- 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)
Friday, July 8, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
The trailer "Edgar's Journey," is from a short film I wrote a few years ago. It was the second time I had the pleasure of working with my Emmy award winning mentor, Thom Eberhardt. Thom directed Naked Fear (I played the role of Jack), Captain Ron, and Gross Anatomy among many other films. I am thankful Thom has agreed to share his expertise and mentor-ship with us on the making of Shooting Stars. We are speaking with a two time Grammy award winner, who will write the score and star in Shooting Stars. Not only is he a gifted musician, he is also a talented actor recently appearing in a made-for-television movie. We can't print his name just yet because we don't have a deal, we can't make a deal without you jumping into the project by donating today!
The Shooting Stars DVD is more than a short film; it is a whole package.
•The short film "Shooting Stars"
•The documentary "The Making of Shooting Stars"
•The original soundtrack performed by (Can't say his name just yet!)
•The music video of (??????) and his band!
You must get involved for all four of these events to be included on the disk!.
Shooting Stars will be filmed in New Mexico in October.
Also check out Youtube! http://www.youtube.com/user/RhettLynchStudio
I'm Associate Producer on this project! Support this film and click on the link..Thank you!!....Trace (more posts coming the end of July)
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
(First Indian to Graduate from Yale)
Click here for documentary
This is a hero of mine. Henry is Thunder Clan, a true leader. Please watch this movie....Trace
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Thanks to my Dine brother Leland Morrill for sharing this. Several of us adoptees are in for a shock (as if we aren't already in shock!) when we go to apply for a new driver's license in the USA. If we cannot supply an original birth certificate, they can deny us. It happened to Leland, who was adopted by Mormons. (His story is posted on my blog here and he is also a contributor in the new book "Split Feathers: Two Worlds."
Leland has taught me so much about the Real ID Act of 2005 - which forgot to take into account many Native adoptees have amended (fake) birth records or no birth certificate.
So, please leave a comment if you are having issues with getting a new driver's license. There ought to be a class action lawsuit over this one, eh?
Read Leland's blog: http://amiauscitizennavajo.blogspot.com/
Google: Real ID ACT of 2005 if you need more information...
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Please read about Debby's reunion with her siblings.
As soon as we have a book deal - you will read it here. Please follow this blog (see right column) or follow by email - easy, right?
ONE MORE REQUEST: Click LIKE on the Facebook Page: One Small Sacrifice!
Chi megwetch, WaDo, Thank you...
Trace A. DeMeyer
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
There is great truth and importance in these stories, dispelling myths how reunions between adoptee and first parents won't work... I have my own reunion story with my dad Earl Bland in my memoir "One Small Sacrifice." I met my dad in 1996.
This is what I learned about REUNION:
- After our first phone call, I wrote my dad a letter and explained what I knew about my adoption and gave details, like my date of birth, where I was born and what I knew from my adoption file. It gave him and his family time to process and adjust to my showing up in their life.
- We made plans to see each other - later we'd talk on the phone, just the two of us. (Repeat after me: "We can't start over. We start here and now.") My dad and I began our lives together when we reunited in person for the first time.
- Plan to meet. Schedule DNA tests if there is any doubt about paternity. Not sure at first, our DNA test said Earl and I were a 99.9% match. Hooray!
- Expect to feel very overwhelmed at first. Reunion is not about rivalry but if you have siblings, expect their surprise (and maybe some jealousy, too). Avoid controversy and meet one-on-one, just you and your parent first. Later spend quality time with the entire first family (your siblings, their kids, your kids and all the relatives.) Don't rush into this one but take lots of pictures! Meet your siblings one at a time, too. It takes time and energy to get to know one another.
- Watch your expectations, adoptees. Earl and I knew there was no way to go back to reverse the past or fix it. He did not apologize nor I didn't expect him to... My dad didn't ask me about my life or what I experienced being adopted. This might happen in your reunion, too. Plan your future together as time, money and distance will allow. Each and every reunion is unique. Share your story if and when you are asked.
- Listen and be patient: that is what I did. I had no idea how my dad spent his life but I knew it was going to take time to hear his story. I took copious notes! My siblings and relatives shared much more than my dad and gave me tons of genealogy.
