Earth Day And Adoption

Since today is Earth Day I thought it would be a good time to look at the environmental impact of adoption.

As we all know the birth of any child, anywhere, has an environmental consequence, but how does adoption effect that?

Let’s start with the first thing we always hear about when adoption is considered, paperwork.  To hear potential adopters talk there must be at least a ton of it.  That’s a whole lot of trees gone, pollution from paper mills, and all the accompanying mess.  Even if all this was done on 100% recycled paper the impact from all the energy from producing it would still make Al Gore wince.

But adoptive parents will raise their children in a more environmentally responsible way, you say.  I’m not so sure.

The standard image of the birth parent driving an older less economical, carbon belching car while throwing Cheetos wrappers and 7-11 burrito leavings out of the window while speeding to a crack house isn’t quite accurate.  Not is the image of the adoptive parent driving a vegetable oil burning hybrid compact SUV, pausing to pick up Cheetos wrappers for recycling, while driving sensibly to pick up the kids from the French Space Creative Writing Enrichment Camp.  

In fact some of the reasons frequently cited for adoption amount to environmental nightmares.  The first being that they can “give the child so much more”.  While I don’t doubt that they indeed can give them more, I’m not convinced it’s a great idea.  Have they checked where all those boring play to learn toys are made?   Lead free doesn’t necessarily mean responsibly manufactured.  Would a few less toys from Walmart really make a lot of difference?  Exactly how many chemicals are being poured into that pool?  Wouldn’t going to a public pool make more sense from an environmental point of view, even with the Cheetos wrappers abandoned along the route?  

What about the impact of the child themselves?  All those diaries filled with adoption angst don’t come cheap for mother Earth.  Not to even mention the power it takes to produce the bandwidth for the social media pages filled with really bad teenage adoption poetry that is sure to follow.  And while we are on the subject of bad poetry, any poem written by potential and/or current adoptive parents should just be banned, not just for the good of the Earth, but for the good of mankind in general.  Trust me, plenty of bandwidth get wasted with comments about the ridiculousness of these efforts.  

What all the original birth certificates that are sitting around in file cabinets all over the county.  They are taking up valuable space and consuming energy to conceal.  What about the rest of the records that seem destined to never see the light of day?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to entrust them into the responsibility of the adoptee?  To switch the carbon footprint of these papers to the one who they truly belong?  Do they not trust us adoptees to be environmentally responsible with the care of our own records?  Have the enviromentally irresponsible actions of others again stood in our way?

Are our original birth certificates even on acid free paper?  Could this be the reason we aren’t allowed to see them?  

I could go on.  There are surely countless more reasons that adoption is not environmentally responsible.  And I just might.  I am an adoptee.  I have bandwidth to waste.

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4 thoughts on “Earth Day And Adoption

  1. don’t forget the environmental impact of APs going across the globe to get their child(ren) and then all homeland tours across the globe done by int’l adoptees. that’s when we talk HUGE environmental destruction.

  2. Oh no doubt, Sunny Jo.

    International Adoption is a great threat to the environment. In addition to all that travel just think about the stress on the ecosystem from Madonna shipping her Kabbalah water with her.

  3. Last year I read a newspaper article about families who were opting to have a single bio kid out of concern for overpopulation, reducing the environmental impact of their household, etc. Some of the parents were quoted saying that they could always adopt if they wanted a larger family, since they would be adding an already existing person to the family instead of creating a whole new one (none actually had adopted, of course). They were completely serious about presenting adoption as the green, eco-friendly family building choice. It was horrifying.

  4. Heather, that is indeed horrific. I suggest we include the environmental devastation of destroying cultures by stealing their children: Malawi, most Native American tribes, Australian Aborigines, the list goes on…

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