Why are “Abandoned Children” called Orphans?

“There are not enough words to describe the devastating heartfelt sense of loss a child feels due to parental separation. Quietude is a state of stillness, calmness, and freedom from disturbance and interruption by others—sometimes silence is the best way to display empathy and better understand a child’s perspective.” Judith Land

 “Adoption is a journey of faith, love, and mercy that changes a child’s life forever. Orphaned children aren’t paint-by-number kits where you get to fill in your favorite colors. They are not exotic creatures to be placed on display or exhibited in any way. Allowing them to imitate chimpanzees having fun in a zoo isn’t the best way to learn social skills. Too often, we teach them to walk and talk and for the rest of their lives to be silent and sit down.” Judith Land 

Usually, we think of sad little children without parents due to war, pestilence, accidents, and natural disasters when we think of orphans. The term orphan has broadened in modern usage to include children willfully “abandoned” by living parents. They consciously choose to be permanently and legally separated from their child, regardless of the potential cruel mental and behavioral consequences, collateral effects, and repercussions to others and society their actions may cause. 

Historically, the conditions in many orphanages were horrific. That is why they have largely been phased out in North America and Europe but continue to operate in other regions internationally. In some countries, owning and running an orphanage is profitable, with foreign donations serving as revenue. Many are unlicensed, with very little government oversight, leaving babies and children subject to abuse, organ harvesting, and illegal adoptions. Children with disabilities, including learning disabilities, are twice as likely to have difficulty. Asia holds the most significant number of orphaned children, at 71 million. India is home to 31 million orphans, while Africa harbors 59 million. More than 25,000 children became orphaned in Indonesia due to Covid-19. Native American tribes have very few orphans compared to other cultures. Children without parents are raised by a grandmother or sent to live with close family members.

Children deprived of the protections and benefits parents provide are left with extreme disadvantages. Losing a mother can be emotionally overwhelming. Separation leaves children feeling perpetually insecure and doubtful in themselves, in relationships, and the world. Still, psychologists agree that an institutional home for orphans is no substitute for a house with loving parents, even if the child is adopted.  

Learning how to survive the brutal world and carving an identity are challenging tasks. Modern adoption and foster practices and child welfare programs have replaced orphanages in most cases. Orphaned children age out of the social welfare network between age 18-21 when they suddenly find themselves on their own, responsible for managing their own money and finding a suitable place to live. Transitioning into the real world is particularly difficult for those with physical handicaps and learning disabilities. Regrettably, many of these vulnerable young teenagers face life alone.  

Judith Land

http://www.adoptiondetectivejudithland.com

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Children are Reminders from God that Life Goes On

“The birth of every wispy-haired, chubby-faced, ragamuffin kid is a reminder from God that life goes on. When they take their first breath, it takes yours away. Cherish your babies like a Fabergé egg. Take care to avoid accidentally banging their heads on the coffee table. You are the ultimate role model. If you bungle raising your children, whatever else you do matters less. Your children may not listen to what you say, but they are always watching you. Try to leave them a legacy of character and faith that will be valued and treasured till kingdom come.” Judith Land

“Children are like butterflies that whimsically flit around from flower to flower depending on how the wind is blowing. Give them freedom, love, and confidence. Don’t make them grow up too soon.” Judith Land

Raising kids is like walking a little drunk person through Jurassic Park, bumping into things, urinating and vomiting, willingly sharing infectious diseases, and the mother’s age with strangers. Teething babies are like pots of boiling vomit on a hot stove, ready to boil over at any time unexpectedly. Living with them is like a fraternity house, and you got paired up with the worst roommate. Everything broke, everyone was awake, and there was a lot of throwing up. At least you can blame your farts on them.  

They enter your home and for the next 18 years make so much noise you can’t stand it. They use sleep deprivation methods to try to break you running around like rodeo clowns. The most popular dinner party conversations are about poop, not politics. If you could look inside their head, you would discover a giant drool gland. If your kids haven’t seen it on television, they probably won’t like it. Living with children is like being in the kitchen when someone forgets the top to the blender. Boys leave little streaks of dirt, slime stains, marbles, skid marks, and little cars with missing wheels. Girls are just as messy as boys, leaving piles of glitter and confetti, doll clothes, and pick-up sticks. Cleaning the house when they are home is like shoveling the sidewalk during a snow storm. Small children disturb your sleep, and teens make you worry about life. If you don’t like your neighbors, buy their kids a drum. If things are suddenly quiet, they probably left for college. 

