My past legally erased
While the adoptees have to fight to access to their adoption records, I had access to mine at 11 years, only two years after my arrival. My adopters never tried to hide it from me, there was nothing to hide. My adoption record is only a piece of shit filled with falsehoods made up (legally) by an adoption agency and my birth certificate is also a piece of shit made up legally in the country of my purchasers.
My initial social history:
According to this document, I was born Nov 20, 1966, in an unknown place and was admitted to Holt from Saint-Paul’s Orphanage Jan 29, 1975. It says that I was abandoned but it doesn’t say when. Since there is no other information, it could have been at anytime between my birth and Jan. 29, 1975. By the way, my birthday is not Nov 20, 1966; I’m few months older and I was born in Seoul.
Actually, I arrived at the orphanage at the end of Jan 1975 (at 8 years old). What happened between 1966 and 1975? Holt erased my past.
My hojuk deung bon (family registration): In Korea, a hojuk is a family registry, which records births, deaths, marriages, etc.
In my hojuk, there is no information about my family. This is an "orphan hojuk" made by the adoption agency (and the Korean government) to make me adoptable.
It is a legal document. "Legal" doesn’t mean true. Legal doesn't mean ethical either but everyone involved in adoption has a different definition of ethical.
“Legal” only means permitted by laws. My birth date is a false birth date made up by the adoption industry. My past between 1966 and 1975 has been legally erased to make me adoptable.
At the time my orphan hojuk was made, I knew the names of the names of my parents and my father was still alive.
At age 11, I didn’t know anything about “hojuk” or “orphan hojuk”; I didn’t even know about Holt or adoption agency. I read “Father: no record”, “Mother: no record”, “Birth place: unknown” with a false birth date and I cried. I felt a void in me, then I felt anger towards
While crying, I tried to explain to my A-father that I had a brother and two sisters; I told him everything that was written was a lie except my name. He yelled at me saying that there was no reason for me to cry. I stopped crying immediately. Later, we contacted the orphanage. The nun replied: “we are not involved in the adoptions; we only take care of children. Holt is responsible for adoptions.” Holt replied: “we have no other information.”
Then, I was called a liar for inventing a family or having too much of imagination about my past.
I had a family before being adopted. I became an orphan the day Holt put me up for adoption.
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Every word you write is the truth. I have seen the same thing happen to many Korean children that I have known since the beginning of their adoptions. Holt Korea knows more about you, but Korean culture only allows them to "save face" by telling you only what they think you want to hear. Do they lie? In a way that is the culture.
Have you paid Holt for the information they can get from Korea when an adoptee turns 18? Have you put your name on their list of adoptees who wish to contact their biological family, to be matched up with the list of biological parents who have put their names on a list to be matched with their bio child/children who were adopted?
Korea also took my children's past. Holt/Korea also changed my children's past and made my children adoptable when they NEVER should have been. They were covering up the shame that Korea felt for the children being abused by Korean people.
I have been to Korea several times and studied the people and their culture. They teach manners and respect, no matter what the price. Some believe America is the answer for their family problems such as no money, physical disabilities, shame, etc.
You were adopted at the age of 'almost' puberty. You were raised Korean, with all its ways and beliefs, which is so different than American ways and beliefs. It was abuse by Korea and Holt Korea to rip you from everything you were and throw you into America as if you were not a feeling human being who deserved the respect Korea teaches and lives.
You have every right to feel the way you do! You are a very precious woman who has faced the worst: human beings treated you as if you were not human. I mourn for what you have lost. You remember the truth of who you are while most younger adopted children did not have the chance to remember. The lost part of you is ever real, ever a part of you and can not be denied.
Your af was an evil man who used the evilness of adoption to practice his evil. Just as my evil husband did.... You may despise me and what I stand for in your mind, but you can not stop me from understanding where your pain is coming from.
I am NOT like the rest, now. I was... but through the truth of this forum, I know what part I played in the continuing of child abuse through adoption.
Americans are NOT able to handle the adoption of children just like most children are NOT able to handle their adoption!
I truly feel the pain in your words and shudder at the thought of how many there are like you. Until more adopted children grow up and voice their first hand knowledge of adoptions' sinful abuse of them, the ones like you must speak louder. I am ashamed of being an adoptive parent who furthered this adoption scandal. I beg of you to forgive me for my part in adoption that devastated not only you, but my own adopted children.
IN A WORLD OF WHY,
I had to think before responding to your comment which made me cry. I was touched because nobody ever asked me to forgive as you did without justifying (and I believe with sincerity).
My adoptive father once told me: “Forgive me if I am a bad father. I fed you, I drove you to school, I drove you to your piano lessons,…” In 1989, the president of Korea asked us (to the adoptees) to forgive them because they had no other choice than sending us since Korea was a poor country but today; in
2003, a Korean pastor also asked me to forgive them but they are still exporting their babies today.
I was going to answer you that I have nothing to forgive you since you are not responsible of my adoption but I think I wouldn’t be honest to say that. To say that I have nothing to forgive you would be like saying that I’m not angry at adoptive parents. To be honest, since I learned more about adoption, I am angry at adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents for their parts in adoption. Having said that, I must say I feel my anger at adoptive parents is fading out since I know some A-parents like you, Desiree Smolin and others are speaking out in their own way.
Until a year ago, I was not aware that I had so much hatred and anger in my heart towards industry adoption and
I first learned the words “forgive” and “forgiveness” from the Bible when I was a kid. I don’t want to be called a Christian and I don’t want to be associated with Christians but I still believe what the Bible says regarding forgiveness. The last sentence of your comment begging me for forgivenness reminded me that God wants me to forgive. I want to forgive but the pain, hatred and anger resurface at any time. I’m asking Him to help me to forgive. Korea. I believe that when I was a child, it was easy for me to prentend everything was fine and ignore my feelings.
I just now saw your response! I don't know how I missed this, but I did. You do not have to speak words of forgiveness, but I needed to say the words I said to help me go on.
We can not forgive on our own; we always need help to do this. God shows the way by His own forgiveness but we are not
God. Forgiveness is a process for humans to learn. I, too, find myself having to go back and forgive again and again.
I really do believe this is part of the process.
I only have to put myself in your place to see that anger is what I would feel, too. I do hope the anger will get smaller
as your peace grows bigger.
"I can be changed by what happens to me, I refuse to be reduced by it." M.A.
One Step Up From Bottom
I attended a church, the same church where my afather used to go, because I believed in God no matter what happened to me. During all these years, I received the message that if I want to be saved, then I must forgive. "if you don't forgive then God will not forgive you. No place in the heaven for people who don't forgive" etc.
The last time I was at the chuch, I learned that my aftather's son went there to sell life insurance to the pastors and he took this opportunity to tell the pastor that my accusation of sexual abuse were false.
The pastor said he believed me but he didn't see a problem to continue dealing with a person accusing me of lying. He also said that I need to forgive them (my afather and his son), it was important if I wanted to be saved.
Nobody there cared about my feelings, they only cared about my soul.
I left that church ( and I don't go to church since then) and I called a therapist. For the first time of my life, someone cared more about my feelings and my healing than my soul. My process of healing started with the point that I don't need to forgive.
My afather had several years to ask me forgiveness but he never did. I didn't forgive him.
Since I don't go to church anymore, I'm unbrainwashed. I believe now in conditional forgiveness, just like God will forgive me if and only if...
seeing red again...
forgiveness is the most heinous excuse the judeo-christian world has come up with to allow themselves to continue raping the planet and its women. by creating a god that absolves you of all your sins in the afterlife, people can act with impunity and go on
sinningscrewing others knowing that they can get away with it. no wonder it's such a popular religion.
my father begged me for forgiveness every time i saw him as an adult. NO FUCKING WAY. i figured if his wrongs tortured his conscience, then TOUGH SHIT. that's the price he had to pay. if HIS god wants to forgive him, then that's up to his god. but on this earth, he needed to be held accountable. if not by a court of law, then in the prison of his own mind. without my knowledge of what he did, this abuse, for all intensive purposes, NEVER HAPPENED. we are the only ones party to this abuse. i am the only one who held him accountable. i am PROUD i never forgave him.
i am the same person as an adult that i was when i was a little child suffering. if i am to go to eternal damnation for not forgiving my abuser while he enters the gates of heaven because he asks god for forgiveness, then so be it. i don't want to sit at the right hand of a god that has such a warped sense of justice.
the god of religion is not my god. the god of religion is an invention of convenience. my god is above religion.
god of religion....
The God that I believe in is also above religion and man's ideas of right and wrong. I am truly in pain over your anger; you
must have suffered hideously and all alone. No one should experience such horrendous abuse that produces so much
deep pain and anger. I am so sorry for what happened to you. You have every right to feel as you do; but I do hope there
is a time coming when you will feel justice has been served for all who suffer as you do. May it be sooner than later.
"I can be changed by what happens to me, I refuse to be reduced by it." M.A.
