that this person is probably racist, and that their specific reaction to the child and his/her family is disordered - sinful.

Sin abounds in the world, and race tensions are a very common area for it. But we don't need to cater to it in all walks of life. I mean, for crying out loud, this was the exact argument for the "separate but equal" concept of pushing blacks out of any capacity for normal life in America for so many decades after the Civil War. We proved beyond a shadow of doubt that this theory was capable of being challenged and being overturned (by the way, this does not mean I condone a federal involvement in same). And over the last 40 years we have proven that we can undo at least a portion of the race hatred that used to be universal. So, saying that racial tension is here and will continue to be here is decidedly different from saying racial tension is normal and ought to be permanent.

The reality is very different. That was what the NYT article was all about. These Asians adopted into American families since infancy felt these differences. To them melatonin level, or eye shape, is of paramount importance.

Kidist, do you condone the people for whom this is of paramount importance or do you think that there is something about their actions that is shameful?

Kidist, do you condone the people for whom this is of paramount importance or do you think that there is something about their actions that is shameful?

No to both, because that is how/who they are.

Yes, and psychotic murderers torture girls, and megalomaniacal dictators slaughter millions, because that's who they are. There's nothing shameful about slaughtering millions, I guess.

I still hold my opinion that different race children introduced into American communities invariably change the cultural and racial component of that community. Even one is enough, as shown by the antagonism directed at these Asian children in the NYT article by other school children who felt threatened. Their quiet and harmonious community was disrupted. They had to react negatively.

I'll just begin by saying that I think this is a completely inaccurate picture of school life in Western countries. First, there isn't some "quiet and harmonious community" before an Asian child shows up in most schools. In even my limited and rather sheltered experience, school is a lot more like a Hobbesian state of nature, and whites bully one another and have non-harmonious relations with each other a-plenty. The idyllic picture here is just not true to life. In that vein, the mere appearance of a child of Asian appearance is hardly disruptive in and of itself if the child behaves well, etc. I'm not saying that it would be wrong on the part of the other kids to _notice_ that the child has an Asian appearance, but to view that automatically as a _threat_ is simply not reasonable. For what it's worth, when I was in school, the Asian-American children were some of the best behaved of the lot, and what I cared about was how other people treated me. The nastiest boy in the class, the one who picked on me mercilessly, was white, and the nicest girl, who was always willing to treat me kindly, was Japanese. So let's get a grip here. Any kid who automatically views an Asian child as a threat just because the child is Asian has either been taught some extremely rigid and false generalizations or else hasn't observed actual behavior for very long.

Moreover, no one _has_ to be nasty. I echo Tony here strongly. It's a basic truth that children should be taught to treat each other well. It's not liberalism to tell kids not to tease each other, whether about race or about (as in my case) small stature, or whatever. But kids are _naturally_ unkind, and all the more so in groups. In fact, I think group education brings out the beast in children to a rather shocking extent. They may well think that if they pick on the new kid who looks Asian, this will distract attention so that they won't be picked on themselves. It's a familiar dynamic.

As far as I can tell, the commentator Mei-Ling has not been able to take in the force of my point that we should not blame on adoption the problems that are caused by conditions _prior_ to adoption, problems that are not _caused_ by adoption but in fact partially _ameliorated_ by adoption. It appears to me that she is throwing all of it into one big soup. I think Matteo has done a good job as well of answering this regarding his own daughters.

We need to consider this: Do we really want to say that it is better for a child never to have parents at all, to grow up in a completely non-familial situation--in an orphanage, say--so that the child grows up surrounded by other children and adults who simply are of the same biological race? Is that really a legitimate trade-off and in the child's best interests? I do not think so. And here I have not even listed all the other sufferings the child is likely to undergo if not adopted, many of which I have discussed above. Merely to say that the child later is bothered by growing up largely surrounded by people who look different from himself does not even begin to decide this question in the other direction. Not by a long shot.

And saying that the child has questions or feels disoriented or upset at not knowing his birth mother is irrelevant to the adoption question per se, because it was not the adoption that caused this separation and disconnection. I have pointed this out again and again, as has Matteo.

this is like the proposition nation in reverse.

If I'm understanding you, Hannon, I think you are here leaving out the fact that a child adopted very young also grows up with all manner of folkways, etc., from his adopted parents. It really isn't the same as his growing up and learning an entire cultural set of tastes, feelings, loyalties, and language and then being deemed to become fully American simply by coming to believe a set of propositions. That would be the case of the adult immigrant. But here we're talking about children who love baseball, have an American home, lifelong American memories of well-loved American places and things, speak English from infancy, and whatever else their parents would have been able to give a natural-born child in the way of American inculturation. So, no, this isn't just a matter of bare propositions unclothed by the warp and woof of culture and a knowledge of and connection to place.

Regarding bullies. Yes, kids will be kids. But racial bullying is, I think more devastating. Plus, kids who were bullied for their race seem to harbor those feeling much longer and with much more rancor.

Any kid who automatically views an Asian child as a threat just because the child is Asian has either been taught some extremely rigid and false generalizations or else hasn't observed actual behavior for very long.

No, the life as that kid knows it has altered somewhat. Who is this kid who looks nothing like him or his family, or his community? What is he doing here? I think racial antagonism is a protective reaction. There’s nothing wrong with protecting your place.

As far as I can tell, the commentator Mei-Ling has not been able to take in the force of my point

Just go and read Mei-Ling’s blog. I think part of your problem is that this reaction against transnational adoption is quite new to you. You are more focused on your own adoption, which is very different. Your comparisons thus don’t hold.

Merely

You have just denigrated the real suffering these children, at least in their very public testimonies in the NYT, have shown. For the sake of your “ideology” that all children should have two parents at any cost, even if it means that they travel thousands of miles away from their native lands and family (yes, family – grandparents, cousins, aunts) and countrymen, you say that they are “merely” suffering. So, where is the true compassion that you keep speaking of?

This interaction is not going anywhere for me. My position is that transnational adoptions are difficult for the children being adopted, and for the community which they are being adopted into.

If people wish to alleviate the poverty of those children, I think they should start by seeing how they can help the children in their own countries.

I also think that people should investigate very carefully these adoptions situations. Who profits from them, where these children are really coming from. If there is really no other family member that can take care of them.

Finally, because of such a high demand for children from overseas, people wishing to adopt should realize that they may be changing the dynamics of those communities. That mothers and other family members who could take care of their children are tempted to put them up for adoption as an easier way out.


You're not being "outed" Lydia. We're not going to blacklist you. Some of us simply don't agree with you. Nor are we shocked. Race-liberalism is the default and what we expect. I'm surprised, if not shocked, when someone is a racial conservative.

Hi Tony. Your quotes and my replies (no disrepect, just disagreement intended):

Martin Luther King Jr. didn't accept it. Nor did St. Paul.

