“Adoption—saints, sinners and the salvageable”

Who are the saints, sinners and the salvageable characters of the global adoption narrative? Orphaned, fostered and adopted children at the center of the debate have no authority to speak for themselves in a court of law—their life’s fortune resides entirely in the hands of strangers. Social workers, lawyers, politicians, churches, relatives, agencies, nurses, caregivers, clergy and do-gooders rush in to fill the void and speak for them; each outsider having a different stake in the outcome. The debate about what to do with orphaned children is far-reaching and international in scope. Adoption is one of the most contentious issues of modern society that rouses the passions of righteous individuals throughout the world. The plethora of divergent and clashing points of view about the fair and ethical distribution of abandoned children is an ongoing debate between countries, states, politicians, clergy and social groups. The diversity of opinions and conflicting stakes in the outcome is a struggle for power and domination. Solutions create arguments, fervency, polarized points of view, and foment anger leading to speculation and accusations about personal integrity. Divergent social and cultural outlooks give rise to drama and fiction. The clash of conflicting philosophies, passions and diversity of judgments is a global struggle between “affairs of the heart” verses the “wisdom of the intellect”.

Judith Land | Adoption Detective | Saints, Sinners and Salvageable

Why are so many people in the world still haunted by the same afflictions experienced by previous generations when decades of experience suggests that anonymity between birthparents and adoptive parents and sealing all information about the birthparents from the adopted child has damaging effects on all three parties? Relinquishment of a newborn child is profoundly damaging to birthparents and causes lifelong pain and suffering. The process of developing an individual identity is more complicated for adoptees missing an essential part of their personal history. Adoptive parents are unable to answer questions about why their adoptive children were given up, what their birthparents were like, and what happened to them in later life. They fear that these parents will reclaim the child and that the child will love them more than the adoptive parents.

What happens to discarded children experiencing loss and grief because they were placed in adverse chaotic and intense disabling circumstances through no fault of their own? Are their primary relationships salvageable? Can they be retrieved, rescued, repaired and saved from the perils of the ordeal? Every year individuals and organizations receive commendations, bonuses and accolades for their annual accomplishments, effective leadership, and efficient handling of adoptions. Some of them are even considered saintly because their primary concern is for the health, safety and well being of the children. But—if this were true—why are so many people in the world still haunted by the same afflictions experienced by previous generations? In this age of mental illness and anxiety, social media is laden with haunting personal narratives, pleas for empathy and clemency, retribution and atonement, and rhetorical questions of morality, spirituality, and connectedness. Who is pointing fingers and accusing others of being trespassers and sinners responsible for the problem and calling the wrongdoers morally corrupt scoundrels destined to go to hell because they are transgressors who have behaved immorally, dishonestly and illegally? And, what about the devoted and pious angelic saints who give of themselves every day to sooth the fears and heal the wounds of the lonely, abused and unprotected? Are the individuals attempting to salvage the souls and spirits of the afflicted always pure in spirit, morally honest, virtuous, devote, righteous, uncorrupted and as pure as they are portrayed? Who has the most to gain or loose?

Today is a good day to pause and reflect on what we all mutually share in common—a desire for peace, harmony, freedom and respect for the God-given inalienable rights of all mankind. As a first step, we need to be more civil, stop pointing fingers, stop trying to score points and win arguments. We need to end the never ending emotional tug-of-war of words and assigning blame. We need to clean up our language, be more respectful of other points of view, forgive one another, and lower the tone of the adoption narrative. We need to listen more carefully, respect those who seek redemption, absolution, forgiveness and recovery, and mutually pledge to honor and respect innocent children throughout the world forever and always. Today is a good day to avoid labeling the sinners, handing out undeserved platitudes to the saints, and work with the salvageable.

Judith Land

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“Adoption—life is like riding a bicycle”

Life is like riding a bicycle—maintain your balance and keep moving forward—but know that when fate hands us a flat tire or a unicycle life’s challenges are greatly increased. If we move too slowly our steadiness decreases. Our equilibrium wanes; we become less stable; it becomes increasingly difficult to keep our balance. As our knees begin to wobble our sense of style and grace disappear. We loose focus and forget about our planned destination. We panic. All that matters is self-protection. Events unfold in slow motion. Knowing the inevitable is about to happen, our survival instincts take over. Our eyes frantically scan the sidelines seeking the least harmful place to crash. “Wham!”

Judith Land | Adoption Detective | Bicycle

Adoptees must learn to maintain their balance and keep moving forward to live a healthy lifestyle and achieve their life-long goals and aspirations. When they come to a jump or rough spot in the road they must double their concentration, stay focused on positive outcomes, and adjust their speed and trajectory accordingly.

