I have never been a violent person, a pacifist in fact for many years, although it seems my views have changed over the years, as I have seen more of life and understood more of human behaviour. I have always believed that if the leaders of nations had to appear themselves in person, on the battlefield and engage in the violent acts of war, hand to hand, we would see a huge increase in effective negotiation and compromise and perhaps more honesty about why countries go to war. For America, it is always about fighting a war for peace, but in fact is about resources and power, control and influence. For other countries like my own, it is about standing by our ‘allies’, not usually about protection of our own country and it’s citizens since WW11. If it weren’t for our old allegiances, we could be one of the most peace loving and peaceful countries on earth, able to spend our tax money on services for our people, hospitals, a decent dental service, education and housing the homeless, instead of ridiculously and excessively expensive fighter jets, which will tie up billions of $$A for many years and serve the purposes of our ‘allies’.
Of course there are enormous dilemmas and difficulties with pacifism. Would we have been right to allow Hitler to take over the world, to eliminate all those people he deemed not to fit his grand plan? Is it right to allow the Tamil people to be slaughtered systematically and continually for decades? Should supposedly decent, caring people continue to support an industry which believes it is ethical to sell children for high prices, to commodify them and to force them into a life not of their chosing? There are some times in life when it seems we must chose between our values, however firmly held and however precious to us. One must take precedence over another. I could not live with a clear conscience if I did not stand against those people who believe adoption is a beautiful, ‘loving option’ and put the other side of adoption as I know it, hear it from others, have lived it and will continue to live it until I die. I would be a hypocrite if I spoke, as I so often do, about the rights of children, but did not oppose the areas of life in which the rights of children are abused, denied, neglected, overlooked and where that lack of rights follows them into adulthood and affects all they do and affects the rights of their children. The sort of adoption which removes children from struggling parents rather than supporting the family unit through what is so often a temporary crisis, is immoral, unethical and judges others by standards which are repellent, narrow-minded and lacking compassion. How often we see prospective adopters praying parents won’t change their minds, wanting with all their hearts to see a family disintegrate, a tragedy occur, which will give them what they want. We regularly see the adoption vultures descend on a country in crisis, purporting to ‘save the children’, but using them for their own ends.There are so many more humane ways to save children and preserve families. Is it heartless, cruel and without remorse? You bet it is and how infrequently the exploitative get caught, brought to book and punished. How often we see adopters finally reaching some understanding of what they have done, the illegalities they have been involved in and the moral dilemmas, only to refuse to restore the child to his/her family because they insist on ‘proof’, as if the word of the child and the parents is not enough!I have often written that the words ‘adoption’ and ‘ethics’ don’t belong in the same sentence. They certainly don’t sit easily together, unless it is in opposition and it appears that this won’t be changing any time soon.
So much to do on so many fronts, with so many, many people in so many countries already working on the issues. How long will it take? I have seen enormous changes in my lifetime, ones I could never have predicted and I do have hope for the smaller countries where it is less complicated, that change will occur. For others, where adoption is such big business, so entrenched and adoption advocates, promoters and pushers embedded everwhere, perhaps the most I can hope to see in the years I hope I have left, is adoptees achieving their rights. It is the very least that can be done for them, where there is so much scope for improvement and it will make so much difference to so many thousands, millions, of lives.There is so far to go, so much to do and so many willing participants. May the force be with you!!