“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

About Judith Land

Judith Land lives in Colorado and Arizona with husband and coauthor Martin Land. Judith is a former nurse, retail shop owner, college instructor and avid outdoor person. Her book "Adoption Detective: Memoir of an Adopted Child" is a true story detailing the journey of Judith Romano, foster child and adoptee, as she discovers fragments of her background, and then sets out to solve the mystery as an adult. "Mothers and fathers everywhere in the world need to understand that children are forever and always." --Judith Land
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