pizza or rice?

I felt somewhat uncomfortable when my coworker told me that her friends adopted a Chinese baby girl. You'd like to give adoptive parents the benefit of the doubt, but I always wonder about the motivation behind it all. Is it a form of cultural imperialism? Madonna always had a fetish for people of color and she's continually building a family that resembles the rainbow coalition. Angelina Jolie seems to see it as a philanthropic extension of her "UN work".

How about the non-celebrity people around us? Do they want an exotic trophy baby to parade around the community? Do they see themselves as righteous do-gooders rescuing a poor little unwanted soul? Racial stereotyping plays a part in coloring choices and shaping expectations. Are adopters expecting their Asian baby to be a "model" child - smart (math & science of course), quiet and obedient?

Equally interesting is how the adoptive parents act around Asians in public? In my community, some parents are somewhat self-conscious in two different ways. Some caucasian parents (I'm generalizing because most cases in my area involve caucasian people) have acted cautious around me - perhaps wondering if I'm passing judgment. In contrast, some other caucasian parents were beaming with pride and made a concerted effort to catch my attention as they strolled their adopted Asian baby in front of me. I guess they wanted to make a point that they're doing good for my culture (even though I probably don't share the same ethnicity as their baby). Interestingly, the baby usually stares at me too. I always wonder if the baby recognizes that my face kind of resembles his/her own face...

So why did my coworker's friends want to adopt a Chinese baby? Well, the mother had a difficult first pregnancy and an equally difficult time dealing with their infant son. Ok - I could understand that as a reason for adopting. But before I could ask why Chinese, my coworker blurts out that the couple simply wanted a Chinese girl. And especially the guy - he's always wanted a little Asian girl. My coworker tells me that the guy would see a little Asian girl in public and say to his wife "She's so cute...I want THAT!" Creepy. Yellow fever on red alert. I seriously hope this isn't some fetish being played in a disturbingly wrong way. And "wanting THAT" - is he talking about a baby or a rug?

So the asiaphiles traveled to China to pick up their little Asian girl. They expected the orphanage to be full of squalor with dirt floors, but were pleasantly surprised to find a nice operation. They were also expecting their new child to be a "demur little china doll", but found out their new daughter was just as much of a "little monster" as most American kids can be. I'm hoping the little girl makes them go apeshit.

Now my coworker is hosting a birthday party for her own daughter and not suprisingly, her friends want to show off their new Asian baby. My coworker worried if the planned lunch of pizza and burgers would be okay for the new Chinese girl. "You don't think I have to bring out rice and vegetables, do you?" I told her to stick to the plan and there's no need to bring out chopsticks.


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