The phenomenon of loosing our balance and accidentally straying off-course is a reoccurring nightmare for adoptees seeking clarity and purpose in their lives, as well as, race car drivers, ski racers, athletes and risk-taking dare devils. Goal seeking individuals who challenge themselves have more work to do and more reasons to worry about straying off course. They must concentrate, stay focused, and continually adjust their speed and trajectory. What kind of person are you? Are you an adoptee challenged to find your true self-identity? What happens when you feel yourself hopelessly deviating from your primary goals and objectives in life? Do you dramatize the event by letting go of the handlebars and drawing attention to yourself by screaming obscenities and flailing about wildly with your arms in the air to create a theatrical moment worthy of an award winning America’s Funniest Home Video? Or, are you the strong silent type who suffers embarrassment from the ridicule of others, the torment of going off course under darkened skies in the cold and rain, endures the pain of injury and a sense of loss in your dreams, and suffers internally from emotional heartache in solitude?

I worry about adoptees who bottle up their feelings and lick their injuries in silence because there is nobody there to guide and support them. The child who hides his or her wounds in the darkest subconscious corners of their primal brain, where they remain hidden but never healed, automatically responds by saying, “I’m okay! Don’t worry about me. I’m tough! I can solve my own problems. I don’t want to rock the boat or cause problems. You wouldn’t understand how I feel anyway.” They internalize their feelings and reject offers of sympathy and conceal the depth of their emotional suffering from others. The sense of isolation they experience leaves them feeling unheralded and anonymous. They struggle to express their true feelings and depth of their emotions with words because they view the topic of adoption as an esoteric subject with a language of its own that can only be understood by other adoptees who share the same experiences. It is easier for them to internalize the pain of isolation and separation and conceal the depth of their emotional suffering from others who don’t understand them.

Providence does not shine equally on all adoptees—the lucky ones are handed a silver spoon, chocolates and ice cream, a comfortable bed to sleep in, a good education, and a wonderful loving family to support and care for them; while others receive nothing. I pity the adopted child who struggles to maintain a balance in their life and keep moving forward toward a positive and healthy future without the adequate support and unconditional love they need, and the care of others to comfort them. I encourage adoptees who say they have never experienced any of the negative feelings commonly associated with adoption to lend a helping hand to those who do, by being their mentors, spiritual guides, big brothers and sisters, foster parents, friends and the counselors they so desperately need.

Judith Land



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The adoption narrative—what is the thematic conflict of your adoption story?

William Shakespeare | Judith Land

“There is no darkness but ignorance.” William Shakespeare

How would Shakespeare describe the thematic conflict of your adoption narrative? Is your adoption story a plot-driven conflict resulting from a tragic accident, natural disaster, or an act of fate that unexpectedly left a hapless child stranded along life’s highway; or is your tale a character-driven plot motivated by the ego and self-interest of the main characters? Thematic conflicts on every side of the adoption triangle are either plot-driven or character-driven. The number of conflicts the main characters has to go through to reach their goals determines the length of the adoption narrative. The most worthy stories are those that rouse the passions of the heart; capture the imagination of the reader; bring along the experiences of the audience; and provoke the wisdom of the intellect.

What is the thematic conflict of your adoption story? The theme of most romance novels involves a conflict between a man and a women and a struggle for self-actualization. Adoption stories contain many of the same elements and conflicts. Individuals on every side of the adoption triangle struggle to resolve conflicts inherent to the practice of adoption. As we ponder the fate of the abandoned child we question the morality of birth parents debating the advantages of severing all legal and moral responsibility for the care of their child as they struggle to resolve their own internal conflicts between morality and self. They are conflicted between a desire to remain forever young and free of responsibility verses a curtailment of freedoms and a voluntary acceptance of the burdens of parenthood. Their narrative is often short-sighted and appears to have been written at night when the driver is unable to see any farther than the illumination of the headlights as they worry about what lies ahead. Adoptive parents are conflicted between the value of self-verses charity. They struggle between self-interest verses compassion and what is best for humankind; leaving others to wonder if they are more honorable and virtuous because they have a genuine concern for the health, safety, and welfare of the orphaned child? Adoptees afraid to rock the boat are conflicted between the comfort of the status quo and their relationship with their adoptive family verses truth and self-actualization. They struggle between an innate and deep-rooted desire for the discovery of a true self-identity, native pedigree, and point of origin verses a fear of alienating the adoptive parents.

Adoption Triangle | Judith Land | Adoption Detective | Thematic Conflict

The “Thematic Conflict of the Adoption Narrative” and the adoption triangle graphic is the intellectual effort of Judith Land, Author and Adoptee.

