The Angrier Adoptee, part 1

The Angrier Adoptee: I have some feedback for you, Professor. Meaning no disrespect. But some of us think you haven’t gone far enough. I do appreciate the energy shown in your recent posts. But we thought we’d give you a chance to explain yourself further.

John: Um, okay? I always welcome feedback from other adoptees. Even the ones who might disagree with some of what I’m saying. And by the way, you can call me John. You don’t need to call me “Professor.”

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The Angrier Adoptee: Okay, cool. Well, John. To start with, do you think all the people at that rally in Nebraska voted against Trump? I was looking at the voting patterns data in your state. And I’m pretty sure there must have been a ton of people at that rally who voted for him. It could be that they just decided that their president crossed a line when he told ICE to lock kids in cages. Even though they disagreed with him on that one decision, they could still vote for him again in 2020. Especially if they mostly like the other stuff he’s doing.

John: Yeah, I didn’t think about that. And that would explain the lack of real outrage expressed at the Lincoln rally. We also have this dynamic called “Nebraska Nice,” where we don’t like to treat our neighbors disrespectfully. There may be a gendered and class-based element to that. I mean, it seemed like there were more middle-class female protesters, and speakers, at the Lincoln rally. I know some immigrant friends who told me they couldn’t attend, because it would violate their visa status. Or maybe they are undocumented. So the diversity among the protesters wasn’t representative of the level of outrage and anxiety throughout the community. But you make an excellent point. I wanted to believe that I was among friends and allies. Which to me means committed anti-Trump folks. Now that you mention it, the publicity for the rally did say that it was open to people of all persuasions, not just people in one political party.

The Angrier Adoptee: Next, I wanted to talk to you about gender issues. To start with, why are most of your images on your blog boys and men? I don’t see a whole lot of women. Or girls, or non-binary people. But you write a lot about women, such as birth mothers and grieving moms, for instance. Or in your example of the traumatized adoptee keeled over in the fetal position, why did you make her female?

John: That’s a fair observation. The reason that my original artwork features guys is because the people I ask to pose for my photos are friends, or people I know personally. As a gay artist, I tend to make art about other males. That’s just my preference, where my interest lies. But yeah, I could do a better job including more images of women, girls, and gender non-conforming individuals. If that was your criticism.

The Angrier Adoptee: What about that traumatized adoptee? Why did she have to be female? You’re not female. As a male writer, isn’t it dangerous for you to talk about the experience of a female adoptee, as if you know what that feels like?

John: I guess I was thinking about the movie, Adopted. That movie, which everybody should see, by the way, was made by female adoptees,. You get to hear some powerful stories about adult adoptees. For me, the most poignant ones described the experience of adoptees who happened to be women. And let me add that I would hope that writers are allowed and even encouraged to write from various perspectives. We shouldn’t have  to limit ourselves to writing from one particular gender, should we?

The Angrier Adoptee: If you’re a good enough writer, yeah. Then maybe you could pull it off. Moving on, why don’t you come right out and offer people some concrete solutions? Where’s your sense of urgency? Your writing is very cerebral. It’s like you’re living in your head. What are readers supposed to do? Are they supposed to just think their way into social justice? When are you going to come down from your academic ivory tower? Children and families are suffering, yet you just blog.

John: I think about that, every day. I ask myself if doing research, teaching courses, and offering a few workshops and keynotes, when I’m invited, is doing enough. And I’m not sure what the answer is. I know that blogging is one action I can take to resist. But I also know that blogging isn’t enough. One thing I can do is put more energy into healing myself and strengthening my family. So I’ve been working on that, for a while now.

I did notice, at the rally, people seemed to get really riled up when a few speakers encouraged them to “remember in November.” As if voting for a better candidate will make much of a difference. They seem to forget that President Obama was the one who intensified the round-up of families by ICE. Obama deported so many families, and caused family separation when he deported thousands of parents out of the country. The Democrats have as much blame as the current administration, which calls itself Republican.

The Angrier Adoptee: But why don’t you tell people to conduct civil disobedience? If the adoption business is so immoral, as you claim to believe, how can you tolerate its existence? How can even you go to their agencies and give trainings? We should be chaining ourselves to the gates, and disrupting business as usual.

