Guest Post by Monika Zimmerman
transitive verb \kə-ˈmä-də-ˌfī\ to turn (as an intrinsic value or a work of art) into a commodity (Source: Merriam-Webster Online dictionary – http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/commodify)
Commodification is the transformation of goods and services, as well as ideas or other entities that normally may not be considered goods, into a commodity. (Source: Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodification)
We all deal in commodities every day. From the time we wake until the time we sleep at night, we cannot avoid them. Anything that we or someone else have purchased is a commodity. Even the homes in which we live are commodities. Someone has made them and we’ve purchased them to use for our own benefit. If we look at it that way, then an infant adopted domestically can be viewed as a commodity. Someone else has made that child and adoptive parents have paid money to “use” that child for their own benefits.
Elaine asked me to write a post today on the corruption of adoption by commodification. Elaine and I have decided to do a sort of blog swap since I interviewed her about “The Goodbye Baby” for my own blog. As I write about adoption issues on my blog frequently, this seemed a topic in line with the things about which I write normally.
I especially like the definition found in Wikipedia of commodification. Infants should not be considered goods. However, the demand from hopeful adoptive parents is great, so the adoption “industry” charges exorbitant fees for the people acquiring these “goods.” It’s simple supply and demand. The supply is low probably for a variety of reasons, but there are thousands of couples looking to expand their families through the acquisition of a “perfect” baby, so the demand is very high. This leads to coercion of pregnant women in situations that may be less than ideal and can lead to lies to get the commodity (the infant) to the buyer.
Adoption should not be about supply and demand. That attitude is what has led to the general viewing of infants as commodities. I’m not saying that individual people feel this way, nor am I saying that there are complete agencies or adoption businesses that feel this way. However it is a combination of people and businesses that have led to the corruption of adoption. If consumers in the form of hopeful adoptive parents didn’t pay whatever huge sum to get the baby they want and instead considered foster care, then there wouldn’t be such a large demand for agencies and other entities to treat the pregnant women who enter their doors as the factories to make their customers happy.
There are a lot of ways that adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents can speak out and change the processes for adoption. But in this area, the hopeful adoptive parent has all the power. They’re the ones that can change their own views of adoption and quietly change adoption as a whole.
Monika currently lives about an hour south of Seattle, WA, with her daughter’s birth father, Nick. They both enjoy the open relationship they have with their daughter and her adoptive family. One of Monika’s passions is writing about adoption reform on her blog, Monika’s Musings (www.musingmonika.com).