Adoption—Individual Choice verses Collective Action

“Why is it that so many individuals in leadership positions are so impassioned about adoption issues and zealously exert their authority with such an overtly feverish intensity? Is it even possible today to make a personal choice about adoption without being overwhelmed by wholehearted individuals representing dozens of agencies and organizations with a myriad of contradictory points of view depending on their professional background and the side of the adoption triangle they are on?” Judith Land

Judith Land | Adoption Detective | Collective Action

“When faced with a difficult decision pertaining to adoption unclutter your mind and unleash your willpower to do what’s best. Stop to think before jumping to conclusions. Focus selectively on issues of importance. Never give up hope of a favorable outcome.” —Judith Land

Is it possible in this modern age to do anything in solitude in the privacy of our own home, to act alone in a state of being free from pubic attention and observation, and achieve freedom from interference? Let’s face it. Everyone is vulnerable. Most individuals have no first-hand knowledge or experience dealing with many of the complex and unforeseen issues associated with adoption. Adoptees whimsically daydreaming of reuniting with a lost parent may be exposed to intense primal emotions and sensibilities that outsiders don’t fully comprehend. Mothers thinking about relinquishing a child may lack vision and understanding of the degree of difficulty their child may experience later in life and naively lack empathy for the severe duress adoption may cause her child. Adoptive parents aspiring to expand their family may initially be unmindful of the complexities of adoption and psychological issues and post traumatic stress their adopted child may face in adolescence. More often than not, public administration is a struggle for many individuals to conquer that takes extreme fortitude and strength of character to work through the myriad of legal and financial issues and moral dilemmas before the desired results can be achieved. Difficult choices that are private often require a disciplined, principled, and blameless perspective, open-mindedness toward ineptitude, a tolerance for fatuousness, and a bulldozer to dispose of barriers, stumbling blocks, and persistent opposition.

Ultimately, adoption is a personal choice that is intimate and confidential that affects the private lives and relationships of specific individuals but when you prefer to act independently and alone it is easy to become overwhelmed by the forces of public opinion, demand for an adherence to rules, and overcome legal and social barriers that are difficult to navigate. Regardless of the position you find yourself in, or the side of the adoption triangle you are on, it is important to avoid making impulsive and temerarious decisions and refrain from being coerced into positions that you may later regret. As a first step, pause to think about the collective actions and wisdom of the saints, sinners, and salvageable of previous generations and learn to understand how outside influences may sway your opinions before finalizing your decision.

Who makes adoption policy and how does it come to fruition? Special interest groups with a specific purpose form societies, organizations, and associations to arouse concern, influence public opinion about adoption issues, prompt action, and campaign for change by lobbying politicians. Attorneys write laws for legislators hoping to enact new policies. Judges interpret and enforce the laws through the courts. Religious organizations struggle to address ethical and moral interpretations and guidance policies in response to evolving social priorities. Social service agencies establish written protocols and policies for dealing with specific issues leading to expanded manuals and internal training sessions. The media writes editorials and politicizes every aspect of the matters in question. Administrators create alternative action plans in response to new legislation requiring larger budgets and increased staff based on new aggregated procedures and a plethora of revised forms. Universities track statistics, conduct research, postulate about avant-garde theories, publish dissertations and hypothesize about a variety of suppositions. Book clubs expose leading authors and exchange opinions. Specialists in a broad range of agencies invent new legal, political, income tax, and social career niches. Support groups share intimate thoughts and feelings and personal stories. Psychologists invent new terminology to explain recently developed theories, revise diagnostic techniques and prescribe alternative treatment remedies. Nations pass treaties, accepted codes of procedure and behavior protocols for diplomatic occasions, and create a system of rules governing affairs of state regulating child trafficking and adoption policies. All of these actions collectively spur organizational changes, hiring of new personnel, increased training, budgets and a plethora of red tape. Any questions?