Greed results in self-destruction and generosity leads to success but individuals on every side of the adoption triangle continue to debate the moral dilemmas adoption causes verses the self-interest of those involved. Ultimately, adoption is a monumental conflict between self-interest and humanity—a struggle to decide the fate of orphaned children that should always cause the audience to think, rather than accept the inevitable.

Judith Land




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“The legend of the twin boys adopted by a wolf”

Romulus and Remus | Judith Land | Adoption Detective

Romulus and Remus were preeminent among the feral children of ancient times and central characters of Rome’s foundation myth. Roman historians dated the twins’ birth year as 771 BC and Romulus was made the direct ancestor of Rome’s first Imperial dynasty. Historical bases for the broad mythological narrative remain unclear and disputed.

A boy who loved adventure said recently, “Most adoption stories are boring. If I was an author, I would write a book about a child who becomes lost in the forest and is adopted by wolves—that would be an exciting tale.” So I told him the legendary story of Romulus and Remus, the twin boys who built the magnificent Italian City of Rome.

Many years ago in Alba Longa, Italy, there were two brothers named Numitor and Amulius who quarreled constantly because they both wanted to be king. They bullied each other and fought ruthlessly for control of the crown. Eventually, Amulius got the upper hand and seizes the throne from his father. Amulius was a terrible man despised by ordinary people because he treated everyone in his kingdom poorly. He kills all of his brother Numitor’s children, except his beautiful daughter Rhea. Amulius forces Rhea to become a Vestal Virgin, and commands her to never marry, but contrary to his orders, she was impregnated by the god Mars. Amulius is furious. He sends Rhea to prison and orders her twin babies to be killed.

The boys are placed in a basket and thrown into the Tiber River to drown. The river is swollen by storms and the basket floats downstream on the swiftly moving current where it becomes snagged in the branch of a fig tree at the base of Palatine Hill in the Velabrum swamp. A wolf hears the boys crying and saves the twins by dragging the basket onto dry land. The boys are cold and hungry and they snuggle up to the mother wolf because she is warm and furry. The wolf treats the boys as her own puppies; she protects them, keeps them warm and allows them to nurse. A woodpecker sitting in the tree above them brings the boys food and makes noises to let them know when strangers are approaching. A kindly shepherd and his wife discover the twins and decide to raise them as foster children. They name the boys Romulus and Remus. They grow up to be strong and healthy and help their foster father tend the sheep but when wicked King Amulius and his soldiers attempt to steal the sheep Romulus is protecting he fights with them and he kills the king.

The boy’s mother Rhea becomes queen and when she discovered her twin boys were still alive, she was very excited to be reunited with them. The twins went to live with their mother, but when they grew into manhood, the boys left Alba Longa to build their own city. Romulus began to dig trenches and build walls around Palatine Hill above the spot where the wolf rescued the boys but when his brother Remus jumps over one of his walls he is hit on the head with a rock and dies. Romulus continued building and named his city Roma after himself. As the popularity of Rome grew, so did the population. The story of Romulus and Remus was an important story for the ancient Romans because they loved myths and legends. Romulus was claimed to have ascended into the heavens to become a god by several eyewitnesses. The legend of the twin boys raised by a wolf continued to grow in popularity and was retold to Italian children for many centuries until it became memorialized in a bronze statue. Scholars have debated for many years the elements of the story that may have been true and those that are fiction.

Judith Land



Muchachos gemelos adoptados por un lobo  늑대에 의해 채택 트윈 소년  通过狼双胞胎男孩

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“Adoption—life is like a zip-line; it just goes whizzing by…”

Whoosh! Each new pivotal event in our lives starts slowly and ends with a bang—like a roll of toilet paper—the closer we get to the end, the faster it goes and the more panicky we get. First grade, second grade, third grade…suddenly gone, vanished. Seventh grade, ninth grade, senior…was that me? How much longer until I graduate? Holding on for dear life, terrified and concerned, uncertain about the future and what might be at the end, we firmly grasp the zip-line handle and fly down the mountain. Trees go whizzing by on every side. With our eyes partially closed, we view the world with tunnel vision; our life is a blur as we fly over rivers and rocks, canyons and glades. Focused solely on endings, goals and arrivals; there is no time to look behind us to see where we came from or where we have been. Memories are fleeting. We live in the present. The past is quickly forgotten.

Adoption Detective | Judith Land

I never knew you Grandmother but I am here today to say thank you for giving me the gift of life. For as long as I live the blood of our matriarchal ancestors will continue to flow in my veins.

