Several months ago, I weighed in on another adoption “give back” story, so I’m not going to rehash that all again — you can read my feelings about that at my post called There Should be No Give Backs in Adoption.
And I’ve ranted before about how the media covers adoption-related stories — that somehow parents who decide to adopt are more suspect in their desires and motivations than those who choose to (or are able to) have children the “old-fashioned” way.
But today this is on my mind — the media this week is obsessed with the potential abandonment aspect of the story of seven-year-old Russian adoptee Artyom, aka Justin, by his American mother. Trust me — I will make NO excuses for her or any parent who puts a child on a plane and ships them off somewhere as she apparently did.
But I have to ask — where is the media coverage every other day of the year about all the other children — mostly families’ biological children — who are abandoned, neglected or abused? I’d like to think that the story of this little boy — who is now an American citizen, by the way — would be getting this much 24/7 coverage if the same actions had taken place but he had been the biological child of this mother, not a child who came to her family by adoption.
I’m pretty sure if I was a betting girl, my money would be safe on that one.
This story is getting attention because it involves adoption. And the media love to sensationalize stories about adoptive families. I don’t have the energy to get up on this soapbox for too long again, but it’s just a fact — when children are hurt or neglected or abandoned by biological parents, the stories might get a little play, but not for long. But make that family an adoptive family, and that changes the whole calculus of its purported newsworthiness because people still like to stare at families like mine, both in real life and on cable news.