One Step Up From Bottom
Misunderstanding of something
Judeo-Christianity does NOT have a God that absolves people of whatever they do wrong. True Christianity teaches that a person cannot fool God, that God knows the hearts and minds of people so they can NEVER fool God. Christianity teaches that God hates hypocrites. But there is at least one denomination (that is well-established & is considered by many to be respectable) that does NOT generally make this clear enough to its adherents. I won't say what that denomination is, lest I be called "anti-_____." But there is definitely one denomination of Christianity that seems to do a poor job of making clear to its adherents that they are not Automatically forgiven of whatever they do. Something about the WAY they run their church and something about the WAY they go about implementing it seems to give their adherents the wrong idea that they can just do whatever they feel like and then just later on SAY they're sorry or just SPEAK what they did in private to someone and then they are forgiven. They are WRONG to allow people to think and feel that way. I don't care if they are well-established and considered by many to be a reputable church - they are in serious need of Changing the way they do things and changing the attitudes of a lot of their adherents.
If there were one person in human history who does NOT deserve to have creeps, scumbags, and ignoramuses tarnish HIS name, it is Jesus. But of course there will Always be people who try to use his teachings the wrong way. Jesus taught LOVE of others, and CONCERN for others, and SELF-SACRIFICE for others, and HELPING others - NOT ABUSE of others.
I am a Christian and one of my biggest, biggest pet-peeves in life is any organization - such as cults like 'The Family' - that claim to be Christian (or call themselves Christian) yet are just USING the title to try to cover CRIMES - especially crimes against children. I have been gathering information against groups like that for awhile now. What do you mean when you say Judeo-Christianity rapes the planet and its women? You're not talking about those fringe, extremist, sometimes-criminal-or-should-be-criminal, cult-sects like the so-called 'The Family' are you? Because they are not Christian. Just because someone gives him or herself a title or gives an organization a title doesn't make the title true. A health insurance company can call itself 'Health for All' or 'The Loving Arms' but it can be an evil, health-coverage-denying, death-inducing organization.
Kimette- I'm curious what was the result of your accusation
Kimette - If the pastor believed your accusation of sexual abuse, what did he do about it? Did he report it to proper authorities? Did you yourself report it to proper authorities? If he did not report it to proper authorities, maybe you should consider reporting HIM for not reporting it? Anyone in a position of responsibility, authority, parenthood needs to be held accountable for those crimes &/or for being negligent if they didn't report that a child made an accusation against someone else. If nothing else, they need to be prevented if at all possible from being in a position to repeat their crimes against other children.
By the way, I have long believed very strongly that the statute of limitations on prosecuting crimes against children needs to be extended.
answer to your question
missy, you misunderstand here due to the fact that you missed details of my story.
I don't want to bring up here again that period of my life, it's too hurting, but just to clarify, what happened with the pastor was about 15 years after I made accusations.
How do we forgive?
I think it helps a lot to know you're not alone when it comes to having conflicting feelings between anger and resentment, and the willingness to forgive and find peace. I think ambiguity is perfectly normal, so there should be no shame in taking all the time you need to make peace with your own self. There's a poem written by another adoptee who was abused I think you would like: it's called "Permission to Forgive", you can find it here: http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/9957. I think Tina (another abused adoptee) does an excellent job pointing-out where forgiveness begins.
you are not alone
read Jane Jeong Trenka's adoption history file
it was botched so bad they are using it as one of the test cases to change Korean legislature
There needs to be an understanding of what forgiveness - as taught by Jesus - is and isn't supposed to be. Jesus never said forgiveness means you have to forget. He never said forgiveness means you decide that the forgiven person's behavior is acceptable. Jesus never said forgiving someone means you have to be that person's friend or buddy or hang around with that person and keep that person in your life. He never said forgiveness means criminals should not be prosecuted for a crime against another person. He never said forgiveness means someone can go ahead & commit crimes or sins against others because they can just rely on being forgiven later.
First of all, it is a twisting &/or misunderstanding - sometimes purposely 'misunderstanding' - of Jesus's teachings & philosophies when people act like they can do whatever they want to - because they think that later they'll just be forgiven by God. Nope. That's not how it works. And that's not how it was taught by Jesus. That would mean a person PLANNED to commit a wrong against another person or allowed themselves to commit a wrong with the idea - in mind - that they'd just get forgiven later. Well, later on, when they are expecting forgiveness or asking for it, that means they aren't TRULY sorry. It's like some kind of scam that person thinks they can pull with God or Jesus. Jesus never said you can be forgiven unless you are TRULY sorry. This part of forgiveness is between God and the perpetrator of sin or crime - but Jesus taught that God KNOWS what is in a person's heart and mind. Repent means to feel true regret, to feel very sorry for something you've done, to change your mind about it, to truly wish you had not done it. It can include making amends as well. But to be truly repentant or contrite means you don't do it anymore. When Jesus forgave someone he said now "go and sin no more." Unfortunately, something about the way SOME denominations teach about forgiveness leaves people that attend those particular churches thinking that they will always be forgiven just by wanting to be forgiven. That is incorrect and it is dangerous. If a church is too formal and ceremonial about how it goes about running a church and teaching, it leaves people with a feeling all they have to do is go through certain motions and they're fine. Just recite this 'prayer' or repeat after me this saying 10 times and you're forgiven. Again, that is incorrect and it is a dangerous attitude to teach and allow people to have. But what bugs me the most about it is it is a misrepresentation of Jesus and what he stood for - by some churches themselves - whether intentional or not. Jesus did not put his life on the line taking the risk of being tortured to death just to teach that people can do whatever they feel like now because they can rely on getting forgiven later just by wanting forgiveness. In fact, I think some of his disciples addressed this very attempt by some people to twist and distort Jesus's teachings to their own purposes.
As I said, forgiving doesn't mean you have to forget. An example: Suppose I find out the guy my 17-year-old daughter is dating was charged 2 different times with assault and battery, but he got off on technicalities. Or I somehow find out the guy recently got out of juvenile detention after serving time for raping someone when he was 15. Me forgiving him means I think something like this: something went wrong with his upbringing or he's lacking certain ethics or knowledge that I myself have - so he's highly imperfect - but I realize that I myself am lacking in some knowledge - and in my own ways I myself am not perfect. Most of what most people think of as evil is actually simple ignorance. If someone else is capable of pulling wings off butterflies and not caring about the pain they inflict, then they weren't taught empathy as I was. Or maybe they themselves were terribly abused &/or neglected and they are transferring their own numbness and pain - or acting it out - or taking it out on someone else. If I had that person's same upbringing, same life experiences and same genetics, then what's to say I wouldn't be doing the same things that person is capable of doing? If that was me with that much ignorance, how would I want people to respond to me? I would want someone to try to teach me better rather than just dismiss me as a piece of wasted scum not worth the effort. If I committed a crime I'd have to know I have to face the consequences. But there are perpetrators who were taught better - they were 'reached' - and changed for the better once they were behind bars. When they get out some dedicate the rest of their lives to teaching others who are on the same mistaken path they once were. Forgiving someone who pulls butterfly wings off means I acknowledge that that person is obviously 'missing something upstairs' - or whatever - and does not realize it. Their cruel behavior is a symptom of ignorance. There is some understanding or insight they are lacking that allows them to be the way they are. Some ignorance that I don't have. But unless I myself am a perfect human being - which no one is - then there will be times in my own life that I am ignorant of something - or imperfect in a way that hurts another person - and I myself will need to be forgiven or want to be forgiven and taught better. But how can I ask anyone else to forgive me of anything unless I am willing to do the same for others? Granted that what I would need to be forgiven for wouldn't be anything near as terrible as what a butterfly-abuser or child-abuser stands in need of forgiveness for. I do realize some people aren't teachable or changeable (especially most pedophiles), but it is wonderful when someone Can be reached and be made to realize what's so wrong with what they were doing. It's great when someone actually for the first time does 'get' it and is truly very sorry and truly changes. They themselves have been salvaged as a human being, and they will have no more victims, and they are now the most effective teachers to reach others who are changeable who are on the same wrong path they once were. (A lot of law enforcers know this. For example, there is no one more effective at reaching gang members - to get them out of gangs - than an ex-gang member who is now on the straight and narrow.)
So I forgive the guy that's dating my 17 year old daughter. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? I'll tell you what it DOESN'T mean. Forgiving him DOESN'T mean I have to forget. It doesn't mean I will forget that he served time for rape or was charged twice with assault and battery. It doesn't mean I have to allow him to date my daughter. It doesn't mean I'm sorry if he served time for what he did. In fact, I might think he should have served More time for it. It doesn't mean I have to be his friend or buddy or allow him to remain in my family's personal lives. It doesn't mean I think what he did is acceptable. It doesn't mean I have to hire him for a job if I'm a prospective employer of his. It doesn't mean I can't fight for tougher laws and tougher sentencing against rape and assault and battery. It doesn't mean I have no anger against child abusers, etc. And it doesn't mean I tell him God forgave him automatically. I can let the guy know that IF HE IS TRULY SORRY FOR WHAT HE DID AND ASKS GOD FOR FORGIVENESS AND NEVER DOES IT AGAIN then he is FORGIVABLE by God - but he STILL has to 'face the music' of the criminal justice system in mankind's world. People are still to be held accountable according to mankind's laws for their sins against others. And the person he wronged might or might not forgive him (on a spiritual level).
