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  • Nicole J. Burton

I Am an Adoption Abolitionist

I told friends at a Hanukkah party on Sunday that I recently transitioned from adoption reformer to adoption abolitionist--they were shocked! "What will happen to all the babies?" The conversation didn't last long after that (my original post on Facebook). A discussion followed and a request for me to elaborate. I believe that closed adoption should be abolished except when it's court ordered for the safety of the child. I totally oppose international adoption, as do many other countries that no longer allow it because in practice, it's too close to human slavery. I'm not naive enough to believe that all forms of adoption can or should be abolished but adoption should be the end-of-the-line last-ditch option because of the HARM it does to adopted people and their original families. We (adopted people) live in a parallel universe in which our adoption is preceded by personal CATASTROPHE, meaning, the loss of all the people who are and will ever be important to us, plus our community, culture, religion, and even language and country. Our prior lives are annihilated and suppressed FOREVER, unless we are able to claw our way back and uncover our heritage and relatives at great personal risk. In 40 out of 50 American states, we're forbidden to do this and the official records are sealed. Meanwhile, in the other universe of adoptive parents, the adoption industry, and society at large, including the media, adoption is proclaimed as WONDERFUL or a MIRACLE. You see the dichotomy here: what is a personal catastrophe that we spend the rest of our lives dealing with and making the best of is proclaimed the best thing since sliced bread (and what's wrong with you?). It all depends on perspective, and the Wonderful/Miracle perspective dominates most discussions. No more. Finally, adoption is complicated. It is a euphemism for "abandonment followed by adoption." We learn to love our adoptive families - abolition of adoption isn't about them, it's about us.

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