A few months back, I heard some celebrity on the radio talking about how she adopted a child from a third world country, and how the adoption consultant asked her “cold” questions, that were “shocking, when laid out like that”. These questions were, as far as my memory recalls, about if she would take a mentally ill child, or a disabled child, or an abused child.
I can’t even remember her answer, but I remember my reaction to it, which indicates that it was either reluctantly accepting or negatory. And I remember that it disgusted me, in my emotionless manner. So, for the last few months, even as the details of it slip from my extremely hazy and erratic memory, I’ve been trying to figure out why.
Slowly. Even more slowly than my usual round-about, detail-fixated, distant thought processes work. Because it’s of course her right to choose what child she adopts, and I shouldn’t judge and all those other thoughtless or irrelevant concepts that people help themselves not think with.
Those don’t really figure into my written (or indeed typed) thoughts, and I think I’m to the point where they’ll oh-so-slowly drift to the conclusions I’m looking for. So, let’s, as all people refer to my method of working things out for some reason, dissect this.
Firstly, we have the “cold”.
I don’t really see anything cold about it. It’s a neutral question, a laying out of something you, anonymous celebrity who disgusted me, have not asked yourself. Perhaps it is you who is cold? Perhaps it is merely your unexamined, unthought of certainty that your abled, unabused self deserves a child who isn’t one of those sad little undesirable broken people?
But no, that’s not really cold. That’s the kind of warm that I find in all contempt and ignorance and ableism. I think your knee-jerk reaction is to blame the nasty cold people who brought that aspect of you into the open, for one moment that didn’t so much shake your worldview as allow a little of its wrongness to briefly peek out of a corner, or perhaps out of the face of your self-image.
Next, we have “shocking”. Surely you can’t find it shocking that disabled, abused children aren’t wanted. Surely you cannot be shocked at your own answers, or you’d change them, examine them, do something nobody seems to do without one of us shocking them into it and *think*?
Are you perhaps shocked that the adoption agency had the temerity to suggest that you take a child from a third world country that you couldn’t save? Because that’s the real reason for your answer, isn’t it?
And so we move on to your answer. I recall now that it was a no. Of course it was. How could it be anything else, when we (or at least you and your equally ignorant husband) talk of adopting a child like the one I used to be? You adopted from a third-world country because you wanted to save someone, after all.
Oh, I have no doubt that you wanted a child too. But then your no, that no that is probably an eternally repeated death-knell for the hopes of children like the hypothetical child you refused, really states that you want to save someone more.
You want to take back some perfectly (to your mind) formed baby, and see if you can grow them into your ideal child, and say, I saved this. To hold this innocent, abled ideal of perfection up to everyone and say that you put in the work, you suffered through those cold, shocking questions about the people you’d prefer just disappeared, and you made this.
Because the likes of me aren’t worth saving. We are, to quote my father’s joke when I sounded him out, damaged goods. But then, everyone seems to hold that view. So we are left with the question of why you, in particular, disgust me. I think I know.
It is because any goods can be damaged.
Because I wonder what you, you savior, you mother, you persyn who could not love damaged goods, will do if your precious child comes out of hospital in a wheelchair. Or they come back from babysitting with decidedly more hands-on knowledge of sex than they had before.
Will you still love them, like you couldn’t have before? Like you did before it happened?
The answer to that is the real reason you disgust me.