John: It could eventually come to that. But first of all, I try not to tell people what to do. And I tend to think we need to educate a few more people, first. Without education, our neighbors aren’t going to understand, or care to understand, why direct action is being used as a tactic. They’ll just write off the adoption abolitionists as a bunch of loudmouth anarchists and malcontents. I want people who have been touched by adoption to look inside their hearts. I want them to reflect deeply on what would be just, and right, and fair, if they found themselves in dire circumstances. Facing the kinds of decisions many desperate women have faced, that too often leads to losing their children.

The Angrier Adoptee: Did you ever stop and think that maybe some women don’t want to be mothers? They have a right to choose what to do with their bodies and the babies they bring into the world. Sometimes you sound like it’s okay to deny women their reproductive freedom.

John: I do struggle with this, I admit. It’s complicated. Setting aside the issue of abortion, for a minute. I will say that, as a feminist, I support a woman’s right to control her own body and destiny. As a parent, I have also tried to imagine what I would do if I found myself unable to care for my child. Or if I could not guarantee the safety of my child. Then, too, I think about my enslaved ancestors. We know that many anguished parents literally threw their children overboard on the slave ships. They must have thought their children would be better off dead than trying to eke out an existence as slaves.

But I’m here today because my ancestors did not make that choice. I am descended from survivors, from strong individuals, who endured and persevered. Our ancestors chose not to end the lives of their offspring. Instead, they raised children as best they could, under exceedingly difficult circumstances. They taught them how to struggle, how to conspire, and how to survive. So the next generation would have a fighting chance. I think that’s worth remembering.

The Angrier Adoptee: If my birth mother had aborted me, I wouldn’t be here, either. But thanks to her, I had to grow up with all the crap that comes with adoption: the trauma, the pain, the questions and insults, and the not knowing. The second-class citizenship. The denial of rights to our personal information. Some days, adoption trauma feels so unbearable that I actually wish I had been aborted.

John: Wow, that’s intense, Angrier. I want you to know that I can relate.

The Angrier Adoptee: Last question for now. John Brown or Harriet Tubman? Since you’re so fond of equating anti-adoption abolition to the anti-slavery Abolitionists, pick one to follow.

John: Hm, interesting choice. I have always admired both of those committed Abolitionists. John Brown, as a dedicated person of faith, and as a man of conscience, decided to lay down his life for what he believed in. He armed and then fought alongside enslaved Africans. He did way more than just give rousing speeches against slavery. To me, John Brown epitomizes what it means to be a genuine ally in anti-racist struggle. But Harriet Tubman was another incredibly brave and daring activist who led countless runaways away from slavery and into freedom. She risked life and limb, time and time again, to take those who wanted to flee away from the plantations on the Underground Railroad. So, for me, she’s another heroic example of what it means to be an ally.

I’d rather use the power of persuasion than violence in the cause of abolition. I do believe that history is on our side–the side of justice, which is the side of abolition. The tide of public opinion will turn against child removal and family separation. People are waking up to the crime of human trafficking, and making the connection to adoption. People will come to reject the entire child removal /foster care /adoption industry as an evil, money-making institution. Especially younger Americans, the children of the Baby Boomers.

The Angrier Adoptee: Real talk. At least we can agree on that. The Boomers have had their day. It’s just a matter of time until you Baby Boomers die off and relinquish power. Meantime, young people are making other choices about the kind of society we want to live in.

John: Right on. You all are going to figure out another way.

The Angrier Adoptee: Word. Alright, John, thanks for your time. I’m off to meet up with my DA posse.

John: DA?

The Angrier Adoptee: Yeah, man, direct action. We got work to do. Later.

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Family reunification & resistance

I went to the Nebraska state capital for the “Families Belong Together” rally. In this time of heightened fear-mongering that may well lead to a surge in state crimes against humanity, I felt it was important to be counted, and to stand with my neighbors.

The crowd, I have to tell you, was overwhelmingly white. Even so, it was heartening to witness people of all ages, from children to grandparents, apparently united in our opposition to Trump’s family separation and detention policies. It was empowering to feel so unified against Trump’s increasingly brash white nationalist agenda.

But let’s ask ourselves–were we really united? Unfortunately, I didn’t get the impression that most of my good white neighbors at the rally see the Trump agenda in such racially charged terms. It sounded like many of my fellow protesters mainly felt morally outraged and dismayed. And justifiably so. But from what I heard and witnessed, many of them lack the political clarity that would have been evident had the crowd consisted of a majority of people of color. For example, the rallies I saw on the news in cities such as Oakland, Chicago, New York City, and Atlanta sounded quite a bit rowdier and angrier than the largely white rally I attended.