You begin to feel like a drug addict when you don’t mind getting crapped on, and big smiles turn into hysterics. Instead of blushing, you invent creative new words for drippy noses, booboos, and body fluids. Try to remember that your youngest child isn’t mad at you; they just haven’t learned to speak yet. When their eyes unexpectedly pop open when you are watching them sleep doesn’t mean you’re supposed to drop to the floor and roll out of the room like a ninja warrior. Watch the chimpanzees in the zoo if you want them to learn how to have fun together. We teach them to walk and talk and then be silent and sit down for the rest of their lives. 

The moral of most children’s stories is a vasectomy. If your baby is perfect, you’re probably the grandparent, not the parent. The first 30 years of raising children are the easiest. Children help you reach old age quicker. Suppose you find yourself continuing the habit of taking naps when the baby has left to make a family of its own. In that case, you’re probably just getting old. 

Judith Land

http://www.adoptiondetectivejudithland.com

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Adoption is Paradoxical

“Some adoptees are full of internal tensions that seem irreconcilable. Their lives are paradoxical. They act like comedians on stage, making everyone around them laugh. Still, they are deeply internally conflicted and emotionally troubled.” Judith Land

 “Paradoxes arrest our attention and provoke fresh thoughts and altered ways of thinking. Life is hazardous. Fear slows progress. Proceed with caution. This image of a mountainous road is how many adoptees perceive the world—one wrong step and you’ll be crushed. The way forward is challenging and uncertain. There are huge emotional barriers to overcome. Adoptees have many more things to think about and obstacles to overcome.” Judith Land

Truth is rarely pure and simple. Facts don’t cease to exist because they are ignored or hidden. When the idea of two contrary sets of parents collides in a child’s mind, that’s paradoxical. The lives of many adoptees are contradictory, inconsistent, unpredictable, and confusing, especially when the truth is improbable, ambiguous, and contrary to the facts. Was their birth a paradoxical twist of fate? Sometimes, the truth is illogical and downright strange. What if the child finds out the truth is contradictory to the oral family tradition? 

If you are an adoptee, have you ever wanted to know the identity of your parents and siblings or the reasons why you were adopted? Are there significant others in your family tree that you would like to meet? Are you curious about your medical history? Are there paradoxes in your life that are difficult to explain? Has fate resulted in serendipitous good fortune or catastrophic disasters that are unfortunate? Is there anything ironic about your situation that is interesting or humorous? Has adoption ever caused you to feel irritable, moody, anxious, or depressed? Did you ever feel overwhelmed or unmotivated and lonely and isolated, unable to function or make daily decisions without feeling depleted because you were adopted? 

There are many paradoxes in life, like why is there is so much poverty in such a rich country? Why are some people both charming and rude? Life is paradoxical when you land a teaching job at the same school that expelled you and the fire station where you work accidentally burns down. What if your best friend turns out to be your sister? Adoption is the greatest paradox of all, knowing there are more potential adoptive parents than children available. Paradoxically, parents of adopted children tend to be wealthier and more involved. Yet, adopted children tend to have more behavior and attention problems. The trauma, loss, and possibly other horrific things that happened to them are often long-lasting and deeply troubling. 

Life is messy. It’s a fact of life that merit doesn’t always recognize winners. Anyone that has lost the connection with their biological parents, siblings, culture, and language is naturally and inherently anxious. Strange things are bound to happen, no matter what you do. Still, try to make life enjoyable. Seek virtue and freedom. Display empathy. Ask God to grant you serenity, inner peace, and grace. Make relationships valuable and strive for happiness. Avoid destabilizing paradoxes that run contrary to your conscious expectations.

Judith Land

http://www.adoptiondetectivejudithland.com

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Adoption is a Twist of Fate

“Giving a child up for adoption should never be like playing the Wheel of Fortune or the thrill provided by Russian roulette with a delicious cocktail in hand. Choice determines everything. Some parents treat life as a risky crapshoot. The father of mischief and the thrill-seeking mother that cast lots together result in a child of avarice—the sacrificial goat and the scapegoats.” Judith Land

“From the bells and whistles of the slot machines to the dazzling colors and shapes of table games, everything is designed to delight you. Keep the party going with bars and restaurants with live music. If you’re playing online, your excitement grows bigger whenever the number of loyalty points increases. Some gamblers feel happy even when they are losing.” Judith Land

Adoptees abandoned by birth parents to be raised by others seek profound soul-searching answers to the mysteries of life, fate, and destiny. Seeking only truth, they feel bewildered, wondering why their souls seem unbalanced and unsettled. Life is brutal and confusing for adoptees wondering about random events and the circumstances of their birth. Did the critical events leading to birth unfold by chance, good fortune, or bad luck as whimsically as the pulling of a slot machine arm to activate the reels? Was conception a fluke, an accidental twist of fate resulting from random unplanned circumstances? Children’s critical questions about their birth and adoption raise many troubling issues for further consideration, empathy, and deep heartfelt discussion.