And you know what? Despite all of the collective actions of an ever-expanding assemblage of special interest groups and agencies, every action related to an adoption ultimately remains a “personal intimate matter” regardless of which side of the adoption triangle you are on. The only circumstance when you absolutely can’t make an individual choice or overcome the bureaucracy is when you fail to try.

Judith Land


Adoption Detective


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. She has reached readers in 192 countries. "Mothers and fathers everywhere in the world need to understand that children are forever and always." --Judith Land
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2 Responses to Adoption—Individual Choice verses Collective Action

  1. Judith Land says:

    John Smith – It’s not a choice for the child though.

    Wendy Andersen – Oh very true John!!

    Marcia MacInnis – Yeah, who would choose to lose everything just to “make a nice couple’s dream come true.” “Not I,” said the duck.

    Recent changes in policy by selective states to allow open adoption records that were previously closed for many years is a good example of collective actions taken by a group of like-minded individuals with a common purpose. Any decision of whether or not to reunite with a lost relative remains a “personal choice” and always will be but without the “collective actions” of other adoptees opportunities for reconciliation wouldn’t be possible for many adoptees—this is the point I am stressing. Judith Land

    Murray Legro – But it is the adoptees choice how they handle the mess. They can be demanding or not understanding and have respect for others who may have pushed the trauma to the back of their minds. What right do adoptees have to destroy that person because of lack of thought for others. You can’t change what happened but you can control your own actions and that alone determines if your are understanding of peoples feelings and rights or a narcissist who only want what you believe you have a right to. Whether you like it or not you are not a legal part of your original family and they have no legal rights over you. You have no idea how they have processed and informed others about your birth. I have been blocked by a so called Christian for saying the same thing but if you take time to think about it you will see I am right. Suppose you had a fling twenty or thirty years ago, you know nothing what has happened (male) after that fling, then out of the blue a person appears saying he is your child. Your current family is in shock. It may destroy the marriage or it may not.

    Murray – Thanks for your comment. Adoptees are displaced persons by definition. They feel the pain of the refugee, disconnected, alienated and separated from their roots—emotionally stranded on a desolate and baron land. Seeking only mercy on an intrinsic and primal level, regardless of the depths of humiliation they may find, they struggle to retrace their tracks in the sands of time and long to pierce the surface reflection to see what lies in the depths below. The way home is a pilgrimage of the road and an ethereal journey of the mind for many adoptees—a trip of a lifetime to hallowed ground they are usually forced to make alone. Judith Land

    Daniel Harrison – Strangely removed from the brutal reality of adoption. This is a bit like a fairytale. Where is the baby in all this? They are not a regulated product from Tesco although that is what adoption reduces the child to.

    Daniel – It is true what you say about fairytales. Most children are subjected to the deceit of others through the telling of fairytales and tarradiddles based on a surreal mix of fact and fantasy, improbable images, marvelous dreams, creative fantasies, half truths and tall stories. There is a time and place beyond the age of reason, when children attain the use of reason and begin to have moral responsibility when stories need to be more realistic, candid, truthful, authentic and accurate—a time when parents need to be honest, factual and sincere. No individual is a permanent child in need of lifelong supervision and protection. Children eventually grow to become responsible mature adults fully capable of making their own decisions. Those who experience an emotional need for a curative and breakthrough reality to make sense of their disrupted life stories seek understanding and wisdom. They believe in self-determinism and view opportunities to learn about the past as natural, healthy, beneficial and appropriate. Homesickness is a universal and profoundly nostalgic yearning. Man fears loneliness and longs for contact and communications with others. The state of being isolated and sequestered leads to lonesomeness when the soul is sadly overwhelmed by negative feelings of separation from significant others who are missing. Knowing nothing about their next of kin, unaware of their point of origin, the orphaned, fostered and adopted child feels remarkably alienated and surrounded by emptiness, but they should never be criticized for being immature or lacking fortitude because the distress and desolation they endure are sincere and authentic. Judith Land

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