It’s tempting to believe that those of us who didn’t vote for him are all on the same team, just because we “oppose” Trump. But we don’t even analyze the problems posed by his administration in the same way. That’s part of the problem of organizing an effective resistance.

Because I live in the Heartland, I mingle with many kindhearted white people of conscience, every day. Yet few of them have a highly developed analysis of oppression, even though many of them no doubt see themselves as allies. I daresay they represent the majority of white Americans across this vast country. I mean, I don’t think most white Americans are overtly racist. But I do think, unless they are intimately involved with aware people of color on a regular basis, they have no clue what’s really going on in communities of resistance (or what some people call “minority” communities).

I think we all could benefit from having more politically aware friends of color with whom to discuss what’s going on. The more politically-conscious individuals from oppressed groups in our social networks, the more likely we will be able to understand the anger and anxiety growing among communities of resistance. If aware people of color are absent from our daily interactions, I doubt if we will ever develop political clarity about the ways white supremacy governs daily life.

Let me try to be even clearer: Most good people of conscience and of privilege just don’t–or can’t–see Trump as a straight up white nationalist. But most of the people of color I talk to do. That’s the divide. For a long time, even I didn’t want to see him that way. Many individuals (like my working class, adopted African American sons, and my vulnerable immigrant friends), know that he’s a racist. Especially those who aren’t buffered from the more blatant effects of racism, as I am. In discussions of the current immigration debate, I have to own the privilege I receive, for instance, being a light-skinned, English-speaking, non-Muslim, middle class professional, U.S. citizenship-bearing male.

People who live immersed in communities of resistance understand implicitly that Trump’s policies reinforce a white nationalist agenda. I mean, there’s a reason he is the champion of nationalists who feel victimized by the growing brown menace. Why is that so hard for us as adoptive parents (and for some of us as highly educated, professional transracial adoptees, for that matter) to understand? Because our comfort numbs us. Our privilege blocks us from breaking through to a heightened level of  awareness, not to mention, a real sense of urgency.

If we are going to step up as allies, we all must learn to see Trump’s actions as a direct assault on parents who are simply trying to save their kids from dangerous situations in their home countries. They are under assault because they are poor, brown, and non-English-speaking. That’s classic American racism. Resisting oppression means refusing to go along with white supremacy, plain and simple. Resistance means refusing to take part in the roundup of “undesirables.” Resistance calls us to  unite our voices to proclaim, “No!” to family separation.

But after the rallies are over, resistance calls us to take up the ideological work of controlling the narrative. We don’t have to let the authorities of the white nation-state tell the story the way they want to. We can reject their dominant discourse. We can redirect it deliberately, and tell the story in our own words, and more importantly, in ways that reflect the concerns of the communities in resistance of our loved ones.

To allow the authorities, such as attorney general Jeff Sessions, to talk about the so-called “border” only in terms of law and order supports the dominant paradigm. To let them get away with talking about immigration mainly as a legal issue gives too much power to the white nation-state.

We can teach ourselves and our neighbors to take the side of the oppressed. We can learn to think of what’s going on as a humanitarian crisis. It’s not merely a question of politely standing in line to wait one’s turn to enter the United States “legally.” As the author, Mary Pipher, pointed out at the Nebraska rally, I’m pretty sure each of us would break the law –especially an unjust one–if it meant we could save the life of our child.

To empathize only with the suffering children, and not include their parents, is not resistance. Of course we want to take them into our arms and comfort them. It shouldn’t be surprising that many of us want to take them away from those awful cages and bring them into our homes. As North Americans, we tend to see ourselves as the great saviors of the downtrodden. The poem on the Statue of Liberty bolsters this identity:  “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore…” Our national identity as Americans remains wrapped up in sentimental notions of rescue and refuge. Focusing on the heart-wrenching images of suffering children feeds into our national savior complex.

I bought into it, and adopted needy children from foster care. So, I’m not pointing a finger at anyone, nor am I sitting in judgment of parents who open their homes to vulnerable kids. I’m trying to expose the way our good intentions, as parents–our well-meaning desires to do the right thing–are continually manipulated by what many of us have come to recognize as the racist child removal / foster care / adoption industry.

Resistance calls us to support family reunification. But reuniting the children of detained parents will be a messy process. Foster parents and adoptive parents who humbly received one of the children from the current crisis may find themselves in court, down the road. As more and more of these cases surface in the news, it will be a difficult moral dilemma to know whose side to take.