As has been well documented, King was for black empowerment. Could you quote St. Paul on anti-racism?

As far as I can tell, we either accept (as Bruce has) that race is a foundational principle of culture and society, or we eventually get beyond race being a controlling aspect of culture and society.

My emphasis. I'm of a conservative mindset, you're of a liberal-progressive mindset (at least wrt this issue). Of course race is a foundational principle of culture and society. Who founded our culture and society?

For the former option, I see no prospect, either practical or theoretical, that such a stance could ever lead to a greater, overarching community of peoples that live in peace and harmony with each other, because of the constant frictions between the differing races precisely as racial differences. Race wars ad infinitum.

This is where the race-liberal mind tends to get stuck. Either we have diversity or William Pierce. The prospects for communities of peoples that live in harmony with each other are better in homogeneous societies. As a conservative, I doubt that the world will live in peace and harmony, at least until Christ comes back and "lays the smack down."

The fact that a (mostly) black child in a mixed family can enjoy...

This is also a direction the race-liberal mind tends towards. This or that child "can." The question isn't whether a Chinese girl "can" or whether an individual African boy "does" but what happens at the aggregate level as a result of a racial-polyglot nation. A polyglot nation won't identify with OUR history, OUR heroes, OUR culture, OUR ancestors.

Sorry to keep quoting heavily and responding but there's quite a few comments and they're somewhat disparate (which is ok).

It would be interesting to see someone make a wholly different argument from what has mostly been said here. Someone might say,....

I have no statistics and can only rely on what I see. I see Evangelical Christians, Mainline Protestant Christians, and secular folks involved in transnational/transracial adoption. Do you think most Evangelical Christians are concious of and innoculate their children against multiculturalism? How many Christians don't have cable-TV in their house (a no-brainer to me and, I'd assume to you)? Not many in my experience. You don't seem to understand that you're a rather exceptional Christian. Most Christians that I know, including those doing these adoptions, are pretty mildly-observant Christians and not much different from everyone else. And don't get me started on the Mainlines and (most) Novus Ordo Catholics.

But most of these folks on the right apparently agree with their multicultural brethren on the left that race and origin determine culture.

Yes, at the aggregate level we do. So I guess we're mirror images of multiculturalist left. Africans, Japanese, Meztizo Latinos and Europeans create different cultures. The difference between us and the multicultural left is we're for, not against, white culture.

BTW, Jim Kalb is very quotable on this stuff:

The seedbed for culture is the complex of prerational connections a people develops through long common history — in other words, ethnicity. While ethnicity and race are not the same, they cannot be altogether separated because both are consequences of a people’s long life in common. Since all actual cultures are tied to ethnicity, and therefore at least somewhat to race, to give culture free play is to permit race to have significance.

Ethnic culture cannot survive without preference for one’s own people and their ways, or without settings in which a particular ethnic people sets the tone.

Tony wrote:

Lydia, I agree that in the current status of things, race matters enormously. And that there is very little practical prospect of that fact ceasing to be valid any time in the near future. And even if race ceases to be quite so volatile a matter in a few hundred years...

So then why am I wrong in wanting a homogeneous society? In the "near future" and in a lot less than a "few hundred years", white demographic dispossesion WILL be complete. That's not my projection.

What I don't accept is Bruce's apparent belief that this is not just a status quo, but the natural order of how races do and ought to relate.

You're projecting others beliefs on to me. I never said volatile relations are the "natural order."

....saying that these nasty reactions from people are natural, normal, and perfectly reasonable.

Who said that?

And over the last 40 years we have proven that we can undo at least a portion of the race hatred that used to be universal.

What makes you think that "race hatred" used to be universal?

Also, while some of us went ahead and went beyond it, an unspoken assumption here seemed to be that the interests of the to-be-adopted children ARE the only or at least the primary interests to be considered. Laura, for example, focused mainly on this even though I suspect she had more in mind.

As you can tell, I don't think limiting the discussion to the children's interests is legitimate or wise. I care about what kind of society my (white) children inherit. What do you say? Is it legitimate to consider the interests of MY society present and future or is this not charitable?

A polyglot nation won't identify with OUR history, OUR heroes, OUR culture, OUR ancestors.


Why do you keep saying "polyglot," Bruce? Don't you know that has to do with "a variety of languages"? And don't you know I've been talking all along about little tiny kids who are taught English from infancy or at least extremely early childhood, usually by parents who speak only English? So this has nothing to do with being "polyglot." See also, on identifying with our heroes, etc., my comments to Hannon, above, on children growing up with their adoptive parents' cultural values, attachments, etc., from birth, just as a biological child would be.

To commentators: I will have less Internet access than usual over the next few days. I will be monitoring and commenting on the thread at times, but less intensively than heretofore.

Agree that's the literal definition of polyglot. It's commonly used to mean different ethnicities and even races and I've probably picked up the (bad)habit somewhere else. I'll try to be more accurate in the future. Were you just looking for something to nitpick at in all that I wrote?

No, I wasn't. You kept saying a whole bunch of things that went with the real meaning of "polyglot," about how these children won't identify with America, etc. That doesn't make sense to me. We're not talking about adult immigrants but about kids raised to speak English and to love baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and their own home with the fenced-in back yard (or whatever) from as early as they can remember.

And most important of all...raised to call an American couple "Mommy" and "Daddy."

That's why I used "ethnic/racial polyglot" initially but I shouldn't have misused that word.


I think it's bad when large numbers of white couples do this because it's harder to see things in terms of "us and them" and seeing things in terms of "us and them" is necessary if we are to have distinct peoples. To anticipate an objection, that doesn't mean in every respect it's "us and them" or that "we" have to hate "them."

Th racial aspect of this discussion, as many of you probably know, has been taken up at "View From The Right (where I was unable to comment?).


However ya'll are missing a huge point:

"As long as there are any children anywhere in the world who would personally benefit from being adopted by an American couple, they should be adopted."

This is an enormous assumption based on myth and lies perpetrated by the multi-billion dollar adoption industry and their lobbyists, seasoned with good old American ethnocentricity - our way (American and Christian) is the best (and only) way!

We do not need to RESCUE every child who might benefit from being here in this country - by OUR STANDARDS! This totally disregards and disrespects people's native culture and heritage. It is contrary to what UNICEF and many other global child advocacy organizations say is best for the world's children.

What is best - and the most Christian, loving, caring thing to do is to help them AND their families. Taking children one at a time does nothing to ameliorate the poverty of their family, their village or their nation. It is colonialism at its worse and gives us a bad name all over the world as exploiters.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read up on the world of adoption that involves kidnappings and child trafficking to met a demand!

