Friday, August 7, 2015

Agenda 21: Crossing a Line

Agenda 21, pp. 67-69

Chapter Nine is very short - under a thousand words by my estimates. It's also entirely pointless, existing mainly to remind us that the protagonist is pregnant - just in case you are suffering from anterograde amnesia and forgot what you just read.

It's also personally offensive to me. This is the one and only reason I'm not skipping right over it.

Being that I'm not a part of any historically marginalized group, it's rare that I read or hear something that makes me angry like that. It happens, though, as it did in this otherwise forgettable stub of a chapter. The authors decided to remind us that Emmeline is not going to raise her own child, something we already know both because this is a flashback and we've been told several times over the past few chapters that this is how society works.

Anyway, in the midst of a typically nebulous description of childbirth, Emmeline's mother says this:

"Because," she finally said, "because all you will have is the pain. You will never see your baby. You will never have the joy."

So I was adopted four days after I was born. My biological mother never saw me - she had the pain and not the joy, as our authors so eloquently put it.

I'm not going to waste words on the nobility of adoption or motherly sacrifice or any other cliche. You've heard it all, I'm sure, and by now you must think that it's either a beautiful yet tragic notion or a crock of sentimental shit. Nothing I'll say will change your mind and I'm not going to try.

What I will say is that, as my eyes crossed this line, it hit me. This sentiment may be intended to describe theft of children, but it applies with equal accuracy to voluntary adoption. There is no distinction between the two.

I'm aware that this is how most people in this country view adoption. I'm aware of this because I've been dealing with my life. I've long since lost count of the people who respond to the story of my birth with "I'm sorry," as though I were some latter-day Oliver Twist abandoned by my parents to a cruel and careless system. I came up through a popular culture which routinely depicts adoption as a heinous trauma waiting to be unearthed by the poor victimized waif at a sensitive moment in his life.

It's a crock of shit, one that pisses me off every time I see it. And here it is again, right in the middle of a terrible book that was already offensive in terms of its writing, politics, and the fact that it was published.

I realize that this update wasn't terribly funny or instructive, and I'm sorry about that. Rest assured we will shortly get back on the crazy train with Glenn Beck. I just needed this moment for me.

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