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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Broken Circle: What is an orphan?

Adoption was invented for orphans, children who lost their parents and needed immediate attention and help - to save their lives literally. The family circle was broken with the death of parents.
Children were orphans because there were no other relatives to care for them.
We know how "adoption" created new families for these orphans. That makes sense - it was a safety net.

Ask yourself:  how is the word orphan to be interpreted today?
In the Third World and Indian Country, those places on Earth where the most destitute live in poverty, an orphan is not necessarily without parents: some of these children are without necessities: food, water, medicine and clothing.
We know Americans will rescue the child but not their parent. Americans will call these children orphans. Is that true? Is it not selfish for an American to choose a child over the parent of that child?
Are Americans OK with separating that child from their parent via closed adoption?
The numbers of adoptees (7-10 million) today answers that question - yes.

In Indian Country kinship adoption means an orphaned child is raised with an auntie, grandparent or other relative.  Families remain intact and the child will not lose their family, language or their culture.
America's closed adoption model for Indians was purely destructive, severing a child's contact with culture, language and tribal kin, erasing their sovereign membership and their treaty rights. A few Americans involved in the Indian Adoption Projects have apologized, so we know they admit they did this heinous thing.
Can you imagine - Native children (thousands!) removed by the Indian Adoption Projects for the sole purpose of destroying families and tribal nations? It happened and yes, it was devastating.

America still places a stranglehold on Indian people with its judgement of us. This has gone on many years. Every treaty that was made was broken; all because American leaders wanted to secure more land and what was on those lands (minerals, water and food).
Plot after plot, year after year, you see the American government screwing Indians and stealing from tribes, or turning us against one another, one way or the other.
It's about control. It's about creating poverty and making us fight each other over scraps. This America goverment does not want us to be united in our struggle. They'd prefer us fighting each other over what little we're lucky enough to be granted or given by them.
A Northern Cheyenne friend said they start a fire in your front yard so you don't know what they are doing in your backyard.  They divert our attention this way, and have used it many times successfully.
That is why states historically do not deal with Indians - only the federal government. This is supposed to mean the feds are more fair or the feds have a better grasp of treaties and history - yet they control us with their beauracy, laws and delays.

Fast forward. Do you see American kids being sent to Africa or Russia for adoption? No.
Americans are the biggest adopter in all the world.  It's their savior complex. Americans believe they offered a better life for Indians, International and Third World adoptees.
As an adoptee, it was real pain for me. I cannot grasp how deep that pain went or my confusion and fear when my mother disappeared after I was born. She never returned.  Eventually I stopped crying. I blanked out the hurt yet that deep pain reached into every aspect of my life. It took many years for me to step into the circle and rejoin my relatives... My mother was not dead but I was orphaned.

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ICWA

Congress enacted the ICWA to protect the best interests of Indian children and to prevent the erosion of tribal ties and cultural heritage by preserving future Indian generations. In enacting the ICWA, Congress declared that “it is the policy of this Nation to protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families by the establishment of minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their families and the placement of such children in foster or adoptive homes which will reflect the unique values of Indian culture…” (25 U.S.C. § 1902.)

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