READ: The Lies We Love by E.J. Graff (article found by googling)
READ: Articles on child trafficking by David Smolin (google). David and his wife are good Christina people who had four or five kids and wanted to adopt out of the kindness of their hearts. They discovered the two girls they adopted were STOLEN from their mother!

And, as this discussion started - read how those adopted transnationally and tansracially feel about it!

For more, go to AdoptionResourceCenter.org

"As long as there are any children anywhere in the world who would personally benefit from being adopted by an American couple, they should be adopted."

Who here said that?

No one. Larry Auster wrote that. The words "What struck me was the absolute, unlimited character of the moral principle that Lydia was articulating" preceded it.

Thanks, Bruce.

Could someone please point to where Lawrence makes the case that that is indeed a "moral principle that Lydia was articulating"? I have read every comment that she has made under this post (not to mention the post itself) and have difficulty seeing how one could draw that out of what she has said.

Bruce, I am having a little trouble figuring out how to identify what valuable, important, humanly essential good distinguishes "us" from "them" that does not amount to simple racism. Can you clarity.

Excuse me: I meant "clarify?"

Tony, here ya go!

Thank you, Jonathan. Briefly, and on the fly, a repeated emphasis of mine throughout has been the individual nature of the decision, both vis a vis the child and vis a vis the parents. I've also spoken repeatedly of a call or vocation to adopt and to adopt internationally, which I observe most people (including myself) do not consider ourselves to have. I do not blame anyone for not believing that he has this vocation, though I praise the valuable contribution of those who do and see what those parents do as one, particular, generous way (and there are many such ways) of doing what we as Christians should be doing in the world.

Later!

Bruce and Kidist, do you agree with our Suburban Yahoo in his proposed rationale?

Mirah, I took your advice and checked out the Adoption Resource Center of Connecticut, where I found these quotes put as testimony for adoption:

“Adopting a child of another race and culture not only is an additional challenge to the family, but also has its positive point of opening up the world to all the family members.”

“One of the most important aspects of helping our children develop a healthy sense of self-concept is to make sure that we are not threatened by the fact that our children have birthparents, birth families and life histories that include the time before they came home to us.”

“As we raise our kids to be part of a multicultural U.S. family in a multicultural nation, we need to help them understand and value their origins.”

Are these what you wanted us to learn from that org? They sound just about contrary to your thesis.

I read the preface in "Defense of Virginia" (thanks to Suburban Yahoo for link, above).

A peculiar effect is achieved by substituting "North" and "South" with "Modern Liberal" and "Traditionalist".

Some people never give up. Ever.

"Defence of Virginia"

Jonathan and Lydia,

Yes, Lydia didn't claim that every Christian should go out and do this. I think there's a couple of reasons why we might reasonably infer that there's no inherent limit and that the principle she's articulating will inevitably lead to more and more despite her qualification that everyone needn’t do it:
She invokes THE statement from Christ's Sermon on the Mount (and we know that He follows with the contrapositive(?) statement condemning us to Hell if we don't).
She uses moral-indignation language when Laura suggests a consideration that would tend to place and inherent limit on it. Laura’s statement is “distasteful.” I agree with Laura’s statement. Why did God create distinct races? Is it wrong to say that in the normal, created order families generally consist of people of a particular race as do societies?
We live in a diversity-obsessed society and she somehow assumes that Christians are immune to it. She has to know that many (most) Christians (unlike herself) swallow the multi-cultist ideology hook line and sinker. There’s every reason to believe that it’ll increase if it’s encouraged. A not unrelated observation is that modern Evangelism has a “pluck-the-heartstrings” quality to it. I see no inherent limit just as I see no inherent limit to immigration because of the sentimental attachment to the immigrant “proposition nation” idea.
Now I can understand if you say that charity shouldn’t always have limits and qualifications attached to it. But do we really believe that the dramatic increase in this phenomenon in recent years is only because of people being moved by the Holy Spirit to act? And besides, we place limits on charity all the time. I could easily neglect my children’s interests in my charitable response to the Sermon on the Mount but I don’t and don’t have a problem articulating my children’s interests as a limiting consideration.

Bruce, I am having a little trouble figuring out how to identify what valuable, important, humanly essential good distinguishes "us" from "them" that does not amount to simple racism. Can you clarity.

Our history, language, literature, mythos, physical attributes, cognitive attributes, psychological attributes, culture, etc.

You asked previously and she didn't answer, so you define "racism." I'm of the Brimelow school of thought here. "Racism" is when someone is winning an argument against a liberal.

Also, by using morally-indignant (liberal) language such as "distasteful", "I'm gagging", "odd birds", "offensive", "disgusting" she tends to define our positions as "out of bounds" and, thus, out of the discussion. We might as well be advocating child molestation.

Bruce and Kidist, do you agree with our Suburban Yahoo in his proposed rationale?

Do I think that the southern society that had chattel slavery also had "valuable, important, humanly essential good?" Yes.

I'm assuming that this was a liberal attempt to "smoke me out" as a racist.

Our history, language, literature, mythos, physical attributes, cognitive attributes, psychological attributes, culture, etc.

We can hand on "our history, language, literature, mythos...psychological attributes, culture" to an adopted baby of another race. Physical attributes are the least important of the things you mentioned, and the issue of the genetic component of cognitive attributes is not so well known as to justify a prohibition on inter-racial adoption. That's a pretty thin basis for your worry about "us" and "them".

Do I think that the southern society that had chattel slavery also had "valuable, important, humanly essential good?" Yes.

I don't care whether you consider yourself racist or not. But if you think, like Suburban Yahoo, that chattel slavery was one of those goods the South was maintaining, then I don't wish to continue to debate with you, as I see no point in it, no hope for any benefit I (or anyone else) might gain from it.

We can hand on "our history, language, literature, mythos...psychological attributes, culture" to an adopted baby of another race.
My emphasis.

You say “yes we can.” I say “no we can’t.”

Again the issue isn't whether we “can” or whether this or that individual “can.” It's the effects at the aggregate level. A people of a different ancestry won’t, in the aggregate, relate to our history, language, literature, mythos, heroes, etc. If Englishmen are replaced with Chinese, it won’t be England. You focus on what could happen (possibilities). I focus on what is happening. That’s what makes me a conservative.

Physical attributes are the least important of the things you mentioned

We're not some sort of gnostic, disembodied spirits.

the genetic component of cognitive attributes is not so well known as to justify a prohibition on inter-racial adoption.

I never said that there should be a prohibition. I said it isn't a good trend. Group differences in cognitive ability is a different subject and could easily get us off on a tangent.

But if you think, like Suburban Yahoo, that chattel slavery was one of those goods the South was maintaining

I didn't read the book linked. I don't think chattel slavery was "good" or "evil." Slavery isn't a divinely ordained institution. Some slaveowners raped and beat their slaves. Others evangelized their slaves and provided them with a much better existence than what they had in Africa (not unlike the benefits of transnational adoption that Lydia describes above). No one here wants to ressurect chattel slavery so this is a red herring. We could spend all day arguing over Paul's various statements on slavery.

