Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Not Holding My Tongue: On Blogging and the Politics of Adoption

It has been a while since I have been regularly blogging for the public about the global politics of adoption or about my personal experiences of being an adopted woman. A while since I have been writing more than 140 character or paragraph long facebook musings centered on adoption. I wrote “A Birth Project” for 5 years and turned my attention to my academic work, and then turned again, to my creative work. For the past few years, I found myself wanting distance from the work and writing around of adoptee justice and adoption policy reform. I was tired. I felt a huge weight on my shoulders, in my heart, throughout my body. Has that feeling gone anywhere? I’m not sure.

In that time, the benefits of social media for adoptee justice communities has been tremendous. We are more visible than ever, not only with the production of our creative and scholarly work, but with the concrete development of our methodologies for activist work. This visibility is so powerful and beautiful to see. Yet, with this visibility comes saturation and for me, a feeling at times of being overwhelmed, saddened and at times, emotionally and spiritually triggered by the daily barrage of horror stories concerning the politics of global adoption. I can shut myself off social media for a while, but I can never stay away long. I can’t not know, and I certainly I can’t ‘unknow’ what I know to be true when I hear these stories, when I watch a film, study research or read investigative journalism, when I hear adoptee truths.

This past September we celebrated the birthday of writer, activist, Chicana feminist theorist Gloria E. AnzaldĂșa. I want to share a quote from her:

“Why am I compelled to write? Because the writing saves me from this complacency I fear. Because I have no choice. Because I must keep the spirit of my revolt and myself alive. Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and hunger. I write to record what others erase when I speak, to rewrite the stories others have miswritten about me, about you. To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispell the myths that I am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy and that what I have to say is not a pile of shit. To show that I can and that I will write, never mind the outraged gasp of the censor and the audience. Finally I write because I’m scared of writing but I’m more scared of not writing.” (from Speaking in Tongues: A Letter to Third World Women Writers, 319)

Today, I find myself returning back to how I began this exploration into the adoption world. My own world exploded once I began to share my stories, and then again, once I lent my critical scholarly eye to its deep horrifying history in our culture and in cultures across the globe. The adoption world has given me some of the deepest challenges of my life, as well as the deepest friendships of my life.

Like AnzaldĂșa and like so many of us who are adoptees and women of color, I continue in both my scholarship and my creative work to push to create the world that I do not live in. To imagine a world where adoption as it stands does not exist, where love is not about selfish desire and ownership, where the collective takes care of the individual, where families and communities learn how to support one another instead of taking one another’s resources, where there is global desire to see families healthy and supported. I write to face my fears about being orphaned over and over again in my family, in my relationships. I write to make myself into the woman I know is worthy of love, is strong and is an expert, even as the adoption machine continues to discount my voice as an adopted, transferable body, voiceless, and not worth anything but my adoption fee. I write to hear your story when something I say makes you remember, or makes you forgive. 

I am so looking forward to contributing my voice to the conversations here with other Lost Daughters and with you, our readers. I titled my column, “Privilege, Power and Politics” so as we explore things together, we can keep in mind how truly impacted by the colonial narrative we all are, this narrative that will forever try to write me as an orphan, as a woman with no history and as a child with her mouth closed, grateful, and silent. 

Perhaps we can all keep writing together (yay Lost Daughters) and hold strong that part of why we write, to speak back to this narrative. So we can come back again and again, so we can continue to fight, and continue to create the world into the place we know it can be.