There has already been plenty written about the already publicized comments of John Huntsman and adoption. He has been viscerated by others who say it better than I – Declassified Adoptee and Land of Gazillion Adoptees to name a couple. And yet, here I am to join the fray.
I just wish Mr. Huntsman and his wife would think before they speak. Rather, I wish they would ask themselves if they would be willing to reveal as much about Mrs. Huntsman’s labor and delivery for their other children as they have so freely done with the birth stories of their two adopted daughters. I know celebrity gets the better of many and they begin to believe they are immune to the idea that they are accountable. But two children and hundreds of thousands of other adoptees are watching, listening. And what this adoptee heard was so pitiful and heartbreaking.
Golden rule #1 in the adoptee world, our story is ours to share and tell. Parents can talk all they want about how much they wanted to become parents, how the process was for them and how it feels to parent their child, but sharing the details of circumstances of how their child came to adoption is off limits. Always. To not get that is a betrayal of all things safe, comforting and loving about growing up in a family. A close second would be the culture jokes. Buried deep in the archives of TIME.com and Google is the profile article on Mr. Huntsman back in May 2011 where a joke about dog eating in China was a source of derision in the Huntsman home. I didn’t find it funny at all.
I wonder why I always feel second rate to birth kids. This is one big reason why. I can’t compete with the already cherished place that belongs to either those who came into the family the usual way or the fantasy of the child who should/could have. It’s not just our families that remind us of that, it is the rest of the world. Mr. Hunstman has a bunch of bio kids, but it is the adopted ones who are being photographed, picked up and talked about. Different does not always mean special. The media loves that angle and they have been doing an amazing job of continually making adoption a freakshow. Someday, Mr. Huntsman’s children will grow up and see for themselves. I wonder if they will be surprised to see how their Dad saw them or validated?
I am left questionning myself. Would I support any Presidential candidate who is an adoptive parent? I don’t know. But so far, no.