The Bean Trees
In the novel The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, many social issues are discussed.
One social issue that is addressed is adoption. Adopting a child is an experience that promises to
bring great joy as it changes a couple or individual’s life forever. Adoption offers a chance at a
new beginning for many children previously cared for by orphanages and foster homes. Families
constitute the building blocks of society. They provide children with the love and security
needed to grow into healthy adults. This paper will discuss how Kingsolver illustrates adoption
in her novel.
Taylor was sitting in Cynthia’s office with Turtle. It was their third week of seeing her.
Turtle was talking again, after the incident in the park. As the history of Taylor and Turtle slowly
began to seep out of Taylor, Cynthia has no choice but to inform Taylor that she has no legal
claim to Turtle because she has no papers on Turtle. She cannot prove the way she got Turtle.
Taylor, felt that if she has no claim to Turtle then no one else should either. The state of
Arizona would take Turtle into custody. Taylor, depending on how long she had been a resident
in the state, and depending on her income and stability, might be able to adopt Turtle in the
future. Taylor does not know how to respond to this news. She is beginning to think that she
will not be a good mother for Turtle. Kingsolver expresses how people may get discouraged,
but they are somehow encouraged by the people around them. She conveys this message through
the way Taylor feels about her role in Turtle’s life. However, the people in her life help her to
realize her love and need for this child. I believe this is a common problem faced by many
people who want to adopt. They begin to doubt whether they would be good parents. They have
many questions that they need to consider. For example,will they feel like the child’s parents? Or
would they treat an adopted child differently than their birth child? Most importantly, will they
be able to handle the emotions, if and when, their child wants to meet their birth family? These
fears come between the questions and the answers. It thrives on the unknown. In most, the fear is
turned around, as exemplified in Taylor’s case.
Another scene that articulates adoption is the scene with Mr. Armistead. Taylor, Turtle,
Estevan and Esperanza were all together. Taylor, wanting to find the woman who gave her
Turtle, agreed to bring Estevan and Esperanza to a different safe house farther from the border.
During their travels, Taylor asks the couple if they would pose as Turtle’s parents, so that
Taylor would be able to keep Turtle. Without hesitation or reluctancy, they agreed. Mr.
Armistead’s office was not located far from the Cherokee Nation. Estevan and Esperanza told
Mr. Armistead, that they loved “their daughter,” but they just could not care for her in the way
she deserved. Esperanza became very emotional and cried, as any mother would do in that type
of situation. All together the couple acted very well because no one else in the office, other than
the four of them, knew what was going on. Kingsolver illustrates how, with a little bit of hope,
things can work out. I do not believe that Kingsolver is promoting people to break the law, but
instead to follow their hearts, and do what they believe is best. I agree with Kingsolver
that people should follow their hearts, but I would maybe think the consequences through more.
This is something Taylor failed to do. Her heart was in the right place, but there could have been
serious consequences to her hasty actions.
If Taylor had brought Turtle to social services or the police when she got her, then she
would not have had all this trouble. I believe that Taylor should have taken Turtle to some place
that could care for her properly. Taylor was just on the run and could not provide a good home
for a child. Yet, I have to give her credit, she did everything to make sure that Turtle was taken
care of. Turtle has made Taylor look at life through a different light. Through this, I believe that
Kingsolver conveys how some things can change your