17 August 2009

Ignorance

Ignorance
• noun lack of knowledge or information (as defined by Oxford English dictionary)

It is a funny thing, ignorance. We have the sayings “Ignorance is a state of mind” or “Ignorance is bliss”. Recently, I have come to the conclusion ignorance is a choice. A choice made so people can continue to live in their protected little bubbles. A choice made so they don’t have to take responsibility for their actions. It is a cop out. There is a point in time when this occurs. I do believe there are people out there who are innocently ignorant and they choose to Seek, they are Seekers for the truth and so they make the choice, in the end, to NOT be ignorant.

With my last post, I had an interesting visitor who didn’t like what I had to say and at the conclusion of her tirade decided it was just easier to label me as ignorant. Why? Because I don’t bow to her way of thinking, that I would dare speak out about what is so very wrong about an adult institution forced on innocent children to endure. She did not want to learn and so she did what most closed minded individuals do and that is project her issues onto me... in other words she labelled ME ignorant without realising she was in fact talking about herself.

I admit, I have been guilty of ignorance in the past. Everyone is at some point in their life.

When I was younger and lived in the media driven world and believed the same as all who do who listen to majority rule, I was totally ignorant to what adoption and many other social injustices were about. I had a dream I would one day go and adopt all the children who were orphans in Russia as they were continually in the news and the message I got was how marvellous adoption was and how much these poor little children needed me.... until I discovered that I was not getting the full story and many “orphans” discovered they were never orphans at all and not placed willingly and some were in fact kidnapped.

Ignorance, passed onto young children, can be harmful. When I was 9 years old, my family and I lived in Manila, Philippines where my parents were working with a mission doing aid work. I went to an American school and adoption was prevalent here as one can imagine. In fact since then, I never heard much about adoption until my own experiences. I would travel to school on the yellow school bus, much like the ones on the movies. As I was one of the first to be picked up, I had a very long time, in fact almost 2 hours, to talk to all the other children who were picked up en route.

One little girl in particular took a liking to me and would seek me out. She was only 6 or 7 and we would talk for ages. She was a Filipina and adopted. One day she told me she was adopted and asked me why. I had no idea at this point what adoption was, had never even heard of the word and so I decided I would ask one of the many grownups in my life. I cannot recall exactly who I asked but it wasn’t my parents and I was informed adoption was when a mother didn’t want her child and so placed them for adoption for other people to raise. I was horrified. At this point, I was a mad lover of all things baby related and to think a mother would not want her child chilled my heart and I was devastated.

The next day I got on the bus and tried to avoid the little girl but she sought me out and asked me outright if I had asked and what I had discovered. I hesitantly told her what I had been told and she was so upset. I told her how sorry I was and that I am sure her new family loved her a lot but it wasn’t enough and I know now how cruel it must have sounded to her.

The following day when she got on the bus, I asked her how she was and she told me her mummy had told her not to speak to me. I was really upset as I had given her the answer I had been told. I never forgot her. I can still see the look of pain on that little girl’s face and I hate what I did. Myself, I didn’t know any better as I was passing on information from an adult who chose to remain ignorant. And this is my point.

Adults choose to be ignorant when they don’t open their minds. It becomes a disease, a poison when it is passed onto children who then use ignorance to hurt others as happened in my story above.

As I grew older, I listened to majority view as most young teens do and believed adoption was a ‘wonderful’ thing; an honourable service to those in need and no one lost, a win-win situation for all. I believed all the stereotyped views.

At 16, I became best friends with an adopted girl. All she did was talk about her mother and how one day she wanted to find her and what she would be like. She loved her adoptive family but from what she said it was plain to see although she was meant to be part of them, she didn’t view herself one of them. The questions in my head started to form.

Leading up to the time I became pregnant, many of the world views I held on life were brought into question and the strict church upbringing I had no longer made sense. I started to question everything, would hold debates with strangers over their view on things and my eyes started to open.

Then I discovered I was pregnant and was thrown into a new world. Even though my child was conceived in a sexual assault, I determined in my head early on she was not to blame for her father’s deeds. While still reeling from the news I was to be a mother, I can vividly recall standing in front of the mirror in my bedroom, lifting my top so I could stare at my very flat belly and speak to my little one growing inside me. I remember telling him/her how much I loved them already and couldn’t wait to meet them. Little did I know at this time others would feel entitled to an opinion on what should become of my small family, of what my future and my child’s future should hold. Little did I know how entitled others would feel to my baby, my flesh and blood.

