No Joke

As of this writing, at least 115 people “like” this on Facebook.

Another 106 thought it clever enough to “share” on their walls.

Adjectives used to describe this purported witticism include “cute,” “hilarious,” “hysterical,” and “cool.”

And, apparently, it made some people “LOL.”

And at the risk of calling even more attention to it, I present it to you.

But, rest assured, I won’t be dignifying it.

Is it a piece of drivel?  Yes.

Is it cute, hilarious, hysterical, or cool?  Of course not.

Is it worth the time I’m going to take to write about it?  More than I can possibly articulate.

As the mother of three children by adoption, I am understandably interested in how adoption is portrayed in the media and in popular culture.  I have to be.  Nothing less than my children’s self-worth is at stake.

In our family, we celebrate adoption.  It is seen as a miracle.  The idea of ever using adoption as a way to insult another human being doesn’t even enter our collective consciousness.

Historically, however, adoption has been used as a gag, as the butt of a joke, as a way to torture a sibling or explain why someone is different from the rest of his or her family.

But why?

Why would someone be driven to tears upon learning he or she was adopted?  Worse, why would someone think, of all the available insults in the arsenal that is the English language, that telling someone they’re adopted is how they’re really going to get under someone’s skin?

The idea behind it, I think, has to do with inverting a person’s concept of who they are, who they believe they are.  But this interpretation requires analysis–and effort; and, sadly, a quick picture on Facebook that elicits 100-plus comments over a day or two isn’t inviting any kind of deep thought.  The surface message, the one that proliferates and sticks, is that there is something wrong with adoption and something powerful in the insult of telling a person they were.

As long as these messages persist and the people with whom my sons will come in contact every day feel compelled to comment and share, we have work to do.

And that, like the picture you see here, is no joke.


10 thoughts on “No Joke

  1. I saw that image on Facebook, but it didn’t have that caption. The one I saw made the smiling baby a Patriots fan, and the crying one a Broncos fan. Regardless… I’ve never understood what is so funny about adoption. Ever child deserves a home, whether it’s with a biological family or an adoptive family. Family is family; love is love.

  2. There was a time when adoption was a stigma. When children were orphans and parents couldn’t afford to keep them and they went into homes. Who knows what these kids felt, no one asked, but we heard, we knew, we were their friends in childhood. Almost every older child always wondered if s/he was adopted or a love child. Some people luv labels and get stuck on them. Today, fortunately, the connotation has shifted and adopted implies envy. That is where the definition should stay to counteract all the kids and years the term had a far different implication.

  3. As a mother of 4 adopted boys…….this is no laughing or crying matter . It is important to our family for our boys to have no defining moment as an adopted child. We want them to be proud of who they are-not for a second ashamed. As adoptive parents, we have to work a little harder, but it is worth every second. So Samantha consider this mom on board to support that adoption is certainly no joke. This our family !!!!!!

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