Dangerous Compassions

feelings about adoption


I made this post adoption is not the solution.  I wanted to shed some light on the adoption struggle, the truth about adoption, and how lies about adoption fuel the anti-choice movement.  Feelings about adoption are strong, and of course it’s a complex subject.

I was trying to add nuance to the pool of ideas, by shouting out the truths of adoptees that are often shushed and denied.  My words made some readers uncomfortable.  I had emotions behind what I wrote, and I’m sorry that my post was not a fun read for some.  I don’t want to cause suffering irresponsibly, and I’m sorry that at least one person seemed hurt by what I said, or hurt by what I stirred up for them.

What’s really on my mind is important for me to talk about, and I’d rather take the risk of bringing up something edgy than stick to easy, agreeable topics every day.  But I love my friends and readers and don’t want to harsh anyone.


I love choice and choices.  Adoption is a choice that I’m glad exists, and I’m sorry the adoption industry is corrupt and flawed.

There are many ways we can improve culture, including reducing violence, improving adoption, better drug policy, harm reduction, non-psychiatry ways of doing mental health, connection/ community, honesty, healing, disability justice, and listening to the stakeholders in any painful situation.

My post was partly motivated by how I feel about spending most of my life not understanding how traumatic adoption is for most adopted people.  Those people who are so vulnerable and often harmed, are simplified to the point of effaced.  They’re used as pawns or bargaining tokens in abortion rhetoric–what actually happens doesn’t matter to people with power.

The used-ness hurts me, although I was not adopted.  I’ve been used in many ways.  No one is free until all of us are free.  Liberation is for all, or else it’s nothing.


There’s so much misinformation shared as truth.  It’s normal that people make mistakes, and mistakes can be passed around as truth.

Mistakes are often appealing.  It would be a simpler world, if a person’s gender and sex assigned at birth were the same thing.  It would be easier, if health was just a matter or “eat right and exercise” as so many people say.  False ideas about homeless people fuel homeless people’s oppression.  Saying “most homeless people want to be homeless” and other over simplifications keep homeless people seen as non-human and from receiving resources.

So much common knowledge is wrong.  Asserting the truth about gender, health, disability, homelessness, and many other simplified topics is the hard work of change.  It’s intense, to struggle against wrong ideas that are repeated as truth.

But often, misinformation isn’t accidental or neutral.  Much misinformation is shared intentionally for someone’s gain.  There’s a billboard that Ming and I pass often near our neighborhood.  It depicts the middle portion of a pregnant person’s body and advertises adoption as a beautiful choice.

This billboard is advertising.  The lie that adoption is easy is pushed by people who are motivated to assert that idea for their own agenda.


Using the word lie can really bother people.  That’s a strong word.  It sets off alarms.

Does that mean I shouldn’t use the word lie?  That depends on who I’m speaking to, and what result I’m looking for.  I’m always considering my audience and what response would be best.

In this situation, I wanted to use the word lie because it’s the truth. I’m upset that I was fed a lie about adoption, and I’m sorry that I believed it.

Life is nuanced, and many situations aren’t binary good or bad.  But I was taught that adoption is binary-beautiful and simple.  That adoption lie has consequences, and I’m angry that that lie and so many others flood our culture and harm people.

good experiences

I’m glad not every adoption is bad–I’m so happy some people have good experiences.  Good experiences are my joy, and I wish everyone had them.  But the people with bad experiences are real, and data indicates that there are more horror stories than happy ones.

I like to know the truth about trauma.  I do radical mental health and am close to many traumatized people.  Dominant culture wants to sweep us under the rug, but we would need a much bigger rug.


I had a friend I loved who was adopted, and over the years, I heard her talk about what happened to her.  I never got the complete story.  But her rage was huge enough to fill her life.  Her adoption experience was traumatic, violent, violating, and I’m amazed she survived.

I’d hear my friend mention what happened to her, and I’d feel overwhelmed by how immense her feelings about adoption were.  At the time, I knew almost nothing about adoption.  I had some knowledge about the foster care system and how broken that is, but I didn’t know how adoption can be tied in with that and share some of the same horrors.

I didn’t understand what adoption is, or understand the deep pain my friend carried.  But I loved this part of her anyway.  Kind of like when Ming doesn’t understand why something is hurting me.  I’m overwhelmed with feeling and can’t explain, or he’s vastly different from me in a specific way, so he can’t wrap his head around why something hurts so bad.

He doesn’t understand it, but he loves me, so he loves that pain, extending unconditional compassion to me, and helps me carry the burden anyway.  He’d prefer to understand, but he doesn’t need to.


I’m sorry to anyone I hurt with my feelings about adoption and the unlikable blog post.

I’m sorry for every time I’m trying to help and fail.  But it’s good to take risks and talk about new things.  If you need to stop reading my words, please do.  I respect you and your feelings about adoption.  Please take care of yourself and curate your experiences for the life you want.

Mostly I’m sorry to my old friend who was adopted, sorry I never understood, and that we couldn’t maintain our friendship.  I hope other people are being good to you and loving you in ways that work better.

I hope nature, animals, ideas, baking, podcasts, books, zines, movies, and delicious foods enrich your life with joy.  Thank you for letting me be part of your reality, for some time.  I treasure what I learned from you, and I wish every blessing to your loving heart.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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