Will we stand with comparatively privileged foster parents and adoptive parents who were only trying to help? Or will we stand with the traumatized and deported migrant parents whose kids were ripped away from them, after they came to the U.S. seeking asylum?

Can foster and adoptive parents claim ignorance? Can we rely on leniency in the court of world opinion? Or will we be held liable for our part as accomplices in the historic, yet ongoing, drama of child removal and family separation at the hands of the white nation-state?

Resistance asks us to understand how the good intentions of well-meaning Americans have been used, time and again, by the self-appointed social engineers. It gives me no pleasure to point out any of this history of child removal as a tool of social engineering.  I’m simply trying to make amends for the role I have played in this shameful national tragedy.

I’m trying to hold myself accountable for any damage I may have caused, as an unwitting dupe of the system I once enthusiastically supported, and which I now view as fundamentally oppressive, and therefore, immoral.

I ask myself: How do I want to be remembered, as a participant in the historic legacy of ongoing child removal efforts that helped make America what it is today? It is easy to get caught up in the feel-good validation I receive, especially from other people of privilege, for being a noble rescuer. But now that I’ve started to see our nation’s history through the lens of child removal, it’s hard to close my eyes to the horror and the exploitation of vulnerable families that is suddenly obvious.

Paulo Freire warned us that conscientization was painful. The process of consciousness raising takes a heavy toll. Accepting responsibility for our actions, and securing liberation for ourselves and our loved ones, is not going to be easy.

But resistance calls us to shake off the shackles of ignorance and denial. Resistance requires us to be brave, and to stop making this about ourselves as foster parents and adoptive parents. Real resistance asks us to actually sacrifice for what we believe in, and live out the social justice we say we hold dear.

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“I really don’t care. Do you?”

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Why did the First Lady, a fashion-conscious former model, decide to wear this particular jacket to tour a detention center for immigrant kids? Did she think she was going to the Hunger Games?

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Kids have to look at this mural inside a Texas detention center, a converted Wal-Mart building… But hey, at least it’s bilingual, right? That should make them feel welcome.

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When kids are labeled “illegal” and “undesirable,” and nobody is paying attention, what could possibly go wrong?

 

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Detaining “undesirable” children is becoming normal again. We are being conditioned. And we accept this conditioning at our peril. How will history judge us?

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Your grandchildren will wonder, why didn’t you stop the madness?

R E S I S T

 

No More Tears, Let’s Do This

Today, I found myself surprised by actually crying in reaction to Donald Trump’s remark about so-called “shithole nations.” I feel compelled to tell my readers–especially those living in other countries– that I speak for many Americans when I say I’m sorry. Many, many Americans feel embarrassed, heartbroken, and outraged by our president’s willful ignorance.

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I’ll even admit that I have become wearily accustomed to hearing about his latest outrageous tweets and rants. It’s reached the point where many of us feel quite desensitized. I feel myself becoming hardened in response to the daily onslaught of almost unbelievable disinformation and propaganda coming from the White House. But recognize this: that’s part of the plan for governing under Trump–to keep us off balance, shocked, anxious, and passive.

But something about the ugliness of this particular remark really got to me. And so I found myself in tears, thinking about all the people I know personally, especially transracial and international adoptees, who would be classed with those that the president was rejecting as inferior and unwanted.

Maybe I found myself in tears, too, because I’m still coming down from the high of celebrating the Christmas season. I mean, I was feeling so energized after the holidays. Enjoying quality time with my multiracial family and friends, attending lovely candlelight church services, feeling moved by the inspiring seasonal concerts I went to, hearing again the wondrous tale of the rejected babe lying in a manger because there was no room at the inn–all these recent experiences recalled the idealistic message behind the Christmas holiday, a message freely available to all who choose to take heed.

Naturally, I’ve been thinking about the nativity of that holy child who grew up to teach his followers to love our enemies and care for strangers. He would have us bestow mercy on the poor, heal the sick, and even visit prisoners. If we follow his example, we’re supposed to welcome into our midst all those who have been rejected by society. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that I find his message particularly comforting as a transracial adoptee, and all the more so as a father whose children have, unfortunately, spent time behind bars.

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This image created by J. Raible  © 2017
Click here for info on Rev. Bonhoeffer’s life and work.