Life is difficult for unstable adopted children confused about who they are. Life feels strange and exciting, and yet, unfortunate to them. Intense feelings of anger and confusion leave them feeling emotionally unsettled and unbalanced. Relationships are worrisome and self-contradictory. The world is incomprehensible and incongruent. What is the meaning of life? Who set the path, and how will it end? What role did happenstance, random events, luck, and coincidence play? Did a lucky twist of fate accidentally result in good fortune, or the loss of opportunity, the opposite of what you would have otherwise expected? What were the odds?

Judith Land

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“A New Adoption Classic”

5.0 out of 5 stars 

A book review by Donna Montalbano, Radio Host

Adoption Detective: Memoir of an Adopted Child belongs in the pantheon of adoption classics. It is a powerful, complex, and unforgettable journey of an adopted child from birth to adulthood. As a member of the “adoption triad” and former radio host of adoption-related programming, I know the devastating dynamics of adoption: beginning with banishment, loss, lies, and betrayals, followed by a lifelong quest for identity. 

The story begins the simple, sweet moment when two teenagers fall in love. A pregnancy results, and when the families find out, a cover-up is concocted to protect the mother and parents from social embarrassment. Because she was a teenaged mother, pregnant and unmarried, she was exiled from her family, friends, and community and forced to give her child to strangers in secrecy and ignominy. Surrendering her child at birth was not a choice. It was non-negotiable. That baby girl, the author of this book, was at first placed with a loving foster family, who were privileged to hear her first words and see her first steps. But when she was only one year old (old enough to suffer the trauma of separation), she was torn away again and adopted by a new family. 

As she grew up, dreams and fantasies of her birth mother haunted her as a child. The most poignant parts of this book are the secret “letters” to her birth mother that begin each chapter, revealing her loneliness and longing. 

Yet this book is also a detective story, as the title suggests. Tracing your roots is not as easy as the TV shows make it seem. The heartbreaking narrative of this adoptee deeply moved me. Still, at the same time, the mystery buff in me breathlessly turned the pages to find out how or if Judith finally found her truth. As you read this shocking and fantastic book, keep reminding yourself: these are true events.

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Four Kinds of Adoption

“There are four kinds of adoption: nefarious, forgivable, warranted, and praiseworthy.” Judith Land

Gyula Benczúr (Nyiregyháza 1844 – Dolány 1920) – My Children, 1881

“DNA has overridden centuries of secretive sealed birth and adoption records intended to withhold the identity of biological parents from public disclosure confidentially.” Judith Land

As the adoption industry migrates to social media, many regretful adoptees and birth mothers confront the world with their pain and anger. Birth mothers express pressure, regret, and lifelong mourning for the children they gave up. Adoptees talk about their sense of estrangement, lack of psychological bonding, and deficiency of medical history.

Nefarious adoptions are highly objectionable and offensive. Strangers of questionable character coercing a mother into giving up her baby violate time-honored laws of nature and social conduct laws. It is a felonious act to separate a mother from her child without her permission and market that child for adoption. If a baby is stolen and sold for profit, the baby-brokering actions of the beneficiaries are criminal. It is corrupt for handlers and go-betweens to knowingly accept payment for a child illegally and cruelly separated from the biological parents. Corruption, child trafficking, and the treatment of adoptable children as a commodity are heartbreaking. Unregulated child redistribution by predatory individuals is a global issue.

Forgivable adoptions occur when the biological parents and close relatives are deceased, incapable, and physically or mentally unable to carry out their duties and responsibilities as parents. Separating a mother and child is traumatic for both. Protecting the ethereal bond between a biological mother and child should be preserved whenever possible. Still, there may be a higher potential for a better quality of life with another set of parents in these cases. Alternative parents exhibiting integrity may provide more positive opportunities and emotional stability for a healthier, moral, and productive life. Close family relatives are often the best choice. 

Warranted adoptions occur when the parents are unready, incompetent, and incapable of raising a child independently. Rehabilitation, food stamps, child care subsidies, and assistance from close family members should be encouraged as short-term solutions to give unsteady, indigent mothers more time to reverse a decision to give up their child. Delaying the decision allows more time before a child is legally separated and offered to strangers. If this process is unregulated, great harm may befall the child. Warranted adoptions should only take place after vigorously exhausting all other possibilities.

