Kristen Chenoweth Does Adoptee Community a Disservice By Her Recent Article on National Adoption Day
I have seen Kristen Chenoweth live at the Women of Faith tour in Columbus, Ohio. I admire Kristen’s musical talents and abilities. I respect that she loves her parents and that she believes that her adoption is the biggest blessing of all.
However, I just cannot bear that on National Adoption Day she thinks it is o.k. to refer to herself as “an adopted child," tell future adoptive parents that their child is a gift and that they were chosen to be their child’s parents. I cannot bear that she describes herself as “chosen” in 2015 and tries to tell other adoptees how to feel. She writes:
“And then, lastly as an adopted child I encourage other adoptees to remember what blessed lives we have. We weren't abandoned; we were chosen. We were given a chance. I'm not saying it's not hard or that it's easy for people to understand. But it really isn't for the world to understand; it's for the people who are involved.”
Not every adoptee had a blessed life because they were adopted. Plenty of people have blessed lives without adoption; however, telling people who were actually abandoned that they weren’t and trying to lend out your rose-colored glasses to the rest of us to buy into the chosen myth, is just tacky, and it does all adoptees a disservice.
It’s almost like she is saying, “Look! It worked out perfectly for me, so everybody be grateful!"
I wonder if she honestly believes the myths she is perpetuating or if she is just trying to get more press for herself on National Adoption Day. I will go with my first thought, because I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt. And I have no doubt Kristen Chenoweth is completely and totally in the fog. She assumes that her biological mother did the loving thing by placing her, but I have a strong suspicion she does not know that as fact. I would venture to say that she doesn’t really want to know, because if she found out differently (say, that her mother had no maternal instinct and wanted to escape parenthood or that her mother dropped her off at the local Burger King), her entire worldview might turn upside down.
Many women place out of love, but it is a myth to believe they all do.
This thinking outside of the script might cause Kristen to question her Christian faith or maybe even question God as to why her? She might have to quite possibly admit to herself that there may be something behind all the rainbows and skittles she is peddling. If she contemplated the bigger picture, she might feel pain at her newfound awareness and feel compelled to put her time and energy into righting the wrongs within the industry.
I would have felt more respect and admiration for her if she would have encouraged parents to adopt children from foster care instead of using her celebrity to hammer a few more nails into the #flipthescript movement.
I do, however, appreciate Kristen’s closing comment:
“Whether we decide to become parents or simply volunteer our love and time, it's our job as a community to take care of our kids. On National Adoption Day, I hope you remember just that.”
Yes, it is our job to take care of our kids and one way we can do that is to critically examine the institution of adoption and how it currently treats children as both commodities and as extra special compared to regular-born people. We have an urgent need to increase education and awareness about the complexity that adoption creates in people's lives and using clichés such as “chosen” and “gifts” to discuss a very complex topic like adoption is not only unhelpful, it is damaging.
Another way we can take care of kids as a community is instead of promoting the private adoption industry, we could take all the billions of dollar being generated there and funnel it back into helping foster children.
My hope for Kristen Chenoweth is that next National Adoption Day, she will use her celebrity to encourage transparency and less greed in adoption. I'm not holding my breath.
I have a feeling Kristen will always and forever be seen by me and many of her other adoptee fans as:
“the adopted child who never grew up and thought critically about the institution of adoption."