- Split Feathers Study
- Adoption History
- Canada Timeline
- Survivor Not Victim (my interview with Von)
- Interview with Land of Gazillion Adoptees
- Interviews 2011
- NEW: Study by Jeannine Carriere (First Nations) (2007)
- Adoptee Rights Infograph
- 2013 Readings/Talks
- Adopt an Elder: Ellowyn Locke (Oglala Lakota)
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I hear this: “Oh, you wrote a book? When do you hit the road to read it?”
I plan to share the story about American Indian adoptees with my hometown of
and Superior, Wisconsin on my “book tour” next week. Duluth, Minnesota
Hardly anyone knows this story, unless you’re an American Indian adoptee or an American Indian family who lost a child to adoption during the Indian Adoption Projects.
Back in 2008 I read from my manuscript at the Wisconsin Book Festival in
. My friend Madison, Wisconsin Mark Anthony Rolo (Bad River Ojibwe) read from his book The Wonder Bull and we had a great big audience with great big questions. One young adoptee came up to me afterwards and said he’d never heard anyone say that adoptees have a “gratitude attitude” which we’re expected to display on demand, our entire life. And he thanked me!
I told him, “Trust me, when we’re adopted, it’s expected. Once you move past gratitude, you’ll find yourself in unchartered waters, torn between acceptance, anger, love and despair…you might even have to break a few laws to find your own parents.” This young man was afraid to move forward and open his adoption because he imagined it would hurt his adoptive mother.
How perplexing, I thought, since I’d been there myself, as I handed him my email address. I advised him to be totally prepared and do his adoption search without telling anyone in his family. I know. I wish every day I didn’t have to say this.
If you’ve read One Small Sacrifice, you know that many parts of the book are truly painful. My 89-year-old neighbor Karolyn read my book and calls the Indian Adoption Project an atrocity and an outrage.
What my hand wrote down at – it was the best I could do. Every page was a canvas, a place to exorcise trauma and stir up ghosts.
Slowly, the topic of adoption has shifted away from what I call “the gratitude attitude” to a more realistic discussion. Simply look at the numerous articulate writings by adoptees out there. This topic has grown up as we have grown up. Adoptees have sprouted new wings. Adoptees just need other people to hear us and read us. Perhaps then archaic atrocious adoption laws might change.
So I’m planning a road trip. I am not managed or sponsored by a giant publisher…I’m simply a journalist who scoured adoption history and blended in some personal experience for a book.
That is really where the road trip began. I had to look for strangers. I had to stop being afraid I might hurt someone if I found my family. I had to stop worrying how I might make people uncomfortable. I had to stop being afraid of the truth.
I decided I had to grow up.
Trace’s reading schedule:
Superior Public Library (on Tower & Belnap)
, Wed., Sept. 29, Superior, Wisconsin
(Trace will blog again after her road trip!)
Check out my friend Mark's new book:
Friday, September 17, 2010
Who are you?
Stop and think about this… Who are you?
Think about your parents, your grandparents and great-grandparents, who you knew when you were growing up. Remember the stories of when, where, even how you were born.
Now… imagine you disappear, you’re erased, no longer a part of your family history and genealogy. How would you feel? Grateful? I don’t think so.
Now … imagine an adoptee who doesn’t know who they are … nothing, anything, zilch… Can you imagine looking in the mirror, not knowing anything? How might that feel?
“Adopted people” are the only people in the world without free or unlimited access to their personal history…. we simply vanish into thin air.
This decision was made for us. Someone decided this long ago. Someone decided adoptees were better off not knowing anything. Someone decided this for me – I’d be fine, never knowing my identity.
Wait … I was dead without my identity, without my name. I can’t live like this.
My adoptive family had their stories, their names, their parents and grandparent’s names, where they were from, how they lived and died, everything.
Like my adoptive mom and dad, many families are very proud of their stories. There could be bank robbers or horse thieves or rich barons or fancy politicians. Mine could be, too.
To tell my story, I needed more than their story. I needed my own.
To contact Trace: email: email@example.com
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Words, words, words. That’s what a blog is, right? Words.
Yet I don’t think of this as writing words but sharing actual experience, my adoption experience, my American Indian experience, and my overall ain’t-life-crazy experience.
Life is crazy when you think about it. Lots of ideas became American products which started out as patents and experiments: for example – adoption was an experiment and now we’re finding out for those who were the recipients of being adopted aren’t quite tickled pink about their experience. Few in the adoption business want to change anything. They prefer to be known as “do-gooders.”
Secrecy permeates lots of experiments. I put this Albert S. Wei’s quote in my book: “My problem is secrecy. I believe that perpetually secret adoptions assure un-accountability and lack of transparency. And secret adoptions are only the tip of the iceberg. The secrecy permeates the process: secret identities, secret parents, secret records, secret foster care providers, secret social workers, secret judges and lawyers (all their identities are sealed, typically), secret physicians, secret statistics and, in the case of some adoption-oriented organizations, secret budgets and secret boards of directors. In any social practice, when people in positions of power hide behind masks, one can be pretty sure that they have something to hide.” Wei is special advisor to the Bastard Nation Executive Committee.
I had no idea how much was secret. Without the internet and light bulbs, I might still be in the dark.
I write lots of words no one will ever see or read. Why? Writing has been a trusted friend and I consider some of my ideas secret.
Writing is a way to work things out in my head. A way to reason, looking at things one way and then another. If I find out it’s a bad idea, I change my mind.
Too bad those who could change things for adoptees haven’t had this happen yet.