“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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Mother and child separation induces severe psychological stress in animals

The bond between a mother and her child is the strongest bond found in all of nature. All infants have an instinctive need to stay near their mothers for survival. Scientific studies prove that separation induces severe psychological stress, causes deviations from normal behavior that is predictable, and provides scientific evidence that show the negative effect on the well being of humans and animals.

Separation anxiety disorder | Judith Land | Adoption Detective

The emotional attachment elephants form toward family members rivals our own. A baby elephant will cry for hours when separated from its mother. Bonds between mother elephants and their daughters last 50 years or more.

The behavioral science of psychology that focuses on understanding behavior and the mind is called cognitive-behavioral research. Psychological and sociological data is replete with information about the importance of maternal bonding and the terrible consequences when it is disrupted. Nature has provided a process of ‘bonding’ to develop a close mother-infant relationship in the first year of life, so that a mother becomes attached to her particular baby. Keeping them together is necessary for survival. The distressing and well-known effects of early separation of mother and infant are contained in a vast array of literature covering the effects of brain damage on the behavior of animals. Separation anxiety disorder (SAD) is a psychological condition in which an infant experiences excessive anxiety due to separation from the mother.

Laboratory experiments separating infant monkeys from their mothers in an effort to determine what factors are responsible for infant bonding describes monkeys raised this way as ‘totally destroyed’ non-functioning adults. Monkeys raised by surrogate mothers engaged in strange behavioral patterns including excessive and misdirected aggression. Weaning causes cows and calves to vocalize loudly and show significant increases in walking, butting, and urinating. Calf-cow reunions immediately reduce behavioral signs associated with stress. This is the basis of the separation anxiety which normal infants often show, if they cannot re-unite with their mothers. Sheep, deer, buffalo, horses and other animals follow their mothers from birth. Chimpanzee mothers are exceptionally protective and caring. Infants too immature to walk are carried in their mother’s arms. Dolphin calves in the ocean maintain a close physical association with their mothers. Frantic acoustic signaling during separation increases the risk of mortality due to predation and starvation. Rats show fear and anxiety when separated. Wolves, dogs and cats afraid of separation are known to rescue their young in the face of grave danger. Elephants are among the most exuberantly expressive of creatures. They are capable of complex thought and deep feeling. They express joy, anger, grief, compassion, and love. The emotional attachment elephants form toward family members rivals our own. A baby elephant will cry for hours when separated from its mother. Bonds between mother elephants and their daughters last 50 years or more. Many animals also bond very strongly with humans. The stronger the bond is the greater the pain of abandonment. For the dog, the absence of attention and affection is tragic.

As a society, we have yet to recognize and appreciate the emotional and psychological needs of humans and animals. Sadly, many animals have been tortured and induced with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder, alcoholism, autism, schizophrenia, anorexia, drug addiction, and spinal cord injuries for the purpose of understanding human psychology. Perhaps, many human troubles would be lessened if the emotional needs of infants and young children were better understood. This applies particularly to attachment needs and the effects of separating human infants from their parents.

Judith Land



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“Are you an adoptee who feels like a weed, out of place and unloved?”

Have you ever felt that you were imprudently transplanted like a wild bramble growing in a cultivated field of strawberries? Have you ever experienced the hurtful feelings of being judged; viewed with contempt and disapproval; or considered undesirable and unwanted in a particular situation because you were adopted? Have you ever felt unwanted and unloved outside of your comfort zone and native habitat, or sensed that you were in a human-controlled setting where you were unwelcome?

Adoption Detective | Judith Land

“Dandelions create ephemeral fields of summer gold with many secrets yet untold. Jubilant young lovers bursting with glee shoo away the bees, pluck the wild flowers, and on bended knee gift their bouquet of wild yellow blooms hoping to capture timeless love. These are the unforgettable priceless moments in the sun when flint meets steel and sparks ignite lovers hearts.” —Judith Land

Strangers profiled me as my mother’s “adopted child.” She had skin as pale as milk. Her eyes were blue and her hair was naturally blond. The nature of her character, attitude, appearance, and temperament were highly dissimilar and seemingly unrelated to mine. I was cognitively aware of our obvious differences at an early age and intuitively recognized polarizing differences in our personalities, comfort levels, styles and deportment and automatically warmed to strangers who were more like me. My adoptive mother and I had contrasting emotional responses to external stimuli and a divergence of opinions on common issues. There were variances in our sense of humor and subtle imbalances in our thinking. Whenever she embarrassed me in public by highlighting my character flaws my emotional responses were intensified—“I felt like a weed, out of place and unloved.”

