Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The Mathematics of Adoption

"Everything is the opposite of what it should be."

‘Go forth and multiply’ young married couples have always been exhorted to do. But who had the authority to say, ‘However, if that doesn’t work: go forth and divide and then take away’?

Society created the equation (problem) which must be solved:

unmarried mother + baby = unacceptable.

The equation is solved by the division of the whole; the division of the unit – baby and mother – into two fractions[i].

What you do on one side of the equation must be balanced out on the other side: the subtraction of the baby from the mother is balanced by the addition of the baby to the adoptive parents. However, once the division has occurred, and the baby is subtracted from the whole, you are left with an incomplete baby: what the adoptive parents get is not a whole child – they get the fraction of a unit, which will grow up always feeling that sense of division/subtraction from the mother and from the self.

Society sees and acknowledges only the ‘solution’ to the equation:

infertile married couple[ii] + adopted baby = acceptable

This solution is given a big tick and marked by everyone (apart from the mother and baby) as ‘Correct’. Society knows what division and subtraction must have been involved in the solving of this equation, but prefers not to acknowledge it; not to see the working out, which has been erased. Not only does society only look at the solution but it also celebrates the solution, and repeatedly demands – insists ad nauseam! – that the child feel grateful for the solution and lucky that the solution happened.

The adopted child therefore inhabits a perverse reality in which he is expected to feel grateful that he has been subtracted from his mother, and lucky that the division between himself and his mother happened.  But the loss of mother, and the incalculable damage that loss inflicted upon the infant, should be acknowledged and mourned, not celebrated.

Everything is the opposite of what it should be.

[i] fractions which, if later added back together, do not add up to make the whole unit again; their values having been changed by life’s calculations so that they can no longer equal a ‘whole’ – which is a shock for most adoptees upon finding their mothers: they do not find themselves, they find just another stranger; the fantasy of being made complete upon meeting mother is just that – a fantasy.

[ii] or ‘saintly married couple’ if they already have their own children and are adopting as a ‘good deed’  (the ‘good deed’ adoption may also mask secondary infertility, which can be erased along with the working out of the equation).

1 comment:

  1. the 'answer' never is the significant bit the 'working out' is the important bit. as ever 'society' exhalts the irrelevant and erases the relevant. it cheats in its maths exam and then gets given an A for it and a pat on the back from itself