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Rated: E · Essay · Political · #1975453
An adoptee answers another adoptee's question related to reproductive issues.
Anonymous Question:

Hi there! Ok so this is out of the blue but, I was kind if wondering your thoughts on being prochoice? I’m adopted and becoming more politically active at my college. I have put a lot of thought into being pro-choice, however some of my pro-life friends have made me feel ashamed of this stance saying I’m ungrateful for my life which I’m not! I just see a bigger picture in reproductive rights. I just wanted to hear another adoptees opinion? I really appreciated your post on closed adoption btw!

My reply:

So, I started to write this reply to you and, as usual, it's ended up being a lot longer than I initially anticipated. I seem to have a habit of doing that. Anyway, I hope you take the time to read my response. :)

(Soapbox alert!) First, I'm pro-choice. I believe a woman has the right to decide what she wants to do with her body. Others may not like that, but it's not their body to make decisions for. If our society suddenly started making laws to determine when a man can or cannot ejaculate, I think a LOT of people would have a different perspective on reproductive rights.

I think where a lot of people make their mistake is here: They incorrectly assume it's perfectly okay to assert their own views, typically based on some religion in this case, on others. Uh, no. I'm fine with people following whatever faith they want, but I'm NOT fine with them trying to force their beliefs on me - Which is EXACTLY what they're doing when they make laws based upon these beliefs that affect me. If they want to be anti-abortion or pro-choice, that's fine, but their opinion shouldn't affect what I do with MY body. My body, my opinion, my choice.

By that token, how dare your friends shame you for expressing your opinion! Attacking someone's opinion is one thing, but shaming a person for expressing what they feel is just wrong. This is going to sound mean, but it sounds like your friends have been drinking the Kool-Aid instead of taking the time to make their own decisions.

Speaking of Kool-Aid, let's talk about the names of the beverages people are drinking these days. A lot of people know the key words or phrases when it comes to reproductive issues, but it seems to me a lot of people are regurgitating the ideals of their political/religious/familial affiliations instead of taking the time to truly understand the issues and making up their own minds. Case in point: The phrase "pro-life". At its most basic: "opposing abortion and euthanasia". That's what Google just gave me.

The definition Google gave me, and what a lot of people take it to mean, is obviously flawed. Why do I say that? Because people who are "pro-life" often still support war, fight against helping those in poverty and sickness, or simply don't care what happens to a child after it's born. In other words they aren't supporting life, but rather simply the birthing of a child.

If these people were truly "pro-life" and not just interested in forcing women to have children, then women would be encouraged to keep their children instead of putting them up for adoption and mothers in poverty wouldn't be fighting for financial support for their kids. Instead of using "pro-life," these people need to be using the term "pro-birth" because their interest is in forcing the birth of children, not supporting life. If all the people who claim to be "pro-life" were actually pro-life instead of "anti-abortion" and "pro-birth," then no child would go hungry in the United States and I would know my biological family.

I have to stop for a moment and note that abortion and adoption are NOT two sides of the same coin. A lot of people want to lump the two issues in together. Abortion is terminating a pregnancy. Adoption is when a child is removed from its parents/family/caretaker and given to other parents/family/caretaker. One is the decision whether or not to have a child, the other is the decision of who should parent a birthed child. These are NOT the same issue! But a lot of people, especially the pro-adoption crowd, will try to tell you they are.

I did warn you this was going to get long, right?

When I was a youngish teenager my adoptive mother had me sit down and write the POTUS a handwritten letter regarding "my" feelings on abortion and how I was grateful for the chance to live. (This makes me sick to my stomach to think about now.) Only, they weren't my feelings. They were her feelings I regurgitated.

I was scared to death. I wrote one of the most passionate letters I've ever written in my life because I felt if I went against her then something might happen to me. Maybe I'd be sent to a different family or..maybe I'd die somehow. When you're feeling that scared and have no resources to be able to make it on your own, do you argue the point or do you just do what you're told? I did as I was told. I was writing about issues I'd never really thought about as a kid. Worse, at the time I hadn't been able to differentiate between the two concepts in my mind. To me, abortion was synonymous with the potential for my own death.

I just hadn't reached the level of cognition necessary to be able to separate the difference. Abortion is never having been, but in my mind it was something that could still happen to me. So, I wrote how if I were to be aborted then I never would have been able to do this and/or that, or that my future would be gone, etc. It was very moving.

