My copy of The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption by Kathryn Joyce arrived yesterday.
It is outstanding (and that has nothing to do with the fact I am mentioned on page 94). I am enjoying Joyce’s framing of the issues as well as her writing style. Too many adoption books or research articles read in a very clinical or thesis/college text type manner. I realize there is a reason for that but I worry the thesis type writing does not capture/engage the audience we need. These issues need to be written about, framed, in a way the average person can understand. Only a few chapters in and I believe Joyce has done a good job in that regard. Beginning the book with the story of “Sharon” the biological mother to seven on a mission to adopt “orphans” captured my attention immediately (confession: I often skip the preface of books I read). Reading about Sharon I found myself angry, dumbfounded, confused and at times, amused. As an anti-theist birth mother fighting for the rights of parents (single, poor, teen or other) to raise their children, I cannot wrap my brain around Sharon’s point of view but it captures my attention and definitely supports Joyce’s book.
If you haven’t already ordered, I encourage you to do so.
A better, more lengthy review to come, once I finish the book. While I am engaged, I will admit that I have to pick it up, read, put it down. It is triggering for me. Even reading the one paragraph about my own experience makes me cry…every time I read it (and my ego has read it several times, captured a photo of it and shared with my mom and sister). So, give me a few days to read, digest and process.
Thank you Kathryn for this book and for taking the time to listen to mothers like me.
Received two emails this week that essentially ask the same question:
Are you still active in adoption reform activities? You seem to have dropped of the scene a bit. Not writing much about it.
Of course. Most definitely. Without question.
My lack of writing about adoption is two pronged. I am currently in yet another round of therapy to deal with it. Rather than spout it here, I am dealing with it more productively with my therapist. We are now trying EMDR as well as CBT.
Additionally, to some degree I feel like I have publicly said all I can say. Not to mention that stalking business and rude emails from someone calling themselves ElizabethJoyLinda have made me a bit blog writing shy.
Finally, and perhaps more importantly, my focus of late has been in supporting teen parents. I view our adoption “problem” in the US as a bit of a three legged stool. One leg is the greedy, uneducated agencies and policy makers. Another leg is lusting infertile PAPS who will believe anything told to them and pay any price to get a child to call their own. The third leg is the vulnerable mothers and children the agencies and PAPS prey on, the source of their baby harvest.
While many of my my peers focus their efforts on policy change, I focus on the other leg of the stool – the mothers. I believe if we “cut off the supply” (or at very least reduce it to children who are truly orphans and need homes) we will have made incredible changes. We still need those other efforts (open records, legally enforceable open adoption agreements, etc) I just don’t focus my energy there. People far more skilled and knowledgeable are doing a great job in that department — on those two legs of the stool. I am focusing on a different leg.
I am meeting amazing young woman and incredible organizations that support them. Teen mothers can be and are successful. They fail because society at large wants them to fail. Mothering is hard at any age. It is always expensive and always life changing. Teens can parent well if they are supported just as older married women are. I firmly believe that.
The young lady featured with me in the photo above is my friend E. I met E 11 years when she came to the United State as an au pair. My then husband and I hosted her for 13 months. During those thirteen months she helped care for my son and provided me with much needed sanity, fun, laughs and love. She wasn’t my first au pair, nor was she last, but she was definitely one of the best. She became a member of our family.
E came back to visit us a few weeks go. We hadn’t seen her in eleven years. She is now 30 years old, owns her own home and is a mother to her own 8 year old son. Having her with me, again, for two weeks caused me to feel nostalgic and reflect on how blessed I was to have her in my life, how much she helped me, the love she gave my son (and still does only now he is 15 not 3!). My son is now a wonderful soon to be 15 year old boy and I am quite confident that I have her (and our other au pairs) to thank, in part, for who he is. The love and care they gave to him when I was not able to (due to working a demanding job) will never be forgotten and in fact, is seen, daily, in his smile and heard in his voice.