EXTENDED: UPDATE

CALLED HOME: A new anthology is planned for adoptees who are in reunion (or not yet in reunion) or searching for birth family and tribal relatives. Your photos and birth information will be published to help you! Please tell your adoptee friends. Send an email to tracedemeyer@yahoo.com. Deadline extended to APRIL 15, please email if you are writing.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

First Nations children sold to Americans - new book

The Traffic in Babies: Cross-Border Adoption and Baby-Selling between the United States and Canada, 1930-1972, by Karen Balcom. University of Toronto Press May 1, 2011
Trade Paperback

Between 1930 and the mid-1970s, several thousand Canadian-born children were adopted by families in the United States. At times, adopting across the border was a strategy used to deliberately avoid professional oversight and take advantage of varying levels of regulation across states and provinces. The Traffic in Babies traces the efforts of Canadian and American child welfare leaders-with intermittent support from immigration officials, politicians, police, and criminal prosecutors-to build bridges between disconnected jurisdictions and control the flow of babies across the Canada-U.S. border.
Karen A. Balcom details the dramatic and sometimes tragic history of cross-border adoptions-from the Ideal Maternity Home case and the Alberta Babies-for-Export scandal to trans-racial adoptions of Aboriginal children. Exploring how and why babies were moved across borders, The Traffic in Babies is a fascinating look at how social workers and other policy makers tried to find the birth mothers, adopted children, and adoptive parents who disappeared into the spaces between child welfare and immigration laws in Canada and the United States.
[this book will be available in May 2011]

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Why adoptee rights are couched in White Privilege

Miscellany Adoptee: Why adoptee rights are couched in White Privilege: "My family is Nordic. I strongly suspect Saami heritage, though I haven't done a genetic test yet to confirm it. It doesn't matter, really- m..."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

About The Indian Adoption Projects and Programs

I realize many people think that the Indian Adoption Project was small, and involved a few hundred children. In fact, the BIA's Indian Adoption Project studied 395 cases. What did happen was in states like New York, they did their own Indian adoption programs. In fact, 16 states removed 85% of Native children for closed adoption, which is a staggering amount of children. No one knows exactly how many!

The following is an excerpt from Working Together to Strengthen Supports for Indian Children and Families: A National Perspective, Keynote Speech by Shay Bilchik at the NICWA Conference, Anchorage, Alaska on April 24, 2001

For a long time in the early history of child welfare, many educated middle-class Americans sincerely believed that the world would run smoothly and sweetly if everybody would just make the effort to think and behave like they did. In the name of improvement, Irish and Italian children were scooped up from city tenements that looked crowded and dirty, away from “unfit” single parents and the smells of unfamiliar cooking, taken to the countryside in orphan trains, and parceled out to rural families. Most of them never saw their parents or siblings again.

These were terrible acts, no matter how noble or “professional” the intentions of their perpetrators. Next to the death penalty, the most absolute thing a government can do to an individual is to take a child away. But these were acts against individual immigrant families, and no European national group was singled out for these removals to the point of being imperiled.

One ethnic group, however - American Indians and Alaskan Natives - a people of many cultures and governments, and the original citizens of this land - was singled out for treatment that ranged over the decades from outright massacre to arrogant and paternalistic “improvement.” CWLA played a role in that attempt. We must face this truth.

No matter how well intentioned and how squarely in the mainstream this was at the time, it was wrong; it was hurtful; and it reflected a kind of bias that surfaces feelings of shame, as we look back with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.

I am not here today to deny or minimize that role, but to put it on the table and to acknowledge it as truth. And then, in time, and to the extent that each of us is able, to move forward in a new relationship in which your governments are honored and respected, our actions are based upon your needs and values, and we show proper deference to you in everything that concerns Native children and families.