Well, what's the purpose of forgiveness, then? What does it really mean? For example, when I say forgiving doesn't mean I have no anger against child abusers, what I mean is: I will still continue to fight the crime, still want the criminal punished, and will put my anger or determination towards those ends- objectively - without making it have to be personal. For example, with the tragic child-kidnap and rape case of poor Jaycee Dugard, remember her (biological) father said he thinks the perpetrator should be skinned alive? If people had caught the perpetrator and done that to him I would not have felt sorry for him at all. But I wouldn't hold anger inside me against the 'defective unit' who kidnapped and raped that child. I would fight tooth and nail to get him a life sentence in prison. But what good does it do me to hold anger and hatred in me? That only harms me & makes it likely I'd do something stupid to that guy myself if I had the chance. That would be 'returning evil for evil' (which the New Testament teaches against). That would mean I allowed a perpetrator to make ME more like HIM. That kind of spreading of anger, bitterness, hatred, ugliness, etc., can be contagious. It's better for me to see things with better perspective, objectively. If someone very much wronged me and committed abuses against me (which, by the way, I did experience) I still need to realize that if it hadn't been ME as a victim, that person still would've done it to anyone else he could've gotten into that abusable position. Why take it as if it was personal against me? Why hold that hatred and anger? That only hurts me. I need to do something constructive to address what that person did. I need to see the whole thing objectively, from 'above it' with an even keel with a lot of perspective. This is even more powerful when it comes to EFFECTIVELY addressing these ills that exist in society (or in mankind). The perpetrator did it to me so it's my place to make sure there's a police report of it, etc., and I decided it's my place to try to protect the next innocent victim by letting them know what kind of guy this is - but part of the tragedy is not just me. Part of the tragedy is whatever went wrong in that perpetrator's life that allowed him to become someone capable of those things. He himself is part of some larger tragedy that allowed him to turn out to be the kind of person he's capable of being. That's something wrong with this world.
I happen to know that the person who treated me so badly was himself bullied and tormented by other children growing up and was treated badly - heartlessly - by his parents. If I were him and had his childhood with the ignorances that it passed onto him, how do I know I wouldn't have turned out the same way? Forgiving him means I realize he's much more ignorant than evil. It means I'm aware of this: just as I'm ignorant of some things (I don't know what things or else I wouldn't be ignorant in those areas) he's just ignorant in different areas. Me forgiving him does NOT mean I'm okay with how he is. I am NOT. That does NOT mean I think he should get away with it. I do NOT. That does NOT mean I am his friend. It does not mean I would fail to make out police reports if I feel that's what I should do. And it doesn't mean I won't warn someone else who mistakenly thinks he's a great guy. But I can't even put into words how FREEING it is to forgive that person on a spiritual level. My soul can have its happiness and freedom. My heart can be its ole self again - open - and strong. And I can still care about that perpetrator's soul. I can still hope that some day the words I said to him will 'reach' him (words I once wrote to him trying to show him what is wrong with him - trying - objectively - to reach him with wisdom and make him realize that there very much IS something wrong with the way he is). Of course there's a possibility he will never appreciate my effort to reach him. But if his soul becomes damned or lost, it won't be because at least one person didn't try at least once in his life - in an objective way - to show him what's wrong with the way he is. There is a chance he might look back at it and realize how amazing it was that someone he treated so badly could still care - on some level in some way - about him as a human being - and about his eternal soul.
To the woman who adopted a Korean child but was unaware of what can be wrong with adoption agencies (the one who asked a specific person here for forgiveness): of Course you are forgivable. No one knows everything all the time. No one. We act upon the information we have at the time. When you learn better, you do better. When you learned what ills sometimes exist within adoption organizations, you were very sorry if you had any part in such a thing. You may have been an unwitting participant in something you were unaware of. That is why there needs to be a campaign to raise public awareness of these things. Tons of people seeking to adopt would NEVER go along with keeping things the way they are now - if they were shown what ills can exist with many adoption agencies.
There will always be people who twist good things to practice their own evil. For example, public education, Little League baseball, etc. Good things in general. But of course there will always be pedophiles drawn to try to get into these areas to use them as a base for their evil - and as a cover for their evil. That does not mean public education itself is a bad thing. That does not mean Little League baseball is itself a bad thing. And religions - such as Christianity - must fight the hardest against abusers who try to use religion to hide their crimes. Do not hold the crimes of criminals against public education, Little League, Christianity, etc. There will always be those who search for anything they can find to try to hide their crimes behind. But schools, Little Leagues, and religions bear much responsibility to do their duty to practice vigilence against allowing criminals to practice their crimes within their midst.
forgiveness is overrated
I am not a religious person, so I have no clue about divine forgiveness, what I do know is that there is very little reason to forgive in general. Most of the things people are really sorry about are usually accidental in nature, or the side effect of some action.
In my experience people are seldom really sorry when hurting others was their intent or a knowable consequence of their actions. A perfect example of that is my original father, who left my mother and me for another woman and didn't want to have anything to do with me for many years. When I finally met him, at the age of 18, there was no remorse, no regret on his part.
I don't hate my original father, that would be a waste of energy, but I certainly don't like the man, and I probably never will. His behaviour then and now don't call for forgiveness. He knowingly and willingly did what he did, and four women later, is still repeating the same pattern. It's unlikely he will ever ask for forgiveness, and I am fine with that. If he were to be repentant, it would cost me a lot of time and effort to listen to all of his stories in order to forgive him, an effort I am not really willing to make for him.
All together, I think forgiveness is highly overrated. Most of the things people are really sorry about, are unintentional hurt and damage. Those don't really need forgiveness, but require time to get over the initial anger. When people knowingly and willingly hurt others, they usually are not sorry, and if they claim they are, it's usually fake.
Forgiveness, coming from an abused adoptee
Wow, missy... I really appreciate the time and effort you put into your response.
I agree, remorse (personal accountability) really matters, and those who have been given a heart-felt apology from those who hurt another do, indeed, feel better.
However, abused adoptees expected to forgive abusive A.parents have a complicated truth.
Adoption itself brings three-parties. The first-parents. The adoption agency. The adoptive parents.
Many of us abused adoptees are given sarcastic apologies from AP's, like noted in the response made by kimette, in her response, Forgiveness:
If you were sexually abused by the same man who fed you, drove you to school and provided piano lessons for you, wouldn't you want "forgive me if I destroyed you, sexually" within that apology, too? If a mother or father figure allowed profound physical abuse and mental torture to take place in the house you had to call home, wouldn't you want "I gave zero protection" to be mentioned in the list of things to "forgive"?
Wouldn't you want the real crime acknowledged?
That's phase one for the abused adoptee.
Enter phase-two in the forgiveness process.
Consider how it is for the adoptee who came from a "struggling country"... a country that cannot/will not provide for children put in-care... a country that sees adoption as the saving-grace for so-called orphans taking-up space in an orphanage/foster-care.
Many countries of origin offer a lousy excuse to those who have suffered abuse post-placement, in another country:
NOW consider the response given to the third-party responsible for the final placement of the so-called orphan-child. <crickets chirping> Let's call this phantom phase three.
I have yet to read where an adoption agency accepts full accountability for poorly done home-studies.... and offers an apology to the children victimized by their services.
In addition, let us not forget the role of first-parents. [Forgiveness, phase four... the lost years.] So many questions from the adoptee... so so many many questions, where does an adoptee begin?
With the request for forgiveness, there must come an act that reflects change. Significant change... the sort of change that suggests that same mistake will NOT be made again.
Abused and abandoned/overlooked adoptees don't see enough change taking place within child placement services to make true healing a real-life reality.... and since that is the case, true forgiveness coming from an abused adoptee is very very difficult and possibly not very likely.
Kerry - thank you also for the time and effort you put into your response. Thank you for explaining the complexity, for breaking it down into phases. I can't tell you how upset it makes me to think of a child being abused - especially sexually.
I was abused a couple of times in my life by a couple of different people. The first was when I was a child, by an adult outside the family. Just to let you know, it wasn't an ongoing thing over months or years. (For those that experienced that as a child w/ someone they depended on & had to live under the same roof with...my heart feels that pain more than you can know & makes me angry to the perpetrator. Controlled, constructive anger.) The next person was in marriage, so it was the person who I was supposed to be able to feel safe with, but didn't. It was the person who was actually supposed to protect me, but scared me instead. It was the person who was supposed to be my best friend, but wasn't. This was someone who was supposed to love me, but devastated me instead.
I think the idea of forgiveness is one of the most misunderstood ideas in life. Or at least it's one of the most easily misunderstandable. Too many people think it means you have to 'make nice' with the person who committed an offense against you, or accept them, or let them off scot free. By the way, Christianity isn't the only spirituality that teaches forgiveness. I don't claim to be an expert on all spiritualities, but, for example, I know that Dalai Lama, who is a Buddhist, teaches things like: happiness is from within you - not from things - and not from an external source - and teaches cultivation of joy in your heart. I know that can be easier said than done sometimes, and easier for some than for others. But these (the Christian and Buddhist principals I just mentioned) are effective, useful teachings.
