Catholic League Implies Adoption is Second-Class

Posted on April 19, 2012


I’m adopted, and I’m fuming.  In connection with the Ann Romney-Hilary Rosen mash-up over working mothers, it came to my attention that the Catholic League had tweeted this on 12 April:

I don’t know who tweets on behalf of the Catholic League, but this really got a visceral reaction from me, because it implies that adoption is second-rate.  Let me clue you in on a turn of phrase in the English language, Catholic League:  “had to” means a requirement, an imposition, a lack of choice, an obligation, often a chore or an unpleasant duty.  We “have to” pay our taxes, hold jobs we don’t like, walk the dog even when it’s raining.  To use that phrase to describe how a person became an adoptive parent is to say that adopted kids are not all that desirable, not as good as biological children; or perhaps adoptive parents are something less than biological parents.

Now let me clue you in on something else, Catholic League:  adoption is always a choice.  It is never an accident, it is never forced, and no one “has to” adopt.  Funny how that tweet seems to have the whole thing backward.

My birth mother had to give birth to me, and with limited resources and in an age when illegitimate children were stigmatized, she strongly felt that she had to give me up; the untenable alternative was to impose poverty and stigma on me as well as on herself.  In contrast, my adoptive parents chose to adopt children, to love them and raise them as their own.  Both actions were actions of love, but only one was completely voluntary.

As much as one might hope to restrict all sexual relations to marriage, it’s not going to happen in real life, and never has.  One might think that the pro-life Catholic League would unreservedly celebrate adoption, not denigrate it as something that some parents “have to” do.   They may have been setting their sights on lesbian Rosen, but with one shotgun-blast turn of a phrase, the Catholic League has insulted me, my parents, and all adoptive families everywhere.    Nor are they particularly apologetic:  when the RNC Director of Communications, Sean Spicer, called them out on it in this tweet:

They responded with this bit of snarkiness:

Wow, Catholic League.  This is not the way to convince people of your point of view.  It’s more of a recipe for alienation.  I know this adopted kid is not feeling very charitable toward your point of view right now.

Originally published at the Color of Lila.