I am curious if the guidance counselor would have taken a different approach if Stephanie Bennett had not been white?
Would he have quickly and easily referred her to adoption if she was not Caucasian?
I ask this question because, today, as I sat in my hair salon people were actually discussing this case (and it wasn’t brought up by me). My stylist knows about my daughter. She started the adoption discussion with me. Informed me that she had another client ("two doctors"…of course..they can get the best ponies and pools) who had recently adopted. The natural mom of the child they adopted was sent away to another state to have her child and hid it from her family. My stylist thought of me (not sure if thats a good thing?). Anyways, she and I are discussing this. She asks about my daughter, have we met yet, about her birthday, etc.
At the oddest moment (I think it was when she was razor cutting my bangs) some old bitty next to me pipes up about the Bennett case. Say what? I was completely stunned. Someone, other than me, in the horse farm section of upstate CT knows about Stephanie Bennett?
I was genuinely shocked into silence. Not knowing who this person was, I did not engage in conversation or share my story. I just listened to these two older women carry on about adoption. Somehow they had heard of the case (perhaps someone in their family was torched by adoption…thank you Julie). I don’t know.
I could tell immediately they were pro adoption. Not sure I wanted to reveal my adoptism or Scarlet Letter status to to them, I continued to listen. I am fairly certain coming to blows with old blue haired ladies in pin curls would not be well received.
Emily continues razor cutting and then they said it. One of them at least.
"Good thing that girl was white. No one would have taken a black baby".
OMG. I was about to spit. I am quite sure my head and I did our best Linda Blair head spinning impression as I whirled around to them. I just glared. Again, too caught up in my own thoughts, feelings to spit venom on the old bitties. They stared back at me as if embarrassed. I sensed them probing my pale, freckled irish skin for some spec of african american ancestry.
"Well, its true. No one in America adopts black babies. Its bad enough being a bastard out of wedlock but to be black? I am quite certain that counselor would have just referred the Bennett girl to a welfare office if she was black.."
I couldn’t let it go. I just couldn’t.
"Excuse me, but I am familiar with the Bennett case. I am not really sure it matters what color the baby was. Adoption is a violent act committed against women. Evelyn should be home with her mama and her grandparents. But you know, speaking of grandparents, if any child is going to end up with either you as grandmothers, adoption might indeed be the better choice. It would clearly be in the best interest of the child."
One of the gasped. Emily chuckled behind me. I got up to leave.
But you know, the question lingered in my head.
Would the counselor have done the same thing?