I think in Buddhism they meditate more than pray. (Dalai Lama misunderstands one or two things about Christianity, though, or at least he used to. He's a very nice guy though.) I myself pray what's called the Lord's prayer as part of my own praying usually ("Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name..."). At different times over the years, when I got to the part that says "forgive me my trespasses/debts/sins as I forgive those who trespass against me/ are indebted to me/ sin against me" every once in awhile I'd think about what would it mean if I forgave the person who abused me when I was a kid. I wanted that person to be punished and I thought he was unforgivable, a creep. I'm still glad he was punished to the extent he was and I still wouldn't want to think that person was in the same city I live in. Yes, a creep. I used to think 'why would I forgive that person,' 'how would I forgive that person,' 'what would it mean if I were to forgive that person,' how could I 'forgive' someone that creeps me out even just to THINK of. In fact, I didn't really think of that person as 'a person' so much as a kind of blurry blob that I wouldn't want to remember much. Time, maturity, and life wisdom gave me perspective on it and enough personal confidence, etc, that I could see the ills, 'lost' nature of, and deficiencies of so much of society with objectiveness that makes me not just take things personally. The people who did to me the things they did were not seeing me. They might as well have been dealing with a cardboard cutout of a person for all their lack of understanding, for all their failures and shallowness. They weren't seeing me at all. They were blind. They weren't really dealing with me at all. They were dealing with themselves. They were ignorant. If it weren't me they treated that way, they would have just treated someone else that way. I don't diminish the unacceptableness of their behavior & attitudes to say this. 100% not. But, frankly, I'm a better person than them and I know it. I know I'm not explaining what I'm thinking or feeling very eloquently, but I hope I at least get some essence of it across. I can forgive a person spiritually, which to me means I simply realize they are blind in some way, and ignorant. But I can still deal with them in this world in the ways they need to be dealt with. In terms of how to deal with different transgressors, it goes on a case-by-case basis.
It's interesting that you spoke of the complexity of forgiveness for an adopted person in terms of 4 phases. I think of forgiveness as being of 2 types. There's the type that Jesus meant, which is spiritual forgiveness. And there's the worldly type that most people mistake for what Jesus meant. Yes, I 'forgive' the person who ended my childhood, my innocence - spiritually. But that doesn't mean I'm 'okay' with that person or accept their behavior. The spiritual type of forgiving involves a healing and letting go and it's a kind of power in itself to forgive someone on a spiritual level. Part of it is knowing/realizing I can't control other people or the world. Part of it is a simple acknowledgment that that person is (simply?) defective in some way - & that it is a tragedy that they are so damaged or lost themselves. It's an understanding of things that are wrong with our world - & things that are common ills because of human nature - in a way that transcends, that sees the bigger picture from a higher perspective, & sees the perpetrator on a spiritual level from such a perspective also. (I can't believe the word 'transcend' had to make its way into my explanation for me to feel I've explained sufficiently w/ some of the right words.) I thankfully never saw that person again once I told my mother what he'd done & he got in trouble for it. So it's not as if the person apologized later on - sincerely or not - much less made amends - how can a person get back their childhood & innocence?
And as far as the 2nd person goes (my ex-husband), he never once apologized to me for the things he did physically. I forgave him spiritually & do still pray for the good in his soul to survive & grow. He wanted us to be 'friends' after our divorce but of course I will not. I will not act like everything's fine, like the things he did are acceptable, like he's an okay person. I truly care about his nature, his heart, soul, mind. But, for one thing, him not apologizing is inexcusable. He said to me a couple of times that if I forgive I'm supposed to forget. (Someone who's not Christian trying to tell me how I'm supposed to be as a Christian.) I had to set him straight about that. I explained that I understand he's messed up, so I forgive him on a spiritual level. I explained that I'm not a perfect person myself & that I believe if I want my heavenly father God to forgive my own debts and shortcomings, then I must forgive others theirs. But I had to let him know he couldn't get away with treating me the way he did with complete impunity. You are right to say that a perpetrator has to change. I gave him this example: what if he found out his sister was dating someone who was seriously suspected of being a serial killer? I asked him if forgiving the suspect spiritually would mean he would 'forget' it and not let his sister know what he found out about the guy she's dating. The answer is 'of course not.' I let him know he misunderstood spiritual-level forgiveness if he thinks it meant he didn't have to change his attitude and behavior or face consequences of it.
If I had a good friend who did something that I considered being an inexcusable jerk towards me, I would know them well enough to know if an apology from them was sincere. If they trashed our friendship and never apologized, I would still automatically forgive them on a spiritual level. But the question of whether I'd let them be my friend again is another matter entirely. If I were to let them be my friend again it would of course not happen automatically. In fact, if they didn't apologize - or if they apologized but I thought they didn't mean it sincerely - then I would NOT let them be my friend again. So in THAT sense - the person-to-person sense - I could choose to not accept them in my life. I look at it as 2 different types of forgiveness. The kind Jesus meant is the spiritual-level, heart-level kind. The worldly kind is the way most people think of it but I think that's why so many people misunderstand what Jesus meant. U can forgive a person on a spiritual level, but on a person-to-person level u can still decide their actions are Going to have consequences. U can forgive a person spiritually automatically, but u still have a right to not let them in your life. U also still have a right to testify in court against them. U have a right to truth and justice. A bank can 'forgive' a loan, but the court systems had better NOT 'forgive' a child abuser and let them off - or I would have a SERIOUS bone to pick with them.
Anyways, I'll hope this was a positive contribution to the topic of forgiveness. Thanks again Kerry for your explanation of complexities. I hope everyone understands that this website is important to raising awareness of problems in the adoption 'industry.' This website is educational to those of us who did not experience adoption problems firsthand and hadn't heard enough about them. I try to help out now and then by commenting to the government about changes that are needed - better oversight of adoption processes to prevent abuses. But we need to raise the entire NATION's awareness of the problems. We need to get ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN coverage of this, an ad campaign to raise awareness, and legislative action to change laws. (By the way, speaking of nations, there have been entire wars fought between nations that could have been prevented if most people lived with the principle of forgiveness - of controlling their emotions, anger, passions, and being as objective as possible.)
After many years struggling with the belief that I had to "honor my mother and father", (a royal joke in Adoptionland), and do everything I could to help repair a very broken relationship, I finally forgave myself for being stupid and allowed myself the permission I needed to take the solitary path I knew I needed to take. I chose to take the time to understand my Amother/Afather's own pathologies, and appreciate the good they tried to do, knowing no matter what I did or said, neither would be willing to change their very hurtful and narrow-minded ways. And for the record, this was no "automatic response"... it was a very conscious decision, one that took YEARS to make.
Walking away was not easy. Few can understand why an adoptee would not want anything to do with their seemingly perfect adoptive family. [Cue the stories and complaints that come from The Mother Camp... the stuff that paints a glowing one-sided picture of AP's who are nothing but ideal, loving, patient saints, victimized by the demonic bastard child, riddled with so many hidden problems.]
There's no winning when you are the adoptee who decides the most honorable thing to do is walk away from his/her assigned "chosen" family and voice lessons from other people's mistakes. What results is two-fold. First, the adoptee "saved through adoption" becomes a very confused orphan, with enough hurts and wounds to keep a therapist in very interesting long-term company. ("NOW what do I do?") Second, the frustrated orphaned adoptee gets criticized and dismissed by those who want to distance themselves from blatant or passive-aggressive child abusers. [Want to see how adoptees who dare to raise a voice are perceived? See: Adoption, Abuse, and Comments From the Peanut Gallery. ]
<sad frustrated nod>.... I so wholly agree. Boy I wish it were so simple!
Kerry- My reaction to your first sentence
Kerry - I just read the very first sentence of your 'Moving-on' comment and I couldn't read past it without telling you first about my reaction to that one sentence: My heart raced, I caught my breath, and my skin actually bristled - my hair literally stood on end at the back of my neck! My eyes filled with tears. I had to clasp my hand over my mouth. I have hardly ever had such a reaction to something in my whole life. That a child who was abused struggled to be the one to try to repair that very broken relationship - out of a sense of duty no less. I can't put into words how my heart went out to you - especially to the child that you were at that time. I know that not enough is being done to help children in a number of ways in our country. (I'm thinking you're in America, like I am.) I swear if there is not an organization already in existence to address the existence of child-abusers within Christian communities or organizations (as in Kimette's experience), I myself will probably start one one of these days. I am also tuned into the problem of bullying and harrassment that too many children suffer in schools. And of course there are the adoption agencies problems. And the homeschooling movement's providing of 'perfect cover' for hiding child abuse and neglect. People in society - our laws - have Got to become Proactive against All of these crimes against children and neglectings of children.
Kerry- Re: your Moving-on post (comment)
It sounds like the child grew up and grew 'past' the adults. Just to let you know, I do understand about your walking away. I hope you've gotten to a 'place' where any criticism of your walking away sort of doesn't exist to you - or at least that it rolls off your back or you don't think of it anymore. As far as how adoptees who dare to raise a voice are percieved, here's one person (me) who doesn't perceive you that way and there are many others who don't perceive you or other adoptees who speak up that way.
I knew someone who had to walk away from her parents and her entire family (she was not adopted, by the way). It was emotionally hard for her to be without a family, too. It became most difficult for her at holidays. I agreed with her walking away - at least I completely understood why. I wished another one of her siblings Would have walked away, too. (That sibling of hers didn't have as much integrity as she did, though. I think the reason he stayed connected with their parents was probably the parents' money. He made a good living financially on his own, but had been raised to be materialistic, image-conscious, etc, and he could still get things from his parents. He didn't have the integrity his sister did, or he would probably have walked away from their parents, too, since he couldn't stand them. It was not physical abuse, but reportedly was neglect - along with lack of emotional connectedness. And his father had belittled him mercilessly while he was growing up and nothing he ever did was good enough to satisfy their mother.)
