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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Qualities for an adoption activist.

If you’ve been around the field of adoption for long, you’ll notice that there are adoption activists of different kinds. They range from pro/ anti domestic, inter-country adoption to activists that want to clean up adoption agencies to those who advocate for change of laws.


Activism as such is not bad. After all one is advocating for a cause that one feels very passionate about. The problem is how they go about. Most of the activists are so consumed in their passion that they become one sided and fail to see the others point of view. They become so consumed that they resort to practices (spying, intimidating, using one’s name in vain, name calling and physically harming) that are not necessarily healthy for a debate of an issue.

So what does it take to become an adoption activist? There are three qualities that any adoption activist should have.

Passion: Unless you’re passionate about an issue, you cannot devote yourself to a cause that you want to advocate. Take for examples like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa and they are all passionate about what they believed in and they devoted their lives for those causes. History tells us that they have made a huge impact on the society.

So how does one go about developing passion for something? It is all about the experience. Unless and until you have had the experience of adoption in some way or the other, you cannot be an adoption activist. I don’t suggest that you got to have adopted a child to have the experience but in some way you should have been touched by the message of adoption because it is your passion that takes you beyond the call of your work/ duty.

Courage: Most often courage is perceived to be synonymous with confrontation, not so. Courage must be synonymous with being a catalyst. Courage is required not just in ONE area of advocacy but also in EVERY area of advocacy. One must be courageous enough to serve, speak up, sacrifice and concede defeat etc.

If your motives are clear and passion is balanced, I want to quote an American President’s inaugural speech. Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”. Take courage.

Knowledge: Zeal without knowledge is useless. You must understand the issues inside out so that your advocacy has relevance, you must know the institutions of power so that your approach has means, and you must have the goals so that you have the end game in sight. Passion and courage sans knowledge is like a ship without a rudder. Powerful leaders are who they are simply by having an abundant amount of knowledge on an issue along with other qualities.

Only way you can build knowledge about an issue is by immersing yourself in it. Read, understand, analyze, compare, critique, discuss and debating is the only way out to build knowledge and understanding of a particular subject.

So if you’re just starting out or meeting a new adoption activist, testing against these qualities is worth a try to see the real person in them.

Do you know of any other qualities that you think an adoption activist should have? Write in the comments section.

Ruby

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