The discussion of whether it is right or wise to adopt transnationally is, while academically interesting, not that important to the here and now. As someone pointed out above, there are plenty of kids in America to adopt. You may not be able to pick and choose your ethnicity the way you can with an international adoption, but it seems obvious to me that it is better to adopt the orphan next door rather than the orphan on the other side of the world.

Why did God create distinct races?

Did He?

Biblically, every human on earth is descended from the same parents. There wasn't Caucasian Adam, Negroid Adam, and Mongoloid Adam. There was simply enough variability in their genes to give rise to children with different phenotypes. These were apparently grouped together to some extent after Babel, but He didn't erect forcefields around the different continents and, despite Indians being separated from the rest of humanity for tens of millennia, they can still produce fertile offspring with people of every other race.

I would say that isolation of different races is a consequence of sin and NOT part of the original created order.

I don't think chattel slavery was "good" or "evil."

The institution of chattel slavery was evil if we accept as normative the infamous statement from the Dred Scott case that blacks were so inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect. This is contrary to the scriptural view of slaves (or any human beings) according to Scripture. The good actions of individuals don't redeem the evils of the system.

Yes, Lydia didn't claim that every Christian should go out and do this. I think there's a couple of reasons why we might reasonably infer that there's no inherent limit and that the principle she's articulating will inevitably lead to more and more despite her qualification that everyone needn’t do it:

First, there not being an "inherent limit" to the number of good Christian families (husband and wife, with or without children) in America who adopt transnationally is quite different from the principle that "As long as there are any children anywhere in the world who would personally benefit from being adopted by an American couple, they should be adopted."

(There is a limit, of course. It's determined by the number of good Christian families in America who seek to adopt transnationally, the number of children up for transnational adoption, and other matters to be considered on a case-by-case basis. I'm not sure what you mean by "inherent" here.)

Second, Lydia's defense of transnational adoptions by good Christian families, whether or not it "lead[s] to more and more" such adoptions, is also quite different from the principle that "As long as there are any children anywhere in the world who would personally benefit from being adopted by an American couple, they should be adopted."

I am confused by the idea that Lydia is somehow advocating this: "As long as there are any children anywhere in the world who would personally benefit from being adopted by an American couple, they should be adopted." Can anyone explain how that is a "moral principle that Lydia was articulating"? I'm reading over her comments again, and this strikes me as an unfair characterization of her arguments.

I don't believe every person on earth is descended from two people who lived 6000 years ago in the middle east. There were other people at that time.

"Chattel slavery" isn't defined by a statement from the Dred Scott case.

they can still produce fertile offspring with people of every other race.

I didn't say race = speciation.

There is a limit, of course. It's determined by the number of good Christian families in America who seek to adopt transnationally, the number of children up for transnational adoption, and other matters to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

There's probably enough needly children in the world for every American family to adopt one. All Christian families should respond to the gospel and there's a lot of Christian families in our country and, of course, we want there to me more. So maybe the numbers not 300 million but it's an awful lot.

I am confused by the idea that Lydia is somehow advocating this

He wrote that a couple of days ago and hasn't been involved in this discussion. I'd have written it differently and, for all I know, he'd correct it if pressed.

Again, she ties her principle to the Sermon on the Mount passage where we're condemned to Hell and there's no limiting principle explicitly articulated. So is it unreasonable to assume that her moral principle has no practical limits?

CJ, the comments from Bruce and Suburban Yahoo appear to stem from an ideology that holds white men as superior to other races simply by reason of their race alone. I think that discussing such a theory is rather far afield from Lydia's adoption issue.

Jonathan, Mirah and Kidest seem to be proposing a form of the argument: what's not significantly socially damaging if ONE person does it, can indeed be socially damaging if more and more people, without limit, ALSO do it. It is a particular class of the "slippery slope" form of argument.

It can be valid in some cases. But to use the argument here at all, you have work to do that hasn't been done. For instance, you have to show that the apparent detriment when one person does it is not offset by other social gains. You have to prove that it is a NET social detriment, even though small in measure when only one person does it. Nobody has proposed an argument that would tend to establish this. It would be very difficult to prove this, as this quote suggests (from my comment above)

“Adopting a child of another race and culture not only is an additional challenge to the family, but also has its positive point of opening up the world to all the family members.”

Secondly, you have to prove that the effect is cumulative as you pile on more and more cases. Some evils are not cumulative, other are. I can pretty much see that if there is a NET social detriment from a foreign mixed-race adoption, that this harm probably would be cumulative, so I am willing to let this one go for now.

Third, you have to ask whether the net overall social harm can be (and ought to be) handled by social countermeasures. Such as, for example, American societies for foreign adoptees that helps address the cultural disjoints. It is far from clear that such countermeasures cannot work to deal with whatever detriment accumulates with many such adoptions.

In assessing the potential cumulative social detriment, you have to ask just how many such adoptions are realistically likely, not how much harm might come about "if everyone did it." At the social accumulation level, you don't look at what everyone theoretically has a right to do, any more than you do when trying to figure out how much your city water system needs to prepare to deliver.

CJ, the comments from Bruce and Suburban Yahoo appear to stem from an ideology that holds white men as superior to other races simply by reason of their race alone.

Either your reading comprehension is extremely poor you're just reading from the left-liberal script. Since you seem bright, I'd assume it's the latter.

The script is "any white man who isn't a racial liberal is a white supremacist."

I'll try not to jack Lydia's thread (I hear she doesn't like that kind of thing). My only point was to challenge the idea that separate races and homogenous societies are a necessary part of the created order. With that in mind, I'll just say that I believe that racial separatism is contrary to the gospel and shouldn't serve as any sort of argument against transnational or transracial adoption.

Again, she ties her principle to the Sermon on the Mount passage where we're condemned to Hell and there's no limiting principle explicitly articulated. So is it unreasonable to assume that her moral principle has no practical limits?

Bruce, that's silly. I said _myself_ that I'm not prepared to adopt internationally, and I don't expect (given the grace of God) to be condemned to hell.

In my opinion, an attitude that allows one to speak of a little child as a "burden" and as "destructive" (which even Kidist seemed prepared to admit was going a bit overboard) and who wants to urge parents who feel called to adopt such a child to stifle such feelings because they might contribute to an overall movement that will lessen an "us vs. them" dynamic is probably a spiritual danger to the one who thinks and says such things. I leave that between y'all and God. No doubt I have some spiritually dangerous attitudes of my own, and I hope that God will bring them to my notice.