Praiseworthy adoptions result from desperate situations when children are in immediate peril and need of assistance. Parents are deceased or truly incapable, often resulting from disastrous events, pandemics, war, pestilence, accidents, and natural disasters. Praiseworthy adoptions occur when virtuous parents with a habit of goodness exhibit a true sense of compassion, righteousness, and a genuine love of children. With heartfelt emotions, they comprehend the deep sense of loss the adopted child endures. They strive to perform good acts and give their best because the situation is morally justifiable. The parents most influence a child’s learning and socialization. Adoptive parents are praiseworthy when they provide encouragement, support, and access to activities that enable children to master essential developmental tasks. Happy parents raise happy children. 

Unfortunately, phycologists paint a dire picture of orphanages. 90% of children living in orphanages worldwide have at least one living parent that has willingly placed their child in the administrative incarcerated care of the ward state. Being adopted into a traditional family is almost always preferable to institutional care provided by orphanages.

Judith Land

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Adoption—Finding Solace

“The soul is the life force that makes us active and keeps us alive. It is a reflection of our inner person, personality, spirituality, and identity. When our soul is out of balance, nothing seems right, bad habits develop, our focus deteriorates, spirituality diminishes, and our souls suffer. Sometimes, for those with tears in their eyes, the only solace is knowing that someone we love will soon be in heaven.” Judith Land

Solace is a peaceful state of tranquility, quiet, and harmony during a time of distress—a feeling of comfort that makes you feel less sad. Solace is the opposite of ache, anguish, and suffering. If you’re an adoptee that feels wounded due to separation from significant others, consider doing these five things to keep your spirits alive and in balance.

  1. Increase self-care with a better diet, exercise, sleep habits, and hygiene. Comb your hair and brush your teeth. Avoid wrinkled and torn clothing and wear sunglasses to conceal those tired eyes.
  1. Increase self-discipline by avoiding uncomfortable situations and sleepless nights. Not finishing tasks and failing to meet commitments are signs of a chaotic unbalanced lifestyle. Learn to prevent destructive traits and nasty habits that negatively affect others.
  1. Try to be more consistent. Establish goals and be clear about what you want to accomplish. Show some initiative and energy. Commit to following through and avoid laziness.
  1. Concentrate on improving your mental and physical health. Calm your anxious spirit by sorting out the issues that cause you pain. Look inside yourself and make an effort to improve how you feel. Learn to see your potential. Concentrate on bouncing back after setbacks to improve your resiliency. Know that a healthy body keeps you well and active. Whereas a healthy soul keeps you fulfilled and content. 
  1. Making and keeping commitments are essential steps in finding balance. Force yourself to do better. Isolation leads to depression, which is never a good thing. 

Finding consolation and comfort in yourself and your own thoughts is a strength many have difficulty seeing in this fast-paced age. Sometimes, the best way to find solace is in solitude. Start small. Listen to music and talk to friends. Find comfort in reading and relief in writing. Go on a nature walk and take yourself out for a meal at someplace you always wanted to try. Plant a flower. Alleviate your grief and anxiety by reminiscing about pleasant things in your life. Authentically engage in activities that are an expression of your values. Do something you’re passionate about that makes you happy. Remember to be patient because finding solace takes moral and emotional strength.

Judith Land

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Use the “Emotion Wheel” to get in Touch with Your Feelings

“When emotions rise to the surface, do you have difficulty putting your feelings and intimate thoughts into words? Try using the “Emotion Wheel” to get in touch with your inner feelings, find clarity, and improve your emotional literacy. Good communication increases engagement and improves our ability to collaborate and build relationships and stronger friendships. Communication is the best way for others to truly understand your authentic voice in a way that helps adoptees feel valued.” Judith Land

Adoption is a form of trauma—a deeply emotional process. Even newborns can sense that something is wrong and be difficult to sooth as a result. This effect has the potential to grow over time, even in the most loving and supportive adoptive homes. Adoptees have significantly more issues to deal with and things to think about. They often struggle with identity issues of not knowing for certain how they “fit in” and as they move forward in life, they may have difficulty forming emotional attachments and display low self-esteem. Separation from parents evokes strong emotions that are long-lasting and difficult to assess. Children often have difficulty openly communicating their inner feelings about topics they know very little about because it takes a mature mind and a bundle of life experiences to comprehend cause and effect, family dynamics, and abstract concepts they don’t always fully comprehend. 