Most of us have good memories, but our brains are like old computers with very slow recall; sometimes we even suffer a total loss of memory when our hard drive crashes. Who was that cute boy in fifth grade that moved away? What did I wear to the high school prom? Remember the summer of 2010, the school play, the day in the park, that warm summer night, riding bikes, my favorite song, crazy Charlie, the dance? Mementos, souvenirs and postcards help to rekindle sentimental memories of special events and people. Photos, memorabilia, ticket stubs and diaries offer proof of the past. The sharing of stories with others about the significant events in our lives, and how we felt about them then and now, rekindles our spirit and preserves our memories in the minds of others.

By living only in the present, without an accurate record of the past, or a plan for the future, many adoptees simply float on air. But, what if you had a photographic memory and you could recall everything that ever happened to you? Would you chose to slow the world down for just a moment, reflect on the past, look for transparency, seek the truth, and offer forgiveness? Would you offer a blessing for the few things that actually went right in your life—a remembrance of the unique people and experiences you are truly thankful for? We all have a free will and the right to choose. If you had the choice, how long would you postpone this experience? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all pause for a quiet moment, reflect on the past, think about our ancestors and significant others, and offer a special thank you to our mentors, coaches, teachers, peers, family members and everyone else who has had a positive influence in our lives?

I think about my grandmother as I wander through the cemetery searching for her grave. She is a person of significant importance to me that I never knew. I never even knew her name until recently because I was adopted. I am taking this moment to pause and quietly thank her for giving me the gift of life. Thank you grandma. May you rest in peace…

Judith Land



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“Adoption—ancient yearnings for a true sense of belonging”

Adoptees are motivated by curiosity, much like others when they engage in ancestral searches, but their motives eventually evolve into something more primal and powerful. An evolution in thinking takes place in their minds as they mature. With age and experience comes increased wisdom and insight; higher levels of emotional intelligence improve their understanding of complex issues and abstract concepts. In the hierarchal scale of human needs, their whimsical childish perspectives and simple curiosity about adoption gradually evolves into a stronger desire for knowledge based on a deep, psychological need to discover intangibles that are missing. When they come to the realization there has been an errant deviation in their life’s trajectory their curiosity intensifies. They become more aware of the primal wound inflicted on them at birth.

Ancient Yearnings | Judith Land | Adoption Detective

“There is a primal instinct within all living things, necessary for survival and the procreation of the species, to seek the specific genealogical realm and unique geographical niche from which they came. These are the same ancient yearnings for a true sense of belonging that have existed in humans for as long as civilization has been recorded.” —Judith Land

A craving for exposure and truth impassions them. Internal forces intensify as primitive native urges bubble up inside them. They are driven to discover the mystery of their origin but this inherent desire creates an unstable slippery slope within them because once their passions are inflamed, the flame is difficult to extinguish. The internal struggles between conscience, logic and reason and temptations they wrestle with shifts in favor of fervency and emotional affairs of the heart. The instincts that motivate them are the same primal desires that drive many animal species to travel thousands of miles across oceans, continents, mountain ranges, prairies and rivers, relentlessly and purposefully returning to their place of origin; a primal instinct necessary for their survival and the procreation of the species. These are the same ancient yearnings for a true sense of belonging within a specific genealogical realm and unique geographical niche that have existed in humans for as long as civilization has been recorded.

From the moment I was born, I instinctively searched for my mother’s essence, tactically, emotionally and spiritually. As a wee baby I was life longing for itself; I needed her for sustenance and survival. I was driven to be close to her for nourishment, comfort and protection. As a matter of survival, my senses were amplified to intensify my ability to project and receive mental signals from afar to compensate for what I was lacking in direct tactile contact, a survival mechanism triggered out of necessity to overcompensate for the lack of a direct physical connection, the same way that a blind person learns to navigate in total darkness. Hoping to discover the beauty of her face and the charm of her smile, discern her voice from others, and feel the warmth of her arms, I developed the lifelong habit of searching the universe for others, who were intuitively familiar. I longed for a familiar glance, an accidental touch, or something innately recognizable to make it easier for me to discover my true self-identity. The void I felt in my heart subconsciously dominated my thoughts as I forlornly looked into the eyes of strangers hoping to determine if we were related; naturally gravitating toward people who were more like me. As a matter of fate and circumstances, hoping for a meaningful connection and the opportunity to reunite with my birth parents, I telepathically scanned the universe in my dreams like a floodlight in the night sky.

