Monday, April 23, 2012

Define compassion

I know exactly how Susie feels.... In her recent post she talks about the label she's given sometimes - "anti-adoption". I imagine that's what people think I am too. I really don't care. I don't care about the label itself. What I do care about is whether or not the people who say that really understand WHY I feel the way I do.

"I honestly do not understand how people don't see the terrible wrongs in infant adoption. 

I honestly don't understand how a woman could watch a new mother crying over losing her child, yet think it's "the right thing". 

I will never understand a prospective parent being angry that a mother and child are able to stay together.  Yes ~ I understand that their hopes of finally being a parent themselves are dashed.  But to be angry at a mother for deciding to parent her baby ~ the baby that she has nurtured in her womb for nine months?  The baby that she has been agonizing over for the last several months?  The baby that she loves more than life itself?  Is their grief so deep that they no longer have any compassion?  Could that prospective mother and/or father really feel good about taking the baby from the mother if she wasn't 100% sure that she did not want to raise the baby herself?" 

In this post I mention my 'anti' and 'pro' lists regarding infant adoption. Like Susie says above, I have a hard time understanding how people can possibly think it's a good thing when a mother and child are separated. Well, we really do know why.... it's because the first thought for the agency or the adoptive parent is what's in it for them. I think she nailed it when she said they no longer have any compassion. Compassion is what's missing. Feeling compassion would mean feeling the other person's pain. It would mean not thinking of their own need for money in the case of the industry or parenthood in the case of the couple.

compassion - the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it

If compassion were really felt by those involved in adoption, there would actually be very few adoptions. The work being done would be to help alleviate the root of the problem in most infant adoptions - lack of support for the mother and poverty. I googled the word compassion so I could post the definition. See above. Then I saw the thesaurus listing below. Even in an online dictionary site adoption is mentioned as an example - are you kidding me!? How ironic that it's mentioned in connection with the word compassion. To me, money isn't the root of evil, lack of compassion is. We've all been guilty of it at one point or another, in big ways and small. We see it every day in the way we judge and label each other. But, in adoption, an entire industry is built on a lack of compassion while painting itself as the very definition of it.

heartstrings - your deepest feelings of love and compassion; "many adoption cases tug at the heartstrings"
fellow feelingsympathy - sharing the feelings of others (especially feelings of sorrow or anguish)
tenderheartednesstenderness - warm compassionate feelings
mercifulnessmercy - the feeling that motivates compassion

Where is the compassion for the mother who is grieving the loss of her child? Where is the compassion for the child who is losing not only a mother, but an entire family? Open adoption - you say? No. Most of them close at some point. How is it good for a child to be told that his mother surrendered him to adoption because she "loves" him? Of course she loves him but is that really the reason why? What kind of picture does that paint for the child?  How does the child internalize that? If the adoption does remain open, what does he think when his natural mother visits him and then goes home to raise her other children but doesn't take him with her? What does that do to a little one's heart? I still have only one thing on my 'pro' list. That's where the compassion lies. Lack of compassion is what caused the long 'anti' list.

My 'anti' list.....
mothers and babies being separated unnecessarily.
agencies and brokers making tens of thousands of dollars on the sale of babies
price lists for babies - oh, pardon me.... "situations"
pro-adoption language like the word "situations"
college scholarships for mothers who surrender their children for adoption

organizations like NCFA who lobby for the brokers
the lies of open adoption
the unenforceable open adoption
the time frames in which a mother can sign surrender papers
the ridiculously short revocation period for the mother - in many cases, the non-existent revocation period.
agencies advertising for and recruiting pregnant women
PAP's advertising for babies 
pre-birth matching
PAP's in the hospital with a mother when she's giving birth
the connection between abortion and adoption
adoption used as solution by pro-lifers
adoption used as solution to poverty
the lack of resources for mothers and children
the sense of entitlement that many PAP's have
adoption being viewed as a solution to infertility
adoptees not having access to their own personal history
sealed original birth certificates

My 'pro' list.
true orphans or children in need being taken care of by a family


  1. People (most notably adopter *mothers*) don't see the "terrible wrongs in infant adoption" because they have no compassion towards the one who loses while they gain. All they care about are themselves and what they want, at all costs, including destroying a vulnerable young woman who can conceive when they can't.

    I have learned the hard way that this is what it seems that they want, to destroy those who have what they don't, fertility. It is sick and deluded and all that is wrong with domestic infant adoption.

  2. Great post. I agree, there needs to be more compassion - or any would be a great start.

    Adopters don't need compassion - because they are entitled. Entitlement wipes out the feeling of compassion altogether. Because as long as they feel entitled to another woman's child, then no matter what, they will go after that and compassion can not and does not exist in this mind set.

    Adoption has never been about compassion, sadly. Or love. They are just words used to sell and market it. Even in ancient days - eg if you were a slave and then adopted and wanted to go back to your natural family, your eye or tongue would be torn out. Back then, persons adopted (mostly adults, not babies) were adopted for the adopters sake. It was all about the adults and that has seeped through to adoption today. Whether to further political powers through kin adoption or to care for elderly people, adoptees were not adopted out of compassion for them. And that is the same today. Altruism does not exist in adoption - AT ALL.

    Adoption is two faced. The image portrayed to the world is rainbows and butterflies and families singing kumbiya and the reality is dark, dank and everything unpleasant imaginable. Compassion cannot and does not exist here.

  3. I remember when I was first coming out of the fog ~ how it used to amaze me to read the words of my heart written by someone else. It was so reassuring to know that someone else really did get it ~ I wasn't the only one to feel/think this way. At the same time, it is heartbreaking that someone else knows how it all feels... Thanks for the link and love Carlynne!

    Compassion ~ I love what you wrote and believe it is true, the lack of it IS the root of evil, more so than money.

  4. I totally agree--the culture at large would be showing compassion if they found ways to preserve families--not solve a temporary problem with a permanent solution--a phrase I've noticed on adoption blogs that is also one used to describe suicide. Ironically.
    It is going to take huge consciousness raising and an entire overhaul of the culture's cognitive schema about adoption. I had a very different vision of adoption until I tried to adopt. Now, I would never adopt. And at the same time, I don't want to be insulting to other adoptive parents, etc. I am not trying to hurt anyone.
    A similar example--my SIL underwent IVF and the doctor should never have implanted 2 embryos. She never had a problem getting pregnant--only staying pregnant. One baby died and the other is almost 2--cant walk, cant sit, cant talk, is on a feeding tube etc. etc. I think that reproductive medicine is also a place where greedy people are running the show at the expense of innocent and desperate people. That does not mean I blame/dislike all my friends and offspring that were created through IVF. But after personally seeing such a tragic outcome, I think there needs to be reform is that area.
    Same thing with adoption.
    Ultimately, I think it's pretty interesting how much profit is to be had in areas surrounding babies and women and reproduction. Enough is enough. We need a new movement. We need to organize. I'm not sure how yet, but interacting online with others is definitely helping to transform my personal trauma into a call for action.

  5. I loved your article. I thought you defined compassion very simply. To me, Compassion is about taking notice of a very significant part of this world: Others. Those who understand the common method of life that no one lives rosily and problems are bound to hurt others; then will one gain the perception of compassion. I also wrote an article on compassion and I think you might enjoy it. I would also love your feedback. Please read.