As someone who reads the laws, who checks out potential candidates and who tries to vote responsibly, I bought a book recently. It is called The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama. I am going to quote the book. This particular section can be found on pages 67 and 68. It was published by Crown Publishing Company out of New York. He was discussing empathy/compassion and the lack of it in our society. I think in the adoption system his philosophy could and should be applied.
"There 's nothing extraordinary about such awakening, of course; in one form or another it is what we all must go through if we are to grow up. And yet I find myself returning again and again to my mother's simple principle - "How would that make you feel?" - as a guidepost for my politics.
It is not a question we ask ourselves enough, I think: as a country we seem to be suffering from an empathy deficit. We wouldn't tolerate schools that don't teach, that are chronically underfunded and understaffed, and under inspired, if we thought that the children in them were like our children. Its hard to imagine the CEO of a company giving himself a multimillion dollar bonus while cutting health-care coverage for his workers if he thought they were in some sense his equals. And its safe to assume that those in power would thing longer and harder about launching a war if they envisioned their own sons and daughters in harm's way.
I believe a stronger sense of empathy would tilt the balance of our current politics in favor of those people who are struggling in this society. After all, if they are like us then their struggles are our own. If we fail to help, we diminish ourselves.
But that does not mean that those who are struggling - or those of us who claim to speak for those who are struggling are thereby freed from trying to understand the prospective of those who are better off. Black leaders need to appreciate the legitimate fears that may cause some whites to resist affirmative action. Union representatives cant afford not to understand the competitive pressures their employers may be under. I am obligate to try to see the world through George Bush's eyes, no matter how much I may disagree with him. That is what empathy does - it call us all to task the conservative and the liberal, the powerful and the powerless, the oppressed and the oppressor. We are all shaken out of complacency. WE are all forced beyond our limited vision.
No one is exempt from the call to find common ground.
Of course, in the end, a sense of mutual understanding isn't enough. After all talk is cheap, like any value, empathy must be acted upon. When I was a community organizer back in the eighties, I would often challenge neighborhood leaders by asking them where they put their time, energy, and money. Those are the true tests of what we value, I'd tell them, regardless of we like to tell ourselves. If we aren't willing to pay a price for our values, then we should ask ourselves whether we truly believe in them at all."
These particular paragraphs call all of us to task. It is our responsibility to see our stories hears. It is our responsibility to take action to change the laws of adoption. Research is now supporting our claims. Look at the study below by the Evan B. Donaldson Institute. Elected officials need to hear them. We need to tell them that when they make laws concerning adoption, they need to talk to us. We are the ones affected by adoption. Most adoptees and birth parents agree that when it comes to the original birth certificate, it should be freed from the walls that hold it in secrecy. It does not belong in the hands of the government and adoption agencies.
A first mother or better yet, a mother has a motto that yes it is controversial but it is so true. Her blog is called Adoption Roadkill. Her link is on my list of links. "If adoption is so great, which child are you willing to give up?" Knowing myself and knowing other people, we can't even imagine what that choice is like. I personally don't ever want to have to think about that kind of choice. Both pro-life and pro-choice groups assume an antagonistic relationship between mother and child. Neither group can accept anything else because it would tear their arguments to shreds. We all need to understand - empathize so to speak. It is a heartbreaking decision for any woman. It is amazing to me that society "glorifies and condemns" a birth mother all at the same time. She does the "loving choice" on one hand and on the other "how can she give her baby up?" Then the adoptees are vilified when choosing to search. Shame on you for searching - Oh the pain you are putting your parents through - you should be grateful that you weren't aborted. Our society must realize that it is not a reflection nor a betrayal of our parents if we search. My family understands this. Why can't society? To me, Judgement is left to God not humans.