What was it like to finally discover my roots? When I finally solved the mystery of my birth parents identity, I came to the realization in the middle of my euphoria that I was more thankful to God than I had ever been before. I was overjoyed knowing that I had achieved my lifelong aspiration to discover my true heritage. My internal resolve never weakened. I never quit or wilted in the face of grave adversity. Knowing that I was no longer unheralded and anonymous after the discovery of my true self-identity brought inner peace and happiness. We had been separated, but not vanquished. The reunification experience was emotionally therapeutic, leaving me less troubled by the pangs of uncertainty aroused by genealogical bewilderment, and more stable and relaxed with fewer self-doubts. Being accepted by them filled a void in my heart that allowed me to feel whole again. We unconditionally accepted each other in soul, mind and spirit. The past was resolved and forgiven. We live in the present; we have mutually scripted the future for a glorious ending. The ancient yearning for a true sense of belonging that I inherited from my ancestors was fulfilled. I am on cloud nine.

Judith Land



Adoção | adopción | adoptare | батлах |通過 | pag-aampon |養子縁組

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“Adoption searches—make no small plans, they have no magic to stir your blood”

Judith Land | Adoption Detective

“Nothing great has ever been achieved by making small plans. Small plans have no magic to stir your blood. Aiming high in hope is the more exciting and noble course that rouses passions in our heart and emboldens us to follow our dreams.” —Judith Land

I happily pursued the identity of my biological mother because I had naïvely expected her to be gracious and forgiving and spontaneously welcome me to her bosom unconditionally, but my vision of a happy serendipitous reunion collapsed in a veil-of-tears. She coldheartedly rejected my pleas for clemency and mercy. She pleaded with me to keep my identity secret from her friends and family and threatened to sue me if I contacted her again. I felt like a wilted flower but I steadfastly refused to be dissuaded. I was unrepentant. Our disheartening conversation inspired me to think long and hard about my mission and all of its ramifications; whether I should accept or reject the fate of being unceremoniously condemned to remain unheralded and anonymous forever? I decided to compose my thoughts in a letter and share them with Rebecca as a last plea for empathy, friendship, and open communication hoping to convince her that my course of action was honorable and appropriate. I focused intently on the computer screen and words from the heart miraculously appeared. (See the actual letter below.)

Dear Rebecca, My faith motivates and sustains me. Inspired by my religious and spiritual nature, my inner confidence, happiness, and buoyant outlook on life have joyously peaked at an all-time high. Deep in my heart, I feel I comprehend you, and, even though we have never met, I sense a meaningful spiritual link and psychological connection with you. We are of the same flesh and blood, and, inevitably, we must telepathically think alike in some unknown mysterious ways. When I meditate, I perceive the existence of an inner eye that reads your thoughts and emotions, even from great distances. The imperceptible primordial spiritual link we share as mother and daughter binds us and amplifies my desire to find you. Like a lighthouse on a dark and stormy night, your essence is constantly transmitting a message of hope that illuminates my path. The mysterious vitality that is compelling me to take action is powerful and gaining strength, and my instincts will not let me rest. No words can describe the enigmatic, mystifying, passionate psychological potency that motivates me. Its dominance is overwhelmingly spiritually based and all encompassing. Perhaps my sixth sense was amplified to overcompensate for the lack of a physical connection and sound of your voice by projecting and receiving mental signals from afar to replace what I was lacking in direct tactile contact. Maybe some biological and psychological bonding took place in the womb before I was born, and the bonding process imprinted our souls with a marker that is a survival mechanism. For nine months, we shared the same foods. I heard you talking, and the tone and rhythm of your speech was recorded in my small, developing brain. I knew when you were awake and when you were hungry, happy, and tense. We shared everything. I was an extension of you and part of you. I was life longing for itself. When I was a child, I saw myself as a clone of you in some obscure but meaningful way. As the years passed, the frequency and strength of my thoughts about you increased. A realistic sense of mortality and vulnerability that is naturally acquired with age and experience kindled a new appreciation for the shortness of life and made me aware there are limited windows of opportunity in life when a person needs to take action or forever regret her decision and lose the opportunity to accomplish her goals. I have compassion for all mothers separated from their babies at birth that must endure countless anxious days and nights of tormented suffering. These traumatic tribulations haunt the afflicted, especially unwanted children selflessly orphaned, abandoned, and clueless. Separation from the birth mother is the confiscation of the child’s soul, a mutual occurrence that rips apart and exposes the heart of the child. Orphans amputated from their mother’s breast hide their wounds in the darkest subconscious corners of their primal brains, where they remain hidden, but never healed. As mother and daughter, we have equally suffered from the same cerebral wounds, numbness, and sentiments of penitence. Enduring these injuries and suffering in silence is what we habitually have in common. Ultimately, the crushing emotional pain is so formidable that it can only be shared with God. Love, Judith

Judith Land




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