And so, in the warm post-Christmas glow, I was feeling hopeful and rejuvenated. Then along comes Trump’s latest hateful reminder of how far we have fallen from the moral heights that so many of have been working towards for generation upon generation.

Another cause for my tears, I suppose, is because lately I have been rethinking my identity. I have come to recognize the way that being raised by a parent from another country has profoundly influenced me, for instance, shaping my values. I appreciate how being an adopted son of immigrants clearly has impacted the way I see the world, and the way I have come to understand social justice issues. For that experience, I am grateful.

I wept also because I share this “child of immigrant parents” status with friends whose own families come from Haiti, Africa, and Central America. I cried because I’ve had the privilege of teaching students whose homelands are on Trump’s list of “shithole nations,” yet he discounts their value. I cried because apparently this president admires only the immigrants who have risked and sacrificed so much after departing from European nations, but not black and brown immigrants from respective motherlands on his despicable list of “shithole” sending nations.

Not that I have anything but respect for Norway, mind you. For starters, my white birth mother was partially of Norwegian descent, so I have a personal investment in my Norwegian heritage. I have long admired the heroic Norwegian resistance to the Nazi regime during World War Two. And after I was invited to present at a recent conference in Norway, I came home impressed by that nation’s social democracy, including its free college education and health care, the generally optimistic outlook among its citizens, and the generous welcome that they extend to refugees. The Norwegian government even has a position called the Minister of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion, which is something I can only imagine having here in the United States as an actual cabinet position, on equal footing with, say, the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of State.

When my president makes his ignorant and mean-spirited comments, praising Norwegian immigrants while vilifying those from the Caribbean and Africa, I cringe. As the head of our national government, Trump supposedly speaks on behalf of the American people.

I am ashamed and mortified to think that people around the world conclude that most of us here agree with Trump’s narrow-minded worldview. I want to state here and now that I, for one, do not. Donald Trump does not speak for me.

Many of us are continually outraged and appalled by what this sad, confused man says, and more importantly, by what his supporters and apologists do that undermines the push for equality, social justice, mutual aid, cooperation, and goodwill around the globe.

I found myself crying because I have worked too long and too hard for a meaningful approach to anti-racist multiculturalism that is rooted in “right relations,” and yet Trump is setting our movement and our progress back decades.

I fear for the damage to my grandchildren and their friends, who must somehow grow to adulthood under this “new normal.” I lament that we elders have not provided adequate education and guidance, and that our basic legacy to the young is a woefully polluted planet on the brink of destruction, fractured through and through with hatred, violence, and environmental degradation.

My heart also goes out to my Native friends, students, and colleagues, who have their own unique migration stories, not to mention their problematic encounters with immigrants and settlers. The ignorance and miseducation spouting from our so-called leader makes it even harder for me, as an activist and educator, to help develop and advance a more nuanced, sophisticated analysis of the interplay between immigration, migration, and Indigeneity. Those of us who seek to call attention to the related and sometimes competing narratives and concerns of immigrant and Indigenous communities have so much work to do, especially if we reject the divide-and-conquer goals of those who would govern us, and instead, seek to promote unity and collaboration.

Lastly, I guess I cried because I find myself once more deeply disappointed in the behavior of powerful adults who ought to know better, and who should serve as positive role models for the younger generations. It is sickening to witness our elected officials misusing their privilege and power to influence the national and global conversations in such a negative fashion, moving them backward rather than forward toward greater understanding, harmony, and equality.

It is tempting to feel helpless to protect that which is sacred, as powerful elites render life on earth ever more dangerous. At the same time, it’s hard to sit idly by and watch passively while they sow their seeds of discord and selfishness, when what we need is more compassion and more empathy. I hope it’s not too late to realize the power of our love by putting it into action.

In short, I apologize for my president’s remarks. I pledge to do more in 2018 to make amends for my past inaction and for the harm caused by my nation. May 2018 be the year of our renewed resistance. May we usher in the triumph over evil of righteousness, solidarity, and peace.

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Acceptance speech

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Here I am applauding my “co-conspirators” right after my award acceptance speech. You can read the transcript of my 2-minute video here:

“First, I’d like to thank the founders of NAME for creating such a welcoming community of dedicated and inspiring activist-scholars. I’d like to thank the current NAME leadership and staff for their tireless labors to sustain an organization that I’m proud to be a part of.

I’d like to thank my friend and mentor, Sonia Nieto, for her support and encouragement over the 37 years that I’ve known her. She is largely responsible for me becoming a teacher, and she introduced me to NAME and what it’s all about.