The whole "inherent limit" thing seems very odd. Someone said above that people could neglect their families while giving too much time and money to others in charity. Let's take that example: Does anyone sit around and say, "We need to reexamine this whole movement of having soup kitchens, the existence of the Salvation Army, and other charity organizations, because it is _possible_ that everybody could start ignoring their own families and giving away all their money to these organizations, and then the economy would come to a halt"? Of course not. We applaud the good work done by charity organizations and leave the decision of how and how much to give to individuals, trusting them to weigh the pros and cons in the concrete instance. We don't jump on anybody who praises the work of some missionary order by demanding that he state an "inherent limit" to how many people should join such an order.

Why treat international adoption any differently from the way we treat any other act of love and help given to those in need? I think Jonathan and Tony get this.

In response to CJ I should add that the typical VFR'r (and its editor) doesn't seek a racially pure society. They seek to preserve a white-majority society.

A very reasonable response Lydia particularly wrt your invocation of the Gospel passages in the original post.

...and who wants to urge parents who feel called to adopt such a child to stifle such feelings

This touches on another of my objections. Are such feelings in a society where diversity and multiculturalism are accepted by the vast majority of people, even Christians, the work of the Holy Spirit? Given the trend of emotional "pluck-the-heartstrings" evangelism within the context of a multi-cultural-accepting society as the dominant form of Christianity, should I trust that charity inspired by the Holy Ghost is the only thing at work here? Is it wrong to point out that in many cases sentimental liberalism influences peoples actions? I've seen this with missionary couples. They're eager to go to the most exotic place on earth (often to the detriment of their children) to preach to the most alien people when they could preach the Gospel in their own town to 26-year olds who (like me at 26) hadn't heard the Gospel. Some of them are quite demonstrative about it. I've seen it. "Look where I'm going and what I'm giving up and leaving behind. Look at who I'm preaching to."

Someone said above that people could neglect their families while giving too much time and money to others in charity. Let's take that example: Does anyone sit around and say, "We need to reexamine this whole movement of having soup kitchens, the existence of the Salvation Army, and other charity organizations, because it is _possible_ that everybody could start ignoring their own families and giving away all their money to these organizations, and then the economy would come to a halt"?

Me. I said that to illustrate that our charity is bounded by practical considerations and self interest and interests of those we're more tied to.
No one's really neglecting their children for soup kitchen charity. Not an observable trend. The dispossession of America's historic majority is immenent. I didn't jump on anyone. I don't go and verbally attack couples who do it. I said I don't think it's a good trend.

The dispossession of America's historic majority is immenent.

Did you mean the Native American majority that the Dutch and French dispossessed in the early 1600's? Or was it the Dutch and French majority, that the English "dispossessed" in the later 1600's? Or was it the English / Dutch / German majority that the Irish made grave inroads on in the 1800's. Or perhaps the Northern European majority that the Italians damaged so gravely in the 1900's. Or the trouble with the Chinese being imported in the west in the 1800's. In every one of these cases, there were people who decried the invasion of "them". Pardon me if I have a little trouble identifying the "us" that is being overrun by some "them".

Yeah, I'd probably have been a no-nothing if I lived in the 19th century but we're at where we're at.

The historic common denominator for America's majority as it is is "European" though I prefer Anglo-European to give our English language and hertiage a nod.

Gotta go.

Tony, do you know you sound like a run-of-the-mill liberal? I can get that from anywhere, anytime, but I've had more of that swill than I can stomach.

Thanks Tony for your explanation of the slippery slope argument earlier. My mind is settled on that now, and I agree with you.

Pardon me if I have a little trouble identifying the "us" that is being overrun by some "them".

This is my sentiment as well. The concern over potential changes in present-day America's racial composition seems rather arbitrary. One could just as well think highly, than as think badly, of more transnational adoption by Americans of Asian children because the Americas had long been peopled (so the theory goes) by descendants of nomads who crossed the Bering Strait.

My default position is to be extremely--Reactionary!--skeptical of any moral "progress" or "innovations" since the Enlightenment, it all smells sulphurous to me.

They seek to preserve a white-majority society.

The day of racially pre-dominant regions for society (white here, dark there, yellow yonder) is a historical one, and that day is going away fast (whether we like it or not). Even if it were not bypassed by the advance of large nation-states, it would have been unalterably eroded by our quick and easy travel regardless of the political climate. Do you enjoy eating Chinese food, or Italian food? Then you are enjoying the fruits of cultures mixing . Every time you go outside of the narrowly defined white Anglo-Saxon (and I presume Protestant) home-culture for food, clothing, words and expressions, songs & music styles, plays and movies, books (including books written in another language and then translated) you are admitting that some admixture of those cultures within your own is perfectly fine. WHY?

In addition to that, you are condemning the racial minority in a country to an absolute and permanent second-class citizenship. For, if the dominant race is to be kept dominant precisely because this preserves its culture, then the minority race is not a full participant and partner of that culture, and must needs be segregated into a culture that is beholden to the majority culture.

I'd probably have been a no-nothing

Very apt indeed.

In addition to that, you are condemning the racial minority in a country to an absolute and permanent second-class citizenship. For, if the dominant race is to be kept dominant precisely because this preserves its culture, then the minority race is not a full participant and partner of that culture, and must needs be segregated into a culture that is beholden to the majority culture.

Can you show us why that would be a grave evil?

I think there is such a thing as American culture--for example, there is such a thing as at the American notion of equality before the law and the rule of law. One of the problems with mass immigration from some other countries is that the people from those other countries do not share these values. For example, Muslim "liaisons" who are members of the police departments and the social work departments in England have proven not to understand and uphold such concepts as freedom of speech. There are concerns that immigrants in official branches in the UK have given away wives and daughters who are trying to flee abusive husbands and fathers. Some immigrants come from countries where the police routinely accept bribes--and don't start on "American police accept bribes, too." I mean _routinely_, as in, "You mean it's wrong to accept bribes? You've gotta be kidding."

Obviously, there a problems with importing immigrants with those values to our shores.

When it comes to culture and immigration, I'm very cautious.

I don't see, however, that this has anything to do with international adoption. No infant has "bribery is normal" or "husbands have the right to beat their wives" programed into his genes!

So while I accept the need for keeping a _cultural_ majority who accept certain values, and while I realize that _in practice_ and _as a matter of contingent fact_ such a cultural majority will track a white majority in the U.S., this is not really relevant to international adoption at all, as such children, regardless of race, will be acculterated by the parents who adopt them.

My default position is to be extremely--Reactionary!--skeptical of any moral "progress" or "innovations" since the Enlightenment, it all smells sulphurous to me.

I find this position untenable because it is itself a post-Enlightenment innovation. No one thought to be anti-Enlightenment until the Enlightenment. But this seems rather off-topic.

Tony, do you know you sound like a run-of-the-mill liberal? I can get that from anywhere, anytime, but I've had more of that swill than I can stomach.