The word “weed” has no botanical significance in taxonomy because it is simply a plant growing outside of its natural geographic range in a situation where it is unwanted. Weeds are not valued for utilitarian purposes, profit or beauty. They have a negative connotation because they aren’t useful or beneficial. They are invasive outside their native habitat and grow wild and rank when they aren’t controlled. They proliferate with creeping stems that root and spread out and hinder the growth of other more desirable vegetation. Weeds are natural enemies because they cause difficulty and annoyance. Weeds are troublesome, poisonous and noxious. They are worrisome when they compete for limited resources; infect and degrade the quality of desired plants; cause damage to the environment; harbor pests; cause irritation and carry pathogens.

When an adoptee feels like a weed, or a fish out of water, and they are crying out for a shoulder to lean on, they need to be reminded that many plants that are widely regarded as weeds have beneficial properties. They are intentionally grown in gardens and other cultivated settings and valued for food and herbal medicines. Some weeds attract insects that are beneficial to other plants; improve soil conditions by acting as mulch; protect water supplies by reducing moisture loss and soil erosion; bring nutrients to the surface through the tap root; host nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the soil; breakup hardpan soils in cultivated fields; and provide colorful exotic flowers or prominent foliage in showy botanic gardens.

When an adoptee is suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome, they must learn that happiness and contentment comes from rejecting the prosaic feelings of lonesomeness and tearful thoughts of separation associated with adoption and ask the question, “Whats wrong with bright yellow dandelions? They are weeds but they are appreciated for many reasons. They are edible and nutritious in salads. Bees make delicious honey from them. Animals eat them. Winemakers use dandelions to produce delicate wines. They have bright yellow flowers that add aesthetic beauty to alpine meadows and fallow fields. Dandelions are tough resilient plants that thrive in harsh environments and difficult circumstances. They are worthy and full of nature’s gold—just like you and me.”

Judith Land – Adoptee



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“Adopted—going topless in Tahiti”

“Going topless in Tahiti” is another way of saying, “going native” which means a person living away from their place of origin who abandons their own natural family, culture, customs and way of life to adopt those of the country and region where they are currently living. In order to imitate the homegrown domestic, they must lose some of their own character traits and behave the way of the local culture. Adoptees placed in alien families must react by doing the same. To have a successful integration with their adoptive family, they must assimilate with the people around them; imitate the lifestyle and outlook of the local community, dress, language, accent, etiquette, diet, and religion; and behave according to the traditions and customs taught to them by their adoptive parents. When an adoptee becomes successful in their new culture and well integrated into society, possibly better than they might have been back home, going native is viewed in positive terms.

Tahitian Dance Festival

“Some adoptees dance to remember, while other adoptees dance to forget.” Judith Land

The word native is derived from the Latin word for natural—traits and behavior belonging to a person’s character from birth rather than those that are acquired. A native is a person associated with a place by birth with an inherent ability and a natural grace indigenous to a particular region and cultural group. They are identifiable based on habits, diet, art, music and dance, way of life, customs and dress and other characteristics associated with the group that distinguish them from strangers and foreigners. The rich diversity of unique plant and animal species across many parts of the world exists because large rivers, seas, oceans, mountains and deserts separate bioregions. Humans, migratory birds and ocean currents have transported many species to lands in far away places that have never met in their evolutionary history. Humans in particular are moving species across the globe at an unprecedented rate. Animals are placed in zoos and aquariums; exotic plants are uprooted, cultured and hybridized in greenhouses; and immigrant children are intentionally removed from their natural family, place of origin, and native society. Adoptees are willfully placed in new surroundings where they are forced to adapt to alien customs and practices. They are thrust into awkward situations and forced to learn new customs, languages, habits and religions through total immersion methods.