I’d like to thank my UMass Amherst posse, as well as my colleagues at other institutions, because it truly does take a village to do any of this unglamorous work in education. I say thank you to my sons and my grandchildren, and to my students over the years, for reminding me why the struggle must continue.

And I’d like to say thank you especially to the Indigenous people and nations for allowing me to visit and live in their homelands, and for teaching me in different ways, and for reminding me. For reminding us all, of the debt we owe to their nations.

Lastly, I’d like to thank my different sets of parents: My foster parents, Mr. & Mrs. Kelly who were African American. They started me out in life until I got adopted. They showed me the true meaning of Nikki Giovanni’s poem, “Childhood,” the one where she reminds us, ‘Black love is black wealth.’

I say thank you to my white birth mother and my black birth father, who gave me life. Even though I was not allowed to know them, I thank them for giving me the chance to experience life on planet earth.

And I thank my white adoptive parents, who are both immigrants, who showed me by their example that those imaginary lines called borders are for crossing. They’re bridges, not walls. I thank Mom & Dad for raising me in a progressive faith community, and for making it possible for me to go to college, so that I could join a community of awesome co-conspirators like the people gathered here at this conference.”

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Still hoping for change

A few days ago, I received a surprise email from a new student at the university where I work. Her heartfelt message touched me, and she gave me permission to share it with my readers.

I feel grateful that she wrote to me, because it reminded me that the work I have done over the years in the so-called adoption community has made a difference, at least to some people, which is something I often wonder about.

In her message, this student talks about being labeled as a ‘birth mother.’ She alludes to the anguish caused by the momentous decision to place her baby boy for adoption. She basically thanked me for my perspective that tries to bring to the forefront the frequently overlooked participants in the oppressive system that we have come to think of as adoption.

Now that I’ve given you some context, I will share the message sent to me from this birth mother. We agreed that I would not use her name on my blog, for obvious reasons. (And even that right there calls attention to the injustice created through this oppressive system…)

Dear Dr. Raible,

My name is _____. I recently transferred to the university as a nontraditional college student. I was elated to discover that you work for the university as an associate professor. Here’s why:

In 2014, I was pregnant with my first child. It was an unplanned pregnancy, and the only option I had ever considered before this was abortion. But as you know, things change in an instant.

I was contacted by a nonprofit organization in my town at that time that provides services for expectant parents as well as prospective adoptive parents. I soon learned that even before giving birth to my son, I was seen as a birth mother, and trust me, that is a title no one wants to have. Then one day, I came across a quote of yours (please see attached), and it gave me hope, hope that maybe one day birth mothers and birth parents like me will be respected, loved, and held in high esteem, like their children/our children are. Unfortunately, that has not happened for me yet, but I still love looking at your quote from time to time, still hoping for change.

Anyways, I would love to meet with you if you have some time in the next few weeks. Grab a cup of coffee, or whatever works for you. That being said, I look forward to hearing back from you at your earliest convenience!

All my best, ______

She attached the following quote to her email message:

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I plan to ask _______ where she came across the quote. I know that she was not aware of my blog, so I am curious to hear how she found it. I have a few other questions for her, as you might imagine, and I’ll be quite interested to learn more about her perspective and experience.

Anyway, I agreed to get together for coffee, and I will share with her the story of being found recently by my own birth family, thanks to my cousins in California, who took the 23&Me test that finally brought us together.

Damn the agencies, I say. Let’s use the latest advances in DNA science to get around their inhumane policies and the outdated laws they pushed through to keep children from knowing their parents. At the same time, we’ll keep working for justice for adoptees and our first families/birth families.

The power of the pro-adoption lobby that profits literally from the separation of children and parents is intensely hegemonic. The loudest voices in adoption discourse–adopters and those who prey upon them– adoption facilitators, adoption attorneys, and adoption agency executives– make it nearly impossible for us to envision a different way of meeting the needs of children and families in crisis. They make it difficult to imagine how women’s rights, even reproductive rights, include the right to keep and raise one’s children.

Even so, I have come to believe that the days of the pro-adoption lobby are numbered. Mark my words: There will soon come a time when society will eventually awaken to see the adoption business for what it really is: unethical, emotionally and psychologically violent, and essentially untenable from the perspective of human rights. Yet despite their best efforts to maintain business as usual, some of us are still hoping for change.