I read and reread their stories and words and in their sincerity, find my own grief re-ignited. We were long silenced by deliberate secrecy. I’ve met so many adoptees and children of adoptees with the same questions and concerns I had.
When adoptees from closed adoptions email and call me, I feel their pain - like it is my own. When I first hear their stories, I tell them we are all related. I relate what I can about our shared history as “removed Indians,” why we are called Lost Birds and Split Feathers, and describe my own "wound" of being adopted by strangers. I share how my adoptive parents did not help me or encourage me to find my other parents or my tribes.
It kills me too many adoptees are still very desperate to find answers and a family name. Just one detail, just one name, which tribe, could change everything. I send them prayers they find what they need. I send links to search angels. I listen and email and offer to help.
Like my story, many other adoptees stubbornly refuse to accept secrecy, even defying laws and religions and the wishes of their adoptive parents. They’ll risk everything to find their tribal families and identities.
There were too many years I was so desperately alone, not knowing any adoptee who had
successfully opened their adoption and had a reunion with relatives. Today I know several. I have many friends who have gone full circle and met all their families.
There are some stirring voices in my new book Split Feathers: Two Worlds; this book is almost ready to be born. I cry reading these stories by Native American adoptees who were placed in closed adoptions, but celebrate them like war heroes who fought laws and sealed adoption records in North America to find their way back to their sacred sovereignty and tribal relatives. My co-author Patricia Bearden (also an adoptee) and I have bonded like sisters doing this project. I thank her for her deep caring compassion to do this book with me.
There is a new book by Margaret D. Jacobs I want to recommend, though I have not finished reading it yet. The title is: White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism, and the Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880-1940. This is the book I wish I had written. It is mind-blowing history. I have to say, just 100 pages in, I am in such a rage, I decided to put the book down awhile, to cool off and absorb what I already read. Margaret’s work will probably ignite you as it did me. You may also find yourself tearing apart your house!
I know why adoptees are some of the strongest people I have ever met. We truly are the child survivors of an ethnic cleansing campaign, when colonial dictators did battle with tribes for more and more land. Taking Native American children was just one more horrific tactic.
But in the end, every adoptee who finds their tribe and family wins this war and those governments who may have tried to kill our identity will not succeed as planned. This story is still being written in 2011, and will be until all adoption files are open and exposed.
I will post details here when Split Feathers: Two Worlds is published. I assure you, you will never forget these stories or these very brave adoptees.