These are the facts. Between 1958 and 1967, CWLA cooperated with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, under a federal contract, to facilitate an experiment in which 395 Indian children were removed from their tribes and cultures for adoption by non-Indian families. This experiment began primarily in the New England states. CWLA channeled federal funds to its oldest and most established private agencies first, to arrange the adoptions, though public child welfare agencies were also involved toward the end of this period. Exactly 395 adoptions of Indian children were done and studied during this 10-year period, with the numbers peaking in 1967. ARENA, the Adoption Resource Exchange of North America, began in early 1968 as the successor to the BIA/CWLA Indian Adoption Project. Counting the period before 1958 and some years after it, CWLA was partly responsible for approximately 650 children being taken from their tribes and placed in non-Indian homes. For some of you, this story is a part of your personal history.

Through this project, BIA and CWLA actively encouraged states to continue and to expand the practice of “rescuing” Native children from their own culture, from their very families. Because of this legitimizing effect, the indirect results of this initiative cannot be measured by the numbers I have cited. Paternalism under the guise of child welfare is still alive in many locations today, as you well know.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Patti Hawn memoir

http://write-o-holic.blogspot.com/2011/02/this-really-pisses-me-off.html

Denise's blog speaks to the indifference of publishers and agents to sell our stories since we are not famous.
Goldie Hawn's sister Patti had no problem getting her memoir published about giving her son up for adoption.
Amazing, huh?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stolen Generation (Canada's 60s Scoop)

The Sixties Scoop thirty years later.(cases of adoptions of native children): An article from: Inroads: A Journal of Opinion

From my archives: published at http://www.wrcfs.org/repat/stolennation.htm

For more than 20 years, Canada took Native children from their homes and placed them with white families. Now a lost generation want its history back

BY TOM LYONS

When former Indian Affairs Minister Jane Stewart made her historic apology to the aboriginal peoples of Canada on Jan. 8, 1998, she singled out native residential schools as the most reprehensible example of Canada's degrading and paternalistic Indian policies. Designed to assimilate native children into English ways and strip them of their language and culture, the schools also became notorious for sickening physical and sexual abuse.

Though none would disagree with Stewart's condemnation of residential schools, which were phased out in the 1960s, some wondered why she didn't also apologize for the equally assimilationist -- if less well-known -- strategy that followed immediately in the schools' wake: the widespread adoption of aboriginal children out to non-native families in the '60s, '70s and early '80s.

Commonly referred to as the Sixties Scoop, the practice of removing large numbers of aboriginal children from their families and giving them over to white middle-class parents was discontinued in the mid-'80s, after Ontario chiefs passed resolutions against it and a Manitoba judicial inquiry harshly condemned it.

The passage of the Child and Family Services Act of 1984 ensured that native adoptees in Ontario would be placed within their extended family, with another aboriginal family or with a non-native family that promised to respect and nurture the child's cultural heritage. Aboriginal peoples also began to play a much greater role in the child welfare agencies that served them, and the numbers of native adoptees in general began to decline as more stayed with their birth parents.

However, the act also dictated that old birth records remain sealed, unless both the birth parent and the child asked for them. This has helped keep the period in darkness and frustrated attempts by adoptees to learn about their roots. Those who now feel they were victimized by the adoption process have an extremely difficult time finding out who they are.

Donna Marchand, a 44-year-old Toronto lawyer, is launching a court challenge against the Harris government to strike down the sealed birth records provisions of the Child and Family Services Act.

An adopted child herself, she recalls being terrorized into denying her origin: "When I was about three-and-a-half, it started coming to my attention that I was adopted. My cousins told me. I was only three years old, but I was aware that I was different. I just didn't fit in. I was getting called a little bastard. And I asked my adopted mother what adoption meant. She said, 'Don't ever say that again -- if your father hears you he'll kill you.' He'd been sitting there in his drunken stupor. He'd go on binges for days.

"I've lived my whole life being native because I was called a squaw. I don't look white enough. And I was in working-class, real WASP, downtown Toronto. I got called a squaw and Donna Wanna, and I got tied to my share of trees and got my hair hacked off."

