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Cabbage Patch Mentality

Cabbage Patch Kids came from no one. But apparently they do grow on (well, ok, NEAR) trees.

They come from Babyland General Hospital, a former real turn of the century clinic. (A sound measure, it helps assure potential “baby” buyers the non-mothers aren’t giving birth in a back alley somewhere.) But we’ll get to the horrible truth of where these “kids” come from soon enough.

In the mean time, you can order a cabbage patch kid online, or for $3 extra you can choose both their name AND birthday! With names like Aubrey Amanda, Bettina Kimberlee, Juda Christa, or Mekala Kendyll, who could possibly resist? Just stop on by and fill up your “Baby Buggy Shopping Cart.” Can’t decide, peruse the online catalog of “kids.”

The site’s FAQ is also has little treasure nuggets, such as answers to questions like “Where do I find out how much my older Cabbage Patch Kid is worth?” (Hint, unlike real life, cabbage patch kids monentary value actually increases with age.) In other words, what’s the resale value? Yes, even Cabbage Patch Kids can have disrupted adoptions. But as they stay forever cute and young, the seem to have no problem getting “readopted” unlike many real kids who get to face down foster care.

Want to order by phone? Their “Adoption Agents” accept calls Monday through Friday. They’ll take your credit card number and administer the oath of adoption (see below).

If you don’t want to e-bay up your “kid” you can always come on down to Baby Land Hospital in Cleveland, GA like the roughly quarter million other collectors and go SHOPPING! Admission is free, but visitors wishing to take home an Original Cabbage Patch Kid, available only through BabyLand General, must pay an adoption fee ranging from $170 to $345, prices subject to change naturally. Be sure to take the online or tour (or tour in person!) where you’ll be treated to all kinds of “kids,” but no pesky mothers or fathers, you can shop at your leisure without ever being confronted by a womyn in labour!

Nope, these “kids” come from no one. The “Cabbage Patch” has it’s own (horrible!) “birthing” secret! Even “preemies” come from the parentless world of the garden, they are described thusly on the online tour:

“Preemies are perfectly formed Cabbage
Patch Kids that were born early due to an
unexpected frost in the Cabbage Patch.”

Lucky them. Most real kid preemies face a serious life and death struggle. I suppose what with early frost, we should be expecting the new line of Cabbage Patch “snowflake” embryo adoptions any minute now.

Naturally, the “latest crop of newborns” are watched over my a male stork. (Unfortunately, we’ll have to get to the imperative of killing the stork, another related myth perhaps a cousin to the cabbage patch, that depeoples adoption of parents in another post later on.)

Back in the day, the “kids” were referred to as “Little People” but apparently any acknowlegement of “people” being adopted got chucked by the wayside pretty quickly. Most adopters don’t like being confronted with the idea of buying “people.”

Just as in the marketplace for real live kids costs have skyrocketed, the costs for cabbage patch kids have parallels. While cabbage patch “kids” once went for as little as $30, apparently some recent cabbage patch dolls have been “readopted” for as much as $25,000. (Still a bargain compared to some human models.)

But let’s return to the tour and see where cabbage patch “kids” come from, shall we? The magical birthing process of a cabbage patch kid can be found here and in the next 5 frames of the tour, described on their website thusly:

“When you hear the words, “Dr. report to
delivery, we have a Mother Cabbage in
labor”, hurry to the Magic Crystal Tree
to witness a delivery.

Dr. Campbell explains that it is the
Bunnybees who help determine the
sex of the baby.Pink magic crystals
for girls, blue for boys.

Mother Cabbage is dilated 10 leaves apart.
Everything looks normal. “A little
more Imagicillan please.”

Another healthy newborn baby girl.
Someone in the audience names
her Sherry Michelle.

Wait, we have twins! A baby brother is
delivered. He is named Michael David.”

Yup, meet “Mother Cabbage.” Their mother is a vegetable.

Mother Cabbage is dilated. Note that Mother Cabbage never exactly gives birth, she just sort of opens up and ta dah, babe in arms! No messy termination of parental rights, or feelings to be considered here!

Think I must have missed something? Check out the Legend, it confirms, the world of the Cabbage Patch is one of crystals and cabbages, not sperm and eggs, not-birth and not-parents. But that’s ok, most people just plunk down the Visa anyway. No pesky “birth-parents” means adoption with a clean conscience.

Should your shopping trip at the hospital prove fruitful, and you find the “kid” of your dreams, the “oath of adoption” is then administered:

In front of another person, raise your right hand and say:

“I promise to love my cabbage patch kid” with all my heart I promise to be a good and kind parent. I will always remember how special my “Cabbage Patch Kid” is to me.

After which, the certificate of adoption and “birth certificate” (Not an original unammended birth certificate. In the land of the cabbage patch kids there is no real birth, and only one “birth certificate” and “adoption certificate” the ones issued to the adopters, but hey, it certainly cuts down on the State having to store sealed records!) are then be given over to the “adopters” (i.e. the family and child who is now the Cabbage Patch Kid’s “parent.” Wasn’t someone complaining somewhere about ‘kids having kids? Maybe it’s just me.)

If you’re not too traumatised, on your way out, be sure to grab a copy of the Babyland General Store, errrrr Hospital brochure , in which they brag of posing the kids for pictures which are then added to the website. (Good thing this has nothing in common with real life adoption photolistings.)

The “kids” were first created in 1978 hitting the craft show circuit. Coleco (which later went bankrupt) began mass producing ‘em in 1982 and that’s when the fertilizer hit the garden. (See this Canadian CBC broadcast from November 1983 titled “Cabbage Patch Kid mania.”) As they call it, “Cabbage Patch Fever” hit over christmas season 1983, when potential “adopters” begged borrowed and stole their way towards whatever it took to get ‘lil leafy’ under the tree.

All I have to say is that what with the cabbage patch world of parentless, birthless, original birth certificate-less, photo listed, storked and leafy “adoptions” it’s an awfully darn good thing life never imitates (pseudo) “art.”

I mean it’s not like the REAL adoption industry, generations of kids and parents, consumer paradigms etc. are in any way affected by any of this, right?

Right?

I mean it’s not like these wretched little plastic saleables have crawled their way into the American psyche.

  • It’s not like they’ve gone up in the space shuttle (1985)
  • Been named the official mascot of the US Olympic Team (1992) Or had the Olympic Torch stop at Babyland General Hospital (1996)
  • Been voted to be one of 15 US postal stamps representing the 1980’s (1999)
  • Brought in $60 million in the first year they were mass marketed. (Sales peaked at $600 million in 1985, but they are still seriously collected.)
  • Or been mass spectacle pop culture events such as this (which I’ll quote the first paragraph of, as the original page is out of Google’s cache);
  • JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (Nasdaq NM: JAKK) announced today that the Company’s Play Along division will debut a new generation of Cabbage Patch Kids® in a specially designed “Patch” at the Minneapolis Mall of America on August 18, 2004, from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. American Idol™ star Paula Abdul and Cabbage Patch Kids creator, Xavier Roberts, will help usher in a new era of Cabbage Patch Kids with a celebration filled with music, laughter and fun, highlighted by a group recitation of the original Cabbage Patch Oath of Adoption, lead by Roberts and Abdul.

No we’re smarter than that, we’d never buy the marketing (or the REAL WORLD kids.)

We’d NEVER erase real parents, or real womyn. We’d never market real children through websites. We’d never skip homestudies. We’d never buy and sell real children.

After all, it’s just a doll, right?

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