Truth, honesty, openness, and respect are important to every child. Adoption is a personal journey, each story is unique because the early life of adopted children is special. It’s important to know what to say and do and how to react when asked questions about adoption and hearing comments from others, and whether to engage or walk away. 

Adoptees expect their adoptive parents and friends to be sensitive to their concerns and prefer to talk about adoption when they choose. One of the most sincere forms of respect is listening to what another person has to say, especially if an adoptee feels hurt, sad or disappointed. Communication is important. Using the Emotional Wheel System can be helpful for facilitating finding the right words when an adoptee is looking to engage with others.

Judith Land

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Adoption—What is a soliloquy?

“Have you ever talked to yourself when you assumed nobody was listening? That’s a soliloquy. Adoption is a topic fraught with emotions, feelings, personal conflicts, tension, suspense, uncertainty, fear, and drama that stimulates self-reflection. It’s a topic that stimulates deep emotions and feelings coming from the heart and weighs them against the conscious realities of the mind. Every decision has collateral damages and lasting consequences—no wonder some individuals dealing with an adoption issue are prone to speaking to themselves out loud.” Judith Land

“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” This is the opening sentence of a romantic soliloquy by William Shakespeare. Juliet is speaking to herself, painfully wishing that her boyfriend Romeo had been born to different parents.

Hamlet exposes his innermost thoughts to the audience in a soliloquy. He is conflicted about whether he should continue to oppose city hall amidst a sea of troubles or simply give up. “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles…”

 

Soliloquies are used to express our inner thoughts, personal problems and feelings, resolve arguments, explore different sides of an issue, and seek solutions to problems that trouble us. A soliloquy is a way of “talking to oneself” in a monologue, a poem, a dramatic speech, or unspoken reflections in response to events that trouble us. Speakers are trapped in their private thoughts in ways that reveal their emotions and feelings, motivations, and desires that would never be spoken aloud, if they were “aware” of anyone listening.

Emotional engagement is essential in the act of talking to oneself, particularly when we are conflicted about something that is explicitly going on in our life and there is a difficult decision to be made. Soliloquies illuminate our intimate thoughts, plans, pains, and motives in response to the events that trouble us. A soliloquy exposes our secret thoughts and intentions that we have in our mind by putting a light on relationships, thoughts, future actions, and the ways our decisions affect others.

Research suggests self-talk may help your brain perform better and that reading aloud helps sustain concentration and enhance performance. Soliloquies provide an emotional outlet for exposing strong feelings about difficult decisions that need to be made, especially when one is alone. They are a way of releasing raw emotional energy to describe perceptions, passions, apprehension, worries, and comprehension. Never be afraid to remind yourself how the topic of adoption has shaped your personality and family and altered your life’s trajectory.

Judith Land

 

 

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Adoption Secrets

“The heart of a mother that abandons her child holds a sea of secrets, hiding in the dark like a vampire ready to jump out and bite you. Some family secrets are generations old and others newly created. Healthy families tend to avoid keeping secrets.” Judith Land

Adoption Detective | Judith Land | Adoption Secrets

Shame is a powerful motive for keeping secrets. Birth mothers that relinquish their children to adoption fear their actions will be discovered and judged. Adoptive parents often fear that if children learn that they are adopted, they will want to find their biological parents and turn away from their adopted ones. As a result, they desire to keep the adoption a secret from their children.

Closed confidential adoption is a process by which an infant is adopted by another family and the record of the biological parents is kept secret. The name of the biological father is often not recorded, even on the original birth certificate. 

Minnesota was the first state to pass an adoption confidentiality and sealed records law to prevent the adoptee and the biological parents from knowing anything about each other to “protect” the adoptive parents from disruption. Infants were placed in state-mandated foster care for several months until the birthparent was certain about relinquishment and the adoption process was completed. Children treated this way often developed psychological problems identified as orphanage-type behavior, often evident even in adopted adults.

The infant from a closed adoption was issued a second birth certificate identifying the adopting parents as the child’s parents. The revised birth certificate became the legal name and identity of the child. If the city of birth and the name of the hospital were omitted from the revised birth certificate, adoptees from closed adoptions were denied passports.

Closed secret adoption has been increasingly criticized as being unfair to both the adoptee and the birth parents. Treating the identities of a child’s parents from a closed adoption as a state secret is a gross violation of human rights according to many adoptees, especially when genetic medical history is important for preventing disease and saving lives. 

Fortunately, there has been an increasing trend in recent years toward open adoption.

Judith Land

 

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