International adoption article in Slate

I was shocked to discover reference to my “excellent” book in What Stolen Children Mean for Adoption by KJ Dell Antonia in the August 5, 2011 edition of Slate. From the third paragraph:

Every single adoption is its own story, with its own tragedies and triumphs, and every adoption has to be handled individually. That’s not a view that’s going to make adoption any cheaper, or faster, or easier. But better to move closer to a system of one adoption at a time, as Ethiopia is doing, than risk either more corruption or an end to international adoption. Because for every story like that of Yang Ling, stolen in China at 9 months old, there are untold happy endings…  There’s Jessica O’Dwyer, whose excellent book, Mamalita, chronicles her experiences within the corrupt Guatemalan system as an adoptive parent. She moved to Guatemala for months to care for the child she planned to adopt and worked her way out from under a corrupt lawyer and facilitator to eventually locate her daughter’s birth mother herself and hear her story before the adoption was finalized.

I’m thrilled by the mention, because Dell Antonia’s article is one of the few I’ve ever read that discusses adoption’s real and challenging complexities. The final paragraph says it all:

Every single adopted child has a different and complicated story of heartbreak and joy and tears and sorrow. Every single one has a birthmother with another story, and an adoptive family with another story. When it comes to adoption, particularly international adoption, many people (like a number of the commenters on this morning’s New York Times piece), want to reduce those stories into generalizations and policies, when we should be trying to do just the opposite, and make sure that all of those stories have a place to be told. When we try instead to create rules that cover everyone, we tend to put in place systems that are even more easily corruptible than individuals. The easy answer to the “question” of ethical international adoption? It’s always got to be hard.

Amen, KJ Dell Antonia.

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8 Responses to “International adoption article in Slate”

  1. Sharon says:

    Congrats on the shout out! This is a bad week for me to be a blogger on vacation, with all the bad adoption news…this mention you got is a little bright spot.

  2. Jessica says:

    Grateful for the shout-out, although, yes what a week. Enjoy your brief hiatus. ~

  3. Lisa says:

    So true Jessica. Sweeping generalizations are not only inaccurate but dangerous.

  4. Jessica says:

    Thanks, Lisa. Doing my small part to counter the prevailing mindset of either/or. The reality is much more subtle.

  5. Maverick says:

    At last some rationltaiy in our little debate.

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