Sub, you are the first person in many, many years to consider me a liberal. Not a single one of my friends in normal life does.

Can you show us why that would be a grave evil?

I could, but I prefer to adopt Dr. Feser's approach to such subject. As explained here.
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2009/01/walters-on-tls.html

"Why treat international adoption any differently from the way we treat any other act of love"

Because the act of love did not start solely with the adoptive parents IN the process of adoption. This family structure based on adoption did not spring out of thin air. Something resulted in it.

And that 'something' is exactly what the adult Korean adoptees tried to point out in the New York Times article 3 years ago about the pros and cons of the international adoption system.

What I'm reading here is:

"It doesn't matter what the child's original ethnic background is. We all come from the same place and the child WILL have a better life in America as opposed to mainland China, and if the adoptive parents feel they have enough love and resources to extend their family by adopting a child, then I don't see the problem. Child has been abandoned by the government, adoptive parents want a child to love. End of story."

But that's *such* a black and white of what international adoption is about.

You might think "Well we all descend from the same race anyway!", but that won't work in today's society of race and prejudice. It just won't.

Sub, you are the first person in many, many years to consider me a liberal. Not a single one of my friends in normal life does.

But Tony, are you a hearty Reactionary? Being conservative just ain't what it used to be:

It may be inferred again that the present movement for women's rights will certainly prevail from the history of its only opponent. Northern conservatism. This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today .one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt bath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It .is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom. It always when about to enter a protest very blandly informs the wild beast whose path it essays to stop, that its "bark is worse than its bite," and that it only means to save its manners by enacting its decent role of resistance: The only practical purpose which it now subserves in American politics is to give enough exercise to Radicalism to keep it "in wind," and to prevent its becoming pursy and lazy ,from having nothing to whip. no doubt, after a few years, when women's suffrage shall have become an accomplished fact, conservatism will tacitly admit it into its creed, and thenceforward plume itself upon its wise firmness in opposing with similar weapons the extreme of baby suffrage; and when that too shall have been won, it will be heard declaring that the integrity of the American Constitution requires at least the refusal of suffrage to asses. There it will assume, with great dignity, it, final position.

R.L. Dabney

Tony says,

I could, but I prefer to adopt Dr. Feser's approach to such subject. As explained here.
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2009/01/walters-on-tls.html

Do you mean when Feser says this?

I also deny that a Christian should always take a softer touch. There is a time and place for that, of course, but there is also a time when a good Christian ought to take the bark off of an opponent, and indeed when it would be immoral not to do so.

Considering the block I quoted in the earlier post was the norm here in America for 350 years, are you willing to take the bark off of America?

"In addition to that, you are condemning the racial minority in a country to an absolute and permanent second-class citizenship. For, if the dominant race is to be kept dominant precisely because this preserves its culture, then the minority race is not a full participant and partner of that culture, and must needs be segregated into a culture that is beholden to the majority culture."

Tony, this statement seems to result from a strange thought process indeed. What exactly would bestow first class citizenship on minorities? How have minorities, taken as a whole or as respective groups, placed in our society since its inception? The Anglo-European foundational peoples have until recently been clearly culturally dominant, as well as heterogeneous as you note. Yet for most of that time minorities have also made important contributions-- not as dominant elements but as citizens. Excluding groups or periods of segregation, how were they not "full participants and partners" of the culture? What do you believe minorities today deserve that they are not getting?

If we keep issues of race and ethnicity and so on *out of the legal and regulatory systems* and relegate them to the organic process of societal development then, and only then, can we have a fair judiciary that treats citizens as individuals. Of course this means that "dominance" is in play as a dog fight as well as a dance, instead of a social engineering project for progressive liberal elites.

How can you expect that any minority will not be "beholden" to the majority host culture to a certain degree? Do you seek to tear down or prevent the primacy of *any* group defining the dominant majority culture? This defies reason as well as the natural condition most nations find themselves in today.

Sorry, but it sounds like you want equality of result and abolition of discrimination, both of which are purely theoretical.

Lydia @ 12:49

Thank you for this, the most helpful of your comments on the subject at hand for me.

My apologies for not resisting the impulse to stray off-topic.

Did you mean the Native American majority that the Dutch and French dispossessed in the early 1600's?

Yes, the Indians were dispossessed. The lesson from their experience: don't get dispossessed!!

The day of racially pre-dominant regions for society (white here, dark there, yellow yonder) is a historical one, and that day is going away fast (whether we like it or not). Even if it were not bypassed by the advance of large nation-states, it would have been unalterably eroded by our quick and easy travel regardless of the political climate.

Only in the West. Some nations have always been diverse e.g. India. The non-Western homogeneous nations (e.g. China, Korea, Japan) aren't doing this. Neither are the Eastern European countries.

.......you are admitting that some admixture of those cultures within your own is perfectly fine. WHY?

You keep constructing these strawmen. No one said we should exist in cultural or racial isolation. No one's talking about cultural and racial "purity" here.

Lydia,

You wrote:

So while I accept the need for keeping a _cultural_ majority who accept certain values, and while I realize that _in practice_ and _as a matter of contingent fact_ such a cultural majority will track a white majority in the U.S., this is not really relevant to international adoption at all, as such children, regardless of race, will be acculterated by the parents who adopt them.

I think to state that it's a contingent fact is false and I think to assert that there's a Bach-gene, an English-language gene, a individualism and rule-of-law gene, etc is also false. I don't think we should be forced to choose one view or the other.

I believe the more diverse our society becomes the more we'll be driven to a neutral, rootless, pop culture cosmopolitanism that we hate. Transnational adoption is one (small but growing) piece of this and not unrelated to immigration. The anti-racist ideology used by those who want liberal immigration policies will have more success among people whose families have members from exotic places.

I think it was inaccurate to assert that you argued that everyone or every Christian should do it. But I don't think it was wrong to infer that your principle has no practical limits.

Going back to the post, Laura was attempting to articulate a principle (that there should be distinct peoples) that would place limits on it (without specifying in prescribed way a numerical limit or precluding transnational adoption). You referred to her attempt to articulate a limiting principle as "distasteful." So is it wrong to say that other than people's personal feelings (in the context of a society that pushes multi-culturalism at us relentlessly and a Christianity that's touchy-feely) that there's no practical limit?

Hello, Lydia.

I am dumbfounded that your position on transnational/transracial adoption, based upon Christian charity and commonsense, could raise such a ruckus. It should be obvious that an infant possesses no language, culture, or religion, and so loses nothing if his adoptive parents differ from his biological parents in that regard. The only thing he keeps is his racial identity, but then race is not destiny. In the scheme of things it is one of the least consequential differences among human beings.