As far as wishing it were simple to raise national awareness and change laws: I know it's not easy, but it's worth it. And boy, is it ever satisfying to see your work pay off when there is a legislative advancement! As an example, you might be interested in checking out bullypolice.org - at least the homepage there. (Not specifically about adoption problems, but as an example of getting child-protection legislation passed.) People have been fighting to get laws to protect kids from bullying and harassment in school. Bullypolice.org gives a state-by-state 'report card' and shows which states they have gotten to pass anti-bully laws so far (43). Unfortunately 7 states still have not. But it just takes people 'on the ground' or with boots 'on the ground' - or 'in the trenches' - so to speak. It involves having an organization that knows how laws get passed, understands politicians, and understands what kind of laws are needed. Then it's about making appointments with law-makers, explaining the issue or problem(s) to them, getting law-makers who are sympathetic to your cause to introduce legislation and convince their colleagues to vote for the new laws. Legislative advancements don't happen overnight, but they do get accomplished when people who care enough about an issue get together on it. I'm hoping that in a year or so, I'll be in a position in my personal life where I have the time to get more involved with these issues in a 'boots on the ground' way. I'm at a place in my life where I don't have that time right now except to sign petitions to lawmakers (if an organization puts a petition together) and I put myself on the email list to receive updates/ legislative alerts and petitions. IF ANYONE KNOWS OF A GOOD ORGANIZATION that works on fixing or improving adoption oversight laws, by all means, let us know. I'd like to know if there is one that could use members to sign up and get involved (being on their email member list to sign petitions, call members of congress, make a small donation, keep updated on legislative fights.)
Kerry, I think you and I might have talked about this on PPL IIRC. I've found that the request for forgiveness, whatever the hell that is, is in reality quite conditional.
There was a conversation between me and my massively RWNJ homophobe Xtian amother in which she called me crying, begging for "forgiveness" for not baking enough cookies for me as a child. Don't laugh. She was dead-serious about this.
This, in her Concerned Women for America state of mind, was one of the foundational "reasons" for my homosexuality, which I suppose could have been avoided by more cookies from mother. Or I suppose in her mind, my retrobate refusal to absorb all their hate for homosexuality into my person and adopt their hate as my personal lifestyle choice.She bought into the persistent, pernicious lie that working mothers result in damaged children and by extension the patholicization of an entire group of people, whose mothers have been working since our introduction to this continent.
I tried to have a somewhat rational convo with her, thinking that she was really intent on getting this "forgiveness" out of me. I tried to explain that even with all their physical violence, I still thought they did what they could, given the circumstances, the times, the enviornment we lived in (bigot suburban USA), so her asking for forgiveness wasn't necessary.
So, my having failed to bestow the ridiculous badge of "you are forgiven", she hit the roof. There was a moment when I asked her if she was ever going to "ask forgiveness" for beating me up and throwing me out of their house. Needless to say, at that point, gaskets were blown, the gloves came off, and threats laid bare.
I do understand my amother had her own set of pathologies, so I don't think all people begging "forgiveness", whatever the f' that is, have the same underlying mental problems, or extreme personal needs. So anybody else reading with hot ears and indignant, bruised egoes ready to wag their mommy finger to remind me NOT EVERY APARENT IS LIKE THAT, save it. I already know that.
She revealed that she was asking forgiveness ------ wait for it ------ for my benefit, and my own good. Isn't everything, with adoptive parent/mini-martyrs. She was worrying herself sick that if I did not forgive her, I would "hold things in" and it would eat up my insides with cancer or some other awful fate.
(She had her reasons for believing such things, as she herself was suffering greatly, and desperately, from a nasty immune disease for which there still is no cure, and was certain to take her to a difficult and painful death. 3 years after said conversation, it did. Being a product of hate-yourself religion, she blamed her condition on herself and her own unforgiveness of her own father for deeds named and unnamed. Between that, and some very twisted interpretation of "sins of the fathers" she was dealing with a recurring acute condition, which was very painful, and painful to watch happen to her.)
So of course, the request became an angry demand, as if I owed her "forgiveness" for not baking cookies. And asking if she was sorry for her violent, bigoted, hate-based behavior around the topic of homosexuality, can't anyone guess the answer?
They were the victims, they were the wounded parties, after all, they bought me (forced) piano lessons, and (forced) private school, and the rest of the stilted trappings that proved to planet earth hey, a middle class Black couple can indeed be just as good as the middle class whites.
What a load of crapola, from start to finish. LOL
I predict: soon, this thread will find a similar end. An inability or outright refusal to "grant" this "forgiveness", whatever the h. that is, to all requestors will eventually end in condemnation, and possibly a threat of annihilation. Just as the refusal of uninvited, unsolicited, presumptuous, condscending forgiveness for all our "anger" at what happened to us, as innocents.
To me, the dynamic is the same, whether they bogusly beg forgiveness, or patronizingly bestow it without anyone having asked them: reassertion, passively or overtly of their position as perps in a vicious, pretentious business of acquiring other people's children as one's own.
That's not me imposing my limited experience onto the situation; that's from observing just how our christianity-based society handles violent aggression, passive-aggression, personal guilt, personal redemption, threats of retribution, and especially those who, for their own self-loathing reasons feel the need to displace their self-hate onto others in their immediate environment.
A few notes (after reading 'Forgiveness, feh') : )
Marion, I'm very sorry to read about what you went through with your adoptive mother. I honestly think that sometimes two people are just never going to 'get together' - either because of something about one or both of them that means they're always going to be like oil and water and not mix well - &/or there's just too much painful history of hurts and misunderstandings between them. Sometimes professional relationship-counselling helps, but sometimes both people (or both parents and a son or daughter) have to be serious about it and not be too set in their ways. (A friend of mine once told me counselling is only as good as you let it be.)
Another friend of mine just told me today that she was in the local gay-straight alliance parade today. I think there's seldom been a better idea for an organization. Nowhere more so than in high schools and in colleges. Part of it is the idea of being proactive at making your position known - including for straight people like me who believe in proactively saying we support the rights of gay people.
I've been to a few different Christian churches but never one that accepts violence. I'll be the first to tell you there needs to be a changing of the way many evangelicals understand Jesus's teachings and what it's supposed to mean to be Christian. I have read the New Testament and as far as I remember it does NOT have any of that stuff about a child and 'the rod.' It is the Old Testament that has that stuff. Jesus was courageous enough to risk his life to speak out Against the old ways and Against the established Old Testament religion. He knew he was risking his life to do so, but it was so important that he did it anyways. The New Testament - from Jesus's time and teachings - only mentions 'discipline' of a child. I defy and challenge anyone who calls themselves a Christian to use Jesus's words to try to justify physical abuse - or any abuse - of a child. They might be able to get away with that claim with people who actually haven't Read the New Testament and with people who don't understand a Lot of things in life to begin with, but not with someone who has Read it and understands things, like me. They (a lot of evangelicals) might say I'm not a Christian if I don't put more stock in the Old Testament. That's baloney. I am a Christian and I know the difference between the Old and New Testaments. There's a difference. Anyways, as I like to say to some Christians, if you believe God gave you your brain, then you should realize he'd like you to use it. It's not as easy as that without someone to explain and show the way, but I try to do my part.
I'm sorry to hear your amother had "a nasty immune disease for which there still is no cure..." It can happen to anyone and is something everyone should learn about especially since there are things we can do to lessen our chances of getting such a disease. In case anyone's interested, a great book to take a look at is 'The Autoimmune Epidemic' (by Donna Jackson Nakazawa). The subtitle is ' - Bodies Gone Haywire in a World Out of Balance - and the Cutting-Edge Science That Promises Hope'. What I took away from that book was that after the industrial revolution, and especially after World War II, our society's increasing production and use of chemicals and increases in manufacturing by-products, etc. have made our environment - including in our homes - much more toxic. The author likens what our immune systems can handle to a barrel that captures stress hormones and toxins. Once it overflows, our immune systems can't handle the excess and an immune system can kind of turn on US and start attacking Us - that's when an autoimmune disease happens. If I remember correctly, there was a genetic, inherited component in only one-third of people with an autoimmune disorder. If I remember correctly, cases of Autoimmune Disorders outnumber heart disease cases and cancer cases - and yet most people cannot even name one Autoimmune Disorder. AIDs is not an Autoimmune Disorder ('auto' meaning 'self' here - as in 'autobiography' - because it's a person's own body attacking him or herself). (AIDS is lack of an immune system, rather than an immune system that exists but is going haywire and attacking a person's body.) What most people don't realize is there are more than 90 different diseases that are autoimmunities. And there are other diseases in addition to the 90+ which are suspected of having an autoimmune component. The identified ones are things such as Crohns, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Juvenile Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc. People think of them all as being separate diseases, but they are all under the umbrella of 'autoimmunity.'