- I knew my dad had no clue how hurt I was being adopted. That was the truth for me. (Again, don't expect an apology.) I never expected he would fix my brokeness but hearing his voice the first time healed me in so many ways. The fog I'd walked in started to disappear. Old illusions vanished. My grieving faded.
- Depending on your adoptive family, only you the adoptee can determine if they can handle any news of your reunions. I know just one adoptee who connected his mothers - now they are friends. That takes some very strong loving women (and men) to make this happen. Many adoptees did share their reunion stories and it abruptly ended their relationship with the adoptive parents. Be sensitive and don't share details if they don't want to hear them. Many adoptive parents do not realize the importance of reunions in an adoptees life. It is up to the adoptee how to procceed and if you share the news. The risk of rejection by your adoptive family is a whole new chapter to reunion.
- Last but not least, get counselling if you need to and early. Spouses and friends may not be able to help you process all this. Go slow and be gentle with yourself but try and proceed with the reunion - since noone knows how much time you'll have to reconnect in this life. In my reunion, I had a little over a year before Earl died. We made the best of our time. I knew he was very sick when we first met. Earl and I spoke often and I wrote letters and cards. When Earl became very ill and was hospitalized, I was updated by my family constantly. Sadly, I only met Earl once but I did attend his funeral and was listed as his daughter in his obituary.
I pray for each adoptee and natural parent to have a good reunion. There is good medicine and healing waiting for all of you.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
[by Ojibwa for Native American Netroots. I am unable to attend NN11 and the Native American caucus. Navajo had asked me for some words for the caucus, and since I do not have email at this location, I’m going to put these words into a short diary for all to read.]
Traditionally, Native American events began with a blessing. We understand that there are a great many different religious and spiritual traditions, and beginning discussions with a spiritual blessing does not imply that all must “believe” the same—rather it simply indicates that this is an important event. Traditional Indians have little concern for making converts, for carrying “the message,” or for proselytizing. An elder is simply asked to bless the event. This blessing might involve smudging with sage, sweet grass, cedar, or some other herb. It might involve a song. It might involve a pipe ceremony. It might involve some symbolic gestures.
Spoken words are different from written words, and many of us who live in oral pagan traditions are reluctant to write down the words that we would speak at a blessing. The power of the word changes when it is written and it loses its sense of the here and now. If I were to do a blessing at this event, it would probably involve smudge and the use of the pipe. What follows is not the words which I would speak, but a description of their intent.
This is a blessing calling upon the seven directions. It starts with offerings to that which lies above and that which lies below. It is a way of reminding ourselves of our need for fresh air, for rain that falls clean and free of chemicals, for the sun, the moon, and the star people. It reminds us of our dependence of the earth and our responsibility to nourish and care for it, just as it nourishes and cares for us.
Next would come an offering to the manitos (spirits) of north and a reminder of the importance of dreams. It is a reminder that it is our responsibility to bring our dreams to life.
Next would come an offering to the manitos (spirits) of south and a reminder of the importance of words. We should remember that words are living things and they continue to impact our lives long after they have been spoken. At meetings such as this we should speak words which bring us together, which create harmony. Words which separate us—those which reflect racism, sexism, homophobia, agism, classism, and other divisions—should have no place here.
Next would come an offering to the manitos (spirits) of west and a reminder of the importance of death. If I have lived well, then it is a good day to die. The focus among traditional Native Americans was on maintaining harmony in life: there was not a lot of concern for what happens next. The offering to the west is also about endings, about changing things in our lives.
Next would come an offering to the manitos (spirits) of east and a reminder of the importance of birth. This is a reminder of the need for birth, rebirth, and new ideas. New ideas, new concepts, like newborns, must be nurtured and nourished.