Of course, there are those who obsess over racial differences and make monstrosities out of them. But that obsession is predicated upon a falsehood that a person's race has a deterministic bearing upon his culture. Yes, racial differences are reality to be addressed, but even more so are the fundamental facts of human nature that unite us. The truth is that the same Word is written upon every human heart, and teaching that fact to a transnational/transracial adoptee is how he will know he belongs to the family and the culture he was raised in.

The fact is I am thoroughly sick of the race-mongering that persists in our society, whether it is Marxism repackaged as multiculturism or racialism dressed up as paleoconservative cultural preservation. It is disheartening that such poisonous thinking should ever work against an orphaned child being adopted by a loving family, but as you noted at the outset, we live in a fallen world. Keep up the good work for the least among us.

In just exactly the same sense that I do not state some sort of in-principle limit to, for example

--the number of people who become missionaries

--the number of people involved in international-level musical, sports, chess, ballet, horse riding, and other cultural events and competitions

--the number of people who become employees of charities

--the number of people who volunteer at homeless shelters

etc., etc., etc.

I could tell a not-implausible story according to which being involved in any one of these phenomena and many more could and probably will render some people involved in them more susceptible to ideas I consider incorrect (though those are probably not all the same ideas, Bruce, that you would consider incorrect), ideas which have a tendency to increase naivete about one-worldism, immigration, Islam, liberalism, etc.

But it would be ridiculous to start listing all such phenomena, which are *good in themselves* and which *serve a valuable purpose* and to start fretting about the possibility that "too many" people will do them and change society by so doing in ways we disagree with. There are tons of contingencies involved in each person's individual case, and I think it really becomes a problematic form of ideology when we can't recognize good things as good things without relating every good thing individual people choose to do with their own time and resources to some sort of possible negative large-scale effect on political attitudes.

I've been accused of being a worrier and of borrowing trouble, but this is going too far in borrowing trouble even for me.

Thanks, Bill, very much. To clarify, my immediately previous comment was a response to Bruce, but I was evidently writing it while Bill Tingley was posting.

Not just a matter of you failing to articulate a limit.

Someone tried to inject a reasonable, relevant consideration into the issue (without claiming the phenomena was categoricaly wrong) but it was declared out of bounds.

Here's a hypothetical for anyone here who now "seek[s] to preserve a white-majority society": Let's say that you're alive and well when the U.S. census reveals that the majority of the country is Hispanic. Would you then seek to preserve an Hispanic-majority society? Why or why not?

No, because I'm white non-hispanic.

Thanks for the response, Bruce. It's helpful to me, because I'm still not quite sure where you're coming from.

Would it be accurate to say that your concern about the "dispossession of America's historic majority" isn't really about an historic (racial) majority per se, but rather about your identification with the race ("Anglo-European") of such a majority? When you write, "I think it's bad when large numbers of white couples do this"--that is, adopt transnationally--do you mean this subjectively? Is it "bad" to you, because you are white, whereas it may not be "bad" to people who are not white?

Well I'm a mecegenator, and I wouldn't suppose that blood traitors like me have much valuable to add to a discussion like this one. But it seems to me that inter-racial adoption, at least in the cases that I'm personally familiar with, glorifies God.

Ms. McGrew,

I do not know whether you are a transnational adoptee or not, but I am. I will try to ignore your judgement of adoptees' response to transnational adoption, and address instead the notion that Christians are saving adoptees from an unsavory life by offering up something far, far better.

I find your arguments both dated and simplistic. They reflect the kind of dogma which turns people away from religion to seek a more understanding kind of faith, one that more resembles a path more like Jesus would have walked.

Adoption in my country began as a Christian humanitarian effort. It was a good and noble thing. A decade after the war ended, however, the presence of adoption agencies in the face of post-war economic crisis lead to an epidemic of abandonment by overly large and hungry families hoping their children would have better lives - and often believing they would see their children again, as they didn't realize the permanent nature of adoption. Because the adoption agencies stayed, the government did not feel a need to help families in crisis and to this day there are almost no social services to adequately help its own people, despite being the 5th in ranking economically in the OECD. The majority of adoptions today are due to unwed pregnancies and, again, because unwed mothers get very little support and are socially stigmatized, the presence of adoption agencies becomes the default way in which the mothers are "helped."

Is this still the Christian thing to do? Jesus fed the multitudes. He didn't take a couple of them and take them with him to a better land. He cared for ALL of the people who were suffering. He shared. He cared for all of his people, and not just the infants that could fill the arms of those in another nation.

When Joseph and Mary stopped at the Inn, did the Innkeeper say to Mary - I'm sorry, that baby is illegitimate. You can't stay here. In fact, give me your baby and I will make him legitimate by giving him to someone in better circumstance than you. No. The innkeeper helped them out. The unwed mother is still one of God's children, too.

The Christian thing to do is to help people help themselves. The Christian thing to do is not to exploit those in dire circumstances, but to give them a hand and show them a better way. Adoption is the easy and self-serving way for those who are privileged. But adoption leaves a huge hole in the hearts of those who no longer have their children. It is the adoptive parent's joy, and the original parent's tragedy.

Is this really what Jesus wants? Really? Why don't those of you with so much instead donate to social programs which preserve families or prevent pregnancies in these other countries? Why don't you instead offer small loans to families in crisis, or sponsor individual children so they may lead a life without basic needs? Is it really necessary to remove the child from all they've known since birth? Is it right to introduce more trauma into their lives?

I am living in my birth country now, and I have met those who were abandoned in this country but were not sent abroad. Yes, their lives were not easy. Yes. They are shorter due to poor nutrition. But they are now successful, have friends and family, have a deep understanding of their culture and can speak their native tongue. They've never felt racism. They fit in.

We adult adoptees who have returned are now doing what the Christians forty years didn't do - and that is work on helping put in place social services to assist those in need. Apart from war, transnational adoption is radical surgery that could be avoided with just a little bit of true Christian missionary work. But that would take effort, and it's easier to just remove the babies and enjoy that fringe benefit.

O, crusaders:

I am thankful for this web site for showing me that I made the right decision to leave the United States. I am not sure you could be more hypocritical when you say on the one hand America is somehow all-welcoming, yet manage to endlessly peg people based on identity markers that come to the fore in an Anglo-Saxon society for purely racist reasons. The racist who points out someone else's identity politics is a hypocrite. Furthermore, you seem to ignore willfully the entire economic argument which would reveal that the political, cultural, economic, and religious wars that the United States has waged against the world throughout its existence somehow do not have an effect in producing the so-called orphans that you lament, but which would also connect your very lifestyle to this imbalance in the world, and thus would also provide the basis for a solution to the problem, were you to move beyond your elitism and solipsism.