I've been watching 'Toxic America' on CNN (with Dr. Sanjay Gupta) when I have a chance. It was on today. One of the changes I made after reading 'The Autoimmune Epidemic' was I bought a non-PVC shower curtain. If you have a plastic shower curtain, chances are it's made of PVC, which gives off toxins! It can even trigger asthma attacks in people. You have to look for the words 'non-PVC' on the package when you buy a shower curtain. I also plan on making some changes after seeing 'Toxic America' on CNN today. Some of what I learned today from Toxic America were: indoor air is generally 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air because of things like carpeting and curtains (formaldehyde & other substances), so open your windows when you can (of course not overnight without safety precautions against intruders); houseplants can remove up to 90% of indoor toxins; use at least a pitcher-type water-filter if you can (I think with a charcoal filter - I use Brita - coffee and tea and water taste better, too) - Dr. Gupta said it can take out lead, bacteria, and chlorine; the "gold standard" in water filtration is having a Reverse Osmosis System installed, which he said costs about a few hundred dollars; if you use plastic storage containers for food, look at the recycle number on the bottom because if it has a number 7 you can assume it has BPA in it which is a toxin - your safest bet is storing your food in glass containers; some fruits and vegetables are the ones that have the most pesticides, for example, peaches, apples, strawberries, celery, and a few others (see cnn.com/toxicamerica) - Dr. Gupta said wash and peel your apples (I'm wondering if you can just wash them instead of peeling, too, if you can find them unwaxed); leave your shoes at the front door and put on indoor slippers or indoor shoes, which can help keep out garden herbicides, workplace toxins, etc.; choose to use cast-iron or stainless-steel pans instead of Teflon pans.
I was trying to figure out what RWNJ might mean - Republican White New Jersian?
This is called Supercessionism
This is known as supercessionism/supersessionism. It's not new to Christianity, and not new to Evangelical Protestantism, either. Supercessionism/replacement theology/covenantism is also widely seen as one of the foundations of anti-Semitism in the Christian west as well as the long strain of anti-Judaism inherent in Christianity.
The wikipedia article on it is long, but actually pretty decent. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercessionism
As you can probably guess, I reject supercessionism as something to personally believe in.
I should also say that I'm not interested in theological bickering over Bible interpretation. Christians have fought and killed each other in many a war over that sort of thing.
I will have to get the book you mentioned, The Autoimmune Epidemic. Some of the drugs my mother was on are now used in cocktails for AIDS treatment. She was more or less a guinea pig to the medical establishment. We had a difficult enough relationship as it was, but when I read about Rebecca Sloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks it was hard not to cry. It's about how the medical establishment has historically (mis)treated Black patients in the era of Jim Crow segregation/whites-only hospitals, and one woman's story which still continues on in cancer research, today. Bastard treatment, applied to an entire group of people due to what we look like.
Toxic America also sounds interesting. My mother grew up not too far from Love Canal. When that hit the news, a lot of light bulbs went off over her head, I think. We are indeed killing ourselves. Our life spans are longer, but in many cases it's just prolonging agony.
BTW, RWNJ = rightwing nutjob. Twitter-speak, sorry about that.
No, there doesn't.
Not everybody believes in, or cares about Jesus.
In fact, most people on planet earth are not bound by Jesus crap. So when somebody I don't even know attempts to thumbscrew me into a phony, passive-aggressive false dilemma of begging/claiming to need my forgiveness, they should feel grateful for even a derisive sneer.
Forget perp-adoptors vs adoptees whom they come to recognize as victims of a system they participate in as perp-adoptors...I've had many a white person attempt to play this same exact game with me, often; asking me for "forgiveness" for crimes they imagine I must certainly stand in condemnation of; crimes they themselves as individuals may or may never have committed, yet still feel massive guilt over because they were the cultural, social, and all too often economic beneficiaries of those who do. That's one example of the ridiculous dynamic/set-up demanded by passive-aggressive perp and their imagined victim.
Call me Nietzschean in this regard, but in the end, forgiveness is just a game of silly symbols. Once again, in the service of the perp; never having much to do with the actual victim, who is just a placeholder to the person who is actually, really relishing the idea of being a perp, enjoying the fake, phony, ego-aggrandizing reversal of power afforded by "asking forgiveness".
Not true dat. Important question.
Marion, yes there does. If you live in the U.S. especially. Whether a person believes in Jesus or not, if they find themselves speaking on the subject - a lot - in this country - then they would do well to be educated about it. Especially if a person brings it up as often as you bring it up in your own comments/posts. Even if a person is just going to put something down, it's good to be educated about it. I'm not saying they have to have a PhD in the subject. The same goes for ANY topic. I've been reading PoundPupLegacy long enough to know how often you bring the subject of Christianity up in your comments, so you actually DO care about the subject. That's not to say you believe in Christianity. But, believe me, you care about the subject.
I have studied all of the world's major religions to some extent. That does not mean I have to believe them. (No, I wasn't a religion major in college.) Have you considered that Jesus's teachings were not crap? What is crap about the brotherhood of mankind? What is crap about treating others the way you would want them to treat you? What is crap about being able to be self-sacrificing? What is crap about being humble and not overly-self-proud? What is crap about being non-materialistic? What is crap about not seeing artificial barriers of race, culture, or nationality, etc. between people? What is crap about sharing what you have with others who have less? Answer: nothing. THESE were the things Jesus taught. If a person was sexually abused by a public school schoolteacher, they shouldn't say public education is crap. They should be more specific about what they do & don't like about public education - don't condemn all of public education because of a personal experience or experiences with it. If you don't like the fact our government is corrupt - which it is - don't say democracy is crap & say 'see what democracy does?' Women who have had nothing but bad experiences with men, maybe even been raped, should not say all men are crap. If you had a bad experience with someone - or a number of people - who called themselves or considered themselves Christian, you do not have to put down one of history's greatest heros as 'crap' because of it - just because he is as misunderstood by many people today as he was 2,000 years ago.
I have known different people in my life who are prejudiced in every single different way you can possibly think of. Believe me, there is more than just racial prejudice. But prejudice is prejudice. People don't always know if they have a prejudice, or at least they often don't think of it that way. A person who had some bad experiences with some so-called Christians and then dismissively puts down Jesus's ideas because of it (and says they don't need to understand those ideas) seems to me no better than a white person who was mugged by a group of black teenagers then having something against black people for the rest of their life. Yes, I once knew such a person. For the rest of his life he held it against all black people. Prejudice is prejudice. Always putting something down then saying you don't need to understand what you're putting down sounds a bit like a form of prejudice, I can't help but say. (Painting one category or group with a very broad brush.)
I do understand that people's experiences affect their feelings about things. Of course they do. I think nothing can affect someone's long-term personal feelings or view about something more than personal pain can. But your entire assertion of "forgiveness is just a game of silly symbols. Once again in the service of the perp..." is myopic to your own exact experience. You are not specific enough in what you're referring to someone asking forgiveness for. It makes it sound like if you yourself ever hurt someone else, & then realized what you'd done, you would never ask forgiveness no matter what. Really? I think it would be very good to define what we're talking about here. One person was talking about having been sexually abused. That's one level of trespass against someone that is Criminal. But there are people who have gotten upset or turned their back on their child when they were told he or she was gay - & then later realized they were wrong and SINCERELY asked forgiveness - & meant it. Just because the person who 'asked' for Your forgiveness had a personal stake in it or was demanding (so wasn't really 'asking' or contrite) doesn't mean other people haven't been asked by someone SINCERELY who deserved to be forgiven for something. They've had a different 'forgiveness experience.' And yet you write in such a way as to almost assert that no forgiveness should ever be given to anyone for anything ever anytime under any circumstances for any reason. Pretty broad brush there. I did take note that u said your amother beat u up. If that's true, that was definitely inexcusable of her. All I'm saying is Your personal experience is not everyone's personal experience on the subject and you sometimes write a subject with a very, very broad brush.
I have to say, Marion, at least you have not made any of your comments personal attacks like some people tend to do at some other places on the internet. (But this is a classier website with classier people than some places out there in cyberspace, that's for sure.)There's something I really want to understand about your viewpoint on something, if you could explain it. When you say "forget perp-adoptors vs adoptees whom they come to recognize as victims of a system they participate in..." can you clarify what you mean by "forget" them? Do you mean that you're not including them in the designation of 'phony' forgiveness-askers because theirs is in a different category - a category that doesn't require forgiveness to begin with - so for argument's sake, you're not including them in what you're about to say? Or do you mean: because they participated in the adoption system - whether they knew the things wrong with the system or not - they don't deserve forgiveness? Or do you mean they don't require forgiveness because the system was at fault - not them - and they Know they don't require forgiveness but they just ask for it anyways as a game? By the way, if I won the lottery and could shower a ton of money over you just because of whatever unhappiness you've been through in life, I would do it, and you can't make me not wish I could. Nice thought at least.
Save your $$$...
If only I had a lottery's worth for every Christian who told me they love me, god loves me and there's nothing I can do about it.
You won't find a person with a more well-rounded experience -- positive, negative, academic/ivory-tower, post- -- than Marion_Cullen. If you've read my posts, you'll know that I come from a family of ministers, with both parents having multiple ordinations between them. I may have mentioned already that I did major in Religious Studies in college and my grad program, with an emphasis on American Christianity.
I have run a small gamut of American Protestantism, from Methodism to Pentecostalism/Charisma to Episcopalianism, some things in between. I went to Baptist VBSes, Reformed Church secondary school, and attended a notorious Fundagelical rightwing college for three years, until I got kicked out and cut off the summer between Jr and St year. That said, I can still appreciate the art, the songs, the different styles of worship and such. There's nothing wrong with those things; what's wrong is how they so often get used.