Through this time, I discovered the lie of adoption; of what truly lurks behind all the glossy movies, stories and the stereotypes. I became hot property, everyone had a view. I was evil for wanting to keep my child, selfish, would destroy her life; she would hate me for not placing her in a stranger’s home. In my state of shock, I listened and my resolve was worn down. The brainwashing took hold and I believed I was terrible. My heart told me not to listen but I was told that my heart was wrong so my head took over and listened to the threats of having my child taken from me if I didn’t sign her over. Of course now I know this was all lies and there was never any way had I been supported in my decision to raise my daughter there would have been any reason to have her removed.

After I lost her, I threw myself into researching adoption. For the first part of the next 11 years I was adamant there were no situations that warranted a child being removed from their parent’s care and I stubbornly resisted any other suggestion. Since then, I have researched, spoken to many, many others about their thoughts and feelings, debated the topic and read a great number of blogs and books. I do not believe I am ignorant any longer as it is a choice I make to learn as much as I can about adoption and other social injustices. I have learned to accept many points of view but I have also learned I have a right to have an opinion.

Many have tried to squash my opinion, to change my story, to tell me what happened despite not knowing anything about me, knowing what happened or being there. Many have tried to write me off and label me as if that would wipe the truth away. As I have written in another post, these are people who refuse to see the truth when it is staring at them as it upsets WHY they want to believe the view they cling to.

Ignorance is not being firm in one’s belief. While I have held firm on why I believe adoption should be abolished, I have learned what about adoption I detest and what about it makes it so wrong. I have many non-adoption-related friends who have learned through me the evils of adoption and they concur. And are amazed at how blind society has become in promoting this social crime. I have to admit, it is a bitter pill to swallow. The way adoption is currently packaged in society’s eyes with the likes of ‘Juno’ and stories of orphaned children being rescued, it sounds like a benevolent service but when one delves deeper and dares to look past what society accepts, one is able to see the truth: how selfish and self serving adoption is; an abuse of basic human rights.

To choose ignorance in a matter such as this equates to squashing those less fortunate than yourself. To choose to close your mind and not be open to what really goes on in the dark world that is adoption is to say to others you think they are better than them and don’t care about their suffering because it affects you not. It says a lot about you as a person; how little compassion you have; little ability to extend a hand to those in need. Ignorance is saying to your fellow human being you don’t care what they go through because you don’t want to hear about it. Its the whole “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” taken to an entirely new level.

Ignorance is poison and there is no excuse for it.

5 comments:

  1. I'm amazed the explanation you got about adoption when you were a child even mentioned the first mother! I never even thought about the first mother when I was a child. I just believed the specially chosen theory. I always thought adoption was this wonderful thing because these lovely people who so deserved and needed a baby could choose one who would be loved and cherished!
    Ha!

    You should have seen this adopted girl's face when I was pushing my theories on to her when we were kids!
    Ha! Talk about ignorant. Wish I could find her now and say oops sorry!

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  2. Bravo! There is no better way to describe ignorance and the resulting problems it can cause than you did here.
    Like you, I've had to grown and learn through my adoption experience. I've lived in denial (my own form of ignorance) and extreme anger after the pain came flooding back but during my journey I've learned to open my mind, to listen to what others are saying and try to learn from them as well. Not to long ago, I saw adoption in black and white but it took sharing my opinion and listening, truly, to others, to lead me to a point of understanding more of what adoption means for all sides, not just one or the other.
    I find now, the truly ignorant are the ones who do not respond with their opinion, their story - a sharing of why their views and beliefs sit where they are. Instead, I find many of the ignorant simply fall onto tossing around labels to those of us they desire to silence, hoping to discredit us with their insults rather than teaching us with their words.
    Great post Myst, as always.

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  3. Thanks Cassi :) Yes, that is what I was trying to get across... like you, at the beginning, I also saw adoption in black and white and like you say I have had to evolve myself and see what it is like from all sides.
    In fact looking further and delving deeper into all sides of adoption has helped me to see why I really believe adoption in all forms is wrong. It took a lot to explore that because my gut told me it was wrong but I could never explain it, even to myself. But thanks to my adopted friends, other adoptive parents both friends and the ones I have encountered who are nasty, and the women who have either placed or lost a child to adoption, I have come to the conclusions WHY my gut tells me adoption is so wrong.
    Thanks again Cassi :)

    Myst xxx

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  4. wow. A very astute observation. Thank you for posting this.

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  5. I love your writing. We have many things in common, and here is just another. We all have been without knowledge, without experience, without knowing how to do something or how to respond.

    I, too, had friends who were adopted, and while my initial reaction as a child was, "Wow, I could never do that," I failed to realize that it wasn't really a choice people talked about.

    Ignorance seems to intellectualize things, and dismiss the emotional connection.

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