Sunday, October 23, 2005

Making doll ownership more like adoption

Blogging Baby, a weblog I'm quickly becoming addicted to, has an item about baby dolls being sold in some sort of elaborate hospital adoption scenario, and the outrage expressed by adoption advocates over this insult to adoptive children and families. I'm not usually one to get riled about the casual use of the word "adoption" to describe the caretaking of animals or portions of highway, but I have to admit this ploy by Lee Middleton Orginal Dolls to increase the perceived value of high-priced playthings by pretending that going into a store with a hundred bucks in your pocket and picking out a dolly you fancy is anything like the process of adoption is offputting to say the least. Will it make people believe that adoption is buying babies? Will it make children think that if a child they know was adopted, that they were at one time in a display case at Saks? Maybe, maybe not.

Still, if the Middleton company feels strongly that pretending its dolls are adopted is a big selling point, then why not take it all the way? Give the children who will be "adopting" its dolls a true adoption experience. Send social workers to their home to make sure their toys are well cared-for and that they know what will be involved in having an additional doll in the household. Make them pay for a homestudy before they can even be considered for getting a doll. Make them get certified letters from their teacher and scout leader and best friend declaring their suitability for doll ownership. Make them take classes on doll care and repair. Make them wait months or years, and then call them in the middle of the night and tell them they've got to get to the store right now. To give some kids an international adoption experience, lock them in the store for a couple of weeks or months before they get to leave with their new doll. Definitely send some more social workers afterward to make sure everything's going okay, and the doll's not tucked in a toychest or missing limbs or sitting somewhere naked. And don't forget to advise the new doll owner's friends to ask her from time to time, "Is that your real doll?"

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