If I were to write a letter regarding abortion now, well, I can tell you that it would read very differently. Of course I now understand the difference in the two concepts. I've gained a lot of life experience since then and social networking has afforded me the opportunity to do something I never thought I'd be able to do: Talk to other adoptees.

I've gained so much from being able to talk to other adoptees. That's one of the reasons I make myself available to any adoptee who wants to chat, or vent, or who wants advice. I never want another adoptee to feel as utterly alone as I have in my life. There's so much we can learn from each other. I've learned more about adoption in the last few years than I have my whole life put together.

My letter now would emphasize birth control and the need for safe abortions. Abortions aren't going stop even if they're made illegal. Provide a safe way to terminate a pregnancy and utilize institutions like Planned Parenthood, who supply birth control to women.

In areas where Planned Parenthood provides birth control, unwanted pregnancies have dropped. Imagine that! Side note, not a single cent of federal money is used by Planned Parenthood to support abortions. It seems a lot of people are under the impression their tax dollars are being used for this by PP, and it's simply not the case. All the money for abortions via PP come from private donations and, if I had any money, I'd be donating, too.

I know a lot of adoptees out there are relatively happy with their adoption experience. Or, are in the fog. I've also met far too many who aren't happy with their adoption experience. I'm in the latter group. In fact, I wish I'd never been born. No, I don't have a death wish. I'm NOT suicidal. There's a difference in wanting to die and wishing you'd just never been born.

I'm here now so I do the best I can and try to help others when able. But, I do believe in the phrase "better safe than sorry". Adoptees have a higher chance of suffering through so many issues that nonadoptees aren't at as high a risk for, why force the potential for a lifetime of torture when you can stop it from ever happening? What happened to being "pro-life"? Why not allow people who don't want children to not have children? Because, when that child is born, it's the child that never had a choice that suffers and is told to be grateful for it.

Am I an ungrateful adoptee? I've had a lot of issues with being overly protective and overly grateful to my adoptive parents. I'm one of those adoptees who's always felt I owed them something, like I should be protecting them from any hardships my life could pose to them. I'm certainly not the only adoptee who has felt that way. Why do we feel that way, though, as adoptees? Why is it that we're so keen on putting ourselves into a position of servitude when it comes to others? Well, it doesn't help that society indoctrinates us into this "be grateful" belief from the moment we hit atmo.

You didn't have a choice when you were born, just like everyone else. So, what makes you so different from everyone else that you are expected to be grateful for your circumstances while others are free to express how they feel without fear of retribution? Nothing.

In fact, that idea is completely backwards to me. A lot of us adoptees were prized commodities. If you read my other post, you might remember that I cost $2,000. I wasn't born and left suffering in an orphanage or begging for food on the street. I wasn't begging to be saved by some benevolent benefactor. I was a pre-paid and ordered product. So, I was forced to be by those who didn't want me, purchased by strangers, given away to those strangers, and there are people out there who expect me to be grateful for this? I'm not grateful.

The parents of every person who is alive had to make the same decision: Whether or not to have a child. If the child is born it's the parent’s responsibility to care for the child, not the child's responsibility to beg the parents for care. It's their duty to care for the child. If you're going to take on the responsibility of bringing a life into this world then you have the responsibility to take care of it. If you don't want the life, then don't force it to exist.

Or, thinking about it from the flip side, why would you be grateful for being forced to be born into a family that didn't want or couldn't keep you? Why would you be grateful for being separated from your family? Why would any victim be grateful for being a victim?

Telling an adoptee to be thankful they weren't aborted isn't just low, it's re-victimizing us. It's forcing us into second class status from nonadoptees who aren't told be "be grateful" they exist and who aren't expected to be subservient because of their "allowed" existence. It's intentionally blurring the line between your current existence and never have been to shame us into silence.

Adoptees don't just exist in the moment of our birth. We grow and become adults. Using the "grateful" phrasing is an attempt to keep us at a childhood stage, a clear dismissal of our adult thoughts and feelings. These same sorts of excuses, like "You should be grateful," are the same sorts of arguments used to victimize and enslave people.

Please don't let anyone tell you that your feelings are wrong. Remember, the only people who know how it feels to be adopted are other adoptees and, even then, we each have our own unique experience to deal with. And, you're not alone. I'm here to stand beside you. :)

I hope I answered your questions. This is a topic I'm very passionate about. Whether you agree with my opinion or not, I'm always here if you need an ear. Even if I don't get to check my messages every day. I will never turn away an adoptee, as long as they're respectful. :)


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