Sigh, summer is over. School has officially begun in my town and while the heat is hardly abating, there is no denying the end of summer. The only saving grace is that the mosquitoes will follow suit. My boys got lots of bites this year. It was the first year they were very aware of the bites and picked at them and scratched to their woeful content. Not trying to be gross, but I think it is one of the rites of passage as a kid enjoying a great summer, picking at mosquito bites hardly waiting for them to scab over. My legs are still scarred from a few that were so hard to resist.
Where am I going with this? I have a picking issue that has not earned its grown up wings and flown away. I can’t resist picking at the media and their constant promotion of celebrities and their becoming adoptive parents. I accept our obsession with celebrities and their babies. The entire world has been ‘baby-bump’ watching Prince William and Kate Middleton the second they gave their second kiss on the balcony on their wedding day. Celebs and their babies are big business. I get it, I get the fascination. I will admit to snatching a peek at People magazines piled up in my waiting room. I know their existence is one reason a few of my clients come early to sit and take it all in.
I just wish when a celebrity adopted a child, it was done a bit differently…a bit less heroic. Let’s face it, they are creating family just like everyone else. It is a selfish narcissistic desire, itch if you will, to become a parent. But I keep getting that nitpicky sensation whenever I see another White celebrity holding a child of color in their arms. I especially have a hard time with it when I know they are not adopting their child in the same way other adoptive parents are adopting their babies. They aren’t doing group sessions with other prospective adoptive parents. They aren’t trudging all over town laboring over the paperwork. They are the ones getting the expedited, private, totally non-transparent process. That bothers me. What bothers me more is when a couple flagrantly bypasses regulations I know to be deal breakers for the typical adopting parent. Say, for example, the three year marriage rule for Korea. I have worked in the Korean adoption program, I have colleagues and friends who have worked in this program too and this rule of being married three years is hard and fast. I know I am picking at something pointless. And I know People magazine is hardly THE source for accurate information. But if a wedding is flashed all over their pages and the next year, they are adopting a child from Korea. I start picking and nitpicking.
When that same couple now is being honored for an Angel in Adoption from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, I am being super picky! I remember when the CCAI was CCA and the whole Angels in Adoption was created. The lists of honoraries have been eye-roll worthy and I never coveted an Angel myself. I am hardly the type to be invited to something next to people like Bruce Willis and Muhammed Ali. But that’s ok, I am not sure why they are honored either. There is no real write up on the website about why these people are getting honored but only for their raising “awareness of children without homes” or making “contributions in the field of adoption and foster care.” How are they doing this when they are being so mute about their charitable giving? Again, I am picking. Now, I know that famous people are wonderfully effective for shining a light on issues of dire importance. But when the only thing we hear about is that they adopted a child, I hardly find that worthy of such accolades. Donating to the agency that gave them their baby doesn’t count. Not even if that money gives a single mother in Korea a chance to parent her children or a mixed raced child a fighting chance to go to school.
I also think that showering such honor to people who adopt a child is an insult to the those others who are working in the field of adoption, family preservation, research and advocacy. There is nothing on the Angels in Adoption website homepage on those organizations. Not as glamourous, but I believe it far more noteworthy.
So, here’s to the MN Center for Advanced Studies on Child Welfare and others like them getting Angels this year but not mentioned aloud. It is an honor for the likes of Katherine Heigl, Ne-Yo and People to be in YOUR presence. Drink lots, look pretty, mingle with the fancy people and bask in the light that will shine on all your hard work for one evening!