Winter Lily

Rich Dude Kryptonite
Jul 17, 2009
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Threadjack from here.

Oh boy. For starters, it's expensive. Really, really expensive. Second, depending on your background and values, the two just aren't comparable. Some people really want to experience pregnancy. For others, it's about blood. If nothing else, the whole DNA-as-secular-soul trope is so pervasive that most of us buy it simply because we don't even know it's there.

Third -- and here's the part that we should really focus on -- what about the birth mothers and birth families? Affluent Westerners seem to forget that adoption fundamentally relies on exploitation. These days, some of that exploitation is interracial, but it's increasingly international.

Pretend you're Georgian or Ukrainian for a second. Both are nations that have particularly nasty problems with human trafficking. If I remember correctly, adults and children are trafficked for much, much less than the amount of money that exchanges hands in the average, "completely legal" international adoption ($500-1,500 v. $10,000-20,000). ("Completely legal" in Ukraine and Georgia is a ridiculous concept. But that's a different threadjack.)

If you're exchanging more money for 18 years of significant rights to a baby in nations that have endemic problems with trafficking women and children, is it any wonder a lot of people in those nations think of adoption as legalized slavery? And are they really wrong? (And this is ignoring the fact that a frightening number of the children are obtained through actual trafficking, intentional misinformation about the purposes of the orphanage, etc.)

"fundamentally relies on exploitation" is awfully cynical. How about "has a really horrible element of exploitation." There's a dark side to everything. One dark side of adoption is exploited mothers. One dark side of fertility medicine is exploited children (hello J&K+8, octomom, etc). The only fundamental around reproductive issues, in my view, is that there are no absolutes. One woman's expensive and emotionally harrowing adoption nightmare might be another woman's life highpoint.
I agree: "fundamentally relies on exploitation" does not mean the same thing as "has a really horrible element of exploitation." There's a reason why I used the former phrase instead of the latter. However, I wouldn't characterize it as "cynical" so much as "accurate": the trends fit the former interpretation, not the latter.

But what really disturbs me about this paragraph is that exploitation is, by definition, using one person's nightmare to create another person's boon.

So much for living in a postcolonial era. The Americans have simply replaced the Russians.
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