Adoption comes up in regular conversation a surprising amount, and in a way, more than I’d like for it to. It’s not that I mind discussing it, discussing my opinion of it, discussing my and others’ experiences with it. I don’t mind those things in and of themselves. The problem I have is when I become the Bad Guy. People seem to take this attitude with me that my opinion is somehow inherently wrong and that I apply my unique experience to others’. I don’t. It just so happens that I know several other adoptees (and birthparents) who share my opinion. It seems that with people aren’t adopted, there’s a stance taken along the lines of, “How dare you. You owe your parents everything. They are so selfless. Did you even ask them if it would be OK to try to find your birthmother? Did you even consider their feelings? Why are you so hateful?” Always, my opinion is looked at as being ‘wrong’, though it just so happens that the opinions of Real Kids are not as right as my own, given that they are the baseline case and I am the outlier.
Anyhow, there always comes a point where my opponent crosses his or her arms over their chest and says, “Well would you rather have been aborted?”—at which point I am clearly supposed to scrunch my face in offense and indignance and say, “Of course not,” / “Why would you say such a thing?” / “Don’t be stupid.”
Nobody ever expects me to finish my chewing, put both of my elbows on the table, hunch forward a little, and point with my fork while responding with a flat ‘yes’. (For the record, even if I didn’t wish I’d been aborted, I’d keep saying it because watching Udon dribble out of someone’s nose when you tell them you’d have rather end up a pile of blood and tissue never fails to amuse.)
“Really?” (Forever. Forever? Forever ever? Forever ever?)
And then, choose one of or a combination of the following:
“But then you would have never gotten to do all the things that you did.”
“But then you would have never met Soandso.”
“But then you would have never gone parasailing that one time.”
“But then you would have missed out on all those great times over the years.”
Right, right, right, and right. I would have never gotten to do or experience any of those things. Fortunately, I’d be a nice little pile of decaying DNA in a red Biohazard box, and I can’t say that I’d really care. Being dead, I don’t think I’d be affected by the life I ‘missed out’ on. Being dead, and having never even known I existed, I don’t think my current family members would miss experiences with me they never even knew they didn’t have. I may have found $100 on the sidewalk outside of my apartment yesterday if I’d bothered to leave it, but since I don’t know about it, I can’t really say that a) I even actually missed the opportunity, or b) that I really care about a theoretical missed opportunity.
(I can also use the argument that if I hadn’t been born I could have avoided massive pain and suffering for myself, but I don’t really like that argument and people, for whatever stupid reason, seem to think that the good somehow outweighs the bad, and I just think that’s retarded. I’d rather just have all good, personally. So I never use that argument.)
People like to tell me that as a pro-abortionist (‘pro-choice’ to me implies a menu of option for you to choose from, when I think you should either be choosing life or death—I’m just very black and white like that), I’m somehow anti-life. I am pro-death, yes, but not necessarily anti-life. It just so happens that I value life and death equally. I don’t think that anyone should be forced to live so that you can stave off your suffering for a few more months or because it’s not convenient for you to grieve right now. This doesn’t just go for babies, this goes for everyone. I’m all for assisted suicide. People seem to be so caught off-guard by death as if it wasn’t part of the life cycle.
That said, I’m very much a naturalist. I don’t like taking medication for things I feel I can manage homeopathically, and I don’t support things like finding a cure for AIDS and cancer. I feel like it’s money that would be better spent enhancing the quality of life for those living and not dwelling on the history of the dead. There is a system of checks and balances and I think that this is population control and survival of the fittest in action. I don’t say this to be cold, I say this because it makes sense to me. I may soon change my opinions when I contract HIV from all the buttsex I like having, or get colon cancer because I eat red meat and I only cook it for about a minute when I do; such is the flaw of man.
Further, I’m a pretty firm believer in ethology. Yes, I think that there are characteristics that distinguish (not separate) us from ‘animals’, but I think that at our core, at our basest, we are animals. And what do animals do when they have too many babies? They eat them. (The first person who notes me and asks me if I’m implying the we eat our children is going to be force-fed after I sew their butthole shut.) They kill them. They are abandoned. The only species that has been known to ‘adopt’ within the species is elephants. Sometimes (meaning with no predictable consistency), if an elephant is unable to be cared for by its mother because of death, the rest of the herd will ‘adopt’ the elephant. However, in situations where defense is necessary, very little attempt is made to keep the adopted elephant from harm, and never does the adopted elephant become an Alpha within the herd. In instances where the elephant is not adopted, it is either abandoned or killed.
