Why does it matter?

It, in this case, being the impact of adoption on an infant, a child. Why should the impact of adoption not be weighed against the alternative, whatever that may be? I am conditioned to picture the alternative being a series of horrors, a spectrum from the neglectful to that of murderous parents, slavery, a life of poverty and crime from the moment of birth. We all are, in some sense – and the rising anti-abortion laws further the narrative of adoption-first approaches throughout certain regions within the United States. That central myth is a preservative narrative shielding a poorly regulated confederacy of institutions and private interests that facilitate an enormous industry that trades in human life.

An industry ruled by special interests, worth billions, and incentivized by religious pressure to provide children to homes for conversion. Read “The Child Catchers” by Kathryn Joyce to get caught up on how we got to this point.

Adoption should not be the framework within which children are converted to a religious identity.

I find the practice abhorrent, as I find most religious pressure. Politics aside, religion should never be imposed.

There are examples within news and anecdotal blog posts regarding the trend, and there are specific doctrinal references that I can provide later in this book. It should be stressed that those who engage in adoption for this reason do not see a conflict with their religious indoctrination and their moral and ethical responsibilities as parents. Raising children in a strictly Biblical framework, particularly one anchored on the King James version of the Old and New Testaments is, shall we say, physically experienced. Abuse is culturally sanctioned within most religious communities in the US, and that held true from my own upbringing. Even in school, the everpresent threat of the ‘paddle’ that the principal of the school could wield placed me squarely in a small field of ever-present threat of violence.

I began carrying a razor to defend myself around the age of 12, shortly after a classmate had killed himself. The awareness that innocence was under attack seemed tied directly to his disappearance in the fabric of my world, and the impact I saw his death have on his closer friends. He apparently hung himself with a straw down his neck, and the rumor became that he had been trying to test a trick that he’d read about, a story that arose weeks after his death.

I carried the razor, literally nothing more than the raw razor to be embedded in a box knife, within the fabric of my jean jacket. I could slip it out easily, but getting it in place without cutting myself took patience.

I became driven to push the limits of my world. It was 1985, 86, 87 all blended into one kind of mayhem, a tangle I hope to unpuzzle somewhat in the coming pages. I will speak of trauma and abuse, not as a comprehensive litany, or even precisely honestly. All memory is filtered through the scars of time, and my scars quite literally began with a head injury. My earliest memory is of being told I was adopted, or perhaps of my finger being shut in a car door, or maybe it is the moment I ran laughing away from my mother up a hill much faster than she could follow.

Writing a memoir of an adoptive experience is intended to do one thing – send up a flare big enough to figure out who my father might be, and if you are reading this book, I ask that you do what you can to assist in some way. I have found some of my blood, and confirmed it, thanks to DNA testing. But there remain parts of my story still obscure, despite this book.

But, as my wife says, at some point you have to stop with the research and just “write the damn thing.” This story is indeed my “damned thing.”

Published by

Jeffrey Wes Unruh

Adoptee, born at the Magic Valley Regional Medical Center, April 15, 1974. I spent 23 years trying to figure out all the details, concluding my search in 2019 after meeting my biological father. I'm working on a book that encapsulates my thoughts on adoption in general, and the experience of being adopted.