It would be one thing if I were the only one who ever a bad personal experience with Christianity, or the only adoptee mistreated by Christian parents, or the only Queer in the world who grew up having the prospect of certain hellfire crammed down my throat.
But as we know, that is not the case. 2K years of Christian history and all the dead, trauma-ridden people in its wake will back me up. No broad brushes are needed in that regard; this is a historical fact.
Put another way, if some of the things I say about the religion make Christians unhappy, they should consider that I am a direct product of it. As Suicidal Tendencies once sang, "I went to your churches, I went to your schools", and unlike some unfortunate others, I've lived to tell about it. Anything Christians don't like in my posts is a function of the major role it plays in so many of us damaged-goods bastards.
So, you're quite mistaken in your inference that I don't know much about Christianity or one better, don't understand it. Or, laughably, that I have somehow pre-judged it.
I also did not say I personally don't care about the topic, I only said a lot of people on earth don't care about Jesus. Nobody has to care about Jesus, especially not the way any Christian says we must. The interest I have in it now is mainly self-protection and, as in my younger years, understanding how and why people come to behave the way they do using Christianity as an excuse, personal/devotional aid, social tool, political hammer to keep people like myself under their thumb, and so on. In recent years, my expertise has turned into a hobby that keeps me entertained.
As for what Jesus taught, anyone can claim correct interpretation of that; even a Big Dummy like me can do that. There are 6,000 different Christian sects with all but a few claiming the monopoly on interpreting Jesus's teachings. Why one religion needs 6K different factions, most of which condemn each other as readily as they do everyone else, and have a nasty history both here and abroad of killing everything in their path, including each other; that's still unclear.
None of the above. It wasn't written all that well but that part of the sentence should read, "Perp-adoptors vs adoptees whom they come to recognize as victims of a system they participate in aside" .
In my opinion and experience, "forgiveness" (and attendant concepts like violation, transgression, guilt, culpability, redemption, and so-called "sin" and "grace" if one wants to go theological) is a game that has little to do with the would-be forgiver. If other people want to play it, that's on them.
Thank you for the reply to my question. I appreciate it. Thank you also for taking the time to respond to the rest of my post. When I said "there needs to be an understanding" I wasn't actually thinking much of You needing understanding. I was thinking almost exclusively of 'in the general population that cares about the entire issue' - but especially amongst people who call themselves Christians, themselves.
I've only read a number of the posts you've done since I joined PoundPupLegacy but you've probably been a member a lot longer than I have, so I definitely haven't read them all. Thanks for filling me in on your background. I'm someone who understands both sides and both potentials of religions - the negative and the positive. I think there are very few things in life that don't require some kind of Serious vigilance on the part of good people who see the up side of something - that is, the way something Could be and Should be - vs the down side - which is the way it will easily become if people let it. As an example, I believe in democracy, but what a heartbreak it is to see where it so often winds up in people's hands vs where it could be & should be. We think of ourselves in America as being a shining example of democracy to the rest of the world - we think we do it best. Well, there Was a time we did do it best. (& We were one of the first.) But the emotion of patriotism can blind people to the truth of what has been allowed to become of our democracy vis-a-vis the rest of the world's industrialized, western democracies. Five years ago or so, I heard a speech given by a Harvard professor who is an expert on democratic elections. She said we are the Only western, industrialized democracy where decisions about election results are made by people who have a vested interest in the outcome of the elections - a direct conflict of interest. In the other democracies, decisions about election outcomes & fair voting practices are made by impartial panels. I have been fighting a long fight with hundreds of thousands of other people to try to change this kind of thing. Improvement on this is slow, but it gets made. It will continue to get made a little at a time as long as people who understand what a democracy is Supposed to be consider it important enough to fight for.
I have seen some of the fights by true, reasonable, level-headed, wise Christians Against the wrong-application/wrong-understandings/abuses of Jesus's philosophies and teachings. But when I say something like "there needs to be an understanding" I mostly mean that there hasn't been Enough of this in a concerted enough, organized enough way by true Christians who are clear-thinking. I follow stories such as the Warren Jeffs prosecution, for example. Just today an Arizona judge dismissed charges against him because 2 alleged victims don't want to continue with the prosecution of sexual misconduct with a minor. I was Very glad to read that Texas & the federal government have their own more serious charges pending against him. In case anyone out there doesn't know, he's the bigamist or polygamist Latter Day Saints guy that thinks he's a 'prophet and seer and revelator' and has many followers who believe the same about him. Anything he said to the people in their society was law. All sorts of evil human-constructs were built around this including him doing things like forcing an underage girl to marry her 19-year-old cousin, and Jeffs himself having basically a harem of dozens of 'wives' that had been his father's 'wives' before his father died. And of course how do you have a society where men have numerous 'wives' when male & female births are roughly 50/50? The older men in that society would take a number of the younger women or girls as 'wives' simultaneously, with the so-called prophet telling girls who they had to marry. How could there be enough girls then for all the guys? Of course there couldn't be, so one of their evils was the older men pushing the competition - the teenage boys - out onto the streets. They would kick the poor boys out of the only homes, only society, only world they had ever known. Etc., etc. Those types of things are cults and, religion or no religion, there will always be charismatic people who get other people to do whatever they want them to do.
Churches that are more mainstream and generally considered to be more respectable are still not all the same. But they are run by humans, who have been known to get things real wrong in Every area of life - not just religion. If both of your parents were ministers and you were exposed mostly to evangelical/fundamental churches, I think it would be hard for you to have had a "well-rounded experience" with the subject, especially having spent 3 years at a "notorious Fundagelical right wing college..." (I think I have to say you have my sympathies on that! ) What I'm thinking of as more well-rounded, in its way, is the way I was raised. I myself was raised by 2 people who were opposites on the subject. One parent is a complete believer - and is the most wonderful person who anyone could ever possibly know - the person who taught me my love of children, my profound concern for the welfare of children, who showed me what children are up against in a world where they have no voice (& where most adults forget what it was like to be a kid). My other parent is the 'scientific' minded one who made sure to point out to me all the foibles, the mistakes, the errors, and the illogicalities (I think I made up a new word) that so many people make regarding their religion and how they think about it and what they do with it. And that parent is also wonderful - just an absolutely wonderful human being. It was from that parent that I learned I can question and should question. I don't just believe & think what I believe & think because I want to (some people believe just because they want to) & not because I was made to. It was my decision. I spent my own years learning & searching & found my own way. I know for sure there's a spiritual aspect to life because I've experienced it. (& in case it bears noting, no I've never done drugs, never had any mental problem like schizophrenia, I don't hear voices coming from the rocks on the ground etc. in case anyone's wondering. & no, I don't see Mary's face on cinnamon rolls.)
My mind is clear and open and logical and I see no conflict between science and the spiritual side of life and the kinds of beliefs I have. I respect other people's rights to other religions - within reason (Jeffs has no right to tell underage girls to marry, much less who they have to marry) - or to no religion. And I speak out in defense of the rights of non-heterosexual people even when I might be the only person doing so in a group of other people, when it might not be safe - if only socially - for me to do so. There are denominations of Christianity that support the rights of non-heterosexual people and they do not tell them they're going to hell. Unfortunately they are outnumbered by overly-conservative denominations & congregations. I honestly think of Christianity the way I think of democracy in terms of it having great potential for Tremendous Good - but also subject to humans and human nature which can make a mess of Anything. How is it that in a democracy, with freedom of the press, in one of the richest nations in the world, we have soldiers who come home with brain injuries & they are then medically Neglected - actually sent home with just tylenol when what they need is serious neurological medical attention and physical/medical therapy to relearn functioning, etc. How do we tolerate that abuse of people on a regular basis? Something wonderful - democracy - in the hands of fallible humans, that's how. (NPR's 'All Things Considered' broadcast an entire segment about the medical neglect I referred to on 6/9/10.) I do think definitely that all denominations/practices of Christianity should not be lumped together, just as people should not think of all muslims as terrorists just because some are, etc. With your background regarding religion, you sound very familiar with a certain type of Christianity. As far as the possibility of any prejudice, I just hope you don't prejudge all denominations based on the ones you had run-ins with. (I can't help but wonder if you were raised in the south.) Just a thought, but I think an important one: remember that it was only 40 years ago or so that society in general - not just Christians - began to be more human towards people who are not heterosexual. It's not as if the rest of society was all that different from most Christians in that regard.