I’ve tackled nature and philosophy, now religion. I’m not religious, so I personally, I don’t care if you get an abortion or not. Some religious people, when asked why they are OK with the death penalty but not with abortion, will answer that an unborn child is ‘innocent’ and all innocent life should be spared. O RLY. Care to discuss original sin with me? Because original sin would imply that the child is not, in fact, inherently ‘innocent’. Some people site ‘God’s plan’, and that we have to let God’s plan pan out. So let’s say you take a job that is going to relocate your whole family to Japan but will pay you considerably more money, and you site that it’s ‘God’s plan’. Why is it, that if you make a decision that doesn’t have any immediate or measurable negative impact, it’s God’s plan, but your decisions alone can’t be construed at God’s plan? If you lived your life that that methodology, you would have to sit there waiting for God to puppeteer you around.
The Bible: I believe in the teachings of the Bible about as much as I believe in the teachings of any other book. Sure there are some nice things to draw from it, but I don’t believe it word for word. And I especially don’t believe that anything that is documented in the Bible as ‘happening’. However, were I to hold faith in any portion of the Bible, it would be the Old Testament, and the Old Testament only. The New Testament is a lot like Home Alone 3 in that Macaulay Culkin wasn’t in it and that was pretty much a key element, like in the New Testament it’s basically just people saying what they think God might possibly want, but don’t really have any direct proof in it.
(I wrote that entire last paragraph as if I actually had anything remotely significant vested in those beliefs. I don’t.) (Actually, I don’t even think that last paragraph is pertinent to my argument, but I took the time to write it and the part about Macaulay Culkin is funny, so it will stay.)
So Jesus. He was all compassionate and shit, right? I was talking to this woman once (whom I now mostly hate, by the way), not knowing that she was pretty devoutly Catholic (I mean, especially for a lesbian), and I told her about this nun I’d seen on TV who said that the suffering of people exists to give those who are healthy an opportunity to comfort them. “Isn’t that riDICulous?” I said. “No. She’s right,” is what this chick said to me. And I was thinking in my head that if I was lying in bed, dying of cancer or AIDS or Typhus or something, and Jesus was sitting there, you know, and WWJD, I’m sure as hell hoping Jesus wouldn’t wait it out for his own benefit, but would instead turn water to potassium chloride and shoot me up with that shit.
Do I believe that life begins at conception? Yes. I do. And do I believe that abortion is killing? Yes. I do. Do I believe it’s murder? More like self defense. I think that, in some respects, in some instances, you are saving a child from a lifetime of suffering, be it in your lousy home, a lousy foster home, or a relatively happy adoptive home that supports you finding your birth parents only to find out and live with the misery of knowing that you were the product of rape/incest/drunken debauchery. (Even in cases of genetic defect, where the child would be blind and deaf and dependent on someone eternally, you’d better believe I’d term that pregnancy. Yes, I think that my child ‘deserves’ life, but that, that is not a life. That is nothing.)
“But at least you’d be ALIVE!”
Yes. But again, if you’re dead, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. In fact, I don’t even think you’re ‘missing out’.
I don’t discount having an abortion to be an easy thing. I don’t shrug it off the way I’d shrug off a tonsillectomy. It can be a very traumatic thing, something to recover from for a long time, or something that you never recover from (like giving a child up for adoption can be). The people I know who’ve had abortions, to my knowledge, are happy with their decision. Not elated, because I don’t think anyone is ever thrilled to be doing that. Nor am I trying to imply that anyone who’s had an abortion (for whatever reason) is happy with that decision.
I really wish, as much as I wish adoptions didn’t have to happen, that abortions didn’t have to happen either (and yes, they have to happen). But I don’t think that it’s wrong, I don’t think that it’s murder, I don’t think that it’s immoral, and I don’t think that anyone should have anyone but themselves to decide what is good and merciful for their children.