Marchand's constitutional challenge involves Section 7 and Section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, according to her lawyer, Jennifer Scott. "Section 7 is the right to life, liberty and security of person," says Scott. "And Section 15 is the equality rights. The 15 provisions are that adoptees are sort of a group that is protected. But different communities of adoptees are particularly affected, and it has a tremendous impact on communities like native people -- where they don't know who their mom and dad are, but they're assimilated into families that don't even know their culture, their history, their background. It goes to who they are."

PERMANENT SCARS
Just as the closing of the residential schools did not mean their legacy of suffering instantly vanished, so the end of the Sixties Scoop did not mean that all the native adoptees who were farmed out to abusive or alienating non-native families suddenly found themselves with a clear-cut identity or a secure place in society.

Indeed, many still found themselves not only "torn between two worlds," but literally unsure if they were native at all, and not French or Italian as their adoptive parents claimed. Their birth records were sealed and often amended to include the names of to include the names of the adoptive, rather than biological, parents. Moreover, their adoption records were in many cases inaccurate, incomplete, falsified or simply missing. As a result, many native adoptees who did try to locate their birth parents or confirm their native status wasted literally decades on failed searches or frustrating battles with Children's Aid authorities or Indian Affairs officials.

Suzanne Bezuk, a spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services, says ""non-identifying information" can be made available to adult adoptees without their birth parents' consent.

"And for aboriginal peoples in particular, in the case of native clients, the name of the band and reservation can be provided."

However, aboriginal status and band names were seldom recorded on the original birth and adoption records in the '60s and '70s. So even this "non-identifying information" is rarely available.

Marchand cannot even be sure whether her mother was in fact native. "All I know is, it's very typical for native women, and my Uncle Frank says we're native. And my Aunt June looks native. Me and my two sisters, we look real native. But my mother, she internalized the shame of being a native woman. Look what she put down [on the adoption record]: 'Ethnicity not stated.' It's a shame. A lot of native women don't say, because they were going to lose their babies, and they wanted them to be adopted by good people, and good people weren't going to adopt 'little bastard squaws.' "

Even now, researchers trying to determine exactly how many aboriginal children were removed from their families during the Scoop say the task is all but impossible because adoption records from the '60s and '70s rarely indicated aboriginal status (as they are now required to).

Those records which are complete, however, suggest the adoption of native children by non-native families was pervasive, at least in Northern Ontario and Manitoba. In her March, 1999 report, "Our Way Home: A Report to the Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy on the Repatriation of Aboriginal People Removed by the Child Welfare System," author Janet Budgell notes that in the Kenora region in 1981, "a staggering 85 per cent of the children in care were First Nations children, although First Nations people made up only 25 per cent of the population. The number of First Nations children adopted by non-First Nations parents increased fivefold from the early 1960s to the late 1970s. Non-First Nations families accounted for 78 per cent of the adoptions of First Nations children."

Similarly, "One Manitoba community of 800 people lost 150 children to adoption between 1966-1980," reports Budgell, who prepared the report in conjunction with Native Child and Family Services of Toronto.

Though it is rarely possible to determine precise numbers, the practice of native adoption was widespread enough to be denounced as "cultural genocide" by Edwin C. Kimelman, the presiding judge at the 1985 Manitoba inquiry.

Many native adoptees suffered from not only geographical displacement and cultural confusion but also emotional emptiness, violence, physical and sexual abuse, and drug or alcohol abuse.

"My brother was adopted at four years old," recalls one of the birth relatives of native adoptees interviewed for "Our Way Home." "His adoptive parents divorced when he was 12 and they gave him back to the agency like returning merchandise. His life after that was a living hell of abuse, violence and alcoholism. My brother hanged himself at 20 years old."

Joanne Dallaire is a native adoptee who conducts healing sessions for adoptees at the Anishnawbe Health Centre in Toronto. She too was told by her adoptive family that she wasn't native. "I myself was raised by a non-native, and my whole history was denied. Like in school, I was teased. You know how kids can be rather cruel with each other, and I was called a squaw and stuff like that, and when I'd come home, I'd be like crying and stuff, and they'd say, 'You're not Indian, you're French. So you make sure you tell them you're French.' It was years and years of misinformation."