Going native may be a good thing in fiction and academics, if you are Lawrence of Arabia or a military commander fighting in a foreign land, but for many adoptees the unexpected change in surroundings and sudden displacement from their natural parents is shockingly traumatic. Children are innately frightened by the faces of strangers; adjusting to the nuances of new parents and alien surroundings creates severe emotional stress. Prayers and hugs may provide a benevolent head start, but they are not the ultimate solution for resolving issues associated with post-traumatic stress syndrome. Adjustments in the behavior of the adopted child may be subtle, but the motives and reasons for the changes are profoundly deep and emotionally intense. The challenge for the adoptive parents becomes the development of a heightened awareness of the depth of feelings adoption generates and an accurate perception of the long-term psychological effects likely to occur to their child. The development of positive long-term relationships and the promotion of a curative breakthrough reality needed for a successful integration presents a tremendous challenge to the adoptive parents.

Judith Land



adopción | 收养 | 채용 | ילד מאומץ | adoptavit


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“Adoption story—the old wedding shoes”

The last few years I have had some stunning breakthroughs in knowledge about my family history. When I began my adoption search I didn’t even know the names of my birth parents. Finding them seemed like an impossible task, but after I finally found them my life was significantly enriched. They had many stories to tell about family history, cultural traditions and ancestry. The retelling of these stories about their happiest moments and how they bounced back from the difficult ones are interesting and likely to continue for many more generations.

Judith Land | Adoption Detective | Author

“The retelling of old stories unique to each family helps us thrive and reminds us who we truly are.” —Judith Land

I was most enthralled when hearing about the nearly two hundred year old wedding shoes in our family. Eight generations ago two brothers married two sisters. The two boys lived on a farm on the east side of a lake on a high rocky peninsula that jutted out into the water with excellent views of the lake. Every evening when their chores were finished the two boys viewed the fiery red sunsets silhouetting the opposite shore where two sisters lived in a farmhouse in a small sheltered cove protected by large trees; and every morning when the sisters awoke at dawn they looked across the lake and viewed the darkened shape of the peninsula where the two boys lived framed against the morning sky.

On a warm summer night under a full moon the two brothers asked the two sisters to marry. The oldest brother was taller, stronger and considerably more vain than his younger brother. He considered himself superior because he was entitled to a greater share of the family inheritance and property. He was the jealous type and eager to prove that his new bride was the most beautiful and worthy of the two sisters. The younger brother was hard working and earnest. He truly loved his fiancé and cared very little about the quality of her clothes or outward appearance. Both girls were eager to be married but ashamed to admit that they had no shoes to wear for the wedding. The older brother had a friend who was an excellent shoemaker and agreed to purchase a new pair of wedding shoes made from the best leather for both brides. In order to make his bride appear more worthy and superior the older brother applied extra coats of polish and buffed her shoes until he could see his reflection. He then mischievously rubbed coal dust into the leather of the other pair of shoes to dull the glossy finish and make them appear older and less valuable. He bought two small wooden boxes to store the special shoes and hired an artist to paint elegant designs with bright colors preserved with a shiny lacquer finish on the box containing his wife’s shoes and simple patterns painted with dull brown, black and dark green colors on the other box. The younger couple didn’t seem to mind and both couples were happily married and had many children. The older brother inherited his father’s farm and the younger brother inherited his wife’s farm. They both had large families and when their daughters were married they were offered the chance to wear the same shoes their mothers had worn. After several generations and many weddings both pairs of shoes became family heirlooms. The shoes and the wooden boxes were given to a local museum along with a list of the many brides who wore them, and each time a younger daughter, sister, cousin or niece was married they were encouraged to wear the legendary wedding shoes worn by their great grandmothers because all of the women before them had been happily married and bore many children.

Preserving the memories that connect us with the past is what makes each family unique. The retelling of these stories is what gives us our self-identity and helps us thrive. If you are adopted and found your roots, what types of stories would you most expect to hear?



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