And the final direction, the seventh direction, is inward. It is placing myself within the circle that has gatherered and opening myself up for the words which will be spoken and the concepts which will be presented.
to order prints: go to http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/06/09/983796/-A-Blessing-for-the-Native-American-Caucus?via=blog_787671
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Joy's Division wrote:
"...That is exactly what drives me crazy about those that try to control the story of the emotional world of the adoptee, I spouted, they are trying to bear our souls, that is why I make so many bitchy posts about people who are trying to tell the story of adoption sans the frustrated adoptee. Which you know, happens, some adoptees are frustrated, some adoptees find this situation difficult to deal with." - from http://joy21.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/you-can-only-bear-your-own-soul-controlling-the-adoptee-narrative/... "...So no, I am not in charge of the adoptee experience, I was shocked as shit to recognize my mother and feel the damaged love I do feel for her. I want to be more compassionate with her experience and at this moment I am, my last comment feels a bit harsh. It tears me up, it leaves me twisting in the wind. I am just a small part of a much bigger story, but we should be allowed to tell our stories without getting comments like, “Poor Innocent Dismissed.” I may be poor and I may be dismissed but I have never pretended to be innocent, I am as big of an asshole as you would ever want to meet. I mean the caveat being we are all assholes if you catch us in the right moment. At least I can own that."
You see how adoption is complicated, messy, a pain! There are many discussions happening across the blog world on the myths, benefits and damages of adoption. It is definitely clear that each in the triad (birth parents, adoptive parent and adoptee) has their own unique voice and view. That is how we learn - by reading and listening to others who went through the adoption process as parents or as an adoptee.
Even Facebook has created new discussions and arguments, too. Divisions do not serve anyone but create the impression there is no common ground or mutual agreement. Yet we all walk the path together as humanity.
I am no longer a "frustrated" adoptee but the survivor of a closed adoption. I opened my adoption file at age 22. At age 54 I read my "identifying" information in my formerly-sealed Wisconsin adoption file. I have had many reunions.
I do not judge my mother Helen for giving me up. I know she made the only decision she could at the time - which was find new parents for me. I am not her and cannot read her mind. Sadly she has already died so I will never know how giving me up affected her past or her future. I do know society judged her and she lived with their judgements.
I do know many frustrated adoptees, and I try to help them navigate each step to finding their identity and eventual reunion with relatives. There is no guidebook on this, by the way. There is no "ALL" since each mother and father and each adoptee is unique.
The changes in communication with the internet, blogs, Facebook and email has opened up my world since 2004. Teach me, contact me, post comments...
As Joy's Division writes: "...I will be called names, I will endure ridicule, but also some adoptee somewhere will find my blog like so many others already have and as a result find the courage to tell their own story. They will feel less alone, less alienated, their story will be different because they always are, but my story will encourage others to own their own. Controlling your own story, your own narrative is one of the most delicate and beautiful gifts you can give yourself. The h8trs are gonna h8t, love yourself anyway. I can only bear my own soul and I am, here."
We need more voices and more discussion like this.
We need to change the archaic laws and end closed adoptions and give access to sealed adoption files - period.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
As I wrote before, I spoke with a cousin who shares my great-grandmother Mary Morris. Buddy shared how he met my parents Earl and Helen in Chicago. He is the only one I know who did meet them prior to my birth and knew them as a couple. That was no small miracle!
Next surprise: a new relative on Helen’s side. As an adoptee, nothing has been more exciting than finding pieces in the family puzzle. A new relative found me and emailed me! Am I ever glad I wrote a book!! Thank you Google!
I met my grandmother Helen Ryan Kilduff Thrall back in 1993 – a long time ago. As I wrote in my memoir, she didn’t know I was her granddaughter, but she showed me my first picture of my mother Helen. For me this was life-changing. I took lots of notes that day and wrote down her father was Michael Kilduff. When I drove near Ottawa in 2006, my interest in the Kilduff line was ignited again but I had not met or found anyone in Canada or the US with this name.
Now a cousin who shares my Kilduff blood found me. He has helped me trace back to my great-grandfather Michael Kilduff who lived in Ottawa then moved to Michigan then Wisconsin. This family started in Quebec and migrated to Ottawa. Peter even sent me a genealogy on this side of my family. He also sent a link to a website showing my ancestors were shipbuilders and stone masons. Who knew I have Canadian blood in my veins?
I told Peter it is a shame I didn’t know him prior, when I was a rock musician who traveled in Ontario and sang in clubs near where he lives.
Peter and I are kin and going to keep in touch. This was a gift I never expected and one I am truly grateful for, indeed.