The use of selected examples to prove a point does not mean anything--you cannot use the exceptional case to prove a logical point. Let's call this the invalid "crack mother" argument that argues against health care, and which ignores the fact that preventive health care might have spared such a mother from drug dependency in the first place. The individual cases of "successful" adoptions thus do not make the case for adoption, especially when you negate completely the stories and narratives of those who express the loss of their family, culture, ethnicity, language, and heritage.

Thus adoption is a violence, based in inequality; it is candy-coated to make it seem about family and children, but it is an economic and political crime, a treating of symptoms and not of disease; it is a negation of families and an annihilation of communities that are not seen as having an intrinsic human value equal to that of those adopting, for reasons having to do with race, with class, and with a preconceived notion of what makes for a "valid" life in this world.

For those who are vocal concerning adoption and what it truly represents, it is problematic to frame the debate as if it is equal, two sides of equal position. It is not. You have a dominant discourse of a certain class of society (as revealed here), its adoption industry, its media, its legal system, its medical system, and its ability to stifle debate on the subject on one side. You have those who resist this on the other.

To posit this as a CNN-like debate, 50-50 and equal time is inherently invalid. The amount of time due to those who have remained silent for too long--mothers whose babies have been taken from them, the adopted who had no say in the matter, the communities missing their most vulnerable members--is therefore infinite. If the debate were one-sided for the next thousand years this might only start to equalize what has been one-sided for far too long.

May I just ask, what kind of twisted concept is this "fully Americanized?" This is a fantasy; a myth. I'm not sure how old you are, but I can remember very clearly growing up and every state had its own culture; Northern New Jersey for example was very different from Southern New Jersey, as were rurally raised children from those raised in an urban environment. This posited concept then of what makes an "American", which immigrants have to assume, along with your reference to a "Tenth Crusade", are borderline Nazism, except that you pretend to welcome those from the outside when all the while you desire to destroy any and all cultures seen as "Other", as "Outsider". Which America, history shows, is exceedingly skilled at.

Well, you can keep it. And your so-called Shangri-la American Style. And you are no William F. Buckley. And you are on the losing side of history. The truth will out, and you will not like it. But at long last you will no longer have the upper hand.

As I have an extensive conversation with Laura Wood already posted (on her blog) about this subject, I will be brief- especially since I am so late joining this conversation.

I was struck by Bruce's comments regarding the Bible's creation account of mankind beginning with Adam and Eve. If, when engaging an issue of race with Bible believing Christians, there is disagreement on such a central point as whether we are all esentially one race descended from Adam, the debate breaks down on a very fundamental level and becomes meaningless.

Would it be accurate to say that your concern about the "dispossession of America's historic majority......

Yes, that's accurate. I'm not a liberal universalist.

The anti-racist ideology used by those who want liberal immigration policies will have more success among people whose families have members from exotic places.

Exactly. How can a "diversity family" take any cultural stand on immigration and displacement if they're raising a non-white child?

An adopted Chinese boy or girl can have the most loving, dedicated, and colorblind parents in the world, and it simply won't matter all that much. His difference, his Otherness, will be staring back at him in the mirror every day of his life. The "all you need is love" attitude will not keep him afloat when he goes out into the world. A very few will grow up as Lydia hopes, but these will not be in the majority. Many will wander the wilderness for years in search of their identities; where will they find it if not in one of the minority grievance lobbies currently Balkanizing the West?

Some traditionalists believe that modern Christianity is incompatible with Western survival. Given the content (and tone) of some of the comments here, I wonder if there isn't a kernel of truth to that idea.

I am thankful for this web site for showing me that I made the right decision to leave the United States.

Net gain for the U.S.

I thank you. We need all the help we can get.

Many will wander the wilderness for years in search of their identities; where will they find it if not in one of the minority grievance lobbies currently Balkanizing the West?

Perhaps, just possibly, as a child of God, sojourning on a pilgrimage through this life to an everlasting country. That would be a pretty good "identity" to achieve. I would that all children, both adopted and not, could realize such an identity as their primary identification, and all the other things (race, language, history, etc) would take a back seat to this identity.

Thus adoption is a violence, based in inequality; it is candy-coated to make it seem about family and children, but it is an economic and political crime

Even if we were to accept your thesis, WHOSE crime would it be? The birth mother who left the child in an orphanage? The orphanage, who was ready to send the child away to another country? The orphanage's country authorities, who make the laws and direct the carrying out of those laws to permit sending the child away? The child himself, who goes to a new country? Or the adoptive parents, who have the incredible, soul-numbing arrogance to petition the above parties as a request to receive a child who may otherwise be dead by age 5 from neglect?

Hmm, I think that I will place the blame for this crime on the latter class.

How can a "diversity family" take any cultural stand on immigration and displacement if they're raising a non-white child?

Hmmm. Identity politics over all, huh? This, I guess, is some kind of political determinism: "Adopt a Chinese baby and the multiculturalists will take over your brain by remote control, even if you had concerns about mass immigration before."

I note, too, in the above comment from the adoptee, that it is *taken for granted* that single motherhood is in no way an indicator for adoption. This is particularly interesting, because Laura Wood, whose post started all this, clearly believes that in America, single motherhood is a _huge_ indicator for adoption, in fact, that a single mother and her family (e.g., her parents) are pretty much just doing wrong if they decide not to place the baby for adoption. But when it's a matter of international adoption, the anti-adoption coalition formed includes those who make an unargued assumption that there is no particular reason why a single mother should place her child for adoption to give him a home with a mother and father. I already pointed this out concerning the news article that Laura cited in her original post, though it was a point she did not apparently notice.

Perhaps, just possibly, as a child of God, sojourning on a pilgrimage through this life to an everlasting country. That would be a pretty good "identity" to achieve. I would that all children, both adopted and not, could realize such an identity as their primary identification, and all the other things (race, language, history, etc) would take a back seat to this identity.
Yes, and the lion shall lie down with the lamb, etc., etc. They don't, and they won't, at least not on account of anything we do. Acting "as if" we can make our own heaven on earth just seems to lead to more suffering.

"The birth mother who left the child in an orphanage?"

You are operating on the blanket statement assumption that a forced choice is a "choice" at all.

Gee, Cyrus, and I used to think you were a pretty sensible and down-to-earth guy. Sorry to see you weighing in on the anti-adoption side on this one. I wouldn't have thought you would have had a strong opinion on that side of the subject. Were the race politics just too hard to resist? I'll bear it in mind.

I've been thinking it over and have decided that this thread has played itself out pretty well, and it's time to shut it down. This decision isn't directed at anyone in particular. As a matter of fact, what I'm thinking of is the blog as a whole and the fact that this particular thread has been getting a huge share of the airtime here at W4 recently. I'd like to see attention and energy directed to other threads by other contributors. I'd also like to have a chance to direct my own energy to new ones of my own. Certainly everyone has had a good chance to say his say.