Dallaire's attempts to find her birth mother or at least learn the truth of her native status began early. "The first time I started searching was when I was 15, so that was 1966. But it wasn't until I was an adult and on my own that I really began to search. I didn't have any proof, either, until 1998. Anishnawbe [native] people would come up to me and say, 'Oh, so you're Anishnawbe.' And I'd say, 'No, no, I'm French.' And I remember one man said to me -- I remember profoundly -- he looked at me and he said, 'Someone's lying to you. You're Anishnawbe.'

"I remember when I got the phone call from the social services department. One of my first questions was: 'Is there native in my background?' So my mother wanted to know how I'd feel about it if I was, and I said, 'Very pleased,' because my whole spirituality and stuff was drawn to native culture. So I've come to find out that I am [First Nations] -- to what degree, I don't know, because my mother is still very evasive about my father. But at least I know part of my heritage is Cree -- James Bay Cree."

Donna Marchand's own search for her birth mother took 16 years through the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Adoption Disclosure Record. When government officials finally contacted her in the spring of 1999, they said her mother had died 26 years earlier.

"It's a big area that most people never even thought of," says Dallaire, "because it goes so quietly and privately. It's not as out there as the residential schools. And because everything's secret, you can literally throw your hands in the air and go, 'Well?' You quickly run up against one wall and then another, so it takes perseverance, like with Donna having to fight and fight again to get what she wants. Most people get battle-weary and never win."

WAS IT GENOCIDE?
According to the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights, Justice Kimelman's description of the Sixties Scoop as cultural genocide is accurate. It reads: "Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct people with guarantees against genocide or any other act of violence, including the removal of indigenous children from their families and communities under any pretext."

So why was the wholesale removal of aboriginal children not considered a crime, or even a wrong, that the Minister of Indian Affairs felt obliged to redress along with the residential school system?

The answer isn't that complicated, says Kenn Richard, director of Native Child and Family Services of Toronto and the man who commissioned the "Our Way Home" report. "British colonialism has a certain process and formula, and it's been applied around the world with different populations, often indigenous populations, in different countries that they choose to colonize," says Richard. "And that is to make people into good little Englishmen. Because the best ally you have is someone just like you. One of the ones you hear most about is obviously the residential schools, and residential schools have gotten considerable media attention over the past decade or so. And so it should, because it had a dramatic impact that we're still feeling today. But child welfare to a large extent picked up where residential schools left off.

"The lesser-known story is the child welfare story and its assimilationist program. And you have to remember that none of this was written down as policy: 'We'll assimilate aboriginal kids openly through the residential schools. And after we close the residential schools we'll quietly pick it up with child welfare.' It was never written down. But it was an organic process, part of the colonial process in general."

STOP CHIFF

STOP CHIFF

Baby Traffickers: Nightlight Adoption Agency

Nightlight Christian Adoptions has been the subject of at least two investigative articles by The Charleston Post and Courier where they looked at Nightlight in Greenville and attorney Raymond Godwin.
Just go to http://www.postandcourier.com/and search Nightlight Christian Adoptions and look for "The Price of Adoption" on Sept 21 and "Attorney Says Oklahoma Tribe Never Expressed Interest Before Infant's Birth" on Sept 14.

Raymond's wife Laura Beauvais-Godwin heads the Nightlight offices in Greenville SC. Both Nightlight and Godwin's law offices share the same building address at 1527 Wade Hampton Blvd in Greenville, SC 29609.

One of the articles said, "But the larger issue, according to skeptics, is the allegation that some birth mothers, agencies and attorneys conceal adoptions and prevent birth fathers from asserting parental rights." and "Once these agencies and lawyers get the birth mother on the hook ... they tell these birth moms not to answer any calls from the dads," said Shannon Jones, the Charleston attorney who represents Simmons and Brown. "Of course, then they argue the dad is a deadbeat."

Which is exactly what happened to Dusten Brown.

Source: http://pullthisblogover.blogspot.com/2013/09/an-open-letter-to-matt-and-melanie.html (comment)

Keep Veronica in your prayers