The question at the heart of my work is this: how is it that adoption, an institution obviously born out of a desire of charity and empathy for the less fortunate, should have grown into an abusive, corrupt industry?

Is there something central to adoption practices within the US that fuel the harm done to the average adoptee’s psyche?

How long must individual cases stand on their own anecdotally before the collective weight of obvious harm adds up to a call for action?

Is nature versus nurture a dead question yet? In my experience, the very cognitive processes that the conservative christian performs are radically unlike the careful, considerate assessment of a rational individual. It is possible my sample size is too small for a scientific assessment, but my pool includes all of the uncles and their wives whom I’ve been around, as well as the media that remains central to their lives and the cultural spaces in which they reside:

Adoption as a response to abortion; those adoptees who live as testimonials to their parents supposedly selfless and godly decisions to not abort, and what it is to carry the thought of being a result – rather than a child.

Coming up through that, and learning that arguing within that space led only to blank looks and devout dismissals; constant confrontation with the irreality of their worldview would lead to shouting matches, tinged with the possibility of violence. The story I was given as a child was that the lawyer’s secretary was wheeled out of the hospital with me in her arms the day I was born before being driven to my new parents.

The only tidbit I had was that my real mom’s name might have been Nancy, a detail let slip by that same secretary.

But much later on I would learn that my real mom never wanted to give me up, was in fact planning to keep me. The notion that I was stolen, that forces in my mother’s life worked against her to adopt me out, through a network of local pastors, to insure that I was adopted by a member of the right religion… it drove me crazy for years trying to get my head around this central tenet of my own narrative of self.

So I find myself thinking about the film “Zero Effect” (1998) where the central protagonist is a woman whose very existence is the blackmail she uses against her father, who had hired the hit man/murderer of her mother, a hit man who then raised adopted her/raised her to be an extortionist. I may have been stolen from my mother, if not criminally, at least through intimidation and social pressure. And my parents accepted this.

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