Dear Ladies of the View,
I am disheartened to hear of Sherri Shepard’s perspective on the adoption of African children by white women, equating such children with “accessories.” These comments – which are not unique by any stretch – tmz has described Mary Louise Parker’s new daughter as an “accessory” and Urban Outfitters sold t-shirts with “Adoption is the new black” within the last year – and they are much like comments many of us hear everyday from ignorant people.
What is disturbing about such comments is that they are targeted at adopting parents and celebrities claiming to be hopeful or future adoptive parents, but they miss their mark, merely offending us but ultimately hurting our children. Can you imagine an adopted child overhearing the remarks? Overhearing the remarks being repeated by other children or by other children’s mothers? It takes work to make a child who has suffered loss feel loved and secure and to see herself as a full member of a new family. This is the work we have been engaged in for more than a year. Why would anyone work to undo that confidence?
I understand that not everyone will support our decision to adopt (or adopt internationally, or adopt transracially), but I cannot understand others making our children the subject of derision (Please know I have quite a sense of humor: Samantha Bee’s spot on International Adoption on The Daily Show clearly hit her target, was broadcast after our children were in bed, and also, it’s quite amusing).
Our daughter was not adopted hastily or as part of a trend, but rather after an extensive, emotional and at times exhausting process, and after we’d carefully weighed our options for building our family and the consequences for our children. Never have I heard of giving birth being considered part of a trend, but it’s been going on for millennia on this round earth. If the desire to love someone by choice is a trend, it’s a trend I’d like to see continue.
If Ms. Shepard was willing to recant her foolish statement that she was too busy feeding her children to know whether the earth was round or flat, perhaps she’ll admit that she’s also too busy to have been schooled on the subject of other people’s families and thus spoke inappropriately. If not, may Angelina Jolie, Mary Louise Parker, Meg Ryan and Nicole Kidman never visit the View again, lest they be criticized for their choice of accessories.
Mary Louise Parker