Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Jolie Babies

I hate to be a scold, but have a tendency towards it. Take that under advisement as I attempt to lesson you minus the scolding on the nature of international adoption.

I was hanging out with my good friend, my wise, kind and dear friend, last weekend when the topic of Angelina Jolie and her many kids came up. As it does. She told me she thought it was creepy that way Angelina Jolie "collected" kids.

Now, look, if I were to pick a team I would totally be Team Aniston. (I think this is probably because when the dementia sinks in in a year or two, I'll remember my twenties as that time when I was really good looking and hung out at Central Perk with my other pretty, wiseacre friends). That said, I still get my back up at the notion that there is something rarefied or selfish or exotic about the way she's chosen to build her family.

I think this without knowing Angelina Jolie at all, who could be (as Liz Lemon would say) staunchly in support of cocoa puffs. But there's something about this theory that spills over to the more common liberal j'accuse that people who adopt from Russia or China do so because they want pretty white babies or have fetishized pretty Asian babies. International adoption becomes perceived as an act of selfishness or narcissism.

What these theories fail to recognize is that there is a child or children at the other end of them. Regardless of why the Jolie/Pitts adopted their children (and, as a profound parenthetical statement let me tell you all that you do not walk out of an orphanage the same person you walk into one and had I their resources, I'd have adopted ten without any doubt that I'd love all ten with the same passion and wholeness that I love my one), this blithe snap at international adoption forgets, cruelly, that those jokes serve to de-legitimize these kids' family. Which sucks. Because it's mean.

And I do not like mean.

End scold. I got scoldy, didn't I? Sorry. But I'm right,