Friday, December 29, 2006

The Triad is a Five-legged Stool...

I bought the party line that adoption consists of the Triad because it's repeated so often and so reverentially that it takes on the quality of a sacred litany... however you want to call it out: adoptee/adoptive parent/birthmother, adoptee/adopter/natural mother, etc etc ad infinitum world without end. But then it dawned on me... probably after attending another moribund conference dedicated to truth in adoption (where 99% of the presenters and 60% of the attendees were therapists and social workers)... the Triad is a shell-game.

Adoption actually consists of five legs, the adoptee, the adopters, the first parents, the full gamut of adoption professionals, and the state. Adoption professionals, a category in which can be lumped social workers, facilitators, attorneys and therapists, may disagree within their class on what adoption is, but are adament in invoking their privilege to define what adoption is to those in the first three categories (those to whom adoption is an existential reality). The state ultimately holds the power; the state created adoption out of whole cloth, and reserves the ultimate right to decide not only what adoption is and will be, but also the right to enforce its will on all the other four legs, through statute and regulation.

The beauty of the Triad, at least to the fourth and fifth leg, is that it renders their agency invisible. The state and its quasi-agents, the professional adoption class, can float divinely over the pell mell and gore, offering definitive commentary and altering the rules of the game. It's a tidy racket.
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4 Comments:

Blogger Trish, Comic Mom said...

Amen! Preach it, brother BB! The state, and its grimy minions, the adoption industry, subsidized by the state, have managed once again to define terms for those of us who have been separated by adoption. Thank you for posting this important linguistic eye-opener.

8:31 PM  
Blogger AMYADOPTEE said...

Why indeed? I have never figured out why adoption agencies, attorneys, social workers, and the state tell us how we should be living our lives. I don't get it. Its our lives that they govern why don't they ask us?

8:32 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

"The beauty of the Triad, at least to the fourth and fifth leg, is that it renders their agency invisible. The state and its quasi-agents, the professional adoption class, can float divinely over the pell mell and gore, offering definitive commentary and altering the rules of the game. It's a tidy racket."

This is going into my saved quotes. It is a tidy racket, indeed. And there are so many fingers digging into the adoption pie in every state, hoping to pull out a "plum." I honestly believe that there is a poster on the walls of the offices of facilitators that urge them all to take a state legilator to lunch.

10:52 AM  
Blogger adoptionroadkill said...

i agree entirely. so does this social theorist: "... social work has normally conceived of adoption as a decontextualized triangle, composed of adopters, adoptes, and relinquishing parents. ... Triangularization removes a range of institutions and actors (including social workers) from the primary picture of adoption, encouraging the misrecognition of adoptions as a private consensual transaction between, and in the interests of, members of the triangle. Important dimensions of the social location and function of adoption are thereby denied or blended out of analysis." - Adoption, Social Work and Social Theory: Making the Connections, by Tim O'Shaughnessy, p. 21

5:22 PM  

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