By the pricking of my thumbs
Something wicked this way comes
Macbeth, Act 4, scene I
On June 27, when the ink was barely dry on Dobbs v Jackson, The Christian Post published a vile article entitled Resetting the arc of our nation with the adoption option, by Arlene Bridges Samuels. Her CP bio says Mrs. Samuels is an adoptive parent, weekly columnist for CBN (i.e., Pat Robertson), and a blogger for Times of Israel.
In my 30+ years of Class Bastard work I don’t remember ever reading anything this awful—except on social media when rabid adoptaholics call adopted people “mentally ill,” “unhinged,” “ungrateful,” and even “Satanic,” especially if we aren’t 100 percent happy about being adopted or 100 percent behind the adoption industry that saved us from trailer parks and dumpsters. Evangelical and Catholic “pro-lifers” often advise adoptees to “go kill yourself” if we dare to say a discouraging word and cloud their happy blue skies.
Mrs. Samuels isn’t that drastic, since it hasn’t occurred to her that current adoptees—and the not-yet-born adoptees she wants to create—might have a discouraging word or two about the theft of our identity and origins, sealed records, adoption mills, trafficking, second-class citizenship, or Dobbs. We are projections—the imaginary grateful beneficiaries of her imaginary Adoptopia—what she calls “the wonder of adoption.” Mrs. Samuels is not adoptee-centric.
I hate to give this bummy article hits, but you absolutely must read it up close and personal to get the full Samuels Adoptopia blueprint: commodification, commercialization, consumerization, and dehumanization of adopted people and their biological parents in the name of protecting our “most vulnerable citizens: the unborn.”
Mrs. Samuel’s essay is only a little over two printed pages long so you won’t throw away much of your life reading it, though you might throw up your breakfast.
Here is the first task on the Samuels Adoptopia to-do list:
Saturate our culture, first with a massive national marketing campaign to elevate the sacrificial love and its benefit for heroic women and girls who choose adoption.
Saturate???!!! Why does this sound like an ad for Folidol or a promotion for carpet bombing the neighborhoods of brown people?
Mrs. Samuels carries on in this consumerist vein reminding us that the adopted are not much better than memes churned out of a boiler room in Irkutsk :
Adoption marketing must consistently run like a product or political advertising campaign.
Mrs. Samuels pretends she’s marketing adoption to the millions of US clueless, who apparently have never heard the word “adoption” before, except outside of local Adopt-a-Highway projects. Clearly, though, her target is the currently pregnant and future pregnant who will soon be forced to undergo mandatory birth unless they can cross state lines into free states where, at least in theory, they won’t be harassed, bullied, and maybe sued by some stranger out to collect a lucrative bounty on her uterus. Women who somehow are able to utilize a right that until a few days ago was a Constitutional right throughout the US and now only in lucky parts where women, by law and for the time being, are allowed to control their own bodies and reproductive decisions. I wonder how these bounty hunters feel about reinstating the draft or outlawing Viagra? Will kidnapping suspect women to keep them pregnant be the next order of business in state legislatures and courts?
For women trapped behind enemy lines, Mrs. Samuels assumes that adoption surrender, defined by her as “sacrificial love,” is the solution for “unwanted pregnancies.” She vaguely promises that women who follow her dictate won’t suffer the grief, regret, and shame she assumes “many women” who undergo abortions do. These courageous women instead will be overwhelmed with joy by sacrificially filling the “empty arms of the childless” with their own babies. I will be happy to furnish Mrs. Samuels with a long list of disenfranchised mothers who surrendered under force, coercion, mind-messing propaganda, or even by free will, who were left with “empty arms” and lifelong grief, regret, and shame. Women who wish they’d aborted.
Once all the drudge work of culture saturation and sacrificial love is out of the way, Mrs. Samuels has some collateral tasks to prop up Adoptopia. She suggests that adopter celebrities, especially of the “pro-life” strain, be recruited to market their own fluffy child acquisition stories in the media. Even better, they can make “pro-life films full of drama, conflict, and joy.” Is there such a thing as an anti-adoption film? Even Mommy is a Murderer lifts up adoption.
Mrs. Samuels also thinks it would be a grand gesture for adoption lawyers to work pro bono for couples in the financial dumpster who want to adopt. Whatever happened to the right-wing hector: “If you can’t afford children, then don’t have them?” And gee, for some reason Mrs. Samuels fails to suggest pro bono help for the (clearly irresponsible to her) poor who want to keep their kids and could use a little free help? Biological families unfortunately do not fit in well with Adoptopian culture.
Finally, Mrs. Samuels wants financial donations and in-kind material and service donations to “build Safe Havens in fire stations and hospitals.” Surely she is talking about Safe Haven Baby Boxes, since nobody needs to build a fire station or ER to drop off babies the traditional Safe Haven way—unless she’s talking about a new front counter. Whatever. Churches, she says later, should make allocations in their “domestic missions” budget for Safe Haven Baby Boxes. In other words, churches in post-Roe America are expected to promote baby abandonment and family dismemberment so the empty arms of the childless can be filled by emptying the arms of the childed.
Many adoption professionals and state child welfare agencies at the moment are cranking out PSAs telling pregnant and potential pregnant people to consider not only traditional adoption but fast-track Safe Haven and Safe Haven Baby Box options. Mrs. Samuels and The Christian Post, however, have left those PSAs in the dust with their succinct Adoptopia to-do list. Those of us in the trenches are quite familiar with this Adoptopia years-in-the-making list. I’m just surprised that Mrs. Samuels and the obscure Christian Post broke the story. Maybe Mrs. Samuels is on somebody’s payroll. She’s not a whistle-blower.
Gladney, Bethany, American Adoptions, Adoption Associates, and other mega adoption corporations and their free-riders are cagey, letting Mrs. Samuels take the fall while they pretend simply to offer a post-Roe-saturation-of-the-culture service where miracles happen, statutory families are created, and bank accounts grow.
I am not convinced that there will be a huge uptick in adoption surrenders in post-Roe America, for several reasons that I’m saving for another day. But I do know that Adoptopians are doing everything they can to make their fever dream come true.
I am currently working on a long piece on the impact Dobbs will /could have on adoptee rights, the adoptee rights movement, adoption reform, fostercare, and related issues.
On July 7 I am also taking part in the Adoptees United open meeting and chat on Zoom: Adoption, Abortion Politics, and Adoptee Rights in a Post-Roe World. Please join us. Register here.
Mary Gehman says
Thanks so much, Marley, for taking this issue on!
Marley Greiner says
Thanks for visiting us. There is a lot more to say, and so little time to work on it!
Valerie Andrews says
Great commentary on a very disturbing article …
Marley Greiner says
Thanks, Valerie! This is only going to get worse. The Dobbs decision opens the floodgates for all sorts of intended and unintended consequences. These pushers have proven unequivocally that adopted people are nothing but props.