(to be continued)
Shooting Stars: a film about a young Native man who reconnects with his heritage in the most unlikely place: a junkyard (based on the filmmaker's beginnings and journey as an adoptee...)
CREATED BY: Rhett Lynch (Navajo)
LOCATION: Alameda, New Mexico, United States
Film clip at Indiegogo
Rhett Lynch lives and works in Alameda, New Mexico. In his thirty years as a professional artist, he has found expression in a variety of mediums, from hand-woven tapestries to sculpture, drawings, and monotypes, to paintings in oil and acrylic, to writing, acting in films and developing the motion picture production company, Heap Big Films. Always seeking to expand his visual vocabulary, Rhett consistently experiments with various materials in order to bring more power, life, and intensity to his art. Rhett’s broad range of subject matter: the human form, animals, landscapes, icons, archetypes, myth and legend, are depicted realistically to pure abstract, whimsical to mystical. He refers to his work as a visual journal, recording his experiences as a tourist of life. His work is a testament to the deeply powerful symbols found in the well of his Indigenous heritage, conveying a universal message, which crosses all cultural boundaries. Although varying greatly in medium and subject matter, all of Rhett's work contains a common thread: intensity of color and multifaceted intent. His paintings and writings are deeply personal, complex and moving, sometimes disturbingly so, providing an interactive experience provoking thought, evoking emotion, and leaving a lasting imprint on the psyche. Rhett's work, which has appreciated consistently over three decades, attracts a broad range of collectors, veteran as well as neophyte, from entertainment and political personalities, to church parishes and corporations such as CNN.
Please show your support and give what $$$ you can! Just click on the Indiegogo box... I am so excited to meet Rhett who is among the growing numbers of Native adoptees ...Trace
Monday, June 13, 2011
By MARK RANZENBERGER
They attended the Mt. Pleasant Indian Industrial School, one of many across North America with the avowed purpose of “taking the Indian out of the child” beginning in the late 19th century. Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, the land and the buildings belong to the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, and Tribal leaders and elders say it’s time for healing.
The Tribe accepted eight acres of property and six historic buildings from the state of Michigan. Monday, a day-long service of honoring, healing and remembrance began the Tribe’s ownership.
Johnson was one of four people who read the names of nearly 150 children believed to have died at the school during the 40 years it operated. Officially, just five children died, but many more are believed to have buried quietly somewhere on the approximately 300 acres of land now owned by the city of Mt. Pleasant and the Tribe.
The aim of the Indian schools was to “enlighten” the Native children, force them to learn English and forget their Native language, introduce them to Christianity and Western values, and teach them useful trades. Many children were forcibly separated from their families and sent to the schools.
Experts say the boarding school experience resulting in the wholesale destruction of Native values and near-loss of Native culture.
The school closed in 1934. The state of Michigan converted the property to a state hospital for the developmentally disabled, which is now closed.
Lorraine “Punkin” Shananaquet, a healer and a member of the Tribal Council of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, said the echoes of the grief, pain and loss continue across the generations.
“My muscle and my blood remember things,” Shananaquet said. She said the day of remembrance could bring emotional, mental, spiritual and physical healing as Native people struggle to regain their language, family, culture and ceremony.
The Tribe has yet to decide how it will use the property. Tribal spokesman Frank Cloutier said the healing and remembrance had to come first.
“Today,” Cloutier said near the end of the ceremonies, “the place is no longer what it was before.”
FIVE STAR review of One Small Sacrifice
One Small Sacrifice is a must read for anyone touched by adoption. I couldn't put this book down from the moment I started reading it. Trace DeMeyer has captured the heart and soul of life as an adoptee brought into a culture not originally her own. The importance of adoptees knowing who they are and where they come from is paramount to their mental, physical and spiritual wellness. She points out many reasons why people feel complete when they have their original identity, not just the identity given to them by their adopted parents. Millions of adult adoptees across the United States are without their original identity because of sealed birth certificates and Trace takes the readers along her journey to understanding who she is and where it all began for her.
(Paula Benoit, former State Senator in Maine, helped Maine unseal their adoption records) (see more great reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble!)