As far as the idea that 2k years of "Christian history" is nothing but murder and negative things, that's not any truer than the other extreme position which so many people insist on thinking, which is the idea that it's been nothing but good. The truth is what truth - & human history - so often are: complex or mixed. Religion in and of itself has its own particular Potential for as much bad as good - & in the wrong hands it can actually be dangerous. So can parenthood. You say you are a direct product of "the religion" but you are a direct product of a version of it (& of particular parenting). That's a version of Christianity that is all too common and which I intend to do my best in my lifetime to diminish or eliminate. (Believe me, I know I can't make much progress on it alone, but I'm not the only one who thinks like me.) It's not the safest thing for me to work on, but one thing Jesus, himself, never was was 'safe' (or politically correct, or conformist). Yes, there is a nasty history of just about ALL of mankind in every country, in every time, in every religion and every lack of religion. People who considered themselves Christian or claimed to be are part of that. But I - a Christian - do acknowledge that side of it, while people I know who are anti-Christian (I have loved ones on both sides) seem to not be willing to acknowledge when Christians, Christianity, & Christian organizations do brave and good things precisely Because of Jesus's example to them. Maybe it's in large part because good things don't make the news as often as sensational bad things. For example, if we were to go by tv alone, people might never know about things like the International Justice Mission which undertakes dangerous missions around the world doing mostly thankless work known mostly just to the people whose lives they liberate and save. (People in bondage, sexual slavery, indentured servitude, etc.) I myself will go as far as writing to a Christian organization to try to show them 'the light of day' about something if I know of an organization that's off-track about something. And No One gets more upset than me when any person or organization that thinks they're Christian, or claims to be, harms others - especially children. But if I'm with someone who's anti-Christian and the tv that someone left on has a story on about a Christian organization like the Christian Children's Fund - & the tremendous good they're doing - the anti-Christian friends or family are always silent. Up to that point they might have had something to say about just about every single other thing that was on. This has been my experience with more than a few anti-Christian people. I don't judge you by that, though. Whatever you do, don't let anyone treat you like they own Christianity. All ancient writings are the heritage of all of mankind - in other words they don't belong to anyone. They are equally everyone's. (I'm also always aware that a lot of people who've looked at, read, or studied the New Testament have only read it in old English. Some people actually think they should for some reason. I don't see any more sense in that than reading a book in Russian if you don't speak Russian. I like the New International Version in modern English.)
In an unusual kind of way, you and I are actually on the same side of a couple of things. We're on the side of protecting children, and we're also both interested in addressing the ills that can exist as a result of the way some people practice their religion. I realize we wouldn't agree on every single detail of that, but I think what we have in common is much more important than those differences. In some ways we want the same things and in some ways we want similar things, maybe for some similar reasons and also some different reasons. Thank you again Marion for answering my question. And I know that you know you aren't a "Big Dummy." For one thing, you are definitely more eloquent than most people. :)
Marion: Wait til you read D. Jackson Nakazawa
Marion: Wait til you read D. Jackson Nakazawa. You mentioned your amother was from the Love Canal area (which I remember is in Western New York state). The book 'The Autoimmune Epidemic' just happens to have another case study about a different western new york toxic neighborhood. This one was somewhere in the city of Buffalo. If I remember correctly, it created a neighborhood cluster of Lupus. It was a neighborhood of predominantly black residents, too. The governmental negligence was inexcusable really. The precautions to protect residents that were first put in place once the problem was publicly known were also negligible and negligent. I remember when I read that part (or those parts) of the book, I learned a few Seriously important lessons: 1 was the fact the government is really Us. Another lesson was how very valuable and crucial even just 1 or 2 serious citizens or city councilmembers can be in making something that SHOULD happen happen - because if it's left up to anyone else, it often just won't get done. (We can never assume it will.) The most important lesson I learned from reading that case study was: never assume our government is protecting us or will protect us. We have to be the ones to do the inquiring - We have to research important things to the best of our ability and then ask the important questions of our elected officials. (Asking important questions is also something that independent media journalists often do better than corporate media.)
By the way, I was thinking a while ago about what I said regarding your background on religion being either 'well-rounded' or not so much so & I think I understand what you were trying to say about that. If I understand correctly, what you meant about your background on religion was something I myself would probably refer to as an 'in-depth' background rather than 'well-rounded' - but I can see what I think you meant by the words 'well-rounded.' (I'd probably say 'in-depth' myself, but 2 people can be thinking kind of the same thing & still use different terminology for it.) I basically was pretty much just saying what I've said to some other people I've known in my life who have a completely Catholic background (unlike yours) who went to Catholic elementary schools and Catholic churches. They always thought - erroneously - that they'd been exposed to all Christianity through it. But that's those particular people I've known & I don't think you yourself were saying things the way those people used to say them.
Just to let you know, the people I'm referring to, that I've known & been friendly with for years, always spoke of Catholic things & Catholic ideas as if they represent all Christianity. They were intelligent people (who were also professionals) but I needed many times over a number of years to keep reminding them that the things they were referring to were just Catholic. I had to tell them a number of times over the course of years that they kept speaking of Catholic ideas and Catholic ways as if all Christians thought those things - as if all Christians were Catholic .The whole anti-birth-control thing, for example - they would complain about some things, saying things like "Christians don't use birth control" & I would have to remind them again that there's such a thing as Protestants (and most Protestants do use birth control). After years, I finally got through to them but it was so hard to that it really amazed me. I actually used to always get a reaction from them of Sincerely blank stares or somewhat puzzled stares at the idea that the Catholic church did not represent all of Christianity on earth & that millions of other people existed who considered themselves Christian (&/or called themselves that) who didn't think in those ways at all.
By the way, I hadn't realized I'd typed so much yesterday. But it was very late and when I'm tired I'm talkative. I guess that translates to being 'type-ative,' too, from the looks of it.
Christian Intolerance of other Christians
Catholics are taught that entire swaths of Christianity like all of Protestantism and all of Orthodoxy are those weird little curiosities, over there somewhere. Although, I have seen the same behavior among Protestants. Whackjob Evangelical/Fundamentalist types, most of them despise each other and don't consider any of the other Protestants to be true, even those with similar beliefs. Orthodoxy isn't much better...a lot of those communions don't even speak the same language, much less include each other as fellow Chrisitans.
One of the worst examples of how vicious Christians can get against each other, leaving out the Wars of Religion, 30 Years War, Puritans lynching Quakers, etc is Jasenovac. It's also one of the most egregious concentration camps from WW2. Croatian Catholic Nazi-proteges against rabid Orthodox Serbs, Jews, Roma/Gypsies. http://jasenovac.org/exhibits.php
To be fair, Protestants are certainly taught that about Catholics and Orthodoxy. What Orthodox are taught, I've only read about. Most of Orthodoxy is carried on in countries completely removed from Western Europe, or Europe at all. So, it's a big universe.
Then there's the disconnect between what's taught and what an individual might or might not accept about the teaching. I've found a lot of Catholics I have known to have just plain old common sense, and not be so worked up and anxious about everything. That may be a function of being a minority tradition in the US, not sure.
Another Rec I will have to get
Actually, she spent the latter part of childhood through college in Buffalo.
Looks like another one I must add to the list. Thanks!!
Just a couple notes
In the US, we are dealing with ONE religion, that regardless of which of it's 6 thousand sects always promotes itself as right uber alles. ONE set of bigoted, murderous fanatics here affects politics, and policies. ONE seething bundle of religious sects here takes it upon themselves to impose their lifestyle onto the planet, via missionaries, and their attendant wayward girls homes, frothing forced childbirth/harassment of women policies, end times mania, shoot-em-up militias, minutemen, boston tea party knockoffs waving misspelled signs, etc.
Can't you guess which one? It's not whackjob Islam. It's not whackjob Hare Krishnas. It's not whackjob Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Confucians, or anyone else carrying on in other parts of the world, or at different times.
It doesn't matter if only 4,000 of the 6,000 are rabid control freaks, whose own churches are rife with abuse. It would seem 3750 of the 4,000 all landed their bigot asses in America.
Don't try to point at the flaws of other religions in other parts of the world in other times, when there is a plank in the eye of christianity, right here, right now.
Outside of the UU's and a few mainline liberal denominations incl/not limited to the United Church of Christ, Episcopalians, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), United Methodists to some extent and Presbeterians (PCUSA), every christian claims to be true and reasonable.
Anybody can make that claim. You should look up "no true scotsman" fallacy. http://www.logicalfallacies.info/presumption/no-true-scotsman/ Christians engage in it all the time in their missionization/control-of-everything-around them efforts. The funny thing is, they also rely on a corelative: "I'm different, I'm not like THEM" fallacy.
People in the crazy house know they are Napoleon, because they experience it, too. Proves nothing.
Thank you for reminding me why one should never reveal anything of a personal nature to a true believer, especially Christian or Muslim, not even when asked. They will be certain to try and use your own words against you, in their quest to prove to themselves how right they are.
That's not what I said, it's what you chose to read. Don't skip over the part where I said I was raised Methodist, and almost converted to Episcopalianism. If you are aware of the conversion process you know it is not something that one does on a whim, or without loads of education. Especially into a denomination like Episcopalianism.
As for telling me about the existence of gay-friendly denominations (much less majority gay ones like the Metropolitan Community Church and Unity Fellowship), having actually dated gay people in ministry who were being courted by two such denominations, and having a friend who is a name-recognition pioneer in a mainline denomination to open up its ministry to out queers, I do think I know something about that topic. I am best equipped to articulate my own experience with Christianity than anyone, certainly not a true believer.
Lol was that a question?
Some advice: instead of trying to cast poor-put-upon Christianity as some kind of victim of Marion_Cullen, whose rights these people freely trample daily with little resistance from those who claim to be allies, maybe you should consider that I and so many others have very good reasons to avoid/protect ourselves from/smack back at Christians who are bigots, or just simply reject Christianity outright. Most people have had far less exposure I have to American Christianity, and come to similar conclusions, which is another way of saying what I've said before, that it's not just me. That's not to mention people from other faith traditions that have been ransacked, colonized, hung from trees, and generally raped by Christian bigots.
In this country, Christian bigots are Legion. They don't need anybody's defense. They are not being oppressed in any way, not by anyone. They are perps.